ATN X-Sight II HD Day/Night Optics

ATN X-Sight II HD Optics;

 

Every now and then you stumble upon an item you really don’t need. However, the technology interests you and there you are, receiving another package from Fed-Ex. I am looking at the ATN X-Sight II HD 3-14 day/night scope. This is not a conventional scope you are familiar with – as it is 1080P digital. When you look thru the eye piece you are viewing a video image of the field of view. This totally eliminates the need for parallax correction on your part. No need to adjust for varying distance to dial in correction of focus. A link is listed for the manufacture site to show all the features in-depth.

https://www.atncorp.com/x-sight2-hd-day-night-rifle-scope-3-14x

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I mounted the X-Sight II on a AR15 and had no trouble with gaining a good clear view of the eye piece video image. The scope is well build and solid. It has focus correction on the eye bell and once set you don’t need to readjust. The objective end has a focus adjustment by means of a small dial on top of the main tube (very handy and out-of-the-way). Moving to the rear on top of the scope are the function key pads and are all-weather proof for those wet hunting trips.

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Complete directions for use and function are explained in detail on the web site and I found navigating the menu to access different modes very easy and straight forward. It is a bit heavy at 2.5 lbs, however, you are mounting a mini computer/video/ballistic drop calculator to your rifle. The left side has a rail for mounting a infared illuminating light for those times when additional I.R. is needed. Two covers on the right side are for batteries and micro hdmi/sd card/usb ports.

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4 AA batteries power the processor and are sealed with a weather-proof cover (large cover). Ahead of the battery cover are the micro ports. Now for the cool technology stuff! 1080P @ 30 frames per second along with video streaming via wi-fi and geo tracking. Just load the app to your phone or tablet, link to the scope and you have live feed video and capabilities to adjust functions of the optic. Another feature is recoil activated video or continuous video  all with 64Gb of storage.

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Want to zero your rifle in one shot? With the ATN X-Sight you can! Use the zero reticule function, put a round down range on target, push enter and now move the cross hair to the point of impact while not moving from point of aim. Push enter and you are zeroed! This scope is more fun than a new Moto X Pure smart phone.  Did I mention the shooting solution system that calculates elevation and windage corrections? Other features are built-in barometric pressure and altitude sensors and you will need to enter current temperature and wind speed. With all external elements and ballistic data for the given cartridge entered the Shooting Solution System will compensate for drop and windage. While viewing an image you can snap a still shot/burst shots or video the hunt. For those surprise game shots there is a recoil activated video function that will record video before and after recoil is detected…..How cool is that?!?

Reticule style is user picked from a variety of shapes along with various colors. When things get dark outside a push of a button switches to night vision. You can pick either black and white or green and white. I purchased the additional 16000mah battery pack that will keep feeding 1.5 volts to the processor for uninterrupted operation for 20+ hours.

Once you purchase an ATN X-Sight optic or any ATN product, I suggest joining the Facebook support page (ATN Smart HD Owners) and http://www.atnowners.com. Between the two sites any issue you have can be answered in minutes. It will seem a bit overwhelming at first, however, once you digest the info its second nature to use.

In conclusion, this ATN X-Sight II HD optic is a great value for the ability to record video, live stream, use at night and have ballistic calculations done for you. I only wish I had bought one sooner.

 

Now get out there and own the night with an X-Sight!!

 

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300 BlackOut, part 2 – Transonic flight

300 BlackOut

The first post on the 300 BlackOut described the cartridge and development. Since then I have spent some time at the reloading bench and range getting to know the round. Depending on your shooting desires you may opt to use factory ammo and be happy with the results, as for hand loaders we are intrigued to experiment with components seeking the sweet spot of a cartridge/rifle combination. Most articles will talk about light Supersonic velocity rounds or heavy Subsonic’s, with not much talk about the middle weights (168grain to be specific) bullets. I choose to load with the 168’s for reasons of proving they will shoot sub-moa groups at 100 yards all while starting out at Supersonic velocities then after the transonic region maintaining Subsonic velocities well into the 550+ yard range.

Another topic I will discuss will deal with tuning the AR15 upper barrel nut torque and clocking the flash hider if used. Tuning a specific load to best match barrel nodes of vibration will produce good results if you have the patience and proper tools to test various combinations.

img_20161113_184424  300-blk

I started load work with a Leatherwood CMR 1-4×28 optic then switched to a Cabela’s 4-18×50 for more magnification.

***LOADS LISTED SHOULD BE REDUCED BY 10% FOR USE OTHER THAN IN THIS TEST RIFLE****

Starting off at the reloading bench with quality prepped brass is critical with any loading process. You might convert military brass from 5.56 to 300BLK or use commercially manufactured brass (do not mix the two as brass wall thickness will differ and case pressure will change). I deburr the flash holes, file trim cases and F.L. resize, most reloading books will list H110 and AA1680 as the go to powders and I started off with a H110 equivalent powder (W296). With an AR15 platform I seated bullets out to max magazine length to start with and once a good powder charge was found then the bullets were seated deeper by .05” increments to test accuracy. 168 grain hollow point boat tail bullets were selected and a Lee factory crimp die set to a medium crimp this held the cartridge overall length without set back after repeated chambering. I really wanted W296 to be “the powder” for this rifle and some groups would print a nice clusters at ½” centers while others would open to +1”.  15 grains of W296 produced the best accuracy sometimes and that proved to me it was time to run some data thru Quick Loads to compare other powder.

img_20161016_105414 img_20161212_184633 W296 powder would not group consistent enough at 100 yards.

