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Progression of Project Rolling Stone – Mossberg MVP .223

When I picked it up, I got it only because it could take my 20 & 30 round AR-15 magazines and I was in to squirrel shooting and preparing a trip to Cedarville, CA for their annual Squirrel Wars event. I was going to not spend all day loading mags this time and didn’t want to use an AR-15 again. Bolt action seemed better.

I ran over to my closest Big5 Sporting Goods and they had one on the rack with a $50 off sale price. So I snagged that right up. It was a 24″ varmint model and I was happy as a clam, for about 2 days. Within those 2 days I pulled it apart and found it was bedded with plastic, the stock leaned to the right down the barrel channel and action screw torque was unrepeatable. Fine. It’ll shoot. Right?

Iteration 1. Bushnell ET-1040 Mil/Mil and a Harris 6-9″ Swivel bipod w/ podlock.

Well, I tossed on a Bushnell 10x40mm optic, some Burris Signature Series 1″ rings and a bipod and went to the range with some steel cased russian 55gn FMJ. The gun printed nothing inside 1.5″ at 100yrds. Ok, let’s start replacing parts. That’s always the right thing to do. Right? Using better ammo wouldn’t help, obviously. That said, I did start some handloads for it and found it had certain proclivities toward heavy weight bullets and being pushed to primer popping pressures.

Round 2. FIGHT!

So, I found out the Bushnell optic was not tracking consistently. While it was back at Bushnell being replaced (This is a common theme with the 10×40’s. Of 4 of them I’d bought, 3 needed RMA’d) I added a 16×42 fixed power SWFA SS optic and 30mm Burris Signature Series rings. I took that out squirrel shooting and was not impressed. Accuracy with 40-55gn ammo was horrid. With heavier stuff it started performing though. So, change of plans. It’s not a squirrel gun anymore. It’s a match rifle. See, I’d just gotten into a regular local prone long range precision match and needed something inexpensive to shoot there. Well, one trip in and that factory stock was shit-canned. Replaced with an MDT LSS chassis, DPMS PSG-1 pistol grip and a Magpul MOE buttstock. That did really well and I managed to turn in the 2nd highest score ever with a .223 at my regular long range match. That still stands. I haven’t bested it to date.

US Optics Scopes, MDT LSS chassis and Burris Signature Series rings on Project Rolling Stone (5.56) and Project Gabriel (7.62)

Not too much time passed and I came into a big bonus so I wanted a major optics upgrade. A quick call to US Optics and I had 2x ST-10’s on the way for various rifles. Epic scopes. Simply wonderful. I took that out with my spotter/best friend, The Disco Tripper, and we turned in some groups on steel. Man that combo could shoot. Running 70gn Berger VLD’s and 75gn Hornady BTHP it was an easy gun to hit long range steel with. I mostly kept those ST-10’s on my bigger guns and used the 16x SWFA optics though. They’re a lot harder to use than an ST-10 but I wanted the extra magnification for the aim-small-miss-small thing.

650m results from Project Rolling Stone

Once we got to this point my coach started harassing me about trying a bedding job on the chassis. So we grabbed some epoxy and fully bedded the recoil lug and skim bedded the action. I also added a MOE cheek riser to the butt. Instant improvement came from the bedding in that no more flyers plagued me. That settled her ass down nicely and I shot quite a few matches as well as a bunch of informal plinking sessions with the gun. The cheek riser had the rifle as comfortable as if it were injection molded around me. I’ve not yet gotten the rifle in its current form to fit quite that nicely, mostly due to time.

The day I set the 2nd place .223 record, setting up for a 900 yard shot, which I hit. Waiting for my spotter to figure out a set of binoculars.

I have been able to shoot the living piss out of it regardless of whatever else is going on because it’s a .223 and very inexpensive to load for. That’s been a saving grace with this project.

Up on The Grassy Knoll. Stage 2 at Avenal. About to start missing.

