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February 18th, 2009

Hodgdon Brothers Win NRA Pioneer Award

The winners of the 2009 NRA Golden Bullseye Pioneer Award are Robert E. Hodgdon and J.B. Hodgdon, officers of Hodgdon Powder Company. For nearly six decades the Hodgdon brothers have worked in the Kansas-based company founded by their father, Bruce E. Hodgdon.

Robert Hodgdon, J.B. Hodgdon

The Golden Bullseye Pioneer Award, now in its seventh year, honors outstanding personal achievement. “The award spotlights the exemplary achievement and cumulative body of work of an individual, members of a team or partnership, or family who were responsible for the development and introduction of shooting equipment that has made a profound, positive and enduring impact on the way Americans shoot and hunt,” said Joe Graham, Executive Director of NRA Publications. “This year’s winners are legend in our industry.” NRA Publications will present its annual Golden Bullseye Awards and Golden Bullseye Pioneer Award at an invitation-only reception during the 2009 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits, May 15-17, in Phoenix, Arizona.

Expanded Product Line Now Includes Goex, IMR, and Winchester Powders
In the last decade, Hodgdon Powder Company has grown rapidly. In 2008, Hodgdon acquired the Goex line of Black Powder and Black Powder substitute products. In 2006, Hodgdon Powder Company and Winchester® Ammunition announced that Winchester® branded reloading powders would be licensed to Hodgdon. In 2003, Hodgdon purchased IMR® Powder Company. IMR powders continue to be manufactured in the same plant as before the company’s acquisition by Hodgdon. Today Hodgdon meets the needs of shooters, reloaders and hunters around the world with an extensive array of smokeless and blackpowder substitute propellants, and the company continues to bring innovative new products to market.

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February 17th, 2009

No Surprise — Older Shooters Dominate NRA Rifle Competition

A new study by Target Sports Marketing, based on surveys of Camp Perry competitors, provides some interesting facts. First, and this is no surprise, more than 80 percent of competitive shooters reload their own ammunition. The majority of these shooters (60 percent) compete year-round while a larger percentage (70 percent) practice year-round.

Rifle Shooting Demographics

Shooters in 50s and 60s Outnumber Younger Participants
Interestingly, there is a significant “generation gap” among shooters. According to the survey, shooters in their 50s compose the largest segment of competitive rifle shooters. And, the combined number of rifle shooters in their 50s and 60s exceeds all other age categories combined. Keep in mind, Camp Perry focuses on traditional NRA High Power, Palma, and long-range events. Were you to survey other disciplines (such as 3-Gun Matches), you’d likely find a different age distribution. Nonetheless, the numbers do demonstrate the need to increase the number of younger rifle competitors. Unless there is a major effort to attract new, younger shooters, it appears that competitive rifle shooting could decline in popularity dramatically in a decade or so, as the Age 50s cohort gets older.

Rifle Shooting Demographics

The findings are based on the feedback of nearly 400 rifle and pistol competitors at the 2008 U.S. National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio, hosted by the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). The study focuses on individual competitor demographics, shooting sports engagement and brand preferences for firearms, ammunition, components and accessories. An animated, narrated summary of the report is available at Definitely click the link — many interesting facts are revealed. This particular presentation focused on 186 CMP competitors, two-thirds of whom were rifle shooters.

Graphs and data created by Target Sports Marketing for the CMP.

Permalink - Articles, Competition, News 3 Comments »
February 17th, 2009

Juniors — Registration for NRA Summer Camps Now Open

This news item comes to us via the NRA Blog. Attention all Junior Pistol and Smallbore Rifle Shooters: registration for the NRA Junior Pistol and Junior Smallbore Camps is now open! Space is limited to 50 shooters for the Junior Pistol Camp and 72 shooters for the Junior Smallbore Rifle Camp. CLICK HERE to download your paperwork, and send it in. You can also call (703) 267-1481 for more information.

CLICK HERE for Smallbore Rifle Camp Program Materials

These camps are designed for junior, intermediate-level pistol or smallbore rifle shooters. The smallbore rifle camp has been primarily designed for the intermediate shooters. However, beginners will be accepted on a space available basis. Shooters need to be at least 12 years old. Taught by NRA Certified Coaches, both camps provide expert coaching in the fundamentals of shooting while providing a safe, enjoyable learning experience. These camps are the perfect way for juniors to improve their shooting skills while meeting other shooters in their age group.

NRA Junior Camp

The NRA Junior Pistol Camp will be held July 14-17, 2009 at Camp Perry, Ohio. The NRA Junior Smallbore Rifle Camp will be held July 25-30, 2009 at Camp Perry, Ohio, and provides instruction in 3-position and 4-position smallbore rifle shooting. Both camps cost $175.00 for advanced registration (must be received before June 15, 2009) or $200.00 for standard registration (paperwork received after June 15, 2009).