I won’t go into all the ranges of powder I tried while looking for the sweet spot charge, and while in the Quick Load program crunching numbers with IMR 4227 I noticed predicted velocities were a bit slower than with W296.  At 50 fps slower velocities the IMR 4227 had a better node of vibration for bullet muzzle exit so test loads were built up and groups were evaluated. CBC Industries built the AR upper equipped with a free float hand guard, flash hider and heavy 16” barrel, the workmanship was excellent and trouble-free function. However occasional first and last round flyers would crop up and that just frustrated me as I spend careful time building ammo as precise as I can. I settled on 14.8 grains of IMR 4227 with 168 grain HPBT bullets tucked inside Lake City converted brass and ignited with CCI400 primers, I ended up dropping down to 14.6 grains and really shrunk the groups as you will see in the below photos. While scrubbing out the carbon and copper from the barrel I remembered an article printed in a tech magazine talking about tuning an AR15 barrel nut torque for accuracy. The theory is that more or less torque applied to the barrel nut will adversely affect barrel vibration when a cartridge is fired. This was very interesting as military match rifles cannot be modified for competition “as issue” configuration is the rule, tuning the barrel nut is not modifying the rifle.

Range tuning the AR is not a quick process especially with optics mounted, the process goes as follows.

 

  1. Use proven accurate loads
  2. Shoot a group and note size and barrel nut torque
  3. Strip upper for clamping in clamshell fixture in vise
  4. Note current barrel nut torque
  5. Adjust more or less torque to nut and note FT. Lbs
  6. Assemble
  7. Shoot anther group
  8. Repeat
  9. Note when groups became smaller or bigger

 

After adjusting the nut torque it will become evident whether you need more or less torque as group size will dictate FT. Lbs. as a note 35 FT. Lbs is the minimum I would torque a barrel nut to without a thread locking agent. I found the nut torque to be at 80 FT. Lbs. on the factory assembled upper and after the tuning process I settled on 35 FT. Lbs. Another interesting point the author made was indexing a flash hider with a solid bottom section. As with an “as issue” match rifle slight clocking of the flash hider is not a noticeable item, and yes it will fine tune a load to some degree. I found between 1 O-clock and 3 O-clock will be enough indexing to tune a good load.  If you hit the barrel nut torque with vibration node spot on you won’t notice much improvement with indexing the flash hider.

Typical 100 yard groups shot with a 300 BlackOut and 168’s at supersonic velocity when you find the right powder, in this case it was IMR4227 @ 14.6 grains

300-group-jpg-edit      img_20161112_121457

yes I pulled the fourth shot on the right hand target.

 

Load development with several components    img_20161212_184959

Measuring to the ogive for consistent seating depth img_20161212_185129

 

 

 

The Transonic region:

Flight thru the Transonic region results in bullet yaw becoming unstable thus affecting trajectory and accuracy. The idea is to set the distance at which bullets go thru the Transonic region as maximum distance. From the muzzle downrange the bullet loses its initial speed due to drag and reaches the “Transonic region” when the speed hits Mach 1.2. Continuing on it crosses the sound barrier at Mach 1, exiting from the Transonic region when its speed falls below Mach 0.8. In the case of the 168’s loaded in a 300 BlackOut as can be seen in the table, 500 yards would be maximum range (1,125 fps is aprox. bottom of Subsonic velocity)

 

Yards                    Velocity                                                          Energy

100                        1558                                                                 905

200                        1428                                                                 760

500                        1129                                                                  475  exiting Supersonic

——–Transonic Region——-

800                        970                                                                   351   Subsonic region

1000                      901                                                                   303

Elevation 662,  Pressure 2944,  Temperature 45F

As with any drop chart corrections in elevation will be needed to assure hits. This chart also shows good Subsonic velocity out to 1000 yards.

 

Supersonic bullets need to be stable for accurate flight and Subsonic bullets alike, a term often used regarding stable bullet yaw  is to “go to sleep“. The theory is to get the bullet to go to sleep as quickly as possible thus taking advantage of a better trajectory. The Transonic region will disturb this sleep and then hopefully regain stable flight once in the Subsonic region.  Most Subsonic loaded ammo start out at less than 1000 fps thus running out of velocity and energy sooner.           Only experimenting at longer ranges will prove the ability of a load to perform good out to the Subsonic region, the idea I am toying with is to shoot a mid-weight bullet at Supersonic speed thru the sleep stage and hopefully send it back to sleep way out in the Subsonic region. With winter here in Michigan I will be able to stretch out my shooting distance at the range in hope of sending these 168’s to sleep.

This is a sneak peek of the optics I will be reviewing soon!

img_20161212_185433ATN X-Sight II HD 3-14 scope. 1080 p video, wi-fi, geo tracking, day/night vision and ballistic shooting solution system.

 

 

It’s December and Christmas is upon us. Get out and enjoy time with family and friends celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. While others are drinking eggnog and watching the game on the flat screen try to sneak out and send some bullets to sleep.