It was about the time that my barrel was starting to really age that I also decided to upgrade basically all of my scopes. I started with some more US Optics in the form of an ER-25 for my .308. Not the best choice. It worked great on the big 7mm Remington Magnum (below far left) but not so much on the .308. It was also just too damned big for my safe. No rifle fit in there with the ER-25 on it so I had to bounce that optic and began a long journey of horse trading to end up with what I have now which is more US Optics but these fit in my safe and you’ll see them further down in this article. One thing I was really trying to nail down was parts commonality so I could take parts off of one and put them on another if the occasion arose that it was necessary. My mindset was really into TEOTWAWKI at the time. I’m in a better place now that President Daddy is in the White House.

Some of MeccaStreisand’s long range rifles. 7mag, 7mag, .308, .223, .223

It wasn’t too long after I’d bounced the larger US Optics ER-25 and an ST-10 in favor of a set of Vortex Razor 2 HD’s. One in 3-18×50 and the other in 4.5-27×56. They are excellent scopes but I hate hate hate pinch screws on turret knobs for exactly the reason that I bounced those Vortex optics. They loosen enough to not adjust when you twist em’ but they still click and it happened multiple times on both turrets of both scopes. Plus they’re heavy as all get out and the 3-18x on the MVP was in MOA because that’s what I could get at the time. All combined I just was not happy. So, I looked around and looked around and finally after almost a year found a US Optics B-17 I could sell the 3-18x Razor and buy. Excellent choice. I guess I’m just a US Optics guy.

I ditched the factory trigger early on and got myself a Jard and a Timney. The Timney spends most time on the rifle. The Jard is special purpose and breaks at just ounces. It’s not a safe trigger for most use cases but it’s brilliant when I’m trying to hit chicken eggs at 500m. The Timney doesn’t have that annoying blade in the middle of it but otherwise is set about the same, 2.5lbs.

All in the family. Upgrades coming rifle by rifle, step by step.

The first Razor 2 to go away was the 4.5-27x Razor II because I had a buyer for it and something on the line to replace it with. I sold it and had enough money left to buy a used US Optics SN3 3.8-22×44 ERGO on a 35mm tube in MOA with a really slick Dragunov style reticle that heavily uses chevrons. It’s a battle ready optic for sure. My coach decided to get into long range prone though and needed a scope so that went on his gun. Now I needed another. Begin the long look for just the right swap.

Black Hole Weapons barrel. Wrong thread patten but that’s a simple fix.

I shot Project Rolling Stone in variations of one form for a good long time. Long enough to burn out the barrel. Truth be told I’d more or less killed that barrel the week I got the gun. I had a bunch of steel cased Russian bulk ammo with bullets that were copper washed steel and started the gun on those. That must have eaten half the barrel life. By the time I’d had around 3K rounds out of it (IIRC, it’s been a while) that barrel just wouldn’t reliably hold the match level accuracy I needed. It was fine for a sportsman, and I gave that barrel away to a sportsman later on, but not for a match long range precision gun. Thing is, only 1 outfit had reportedly made any small ring MVP barrels and they made them shouldered instead of barrel-nutted. I also wanted a particular barrel maker’s barrel. Black Hole Weaponry. Why? Well, their pipes are just too easy to deal with, shoot excellently, clean easily, are inexpensive, stainless and come threaded at no extra charge.

Once I got that barrel situation settled then I wanted to do a little something with the finish. So I got the idea to make it look like a Sonoran coral snake. 3 months of beating on my local Cerakote guy and getting nothing but excuses later I finally got it back, literally hot from the oven and the scale pattern was backward. Fuck! Well, such is life. Only dorks and herpetologists ever notice. What everyone notices is he didn’t finish the last 4 inches of the pipe. Dick! I eventually got it back and had my 26″ pipe at 1:7 twist in Caudle 3-groove polygonal rifled 416R stainless steel. I bought a bunch of 73gn ELD-M projectiles and a ton of new PPU brass and have been swatting steel on the regular with it since.

Sonoran Coral Snake Cerakote

It was such a hassle dealing with the Cerakote guy that I did my .308 barrel with rattle can spray paint and it actually turned out pretty cool despite me not having much experience with this sort of thing. I used the mesh plastic thingy they send barrels in to make the scale pattern and 3 colors of paint with blue painters tape.

