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View Full Version : HOW TO USE A TUNER, Part 1



Gene Beggs
01-17-2008, 01:00 AM
Beginning in 2006, NBRSA wisely approved the use of tuners in sanctioned competition, and beginning in 2007, now permits them to be adjusted at the bench so long as the bolt is removed and the shooter remains seated.

This opens up a whole new world to the informed shooter. Think about this. If one uses no-turn cartridges, he can easily load plenty of ammunition to last through an entire match. Time consuming, laborious case prep can be a thing of the past. If one preloads ammunition in a controlled environment with a carefully weighed charge, known to be accurate, he can use that ammunition anywhere, anytime and always be perfectly in tune if,,, and it's a big if,,, a good tuner is installed on the rifle and the shooter knows exactly, how to use it.

I do not know who was the first to use a barrel tuner, but it certainly was not me. I was very skeptical of them when they first appeared. As far as I know, Bill Calfee was responsible for introducing tuners to the rimfire BR shooters, and I believe Jackie Schmidt was the first to use them successfully in centerfire competition.

In recent times, much has been written about tuners and many have experimented with various designs. Some tuners have been somewhat successful, but none proved to be exactly what I was looking for and no two people could agree on how to use them. Everyone seemed to have a different idea about what was going on.

For years, I studied various designs, built and tested several in the tunnel, but only recently, have I perfected what I believe is the best ever. It is simple, lightweight, easy to install and adjust, very predictable and also inexpensive. A large batch is being produced at this time and will be available soon. If you can read a clock and turn a dial, you can quickly learn to use this tuner. And, , if you can monitor density altitude and apply the simple formula I will tell you about later, you can keep your rifle in tune at all times. Sound good? Listen up. ;)

As I have stated many times before, standardization and repeatability are very important. It is also important to keep everything as simple and reliable as possible. I hope this series of articles helps you take full advantage of the tuner rules in 2008.

Before we begin, I would like to remind you that a tuner will not make a hummer out of a bummer nor can it make bad bullets shoot well, but it will enable you to maintain an optimum state of tune throughout the day.

"So how does a tuner work?" you ask. It works by changing the vibration frequency of the barrel. A wind chime is a good example. The longer the tube, the lower the frequency/tone and vice versa. Another good example is a guitar string, especially a steel guitar string. If we place the steel on one of the strings and pluck it with the other hand, it vibrates and produces a tone. If we move the steel fore and aft on the string, the tone rises and falls. A rifle barrel vibrates at its natural frequency when fired, but with a tunner installed, we can raise and lower that frequency at will by moving the tuner fore and aft.

We as shooters need not understand all the details of why and how a barrel vibrates; all we need to know is that the muzzle whips up and down, mostly in the verticle plane, as the bullet travels down the bore. The muzzle slows and comes to a complete stop at the upper and lower limits of its travel. If we time the exit of our bullets to coincide with one or the other of these stops, dispersion is minimized.

Tomorrow, we will continue with, "How To Use A Tuner."

Later,

Gene Beggs

Gene Beggs
01-17-2008, 03:41 PM
Mornin' guys !

Ready to continue with 'How To Use a Tuner?' Good; let me get another cup of coffee and we will get right to it.

We will not go into the details of my tuner design here; that is not necessary but I can tell you the best way to think of it. Think of the tuner as a focus ring attached to the muzzle. It has a bright colored vertical stripe at the twelve o'clock position that can be rotated to any position of the clock and is clearly visible from where the shooter sits. There are no engraved marks on the face of the clock, but you would not have any trouble placing the pointer at three or nine o'clock; would you? Of course not, and you could also accurately split that in half and place the pointer at four-thirty or seven-thirty; right? Okay, so when we dial in a setting on the tuner we will refer to it in clock positions. We can also use the term, half turn, quarter turn, eighth turn and so on. Whichever you prefer is fine; I use both.

Let's say we have our block of twenty cartridges loaded with our pet load and bullets seated where we know the rifle shoots best. Before leaving the loading area, we place the tuner in the 'zero' position by screwing it all the way in and then backing it off one revolution, placing the reference mark in the twelve o'clock position. We go to the line for the first match of the day and after a couple of fouling shots and maybe a scope adjustment to get the rifle printing where we want, we are ready to see whether or not we are 'in tune.'

