June 29th, 2008

Hall Dominates IBS 600-Yard Nationals

The 2008 IBS 600-yard Nationals concluded Saturday at Oak Ridge, TN. Many of the nation’s top shooters were there, including multiple world record-holders. Sam Hall was the big winner at the match. He took the Two-Gun Grand Agg, while winning Heavy Gun (HG) group Agg., HG score Agg., and Light Gun (LG) Score Agg. As Greg Seigmund said, Sam “tore the place down.” Glen Sterling shot well to finish second in the Two-Gun Grand. Richard Schatz compiled an impressive 2.242″ average to win Light Gun Group Aggregate. Richard’s Dasher really performed — three of his eight LG targets were mid-inch: 1.395″, 1.473″, and 1.736″. Joel Kendrick shot the small LG group of the match, an 0.984″, but Sam Hall wasn’t far behind, with a 1.089″ on his third target.

CLICK HERE for Complete Match Results (438kb .pdf file). Equipment lists are found on pp. 9-11.

Hammerin’ Hall Talks About the Nationals
After the match, Sam gave us the details of his impressive win: “First off, I would like to thank Larry Sparks, Dave Tooley, Greg Seigmund, Larry Isenhour, Steve Shelp and everyone else that helped out to put on the match. They all did a great job. It was run very well and smoothly. Everyone I talked to said they had a really great time. I really enjoyed meeting all the guys from other states I had heard about and read about. Everyone I talked to was humble and top-notch.”

Q: How did it feel to win the Championship?
Sam: It is just starting to sink in that I won after I have got home. But, I still can’t believe I won. As they say, I was floating around on cloud nine after the win. It really meant the most to me when I got home and got to show and tell my two young boys and my wife what I had done.

Q: What were the conditions like?
Sam: We started with Light Gun each day. Every morning was pretty calm, but by mid-morning the mirage and breezes started. They were very switchy at times. We also had some pretty severe thunderstorms on the first two afternoons that “ate some peoples’ lunch”.

Q: Tell us about your equipment.
Sam: Both my Light Gun (LG) and Heavy Gun (HG) are straight 6BRs, with .268 necks. In LG I shot my Blue/White Shehane-stocked ST-1000 with 103 Spencer VLDs. The blue gun, smithed by BAT’s Tom Dixon, features a BAT M dual port, Broughton Barrel (1800 rounds), and Leupold 45X Competition scope. (Note: the equipment list is incorrect, I did not shot my Leonard-stocked gun in LG). In HG I shot another Shehane ST-1000 (orange/ white) but with Berger 105 VLDs. The orange rifle (smithed by Leonard Baity) weighs 28 lbs. (lots of lead in the stock). It has a Lilja 31″ straight-fluted barrel (800 rounds), BAT MB dual port, March 50x scope.

Q: What loads were you running?
Sam: I have been shooting the same loads in these two rifles for two years: Alliant Reloder 15, CCI BR-4 primers, Lapua brass, with 103 Spencers in my LG and 105 Berger VLDs in my HG. Both are barely in the rifling so my bolt is easy to close and I won’t pull a bullet out if I have to eject a live round (which I did have to do). My LG brass is the original 100 with about 18 reloadings. My bolt lift was getting a little sticky at the top in the middle of the day, so I put ice packs around my ammo in the heat of the day to keep pressure down. I certainly don’t recommend this to anyone! I just know this load and its limits.

Q: What was the key to victory for you?
Sam: I had the mindset when I went into the match that I was going to actually take more time shooting, remember my fundamentals, follow through each shot, and be as careful I could shooting. I figured if I did not get in a hurry, and thought through each shot, I was more likely not to have a big group that would kill me. Richard Schatz said the same thing at the end of the match. Richard tells people you don’t have to shoot little bitty groups at the Nationals to win, you just can’t shoot any really big ones.

Q: What are your plans for the rest of the season?
Sam: As far as anything new, I am actually thinking of an improved BR next year for the wind. Hoping I can get the velocity at a lower pressure. I might put these two barrels in semi-retirement and try to get another couple of barrels going. If I can’t get anything shooting better than my old barrels, I will put them back on when the stakes get high again. These two rifles and loads are like old gloves, I am used to them and trust them. They can sit unused for weeks, but when I pull them out, they perform as well as before.

The DQ Problem
Many top shooters experienced DQs during the match. In some cases the DQs were wind-related. However, a number of shooters DQ’d by shooting a record round on the sighter target which remained in place during record fire. After the match many shooters asked “Why don’t they just take down the sighter targets when record fire commences?” That would eliminate this potential problem. Alternatively, a large orange sticker could be placed over the sighter center, warning shooters not to fire at that target. In short-range benchrest, in the case of certain errant shots, there is a rule providing a 1-MOA penalty rather than a DQ. That’s worth considering for the 600-yard game.

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June 29th, 2008

TECH Tips From Sierra's Technicians

In Sierra Bullets’ X-Ring Quarterly Newsletter, you’ll find lots of useful info on ballistics and reloading. Among our favorite regular X-Ring features are the “Short Shots” offered by Sierra Technician Carrol Pilant. Here are some of Carrol’s tips.

General Reloading Advice

● When using a collet style case trimmer, try to tighten the collet down equally each time to keep lengths uniform. If you tighten it down hard, the case will be longer than one you tighten down lightly.

● A little lube on the pilot and cutter on a case trimmer every few cases will help keep it from trying to gall in the case mouth and helps keep the blades sharp and cutting smoothly. It makes trimming an easier task.

● When charging cases from a powder measure, use smooth uniform movement being sure to give powder time to fall into the powder drum chamber. Also be sure to give it time to fall into the case.

● When using mixed cases or cases that have been fired a different number of times, don’t be surprised to get erratic velocities and performance.

● Just because two bullets weigh the same doesn’t mean they can be loaded the same. The amount of bearing surface can vary drastically.


Photo by M. Dunlap

Handgun Reloading Tips

● In revolver cases, rather than try to seat and crimp in one stage, seat in one stage and crimp separately. You won’t have the bulge at the base of the crimp you often get when trying to do it in one stage.

● When roll crimping, if your cases are erratic lengths, your crimps will be erratic also. Cases should be trimmed to the same length.

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