The Firearms MagEzine
A publication of
CenterFire Central
The Firearms MagEzine is no longer published

VOL. 2 ISSUE 8 September 1999
Circulation 1275



Quick Thinking


By Lori Wade

My Approach
By Ron Roberts


Bushnell Rangefinder Pro 800
By Bill Wade


Other resources for related information





CenterFire Central and contributing writers are not responsible for mishaps of any kind, which may occur, from use or misuse of data or information published, electronically or otherwise by CenterFire Central. Activities involving firearms, ammunition, components and equipment require strict safety precautions and training which are not detailed herein.

Time did not allow for an August issue, sorry.



Well I finally did it. I finally got up the nerve to turn my son loose with his 22 rifle. He is 15 and a half now and showing signs of maturing.

We were at the farm for the weekend and frog season had opened, and for him, plinking season is always open. I told him he could go work on the frog population, alone. The words had barely escaped my lips when the dust from his heels hit me in the face. Gee, what if it were like that when I said, "school is open" or "hey, fetch me a 1/2 inch wrench". Oh well, I can always dream.

Of course he was thrilled to be out on his own with his rifle. He had bought the rifle a couple of years ago with paper route money. Topped with a 4x scope and Butler Creek stock I had left under the Christmas tree for him, he had burned up hundreds of rounds at the range and chased a squirrel or two.

He disappeared into the brush as he headed for the silt filled pond that seemed only to host frogs. Minutes later the first shot rang out, then a couple more and then silence. Maybe he had gotten bored or was busy fetching in frogs.

I went on about my business, working on our barn project and here he came. He said, "I think there is a bullet stuck in the barrel." My first reaction was to look for blood on his face and then look for a demolished receiver and bulged barrel. Nothing visible except the breech bolt pulled back and locked into open position. He explained that he had zeroed in on a nice big frog and when he shot, there was no splash or thud and the frog seemed as though he was content to stay right there. The boy actually put his brain in gear and concluded that nothing had left the barrel even though the gun had fired. He locked the bolt open unloaded the gun and headed for the barn.

I was impressed, to say the least. This is the same kid that misses the school bus and pushes on the "Pull" sign on doors. Wow !

Anyway, I had no cleaning rod with us so the gun would have to be parked for the duration. Upon inspection at home, the bullet was found in the barrel as he expected. It had made it half an inch down the bore leaving plenty of room for the next round to chamber. Apparently, there had been no powder in the case. Personally, I have fired thousands of rimfire rounds and though I have seen problems before, this was a first and no doubt the scariest. In the wrong hands, it could have been a very dangerous situation, if not at least an expensive lesson.

I can't take all the credit for teaching him right. He has passed the "Hunter Safety" course and been exposed to firearms nearly all of his life .

It proves that education works and can prevent accidents. Of course since there was no blood shed, this "Brownie point" won't make the evening news. I did however feel that you might appreciate it and maybe even use it as an example as you help educate the future shooters.

Bill Wade

As I put the finishing touches on the July issue, my wife kicked the printer in to gear and handed me an article she had put together. I could not work it in to that issue but was certain that I wanted it in the next issue.

By Lori Wade

"What's that?" I asked on our first date. Bill had taken me back to the small house he was renting after a somewhat uncomfortable dinner cruise on the Missouri River. (Most first dates have a certain degree of discomfort - it's a rule).

"It's a loading bench," he replied

"What does it do?"

"I use it to reload my own ammunition."

"Is that safe?" I asked.

"Sure," he replied.

"Why is it in your dining room?"

The rest, as they say, is history.

When I met Bill, I was a complete novice when it came to guns. My dad had a shotgun and a .22, but they hung in the back of his closet - he never took them out, never cleaned them, and never shot them. Bill was a different story. "Avid" might come close to describing his attitude toward his hobby.

Before I met Bill, my ideas on gun control ranged from conservative to "guns kill people!" I had dated people who deer hunted, but I never participated - if that was something they felt they needed to do, that was fine, but leave me out of it. I couldn't bear the thought of people killing all of those innocent, furry little creatures (Did I mention that at the time I worked in medical research, "sacrificing" rats and mice for the advancement of medicine?)

