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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
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Volume 16, Issue 8 September

  The Ranging Shot Email Todd:
  With ( Comments or questions? )
Todd Spotti
     Several months ago, I did a review of Brownells Ed’s Red bore cleaner and I found that when it came to heavy carbon build up such as found on cast bullet revolvers and in 22 rimfires, it really did an excellent job. I also liked it because it didn’t contain any ammonia, so the smell was fairly benign and it didn’t eat up my bronze bore brushes.

"In a six month test, Brownells Ed's Red proved to be a very effective rimfire bore cleaner"

     Well I decided to do a extended evaluation of Ed’s Red, and would use it exclusively on my rimfire guns over a six month period. As you know, greasy carbon and soot can build up pretty rapidly in our 22’s. And, if you’ve read very many of these columns, you also know that I’m a clean freak when it comes to my guns because I’m a strong believer that “A clean gun is a more accurate gun.” I also believe that axiom especially applies to rimfire guns since a 22 rimfire bullet is small, and because it’s made from fairly soft lead, it’s relatively fragile as well. Subsequently, it doesn’t take a lot of grit in the bore to damage or distort it. Obviously, a damaged or distorted bullet isn’t going to be as accurate as one that isn’t.  
     While we’re on the subject of rimfire accuracy, let me divert slightly to a myth concerning using a bore brush to clean rimfire guns. I have a couple of good friends who are really into highly customized Ruger 10-22’s. These are very pricey guns, and these guys are fanatical about taking care of them. One day they saw me cleaning a bolt action rimfire rifle with a bronze brush. This gun has a beautiful land lapped Lilja barrel with a bore that is as smooth as a baby’s bottom. “Stop! Stop!” they said. “You’re ruining your barrel!” “How’s that I asked?” Well someone in a chat room on the internet had told these guys that running a brush through would put thousands of tiny scratches in the bore and ruin its accuracy. I doubted this assertion very strongly since barrel steel is much, much harder than the softer bronze bristles. Besides, despite many, many cleanings with a brush, the gun continued to shoot very well. However, I had no real proof about the matter one way or another. Solution? Borrow a bore scope from good friend Dr. Jim Williams. Result? The bore after many, many cleanings with a bronze brush was still as smooth as that proverbial baby’s bottom. Myth busted.
     However, I recently read an article by Harry Deneen, the king of rimfire benchrest shooting, in which he stated that when he ran a bronze brush through his barrel, he removed it before he drew the rod back through the barrel - the idea being to avoid any possible damage to the barrel’s crown. I have to admit that Harry’s statement made me stop and think a moment. It’s true that the least little bit of damage to a crown can quickly turn a good shooting gun into a real mongrel. Let me give you an example. My friend Stan Gin who shoots at the LA Silhouette Club asked me what loads I could recommend for his Freedom Arms 357. I suggested a few things and then asked why he was looking for new loads. Well the gun just wasn’t shooting no matter what he tried. To make a long story short, Stan loaned me his gun and I tried a variety of my favorite loads. None worked. I was flabbergasted I never had run across a FA that wouldn’t shoot those loads accurately. Well Stan ended up sending the gun back to Freedom Arms where after test firing, they discovered a tiny bit of damage on the barrel’s crown. The barrel was subsequently re-crowned and now the gun shoots great.
     A couple of points here - if a gun stops shooting suddenly, get a magnifying glass and check that crown. Lastly, Harry’s practice of unscrewing the brush off his cleaning rod before drawing the cleaning rod back through the bore just might be the right thing to do in order to avoid putting a nick or some other kind of damage on the crown, not from the bristles but possibly from the part that screws on to the rod. Personally I plan to start following Harry’s advice on this matter. Can’t hurt.
     OK, back to Brownells Ed’s Red  My six month evaluation is finished and I can confidently report that if you want to remove 100% of the black, sooty gunk in your rimfire barrels, this is the stuff you want to use. I found other bore cleaners would get out most of it, but bore scope examinations would show that residue would still be present down in the corners of the lands and grooves. On the other hand, Ed’s Red would remove it all. Here’s my cleaning procedure.
  • -  two wet patches
  • -  a wet brushing (5 strokes forward and back)
  • -  one wet patch
  • -  four dry patches
   If the gun is not going to be used for a month or more, I’ll follow up with a patch containing either TM or Iosso gun oil and then two dry patches.
     Remember, if you’re the type that doesn’t mind mixing your own, Ed’s Red is a simple blending of equal parts of mineral spirits, acetone, and Dextron transmission fluid. Me? I’d rather let Brownells do the work. <Mix your own? Here's the recipe: Ed's Red>
Sneak Preview
     A serious outdoors kind of person always will own some basic pieces of gear that will form the foundation of their interaction with good old mother nature. Among those pieces of equipment is a good rifle, a good pistol, a good knife, a good jacket, a good pair of boots, a good flashlight, a good back pack, and a good pair of general purpose binoculars. There are lots other things of course, like all our silhouette gear, but as I said we’re talking the bare basics here.
     All of these outdoor tools will share some common characteristics. First of all, the quality of their materials and components will be first rate. The design will also be extremely practical, and because of this, they’ll work every time we call upon them to do their thing. Not just work “kind of ok”, but work exceptionally well. They’ll also work all the time. In other words, they can be relied on to function through adverse circumstances, through abuse, and even, most seriously of all, through neglect. Their reliability under extreme conditions will always be exceptional. To qualify as one of these extraordinary products, it also has to be backed by a manufacturer that will stand behind the product 200% no questions asked. Lastly, it should be understood that sometimes these tools may be expensive to buy but also, sometimes they can be very reasonable in price. Let’s talk about a piece of equipment that falls into this second category.

