Tag Archives: shooting

European rifle makers resurgent

One of the interesting things I came across in my travels around SHOT Show last month was that some classic Central European arms makers are still in the business of making classic European arms.

Over at Mauser’s booth, besides offerings in their classic M98 line for $10K+ safari rifles (!) there was the new M18, a $699 bolt-action billed as the “People’s rifle” (Volkswaffe) or “People’s repeater” (Volksrepetierer) by the German rifle maker. It’s a pretty sweet design, complete with a detachable mag, hidden cleaning kit in the butt (hey, it’s a Mauser) and a wide offering of calibers.

More about that over in my column at Guns.com

As for Steyr, which of course continues to market modern polymer framed pistols, precision rifles to include the giant HS-50 and their iconic AUG line of bullpups, they are bringing back the Zephyr. Now I had a chance to get my hands on a Zephyr .22 that belonged to my great-uncle as a kid and absolutely loved it. The reboot includes a traditional Bavarian cheek piece and fish scale checkering on a walnut stock, and an action so smooth it will make you cry.

More on that after the jump.

Some people really like this “mid-sized deer round”

Designed in 1955 by Winchester as their answer to the vaunted .257 Roberts and .244 Remington, the .243 Winchester is fundamentally a necked down .308 cartridge case topped with a lighter (70-100 grain) bullet. It has since become one of the most popular of rounds for medium game and just about every rifle maker produces multiple offerings in the chambering– the same cannot be said of .244 and .257 today.

However, besides its use for whitetails from thin-barreled budget guns from the big box store, the .243 has a crowd of die-hard users who like it for serious target shooting to 1,000-yards and beyond.

Five-time NRA High Power Long Range National Champion John Widden only uses the .243, preferring a hand-load that hits the sweet spot.

“My .243 Win. shoots inside a 6.5 mm-284 Norma with 142-grainers,” says Widden. “Nothing out there is really ahead of the .243 Win. in 1000-yard ballistics unless you get into the short magnums or .284s—and those carry a very significant recoil penalty … I went to the .243 Win. because it had similar ballistics but had much less recoil. It doesn’t beat me up as much and is not as fatiguing.”

The guys at Long Range Shooters of Utah have an open challenge to those who can peg a milk jug with a precision rifle at extreme distances, and Chad Kinyon just pulled it off.

Rules for the challenge at LRSU are that each shooter has a maximum of 10 shots within 10 minutes and can attempt it three times in 24 hours. The distance is verified by laser rangefinder and GPS and is witnessed and officiated by LSRU.

Kinyon pulled it down on the 6th shot (who doesn’t need correction at 1,200-yards) using a Ruger Precision Rifle topped with an Athlon Argos 6-24 x 50mm scope. The round was a 115gr DTAC going 2963 FPS.

The prize? A sticker and a $100 gift cert.

But it’s a hard sticker to get.

Don’t miss those gun registration windows…

A Soldier serving overseas while his home state of record updated their regulations on owning certain firearms says he was left inadvertently in violation of the law.

“I recently returned to Connecticut and contacted the state police because I thought there must be some legal provision that allowed a returning veteran to register their weapon and legally exercise their constitutional right,” he told me, when he went to register the AR-15 he bought in the state in 2011, but had been banned in 2014 while he was in Korea.

“I found out that there was no such provision.”

More in my column at Guns.com.

Good news is: there were 11.4 million hunters in 2016. Bad news is: there were 12.5 in 2006

A report compiled twice per decade by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows increases nationally in wildlife watching and fishing, but declines in the number of hunters.

The survey, the 13th conducted by the USFWS since 1955, showed marked increases in the numbers of Americans engaged in observing and photographing wildlife and in fishing when compared to the 2011 data, but over the past decade, the number of hunters has dropped by more than 1 million– even as the general population is on the rise.

More in my column at Guns.com.

End of the line for VEPR?

A classic Molot VEPR in .308 with the long 22-inch barrel and Counter Sniper Mil-Dot 4-16x44mm optic with illuminated reticle. Now more expensive than ever!

Back in January, I spoke at length with people over at Molot who were working hard on extending their exports of VEPR rifles and shotguns to the U.S. They were hopeful that the new Trump administration would be friendly to lifting some sanctions on Russian-based companies. Russian-made firearms were popular export items to the states until the conflict in the Ukraine and the resulting international backlash triggered a host of official embargos.

Per figures from the International Trade Commission, 204,788 firearms of all kinds were imported from Russia in 2013.

This figure plunged to just 9,556 in 2015 — mainly from Molot, the only large firearms maker not named in sanctions.

Well, it looks like that figure is going to be a lot lower in 2018…

Will Russian AKs and Korean war surplus M1s come ashore post-Trump?

could-trump-administration-raise-floodgates-on-gun-imports-3-768x510

Some are hopeful the new management in Washington will be able to lift barriers to overseas firearm imports erected over the years, though the going could be slow.

President Donald Trump on Friday said it was “very early” to tell if the United States should lift sanctions on Russia, but that he seeks a “great relationship” with Putin and Russia.