 

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Ssshhhhhh, whisper, 300BlackOut

300 BlackOut, 300BLK or the metric designation is 7.62x35mm.

A unique design not so new or recently created. This often appears with cartridges as similar configurations have been experimented with in the past, as with some the 300 BlackOut is all about timing the introduction. (or a cartridge before it’s time) Similar to the 25.06 Remington a mild round until the development and introduction of slow burning powders like H4831, then the cartridge was noticed to be a big performer.

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300 BlackOut loaded with a 168grain military pull down FMJBT. Velocity a mere 1700fps.

 

Newer powders, sub-sonic rounds and heavy bullets brought the 300 BlackOut to be noticed. Earlier developments didn’t take off as well, for example  The 8×35 Ribeyrolle was developed in 1917 during WW1 for the 1918 automatic carbine. The round is similar to the 300 BlackOut.

8x35_ribeyrolle

 

1969  a  7.62X28mm was developed, the round is similar to the 300 BlackOut.

7-62x28mm

 

1990   J. D. Jones developes  a 300 WHISPER
 to function in an ar15 platform upper. A barrel change will switch from 5.56 (223 rem) to 300 BlackOut all while operating with the same bolt and upper components and magazine.

300_whisper

The Whisper was originally developed from its parent case the .221 Fireball. It can be loaded to subsonic or supersonic velocities. This cartridge is almost exact to the BlackOut with minor dimensional  changes. The 300 BlackOut was created from this version and incorporates a longer neck.

 

2011 the 300 BlackOut was approved by SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute). With that support several commercial ammunition manufactures started loading for the round and firearms were chambered in 300 BlackOut. 300 Whisper commercial ammunition can be safely fired in a 300 BlackOut chamber due to the longer 300 BlackOut chamber throat, If you have any doubts contact the ammunition manufacturer or seek advice from your local gunsmith.

 

Ballistics:

the 125 grain 300BLK will clock 2,215 feet per second with 1360 foot-pound force. The 220 grain subsonic round clocks at 1,010 feet per second with 498 foot-pound force. The round is good for out to 300 yards, but can reach 500 although not practical.  For short range the round will deliver high energy and hard hitting shots (Hog medicine). While shooting subsonic (220 grain) the energy is amazing for under 100 yards and it is quieter  than a 9mm whether suppressed or not. Because of this the round is great for short range CQB use which is good in combat situations. The timing was right with a big range in bullet weights (110 – 220 grain) available along with good powder selections. The 300 BlackOut became popular to the reloading community when ammo was scarce upon introduction of the round. Forming cases from 5.56 brass was common, cutting down and reforming to accept 30 caliber bullets however this brings up a very dangerous condition.

223-300

On the left is a 5.56 case, then cut at the shoulder, resized to 30 caliber, trimmed and on the right two 300 BlackOut cartridges. The danger is when an inexperienced shooter grabs some 300 BlackOut ammo and unknowingly chamber’s it in a 5.56/.223  chambered rifle. Yes it will chamber as the 30 caliber bullet will act as a false cartridge shoulder only to have dangerously high pressures resulting in exploded rifles and personal injury. Take some time and surf the web for this topic and you will see several cases of this! Know what ammo you are putting in any given firearm before chambering it!

 

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300 BlackOut loaded in a 5.56/.223 magazine

 

 

The argument continues on whether the 300 BlackOut is superior to the 5.56/223. Down range energy, sustained subsonic velocity, lower recoil for heavier bullets and low suppressed sound for CQB situations. The cartridge fits a unique role as do other specialty cartridges, the 5.7×28 is a good example. You need to decide on the application of use, I find it a very interesting round as experimenting with powders and middle of weight spectrum bullets (168 grain) have proven it to be quite accurate. Another point to consider if you go the 300BLK route is gas port location, pistol and carbine are the choices.

Pistol length gas ports will cycle supersonic and subsonic ammo fine un-suppressed.

Carbine length will cycle supersonic while needing a suppressor to reliably cycle subsonic ammo.

Bullets for hunting need to be selected for low velocity expansion as most .308 bullets are designed for higher velocity cartridges. Several new designs are on the market allowing low (below 1500fps) reliable expansion rates with good primary wound cavity. For those of you that reload needing an expanding bullet look into these companies.

http://www.outlawstatebullets.com/

168 gr Rebated Boat Tail

img_20161016_105456    img_20161016_105414

As a wildcatter you can also make 300 BlackOut from 204 Ruger brass.

 

It’s October cooler weather is here and that should have you pulling out those safe queens and warming up some metal. New cartridges continue to be developed so don’t limit yourself to the mass-produced most commonly used ones. Get out and BlackOut! you just might like it.

 

Until next time be safe and burn some powder. It’s your second amendment right!

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Leatherwood/Hi-Lux, Tac-Dot

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Leatherwood/Hi-Lux makes a fantastic compact reflex sight that will compliment any firearm you need quick sight acquisition for. I had a perfect donor .22LR pistol a Colt Cadet semi-auto that sported an old out of date and bulky soup can red dot.

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A quick glance will tell you what an improvement the Tac-Dot sight did for this handy pistol.