We fire a couple of carefully aimed sighters in the same condition and discover, much to our surprise, that they go into the same hole. We fire a third shot to verify and satisfied with that, begin concentrating on conditions. We now know the rifle is in tune and can concentrate on getting those five record shots downrange into the same hole. But you and I know, it is seldom that easy; don't we? Yep,, the rifle will seldom be in perfect tune and we usually must make one or more tuner adjustments to arrive at the correct setting. Here's how we do it.

Let's say the first two shots did not go exactly in the same hole; they showed a little verticle, but not what we judge to be off more than maybe a quarter turn. But,,,, which way do we go; a quarter turn clockwise or a quarter turn counterwise? :rolleyes: Who cares? The worst we can do is go the wrong way in which case we will recognize it immediately, make a half turn in the opposite direction and we will be in tune. :D If we had gone the correct way to begin with, we would recognize the in-tune condition. If you must verify that you are in tune, go ahead and fire two or three more sighters and you're ready to go for record.

Through trial and error and experimenting with different weights and threads, I have found the range of my tuner to be exactly one revolution. In other words, if you had enough threads on the barrel to rotate the tuner through say, four or five revolutions, you would encounter an in-tune position every 360 degrees. Think about it for a moment and you will realize that this also means that you cannot possibly be more than a half turn out of tune regardless of the day, time, density altitude, phase of the moon or whatever. You can quickly and easily locate the node with quarter turn adjustments, but once you get there, you can sometimes improve accuracy slightly by making an eighth of a turn in one direction or the other. Which way? Same as with our initial adjustment; if you go the wrong way dispersion increases and vice versa.

Once we arrive at the optimum tuner setting, we record it and density altitude. Once this benchmark is established, it will not be necessary to repeat the procedure during subsequent matches of the day.


Okay, we have time for a couple of questions and we will call it a day.

Question 1. So Beggs,,,, let's say we have gone through this procedure and found the benchmark you mentioned, but that will work for only one density altitude. What do we do if the DA goes up; do we go in, out, up, down, sideways or what?"

Answer: We will get into that in lesson three.


Question 2. "Will this procedure work with ALL tuners?"

Answer: I don't know, but I assure you, it will work with my tuner.


Okay, enough for today. We will continue tomorrow with part 3.


Later,


Gene Beggs

bryan
01-17-2008, 06:47 PM
Gene: I don't want to hold you up here, but before Part 3 starts, I need to bone up on Density Altitude. Several years ago I messed with it using an altimiter, thermometer, and a Koch Chart. I ended up getting very confused. Is there an easier method? Maybe a little bit of explanation in layman's terms is in order, or just a better explanation of how a Koch Chart works? I'm sure you can Pilot us in the right direction.
Bryan

Don Nielson
01-17-2008, 07:02 PM
Your getting as bad as that kathy guy. What magazine are you going to write for? Pumpkin

Bill Myers
01-17-2008, 07:43 PM
Gene,You are agood friend,so i hope you do not get upset,But you are not even close,The reason that i can say this is because i have been doing this for 10 years & what you are saying will not work,The DA meter will only give you enough information to get your ass beat,I used a meter for 5 years & shot at every club on the east coast,you could not repeat it at the same club 2 days in a row,I have all the Data from 5 yeatrs of shooting & none of it is repeatable,You only need to tune the barrel to itself,lock the tuner & shoot,if its in perfect tune ,it will not drift out,but if only close ,it will need to be tweaked every day,you can not beat experience.You will find this ,but it will take a while, BILL

Big Al
01-17-2008, 08:10 PM
Mr. Beggs, I guess that once a tuner is set and working at that particular density altitude, then one should be able to just return to that setting any old day for the same results? As long as the density altitude is the same. Now that sounds to me like you have something with verifiable or scientific proof. Is this the case?

It is easy enough to find the density altitude with a U-tube manometer reading in millibars.

I would like to see what happens on paper as a lower pressure front comes on to the range and there is a drop in pressure. And the change needed in your setting.

It really does sound as if you have something that must show verifiable results.

