May 31st, 2009

South Africa Hosts World Benchrest Championship June 22-29

World benchrest championshipThe 2009 World Benchrest Championship (WBC-10) will be held at the Krokodilspruit Range in Pretoria, South Africa June 22-29, 2009. WBC-10 includes matches at 100m, 200m, and 300m. Complete information on the upcoming event are available at the WBC10 website, wbc10.co.za. A handy FAQ Page provides answers to questions about accommodation, transport, and South African firearms laws. CLICK HERE for WBC10 Event Schedule.

Listed below are the names of the team members who will represent the United States at the 2009 World Benchrest Championship (WBC-10) in South Africa this June:

Team 1 – Ed Adams, Wayne Campbell, Gene Bukys, Tony Boyer
Team 2 – Larry Costa, Mike Ratigan, Bill Summers, Joe Krupa
Team 3 – Chris Harris, Don Nielson, Cecil Peterson, Tim Oltersdorf
First Alternate: Gary Sinclair
Honorary Team Captain: Walt Berger

World benchrest championship

Krokodilspruit is a modern multi-purpose shooting range situated approximately 23 kilometers north of Pretoria and is the home range of the Gauteng Benchrest Shooting Association. June is the first month of winter in South Africa, but this area has little rainfall in winter.

World benchrest championship

Something New for 300 Meter Stage?
Most American short-range Benchrest matches are shot at 100 and 200 yards only. WBC-10 includes a 300m match on Saturday, June 27th. As South Africa is known for strong and challenging winds, it will be interesting to see if some competitors try heavier, higher-BC bullets at 300m rather than the typical 60-70gr flatbase 6mm bullets used at 100 and 200.

Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
May 31st, 2009

22-Caliber Moly 75gr A-Maxes on Sale

Hornady’s 75gr A-Max BTHP bullet is among the more popular bullets used by service rifle shooters. The plastic-tipped projectile also works well in 22-250s and 22 BRs with 1:8.5″ (or faster) barrels. The 75gr A-Max boasts an excellent 0.435 BC, which is higher than the claimed BCs for both the Sierra 77gr MatchKing (0.372 @ 3000+ fps) and the Sierra 80gr MatchKing (.420 @ 2200+ fps).

75 grain .22 caliber Hornady A-Max

High-BC 22 Cal Moly A-Maxs for under $20/100
Because Service Rifle competitors must shoot long strings of fire without cleaning, many prefer to shoot moly-coated bullets. Varminters likewise appreciate the fact that coated bullets may extend cleaning intervals. PrecisionReloading.com currently has moly-coated 75gr A-Maxs on sale for just $19.65 per hundred. That’s a good deal for bullets that are more than capable of winning Service Rifle matches. Consider that Sierra 77gr MKs are selling elsewhere for $25-$28.00 per hundred. If you have a fast-twist .224 and you like Moly, you may want to snap up some A-Maxs at this discounted price.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals No Comments »
May 30th, 2009

Field Test: Anschütz Model 64-R Biathlon

Anschutz 64R BiathlonWe’ve had an Anschütz model 64-R Biathlon to play with since the first of the year, thanks to Anschütz. This is a very impressive rifle. Accuracy has exceeded our expectations. Even with relatively inexpensive Wolf Match Extra and Eley Club Xtra, the gun has shot many 1/4″ groups at 50 yards from bipod. Our ace rimfire triggerman, Joe Friedrich, has shot some 50-yard groups with 4 out of 5 shots virtually through one hole, and the fifth maybe half a bullet width further out.

Originally, the gun came with a 2.2-lb (one kilo) two-stage trigger, suited for biathlon and silhouette. That trigger was nice, and certainly shootable, as we could get the second stage down to about 9 ounces. But Anschütz recently provided its 500 gram match trigger assembly, and that has made the gun even sweeter to shoot. The 500 gram trigger installed easily, and by adjusting two screws we got the total pull weight down to 1.13 pounds, with the second stage about 5 ounces. (Note: in the video, I said the trigger pull was about “one and a half pounds”; we later adjusted it down to 1.13 pounds, or 512 grams.)

Please enable Javascript and Flash to view this VideoPress video.

The cheekpiece adjusts for height and cant angle. Length of pull can be adjusted by means of plastic spacers. With the spacers provided by Anschütz, the LOP is about 13.3 inches. That’s still a bit short for this Editor, but the gun was still very comfortable to shoot in all positions: prone, sitting, and standing. The near-vertical grip is very comfortable in prone and, with the scope positioned well forward, you can easily get your head in the right position for scoped shooting. With its built-in accessory rail, and a $6.00 track adapter, a Harris bipod attaches easily, and you can move the bipod position fore and aft.

Anschutz 64R Biathlon

With its excellent ergonomics and stellar accuracy, we think the Anschütz 64R Biathlon is a superb choice for tactical rimfire matches. Plus, it’s dead-nuts reliable. By contrast, at the rimfire tactical matches we’ve covered, we’ve seen a variety of misfeeds and/or mag failures with other brands of rifles. With the Anschütz 64R, mag feeding and function has been flawless. We’ve shot over 700 rounds without a single problem.

