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Published in The IHMSA News, the Official Publication of The International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association
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Volume 19, Issue 3 - April
  The Ranging Shot Email Todd:
  With ( Comments or questions? )
Todd Spotti
     Just got back from the SHOT Show in Sin City. Iím fortunate in that Los Vegas is only an easy three and a half hour drive from my home. However, the combination of having the Shot Show, a camera convention, and a gazillion other people all in town for Super Bowl weekend made me feel like a salmon swimming upstream during spawning season most of the time that I was there. Never the less, it was really nice to see old friends again and forge new relationships.
     Iím told that there were lots of IHMSA people at the Show and so Iím sure theyíre going to be writing about the many new things, that from their perspective, impressed them as well. I also wonít go into a lot of detail about the things covered here as Iíve made arrangements to review a number of these new products, and so youíll be seeing more about them in the future. I should also say that what Iíve listed here is in no way supposed to be a comprehensive list of everything that would be of interest to our readers. That would be just plain impossible as the Show is just too big, the time too short to cover it all, and the IHMSA NEWS would have to be two hundred pages long. Anyway, hereís some of the stuff that I thought might appeal to your fancy.
     Sierra - Any competition shooter who isnít using Sierraís ballistics software is missing an important tool in their reloading bag of tricks. The new 2008 Infinity V6 software is fully compatible with Windows Vista. An improved atmospheric model has also been added to improve the estimates of the effect of shooting at different altitudes. Information is also presented in a more user friendly format as well, especially for those calculations for shooting up or down hill. Re-barreling your gun and wondering about what twist rate will work best with your load? No problem. Lots of good stuff here. You need this software.

"This small inexpensive scale is perfect for reloading at the range or anywhere else."

     MTM - every silhouette shooter owns at least 3-4 MTM ammo boxes, and for good reason. Theyíre strong, reliable, convenient, and they never wear out. This year, MTM has leaped into electronics in a small way. Theyíre coming out with a mini electronic scale that will sell for only $29.99. This thing is as cute as a lady bug and would be perfect for taking to the range for developing loads on the spot or weighing rimfire ammo. Theyíve also got a new plastic range box with lots of compartments and trays where you can carry all your cleaning stuff, ammo, etc. and even has a couple of padded mounting forks to mount your gun on while cleaning.


     Leupold - In a surprise move, Leupold is getting into high quality flashlights for the outdoors. However, this light is a lot different than any other on the market in that itís modular. What I mean by that is that it comes in three parts. Thereís a number of different reflector heads, bodies, and rear switches which are bought separately and which can be configured together to build exactly the kind of light that you need. A great concept.
     Theyíve also come out with an interesting new line of binoculars - the green ring Mojave. The thing that makes them different is that theyíre an open frame design. It kind of reminds me of two rungs on a ladder with the open space between the rungs. The rungs in this case, are the lens tubes which are connected at the top and bottom by frame members. The advantage is that the binoculars are very light weight for their size and come in at only 23 ounces. They have a lot of very nice features and yet the price is very reasonable.

"Alpen Outdoors challenges Kowa with its new Reinier 80mm."

     Alpen Outdoors - Thereís a new high quality 80mm spotting scope that promises to compare with the likes of Kowa. Itís a new addition to Alpenís top of the line Rainier series. Alpen already makes a very good, very reasonably priced 80mm spotter, but the new scope uses top class lens materials, polishing techniques, and super quality coatings to substantially boost performance. The price should also be better than other comparable products.
     Alpen is also coming out with a 2X pistol scope - their first. Haven't seen it yet but it should be good for 22 Unlimited Any Sight competition.
     Hornady - Theyíve got a new cartridge that may be of interest to silhouette shooters. Itís called the 6.5 Creedmoor and is a medium pressure type that was developed for long range rifle competition. Itís somewhat smaller than a 260 and uses a 30 degree shoulder. One of the biggest advantages of the new cartridge over somewhat similar wildcats is the fact that Hornady will be offering factory cases. So no case forming, trimming, etc. will be necessary. The new cartridge was used throughout the 2007 long range rifle competition season to thoroughly check it out and weíre told that the accuracy, especially with the 120 grain bullet, was fantastic. Should work just fine in an XP although it might be a bit of a boomer. No guts, no glory.
     For those who ever thought of shooting Field Pistol with 22 Mag ammo, Hornady has upgraded theirs with a very high quality 30 grain V-Max bullet. Accuracy is said to be much improved over standard ammo.
     Freedom Arms - is looking very seriously at the new .327 mag as a possible chambering in their guns. Theyíre actively engaged in talks with various companies in that regard. It should be a natural for Field Pistol.