Chisolm
01-17-2008, 08:27 PM
Your getting as bad as that kathy guy. What magazine are you going to write for? Pumpkin

:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

Ok, seriously Gene I do appreciate the information you're posting.
James

Gene Beggs
01-17-2008, 09:01 PM
Gene: I don't want to hold you up here, but before Part 3 starts, I need to bone up on Density Altitude. Several years ago I messed with it using an altimiter, thermometer, and a Koch Chart. I ended up getting very confused. Is there an easier method? Maybe a little bit of explanation in layman's terms is in order, or just a better explanation of how a Koch Chart works? I'm sure you can Pilot us in the right direction.
Bryan

Bryan, without a sensitive altimeter, I know of no way to determine pressure altitude. To determine pressure altitude, you set 29.92, which is standard barometric pressure in the window, the altimeter then reads pressure altitude. Density altitude is nothing more than pressure altitude corrected for non standard temperature. I know of no better, more convenient way to do this than by using the Kestrel 4000 hand-held device.

Gene Beggs

Gene Beggs
01-17-2008, 09:16 PM
Your getting as bad as that kathy guy. What magazine are you going to write for? Pumpkin

Hi Don, nice to hear from you. I expected you to have a contract out on me by now for promoting no-neck-turn chambers. :D Don't worry my friend, there will always be plenty of demand for your neck-turning tools. :cool:

Me? Write for a magazine? Yeah, I guess I could do that, but I feel I am reaching a greater number of those that I am targeting here on BR Central; besides, posting here on the forum is easier and less expensive than mailing manuscripts to an editor and waiting two months for it to be published. Also, you get almost instant feedback from the readers. Discussion is very helpful in working things out.

Hope all is well. Congratulations on your fine shooting in long-range BR.

Later,

Gene Beggs

Charles E
01-17-2008, 09:28 PM
Let's not further co-opt the English language. Tuner is a generic term; we also call devices "tuners" that an adapt a barrel to (more or less) any load -- like a BOSS.

Since your tuner has a particular and limited purpose -- something like "maintaining a benchrest tune for an existing load with varying atmospheric conditions" -- it needs an adjective. We could call it the "Begg's Tuner." That time will see this shortened to a "Begger" is probably unavoidable. (No disrespect intended.)

Gene Beggs
01-17-2008, 09:54 PM
Gene,You are agood friend,so i hope you do not get upset,But you are not even close,The reason that i can say this is because i have been doing this for 10 years & what you are saying will not work,The DA meter will only give you enough information to get your ass beat,I used a meter for 5 years & shot at every club on the east coast,you could not repeat it at the same club 2 days in a row,I have all the Data from 5 yeatrs of shooting & none of it is repeatable,You only need to tune the barrel to itself,lock the tuner & shoot,if its in perfect tune ,it will not drift out,but if only close ,it will need to be tweaked every day,you can not beat experience.You will find this ,but it will take a while, BILL

Hi Bill, thanks for the feedback; nice to hear from you. Me, get upset? Nah,, the older I get the more patient I become. Actually, I love it when others question me because there is no better way to completely master something than by trying to teach it to someone else.

Sorry to hear you did not have much luck with the DA meter thing. Without going over your notes and discussing them with you in detail, I would have no way of knowing where you went wrong. Perhaps the problem was with the instrument you were using. Physics are physics and DA calculations are reliable and well understod by the aviation community; a target rifle operates in the same environment. But you may be right; I may be spittin' into the wind. I guess we will just have to wait and see.

By the way, I use those cleaning rods you made for me everyday in the tunnel; they are my favorites. I use them in conjunction with one of T.K. Nollan's "Barrel Saver' rod guides. That combination can't be beat!

Keep in touch, I have great respect for your knowledge and skills.

Later,

Gene Beggs

Gene Beggs
01-17-2008, 10:21 PM
Mr. Beggs, I guess that once a tuner is set and working at that particular density altitude, then one should be able to just return to that setting any old day for the same results? As long as the density altitude is the same. Now that sounds to me like you have something with verifiable or scientific proof. Is this the case?

It is easy enough to find the density altitude with a U-tube manometer reading in millibars.

I would like to see what happens on paper as a lower pressure front comes on to the range and there is a drop in pressure. And the change needed in your setting.

