It’s been a little while since I was able to give you an update on the business. Being an accountant, my wife is taking over some of the financial matters of the business so “I” has become “we”. We were finally able to lease some commercial space that we will use to get our Federal Firearms License. We confidently mailed in our application today.
It may not have seemed like much to you, but the business each of you gave us over the last year really added up. We’ve been able to buy inventory which we take to the Washington Arms Collectors gun shows about once a month and also list for sale on our website. We’ve invested some of the profits to redesign our modest website; we know it still needs some improvements, but we’re getting there. Most recently, we’ve leased commercial space in Tukwila, WA from where we will get our FFL. None of this would have been possible without your support.
We know you didn’t have to give us your business. We know it was a deliberate choice on your part to support our young, burgeoning business. For that, we sincerely thank you.
We hope to be able to give you some great news soon; we could be buying/selling firearms as soon as 60 to 120 days from now. Until then, our current inventory is posted here and it is updated every few weeks with the new items we buy. If there is anything you need or that you would like my help picking out, please let me know.
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Without having an extra barrel to mount up this first review will be a little brief and will focus on the kit and my initial impressions. The kit comes rolled up in a canvas pouch with everything needed to customize the kit into a number of various configurations. Rolling open the kit reminded me of the many action movie scenes I’ve seen when someone rolls out their super compact tool roll-up to reveal the knives, lock picks, etc. that were needed. I realize it’s just a canvas roll-up, and maybe I’m easily impressed sometimes, but I like it. The upper is very solidly built and exudes quality.
In order to get a somewhat measureable idea of the machined tolerances I took apart my home defense AR and snapped the COP upper on. It was a very tight fit, perhaps the tightest fitting upper I’ve ever snapped onto a lower. After a few light taps into place the upper snapped in just fine and because of the tight tolerances showed absolutely no perceivable wiggle or slop with the lower receiver I had mated it with. I take this as a very good sign of things to come and while it was a little tight on assembly, the tightness of fit should lead to more reliable feeding and even increased accuracy when I add a barrel and optic to this upper.
In the kit come the Torx wrench needed for final assembly as well as a special barrel wrench that is needed because of the monolithic upper/forend configuration. The barrel wrench looks to be of high quality, more like something that you’d find in a gunsmith’s tool box and much less like the one time use tools that come in some kits I’ve seen. I mentioned the COP kit offered customization and that primarily comes from the ability to add any of three different rails to each side of the kit. The rails included are each 8.25” (or about 21 cm) in length. The full length Picatinny rail inserts have laser engraved T-markings starting at 18 and going to 36. Two of the Picatinny rail inserts have sling a sling socket at each end. There are three combination Picatinny/smooth rail inserts. A little over half of these inserts is smooth for better gripping the rifle and the last portion is Picatinny rails; one of these combination inserts has a sling socket built in. The last three inserts are smooth for the whole length and in my estimation would decrease the overall thickness of the forend section by 0.5” or more. The smooth sided inserts would make sense for someone who will only mount optics on the top rail and needs as much of the forend for grip as possible. One of the smooth inserts has a sling socket built in.
I look forward to building this AR-15 COP Upper Kit into a complete upper and taking it to the range. Thus far I can definitively say that the COP Kit is unique in its design with the interchangeable forend inserts and I think that the added rigidity of the monolithic upper/forend system is an exciting addition to the AR-15 platform.
Thank you to Aero Precision for providing the COP Kit for review. For more info on Aero Precision products check out their site: AeroPrecisionUSA.com. I will likely be carrying much of the Aero Precision line of products in the near future. Please stay tuned!
NRA Long Range Nationals – Day 4 & 5 Range Report
The fourth day of the NRA Long Range National Championships is the Palma individual match and the last day of the individual competition. The Palma match is 15 shots for score at each of 800, 900, and 1000 yards (two sighter/practice shots are allowed at each yard line). During Palma matches the competitors shoot similar rifles: all the rifles are either .223 or .308 caliber, have aperture/iron sights (non-telescopic sights), and are shot from a sling (no artificial front or rear support is allowed). Of course there are additional rules, but that covers most of it. In international Palma matches the bullets are limited to being less than 156 grains in weight, so many shoot 155 grain bullets in Palma matches whether international or here in the US. Myself and a number of others shot Palma rifles throughout the entire long range championships, and there is a trophy for the highest scoring competitor using a Palma rifle for all 4 days of shooting. On the fifth day the Palma match is shot again, but this time with 4 person teams.