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February 16th, 2009

Presidents' Day — And a History Lesson

Today we celebrate Presidents’ Day. It is worth remembering that many of America’s greatest Presidents were avid rifle shooters, including all four whose faces are enshrined in stone at Mt. Rushmore. Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt were all shooters, and in today’s world they would probably be called “gun nuts” by the mainstream press.

Mt. Rushmore

George WashingtonWashington, of course, was a great military leader. He was also a staunch supporter of gun rights. In a 1790 speech to Congress, Washington declared: “Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself! They are the American people’s Liberty Teeth and keystone under Independence. From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security, and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere, restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good!”

Thomas Jefferson often went hunting as a form of recreation and as an escape from the pressures of high office. In 1785 he wrote to his nephew: “[For exercise]… I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body, and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun, therefore, be the constant companion of your walks.”

Abraham Lincoln learned to shoot as a boy and used a rifle to put food on the family table as he grew up on backcountry farms in Kentucky and Indiana (Lincoln was 21 when his family moved to Illinois.) Even as President, Abe Lincoln remained very interested in firearms and he was a good marksman. When, during the Civil War, he was approached by Christopher Spencer, inventor of the Spencer Rifle, Lincoln tested the gun himself on the grounds of the White House. According to Mr. Spencer’s journal: “On the 18 of August, 1863, I arrived at the White House with rifle in hand, and was immediately ushered into the executive room. I found the President alone. With brief introduction I took the rifle from its case and presented it to him. Looking it over carefully and handling it as one familiar with firearms, he requested me to take it apart to show the ‘inwardness of the thing’. After a careful examination and his emphatic approval, I was asked if I had any engagement for the following day. When I replied that I was at his command, he requested that I ‘Come over tomorrow at 2 o’clock, and we will go out and see the thing shoot’.” The next day Lincoln and Spencer tested the rifle on the White House lawn. Lincoln shot the rifle very well and recommended that it be adopted by the military.

Theodore RooseveltTheodore Roosevelt was an avid hunter and conservationist. As a young man, he had his own ranch in the Dakota Territories where he enjoyed hunting buffalo, elk and other big game. Roosevelt earned fame an a “Rough-Rider” in the Spanish-American War. When he left the White House in 1908, he embarked on a lengthy African safari with his son Kermit. Roosevelt recounted his safari experiences in his book, African Game Trails, considered one of the “classics” of outdoor adventure literature.

So there you have it… four of America’s finest Presidents were avid gun enthusiasts. They lived in times when shooting a rifle was considered both a manly pursuit and an essential survival skill. Today, in the 21st century, the mass media often depicts gun owners as extremists. Today’s journalists would be wise to re-learn their American history and acknowledge that many of our nation’s greatest leaders were riflemen.

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February 16th, 2009

Target Cam System for Long-Range Shooting

We recently tested two large spotting scopes and two high-magnification riflescopes to see if they could resolve 6mm bullet holes at 600 yards. In ideal, early-morning conditions, we could see 6mm bullet holes in the white with all four optics (Pentax PF100ED, Swarovski 80mm ATS, March 10-60, Nightforce 12-42 BR). However, as the day wore on, and mirage increased, it became increasingly difficult to see the bullet holes, even with the big spotters.

It became obvious to our crew of testers, that if you want to see 6mm bullet holes at 600 yards and beyond, in all conditions and against any background color, some kind of remote camera system may be easier on the eyes than even the finest high-power glass you can buy.

CLICK HERE to READ Complete Target Cam Article With Hardware Tips

target cameraAdvantages of Target Cam System
By placing a remote camera relatively close to the target, you bypass many issues that compromise optical resolution. You can see the target clearly even in misty conditions or when the mirage is extreme. You can view your target easily on a large screen… that means no more straining with tiny (1mm) exit pupils with ultra-critical eye relief (move your head slightly and you lose the “view” completely). Over an extended period, you’ll experience much less eye fatique using the target cam.

Components of a Target Cam System
You can put together a good long-range target cam system for under $1200.00. This will include camera, tripod, remote wireless transmitter, receiver and monitor/display screen. You can shop for your own components through catalogs. Or you can contact Forrest Foster, an Forum member and long-range shooter from South Dakota. Over the last couple of years, Forrest has experimented with a variety of Target Cam components. He’s field-tested different cameras and transmitter/receiver packages and come up with an affordable system that works reliably at 1000 yards and beyond.

target cam

Foster offers his target-cam set up in two configurations. For $825.00 he supplies a quality Sony video cam, wireless transmitter and receiver, cables and powerful, rechargeable 12 volt batteries. All you need to do is add a monitor or small TV set. If you already have a video camera, Forrest offers the same package, without the Sony camera, for $525.00. For more information, call Foster at (605) 342-8320, or email FFoster [at]

Target Cam System in Use
Forum member Donovan has used Foster’s target cam system extensively, and currently has it deployed using an older camcorder rather than the Sony device. Shown below is Donovan’s screen displaying a target placed 1000-yards away. Note you can see the bullet holes clearly.

target cam

Donovan is highly pleased with the set-up and says it works great all the way out to 1000 yards. Donovan writes: “For those interested, I am one of Forrest’s system testers. With a cheap Sanyo 21″ TV, I get a great picture of the target at 1000 yards. With a Samsung 151MP flat screen, I get a better target view yet. The video camera that Forrest sells with the system features a variable focal 5-50x lens. In testing, I have placed it as close as 5 feet and as far as 75 feet (25 yards) away from the target with no difference in quality of view on the screen. Just simply adjust the zoom to the amount of target you want displayed.

When set up at 300, 600, and 1000 yards, I did not see any difference in picture quality, as received back at the bench. 1000 yards is the farthest distance at which I’ve used the Target Cam system, but I’m sure it would transmit and receive further.”

Permalink - Articles 3 Comments »
February 15th, 2009

Canted Reticles — Serious Problem Needs to Be Addressed

Unfortunately, we still see too many scopes sold to the public with canted reticles. The problem of canted reticles is a serious issue that some manufacturers (both domestic and foreign) have failed to address. (Note: here we are talking about an INTERNAL scope assembly problem that results in reticles being off-axis relative to the turrets. Don’t confuse this with the canting which occurs if you don’t level your rifle. A canted reticle is a scope production defect requiring factory repair.)

One degree of scope reticle cant is noticeable. Three degrees is “slap in the face” obvious and, frankly, pretty unpleasant to work with. Unfortunately, three degrees happens to be one major domestic scope-maker’s production tolerance. And sure enough, you can find this company’s scopes in retail outlets with the reticles located a full three degrees off-axis.

We believe that badly canted reticles are unacceptable in a high-dollar scope, one costing more than $450.00. Optics-makers — it’s high time to improve your quality control.

Three degrees may not sound like much–after all it is less than 1% of a 360-degree circle. Nonetheless, as the diagrams show, three degrees of cant is VERY noticeable in a scope. In fact, most people will be bothered by a reticle that is just one degree off-axis. Canted reticles are not just annoying to look at, but off-axis reticles cause a number of problems with sighting and accuracy. For example, if you set up your rifle so the vertical cross-hair is straight up and down, your turrets will be slightly tilted. This means that when you click elevation you will change windage slightly, and vice-versa. If, on the other hand, you cant (or tilt) the whole rifle to make the turrets square, this throws off the bullet trajectory–causing bullet impact that is low and displaced horizontally*.

Now, all manufacturers can have a production flaw now and then. Yet we’ve never heard a complaint about canted reticles in Nightforce, U.S. Optics, or Schmidt & Bender scopes. So, it IS possible for the better manufacturers to get it right. Our point here is that it is time for the major scope-makers to address this problem and improve their quality control. That will happen sooner if consumers pay greater attention to reticle alignment during the purchasing process. If you have a scope with a canted reticle, send it back to the maker and ask for the problem to be fixed. If enough shooters do that, we expect the scope-makers will take notice and improve their products.

*CLICK HERE to read a very thorough technical article that explains the effect of rifle canting on bullet trajectory. CLICK HERE to see targets shot with canted rifles showing bullet displacement. The diagram below shows how this occurs.

Illustration courtesy Long Shot Products, Ltd.

Permalink Optics 11 Comments »
February 15th, 2009

JROTC Air Rifle Competition Underway at Camp Perry

From February 12th through the 28th, Camp Perry hosts more than 500 high school Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) cadets from across the US and Department of Defense Schools overseas. The cadets will be competing in the All Service Air Rifle Championships to determine Army, Marine, Navy and Air Force JROTC national individual and team champions. In addition, the top competitors in each championship will advance to the National JROTC Air Rifle Championship at Fort Benning, Georgia in March.

Camp Perry’s new Marksmanship Center facilities are comparable to the best airgun ranges in the world (such as those in Beijing and Munich) that host International Sport Shooting Federation (ISSF) competitions. Gary Anderson, CMP’s Director of Civilian Marksmanship, said, “our state-of-the-art air rifle range [is] the finest facility of this type in the entire Western Hemisphere.”

CMP Air Rifle match

The JROTC competition process started last November when nearly 7,000 cadets and 1,200 JROTC unit teams began firing on CMP-provided postal targets at their home ranges. The CMP then used its Orion Visual Imaging Scoring system to scan and score the 21,800 10-bullseye paper targets electronically.

CMP Air Rifle match

Competitors in the JROTC Championships will fire with either “precision” or “sporter” class air rifles. In general, precision rifles are high tech and feature adjustable stocks and triggers, internal rechargeable air tanks or CO2 cylinders, etc. Sporter rifles are low-cost, conventional appearing air rifles without specialized adjustments, but they also utilize air or CO2 cylinders to power their projectiles. The competition entails 60-shot three-position events to be fired on two successive days. Each day, competitors will fire 20 shots each in prone, standing and kneeling positions at bullseye targets placed at 10 meters.

For more information, visit the CMP website at Some of the JROTC Air Rifle matches will be “webcast” on the internet.

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February 14th, 2009

Berger Organizes Tech Consulting Team

Berger BulletsBerger Bullets has expanded its technical assistance and customer support team, adding Kevin Thomas as primary “E-Technical Consultant”. Eric Stecker, Berger’s Master Bulletsmith, issued the following statement yesterday:

“It is with great pleasure that I announce the addition of Kevin Thomas to the Berger Bullets team as our E-Technical Consultant. Kevin spent the last 15 years as Sierra’s Chief Ballistician. Prior to becoming Sierra’s Chief Ballistician, Kevin spent 6 years moving from Sierra’s production floor to their ballistics lab. Kevin will use his extensive shooting knowledge to help folks get the most out of their rifle shooting experience.”

Thomas will be part of a customer service/tech support group at Berger:

Technical Support by Phone – (714) 447-5458
Berger has partnered with Sinclair Int’l to provide extensive phone coverage by active and knowledgeable shooters.

Loading Data and Technical Assistance from Walt Berger – bergerltd [at]
Founder and member of the Benchrest Hall of Fame, Walt Berger’s extensive shooting experience is a tremendous resource for those who need help. Over the last several years, Walt has been working on Berger’s loading manual.

Loading Data and Technical Assistance from Kevin Thomas –
(email is not active yet)
Kevin spent two decades shooting in Sierra’s test facility every day and working with major ammo producers on several projects. Additionally, he is an experienced, active and successful competitive target shooter. He will soon be available for those who need assistance.

External Ballistic Assistance from Bryan Litz – bryan.litz [at]
Bryan’s reputation as a top external ballistics mind is well known. Equally recognized is his success as a competitive target shooter. Bryan is available for those who need to address advanced external ballistics concerns.

Stecker tells us: “Both Kevin Thomas and Bryan Litz will actively engage the forums as we strongly believe that forums are a valuable resource for all shooters. All of the people listed above are active rifle shooters and are committed to your success. These folks can provide an even greater level of shooting-related technical assistance than I. For this reason, you will see less of me as I focus my attention on the production floor. I will not be disconnected or unavailable, but I will rely heavily on this ‘dream team’ of technical experts to provide you with the information you need to get back to the range or into the field.”

In this video, Eric Stecker explains Berger’s product line and reveals what’s new for 2009.

YouTube Preview Image
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February 14th, 2009

How Safe are YOUR Shooting Glasses?

The editors of the NRA’s American Hunter magazine recently tested 10 brands of shooting glasses, determining how well the eyewear could shield users from shotgun birdshot. Eyewear samples were tested at 25, 15, 10, 8, and 5 yards, using #8 shot. One ANSI Z87.1-certified polycarbonate sample was then repeat-tested with #6 shot, #4 shot, #2 steel and buckshot. Read Full Test Report.

shooting glasses safety tests birdshotThe tests provided some very important conclusions:

1. The glasses marked Z87.1+ (“plus” is a high-impact rating) performed the best. Overall, Z87.1-rated polycarbonate lenses provided excellent protection from birdshot at 10-15 yards and beyond. Some Z87.1+ eyewear even blocked birdshot at 8 yards.

2. You can’t necessarily rely on price as an indicator of quality. The $12 Bollé VX and the $5.95 Pyramex Rendezvous both worked better than some much more expensive brands. The $5.95 Pyramex, in fact, was one of only three products that stood up to the #8 birdshot at 8 yards. The Pyramex does carry a Z87.1+ rating.

3. Avoid no-name, un-rated plastic eyewear. American Hunter Editor Jeff Johnston writes: “It’s a mistake to assume that any plastic-lens sunglasses off the rack at the local 7-11 are made of polycarbonate and therefore are effective as shooting glasses—cheap plastics are not polycarbonates; in fact, wearing them could be worse than wearing nothing, as they can introduce sharp shards of plastic to your eyes in addition to the projectile(s) that caused them to break.”

To learn more about safety standards for shooting glasses, read our comprehensive Guide to Eye Protection for Shooters.

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February 14th, 2009

Top Gun Execs on Gun Talk Radio

To celebrate Presidents’ Day, this Sunday’s lineup of guests on Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk® radio show will be all presidents and CEOs of big companies and organizations in the firearms industry. Currently scheduled to appear on the show are Pete Brownell, president of Brownells; Tommy Millner, president of Remington; Bob Morrison, president of Taurus USA; Lew Danielson, president of Crimson Trace; and, Steve Sanetti, president and CEO of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

“I thought it would be fun to get a one-day head start on Presidents’ Day by getting some of our own presidents on the show, ” said Tom Gresham, host of the national radio talk show.

Tom Gresham gun talk

Gun Talk Radio, in it’s 14th year of national syndication, is heard coast-to-coast on 66 FM and AM radio stations, on Sirius and XM satellite systems, and is available for download at and on Apple’s iTunes Store.

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February 13th, 2009

Palma Competition with Bryan Litz on Video

Bryan Litz Berger bulletsBryan Litz recently assumed the mantle of “Ballistician” for Berger Bullets. Before joining Berger, Bryan was a missile design engineer working with the U.S. Air Force. An NRA High Master, Bryan also happens to be one of the country’s top long-range shooters. Bryan (aka “bsl135″ in our Forum) has written many ballistics programs and technical papers dealing with long-range flight dynamics of projectiles. Bryan has recorded some very impressive match performances recently. At the 2008 NRA National Championships at Camp Perry, Bryan beat 258 other competitors to win the Palma Individual Trophy Match. Bryan shot a remarkable 450/26x, not dropping a single point.

Palma Match — Caught on Video
Bryan recently crafted a cool video that puts the viewer “in the driver’s seat” as Bryan shoots an 800-yard match with his .308 Winchester, iron-sights Palma rifle. Watch as each shot is marked and scored. Bryan explains: “The inset target at upper right displays each shot location in sequence. The score card shows the windage used for each shot, as well as the windage that was ‘Required’ for that shot to be centered. Wind wasn’t very challenging in this string, only requiring between 2 and 3 MOA right. This particular match is the 800-yard phase of a Palma course fired in the summer of 2008 at Camp Atterbury, IN. NOTE: I’ve had to cut out some ‘pauses’, and speed up the film in order to meet YouTube’s size requirements, so that’s why we sound like chipmunks.”

CLICK SCREEN to WATCH VIDEO. Click Menu Button for High Quality (HQ) Option

YouTube Preview Image

Bryan also has his own website with a number of authoritative articles. Topics include: Bullet Design, Meplat Trimming, Gyroscopic and Coreolis Drift, Palma Bullet Analysis, How Ballistics Programs Work, and Ballistic Coefficient Testing. CLICK HERE to visit BRYAN LITZ Website.

Permalink - Videos, Competition 2 Comments »
February 13th, 2009

Deals on .223 Rem Brass — Grab It Quick

.223 RemingtonAs most of you know by now, supplies of the most popular reloading components are in high demand. We’re seeing shortages of primers, bullets, and brass. As you might expect, .308 Win and .223 Rem components are selling out quickly. However, we have found some deals on .223 Rem cartridge brass.

MidwayUSA has Winchester-brand .223 Rem brass on sale right now. The price is just $20.99 per hundred — a great deal. The 100-count boxes are MidwayUSA item 1390148099. Unfortunately, the larger 500-ct and 1000-ct lots are sold out.

.223 RemingtonMidsouth Shooters Supply has 100-count bags of Remington-brand .223 Rem brass on sale for $27.00, item 050-23089100. If you need large quantities, a 2000-count case of Rem-brand .223 brass, is $515.61, item 050-23089. That’s $0.257 per piece.

Bruno’s Sold Out — In case you wondered about Bruno Shooters Supply, on 2/13 we checked with Amy. She reports Bruno’s is completely sold out of all .223 Rem brass (all manufacturers) at this time.

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February 12th, 2009

Impressive Accuracy with 6mmBR Tubegun and Bergers

Just how accurate can a 6BR Tubegun be, when shot from the bench with bag-riding attachments? Would you believe 0.170 MOA at 200 yards? Yep, that’s benchrest-grade accuracy out of an across-the-course rifle.

Eliseo R5 Accuracy

Eliseo R5 AccuracyForum member Milan recently tested his new Eliseo R5 6BR tubegun with Berger 80gr Varmint bullets. We’ve found the Berger 80s to be extraordinarily accurate, and Milan confirmed that fact. His R5 features a Krieger barrel, Pierce action, and Jewell trigger. At right is his first 5-shot group, with the size calculated with On-Target software. The calculated group size is 0.355″, or 0.170 MOA at 200 yards. (Measured by Milan with calipers, it was slightly smaller, 0.350″.)

Milan reports: “Today, I took my brand new R5 rifle (stock made by Gary Eliseo with Pierce Engineering Action and gunsmithing, and Krieger barrel) to a shooting range for the first time. I was shooting at 200 yards and my very first shot was on target. I shot one more time in the same spot and cleaned my rifle. I shot another three shots to find the center of the target. I cleaned the rifle again and shot my first 5-shot group. Looking through my scope, it all looked like one hole. I got a big smile on my face and could not get any happier. When I got home and measured the group, it measured less than 0.350″. Bummer… I was looking forward to the challenge of finding a good load for this rifle but it seems like now I will have to look for another challenge. My load was Berger 80gr Varmint Bullets, 31.0 grains of Varget, Remington 6.5 primer, and bullet was seated 0.015″ in lands.”

Eliseo R5 Accuracy

Milan added: “The silver rear bag rider attachment came from CSS. I only modified it a little. I lowered my rifle about 1″. I also made my own design, shown below, which allows me to make fine height adjustment on my rear bag when shooting from a bipod and to keep the front of my rifle as low as possible. I would like to thank to Gary Eliseo and John Pierce (Pierce Engineering) for a great job. I highly recommend the services of both these guys.”

Eliseo R5 Accuracy

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review No Comments »
February 12th, 2009

TechShooter's Black Hills Prairie Dog Adventure

Site contributor Chris Long (aka “TechShooter”) has crafted a report about his July, 2007 Prairie Dog Expedition in Wyoming. Ralph and Lenora Dampman of Trophy Ridge Outfitters served as guides for the trip. Trophy Ridge runs ‘Dog hunts near the town of Carlile in the NW range of the Black Hills, near Devil’s Tower National Monument. Primarily big game outfitters, Ralph and Lenora have access to thousands of acres of private ranch land. They run guided prairie dog hunts during their off-season. Chris reports “The terrain is beautiful, a welcome change from the South Dakota prairie, with lots of hills and Ponderosa pine trees. [These] ranch lands are home to some prodigious dog towns.”

Chris continues: “The goal of this trip (besides having a great time) was to get in some long range (1000+ yard) opportunities, and possibly even a shot over 1500 yards, in order to qualify for the VHA 1500 yard certification. I had worked up some really good loads for the 6.5-284 TubeGun and the .260 AI using the new 130 grain Berger VLDs, and wanted to see how they performed at these extreme ranges. I also wanted to see how the trusty 6 Dasher performed as a long range varmint cartridge.”

Black Hills Prairie Dog Hunt

Chris Long was joined by two friends who came all the way from Virginia. Chris reports, “Our plan was to get in four days of intense, long-range shooting. We were not disappointed! The shooting was from 100 to over 1000 yards, and the dogs were everywhere. There were plenty of targets close in, so there was a lot a variety. It is especially challenging to move in and out in range by these extreme amounts. It gave me a lot of practice estimating range and wind conditions, then seeing if I could get the come-ups and windage right on the scope for the first shot at the new range. By the end of the trip, I was getting it pretty close, with some 1-shot hits out to about 600 yards.”

Black Hills Prairie Dog Hunt

Chris’s primary long-range rifle was his 6.5-284 Tube-gun (photo above) running 130gr Berger VLDs at 3165 fps. Chris reports the 130s can be shot at 3165 fps with no excessive pressures, and “scary, one hole, 5-shot 100-yard group accuracy.” With a B.C. of about 0.6, the 130s shoot flatter and exhibit less wind drift than the 140gr class bullets at 2950 FPS.

Chris’s second gun was a more conventional bolt-action in a Franklin LowRider stock, set up with both 6mm Dasher and .260 AI barrels. Chris notes: “The Dasher has proven itself in spades as an extremely accurate cartridge for F-Class Open competition, and I was anxious to see how it performed as a varmint cartridge. The performance was excellent, with many hits out past 1000 yards. This rifle is set up as a switch-barrel rig, and is the platform for the 260 AI. I made a portable barrel vise that mounts in the trailer hitch receiver on the Suburban. That, with a rear entry action wrench, makes barrel changes a 5 minute affair. I would shoot until the barrel got a bit hot, then switch and proceed with the other caliber.”

CLICK HERE to read the complete story. It contains more load data, details of hits made out to 1330 yards, and many great photos of the Wyoming scenery. For .260 AI and 6 Dasher tech tips, visit TechShooter’s Shooting Pages.

Black Hills Prairie Dog Hunt

Photos and quotes copyright © 2007 Chris Long, All Rights Reserved, used by permission.

Permalink - Articles, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
February 11th, 2009

Modulo Masterpiece Portable Press — Pride of Italy

Credit this find to ace British benchrest shooter Vince Bottomley, United Kingdom 1K record-holder and publisher of the excellent Precision Rifle website.

Italian Taveggia Compact Press

Vince writes: “This beautiful compact press is made by an Italian company, BCM Europearms, run by Vittorio Taveggia. Vittorio builds some superb rifles but he also has a very useful range of accessories for accuracy aficionados. I’m sure you’ll be interested in Vittorio’s loading press — this is offered in several configurations for normal dies, Wilson-style hand-dies, or both. The press is superbly made. Vittorio also crafts very nice Weaver-style rings and bases. Again they are beautifully-finished and very strong. Vittorio also makes stocks and actions. At present, there is no UK importer for the press, but there could be very soon. If you are at all interested in any of the products please drop me an e-mail at vinceb [at] and I’ll pass your interest onto the ‘soon to be’ UK importer.” The top photo shows the original Modulo Masterpiece version, which had three stations. There are other versions, as seen in the photo below.

Modulo Masterpiece Italy

Editor’s note: We don’t know of a US importer, but you can contact Vittorio directly. Information for his company in Torino, Italy is found on the BCM Europearms website. Send email to: info [at]

Photo © Vince Bottomley, used by permission

Permalink New Product, Reloading 6 Comments »
February 11th, 2009

USAMU Tips on Sling Use

On the ShootingUSA television show, today’s episode will feature the Infantry Team Match at Camp Perry. In connection with that segment, Sgt. First Class Kyle Ward of the U.S. Army Marksmanship provides guideslines on how to properly fit a shooting sling, and how to best use the sling in various shooting positions.

CLICK HERE to read Sgt. Ward’s step by step Sling Instructions.

Proper Sling Adjustment
Once the sling is linked together properly, Sgt. Ward explains: “The next step is attaching the sling to your arm. Attaching the sling to your arm is simply done by creating slack in the sling, turning the sling a quarter turn clockwise if you’re a right handed shooter, or a quarter turn counter clockwise if you’re a lefty. You know that your sling is set to the proper length when you can easily and comfortably get into position, when you can take your firing hand off the rifle, and the rifle remains in your shoulder. To get the most of your sling, setting it to its proper length, and where you place it on your arm is critical. There are some general rules to follow when setting up your sling. You want it tight enough that it’s providing maximum support, but not so tight that you have to fight to get it into position.

Proper Sling Placement
Sling placement on your arm is also critical. In the sitting position, you want to place the sling toward the inside of the arm. Place the sling too far to the outside, and it will likely introduce pulse into your position. It’s not uncommon to have to adjust the length of the sling for different firing positions. While using the sling in the prone position, you should place the sling in the outside of the arm. Placing the sling too far towards the inside will reduce the sling’s effectiveness and likely generate pulse.

Try these techniques the next time you’re on the rifle range. Proper use of the leather sling will definitely increase you scores, and decrease the amount of perceived movement when looking through the sights.”

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February 10th, 2009

Ladies Triumph in Arizona. Savage Shocks Shooters.

The ladies beat the gents at the 2009 Arizona Long-Range Championship at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, AZ. Nancy Tompkins (photo left) triumphed over 50 other shooters to win the main 1K event with a spectacular 600-36X, followed by Michelle Gallagher (of Berger Bullets) who shot 598-28X. Trudie Fay was the top shooter in Palma (.308) class. Way to go ladies! In this event, competitors shot prone (with sling) at 1000 yards. There were 60 rounds for record over two days, with two “any sights” stages, and one “iron sights” stage; the second “iron sights” stage was cancelled due to a sudden and severe hail storm.

Savage Tubegun Wows the Crowd at Ben Avery
Tubegun builder Gary Eliseo finished third overall with 596-27X. Gary’s performance shocked many fellow shooters … not because Gary doesn’t have the skills, but because he shot a 200-12x and a 199-6X on Day One with a Savage-actioned rifle. That’s right, Gary was shooting a prototype S1 Tubegun built with an out-of-the-box Savage Target Action with factory Accutrigger. Gary told us: “To be honest, like everybody else, I was amazed at how well that Savage shot. And I did no modifications or accurizing to the action whatsoever. All I did was lap the outside of the action to the S1 chassis for a better fit.”

Eliseso Savage tubegun

Eliseso Savage tubegun

German Salazar believes the Savage Tubegun is a very important development: “Here’s an affordable long-range prone rifle that can be assembled by the shooter with simple tools. Get a prefit barrel with barrel nut and you don’t even need a gunsmith. You save money, and just as importantly, you save time — no more year-long waits to get your rifle built.”

Plenty of 6mm Rifles on the Firing Line
While the match winner and runner-up were shooting 6.5-284s, the majority of the remaining Top 10 finishers were using a 6mm cartridge of some kind. Gary Eliseo finished third shooting a 6BR Improved (BRX), Randy Tesseidre finished fourth, also with a 6BRX, and German Salazar finished fifth shooting a 6XC and four of the next five finishers also shot 6mm cartridges. This may evidence a trend towards the smaller caliber over the 6.5mm. Why are we seeing more 6mm cartridges used at 1000 yards? According to German Salazar: “The answer is pretty simple — higher scores. Many (but certainly not all) shooters have found their scores increase when shooting 6mm cartridges, as opposed to the 6.5-284 or even the 7mms. The reasons are more consistent vertical and less recoil, and those two factors are related. With less recoil it’s easier to maintain the precise hold needed to shoot 10s and Xs throughout the match.” Third-place finisher Gary Eliseo also feels that some of the 6mm cartridges may be easier to tune than the 6.5-284. “I shoot the 6BRX”, Gary explained, “it’s an amazing little cartridge–easy to load for. With Berger VLDs seated into the lands it’s super-accurate and really holds tight elevation.”

