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The "Ranging Shot" Is A Regular Column In The IHMSA News
Published in The IHMSA News, the Official Publication of The International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association
Published monthly except November/December - January/February
IHMSA on the web at
Volume 15, Issue 10 Nov/Dec
  The Ranging Shot Email Todd:
  With ( Comments or questions? )
Todd Spotti

     I just noticed a stolen guns report on the Los Angeles Silhouette Club web site ( Most of the dozen or so firearms that were taken from a shooter in Tennessee were silhouette guns. To have your home violated and your property taken is a real tragedy of course, and as silhouette shooters we should do our best to help the individual recover that which was taken. Please go to the LASC site ( for the details and keep a look out for those guns. These days thereís no telling where they might turn up. Thereís also a phone number for the detective who is investigating the crime.

     Also at the LASC site is what I consider to be one my better articles from a couple of years ago. It just happens to deal with the subject of how to choose a gun safe (Gun Safes 13-3). A good quality gun safe coupled with an home alarm system can provide a significant degree of protection, and likely save you the considerable turmoil the unfortunate victim and his family has gone through.

Meade Corp

     As you known from my scribbling in this pages, Meade Corp. which is a major manufacturer of astronomical telescopes, bought Simmons, Weaver, and Redfield last year. Well last July I and about six other writers had a chance to tour the Meade factory and to interview Meadeís corporate management. The overall message was clear. They are putting a lot of technology and cold, hard cash into their new acquisitions. The result of their efforts will be on the dealer shelves this next year and I guarantee you that itís going to be very exciting. Watch for my 2005 Shot Show story. Youíre going to like whatís happening.

100 Yard Scoremax

     As you might remember, some months ago I did an evaluation of Lapuaís Scoremax ammunition. Scoremax uses a 48 grain bullet as opposed to the standard 22 Long Rifleís 42 grain bullet. The advantage of the longer, heavier bullet is that itís ballistic coefficient is higher. With a higher BC, Scoremax loses less velocity over distance and hits the 100 meter rams faster and with more weight. The end result is enhanced knockdown.

     I also found that Scoremax was very accurate. Depending on the conditions, quarter inch groups at 50 yards was very doable. Shortly after the article was published, I received some comments expressing doubt about Scoremaxís potential accuracy at 100 yards. A person stated flat out that Scoremax absolutely could not be accurate at 100 yards and cited a theoretical reason for the opinion. Well I was in a pickle since I didnít have any data to discuss the 100 yard issue one way or another.

     As Iíve stated in past columns, I rarely will evaluate 22 ammo accuracy at 100 yards basically because the winds at my range are always present and commonly will blow in several different directions at the same time. The further out you go, the more complex the conditions become. In fact yesterday I observed a benchresterís wind flag actually turning a full 360 degrees a couple of times. How do you cope with something like that? If thereís one thing Iíve learned about shooting 22ís, itís that the slightest puff of wind can easily spoil a group.

     Additionally, because my range is basically in a desert environment, summer time mirage is a significant problem as well - especially at 100 yards. Trying to shoot groups when the image in your scope is boiling and sliding all over the place is just impossible (for me anyway). On the other hand, a question had been laid down about Scoremaxís long range accuracy and I decided to examine the issue further.

"These 100 yards groups illustrate that Lapua Scoremax is a very capable long range performer."

     So it was back to the range with a box of Scoremax and my Bullberry TC which was topped with Burrisís preeminently capable 8 X 32 airgun scope. I decided to go as early in the morning as possible, hopefully to avoid the worst of the gusty winds as well as to shortcut the inevitable heat build up which produces mirage. Shooting was done off of my Uncle Budís Bulls bag which is filled with a combination of sand on the top (for firm holding power) and walnut tumbling media (to reduce weight) on the bottom. My 100 yard target was a heavy crosshair inked on the back of a regular pistol bull target with a magic marker pen. Iíve found that laying the scopeís crosshair on top of a target crosshair is the most accurate way to shoot precise groups when evaluating ammunition.

     I found that if I took my time and waited (and waited and etc.) until there was a pause in the wind I could get good results. It also helped that an adjacent benchrest shooter had his wind flags out. They were definitely a big help in judging conditions.

     As you can see from the photo, Scoremax was definitely capable of producing very good groups at 100 yards. In fact these groups would be very acceptable at 50 yards. So Iíll stick with my original conclusion about Scoremax - that it has first class accuracy and superior down range performance.

Brownells "Edís Red"

     Ed, in this case, is C.E. (Ed) Harris the well known gun writer. Edís Red refers to Edís updated formula for "Frankford Arsenal Bore Cleaner No. 18".

"This bore cleaner does a 1st class job on hard
 carbon build up and black gummy soot."

     The original Frankford formula has been around since at least 1920, and is very similar to the standard bore cleaner that had been used by our military services for decades. In spite of the fact that this cleaning material has been around for at least 84 years, it has a fairly large underground following that swear by it. If you donít believe me just go to any of several shooting related chat rooms and type in "Frankford Arsenal Bore Cleaner" and stand back. The response will be vigorous to say the least.

     The formula for the Frankford cleaner was first published by Major General Julian Hatcher in his classic book "Hatcherís Notebook" in 1947. General Hatcher ran the Frankford Arsenal for many years and was considered to be perhaps the top U.S. small arms expert of his time. The original formula contained interesting ingredients such as sperm whale oil and something called Prattís Astral Oil. Obviously, trying to exactly replicate this formula is impossible these days and thatís where Ed Harris enters the picture.