Let’s cover some product specifications before we head out to the range and burn some powder. The Tac-Dot measures less than 2.5 inches in length, and weighs 2.1 ounces.  The clamp type mount allows this sight to be secured on a picatinny rail or Weaver base. It’s waterproof so you can take it out in any weather and its shockproof construction can take any environment or recoil you can endure.  Sighting the Tac-Dot is quickly handled with friction windage and elevation screw adjustments that can be accessed by means of recessed screws.  A handy screwdriver is provided along with a precision dial wheel for fine tuning that tight group at the bench.  The 1x magnification eliminates parallax problems, plus there’s no need to focus, and the eye relief is unlimited allowing this sight to be used whether it’s mounted just 5 inches from the shooter’s eye or on a handgun held out 18 to 20 inches from the eye. The 4 MOA red dot reticle does not have to be centered in the lens when the firearm is sighted to hit where the dot is on the target…whether the dot is high…low…right…or left of center in the lens. The Tac-Dot sight features fully multi-coated optics for maximum light transmission. The brightness of the dot automatically adjusts to the brightness or dimness of the light. It comes with protective cover. Keeping the Tac-Dot Sight cover on while you are not using the Tac-Dot Sight saves the battery life.

 

Tac-Dot specs:

 

Power  1X

Object lens       21” x 16”

Exit Pupil Range            N/A

EYE Relief         Unlimited

Length  2.5″

Short Reticle    Dot

Elevation Adjustment  1 (MOA)

Short Feature   4 MOA Dot Size

FOV      49′

Coating             Fully Multi-Coated

 

Right out of the box I was impressed with the rugged design, light weight and speed of mounting. IMG_20160803_174709149 (1)

Everything you will need is packaged in the box. Once mounted a quick bore sighting and you are ready to put some lead down range. I really like the auto brightness of the dot no pushing buttons till you reach that perfect brightness. I’m afraid you’re aiming perfection  skill factor will diminish a little as you really don’t need to concentrate on perfect aiming with a reflex sight, just place that dot on target and squeeze the trigger! No more needing a perfectly centered dot in the objective lens, technology is awesome!

IMG_20160803_173304654_HDRIMG_20160803_173335978

The glass is extremely clear and the dot can be pushed right into a corner without distortion. No glare issue whatsoever when in bright sunlight and styling is sleek and effective. When a battery change is needed just loosen the allen screw lift the sight and replace with a CR2032, your still zeroed when reinstalled! That’s Leatherwood/Hi-Lux accuracy.

Comparing competitor pricing it’s hard to beat the value of the Tac-dot.

At the range only two sight adjustments had me punching X rings on the target then a switch to dumping rounds into a ballistic cube proved the zero was solid. Switching from heavy shade back to bright sunlight was easy with the auto brightness and I really like the light weight  this sight provides. Final thoughts on the Tac-Dot I really like it! well-built, light weight, easy operation and great features.

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I just might put one of these sights on the 300 Black Out AR build I have on the bench. 45 degree back up sight to a Leatherwood CMR 1-4.

 

Until next time get out and burn some powder and  enjoy the outdoors.

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Leatherwood PentaLux 4-20×50

One year ago to the day I posted about the Leatherwood PentaLux optics. Today I am writing about field testing the glass I mounted on a wildcat Mauser chambered in the hot 22-284 Winchester. After a routine scope mounting and bore sighting in the shop it was off to the range for zeroing and  some evaluation. The day was cool, around 37 degrees along with no wind.  I set up the bench bags that would give the rifle a solid rest.  Removing the bolt to compare bore centered on the target with optic center of the reticle proved right on target at 50 yards. 20 fresh rounds loaded up with 75 grain A-Max bullets are charged with H1000 powder, a proven 1/4 moa load.  You see the rifle will be used to test the accuracy of the optics.  Ocular adjustment was easy with a few turns giving way to a crisp clear glass etched reticle.  Then on to dialing in the focus of the target which is made very convenient via a side focus knob. Slipping a round on the benchrest follower allows the bolt to lock up a snug chambering then a light touch to the 6oz Jard trigger ignites the fun. Low and left is where the bullet printed. I adjusted  just a few clicks up and right and had the second shot dead center.  Clicks felt good and positive although seemingly quiet (I couldn’t hear a freight train going thru a nitroglycerin plant ….thanks Clark). Two shots fired and we are ready to go to the 100 yard target.  After dialing in a clear target at 100 yards the focus knob read 100!  That’s factory calibration for ya!

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So far things are going good at the bench.  Another round is chambered then fired out to the 100 yard mark. This time all that is needed to center the shot was one click left of windage and with the .01 mill adjustments pin point accuracy is easy. I was pleased with three zeroing shots allowing the fourth shot to drill dead center at the 100 yard mark!

100_3329

Another feature of the PentaLux is an illuminated reticle.  I ordered green illumination and the rheostat has two off positions 180 degrees apart on the dial.  This optic is built with a 30mm main tube, fast eye focus, zero re-settable turrents (no zero stop) and side parallax adjustment (a Leatherwood first). For a five times magnification (4-20 tested) scope it has a compact profile and the 50mm objective lets in plenty of light.  I hope Leatherwood/Hi-Lux will offer a sunshade for the PentaLux line as I am fond of using them.

IMAG1194_1

Turrent covers protect the adjustments from accidental moving when handling and moving thru the woods, while looking for that shot opportunity at your game. A handy throw lever is screwed to the power ring for quick positive dialing magnification.

