February 13th, 2012

Shooter Profile: Rodrigo Rosa — A Rising High Power Star

Rodrigo RosaRodrigo Rosa is a rising star in the world of High Power shooting. Though he’s been shooting competitively for only four years, he is already a top contender at the national level. In 2011, the young marksman, who now lives and works in New Hampshire, was right up with the leaders at the NRA National High Power Championships. At Perry, Rodrigo finished second in the Across-the-Course phase and finished third in the Long Range National Championship. He was also on the winning 2d Amendment match team with Norm Houle. Over the last couple of years, Rodrigo has lead the field at New England High Power events. He was New Hampshire State Champ in 2010 and 2011, Massachusetts State Champ in 2011, and Mid-Range (and Across-The-Course) Vermont State Champion in 2009. Rosa is also a two-time NE Regional Across-the-Course Champion, winning titles in 2008 and 2011. That’s an impressive shooting resume for a young man who shot his first High Power match in 2008, and had to borrow money to get his first real match rifle.

Rodrigo tells us: “I had a good year in Camp Perry in 2011. My goal was only to perform well in the across-the-course event, so taking second place after Carl Bernosky by only 3 points and taking third place in the Long Range event was a real treat.”

What was the “secret” of Rosa’s meteoric rise from rookie shooter to podium performer at Camp Perry? Rodrigo replied: “Key factors? I would have to say dry-fire practice, and working on consistency and the ‘mental game’. I spent many hours dry-firing last winter, particularly working on my off-hand position. Despite such training my technique was still flawed at the beginning of the year. I could dry-fire very well but the results did not show on target. I believe that my ability to finally build a mental sequence that allows me to perform the same movements time-and-time again, on demand, made the greatest difference on my results.”

Interview with Rodrigo Rosa — Born to Shoot

We had the opportunity to chat with Rodrigo. He told us how he got started in competitive shooting. He then discussed his shooting techniques and his reloading methods. At our request, Rodrigo offers some tips for new sling-shooters. Rosa also revealed his preferences in hardware and shooting gear.

Rodrigo Rosa

AccurateShooter: Rodrigo, tell us about your background. How did you get involved in shooting?

Rosa: I grew up on a farm in Brazil. When I was about 11 years old my mom bought me an air rifle, and I later inherited my grandpa’s Winchester .22LR. I hunted many rabbits and ducks with that rifle until I was 17 years old when my studies became more important. I traveled to the USA in late 2004 to finish my Veterinary clinical training at Cornell University, where I met my wife-to-be. We got married in 2005 and moved to California for internships. It wasn’t until early 2007 when I decided to buy a rifle and join a gun club. All I could afford was a simple .308 hunting rifle. With the .308, I tried (with limited success) to hit small metal silhouettes at 600 yards. Despite my limited success I decided to educate myself about the shooting sports, predominantly by reading books by David Tubb and Nancy Tompkins, as well as foreign publications.

My wife Kate and I moved to New Hampshire in 2007, when I decided to take a personal loan to buy a better rifle, suited for High Power competition. I joined the Nashua NH Fish and Game Association and started to work on my skills. In late 2010 I met Norm Houle who became a good friend and gave me extra motivation to stay in the game.

AccurateShooter: What are your strengths and what are the areas where you need improvement. What training methods do you use to improve those weak points?

Rosa: My strengths are my ability to concentrate, attention to detail and perseverance. The areas I tend to work on the most are my mental systems. I know I am able to shoot a perfect score in any yard line and shooting position, so I spend most of my time coming up with ways to make my shooting sequence as meticulous and repetitive as possible. I believe I still have a lot of work to do….

AccurateShooter: What are the best and worst things about competing at Perry?

Rosa: 2011 was my second year competing in Perry (I also started the match in 2009 but had to leave early for a family issue). I had one of the best weeks of my life! Perry is a wonderfully beautiful and challenging range, and the friends I had the pleasure to share my time with were the highlight of the trip. From previous experience, I would say that the heat and humidity are the worst things
about Perry, but 2011 gifted the competitors with amazingly pleasant weather.

Rodrigo Rosa
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AccurateShooter: Rodrigo, do you have any tips for novice High Power shooters?