     Ed writes that he is a very active high power shooter who uses lots and lots of bore cleaner and that he just wasnít happy with either the results he was getting from the usual commercial cleaning products on the market, or the fact that they cost and arm and a leg. (I can certainly relate to the cost part.) Consequently, some where around 1991 he became convinced that the original Frankford formula could be inexpensively reproduced using modern materials. By doing a lot of research and enlisting the help of an organic chemist he did exactly that.

     Youíre probably wondering about the sperm whale oil part. It turns out that sperm whale oil is a great lubricant and was once commonly used in automobile automatic transmissions. In fact, I can remember that as late as the 1970ís, you could still buy a little bottle of sperm whale oil as a transmission additive at your local automobile dealerís parts department. Well today, it turns out that Dexron automatic transmission fluid (which was developed when sperm whale oil pretty much disappeared off the market) is a perfect substitute. Seems itís full of organometallic antioxidants and surfactants. (Just try saying that three times real fast.) As most of you know, Dexron is red in color and so thatís what gives "Edís Red" itís signature hue.

     As to Prattís Astral oil. Harris says itís just acid free, deodorized kerosene. Substituting "K1" kerosene which is used in things like outdoor tiki torches, indoor space heaters, kerosene lamps, etc. will work just as well.

     So whatís Edís formula? Just equal parts of Dexron, K1 kerosene, mineral spirits, and acetone. Ed also lists up to one pound of lanolin as an optional ingredient.

     The fact that lanolin is listed as an optional item in Edís formula is a significant departure from the original Frankford mixture. The reason I say this is because General Hatcher in his book makes a big issue of the value of lanolin, and says specifically that lanolin is supposed to be part of the mix. He goes on to say that our soldiers in the Pacific during W.W.II often preferred to use captured Japanese bore cleaner because it apparently contained lanolin. I guess our guys felt it did a better job of protecting their M1ís in that hot, wet, tropical environment. Interesting, Ed in his writings agrees and also states that with lanolin in his formula, itíll protect metal for up to two years. Anyway, lanolin is available at your local drug store, so feel free to throw some in the bucket with all of the other stuff.

     The C.E. Harris formula is available at ( as well as Harrisís instructions on how to safely mix it up. Ed says it is especially effective in cleaning out built up carbon and primer residue and that copper fouling is greatly reduced when the mix is used on a regular basis.

     Well, there are two kinds of people when it comes to stuff like this. Those who like to do it themselves and those who like to have someone else do it for them. I admit Iím one of the later group. Getting all this stuff together, stirring it all up, and bottling it is a major hassle as far as Iím concerned. So when I saw that Brownells is now offering Edís formula conveniently mixed up and ready to go, it looked like the perfect chance to try it out without the work.

     One point however, I found that the Brownells mix faithfully follows Edís original recipe and so does not contain lanolin. Harris says his basic mix "gives adequate corrosion protection and lubrication for most users without it." However, he also says that if you intend to store a gun for over a year, youíll probably want the lanolin enhanced version of his mix. In my case, my guns are used on a regular basis, so not having lanolin in the mix was not an issue for me.

     I tried Edís Red on a variety of guns which included a couple of 22 rimfires, my Freedom Arms 357 revolver after using heavy cast bullet loads, and my MOA 7 BR. I found that if there was one area where Edís Red really shined, it was in removing black gunky stuff - especially on the revolver. That ability also lent itself to doing a first class job with the 22 barrels. A couple of wet patches had my Anschutz bore shining like new. However, I found it to be less effective in removing lead and copper residue.

     For me, I plan to use the red stuff on my guns as an auxiliary cleaner to first get all the black soot off and then follow up with a traditional bore cleaner to get rid of any metal residue down the barrel. Edís Red is a fun product with an interesting history that has a definite niche on everyoneís reloading bench. By the way, Ed is donating his royalty fee on every sale of his bore cleaner from Brownells to a shooting organization. Now thatís what I call a first class guy.

Sale of Accurate Powders

     In the last issue I reported that after several months of negotiations, the sale of the Accurate Powder Company to Western Powder was imminent. The sale was finally completed on September third. All operations have ceased at the Tennessee facilities and have been transferred to Western Powders. Consequently, anyone needing load info for Accurateís products or other technical support will have to have to contact Western at 406-232-0422. Western continues to emphasize that it has no intention of making any changes to the Accurate line of products. Weíll see.

Dystonia Correction

     In last monthís column I stated that the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation spent 87 cents out of every dollar on research. The Foundation has informed me that this is incorrect. While it is true that only 13 cents of every dollar is spent on administration, 37 cents is spent on things like education and public awareness efforts. The remaining 50 cents is spent on research.

Good luck and good shooting, Todd

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Warning: All technical data mentioned, especially handloading and bullet casting, reflect the limited experience of individuals using specific tools, products, equipment and components under specific conditions and circumstances not necessarily reported in the article or on this web site and over which IHMSA, The Los Angeles Silhouette Club (LASC), this web site or the author has no control. The above has no control over the condition of your firearms or your methods, components, tools, techniques or circumstances and disclaims all and any responsibility for any person using any data mentioned. Always consult recognized reloading manuals.