The fourth day started with a 10-12 mph wind coming out of the NW. The velocity was relatively constant but it quickly changed angle going from less than a half value wind all the way to almost a full value wind. This proved for some difficult conditions. Since we shoot the same target at 800, 900, and 1000 yards, the X ring is 1.25 MOA at 800 yards and just 1 MOA at 1000 yards. I shot a 150-12X at 800 yards meaning all 15 shots were inside the 20” 10 ring and 12 of those were inside the smaller 10” X ring. The wind stayed much the same for the rest of the day and I struggled to stay on top of it, dropping a total of 12 points at the 900 and 1000 yards lines. To put this in perspective, in the 80 shots of the match fired at 1000 yards in the first 3 days of competition I had dropped just 6 points. In just 30 shots during the Palma match I doubled that. It wasn’t a complete train wreck, but it wasn’t the sort of stellar performance I would have needed to win the Palma rifle division of the championships. The 438 I scored in the Palma individual match put me into 3rd place in the Palma rifle division and 14th overall in the national championships. Scoring just 4 points higher with a 442 would have put me in 1st place for Palma rifle and 5th overall. The day wasn’t all bad news though, I got to the range a few minutes late and was assigned my firing point almost dead last so I ended up in a pocket of 7 shooters all by ourselves about 50 firing points away from the other shooters. In that group, shooting at the same time as me was none other than David Tubb. I spent much of the day chatting with David and that was a real treat. David Tubb is likely one of the best rifleman to have ever lived.
At the awards ceremony I found out that while I had not won anything in the grand aggregate, I did win one of the smaller aggregates, the Sierra Trophy which is an aggregate of two of the 1000 yard matches. I was very excited to have won the Sierra Trophy as I’ve been shooting Sierra bullets exclusively in competition for years. Sierra has been very supportive of my shooting and I couldn’t be happier with their bullets so winning the Sierra Trophy was very special.
The fifth day started with a head wind fishtailing from 10:00 over to about 12:30. This is a very difficult condition and the scores reflect this. I shared the coaching duties of a US National Team with Bryan Litz (yes, the Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics, LLC). That means I coached him and one other shooter, while he coached me and the fourth shooter. We had a hard time figuring out a good strategy for staying on top of the wind until getting some good advice from Emil Praslick III, head coach of the US National Rifle Team and the US Army Marksmanship Unit. He encouraged us to use a second scope to look into the wind looking for the mirage to boil so that we could be certain of the direction and its changes. Initially this seemed impossible as we didn’t have any extra people to have looking at the mirage, but Bryan and I conceived a method for getting two scopes onto a single scope stand so that the coach could pull double duty. After some experimenting the method proved very effective, but it was too little too late.
I saw a familiar wind from the west when I got to the 1000 yard range at Camp Perry today. It’s the same sort of wind I’ve seen there many times in years past. Grey clouds were looming in the distance over Lake Erie threatening rain. I shot on the second relay in a typically full-value wind from the west which gave about 65”-75” of bullet drift. Full-value means the wind was perpendicular to the path of the bullet. I was particularly excited to shoot a 200-13X in that wind for a few reasons. Primarily, it was the first 200 (a perfect score) I’ve ever shot at 1000 yards with a Palma rifle. A Palma rifle is what you see above in the picture of me shooting; it’s a .308 bolt action rifle shot from a sling with iron (aperture) sights. Additionally, it wasn’t a particularly easy condition to shoot; the next highest score on my relay was a 198. Lastly, I set a new national match record with the 200-13X! Wow! After the pit change the wind changed and relay 3 shot in a half-value wind from the northwest and relay 4 shot had a few conditions ranging from that northwest wind to an almost no wind condition.
Since today was a repeat of yesterday we shot another 4 person team match at 1000 yards. I was coaching the same United States Army Reserve (USAR) team which was lots of fun. They are a great bunch of guys and they had me asking them questions about the reserves by the end of the day. The wind switched around again and again during the team match. For two shooters there was a head wind that was switching between coming from 1 o’clock and 11 o’clock. It gave about 20” bullet drift one way to about 20” the other way. For the next two shooters there was a full value wind from the east worth anywhere from 25” to 55” of bullet drift and it was a little more difficult to read. I got caught a few times by some pickups that were very subtle. We did our best to stay in the middle and bested our score from yesterday. We had another 200 on the team and a few other very high scores. The guys invited me back to their trailer for a bit and presented me with a USAR Rifle Team hat, a hat only given to the rifle team members. I felt quite honored and was very glad to have made some new friends. This is a good time to mention one of my favorite parts about shooting at Camp Perry and shooting in general. I could not count the number of folks I’ve met and become friends with at these events. If you’re looking for a reason to get into the shooting sports I could think of quite a few, but the great folks you’ll meet along the way is at the top of the list.
The 200-13X got me into the shoot off so I wasn’t done after the team match. I got my gear together and got ready to shoot 13 more shots. I got down on the line and, unfortunately, just didn’t shoot all that well. I didn’t shoot awful, but this is nationals so I had to shoot perfect. I didn’t win this shoot off. I wasn’t the “Top Shot” today, but you can’t wipe the smile off my face from shooting that 200-13X in the wind and setting a new national match record with it. I’ll post a picture of my data book below with the plot because I couldn’t get a shot of the target. Not that it matters a whole lot, but my four sighting shots were also 10s and Xs .