Anschutz 64R Biathlon

Does the rifle have flaws? Yes, a few. First, as noted, the LOP is short for someone with long arms, even with 3 spacers installed. Second, the barreled action and bolt are prone to develop rust if you don’t keep them well-oiled. We wish Anschütz offered a more durable, corrosion-resistent finish so we didn’t have to baby the blueing after each shooting session. While the magazines fed flawlessly, the mag well is recessed and the mag release is small. This caused some fumbling when we tried to do “speed reloads.” That’s it — the complaint list is pretty small, and you could easily apply a baked-on resin finish if you wanted.

Anschutz 64R Biathlon

Subjectively, this gun is a hoot to shoot, and I can honestly say I’ve had more fun with this rifle than any other rimfire I’ve tested. No, it won’t rival a tuned ARA rimfire Benchrest rig, but it is still exceedingly accurate, and the gun is truly versatile. It’s ideal for tactical matches, club fun shoots, and if you lock the cheekpiece in place and use the 2.2-lb trigger, most clubs should let you use it for silhouette. The gun currently retails for about $1200.00 IF you can find one. Anschütz isn’t building many 64Rs these days, and only a handful made their way to the USA. Hopefully, our report will spur interest in the rifle and Anschütz will decide to ship more across the Atlantic.

Permalink News 6 Comments »
May 30th, 2009

"Negative Image" Targets for Better Long-Range Viewing

At long range, small bullet holes are much easier to see in the white than in the black. When you’re practicing at long range on high power targets, one way to enhance your ability to see your bullet holes is to print a “negative” version of the regulation bullseye target. Forum member Watercam has a new Pentax PF-80ED. With the Pentax he can see 6mm bullet holes in the white at 600 yards, but holes in the black are only visible out to 400 yards or so. Accordingly, Watercam uses a modified “reversed” black-to-white target for 600-yard practice. Watercam writes:

“I just received my Pentax PF-80ED-A angled spotting scope the other day and it is awesome. Great quality. I traded a straight Kowa 77mm fluorite for it through SWFA.com. Eye relief with the Pentax 10-60 power zoom is 18-22mm (much more than the Kowa zoom), so I can use glasses with no problem. The view through the Pentax is very sharp and contrasty with great color.

With my 6mm and limited mirage I’m seeing defined, 6mm holes in the white out to 600. In the black, I can see bullets holes at about 400 with my eyes. I am printing reverse-color targets for training without a pit partner at the 600-yard line.”

Pentax PF-80 ED scope

If you’re not concerned with official scoring rings, you can use an all-white target with a bright, fluorescent target dot in the middle. A 2″- or 3″-diameter stick-on target dot is highly visible at 600 yards. Birchwood Casey Target Spots® assortment #33928-TSA offers neon orange target dots in 1″, 2″, and 3″ diameters.

Permalink Optics 2 Comments »
May 29th, 2009

FREE NRA Memberships Still Available

NRA free membership offer

UPDATE: This was a Year 2009 Offer. The Offer is no longer available!

Every day many web users stumble upon our Daily Bulletin in search of information on the NRA’s free membership offer. We first announced that promotion back in March.

Here’s the deal — The NRA is still offering a one-year FREE membership, but the offer no longer includes a free subscription to the American Rifleman, American Hunter, or America’s First Freedom magazines.

Still, it’s a good deal. The regular price for a one-year NRA membership is $35.00. This is a special web-only offer, available for a limited time.

CLICK HERE for FREE NRA Membership Offer.

CLICK HERE for a full list of NRA membership benefits, including insurance.

What’s the catch? Well there’s really none for the first year. However, you will be billed if you choose to renew your membership. Also anyone signing up should know that you’ll receive a lot of mail solicitations from the NRA. For this special web offer, the NRA also requires your email address and phone number. Please note — to enjoy all the insurance protections of the NRA you’ll need to fill out an additional form once you receive your membership number.

Permalink News 6 Comments »
May 29th, 2009

An Irish Tankard for Long-Range Marksmanship

Ireland crestAs the start of Camp Perry draws closer, we’d thought you might want to learn the history behind the trophies awarded at the National Shooting Championships. First on the agenda is the Leech Cup. The trophy is awarded to the highest-scoring competitor in one of the 1000-yard events at Camp Perry. The Leech Cup winner is determined through a 10-shot shoot off, after shooting 20 shots at 1000 yards slow-fire prone. The Leech Cup was once the only 1000-yard “any rifles” match shot with iron sights at the National Championships. Currently, there are five matches, held over four days, which count towards the National Long-Range Championship. The overall winner of these five matches receives the Thompkins Trophy as the National Long-Range Champion.

NRA Leech Cup Camp PerryThe Leech Cup, awarded during the National Matches at Camp Perry every year, is the oldest trophy offered today in competitive target shooting in the United States. Its history reaches back well over a century into the first days of the NRA itself.

In 1873, the Irish Rifle Team, flush with victory after their first win in the British National Rifle Championships, were anxious to embellish their worldwide reputation and challenged America to field a team in the spirit of international friendship. The group to answer their challenge was the Amateur Rifle Club of New York, which picked up the gauntlet and managed to beat the heavily-favored Irish at the NRA’s Creedmoor Range on Long Island in September, 1874. The American who cemented his team’s 1874 victory was Colonel John Bodine, who, needing only a hit on target to win, scored a 4-point bullseye with his last shot.