It really does sound as if you have something that must show verifiable results.

Al, physics are physics and if one can accurately determine density altitude, the same tuner setting should repeat from one day to the next. My friend Bill Meyers says he did not find this to be true and at one time I would have also said, "It can't be done" but after spending several days with Ralph Stewart in the tunnel testing this very thing, I now know it can be done.

As you know, a rapid change in barometric pressure and/or temperature results in a significant change in density altitude. If such a change occurs during a match and we fail to detect it, our rifle will be thrown completely out of tune. I have found that a change in DA of as little as 500 feet makes a noticeable difference on the target and a change of 1000 feet throws the rifle completely out of tune.

Yes,, 2008 is going to be an interesting year in more ways than one.

Later,

Gene Beggs

Bill Myers
01-17-2008, 10:26 PM
Gene,I am pleased that you are useing my rods,If for whatever reason,you have a problem with them,send it back,they are guaranteed for life,everything that i build has a lifetime warranty,T K told me that my rods were overkill,I said yes,thats the way i do things.Maybe you are better than i am at this Density meter thing,All i know is ,i can keep my Rifles shooting if i do not do any thing stupid,I have not moved the tuner one my heavy gun in 2 years.. BILL

Gene Beggs
01-17-2008, 10:50 PM
Let's not further co-opt the English language. Tuner is a generic term; we also call devices "tuners" that an adapt a barrel to (more or less) any load -- like a BOSS.

Since your tuner has a particular and limited purpose -- something like "maintaining a benchrest tune for an existing load with varying atmospheric conditions" -- it needs an adjective. We could call it the "Begg's Tuner." That time will see this shortened to a "Begger" is probably unavoidable. (No disrespect intended.)

Charles, I love your sense of humor !! :D :D I have been wracking my brain trying to come up with something to call this thing, but Beggs' Tuner is about all I could come up with. You're right, it needs something to distinguish it from other designs; maybe something like, "Beggs' Nose Ring" or "Beggs' Double Donut" and with the 2 liter soft drink bottle installed for cleaning, it could even be called the,,,,well,,, never mind. :D :D

Later

Gene Beggs

mike in co
01-18-2008, 12:23 AM
gene,
i have a 22 rimfire article on the 4000 plus tuner (by hoehn) written by john gammuto( june 1995,shooters news).
if you are interested....

mike in co

BigMacky
01-18-2008, 04:52 AM
gene,
i have a 22 rimfire article on the 4000 plus tuner (by hoehn) written by john gammuto( june 1995,shooters news).
if you are interested....

mike in co

Hey Mike,

I'd be interested in reading that article. Any way I can get a copy?

All,

I have tried my hand at monitoring DA (and AD) to see what effect it has on "Rimfire" Benchrest. It "LOOKS" like there is a cause and effect but unfortunately I haven't been able to gather enough data under "controlled conditions" to draw any conclusions. I use a "Brunton ADC Pro" and a "James Cockrell Air Density Meter" sold here in the classifieds. Both give me the same readings but I find Jame's Meter the easiesr to use.

My "playing" with AD was more along the lines of changing ammo speed when AD (or DA) changed. Remember this is rimfire .... no playing with loads.

Keep it coming Bill and Gene. I'm a rookie at this stuff. You guys have the experience and are willing to openly discuss it ... that can't do anything but help us new guys. I'm a firm believer that there is "physics" behind "everything" that we see in Rimfire ... there are just times when we haven't yet figured out everything that is "causing" the "effect". Hey ... that's why they are called the "LAWS OF PHYSICS"

Thanks guys .... Fred (aka BM)

Gene Beggs
01-18-2008, 08:46 AM
gene,
i have a 22 rimfire article on the 4000 plus tuner (by hoehn) written by john gammuto( june 1995,shooters news).
if you are interested....

mike in co

Thank you Mike, but no thanks.

Gene Beggs

Dingo
01-19-2008, 10:24 PM
Gene ,your work on the tuner sounds great, as you have perfect conditions to work with in the tunnel
I have been working with both the 220 & 6MM Beggs both look very good!
Can I get 2 FLS dies for the Beggs when they come from Lonie
Regards
Robin