100_3324

The reticle is calibrated in mil’s and moa with ranging scales to size up targets at distance. Clicks are in .01 mil’s (.036″@ 100 yards) as opposed to moa clicks (1″ @ 100 yards). You have probably noticed the bright blue elevation turrent in the pictures.  This is a modification I made to allow quick zero settings at various ranges. After turning down the knurled edge on the turrent, providing a smooth round surface, I ordered a custom ballistic tape from http://www.customturrentsystems.com (post 5/20/2015).  The tape is calibrated for the 22-284 Winchester round with meter marks from 100m to 1ooom.  Ballistic load data is printed around the top edge and click marks circle the bottom edge.  The tape is created from a vast choice of colors and fonts along with character sizing.

100_3326100_3322100_3320

The PentaLux is a well built scope with features that are easy to use (side parallax, power throw knob, fast eye focus) and as always, the erector tube stabilizer. I sent 20 rounds down range that day without a hint of zero shift!  I sent a 75 grain A-max bullet down range at 20 power only to have the second shot enlarge the same hole slightly.  After cranking the power ring back and forth several times ending up back at 20 power.

In conclusion, I like the PentaLux in 4-20×50!  Sure, it could use a sunshade and I modified the elevation turrent for my ballistic load, however, it is well built, holds zero and crystal clear with sharp focus. Check one out on your favorite rifle.  Just be forewarned……you’ll likely buy other Leatherwood/Hi-Lux optics.

 

 

Until next time, burn some powder and enjoy some trigger time

 

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January Shot Show in Vegas, Guns Guns and Guns

Wow things have been a blur since November I finally have time to think about all the stuff that happened. After a good marinate venison back strap meal finished off with a good strong espresso I can reflect on the amazing gathering in Las Vegas “The Shot Show”! this was my first time at both the show and Vegas.

IMAG1134_1

With mild weather in the 60’s I was delighted to be out of the low 20’s and snow. Palm trees, Elvis, Elvis and more Elvis wherever I looked, first off a tour of Hoover Dam was in order my wife Kerri and I took the 8 hour tour that included stops at typical tourist sites and lunch at you guessed it a casino. Yes we saw the whole Dam thing (I was tiring of dam jokes too) anyway it’s quite amazing how it was build and our tour started 720′ below grade.

IMAG1145 IMAG1143

With massive turbine generators and spotless clean facilities this site not only provides power but also water to vast desert areas.  After the tour we found a good local place to eat called Ellis Island Casino and enjoyed ice-cold craft beer and great tasting burgers. The next morning started off early with a shuttle ride to the Sands Expo Center  then taking in as much of the 2000+ exhibitors as I could, with 64000 attendees you can about imagine what a sea of people flowed thru isles of vendor booths and yes you can touch, feel, twist knobs and pull the trigger on anything there! A 1911 45ACP dual pistol machined as one ( two barrels one trigger,hammer,slide and darn massive to hold on to) then how about a back pack 50 caliber bull pup rifle! 30″ long, kicks like a 12 gauge and effective to one mile, all this weighing in at 30Lbs

IMAG1165 IMAG1164

Stopping by the Leatherwood Hi-Lux booth was a great time as I met Corbett Leatherwood  and looked over some very nice proto type first focal plane optics that will be available soon. Just before leaving for Vegas I received my PentaLux 4-20×50 scope and since then have mounted it on a 22-284 Wildcat Mauser varmint rifle

IMAG1194_1

This is a view of the new proto type first focal plane Tac V scope

IMAG1158 IMAG1157

Another stop was at the Wolf ammo booth since this shoots so good in the Mosin Nagant I have and a  good source of ammo is always a wise investment wolf-ammo-catalog_600

20151130_142103_001 Looking down the business end of a Nagant that loves to digest wolf Ammo 20151130_141949 Another interesting stop was at the Bluegrass Gun Stocks table, this Nagant is resting in a Special Forces Tactical maple stock with a Rock Solid Industries scope mount and yes a Hi-Lux Uni-Dial 4-16×50 optic. Other exciting stops included the Weatherby 6.5×300 Magnum Accumark rifles and how about a 100 round dual drum magazine for your AR15 weatherby-revamps-mark-v IMAG1229 IMAG1227 IMAG1223_1

I sure enjoyed meeting so many people at the show and connecting with potential business deals. I hope to spend some time at the range testing the PentaLux optic and writing a first hand review.

 

 

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New rifle, New optics, New 06 load, New favorite

Another November deer hunting season is here with cold weather, no snow to start with and a new rifle along with  30.06 loads to test. I mounted a Leatherwood ART 2.5-10×44 scope to on a Remington model 783 chambered in the classic 30.06 round. Northern Michigan white tail deer are an exciting game animal to hunt and require time in the woods to pattern them. I took some photos of the trees we sit in showing the tight shooting opportunities for taking a Michigan white tail.

100_3257    This stand is for south west winds       100_3258

100_3266  This stand is for north east winds        100_3267

 

The Remington 783 is very light with a 24″ barrel and composit stock this rifle was accurate right out of the box, during range evaluation. I shot some 30.06 M1 Garand nation match 168 grain ammo and was suprised at how well it grouped. With some load work and a switch to IMR 4064 this Remington 783 came alive and started drilling rounds down range! Five shots in one ragged hole now thats better. I mounted a Leatherwood ART scope that will dial down to 2.5 power for these tight shots allowing a big field of view for locating game. One mention about the cross fire trigger on the 783 is that it feels very crisp, breaks like a glass rod and is adjustable down to 2.5LB of pull.