I've now watched him clean guns, reload ammunition, practice at the target range, and yes, I went dove hunting with him once. The patience he has had with my ignorance is unflappable. No question I have is too ridiculous to answer. He's taught me safety; he's explained exactly what happens once the trigger is pulled; and he's described the difference between brands of powders, bullets, brass and primers. He's expanded my vocabulary as well as my mind. I now understand that hunting is a necessary part of life.

I am living evidence that the number one enemy of gun enthusiasts is ignorance. I've grown from never having touched a gun and, thanks to the media, thinking that they are the source of the majority of the problems in this country, to having my husband lovingly call me Annie Oakley at the target range when I obliterate a target at 25 yards.

We got past that uncomfortable first date, and rather quickly. Within three months of that evening we were trying to decide on a wedding date.

"I would like to get married in the fall," I said.

"OK, but not in November," he replied.

"Why not?"

"Deer season."


By Ron Roberts

Much has been written over the years about the proper cleaning of guns. Since the advent of smokeless powder and copper jacketed bullets many people have felt that it was not as necessary to give the firearm as good a cleaning as it was with the black powder arms. Let me assure you that nothing could be farther from the truth.

With my black powder rifle I can usually get a clean patch after about 4 or 5 patches. While with my high-powered rifle I will usually use 15 or 20 patches and 30 min. or more to get the gun clean. The reason that the modern rifle is harder to clean can be summed up in one word: COPPER. The wonderful material used on modern bullets has one tiny flaw, it's soft, but then it's not really all the copper's fault either.

The rifling in barrels usually (unless it has been lapped) has tiny imperfections in it, which act like a buzzsaw on the copper jackets as they pass down the bore. The faster we push a bullet the worse the condition gets. As the copper builds up in the bore of the rifle with each shot, the accuracy gets a little worse with each shot. You may not notice it at first, but if you let it build it will only get worse. Many times a gun that won't shoot anymore is not shot out it's just copper fouled so badly that the accuracy is gone. I'm going to tell you how I get the copper out. Some may have there own way but this works for me.

Step 1. Make sure the gun is unloaded. Many people have been shot cleaning a gun.

Step 2. Remove the bolt. If a bolt action. Remember if at all possible clean your gun from the chamber end.

Step 3. Put your rifle in a secure rest. If you haven't got a gun vise, get one, they are worth their weight in gold. Midway Arms has one in their catalog and they are not too high.

Step 4. Get a bottle of Sweets 7.62 cleaner: it has about 5% ammonia and is the best that I have found to cut out the copper fouling.

Step 5. Using a ONE piece cleaning rod ( I emphasize one piece because I don't like jointed ones because a lose joint can ruin the rifling in your bore) put a clean patch on the end of the rod and give it a good coat of Sweets. Run this patch down the bore and pull it off the rod when it comes out the muzzle.

Step 6. Let it set for 10 min. This will give the Sweets time to work on the copper fouling and eat it out. I have left it up to 30 min without any problems.

Step 7. Using a stainless steel Tornado (correction-NYLON or BRONZE) brush I add a little Sweets on it and run it up and down the bore to give it a good cleaning. This may take 20 or 30 passes to do a good job so don't be lazy.

Step 8. Take a clean dry patch and run it down the bore. If there is copper fouling in the bore, the patch will have bright blue on it. Take the patch off when it comes out of the muzzle.

Step 9. Repeat step 8 several times. If after 5 patches you are still getting crud on the patch repeat steps 6,7,and 8.

Step 10. After you have cleaned all the fouling out of the bore use a light oil on a clean patch to coat the bore. (remember to run a dry patch down the bore before you go shooting again.)

Step 11. Wipe the entire gun down with a cloth with light oil sprayed on it. (I use Remington Rem oil in a spray) replace and wipe down bolt.

I hope this helps some of those who have had trouble with copper fouling. Good luck and good shooting.