Tomorrow is the Palma individual match which consists of 15 shots each at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. That is the final stage in the individual NRA Long Range Nationals. The final day of shooting is the 14th, it also happens to be my birthday, and we’ll be shooting a 4 person team match through that same Palma course of fire.
NRA Long Range Nationals – Day 2 Range Report
Today started with a lower velocity wind coming out of the south east. We shot 20 shots at 1000 yards as individuals then teamed up for a four man team match, again with 20 shots for each shooter. I shot fine in the morning getting a 198-5X; the winning score on my relay was a 198-10X I think. It was very hard to see the target first thing in the morning. The south eastern wind was only worth 30”-45” of bullet drift (that’s about half of yesterday’s wind). In general the scores were a little lower today because the wind was a little trickier. While it was relatively constant in velocity, it changed direction quickly and subtly. That’s enough to give even the best shooters a 9 here and there. I don’t think there were any 200s shot with Palma rifles in the individual portion of the match today.
Right before the start of the team match the wind switched around and started coming from the north east with roughly the same velocity. I’m coaching a team made up of shooters from the United States Army Reserve team. Some of them are US Rifle Team members, and past Palma team members, really a bunch of great shooters. In a team match the coach is responsible to call the wind for each shot. Comparing this to a sniper – spotter setup the coach is the spotter and makes all the adjustments on the sights before giving the shooter the command to shoot. I did pretty good for the most part and kept my shooters in the middle the best I could. I was particularly excited to have coached one of the shooters to a perfect 200! I was really focused on the wind and hadn’t really been paying attention to the points so it was a few minutes after the fact that I looked at the score card and realized we’d literally kept them all in the center; man that’s a great feeling!
Tomorrow is a repeat of today with another 20 shots at 1000 for individual and then a 4 man team match. After that the Palma match is up next. Stay tuned for more!
After 2 years away I’ve returned to the NRA Long Range Nationals at Camp Perry hoping to have lots of fun and shoot well. When I saw the wind coming from the East I was initially a little worried that it could be a wild day as from my memory of Camp Perry a relatively consistent wind from the West is the norm. The Eastern wind was actually pretty consistent today and there were some very good score shot. I’ve got some pictures down at the bottom that show this Eastern wind.
A little background is in order so you can follow the rest of this range report. When shooting at long range the biggest variable the shooter must correctly account for is typically wind. Knowing this it makes sense that someone shooting in less severe wind could end up with a higher score than perhaps even a much better shooter who shoots in more severe wind conditions. Because of this, in order to win a trophy match at the NRA LR Nationals you have to win twice; you must first win your relay by having the highest score when compared to those who shot at the same time as you, then you must win the shoot off where you shoot against the top shooters from the other relays. This prevents someone from winning simply because they shot in an easier condition.
I shot my first 20 shot string at 1000 yards and scored a 198-9X out of a possible 200-20X. That means I had 9 shots inside a the 10” X ring, 9 shots in the 20” 10 ring, and 2 shots in the 30” 9 ring. The wind was a little tricky, but as it turned out I had tied another shooter for the high score on our relay. I originally was not listed for the shoot off and I asked what tie break was used because I was simply curious. A few minutes later the referee came by and told me I was in the shoot off after all because I had the high score on the relay, the tie didn’t matter. I shot my second string next and the wind was trickier still starting with about 75” of drift and decreasing to about 50” at the end. I lost track of the wind at one point and shot an 8 making my total for the second string a 198-11X. That wasn’t good enough for the 2nd shoot off.
The shoot off consists of 3 practice shots and 10 shots for score. The shoot offs are made more spectator friendly and many competitors gather around and watch as the trophies are won and lost. I reminded myself I was here to have fun, said a quick prayer, and got ready to shoot. I was focused. I only looked at my own target and I was very careful on my wind calls and on my shot execution. I finished, put my gear away slowly and got off the line to see my score keeper giving me a thumbs up! I had shot a 100-5X and everyone else had already dropped at least one point so I had won! This first match was sponsored by Remington I believe (psst Remington, I’ve always wanted a Remington 700…) and I’ll get a plaque and my picture taken with the trophy. This was a fun first day of the competition, I’m very glad to be able to shoot for Team Sinclair and I can’t help but smile when God’s blessed me with such a fun talent as shooting!
Many have asked: What type of ear plugs does Kelly Bachand wear on Top Shot All Stars? I wear a custom molded ear plug that exactly fits my inner ear and provides a great level of protection. When I’m teaching classes I often wear those ear plugs and a set of electronic ear muffs so that I am well protected and so that I can hear what my students are saying easily. The electronic ear muffs block louder noises and amplify the more quiet noises. If you’d like the same level of protection please check out these ear plugs and ear muffs I sell in my online store:
Custom molded earplugs kit
Radians Blue/White Kit – Radians Tan Kit
Electronic ear muffs
SmartReloader Black – SmartReloader Red -
Pro Ears Zombie – Radians Camo – Pro Ears Black
Peltor Tactical Sport – Pro Ears Pink Pro – Pro Ears Black Pro – Peltor Tactical Pro