Reloading accidents can be avoided by using instructional videos like the new RCBS

     ATK - It seems like in addition to Alliant Powders, they own about half of the industryís accessory name brands. As a result there are always lots of new things. For new reloaders, RCBS has a new 45 minute instructional DVD. A lot of shooters learn to reload from a buddy but the problem there is that the buddy could be teaching bad habits. Something like this DVD could have prevented the gun blowup that I discussed last month and so is worth the money.
     Weaver mounting systems has some new tactical scope rings which would look great on any silhouette gun. They use a huge strap over each ring to secure the scope. The top of the straps are cut to give the appearance that there are three straps over each ring. Totally defeats any amount of recoil and looks very cool besides. Weaver also now has windage adjustable 22 rings. This is what you need when you run out of windage adjustment on your scope.
     ATK also has a very nice ďGorillaĒ shooting bag/rest thatís great for checking loads off the bench. It consists of four horizontal cloth tubes linked 2x2 which are filled to make them rigid. When a gunís barrel is placed between the tubes, they will actually clamp onto the barrel making your hold on the target exceptionally steady.
     Iosso - Dick Iosso makes some really unique and effective gun cleaning products including their bore cleaning paste (favored by benchresters and others super serious about accuracy) and an excellent brass case cleaning solution. This year they have a new spray on case sizing lube that cleans dirty cases as well. Got sooty cases? Clean them when you size them with this stuff. Nontoxic and biodegradable besides. Iosso also makes the toughest plastic bore cleaning brushes that you can buy.
     Weaver Scopes - not a lot going on with the Meade Corpís brands this year. However they have upgraded their already excellent ďAccuTrackĒ elevation and windage system by adding another spring into the design making it even more positive. Redfield is developing a series of new products; however they wonít be ready until 2009. Was told that they really will be something especially nice.
     Bushnell - has brought out an interesting looking 60 and 80mm spotter using a folded optical path design very similar to Leupoldís 60mm spotter in appearance. These ďExcursionĒ spotting scopes distinguish themselves by utilizing ED glass, which is the very best there is. With ED glass, color fidelity and practical resolution is as good as the optical design will allow. The trouble with most 80mm and up scopes is that theyíre huge, heavy, bulky things. By folding the optical path, scope length can be cut almost in half. Thus you get the same focal length in a much more compact package. The Excursions only come with straight through eyepieces however.
     SKB - A couple of years ago I wrote about SKB rifle cases and the fact that they were almost impervious to airline abuse. Well this year theyíve got a new Roto Mil Spec design that is totally proofed against the airlineís damaging your stuff and theyíre backing up their claim with $1500 in content coverage. The case is super heavy duty, watertight, dust proof, hermetically sealed, and has an air pressure release valve. It also now comes in black, olive drab, and desert tan. Itís the ultimate case to carry all your silhouette guns together in one package in perfect safety.