.308 barrel with Texas Coral Snake pattern by Krylon and me.

Then at some point one of the guys at Primary Arms and another guy from Accuracy Solutions were both interested in how their assorted products would do at my monthly long range prone match. Being a good sport and a bit curious, I set out to find out. I added a Primary Arms 4-14x FFP ACSS HUD/DMR optic and an Accuracy Solutions BipodEXT to the gun. I also switched out the Magpul MOE based butt section for an XLR Industries Tactical stock to gain full adjustability which I wanted for various reasons but mostly because I needed a proper cheek weld with the PA optic on there. The Primary Arms scope works beautifully if you trust and use the BDC reticle and did not do well at all when using the mil dots and calculating. The BipodEXT was brilliant. It put the axis of rotation in 2 dimensions in front of the muzzle which increased the lever length enough to make it like shooting from a machine rest. All wiggle was gone!

The Snake Gun equipped with BipodEXT and Primary Arms 4-14x FFP ACSS.

Having finished with testing stuff I didn’t want to use long term and written the appropriate articles, I went back to perfecting the combo and slapped a US Optics B-17 on top. To finish the whole thing I bounced my usual Harris 6-9″ swivel type bipod and put a new AccuTac BR5 into my kit. That’s a beast of a bipod.

Project Rolling Stone in its current form.

I get a lot of strange looks and a lot of people stopping by to make comments from snide to supportive about the rifle and all my rifles for that matter. It’s my toy and I’ll play with it how I like to so I don’t mind when they get snide or chiding. All my match guns are meant to elicit a visceral response. Partly that’s to destabilize my co-competitors mentally so I have a better chance of them doing shitty. Part of it is just for conversation starting. Part of it is, I like these rifles and I like to make them look how I like them to look. I betcha you’ll never find another coral snake gun or another hot dog gun but everyone and their sister has a Hello Kitty AR-15 or a scale pattern on the entirety of their AR-15 or shark teeth, etc… Just because they’re unoriginal repeating pieces of camel poo doesn’t mean I have to be unoriginal.

Project Gabriel in its current form which I call “The Hot Dog Gun”

If you do the math, this gun has cost me a pure fortune. $600 for the base gun, $750 in various stock parts, $5500 in various optics, $40o-ish on triggers, $300 on barrels, $300 on rings and mounts, $10 in muzzle devices (A2 birdcage) and $100 in Cerakote and spray paint. So there you go. I’m about $8,000 in if I’d had to buy each piece at full price. Thankfully, I did a lot of swapping this for that and either reselling or directly trading most of the time so my actual spend on the gun as it sits is closer to $2500US in real money spent.

That said, for $2500 I’ve got a .223 that will easily swat a bad guy or a critter to well beyond the effective range of the bullet it shoots and shoots well under .75MOA. It’s got the best parts on the aftermarket on it without resorting to blatantly overly expensive bits that are just more expensive without being any better. I know a lot of folks with $2500 in an AR-15 that couldn’t shoot a 3/4MOA group to save their skin. I’m pretty happy with what I have here.

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BallisticXLR A-FEDS DOPE Table Cell Phone Case

Enter The BallisticXLR Accessories Store

Fresh from the creative mind of Meccastreisand, we have iPhone and Samsung Galaxy phone cases with ballistics data printed right on them. The BallisticXLR A-FEDS (Auxiliary – Field Expedient Data Set). It’s not just some cheesy inkjet print job or a junk sticker that’ll come right off. These products use Thermal Dye Sublimation to transfer the image to the item which means that the image is inextricably PART of the item.

High temperatures and high pressures are used to literally fuse the dye into the substrate. You’d have to destroy the item to damage the data. We have cell phone cases, water bottles and travel mugs already worked up and tested. Those are properly field grade.

Custom ballistics data emblazoned on the back of a rubberized iPhone or Samsung phone case. If your app dies, you’ve got a backup right there waiting.

BallisticXLR Data Emblazoned on an aluminum water bottle. Perfect for the field. Available in brushed aluminum or white.

Next up we’ll be bringing out T-Shirts, ball caps, sweaters, mouse pads and whatever else someone might want. T-Shirts will have the DOPE printed upside down on the front so you can simply look down to your chest for your ballistics data, even with complex firing solutions in play.