More Match Results on Desert Sharpshooters Website
Complete Match Results are available on the Desert Sharpshooters website. The Top Three F-Class shooters (in order) were Jim Murphy, Larry Bartholome, and Jeff Cochran, while John Brewer was F-Class High Senior. The Palma match for .308 rifles, held on Friday, was tightly contested. Among the 48 Palma competitors in Friday’s match (not part of the championship aggregate), the top five finishers were Eddie Newman (445-26X), Gary Eliseo (444-25X), David Littlefield (444-21X), Trudie Fay (443-29X), and Steve Cunico (442-26X). Trudie was the High Women shooter while Steve was High Senior.

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February 10th, 2009

Important Message from the UK and Australia

Whatever your politics, you owe it to yourself to learn more about the restrictive firearm laws adopted in the United Kingdom and Australia. These have effectively banned hand-gun and semi-auto rifle ownership in the UK. In Australia self-loading rifles and even pump shotguns were banned, and hand-gun ownership was severely restricted. In this 10-minute video, gun owners in the UK and Australia tell their own story. The message is clear–without unified, organized opposition by sportsmen and hunters, gun rights will be taken away. In the UK, even shotguns and 22LR pistols used by Olympic competitors have been banned. Think it can’t happen here? Well already in California, new sales of semi-auto AR15-style service rifles are completely banned.

To further highlight the absurdity of gun laws in the UK, Great Britain agreed to construct a new indoor pistol-shooting venue — in order to win the right to host the next Olympic Games. But Olympic authorities have announced the shooting range will be demolished (at public expense) at the close of the games. Why? Because Brits aren’t allowed to own or shoot handguns. Today, even Britain’s Olympic pistol shooters are prohibitied from shooting in the UK and are required to do their training abroad. When London hosts the 2012 Olympic Games, Parliament will have to pass legislation allowing the athletes to import and fire their target pistols.

This is a “must-see” video. Click on the image below to watch the video, hosted by YouTube. CLICK HERE to watch other NRA-produced videos.

YouTube Preview Image
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February 9th, 2009

FREE Remington 2009 Catalogs and Ballistics Sheet

Remington CatalogThe latest editions of Remington’s product catalogs are now available online. You can download the entire 2009 catalog (a 19.5 mb file), or select particular product lines: rifle, shotgun, ammunition, accessories. The Rifle Catalog features all the latest Remington rifles, including the new Model 700 ‘Target Tactical’ model. This 11.75-lb gun boasts a Bell & Carlson composite stock with ergonomic grip and adjustable LOP and cheekpiece. The Target Tactical is offered in .308 Winchester only, with a 26″ hammer-forged 5R barrel with triangular profile. MSRP is $1972.

Complete 2009 Catalog | 2009 Rifles Catalog

Ballistics Data for Dozens of Factory Loads
Remington also has a comprehensive Ballistics Data Sheet with ballistics information for all Remington loaded ammo — from 17 Fireball all the way up to the 45/70 Government. Even if you don’t use factory-loaded ammo, this is a very useful resource that allows you to quickly compare velocities, energy, wind drift, and drop among a wide variety of cartridges. Which shoots flatter… a .204 Ruger or a 22-250? Remington’s Ballistics Data Sheet provides a quick, reliable answer. Info is laid out in tables, with color coding for different bullet types.

CLICK HERE to download Ballistics INFO

Remington Ballistics Chart

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February 9th, 2009

Two-Part Sling From HPS in Britain

HPS shooting slingHPS Target Rifles Ltd., Britain’s leading competition shooting supply vendor, offers a new sling design that should benefit smaller shooters or those whose rifles have shallow fore-ends. The HPS AKTIV Flex Sling, made of non-stretch, reinforced PVC webbing, is designed to overcome the problems of the sling fouling on the trigger guard or rubbing on the underside of the stock. The section of the sling that runs under the rifle is replaced with coated wire. The wire center section can be positioned directly under the stock to give maximum clearance. The front strap can be adjusted to the size of hand and to clear the wrist. The arm cuff can be adjusted in length for arm size and position, while sling length is controlled by a buckle that positions the ‘tail’ of the sling so that there is no fouling under the rifle. The HPS AKTIV Flex Sling comes in three colours: blue (shown), dark green and black. The price is U.S. $95.87, or 74.84 Euros.

To view more products from HPS Target Rifles, including their innovative System Gemini Modular position stocks, visit, or click the link below to download the HPS catalog as a .pdf file.

CLICK HERE to Download 10 mb HPS Target Rifles Ltd. Catalog (10 meg .pdf file).

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