This new Lapua rimfire ammo is supposed to be the best on the planet

     Lapua - is going for Eleyís throat with its competition rimfire X-ACT ammo. Theyíre using all new machinery, materials, production techniques, etc. to produce this stuff. Itís supposed to beat the pants off everything thatís out there. However I was warned by the Lapua rep that the price was going to be high, very high.
     Lapua Midas will also be upgraded using some of the X-ACT technology and will be called Midas Plus. Lapua Master will be discontinued and be replaced by Center X, which also will use some of the X-ACT production techniques. If  you want to avoid the big jump in 2008 Lapua prices, Charlie Scott, a large Lapua dealer told me at the Show he still has a supply of the 2007 ammo on hand and will continue to sell it at the old prices. Call him at 913-649-7658 or e-mail at before itís all gone.
     Eley - Theyíre changing their packaging to eliminate the little removable tray inside the box. (Yawn) Orange labeled ďClubĒ ammo will be replaced by ďTeamĒ in a light blue labeled box. Donít know if this is just cosmetic or something more. There is some Eley Club ammo floating around with the flat nosed EPS bullet which is usually found in their more expensive stuff. There will be two more shipments of Club EPS and then thatís it.
     Burris - I have a couple of center-fire guns that I switch scopes on fairly regularly and so use quick release rings when I can. Iíve got a couple of rimfire guns for which I wish I could do the same. Burris has answered my prayers and is making just such a ring. Neat!
     Redding - Not a lot going on here either. However, they do have a new instructional DVD on advanced reloading techniques. I haven't seen it, but anything that goes beyond the basics is sure to be of interest to all competition shooters. Sales of the 2400 case trimmer that I reviewed last year are strong. Mine got a workout a couple of weeks ago when a friend gave me a bunch of once fired Remington 223 cases that had the bullets crimped. Trimming away that crimp area was easy with the 2400.
     Ruger - has a neat looking ten inch barreled, 22 rimfire, and semi auto pistol for 2008. Itís called the ďChargerĒ and is decked out in a rear grip, black, laminated stock. It even comes with a bipod as standard equipment. Think of it as a blending of a 10-22 action and a kind of XP-100. It weighs 3.5 lbs without the bipod. Tip off style bases are included. Not sure if the stock gun would have the necessary accuracy for silhouette competition but being based on the 10-22, thereís plenty of after market goodies out there that could turn this fun gun into a serious race horse.
     Kowa - Thereís a new super 88mm spotter with best quality Fluorite Crystal glass. The TSN-880/770 series has a huge objective lens in a magnesium body that is no larger than that found on many 60mm scopes, thus weight and bulk is substantially reduced. It also has a very slick dual focus capability with both quick and fine adjustments. Iím a big believer in hanging on a digital camera on to a spotting scope to record results when developing loads or when shooting a match, which then can be stored on a computer. Kowa probably has the best camera adapters for this kind of imaging, no matter the type of camera.
     Streamlight - If you like bright lights, youíll like the new Streamlight Super-Tac flashlight. Itís a LED type that puts out an enormous 135 lumens. Itís got a huge reflector lens on the front which makes it look like a small bell but which focuses the light into a brilliant beam that I could easily see inside the brightly lit Shot Show building. Very impressive.
     Shooterís Choice - is one of my favorite bore cleaner companies and has a great new product. Aqua Clean bore cleaner is water based and so is super environmentally friendly. It wonít hurt you or eat your gunís stock, has no ammonia, and yet removes lead, copper, and powder residue (even in black powder guns). Wow! I haven't tried it yet, but I intend to. Their products have always come through for me in the past, so I know itís going to work.
     Cold Steel - In all the time Iíve been writing, Iíve only done four reviews about knives. Iíve limited myself to the best of the best - no junk or middle of the road knives allowed. One was a Spyderco, one a Gerber, and two were Cold Steel products. All were excellent. The knife that I carry in my jeans every day is one of those four - a Cold Steel Recon One folder. Itís made from very high quality Japanese steel and has a lock on it that wonít break even with 200 lbs of force on it. Itís one very tough (you know what). This year, they have a newly designed lock on their American Lawman knife that is supposed to be even stronger. The Lawman is designed for police work but would be welcome in any outdoors personís pocket. Get a copy of their catalog. Itís a good read with lots of historical info about the design of their various products. Also get the Cold Steel DVD for demos of their products. Awesome stuff.
     Nosler - like it or not, public concern about lead from hunterís bullets causing lead poisoning in raptor type birds is growing. Nosler has grabbed the bull/issue by the horns and has a new premium, lead free bullet. Itís called the E Bullet i.e. energy and expansion. Itís made 100% from gilding metal with a Nosler engineered hollow point type cavity capped off with a polymer tip. Gilding metal is usually an alloy of cooper and a small amount of zinc, although I suspect Noslerís blend may have a touch of tin added to provide toughness. By using gilding metal, copper fouling problems in your gunís bore are supposed to be eliminated as well. By the way, check out Noslerís web site for monthly specials on bullets.
     Forester - Thereís an interesting new bushing bump die. It basically allows you to control the amount of neck tension on the bullets and the amount of headspace of the case. I usually adjust my dies for minimum headspace so thereís firm (but not hard) resistance when I lower the bolt on my XPís.
     I know then that the case is as perfectly aligned in the chamber as possible. Forester says this new die will help accomplish this. The die is limited to a relatively small number of chamberings however. They probably can do custom dies though.
     Sinclair International - Great reloading stuff of the best quality. A couple of small items jumped out at me. One was their universal bore guides which are made out of high quality materials. Why have to buy a unique bore guide for each gun when a universal type can fit many. They also have a new, stainless steel, scope ring lapping rod that is very, very dimensionally correct. You can be assured that when you use this lapping tool, that your rings will be just as uniform and your scope fit perfect.
     Thatís it for now. More coverage on many of these items and others in the following months.
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.