Ball caps are right on the heels of the T-Shirts. Ball caps will contain a quick data sheet. These are meant for use by your spotter. The spotter gets a range and vector to the target and usually has to look in a book. Why not just look at the shooters hat. Shooters usually turn ball caps around so they don’t get swatted by the scope on recoil. Well, that’s a perfect place for your spotter to read your DOPE from and they can do it from their peripheral vision.

Other accessories are in initial test production now. We’ve got mouse pads with reticle subtends on the way. Sweaters and hoodies with ballistics data are coming in the next few days.

To make a purchase: https://shop.spreadshirt.com/38346/?noCache=true or email your request to ballisticxlr@gmail.com and we’ll have a price and lead time to you usually same day.

BallisticXLR Adds A Store – Cool New Stuff

In our never ending efforts to bring you the best toys for the ballistically minded, we’ve added a new storefront where you can purchase all kinds of goodies. T-Shirts, Mugs, Phone cases, etc… with ballistics data, SAAMI spec drawings, pithy social commentary, and more.

Get your goodies today!

Click to Enter BallisticXLR Storefront

XLR Industries Tactical Butt Stock

You’ll do it too. You’ll start with the cheapest thing you can get and move gradually on to more costly options that work much better. You’ll do it because, like me, you are an idiot. Well, you are if you’re going to behave like I do/did/will.

Initially after building my rifles into MDT LSS stocks I was kinda low on dough so I went with MOE stocks I actually had on hand already. All I had to add was 20 bucks in cheek risers to each one. Then my scope rings got taller and those didn’t really fit. Beyond that I started doing more shooting from barricades and wanted more adjustability so the rifle would fit me better and I’d suffer less in the barricade stages.

                          So lithe and sexy!

I considered the MDT skeletonized stock offering and the Magpul PRS offering and oodles of others but when it came down to it another owner of a Mossberg MVP in a LSS chassis had one of the XLR Tactical stocks and I was sold in an instant. It wasn’t the looks alone, which are cool, that sold me. It was the adjustability and construction over the price.

The adjustment in recoil pad cant is awesome. The length of pull and cheek rest adjustments are not something to do in the field but they are still pretty easy to do. The XLR Tactical Stock does come with flush cups which few other offerings did. It’s also aluminum and not plastic which I particularly like since I’m rough with my guns and I break plastic stuff left and right.

Magpul MOE in the back on the Dodger Dog gun vs. XLR Tactical in front on the coral snake gun.

So what’s the good the bad and the ugly? Well the good is, everything works as designed. From the taper of the bag rest rail to the location adjustability of the cheek rest versus the length of pull. It’s really quite flexible.

The bad, it’s a bit of a bitch to adjust and you have to loosen all kinds of screws to do it so it’s best if you lay behind the rifle and someone else moves things into position and holds them while a third person snugs down fasteners. Adjusting it yourself involves a little trial and error.

The ugly, it’s not light. My MOE kit weighed almost nothing at maybe 10 ounces including the buffer tube but, the XLR weighs 1.6lbs all in. It doesn’t make a rifle any lighter. My normal match is a hiking course and every ounce hurts. Between my enormously long barrel, aluminum chassis and aluminum butt stock plus the heavy Accu-Tac bipod and the extra weight of the BipodExt my .223 weighs something like 13lbs.

The actual picture that made up my mind. Rifle is wearing Tactical Lite stock which lacks adjustable pad cant.

So why is it going In The Pelican now and why is it that it’s the 2nd one to do so? Well, after about a year of using one in matches and for recreation and having to set it up for several users and then myself back and forth, I went and bought a second one because it works too well not to. If I get a second of something it’s usually because it’s just right and I wouldn’t change a thing. In this case, I would change one thing. Add cast-off/cast-on adjustability to the recoil pad and cheek rest. Then it’s a 100% adjustable which it’s not far from now. That little extra is what I need though and nobody does it yet. XLR Industries, are you listening?