100_3260    100_3268

 

Before the season I worked up a load suggested by a forum member on http://www.longrangehunting.com.  I have never found a load to group so good in two different rifles ( one a Winchester mod. 70 and this Remington 783)

** THIS LOAD IS SAFE IN THIS RIFLE** REDUCE POWDER CHARGE BY 10% AND WORK UP SLOWLY OBSERVING PRESSURE SIGNS**

IMAG1024   This is a five shot group  at 100 yards with 150 grain sierra pro hunter bullet sitting on top of 51.2 grains of IMR 4064, ignited with CCI BR2 primers.

I have reviewed  the optics and rifle in past blogs so I wont rehash the topic, however this rifle is chambered in 30.06 and with an estimated 3000fps load this 150 grain pro hunter bullet should nail a Michigan white tail “DRT”    ( dead right there).

 

This doe was taken with the 783 on a cold morning and the recovered bullet shows excellent expansion dumping all the energy into the deer dropping it right in her tracks.

IMAG1067  IMAG1075 Two different photos showing bullet blow up IMAG1074

 

 

With cold weather and snow falling down during an early morning hunts the warm cottage and hot lunch was an inviting break. Thawing out the rifles and ourselves became a daily routine.

20151121_113305  Rifles hunted with were a 6.5 Grendle AR15 platform and the Remington 783 in 30.06 IMAG1070

 

If you are looking for a economical rifle that functions flawlessly along with an excellent trigger the Remington 783 is a great deal. Accuracy was sub MOA with both the .243 and 30.06 I tested, along with fantastic Leatherwood HI-Lux optics ( 4-16×50 uni-dial & 2.5-10×44 ART ). This hunting package is hard to beat and inviting since you don’t need to invest $900 to build it.

 

100_3262  IMAG1024  100_3265

 

 

I hope you filled your tags with venison this season and had a very Happy Thanksgiving sharing good times with friends and family.

 

Until next month get outdoors and burn some powder!

 

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Mosin Nagant and Long Sleeves

 

 

More years ago than I care to remember I had worked on a rifle for my Uncle Gale, he took me on my first Canada fishing trip then again my first Northern Quebec Caribou hunt those are great memories and awesome northern lights too.  The rifle  was a Mosin Nagant that was to be sportorized  Nagants are not the sleekest looking rifles I thought to myself back then along with the chambering in 7.62x54R which is not to popular. He mentioned that he wanted something unique, not something everyone has so I did the work he requested and delivered a sporter Nagant to him. Funny that ever since then I have kept an eye on those particular rifles watching prices go up and down along with surplus availability, I don’t know why it just seems recently I thought that it would be unique to build a Tactical Mosin Nagant (yes I said unique). I found a web site (www.socamo) was running a TV channel on ROKU TV (the mosin nagant channel)  I watched several shows and thought Wow these rifles are really accurate.

 

IMAG0909_zpsyqb0nxj6Russian Mosin Nagant 91/30 chambered in 7.62x54R

 

I found myself picking up a Century Arms International Russian 91/30 rebuild with a 28” barrel and a very nice looking bore! Most available 7.62x54R ammo will have bullets measuring .311” and this barrel slugged at .312” so reloads looked to be in order. Inspecting the rifle parts revealed components to be in excellent shape and I started removing the sights from the barrel. Rock Solid Industries (www.rocksolidind.com) and Blue Grass Gun Works (www.bg-gunstocks.com) have some very nice custom parts for building Tactical Nagants and after talking with them I ordered the needed items. A threaded Tactical handle along with a knurled bolt knob finished off the bolt body and the holes needed to be drilled and tapped on the receiver for the Weaver scope base (beefy 10-24 bolts are a nice touch). I polished and blued the receiver to a nice high gloss finish along with polishing up all related bolt components, this allows for a smooth working bolt.

 

100_3144 components of a build.

 

There are several little tricks to smoothing out a Mosin Nagant action and bolt for super smooth operation and bolt preparation is at the top of the list! Fit, polish, and lubrication along with slightly lightening the firing pin spring will reveal tremendous benefits with feel and function. With not removing the original barrel I chose not to do any bolt lug work as not wanting to alter headspace with the 7.62x54R round. The stock I ordered was a Special Force Tactical in Maple it’s loaded with nice features including swivel studs, aluminum pillars, and adjustable cheek piece all this along with a soft rubber recoil pad round out a super nice looking stock.

Once the stock arrived glass bedding was in order, I always add an extra recoil lug bedded into the stock just behind the front receiver lug recess. I think this added support helps keep the receiver from any rearward movement from recoil and along with pillars and full stock bedding things just don’t move! Timney supplied the trigger (www.timneytriggers.com) and is the only aftermarket adjustable trigger that has great reviews so yep I put one in. Adjusting down to 1.5 pounds of pull was easy and no slam fires happened during testing, adding an aluminum trigger shoe helps dress up the looks along with providing a wider pressure point for your finger tip.

