July 7th, 2010

Details of Jackie Schmidt’s .1118 100-Yard “Agg for the Ages”

As word spreads of Jackie Schmidt’s historic 0.1118″ 5-target 100-yard Heavy Varmint Aggregate, many readers have inquired about Jackie’s gear and loading procedures. Interestingly, Jackie tells us that he selected the 30 BR “on a whim” for the Heavy Varmint stage of the Midland tournament, after he couldn’t get his 6 PPC Light Varmint gun to shoot up to his standards. With the PPC, he was getting some erratic vertical, with one shot popping up to spoil the group. Jackie turned to his trusty 30 BR, and, as they say, “the rest was history”. Jackie says his 30 BR “held perfect tune all day long”, with “absolutely no vertical”. Here are some other interesting facts about Jackie’s amazing 0.1118″ 5x5x100 Agg and the 30 BR he steered to the pending NBRSA record.

Jackie Free Recoils his 30 BR
Unlike many 30 BR shooters who shoulder their guns, Jackie shoots his 30 BR totally free recoil: “The only thing I touch is the trigger. I try to keep my body out of the equation. Free recoiling a 30 BR isn’t that difficult with a true 13.5-lb rifle.”

30 BR cartridge
30 BR file photo. Jackie Schmidt does not shoot Moly bullets normally.

Jackie Didn’t Clean During Record Agg
Jackie shot his entire 100-yard HV Aggregate (25 rounds plus sighters) without cleaning his 30 BR rifle. Jackie told us: “I never cleaned the rifle until the end of the day. In fact I never took the gun out of the bags.” Jackie tells us that shooting a full Agg without cleaning has become standard practice with 30 BRs: “We’ve all learned that you don’t have to clean them. It’s a phenomenon of the 30 calibers. They shoot just as good on the last shot as the first shot.” When he does clean, Jackie uses patches soaked with Butch’s Bore Shine, followed by 10 strokes with a wet brush, then dry patches. Jackie adds: “For the past few years, I’ve never put any solvent but Butch’s in my bores.”

Hodgdon H4198 powderJackie Used 100% Case Capacity Charge
Jackie loaded a “100% usable case capacity charge” of Hodgdon H4198 (Extreme) in his rounds. His 112gr BIB bullets are “just kissing” the top of the powder column. To achieve that fill level, Jackie uses an 8″ drop tube. “That’s an old PPC-loader’s trick,” Jackie tells us. He added that his lot of H4198 is slower than most. He’s found that “some guys can reach the 3000 fps mark using nearly a full grain less powder than me.” But we wonder if loading at 100% of case capacity helps with accuracy? Folks with a faster lot of H4198 might not be able to reach 100% case capacity.

Jackie Schmidt’s ‘Snubber’ Tuner — The Inside Engineering
Everyone wants to know about Jackie’s “snubber” tuner, shown in the photo below. The Tuner is made from aluminum and brass and weighs 5.5 ounces. The tuner is 2 5/8″ long and extends past the true crown 5/8″. The inner cylinder is aluminum while the outer section is a marine bearing consisting of a brass shell with hard rubber vulcanized to the inside diameter. (These brass/rubber marine bearings are used for propeller shaft seals). The sandwiched brass/rubber bearing is then pressed on to the central aluminum shaft. The hard rubber helps dampen vibration. The tuner screws on and then is “locked” in place with a split clamp (the last 2″ of the barrel is threaded).

30 BR cartridge

Unlike most tuners which have a fixed base and forward, rotating ring, Jackie’s tuner is one integrated unit. To adjust tune, Jackie’s “snubber” tuner is unclamped at the base and the whole assembly is screwed in or out on the threaded barrel. Jackie machined a very tight-pitched barrel thread so a full rotation of the tuner produces only .028″ of fore and aft movement. Jackie tells us that, once the basic position is set for a barrel, it doesn’t take much rotation to set the tune. He can usually optimize the barrel tune with less than 1/2 turn of the tuner. After the tune position is set, the split clamp at the inboard end is tightened. This way the tuner is basically locked in place while shooting.

Despite numerous requests, Jackie does not sell his tuners commercially. But someone with good machine skills could build a clone tuner. Team USA benchrest shooter Gene Bukys crafted a similar snubber-type tuner which he used successfully at the 2009 World Championships in South Africa.

The “25 Shots Heard Round the World”
Even people outside the Benchrest community are excited about Jackie’s 0.1118 Aggregate. Jackie’s achievement was noted by Michael Bane and broadcast on the Downrange TV Weekly Video Podcast.

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July 7th, 2010

Disabled Vets Compete in National Veterans Wheelchair Games

Nat'l Veterans Wheelchair Games Air Rifle MatchThe 30th National Veterans Wheelchair Games commenced this week in Denver, Colorado. The largest annual wheelchair sports competition in the world, this event offers 17 different sports to veterans who use wheelchairs due to spinal cord injuries, amputations and neurological diseases. One of the popular events is the Air Rifle competition, which has attracted ten relays of competitors, all of whom are wounded or disabled military veterans.

With the help of family, friends, and volunteers, they unpack their guns, sight in their rifles, and shoot three rounds of twenty shots in thirty minutes. The competitors display a wide array of emotions — some are intense, some are smiling, and some are satisfied with the mere act of competing.

The stories are as diverse as those who are shooting: An Army ranger injured post-retirement, an officer with multiple sclerosis, an enlisted man wounded in combat. They come from California, from Ohio, from Florida and Texas. “We’ve seen a wonderful change in our guys,” said a group leader from California. “They find a sport in which they can flourish and their smiles are contagious.”

Photos and story by Lars Dalseide, courtesy NRA Blog.

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