At less than $250 shipped (well, it was $225 + 10 shipping for me anyway) you really can’t beat it with a stick and if you do, you’re only going to fuck up the stick. Little adjustment wheels and fancy click detents or whatever might be slicker but they’re not going to be any better when you’re behind the gun. If you don’t have to deal with other shooters of all shapes and sizes using your gun then you won’t even have to deal with the only thing I found even slightly irritating, which was adjusting the thing.

For the guys at XLR: Kick ass job lads. Well done!

 

Review: US Optics B-17

Those familiar with me and my adventures & proclivities know I’m an unabashed fan of U.S. Optics. Why? Well, simply enough, they haven’t let me down. There have been times when I was pissed at them for one thing or another and I wish they’d have kept the ERGO models as an offering instead of doing TPAL only but you get what you get and with USO, you get liquid awesome.

What I have always had zero worries about is that the glass clarity, color rendition and resolution are always flawless. Also, their turrets are as accurate as any in the world, bar none.

Right side, USO B-17

Turrets, turrets, turrets. USO has never had the world’s most tactile clicks. They’re just fine but they’re not super notchy like say, a Bushnell Elite Tactical scope. The EREK knob used to be a real bitch to use. It’s basically a zero stop setting mechanism much like you find in Vortex Razor 2’s and such. It messes with the erector position to give you back all of your scope’s elevation travel that it possibly can. Great for serious long range shooting.

U.S. Optics Gen-1 EREK. Kinda a bitch to use.

The old EREK-1 turrets were a bitch but now they’re pretty epic. The parts you need a tool for you can use a case rim and almost don’t need the case head anyway. The parts that are tool-less are really tool-less. I was able to reset my zero in the middle of a stage at my last match (that’ll teach me to pull my scope off and re-position it before a match without zeroing properly). There’s now an elevation and windage turret lock which really helps with preventing sudden turret spins that you don’t notice. If you think it’s a non-issue you’re fooling yourself. Every match and every hunting trip someone is always finding out their elevation or windage turret has been spun and they miss critically important shots. All you do to slip the turrets is set the lock ring, loosen the top cap a turn or two, slip your turret, hand tighten top cap, unlock turret. All of that can be done behind the gun without tools. Super cool. The best part is the lock on the elevation is just a ring you lift or push down. It’s easy to get it cattywompus and not get it set but being that primitive it’s also easy as hell to use with gloved hands, cold hands (ask how I know) and in a hurry. It’s not stiff like a Vortex Razor 2 locking turret. You may like your lock rings stiff. I don’t need a workout myself every time I need to twist the knobs.

U.S. Optics B-Series EREK – New And Improved

The thing they still haven’t corrected is the numbering position of the elevation turret and it’s indicator line. It’s really hard to read from behind the gun. Without lifting your head it’s impossible. On the upside, the turret is extremely low profile. These two things are interrelated and can’t really be decoupled if you’re to stay as low profile as the EREK knob is. This one, I’m calling a tit for tat game and I’m happy to deal with it.

Setting up the Dodger Dog gun with my new B-17

Another really great feature of the B-series scopes as opposed to the older generation of US Optics (MR-10, LR-17, ER-25) is the size of the turret housing itself. It used to be really big which made the range of possible locations for rings to go kinda limited. Some rings were bordering on not being able to fit (really big rings though). The new turret housing is pretty compact and gives a ton more flexibility in mounting position. This was partially accomplished by moving the illumination controls into the parallax knob which removed the need to make the turret housing so huge. It’s a single button illumination control too. That can be annoying but it makes things compact. Illumination is, of course, completely devoid of bloom.

Weight is as you’d expect with great glass, a lot heavier than crap glass. The whole scope feels more lithe though. All the sharp edges from the previous generation have been tuned to non-painful radius’. Knurling is still very aggressive.