Leupold Wind River 10X42. Very nicely ergonomically designed armor coated binoculars by Leupold.

     I recently lucked into a chance to evaluate a prototype of a new Leupold Wind River 10X42 set of binoculars which is going to be introduced into the market in 2006 - the Cascades. The opportunity literally came out of the blue. One morning, I got an e-mail asking if I’d like a chance to check out a new product. Well, how’s anyone going to say no to Leupold on a deal like that? Anyway, these things are so new, that when the binocs showed up a couple of days later, I found that after opening the shipping box, they were wrapped up in just plain, brown paper. The fancy outside packaging, fitted foam packing, literature, etc. hasn’t even been developed yet. Even the neck strap was missing. No matter, because what I found was a set of very nicely ergonomically designed armor coated binoculars.

     Let’s talk about the exterior first. As mentioned, these are armor coated. One thing that I really liked, was the fact that the black rubber coating around the rear of the binocs, the part where you put your hands, has a nubby texture for an especially good grip. Folks living in hot humid areas like the South East and Midwest where hands can get coated with sweat will certainly appreciate that. Someone at Leupold was using their head when they decided to do that. The rubber coating out on the barrels, the non-gripping part, is smooth and provides a nice subtle contrast.

     Each of the eyepieces has a rubber coated collar around them, which, when twisted to the left, elevates the collar up and out around a half inch to provide sun shielding. Eyeglass wearers will probably want to keep the shields in the down position in order to get their eyes as close to the lens in order to get the best field of view that the binocs are capable of delivering.
     I also found the binocs to be very comfortable to hold. It seemed that I could hold them steady for a longer time than most other binoculars. I believe my ability to do so probably comes from the design and the weight (about 25 ounces) - neither too heavy or too light. In other words, just right for the size (5” high X 7” wide). In other words, design, weight, and size/balance came together in a nice, easy to hold package.
     Focusing was especially easy and is accomplished by turning a large, one inch diameter, ribbed, rubber coated knob located between the two barrels. When I held the binocs to my eyes, the index fingers of each hand naturally fell into place on both sides of the knob. I found that I could easily push with one finger and pull with the other to focus things with perfect precision. The fact that the focusing mechanism was silky smooth with absolutely no stiffness or binding was a major advantage.
     As all experienced binocular users know, in order to get a good image, one of the barrels (usually the left) needs to be manually adjusted to your eye. To do so with the Windriver’s, you’ll find that there’s a cap on the end of the center focusing knob. Just lift the cap (it comes up with a snap), and turn right or left to adjust the left barrel focus. When everything is correct, just push the cap back down. There’s an index mark to help you find the right spot for you.
     I also found that these binoculars were tripod adaptable. You’ll find a plastic cap with a slot for a coin on the front of the center spindle. Just screw off and you’ll see a brass threaded receptacle that will accept any standard tripod adapter. Cool. Tripod adaptability is one of the “must haves” for my binocs when I want to do serious long term viewing of any area.
     As you probably know, almost all standard binoculars are 7X35’s - meaning that they’re seven power and have 35mm objective lenses. The new binocs will be offered in both 8X and 10X so if you want a slightly wider field of view, go for the 8X model. However, I found that my 10X version had a nice wide image measuring 27 feet across at 100 yards. This is no doubt due to the extra large 42mm objective lenses. 