On the campaign trail, Trump’s platform on trade concentrated on American jobs while floating the possibility of a tariff on all imported goods to help ease the current trade deficit. However, the Republican’s position on gun rights promised to curtail federal gun bans and limits. The two concepts, when balanced against one another, leaves open the possibility of action on foreign-made guns currently off-limits to buyers in the U.S.

I talked to industry insiders on both sides of the pond, the ATF, and the International Trade Commission to get the scoop on if bans going back to the 1960s could be reshaped.

More in my column at Guns.com

And you thought Godzilla was bad…

The “most adaptable animals that you’ll ever find” are running rampant across parts of rural Japan in the wake of the 2011 nuclear catastrophe and strict gun laws aren’t helping.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, in which a boiling water reactor nuclear power plant largely went Chernobyl after a tsunami knocked it offline has left Japan with a host of problems to include radiation-induced health impacts, some 200,000 displaced locals and possible exposure of groundwater to melted down nuclear fuel for decades to come.

Oh yeah, and the wild hogs.

Wild, radioactive boars? Check! 0.6 guns per every 100 Japanese? Check! (Photo: Kyodo/AP via Outside online)

Thousands of wild, radioactive boars? Check! 0.6 guns per every 100 Japanese? Check! (Photo: Kyodo/AP via Outside online)

More in my column at Guns.com.

Every Marine a Rifleman (and some even more so)

The Civilian Marksmanship Program’s National Trophy Rifle Team Match at Camp Perry goes back to 1903 and was commissioned by Congress and President Teddy Roosevelt back when the CMP was part of the Army’s Department of Civilian Marksmanship. Shooters fire at 200, 300 and 600 yards in standing, kneeling and prone positions with a service rifle.

It’s 50 shots in four stages:

Stage One: Competitors have 10 minutes to shoot 10 shots from 200 yards away in the standing position.
Stage Two: Competitors have 60 seconds to shoot 10 shots from 200 yards away in the sitting or kneeling from standing position.
Stage Three: Competitors have 70 seconds to shoot 10 shots from 300 yards away in the prone from standing position.
Stage Four: Competitors have 20 minutes to shoot 20 shots from 600 yards away in the prone position.

Here is the target.

cmp target

The maximum (perfect score) for an individual taking part in the match is 500-50x, meaning you hit the “10” mark 50 times, and all 50 were in the “X”.

Last month Marine Sgt. Antonio DiConza, 25, broke the longstanding (set in 1985) nearly-perfect record of 499-28x, chalking up an amazing 500-15x.

Marine.smashes.31.year_.old_.National.Trophy.Rifle_.Team_.Match_.record-1

DiConza, left, with his Pershing Trophy

Now keep in mind that the 1985 record was set with an M14 (M1A) while the new one was with an M16 (AR-15).

No pizza box for this guy.

“I told myself, ‘You know, I just shot 19 10’s and a few x’s – just shoot another 10. It’s not that hard. Relax,’” he said.

More in my column at Guns.com

When things are so bad that you have to send it to the people

So in California, which has had an assault weapon ban going all the way back to 1989 and yet still have mass-shootings with California-compliant firearms, lawmakers tried to pass over 20 legislative actions on increased gun control this session.

A baker’s dozen of these made it through the legislature in Dem-heavy votes of which Gov. Jerry Brown signed 7 into law and returned five with vetoes.

Since gun rights groups and Republican lawmakers couldn’t derail these, a group of gun owners on a gun forum (Calguns) got together and decided, “Let’s try for a ballot referendum to repeal these…”

And that’s exactly what they are doing.

With a pressing deadline of Sept.29, they are trying to get 450,000 signatures on 7 different propositions. Of course, California has 13 million gun owners, which by definition should all be capable of registering to vote, so it’s not far-fetched.

I’ve spoken with the man behind the effort, a San Diego tech company executive, and it’s a hail Mary play with a lot of spunk behind it.

More over in my column at Guns.com here and here.

Bringing the Second Amendment to the hood

The Black Lives Matter movement has embraced gun control and allied with anti-gun groups while their leadership has very publicly painted the group as non-violent and non-confrontational.

Not affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement, 29-year-old community leader Maj Toure is a gun owner and a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association and believes that the right to keep and bear arms is fundamental. And he is bringing that message, without any outside support, to the black community through outreach and free firearms training conducted by certified instructors.

I had a chance to talk with Toure this month about his Black Guns Matter group, his vision, and why it’s needed. In short, he wants to replace more gun regulations, buybacks and rhetoric with firearms training, education, and concealed carry permits.

black guns matter

“Charlton Heston said it – you basically got to pry this out of my cold, dead hand. I’m not going down that way because we are citizens, Americans,” Toure told me. “We are citizens. We have the right to exercise the Second Amendment and anyone that’s tryin’ to infringe on that is not only in violation of the Constitution but they’re also just a dick.”

I told him he needed to put that remark on a T-shirt.

More in my column at Guns.com

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