What’s the tracking like? Perfection. Sheer perfection. Here’s an example… I didn’t even qualify this optic in a tall target test or box test before taking it to the long gongs line. I had a decent zero though and really good ammo with known velocities. So going from a cold bore: First shot, hit 891yrds. Second shot, hit 790yrds. Third shot, hit 690yrds. Fourth shot, I jerked it and called the shot as shooter-pulled. 5th shot, hit 591yrds. 7th shot, hit 774yrds. 8th shot, hit 678. Then I had to reload my magazine. In all of that I had 3 clicks of windage dialed and held off for the changes to that as I came in. All I did was read my dope off of KAC Bullet Flight-M then dial what it said, aim and squeeze. The scope had to work perfectly. My data is always good (I’m really good at setting up ballistics apps as you might guess) and my rifle is a bug-hole shootin’ sum-bitch. All I needed was the scope to track. NAILED IT!

Mil-GAP Reticle – Stock Photo, not taken by me.

The MIL-GAP reticle on this one is not meant for PRS type shooting with rampant use of holdover and holdoff being combined. It’s meant to hold off for wind but to dial exactly for elevation so there’s no Christmas tree under the horizontal crosshair. There’s a little tunnelling at the lowest magnifications but otherwise they’ve improved on all of that kind of stuff progressively over the years. They don’t use a mask in their scopes so you get the full range of optical performance including tunnelling. At the top, it’s a non-issue. At the bottom, it’s plainly visible but not distracting.

What do I hate about it? Only two things. The design change to the windage turret means the cap is held on with multiple pinch screws instead of a single top-center screw. I’ve had those pinch screws fail already, at a training class and a second time in a competition. The old single screw design I never had a failure with. The other thing I hate is the internal bubble level (yes it has one, which is cool) isn’t level with the reticle and it’s impossible to see without the illumination running. At least on my scope. I run 2 other levels, a folding unit mounted to the outside of the scope and a fixed unit that sits on my BipodEXT bipod extender. The one on the outside of the scope is neat looking but honestly sucks to use. The one forward on my bipod extender is way more natural and easy to use.

These are still the best optics USO has ever put out that I’ve gotten to lay my grimy mitts on. One thing I really appreciate is they look more like a “normal” scope too. Older USO’s visual appearance was so different to the reset of the world of scopes that they really stuck out like a sore thumb. They really looked odd and got a lot of people bothering me at the range about what that weird scope was. Now, they more or less don’t even notice that it’s a very high end optic or that it’s a USO or that it’s not nearly as common as some others you might encounter. I don’t know about you, I don’t mind answering the odd query but I don’t get off on endless piles of people lining up to finger fuck my toys. It takes from my shooting time or adds to it. Either way, I don’t want it. What I do want is another of these B-Series scopes.

And, just to make things better a little video of me using the damned thing as well as my new Accu-Tac bipod and BipodExt Bipod Extender from Accuracy Solutions.

Product Review: Accuracy Solutions – BipodExt

The Snake Gun equipped with BipodEXT and Primary Arms 4-14x FFP ACSS.

My first statement holds. After using BipodEXT in competition and supplying selected students with it I can’t speak highly enough of it. You can see me using it in competition below. The day was as filled with challenges as it could be. I was using new ammo, a new BDC scope, a .223Rem in high wind conditions and transitioning targets under time pressure.

This round (Stage 7) I’m shooting from just over 200yrds to 500yrds using the BDC reticle on the Primary Arms 4-14×44 FFP scope with their brilliant ACSS HUD/DMR reticle on his Mossberg MVP with the BXT40X3 model BipodExt from Accuracy Solutions. The BipodExt bipod extender pulled every bit of wiggle out of my holds. It was like shooting from a machine rest. The thing didn’t slow me down either. Transitions between targets were just as fast as without it. My best .223 score at that match was a 22 of 50 in mild wind. My best score with the .223 in strong winds was 15 of 50 until this match. I scored 20 of 50 this time with strong winds up to 30mph. I attribute this score to the combination of stability from the BipodExt and the integrated wind hold-offs in the reticle on the Primary Arms 4-14x optic I was using. The 5 shots I picked up over my previous record could be split up 80/20 for accounting purposes favoring the BipodEXT as the causal factor. How can you tell?

Seth demonstrating new methods of use with BipodEXT. I am Meccastreisand’s victory over barricade stages.