Bushnell Yardage Pro 800
Laser Rangefinder

By Bill Wade

Yet another new tool that I used at the "Prairie Dog Conference" was the Yardage Pro 800. At first glance, the Yardage Pro line of rangefinders looks like binoculars. They are compact, smooth lined and lightweight. Closer inspection reveals a single eyepiece in the center, a monocular.

Building them similar to binoculars, makes good sense. When you pick them up, they feel familiar and you don't have to go searching for the operating buttons. The 2 operating buttons are positioned to be operated with your index fingers. Other brands that I have seen in catalogs and a brand that I tried one day, seem to have taken their design from camcorders. In a hunting situation, where target acquisition time and ability may be limited, most of us will find ourselves more familiar with a binocular style and size. Pics

The left-hand button sets the Mode and allows you to select one of five targeting modes:
  • Standard - target to 800 yards on moderately reflective targets.
  • Scan - used when there may be several targets or moving targets and refreshes every 10 seconds (while the fire button is pressed).
  • Reflective - for highly reflective targets like signs or reflectors (increased distance capacity)
  • Rain - the system ignores precipitation feedback.
  • Zip Thru - for short distances in brush (115-165 yards)
  • The mode button can also select unit of measure, yards or meters.

    The right-hand button fires the laser at the target you have acquired. Target acquisition is accomplished through the eyepiece, a monocular with a fixed 6-x magnification. Within the monocular is a LCD screen with indicators for the firing Laser, Mode, Target quality, Distance and low Battery. While all of this might sound obtrusive through a monocular, I found the indicators to be easy to read while still allowing a good field of view.

    Now with this being my first prairie dog shooting venture, I was not certain what to expect on shooting distances or the pace at which the shooting would be done.

    Turns out that most of our shooting was done between 100 and 400 yards though this unit is capable of measuring distances twice that.

    The simplest way to describe the shooting pace would be to compare it to a shooting gallery at a carnival. The targets are there and they are scattered at various distances, some might even be moving. Rather than fire a shot and check the distance on the next target, one is very likely to reposition the gun and fire again.

    I mentioned that I used my Elite 4200 scope for a rangefinder and this is why. Because I just could not stop to check the distance for each target or even every other target. Odds in hitting on the first shot with the wind blowing the way it was, were slim to none anyway.

    Using the rangefinder we could check our max distance across the dog town and then have a pretty good idea on distance to targets between us and the max distance.

    I also used the rangefinder to confirm distance on kills and get a general idea for other potential targets that might pop up at any moment in the same vacinity.

    Target acquisition with the rangefinder was a little tricky on prairie dogs but you could usually get a reading from a mound. I tried the rangefinder on elk in Estes Park, and that was pretty slick though I felt guilty looking at these overgrown pets with "hunting equipment".

    My guestimates were pretty darn close and the rangefinder would confirm that. Guestimates don't always work though. A buddy of mine, Ron Roberts, stopped by the farm recently and we were kind of glancing around for shooting lanes that would present good site-in distances should one accidentally build a shooting bench and target range. Ron went to his truck and produced a Yardage Pro 400 and promptly shot down several potential shooting lanes, as they were shorter and longer than we had guessed.

    Which brings up a very good point about rangefinders. They can be used for numerous different projects and situations.

    During you pre-season scouting you could check distances and once a stand is chosen, you can very easily check distances to various landmarks within your shooting lane.

    Setting up for calling coyotes, you could quickly check your distances, before you start calling.

    Bird hunters are not left out either as the rangefinder would be useful for checking distances across ponds or feed lots for dove and other foul.

    Beyond hunting situations, you will find other uses for a rangefinder such as determining how much fencing material to purchase. Even measuring for fertilizer and seed applications could be accomplished quite easily. Sure beats trying to step it off or tape it.

    Though keeping up with technology can drive you crazy, this is one tool that will prove itself worth the money. The Yardage Pro 800 can be bought for under $350 and the 400 yard model brings less than $225

    Visit Bausch and Lomb on the internet.

    Bill Wade

    Tactical Intervention Precision Rifle Accessories
    Copyright 1999 by CenterFire Central
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