July 22nd, 2010

Womens’ “Dream Team” Sets New National Palma Record

A “Dream Team” composed of four of America’s top lady shooters set a new national long-range Palma record at the Rocky Mountain Palma Championships at Raton, NM last week. The four-woman squad of Trudie Fay (Captain), Michelle Gallagher, Noma Mayo, and Nancy Tompkins shot brilliantly to establish a new National Palma record of 1796-112X, breaking the existing 1791-102X record held by the USAMU (Praslick) team.

Officially listed as “The U.S. National Team”, but dubbed “Team Estrogen” by one of the gals, this squad of four female High Masters was coached by Steve Conico, a veteran long range shooter from New Mexico. Michelle told us that Coach Conico did a great job calling the wind, and all the team members performed well: “Our strategy was simple: lay down, shoot, let Steve think for everybody. Steve’s a fantastic coach. We all just had a good day. All four trigger-pullers were on top of our game. The combination of good conditions (for Raton), great coaching, and good shooting allowed a memorable team performance. That combination is rare. It’s not going to happen again any time soon.”

SCORES: T. Fay: 448-39X | M. Gallagher: 450-35X | N. Mayo: 449-26X | N. Tompkins: 449-22X

U.S. National Palma Womens Team

For Michelle, competing in this match with a team of female all-stars (who are all close friends) was a dream come true: “We’ve been planning to have a womens’ team for 10 years and it finally happened. It’s fun getting everyone together. We’re all delighted it worked out so well. And I loved being able to shoot with my mom.” Michelle shot a perfect 450 in the match, not dropping a single point.

Michelle Gallagher Nancy TompkinsRecord-Setting Equipment
All four Dream-Teamers were shooting conventional single-shot .308 Winchester Palma rifles — no tube-guns in this arsenal. Nancy Tompkins’ rifle featured a wood stock, Stolle Panda action, and 30″ Krieger barrel. Michelle’s rifle was similarly configured but she used a fiberglass McMillan stock. Nancy and Michelle shot ammo loaded with Hodgdon Varget powder, Wolf (Russian) primers, and the 155.5gr Berger Palma bullet. The other two team members, Noma and Trudie, may have been using Sierra #2156 155gr Palma bullets but that’s not confirmed.

Loading for the 155.5gr Berger Palma Bullet
Michelle observed that the 155.5gr Berger Palma bullet doesn’t require any special tuning: “With the 155.5, it’s pretty easy to swap out any load you’ve used successfully with any of the other 155s. The 155.5 doesn’t require a lot of extra load development. As far as seating depth goes, some people are successful jumping them, some people are successful jammin’ them in. Personally I’ve always soft seated. I haven’t found them to be very finicky.” Editor’s note: “Soft Seating” refers to deliberately loading the bullets long, with fairly light neck tension, and then allowing the bullet to find it’s position as one closes the bolt. The potential benefit is that the bullet ogive is always in the same position relative to the start of the rifling.

Good Conditions Aid Record-Setting Team Performance
During the July 10 team match, the weather gods smiled, providing good conditions (by Raton standards) for the female Dream Team’s record-setting performance. Michelle observed: “Have you ever shot at Raton? It can be the devil. Raton can be really nasty, but it was a pretty benign day by Raton standards. The wind was switchy but not what I’d call ‘blow you off the paper’ wind. We were all able to concentrate on the mechanics — just ‘lay down and squeeze’. Steve did all the work.”

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July 22nd, 2010

Camp Perry Smallbore Position Championships Commence

With the firing of a cannon, the 2010 Smallbore Position Championship commenced on July 22, 2010. Today, the 22nd, competitors will shoot the Metallic Championship, on the 23rd the Any Sight Championship will be held, and the team matches will run on Saturday the 24th. Over 300 shooters will compete for the Frank Parsons Memorial Trophy. In years past, juniors have comprised around 70% of the total competitors. This year junior shooters make up 85% of the competitors. That’s a good sign for the future of the sport.

YouTube Preview Image

This report came from the NRA Blog which will provide scores, photos, and videos in the days ahead. Above is a video from the 2009 Smallbore 3P competition at Camp Perry.

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July 22nd, 2010

Williamsport Winner Reveals 6.5×284 Reloading Secrets

John Hoover of Accuracy One Shooting Supplies is the 2010 Williamsport World Open Two-gun Overall Champion. Shooting a 6.5×284 in both Light Gun (LG) and Heavy Gun (HG) classes, John shot consistently, placing 3rd in Light Gun class, and 6th in Heavy Gun to win the overall Two-Gun with 34 rank points. It was a solid win. The next closest shooter was Paul Chackan with 59 rank points.

John Hoover Accuracy One

John Hoover Accuracy OneHoover’s Reloading Tips
We interviewed John after his World Open victory, and he shared his World Open-winning load, and some of the reloading secrets that allow him to craft ultra-accurate long range ammo. For his 6.5x284s, John loaded was Sierra 142gr MatchKings pushed by 48.0 grains of Hodgdon H4350, in “white box” Winchester .284 brass. Both rifles used exactly the same load. John revealed: “I have 9 match rifles, and they all shoot 48.00 grains of H4350.” John pointed his 142gr SMKs, using his own Accuracy One bullet-pointing tool: “I don’t shoot anything that isn’t pointed. All the loads we shoot use pointed bullets. I find that bullet pointing, combined with meplat trimming, reduces vertical dispersion at 1000 yards.”

Hoover’s Secret Ingredient? RWS Primers
Hoover lit his loads with RWS primers — the “Holy Grail” of rifle primers. Where did John get these superior German-made RWS primers, which are virtually unobtainable in the USA these days? John explained: “I bought those primers a long time ago, as a stocking dealer. I had about 100,000 at one time before they quit importing them, I kept a fair amount for us to use. I’m down to about 8000. When they’re gone I’ll have to change to something else.”

Hoover Now Anneals Brass “Early and Often”
Recently Hoover has changed his brass annealing procedure; he now anneals his Winchester brass earlier and more frequently: “I anneal more often now. I used to shoot my cases five to six times before annealing. Now before I shoot a case the very first time, I anneal it. That has help keep the ES and SD down. I anneal before I shoot the first time, and then every third firing. I use the Ken Light annealing machine.”

Ace Smiths Built Hoover’s Winning Rifles
John’s heavy gun was chambered by Al Warner of Warner Tools, while the light gun was chambered by 8-time National High Power Champion Carl Bernosky. Both light and heavy guns had Bartlein 1:8.5″ twist 5R barrels. All the stock work was done by Alex Sitman of Master Class Stocks. John credited these smiths: “I had good equipment from top to bottom, I had good smithing help from Alan, Carl, and Alex, who all did excellent work. When you’re walking to the firing line you get peace of mind from having the best equipment.”

READ MORE: To learn more about John Hoover’s successful 6.5-284s, read this Gun of the Week article.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »