I covered a few new firearms in Part 4 of my 2019 SHOT Show After Action Report. There were several firearms related accessories that I came across during my days at SHOT 2019.
Kestrel Ballistics is a sub-brand of Nielsen-Kellerman, the manufacturer of Kestrel weather meters, which encompasses the product line that addresses the needs of shooters.
Kestrel weather meters have been a unique tool for long range shooters for the past couple of decades. In the early to mid-2000s, Kestrel meters were used as wind reading and environmental condition reading tools. Then Kestrel meters slowly evolved into more advanced ballistics tools as precision shooters realized the value of weather meters to make long range hits on target.
Kestrel Ballistics had three new products being promoted at this year’s SHOT Show.
The first new product is the Kestrel 2700 Ballistic Weather Meter. This unit a more affordable model coming in at $179, which is significantly less expensive than the higher tier Kestrel units.
The 2700 Ballistic Weather Meter has a built-in ballistics solver with both G1 and G7 data and measures wind speed, wind direction, temperature, and air pressure (altitude). I was looking at a chart that Kestrel had on their greeter desks which indicated that the 2700 does not have density altitude readings. I grabbed a product catalog and it also reflects that same information.
The lack of Density Altitude (DA) readings does not mean the 2700 is not going to be functional as a ballistics tool. Air pressure and temperature are the primary factors that affect bullet flight, which the 2700 does measure. But DA readings do come in handy for those who have dope charts or tables already pre-printed for various DA increments.
But at $179 MSRP, the Kestrel 2700 Ballistic Weather Meter does give the core ballistics solver based on actual conditions along with a wind meter, which makes it a solid product at an entry level price point.
Kestrel also released the Ruger Kestrel 5700 Ballistic Weather Meter, which is basically a Ruger branded and focused version of their standard 5700 meter. But the Ruger Kestrel 5700 is pre-loaded with Ruger rifle and ammunition combinations.
This is obviously a products oriented towards Ruger Precision Rifle owners. As far as questioning the actual need for this product, I speculate Kestrel was contracted by Ruger to produce this model. The Ruger Kestrel 5700 is the same price as the original Kestrel 5700 with an MSRP of $399.
The third new product from Kestrel is the Kestrel HUD.
The Kestrel HUD is basically a mountable screen for a Kestrel (5700), that will display data from the Kestrel. Mounting a Kestrel on the side of a rifle platform is already a use case seen in matches and in the field. But the HUD provides a much larger screen to display more data and also allows the actual Kestrel unit to remain in a better position for wind reading (e.g. weather vane).
But a key feature of the Kestrel HUD is the ability to tie into a laser rangefinder. If the operator had a rifle mounted laser rangefinder that is compatible with the Kestrel HUD, it would be connected via cable to the HUD and the HUD would provide immediate adjustment (elevation, windage) for the ranged target based on the Kestrel metered conditions and the ballistics data entered.
The MSRP for the Kestrel HUD is $399 with the version that comes with the cable for laser rangefinder connectivity will MSRP for $589. This is an interesting product for the hardcore long range shooter.
As a Masterpiece Arms BA Competition Chassis owner, I did stop by the MPA booth to see the new wares.
What you see in the above photo is actually an F-Class front rest rider.
The intent of the design is to attach to the forend of any MPA chassis on the standard MPA mount points. This provides the ability to maximize the tracking of a Masterpiece Arms chassis equipped rifle on a front rest for maximum consistency necessary in F-Class. From what I understand, this particular accessory is still being refined.
The one new product that MPA has ready for purchase (albeit with a lead-time for actual production after ordering) is the MPA BA Ultra Lite Chassis.
The MPA BA Ultra Lite Chassis weighs in at only 2.5 lbs and still retains adjustable length of pull and an adjustable cheekpiece, along with the capability to add the various MPA accessories including Arca-Swiss dovetail compatible clamps.
This is a very attractive option for those looking to build a lightweight rifle using a chassis system.
The one MPA accessory that I am going to purchase is the cheekpiece retro-fit kit.
The above photo shows the new quick detach capability of their new cheekpiece mechanism. With this new system, the operator can remove the cheekpiece from the chassis so that a cleaning rod can be run through the bore without having to lower the cheekpiece completely. The quick detach cheekpiece is retained in the chassis with rare earth magnets so there is virtually no chance of the cheekpiece coming out without deliberate intent.
Since I have a fixed (non-folding) MPA BA Competition chassis, I have to lower the cheekpiece all the way down to the cleaning rod to clear the cheekpiece. The problem with this is that I have to run the cheekpiece back up to position which can get annoying.
This sounds like a first-world problem, but I would certainly like to fix it since MPA’s now has a way to alleviate the issue. To get the quick detach cheekpiece capabilities, MPA will be selling a user installable retrofit kit for existing MPA chassis systems. From what Phil Cashin indicated to me at SHOT 2019, the kit should be around $30 give or take.
Magnetospeed has been branching out into other shooting products outside of their popular Magnetospeed Sporter and V3 chronograph systems. While the T1000 target hit indicator light has been out for some time now, Magnetospeed is releasing a smaller unit dubbed the T250.
Designed for smaller steel targets, the T250 will attach to the back of a steel plate and function just like a T1000 in terms lighting up whenever the target is hit. The T250 is actually designed for shorter range usage and is visible to the naked eye within 150 yards or so. With a magnified optic, this visibility of the light indicators is all dependent on the glass.
Magnetospeed also designed game modes within the T250 so that you can have dueling games to help train. For instance, you can have multiple steel targets with T250 units attached, and see who can light up / turn off all the targets first, like a dueling tree.
No price was established at the time of SHOT 2019, but Magnetospeed is trying to get the T250 priced around half the cost of the T1000, which lists at $150.
Magnetospeed also showed off their own barrel cooling product dubbed the RifleKuhl. The RifleKuhl is similar to the other fan-based barrel coolers on the market and is inserted in the chamber of the rifle via the ejection port, and a fan is activated to blow air through the barrel out the muzzle.
I actually bought a BarrelCool a couple years ago, which is a similar product that I have seen in use at F-Class matches that I have attended. But I never even took it out of the packaging and it has been sitting in a cabinet. This is not to say that I do not see value in these devices, but more to indicate that I actually do not have any first hand usage experience of these devices.
The RifleKuhl has an MSRP of $59.99, which is a bit more expensive than some of other barrel cooling devices out there. I am willing to acquire one of these units since I will have a decent opportunity to compare it against my existing (new in the packaging) BarrelCool unit.
In Part 4 of the After Action Report I mentioned the Desert Tech SRS-A2. While this has been the go to bullpup bolt action precision rifle on the market, MK Machining is about to cut into Desert Tech’s customer base significantly with the release of a bullpup chassis for Remington 700 pattern actions.
The MK Machining MK2 Remington 700 SA Bullpup Chassis is going to be an ambidextrous chassis system that will be compatible with AICS-style magazines with fully adjustable length of pull and cheekpiece. The forend section includes an Arca-Swiss compatible dovetail and M-LOK slots.
The key component with the MK2 bullpup chassis is the custom Timney Calvin Elite single-stage trigger. The MK2 will come with the trigger because it will have a proprietary trigger bar necessary to reach back to the receiver (since the receiver/action is offset to the rear of the chassis/stock).
The anticipated MSRP of the MK Machining MK2 Bullpup Chassis will be $2000. While this does sound expensive compared to other stocks and chassis systems on the market, there are a couple factors to consider.
One is that this is a chassis compatible with the Remington 700 short action footprint. Virtually any Remington 700 pattern barreled action should drop right into this chassis and be ready to go. So theoretically, if you wanted to reduce the form factor of your existing 700 pattern action rifle for hunting or other field scenario, you could swap it into the MK2 and then swap it back afterwards.
The second item to consider is that the chassis does include a custom Calvin Elite trigger and that Calvin Elite triggers MSRP for $230.
So while $2000 is not a trivial amount of money, the fact that this bullpup chassis works with commodity actions makes it a very intriguing solution for those who already own a Remington 700 (or clone). Granted, if you are buying your first bolt action rifle and want a bullpup, then going directly to the Desert Tech platform is probably more feasible.
I think the MK Machining MK2 Bullpup Chassis will definitely attract attention on the outset and those who truly understand the actual value of this chassis will be first adopters. I do believe that MK Machining will need to figure out ways to get the price point lower for the general consumer in order for wider acceptance.
Speaking of Timney Triggers, I ran into Reanna Kadic aka 3gunreanna.
I have actually been following @3gunreanna on IG for awhile because I am a huge advocate of youth participation in shooting sports. The younger generation needs to be a focus for the industry in order to maintain the shooting sports.
That wraps up Part 5 of my SHOT Show After Action Report. To read Part 6 or any other parts of my 2019 SHOT Show After Action Report, refer to the 2019 SHOT Show After Action Report index page (Part 0).