To commemorate the event, the Irish team captain, Major Arthur Blennerhassett Leech, presented the Americans with a handsomely ornate sterling silver tankard –- The Leech Cup. A masterpiece of the Irish silvermaker’s art as practiced in the Victorian period, it is heavily-embossed and surmounted by a representation of an ancient tower in ruins. The trophy has been an award for long range marksmanship ever since the “International Rifle Match” between the Irish and the Americans. The Leech Cup was presented to the NRA by the Amateur Rifle Club of New York in 1901. It was lost after the National Matches of 1913, and went missing for 14 years until being recovered in 1927.

Story courtesy NRA Blog.

Permalink Competition 1 Comment »
May 29th, 2009

Champion Ladies' Gear — Sales Support Cancer Research

Champion™ Eyes & Ears has a new series of shooting accessories for lady shooters. Champion now offers pink shell pouches (MSRP: $21.49), shooting glasses (MSRP: $13.49) and electronic muffs (MSRP: $36.95). A portion of the proceeds from 2009 sales of these products goes directly to the Breast Cancer Network of Strength™ to help find a cure for breast cancer.

Champion Products for Female Shooters
The new Champion double box shell pouch is constructed of nylon/canvas with pink accents. It features an adjustable waistband and contoured shape for comfort. There are divided compartments for loaded shells and empty hulls.

Champion Federal Muffs and Eyewear

Champion’s pink electronic ear muffs provide a 25dB in noise reduction while providing an adjustable fit for maximum comfort. These muffs collapse for easy storage. Rounding out Champion’s pink products are shooting glasses with pink frames and rose lenses. OSHA compliant with an ANSI Z87.1 safety rating, these shooting glasses feature scratch resistant lenses for clear viewing.

Permalink New Product No Comments »
May 28th, 2009

Print and Laminate a Ballistics Data Card

Three-gun match competitor Zak Smith employs a simple, handy means to store his elevation and wind dift data — a laminated data card. To make one, first generate a come-up table, using one of the free online ballistics programs such as JBM Ballistics. You can also put the information in an Excel spreadsheet or MS Word table and print it out. You want to keep it pretty small.

Below is a sample of a data card. For each distance, the card includes drop in inches, drop in MOA, drop in mils. It also shows drift for a 10-mph cross wind, expressed three ways–inches, MOA, and mils. Zak explained that “to save space… I printed data every 50 yards. For an actual data-card, I recommend printing data every 20 or 25 yards.” But Zak also advised that you’ll want to customize the card format to keep things simple: “The sample card has multiple sets of data to be more universal. But if you make your own data card, you can reduce the chance of a mistake by keeping it simple. Because I use scopes with MILS, my own card (bottom photo) just has three items: range, wind, drop in MILS only.”

Once you have the card you can fold it in half and then have it laminated at a local office store or Kinko’s. You can keep this in your pocket, tape it to your stock, or tie the laminated card to your rifle. If you regularly shoot at both low and high elevations, you may want to create multiple cards (since your ballistics change with altitude). To learn more about ballistic tables and data cards, check out the excellent “Practical Long-Range Rifle Shooting–Part 1″ article on Zak’s website. This article offers many other insights as well–including valuable tips on caliber and rifle selection.

Another option is to place your ballistics card on the back of the front flip-up scope cover. This set-up is used by Forum member Greg C. (aka “Rem40X”). With your ‘come-up’ table on the flip-up cover you can check your windage and elevation easily without having to move up off the rifle and roll the gun over to look at the side of the stock. Greg tells us: “Placing my trajectory table on the front scope cover has worked well for me for a couple of years and thought I’d share. It’s in plain view and not under my armpit. And the table is far enough away that my aging eyes can read it easily. To apply, just use clear tape on the front objective cover.”

ballistics data scope cover

Permalink Tech Tip 2 Comments »
May 27th, 2009

Spaniard Wins 2009 European Steel Challenge

European 2009 Steel ChallengeJorge Ballesteros of Spain captured the coveted Steel Challenge title at the 2009 European Speed Shooting Championships held May 22 and 23 in Winterswijk, Netherlands. Facing Europe’s best shooters, Ballesteros won the Open Pistol title with a time of 61.31 seconds, besting last year’s top time by over two and a half seconds. Jan ter Borg of the Netherlands finished second while Germany’s Oliver Damm placed third for the second year in a row. Defending 2008 champion Saul Kirsch of the Netherlands finished fourth.

The European Steel Challenge drew 135 top speed shooters from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and the United States, all vying for their share of $40,000 in cash and prizes and the title of Europe’s Fastest Gun. The match was shot indoors and featured six of the eight stages used in the USA Steel Challenge: Smoke & Hope, Five to Go, Roundabout, Speed Option, Accelerator and Outer Limits.

“The European Steel Challenge is growing in popularity thanks to the hard work of match director Hans Wigger and, with so many strong competitors, it’s only a matter of time before we see a squad of top Europeans competing at the World Speed Shooting Championships here in the U.S.,” said Dave Thomas, executive director of the Steel Challenge Shooting Association (SCSA).

Fierce Competition Among Wheel-Gunners
In the Open Revolver division, shooters from the Netherlands ran the table with Mario Siemeling leading the way and defending his 2008 win by posting a time of 68.99. Harry ter Borg, who finished third in 2008, moved up to second shooting a time of 77.00 seconds. In third, with a time of 78.35, was Jan ter Borg. Below is a video from the 2008 ESC showing Harry ter Borg, Mario Siemeling (at 4:00 minute mark) and other wheel-gunners in action.

YouTube Preview Image
Permalink - Videos, Competition No Comments »
May 27th, 2009

Firearms & Hunting Product Sales Top $4.6 Billion in 2008

NICS background checksWe all know that sales of firearms, ammo, and reloading supplies have surged since the November Presidential election. Federal excise taxes, collected on guns and ammo sales, rose 13.9% in 2008 compared to 2007. Likewise NICS background checks are up dramatically. Data released by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) reported 1,225,980 checks in April 2009. This figure is a 30.3 percent increase from the 940,961 reported in April 2008.*

What does all this represent in terms of sales revenues? According to the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA), Americans spent over $4.6 billion on guns and hunting gear in 2008. That’s a $500,000,000 increase over 2007. Yes, business is booming for the gun industry. The rise in firearms sales has benefitted major gun makers such as Ruger, whose stock has nearly tripled in price since November 2008. (Check out this chart — with hindsight, we all should have invested in Ruger last fall.)

Sturm Ruger stock price 2009

Sales of hunting and firearms equipment showed the greatest percentage increase in 2008 compared to all other sporting goods equipment categories with sales of more than $1 billion, the NSGA reports. A new NSGA report shows hunting and firearms equipment sales rose 16 percent to $4.6 billion in 2008, up from $3.9 billion in 2007. That’s a $500,000,000 increase in one year — and we can expect the trend to continue in 2009. Overall retail sales of sporting goods (footwear, clothing and equipment) fell 1 percent in 2008 to $53.4 billion.

*The April 2009 increase follows a 29.2 percent gain in March and rises of 23 percent in February, 28 percent in January, 24 percent in December and 42 percent in November when a record 1,529,635 background checks were performed.

Permalink News No Comments »
May 26th, 2009

New .224 Cartridge for AR Match Rifles

Robert Whitley has a new .224 version of the 6.5 Grendel cartridge. The goal was to create a low-recoil but high-BC round to use in AR-platform match rifles. Based on the performance Whitley is getting, we think this wildcat would also be an excellent bolt-gun round.

Whitley tells us: “I have recently been working on another 6.5 Grendel progeny I have made up and call the ‘.224 AR Mag’, which is the 6.5 Grendel case necked down to accept .224″ bullets. I am very impressed by this cartridge and Berger Bullets’ .224″ heavy, high-BC bullet offerings are just beautiful (dimensionally and otherwise) for use with the cartridge. I also have reloading dies for the .224 AR Mag and I am going to make up a page on my website for the sale of AR-15 uppers chambered in the .224 AR Mag.

Whitley 224 AR cartridge

Above you can see the new 224 AR Mag cartridge (right) next to a .223 Rem (left) and a Berger 82 gr BT bullet (right) next to a Sierra 77 gr BTHP bullet (left bullet). The Berger bullet has a good bit higher BC than the Sierra 77 BTHP (.432 BC for the Berger vs. .362 BC for the Sierra). In the 224 AR Mag, the Berger 82 gr BT bullet sits at 2.260″ OAL (.010″ off the lands and a perfect magazine length) with the junction of the boat tail and bearing surface just ahead of the neck and shoulder of the case. You cannot properly load the 82s to mag length in a .223 Rem because the case is so long the bearing surface of the bullet starts to disappear into the mouth of the case, and at magazine length the Sierra 77s sit so far back in the .223 Rem case they hog valuable powder capacity.

Whitley 224 AR cartridge

The .224 AR Mag has a powder capacity of 36 grains of H2O vs. about 29.5 grains of water weight capacity for the .223 Rem. That’s a major difference in powder capacity. In addition you have bullets like the .224 Berger 90gr VLD and 90gr BT bullets that have BCs of .552 and .525 that can be driven very effectively and fast by the .224 AR Mag because of its case capacity. Bear in mind the brass is all Lapua small primer brass as well — what’s not to like?

I have done chrono testing of the cartridge with Varget and RL-15, using the Berger 82 gr BT and the Berger 90 gr BT bullets. This cartridge really can spit them out fast! (See load data below).” NOTE: Whitley could drive both bullets about 100 fps faster using 28.0 grains of Varget or RL15, but those loads approached max practical pressure. Start low and work up.

Berger 82gr BT
27.0 grains Varget w/ Berger 82gr BT, MV = 2865 fps, ES = 29, SD = 14
27.0 grains RL-15 w/ Berger 82gr BT, MV = 2920 fps, ES = 15, SD = 7

Berger 90gr BT
27.0 grains Varget w/ Berger 90gr BT, MV = 2792 fps, ES = 26, SD = 12
27.0 grains RL-15 w/ Berger 90gr BT, MV = 2857 fps, ES = 12, SD = 6

CLICK HERE for Load Specs and Chron Testing Results (.pdf file).

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 7 Comments »
May 25th, 2009

Observing Memorial Day — What You Can Do

“…gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime….let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the Nation’s gratitude — the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.”
–General John Logan, General Order No. 11, 5 May 1868

YouTube Preview Image

From USMemorialday.org:

The “Memorial” in Memorial Day has been ignored by too many of us who are beneficiaries of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Often we do not observe the day as it should be, a day where we actively remember our ancestors, our family members, our loved ones, our neighbors, and our friends who have given the ultimate sacrifice. You can best honor those who died in the service of their country by…

– visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes.

– visiting memorial sites or attending memorial events.

– flying the U.S. flag at half-staff until noon (and by flying the ‘POW/MIA Flag’ as well).

– participating in a “National Moment of Remembrance” at 3 p.m. to pause and think upon the true meaning of the day.

- renewing a pledge to aid the widows, widowers, and orphans of our fallen dead, and to aid the disabled veterans.

Permalink News No Comments »
May 24th, 2009

Stecker Reports from 2009 Super Shoot: Final Results

Super Shoot Final Report
by Eric Stecker, Berger Bullets

Greetings from Sunny Ohio. Normally calling the weather “sunny” in North Lawrence, Ohio is sarcasm. During the last two days of the Super Shoot the word “sunny” is the best description of what shooters faced from Mother Nature. Day 3 provided some cloud cover in the morning which lasted for a while but was soon turned into bright and clear skies. High 40° temperatures and mid 80° highs was more of the same for those who were expecting the rains to come eventually. In case you haven’t heard yet, Tony Boyer was the big winner at this 37th Super Shoot. Congratulations to Tony Boyer for another impressive performance. Tony sets the bar for benchrest excellence.

Kelbly's Super ShootBoyer Wins Two-Gun and HV Grand Agg
Tony Boyer, already the top Benchrest Hall of Fame shooter in history (by quite a margin), won the Two-Gun Aggregate (Agg). Tony shot very consistently, with top five placements in most events. But he really hammered the HV 200-yard stage, with a brilliant 0.1846 Agg. Combined with his fine 100-yard HV shooting, that gave Tony an 0.1997 for the HV Grand Agg win. Lee Hachigan was the LV Grand Agg winner with a solid 0.2235. Lee finished third overall in the Two-Gun, behind Larry Costa:

1. Tony Boyer – .2191 Two-Gun Agg
2. Larry Costa – .2307 Two-Gun Agg
3. Lee Hachigan – .2503 Two-Gun Agg
4. Bill Symons – .2581 Two-Gun Agg
Tie 5. Larry Scharhorst – .2589 Two-Gun Agg
Tie 5. Bill Forester – .2589 Two-Gun Agg

Competitors tackled the Heavy Varmint stage at 200 yards on Friday. 200 yards is usually where Grand Aggs are won and lost during most BR matches and the 2009 Super Shoot this would be no exception. The following are the top five finishers in the Heavy Varmint 200-yard stage:

1. Tony Boyer – .1846 agg
2. Stan Bowerman – .2045 agg
3. Larry Costa – .2148 agg
4. Jim Carmichel – .2329
5. Chris Harris – .2343

Once the 200-yard stage was over the Heavy Varmint Grand Agg was determined. See if you don’t spot a few of those who did well at 200 yards in the following list of the top 5 of the Heavy Varmint Grand Agg.

1. Tony Boyer – .1997 HV Grand Agg
2. Larry Costa – .2235 HV Grand Agg
3. Stan Bowerman – .2432 HV Grand Agg
4. Greg Reed – .2461 HV Grand Agg
5. Wayne Campbell – .2464 HV Grand Agg

By the time the last day started the shooters were commenting on how the Super Shoot had not seen four clear, dry days in a row since 1995. There is little question that this year’s Super Shoot provided some of the best weather conditions we’ve had for some time. Temperatures were similar to previous days and winds continued to be tricky but not extreme.

Kelbly's Super Shoot

The Light Varmint 200-yard stage gave us all a chance to break out the 10.5-lb guns again after two days of getting spoiled with the 13.5-pounders. Most folks were ready to shoot at 200 yards but a few shot flags indicated that some BR shooters still are working on which way to turn the knobs when the distance increases. The following is a list of the top 5 shooters who were on top of their adjustments for the Light Varmint 200-yard stage.

1. Steve Turner – .2085 agg
2. Jeff Stover – .2120 agg
3. Jeff Summers – .2137 agg
4. Tony Boyer – .2159 agg
5. Larry Costa – .2217 agg

Lee Hachigan Wins LV Grand Agg
The completion of this final stage provided the Super Shoot with not only a Light Varmint Grand Agg Champion but also a Two-Gun Champion. For those who have been keeping track of the top five in the lists so far some of the names you see below will be no surprise. Here are the top five in the Light Varmint Grand Agg.

1. Lee Hachigan – .2235 LV Grand Agg
2. Dave Coots – .2263 LV Grand Agg
3. Bill Symons – .2365 LV Grand Agg
4. Larry Costa – .2379 LV Grand Agg
5. Tony Boyer – .2385 LV Grand Agg

Final Thoughts — 1/4 MOA ‘All Day Long’
Another thought crosses my mind as I look at these scores. I hear many times how shooters who do not compete in Benchrest matches say that their rifles are capable of “1/4 MOA… all day long”. Take a look at these scores you will see that 1/4 MOA accuracy “all day long” would put you in the top three of the largest and (arguably) most competitive BR match in the country.

Kelbly's Super Shoot

Permalink Competition, News 2 Comments »
May 24th, 2009

Powder and Primer "Scalpers" on Auction Sites

We all know that certain popular powders are very hard to find right now, and the situation for rifle primers is even worse. With increased demand from various sources, available supplies of Varget and other powders have dried up, creating incentives for some folks to resell powder and primers at windfall prices.

gunbroker.com Varget powder

Recently, one 8-lb jug of Hodgdon Varget sold for $680.00 on Gunbroker.com. You read that right — SIX hundred eighty dollars. Add $35 for shipping and hazmat fees and you’re talking $715.00 for a jug of Varget, or $89.38 per pound, nearly four times the going price before the “panic buying” started.

Eighty-nine bucks for a pound of powder is crazy. We caution our readers not to get caught up in such nonsense. First, if you can’t find a particular powder, such as Varget, there are good alternatives available at reasonable prices. Norma 203B is an outstanding powder, very similar to Reloder 15, that works well in place of Varget. Grafs.com has plenty of 1-lb cans of Norma 203B in stock, Item Number: NP203B1, priced at $24.99 per pound. (That price includes shipping but not Haz Mat fees.)

We also expect the supply situation to stabilize in the next few months. Hodgdon recently received 22,000 pounds of Varget powder. Those supplies (along with other Hodgdon powders) should make their way to vendors soon, and that should relieve some of the shortages which encourage price-gouging.

As for the primer situation, things should remain tight for a while. All the primer makers are running at full capacity, but it could be some months before we see normal primer inventories at most large retailers.

Permalink - Articles, Reloading 3 Comments »
May 23rd, 2009

Champion Dura-Seal Targets Win NRA Award

Champion’s line of DuraSeal™ targets won the NRA’s 2009 Golden Bullseye Award as American Rifleman’s “Accessory of the Year”. According to the NRA, “these auto-resetting targets handle varmint rifles and handguns, as well as many large-caliber rifles. This is the kind of product that makes shooting more fun.”

Champion DuraSeal Varmint Targets

Champion’s DuraSeal Spinner Targets feature a non-metal, self-healing DuraSeal material. Weighing 80 percent less than metal equivalents, this space-age polymer material allows bullets to pass through the target, so the targets are “self-healing” and will survive hundreds of centerfire hits. We wish the wire support frame supports were a bit stronger — an errant shot CAN bend or break the wire supports, but the targets are still fun and inexpensive. DuraSeal targets range in price from $17.95 to $24.95 (MSRP).

These lightweight DuraSeal targets are much easier to haul to the range than armored steel gongs or poppers. They are useful for varmint silhouette practice and the single 5.5″ diamond is a good, challenging size for 600-yard precision rifle practice (provided you have a larger paper target to get zeroed at 600).

Permalink News No Comments »
May 23rd, 2009

More Great Bargains at Cabela's Memorial Day Sale

Cabela’s is offering some huge discounts during its Memorial Day Sell-A-Thon that runs through May 25, 2009. Selected products are up to 60% off. Here are the latest hot deals we found. To get these Memorial Day Sale prices, CLICK THIS LINK.

Shooters’ Ridge Snap-N-Pull™ Cleaning Kit
Bargain Cave Item OG-229078
Reg: $24.99 | Sale Price: $9.88

Snap-N-Pull™ Cleaning Kit

This pull-through Cleaning Kit is available in .22-6mm or .270-.308 sizes for under ten bucks, including jags, brushes, bore mops, and pull-cable with handle. It is a good “field expedient” cleaning system for hunters or tactical shooters who can’t carry a full-length cleaning rod or bore guide. This system works pretty good, just be careful when you pull the metal snap-connectors out the muzzle. As with any pull-cord-type cleaning product, you want to pull straight out the muzzle — NOT at an angle. CLICK HERE to watch Cleaning Kit product video.

Gerber Method™ Multitool
Sale Item OG-517920
Reg: $49.99 | Sale: $34.88

Gerber Multi-tool Method

If you’ve ever used a Gerber Multi-Tool, you know they work well. Gerber’s Method model offers all the attachments you could want with a comfortable steel and polymer handle. It is compact (6″ open or 4″ fully folded) and weighs just 8 ounces. On sale at just $34.88, it is half the price of an equivalent Leatherman tool.

Stoney Point Steady Stix™ II Shooting Sticks
Bargain Cave Item OG-222262
Reg: $37.99 | Sale: $22.88

Stoney Point Shooting Sticks

Stoney Point’s Steady Stix™ are a very useful accessory for hunters and varminters. The lightweight but strong aluminum legs fold to 14″ for transport, assemble to 39″ with internal shock-cord system. The sale item is black, and includes a carry-sheath that fits to your belt. NOTE: These are designed for sitting or kneeling — they aren’t tall enough for standing shots.

Columbia River M18 Knife
Bargain Cave Item OG-518690
Reg: $39.99 | Sale: $19.88

YouTube Preview Image

This Editor has been very impressed with every Columbia River (CRKT) edged tool he’s tried. Build quality is high and the blades are strong and hold their edge. This M18 Carson knife features a 3.63″ AUS8 steel clip-point blade with Teflon® bearings at the blade pivot. The handle is hard-anodized T6 aluminum with black G10-type inlays. The M18 features Kit Carson signature touches such as the 180° circular pivot with dual thumb studs, and the “Carson Flipper” which speeds opening. This is a very nice knife for the money. You’ll find it elsewhere for up to $60.00. You may want to jump on this deal. I just bought FIVE of these, one for myself and four as Xmas gifts. Please watch the video for a detailed review, and an explanation of the locking system!

Permalink - Videos, Hot Deals 1 Comment »
May 22nd, 2009

Stecker Reports from 2009 Super Shoot

Super Shoot Report — First Two Days
Report by Eric Stecker, Berger Bullets

[Editor’s Note: At our request, Eric Stecker, Berger Bullets’ Master Bulletsmith, is sending us late-breaking news from the Super Shoot. Here is Eric’s report, hot off the wire.]

Heavy Varmint Top 20 Match Results CLICK HERE (.pdf file)
5/23 Update: Tony Boyer Won the HV Grand Agg (0.1997) and 200-yard Agg. Tony finished 2nd in 100-yard HV Agg, behind Gene Bukys.

Greetings from (or near) North Lawrence, OH and home of the Firearms Industry Super Shoot. Benchrest shooters from all over the globe are here to participate in this highly anticipated event. The Super Shoot is the largest BR match in the world. Opening Ceremonies started at 8:30 am Wednesday morning. Hall of Fame shooter Allie Euber was on hand to offer words of prayer for the event, shooters, our families and those in BR who we’ve lost over the year. Allie also offered some gracious comments about one of the PPC inventors, Ferris Pindell, who was able to be here and visit all his many friends.

The Super Shoot is ripe with tradition and most things are as they have been for some time. One exception is that long-time Range Master Jim Kelbly has been replaced by his son Ian Kelbly. After Ian called several matches I mentioned to Jim that if he lets Ian keep this up then Jim would be out of a job. He smiled and said “I sure hope so.” Ian is doing a fantastic job running the match.

World Benchrest Championship, Vince Bottomley

Hachigan Tops 100-Yard LV Field
Wednesday greeted shooters with 45° temperatures which quickly warmed in Sunny Ohio to the mid 80s. Winds were present and shifty as they tend to be but not too much to be unpleasant but definitely enough to give most shooters fits. The folks listed below handled these winds and their rifle well and are the top five for the Light Varmint 100-yard stage. The record for the Light Varmint 100-yard Agg was set in 1999 by Bill Forrester at .1706. Bill’s record was safe but the 5-shot small group record of .046 set by Mike Walker in 1994 was seriously threatened by Bill Goad with a small group for the day of .048.

1. Lee Hachigan – .2094 agg
2. Dave Coots – .2154 agg
3. Andy Shifflett – .2194 agg
4. Milt Craven – .2264 agg
5. Larry Scharhorst – .2278 agg

Bukys Edges Boyer in HV 100
Conditions on Thursday for the Heavy Varmint 100-yard stage was much the same as Wednesday with a low in the morning of 47° which warmed up to the high 80s. Winds were also similar with tricky gusts and changes but nothing so strong that stuff was blowing off the benches. The top five after the Heavy Varmint 100-yard stage are below. Larry Kopper definitely shot well but finishing the 5th match with a small group for the day of .083 certainly helped push him into the top five. (The HV record is .062 by Hobbie Bonds.)

1. Gene Bukys – .2020 agg
2. Tony Boyer – .2148 agg
3. Greg Reed – .2158 agg
4. Bob Hammond – .2210 agg
5. Larry Kopper – .2282 agg

Many shooters here would say Thursday was a tough day and they are glad that the 100-yard stages are behind them. Friday the 22nd starts with the 200-yard Heavy Varmint where some 300+ shooters will try as best they can to rise to the top of the list for the HV Grand Agg win. More to come….

Borden Rimrock Benchrest Rifles
Photo of Borden Rimrock Benchrest Rifle courtesy Borden Rifles.

Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
May 21st, 2009

Hodgdon & IMR Powders in Stock at Natchez

Natchez Shooters Supply

Many of our readers have reported difficulty obtaining many of the popular Hodgdon powders such as H4895, H4350, and Varget. Well, here’s some good news. Natchez Shooters’ Supply recently received a large shipment of Hodgdon powder. Unfortunately Varget and H4350 are still out, but Natchez has Benchmark, H4895, Hybrid 100V, and Retumbo in stock. Natchez also has IMR 4198 and IMR 4007ssc. IMR powders are now distributed by Hodgdon.

NOTE: These products are listed in stock as of 8:00 am 5/21/09. They may sell out before you read this.

Hodgdon/IMR Rifle Powders In Stock at Natchez:
HDBM1 – BENCHMARK 1LB: $19.99
HDH3808 – H380 8LB: $124.98
HDH48951 – H4895 1LB: $19.99
HDHY1001 – HYBRID 100V 1LB: $18.49
HDHY1008 – HYBRID 100V 8LB: $128.99
HDRET1 – RETUMBO 1LB: $19.99
IMR 4007 ssc
DU41981 – IMR 4198 1LB: $19.49
DU4007SSC8 – IMR 4007ssc 8LB: $134.49

Try 4007ssc for H4350 applications
Since H4350 is still hard to find, shooters may also want to consider substituting IMR 4007ssc for H4350. IMR 4007ssc is a very accurate powder in the 22-250, 6-6.5×47, 6XC, and Rem 260. Natchez has 8-lb kegs of IMR 4007ssc in stock and Powder Valley has 1-lb. containers of IMR 4007ssc in stock, as well as 1-lb bottles of H322, and Hybrid 100V.

Norma 203BNorma 203B Available from Grafs.com — Replaces Varget or RL15
For those folks desperate to find Hodgdon Varget or Alliant Reloder 15, we suggest you try Norma 203B. This is a very accurate powder very close in performance to Reloder 15 (it is produced by the same manufacturer, Bofors). It should give slightly more velocity than Varget, but it is somewhat more temperature sensitive.

In a 6mmBR or .308 Win, start with your Varget load with 203B. You may, then, be able to increase the load slightly, unless you’ll be shooting in very hot weather. Grafs.com has plenty of 1-lb cans of Norma 203B in stock, Item Number: NP203B1, $24.99 per pound.

Permalink News, Reloading 1 Comment »
May 20th, 2009

Kelbly's Super Shoot Commences Today

“Shooters Ready? Commence Fire!”. This morning the nation’s top “point-blank” Benchrest shooters heard those commands as Kelbly’s Super Shoot kicked off. The Firearm Industry Super Shoot (FISS), the largest short-range benchrest match in North America, runs for four days, May 20-23, 2009 at the Kelbly range in North Lawrence, Ohio. This is a LV/HV match only. Here’s the shooting schedule: May 20 10.5-lb 100 yards; May 21 13.5-lb 100 yards; May 22 13.5-lb 200 yards; May 23 10.5-lb 200 yards. For more information, call (330) 683-4674 or click this Map to Range.

FISS benchrest Super Shoot

Hall of Famers Share Super Shoot Strategies
A while back we surveyed a number of top benchrest shooters, asking them for their advice on “How to Succeed at the Super Shoot.” CLICK HERE to read what Jim Borden, Wayne Campbell, Mickey Coleman, Allie Euber, Speedy Gonzalez, and Bart Sauter have to say.

READ Interviews with Top Benchrest Shooters

Famed bullet-maker Sauter (photo below) offered this advice for newcomers to the Super Shoot: “Go ahead and sign up for the cash option! A lot of new shooters don’t do it. A new shooter will often shoot several small groups, because they’ve worked hard on tuning their rifle. And one really small group could pay for their whole trip. I know a few shooters personally who did not sign up and lost some money.”

Bart Sauter

To do well at Super Shoot, Bart added: “It helps to get shots downrange quickly. I can usually send five in 15 seconds, and sometimes 12 seconds. That helps beat the conditions.” Good brass is very important: “Most of the better shooters will have a new set of brass for the match. The guys that shoot the same 100 pieces all year don’t normally win. I’ll use practice brass for tuning. The brass I take to a major match will have just 2-3 firings on it. You can’t win with brass that is less than optimal”.

Permalink - Articles, Competition No Comments »
May 19th, 2009

Sightron 6-24 Zoom Scopes Compared

Sightron optics, particularly the new SIII 30mm series scopes, have been very popular with our readers. We recently tested the SIII 6-24×50 mildot scope and found that it offered outstanding clarity, sharpness, and tracking. A leader in its price class, the SIII 6-24×50 rivals some scopes costing hundreds of dollars more.

Sightron 6-24x56 scope

Three 6-24 Sightron Scope Models Now Offered
With the introduction of the SIII 30mm 6-24×50 Sightron, Sightron now offers THREE 6-24 power zoom rifle-scopes. This has created some confusion among buyers. Readers often ask us: “What is the difference between the SII 6-24, the Big Sky 6-24, and the new SIII 6-24?” At the NRA Annual meeting in Phoenix, AZ, we meet with Alan Orr, Sightron Product Manager. In the video below, Alan was kind enough to explain the differences among the three Sightron 6-24s. You’ll note that the three scopes offer different amounts of total windage and elevation travel, plus the amount of elevation per rotation is different. Also, the older SII 6-24 runs about $400.00, while the new SIII 30mm 6-24×56 sells for about $825.00. Watch the Sightron Video to learn more.

YouTube Preview Image
Permalink - Videos, Optics 2 Comments »