With the receiver and bolt work done I focused my attention to the barrel, I didn’t like the small diameter and pencil looking barrel however I didn’t want to invest in a new barrel either. Looking back in my American Gunsmith Association publications I found an article by “Norman Johnson”  Barrel Sleeving A New Way, October, 2012 .   I like to experiment with different things when working with guns and the concept of sleeving a barrel to improve accuracy and dull vibration harmonics really interested me. I researched other theories on the barrel sleeves along with types of compounds to fill the void between the barrel and outer sleeve, nodes of vibration and barrel whip are all very interesting subjects. One interesting fact was the need to displace heat generated during firing the bullet thru the barrel along with the ability of the compound to withstand the shock of recoil. While digging thru data I found a company the does exactly what I was planning to do, The Straight Jacket is the name of the product and with the price being more than I wanted to expend I ordered up some material from a local supplier and headed out to the shop for some machining time. I have an old Atlas Laith that I use, no cnc programming no electric beds just good ole fashion 1930’s dials and pulleys. There’s something nostalgic about building parts off these old machines that I really enjoy.

 

100_3203 epoxy bedding.

100_3178 military barrel along with 1-1/4″ stainless sleeve.

 

The Mosin Nagant project really took a turn at this stage of the build, I had ordered a 1-1/4” stainless steel tube and cut it down to 28” long, that will cover the entire military barrel that now sports a newly cut 11 degree target crown I had just cut. Turning to a depth of 3” the inside diameter of the sleeve to .003” under the barrel outside breech measurement will provide a nice tight press fit. Along with the sleeve I made a muzzle cap to fit around the barrel muzzle and inside the sleeve to finish off the muzzle end. An important note here is metal coating to prevent corrosion from the heat displacing compound, the barrel must be properly coated to protect it from any form of weakening. After an epoxy coating process and mixing up a batch of special formulated adhesive the sleeve was pressed on, bore plugged and then filling of the empty cavity. Once cured the sleeve is solidly attached to the barrel and ready to assemble to a complete rifle. A finished Tactical Mosin Nagant wearing a blonde maple stock looked very nice with the 28” long stainless barrel, now to see if the labors will pay off at the range.

 

100_3181barrel filled with compound and muzzle cap installed, letting things cure.

 

Once out to the range with a newly built rifle and some factory ammo I am thinking if this rig will print 1” groups at 100 yards I’ll be fine with that. I can always load up some rounds to try and tighten up the groups, the sun was gleaming thru the leaves with temps in the upper 50’s a 25+ mph wind was blowing across the bench keeping things interesting.  A quick check at 50 yards easily zeroed the Leatherwood Uni-Dial 4-16×50 scope then out to 100 yards to set the initial zero, 148 grain bi-metal jacket Wolf “white box ammo” started the range day and 100 yard results had groups printing around 1-1/4”. Not to impressed with the accuracy would be an understatement although I did note that the barrel was not very hot after several rounds cooked thru the bore. Switching to the same type of ammo in Wolf’s “Black/Red” box really turned the day around! The first three rounds made a nice crescent ½” group, this is a freak thing I thought judging from previous rounds fired. Timing the shots again I touched off three more rounds and watched as they made one ragged hole at the bull’s eye, that’s more like it the blonde Russian Mosin Nagant started to really settle in and drive some impressive groups with Wolf ammo. Steel case, bi-metal jacket bullets and all at economical prices that shoot darn good. What’s not to like about that!   When someone mentions  what are you going to do with that old beat up gun, just smile and start putting on the Long Sleeves!

 

100_3209100_3220 wolf white box ammo.

 

100_3232100_3218 that’s more like it sub-moa @ 100 yards!

 

 

I have some really great news about the Remington 783 chambered in 30.06 along with the Leatherwood ART 2.5-10×44 scope I mounted on it. I’ll fill you in after deer camp. Until then get out there and enjoy the outdoors with your favorite rifle.

 

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October, coffee pumpkin pie and the smell of burnt powder.

October is here a cool breeze across your face, that crisp air allows the crack of a wildcat cartridge to  echo as you watch a super sonic bullet hit it’s mark with a rewarding whalip!   Once again fall has arrived and it’s time to check zero on the rifles you intend to heat up the barrels on. There is something  special about a cool fall day and the smell of burnt powder, I pulled an old favorite varmint rig out for a day of trigger therapy and reminiscing just how much I missed shooting the 6mm-284 Winchester. Looking thru my load data log book I found the ammo batch that closest suited the days temperature, with 66grain match hollow point bullets and a large dose of Reloader 17 powder I was all set for touching off the Jard 6 ounce trigger. It’s nice to know you can set quarter sized targets out at 100 yards to verify your zero when you trust the optics you use. A touch of the trigger sent the first round down the 12 twist bore at just under 4000 fps down range to hit a bit high of the X ring, this was true for the second and third rounds too and then my eagerness got the best of me and round four landed low and right opening the group to a big ol  5/8″. Many more rounds were sent down range that day and dime sized groups were ok  as I began to remember just how to coax the true potential out of the ol girl, a Mauser GEW 98 with a glass smooth bolt feel and a very heavy laminated  stock made for a pleasant time of burning powder. I took some pictures after cleaning the bore and wiping down the metal to ward off any possibility of rust from handling, I hope this taste of a cool fall day has you grabbing an old favorite and heating up the barrel remembering just how much fun these time pieces are. Now where is that slice of pumpkin pie to go with my coffee.

 

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With the Mauser 98 cleaned up I snapped some pictures of the ol girl.

 

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As the day wore on the groups got better. left to right 5 shots, 3 shots, 3 shots

 

 

Next month will put us in deer season so stay tuned.

 

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Feed your Mauser a Swift diet

This month I am writing about a tech topic relating to custom work when a specific cartridge is used. This project is within the ability of anyone with access to minimal tools and a welder.