You’ll notice that I’m calling my own shots throughout Stage 7. Part of that is the low recoil of a .223 but I’m calling those shots at close and far targets with a .223. Far is no big deal for the most part since you have time to recover from recoil. Close means recoil cannot have affected you enough to pull the target out of the scope view during recoil. Kinda rare even with a .223 unless recoil control is really given more weight than it normally deserves. The long lever length provided by the BipodEXT gets rid of muzzle rise even if you fail to load the bipod like you otherwise might.

Stage 5 above has me perched a little higher than is optimal due to the way the ground lays but that didn’t add any instability because my rifle was being rested so far from me, any wiggle I put in is not as effective at pulling the rifle off target. It takes quite a bit more input force to move the rifle around a sufficient distance. In a conventionally placed bipod arrangement the effective attachment point or fulcrum is about 20 inches from the shoulder and about 10-20 inches behind the muzzle toward the action. With the BipodEXT you can have an effective fulcrum 30-50 inches from your shoulder and up to several inches in front of the muzzle. What’s that matter?

TiborasaurusRex getting his giddy on behind the BipodEXT.

Well it’s a little like the effect of altitude over the target for a long range shot. If you’re 100 feet above the target at a distance of 100 feet then the angle is 45 degrees. If you’re 100 feet above your target at a distance of 1000 feet then the angle is about 5.7 degrees. MASSIVE DIFFERENCE. What the inventors have created is a way to get that effective distance to grow without making the weapon system unwieldy.

Stage 6 you can see something that I’m normally very bad at being done really excellently, follow-through. I’m staying on the optic and keeping that trigger back much better than normal. I attribute that to the sensation I got of watching a show on TV instead of through a magnified optic. The great glass in the Primary Arms optic helped but the stability from the bipod extender getting rid of all the jitter also got rid of my bloody near instinctive habit of slapping the trigger and coming off the scope too damned soon. It seems the jitter doesn’t play well with my brain and I am prone to taking subconscious steps to deal with that which are exactly counter productive. Add BipodEXT and I turn into a really sparkly good shooter with much improved execution on the fundamentals.

Former SEAL Charlie Melton wringing out the BipodEXT. He seemed to be a fan.

So what about the extra bulk and weight and all that. Well, my rifle still fits in my drag bag and there’s no extra weight to speak of thanks to carbon fibre and aluminum construction. It’s quick detachable so the idea that that’s something to legitimately gripe about is laughable. The cost is pretty tall but you have to come to grips with the fact that good kit costs good money. Sorry, no freebies in this world.

Nope, not cheap. Top quality stuff never is. It’s worth the money if you don’t like missing though.

What I didn’t cover at all above is the amazing versatility of the BipodEXT. Turn that forward section 90deg and brace your bipod against a window opening or a barricade or a fence post for PRS and similar action shooting matches. Put a long and short bipod on it if you want for rough country hunting to go from prone to kneeling to sitting to whatever rapidly. For police and military and those few that hunt mountain goats and sheep and such where extremely high angle shots are frequently the only shots to be had, you can stand up comfortably behind your rifle, set the bipod up in front of your muzzle and keep your spout out of the dirt, be ridiculously stable (tried this with great results), minimize fatigue and increase first round hit probability. For cops on top of skyscrapers and in the rafters at sporting events overwatching us with their sniper rifles stuck in tripods and hog saddles, they could be just as precise and more flexible and have an easier time concealing their position if they didn’t have to be so high up to use a tripod. Lower fatigue means improved interdiction and lower chance of collateral casualties or damage.

RX17 Live Fire 002 Student taking advantage of increased stability. That rifle as equipped is unstoppable and affordable. You don’t need to spend $5000 to have a well decked out precision long range rifle.

Any way you can get your bipod farther from your face will increase your ability to be stable and make precision shots rapidly. Yes you’ll lose some compactness and decimal points of speed/agility. Isn’t the decimal point loss in agility worth the orders of magnitude increase in endurance and precision? I think so. I won’t shoot a match without a BipodEXT again if I can possibly help it.