     I took the Leopold's to my public range last weekend and passed them around to several of my fellow “range rats” and asked them to give me their opinion of the image produced. The opinions ran from “Boy, these are really nice” to “These are sure bright”. Those comments pretty well sum it up. The image is particularly bright and clean, and the resolution is very crisp. Indeed, the first time I looked through these binocs I thought to myself “If Leupold’s Wind River stuff is this good, their Gold Ring products must be spectacular!” As you know, I’ve never reviewed any Leupold binoculars in these pages before, and so I was very surprised by the very high quality of this more moderately priced product.
     I then trained the Leopold's on one of my favorite targets which is a line of wood power poles 500 yards down range. At the top of each pole is a ceramic insulator and I could easily see that each insulator had five ribs. This is really excellent performance. I also noticed that color fidelity was perfect. Neither was there any fringing or distortion. Nor was there any color tinting. The image was just as nice and pure as could be, with just a touch of exaggerated stereo that you get with almost all binoculars.
     As an added bonus, the binocs are also 100% waterproof. If a manufacturer tells me a product is waterproof, you know what I’m going to do. So out came the yellow plastic bucket and in they went for a full hour. No problem.
     So what can you do with these binoculars. Almost anything you want. They’re a natural for any hunt. Just want to observe the local wildlife? They’re a perfect choice. I live fairly close to a National Forest and there are plenty of interesting critters like coyote or raccoon passing by in the arroyo behind my house. When sitting on my patio slurping my coffee in the morning, it’s also fun to glass a wheeling red tailed hawk hunting for breakfast or the occasional golden eagle. Like to shoot airgun silhouette? These are perfect for that discipline. Using an 80mm 60X spotting scope is radical overkill for that application, but these 10Xer’s with a stereo image is perfect for spotting the tiny targets. They focus all the way down to about 11 feet with crystal clarity so there’s no problem seeing the tiny chicken targets.
     The bottom line here is that these binoculars are very well built product and that produce an exceptional image. Prices for the Wind River Cascades aren't available yet but I’m sure they won’t break the bank.  Definitely put them on your 2006 watch list.
Bushnell Buys Michaels of Oregon
     I’d been hearing little rumors of Bushnell and Michaels talking merger but to be honest, I didn’t think much of them as the two companies are totally different creatures. Bushnell has a very formal corporate culture, and of course has a huge sports optics presence, and Michaels is more of a conglomeration of many relatively small mom and pop type shooting accessory businesses like Hoppes, Stoney Point, etc. that Michaels has bought out and mushed together under their banner. I really didn’t see a good fit either in company cultures, or in business models. Well lo and behold, Steve Ware shoots me an announcement that the buy is a done deal. Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather.
     Anyway, we’ll have to wait to see how this pans out. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that this move is just a step in an effort to pump up Bushnell’s earnings numbers so that the investment firm that owns Bushnell will be able to sell the combined entity at a tidy profit a year or two down the road. It’ll be interesting to watch.
Senate Passes Legislation Against Junk Lawsuits
     If you haven't heard, on July 29th, the Senate passed legislation blocking lawsuits that attempted to hold gun manufacturers liable for any criminal use of their products. As you know, this was a thinly disguised attempt to put gun manufacturers out of business. No matter that thousands of American workers would be thrown out of their jobs. The bill was overwhelmingly passed 56 to 31. A similar bill banning these lawsuits is in the House of Representatives and is expected to easily pass. President Bush has indicated he will definitely sign the legislation.
     Actually both bills had strong support from the general business community who feared that if gun manufacturers were held liable for the criminal use of their products, suits against manufacturers of automobiles, kitchen knives, baseball bats, etc. would be right around the corner. Glad to see that Congress occasionally uses common sense.
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.