 

Feed your Mauser a Swift diet

Mauser rifles have a certain attraction to be built into various chambering’s you can find them most anywhere learking around gun shops hiding at gun shows and even forgotten in a gun safe. Some feed without issue while others drive the owner’s nuts with shorter/smaller diameter cartridges. This article will cover just such an issue, I was working on a M98 Mauser chambered in the iconic 220 Swift.

You may wonder why someone would re-barrel a M98 Mauser action to a shorter, smaller diameter cartridge and have feeding and chamber jam issues while striping a fresh round from the magazine. This rifle in particular was a Large Ring M98 Mauser military action with a fresh 220 Swift barrel, when the magazine was loaded with rounds the bolt would push the rounds back and forth while manipulating the bolt. An overly large magazine space for the smaller 220 Swift cartridge would cause the cartridges to become jammed in the magazine as some cartridges would be pushed extreme forward while others would be pulled reward with the top cartridge occasionally popping up out of the feed rails. This is a common issue when the magazine is sized for a 30.06 sized cartridge, some of you may be thinking why not buy a short cartridge follower conversion kit? Yes that would be an option however I wanted this rifle to feed and chamber a 220 Swift round smoothly every time. With various countries manufacturing Mauser actions and with minor fluctuation in tolerances there would be no way to be certain a conversion kit would be a drop in fix.
On the bench I would load a dummy cartridge in the magazine and observe how it feed as it was stripped from the follower. As the cartridge was pushed forward there was not enough upward angle to position it for a smooth entry into the chamber, what I needed to do was angle the follower to help point the cartridge into the chamber. With the follower removed I filed a tapper angle to the left side top rail of the follower top that contacts the receiver left feed rail. The follower measured .368” on the back edge and .300” on the front edge, I removed .168” of metal from the front edge while tapering an edge to the rear of the follower. This was enough to start the cartridge in a good angle for chambering while pushing the bolt forward. This worked good for single round feeding however I wanted to fill the magazine and continue to strip and feed rounds smoothly. I needed to determine what length to cut the follower to, this 220 Swift barrel had a 1-12 twist and 55 grain bullets would be the heaviest loads used. I measured factory cartridges with 50 & 55 grain bullets loaded in them and settled on an average cartridge overall length of 2.600” allowing some extra space to prevent jammed cartridges in the magazine. This measurement would determine that I needed to cut 10mm off the follower to make a full length cartridge bed for the modified follower.
The cut was made slightly ahead of the back edge of the follower as I would weld the back piece back on, once welded back together then with some filing, shaping and polishing the now shortened follower fit the desired cartridge length perect.

The magazine well will need a block to fill the gap created by modifying the “shortened follower”. I used a piece of black nylon with rough measurements of 45mm x 17mm x21mm, since all Mauser’s have slight differences in trigger bottom metal you will need to hand fit the block to the individual metal. With a belt sander small amounts of material can be taken off while test fitting the block, it’s ok to make the block fit the sides of the magazine snug however the block should allow the follower to move freely through full travel without any binding. A final smooth polish to the follower cartridge face side of the block will ensure cartridges slide freely against it.
The block will need to be cut to correct length to allow a snug fit from the receiver inner feed rail stop to the removable bottom metal, work slow and test fit often for a perfect fit. Next up on the block fitting will be opening up space for the bolt to pass over it while still keeping the cartridge held forward while lying in the follower. A dermal tool with a drum sander will make quick work of this task, again trial fit and remove small amounts of material at a time. Once fit the bolt should not bind anywhere as it passes over the magazine block while also having the cartridge head stop against it. With the block and follower made a correct size magazine spring will need to be selected, I have quite a pile of left over magazine springs to dig thru hoping to find a favorable donor (another reason to keep old gun parts). A magazine spring is selected by measuring the space from the front side of the new block to the front inner side of the magazine well. With the spring compressed the center leaf length needs to fit in the magazine space with plenty of free movement. The leaf that fits into the follower spring clip will need to be shortened and have the narrow side section filed back to allow full engagement into the follower groove while allowing the rear portion to be held against the follower stop.
Test fit the spring by pushing the assembled spring and follower down into the magazine. When binding is noticed the cure is to shorten the leaf spring that fits into the floorplate. When this spring section is shortened it allows the magazine spring to pivot the follower forward allowing free travel thru the magazine. Now you should have smooth feeding cartridges when fully loaded into the magazine along with a good feeling push feed when stripping a fresh round.

Modifying the follower and associated parts to accommodate a smaller cartridge will improve the overall function to strip and feed rounds smoothly. Attention to small details like this will make customers return for other work and the complements spread by word of mouth are the best P.R. you will ever receive!

 

 

IMAG0932   sectioned follower with cuts made

 

IMAG0934  bottom view of follower

 

IMAG0938  after welding first pass

 

IMAG0937  cartridge comparison

 

IMAG0941 spring fitting

 

IMAG0942

 

IMAG0944

 

IMAG0945

 

IMAG0939 final components needed for conversion

 

IMAG0952 finished with cartridge clipped in action

 

IMAG0954

 

Next month I should have received the Leatherwood Penta Lux 4-20X50 scope and will run it on my 22-284 for some fun range work.  The weathers cool and crisp so get to the woods or range and enjoy some time with your favorite  firearm.

 

 

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