For a direct comparison, here’s the same gun, same shooter, same range just without the BDC scope and without the BipodEXT. In the beginning at stage 7 you’ll be able to see the side to side and vertical wiggle at my muzzle during firing and the much more dramatic appearing recoil and me missing more than I should be despite having massively more magnification (16x fixed instead of the 10x I was actually using on the Primary Arms 4-14x) and dialing precise DOPE instead of holding off. If I’d used the 16x SWFA optic along with the BipodEXT I probably would have picked up a few more targets.

The difference made by the BipodEXT at my last match was probably me picking up 3-5 targets I would have certainly missed regardless of the optic and because I was using a BDC at long range it was probably responsible for me not blowing that completely. The BDC was easy to use but very sensitive to cant and user error. It was really easy to avoid those two conditions with the bipod extender. Thanks to Accuracy Solutions for the loan of this amazing kit. I’ll have to buy one now, not so much because they’re excellent but because of the two I have for use by students, I’m never giving one of them back 😉 .

Dan, Seth and company. You guys really knocked this out of the park. I knew when I saw it at RX17 that it was going to really change my game and I think it’s going to change a lot of games. Keep these badass ideas coming!

Vectronix Vector 21 Nite Foward Observation Laser Rangefinder Binoculars

Have you ever looked at something and said, “Man, that’s just more expensive than it’s worth.”? Well, you might have that reaction to Vectronix products. Vectronix is one arm of Leica which is world renowned for the quality and precision of their optics. Vectronix takes that a little further biasing toward the military end of the market. The military’s of the world don’t have the kind of budget concerns that we mere mortals do so they often use kit that’s got price tags that look like serial numbers. That also means they have some of the most awesome and rugged bits and bobs to be had in their inventory and the manufacturers that sell to them will mostly sell the same stuff to civilians. So, if you’re in the rare air of long range precision shooting and you need serious kit, check out the military suppliers and the stuff they make.

The author’s test unit.

For example some people shoot to several hundred yards and they might get away with a golfers laser rangefinder. Some people shoot to over one thousand yards and they really need something like a Terrapin or a Sig Kilo2200MR or Leica 1200 and so on. Those are much more expensive. Then there are cretins like David Tubb and Charlie Melton and George Banke that make extreme range shots just for the seeming sake of making sure the rest of us know we’re not that good. They shoot well over 2000 yards and often quite a bit further. There’s nothing short of military level kit that’s going to do that reliably. This is why distance costs so much money. It’s an order of magnitude.

Look at Kilo2200MR’s, they’re like 400 bucks. No big. Vectronix Terrapins are 1800 bucks used and they don’t make them anymore. If you want something equally capable then you’re looking at stuff like PLRF15 and similar and the prices go way way way way up into multiple thousands of dollars immediately.

What if you need to lase a field of grass 12km away? Well here’s what you’d use. I personally ranged a dry grass hillside with the sun facing me at 10km. I couldn’t get farther because there’s nothing farther from me. 10km is about as far as you can see anything here, especially now with all the wildfires polluting the air. I lased a cow at 5km, a house at 11km, and on and on.

What’s the downside? Well, I picked this set up for about $8,000 and it weighs an absolute ton. We’re talking over 5lbs of optics with a heart stopping price tag.

How about the optics? The glass is as clear as any top shelf rifle scope, if not better. It’s stupid clear and the reticle in the view just helps that much more.

You can connect a data cable to military GPS units to it, mount it to a tripod and use it for ultra precise work at the extreme distance it’s capable of. It takes 6volt Lithium Ion batteries in pairs which seem to keep it working forever.

The 10x magnifier attachment screws right on and off and even seals so you don’t get water vapor or dirt between the magnifier and the binocular unit. The capabilities are just stunning too. It has a compass so it knows what direction you’re pointed. It also knows what elevation it’s pointed at so it can do a nifty thing. You can lase one target, then another and it’ll give you the slope distance between the two. You can range a target relative to another asset on the ground. Talk about sniper fuel.

From here on I’m going to leave you with some curiosity and a few pictures. Keep in mind that the unit I tested is actually the property of one of my long range students, not mine. I’m not that wealthy or that determined.

Retail price of something like a Vector 21 Nite is around $18,000-20,000 after all is said and done and there are export restrictions up the wazoo.

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