Rosa: Start by investing in good equipment — buy quality and you will buy it only once. Seek the advice of successful shooters. All truly good shooters will be glad to share their “secrets”, for it is only worth winning when all competitors can shoot their best. Develop a safe, reasonably good load for your cartridge and quit messing with it! If you already have an accurate rifle your time is much better spent working on your hold than on developing loads. Be ready! Develop checklists, plans, mental sequences. The less you can worry about, and the more prepared you are for adverse situations at the firing line, the better your chances will be.

AccurateShooter: Speaking of load development, tell us what load you shoot, and what methods you use to create accurate ammo.

Rosa: I shoot the 6mmXC cartridge Across-the-Course and Long-Range (except for Palma, of course). I use Federal 210M primers, Norma brass, Hodgdon 4350 powder, Sierra 70gr bullets for 200 yards and DTAC 115gr bullets from 300 to 1000 yards. My loads are: 39.5 grains H4350 with the Sierra 70gr; 37.5 grains H4350 with DTAC 115gr for 300 yards; and lastly, for Mid-Range and Long-Range, I use a stout H4350 load with the DTAC 115s. (Editor: Start at 37.0 grains H4350 and work up with the 115s; Rodrigo’s long-range load is near max).

The most important steps of my reloading are accurate load weighing (I weigh ALL loads) and bullet selection. I select all the bullets I shoot from 600 to 1000 yards by bearing surface and length. I do not spend any time doing elaborate load testing (and re-testing). All I care about is having a reasonably accurate load that functions smoothly in my rifle.

Rodrigo Rosa
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Rodrigo RosaAccurateShooter: Tell us about your shooting coat and sling. Do you have any advice concerning coat fit and sling adjustment?

Rosa: I currently wear a Monard shooting coat. Proper fit is fundamental for anyone who wishes to be competitive in any category of position rifle shooting, and the folks at Monard certainly have got that down. My advice to anyone who is going to invest hard-earned money in a coat is to make sure that the maker uses at least 15 different measurements of his/her body. Anything less than that is not acceptable in my opinion. I also prefer the stiffness and coolness of canvas over leather. Leather tends to mold better to ones body but softens and shrinks when wet. Since High Power shooters must often shoot in the rain I believe that canvas is a more durable and stable material. For a sling I always used the Superior Shooting Systems Heart Breaker Sling. This is an extremely well-made sling crafted to last many decades. It is important to cut the new sling to fit one’s arm diameter so that the “hinge” is located between the arm and the hand. I did not know this important “trick” for the longest time until David Tubb called my attention to it at Perry last year.

Rodrigo Rosa

AccurateShooter: You shoot a Tubb 2000 match rifle. Tell us the features of the T2K you really like, and explain how you set up the sights and buttstock for different positions.

Rosa: The Tubb 2000 rifle is the only rifle I have ever shot Across-the-Course. It is an extremely user-friendly gun that truly allows the shooter to extract all that a competitive target rifle can offer. I used to have only one buttstock and was therefore forced to make adjustments between shooting positions. Now I have three buttstocks individually set up for each position — a major asset in my opinion. My off-hand buttstock is probably the least orthodox of the three. It has a good deal of added weight to help balance the gun and a very narrow buttplate. I like the narrow buttplate because it fits my small shoulder better. This plate is, however, kept mostly flat (very shallow curvature) in order to comply with NRA rules (less than 1/2 inch depth).

Canting — I truly enjoy the ability to cant the T2K rifle to fit my body. Anyone who watches me shooting seated will notice that I use a great amount of canting in that seated position. Canting is a major asset and can greatly improve most shooter’s position by increasing comfort. The key thing with canting is you must be consistent with the amount of cant you use (hint: learn how to use a bubble level).

Forearm — I have shortened the tubular handguard/fore-end of my rifle in order to improve balance as well. People occasionally ask me: Didn’t you get nervous about cutting such an expensive rifle? (I had taken a loan to buy the rifle and it wasn’t even paid for yet). My answer was “Not at all!” My philosophy is that if something does not fit you or does not do the job for which it was intended, then you MUST act on it. It is pointless to have a rather costly piece of machinery if it does not lead to 10s and Xs.

Sights — I use a Warner #1 rear sight and a “Right Sight” in the front. I currently use the “Houle Tube” sight extension tube (bloop tube) made by Norm Houle. This bloop tube has been a major improvement. It lets me have a short, balanced gun for off-hand and a long gun for sling-supported positions. I must admit that I did not believe these extension devices would repeat zero until I tried one. The Houle Tubes are incredible. These extensions come in 2″, 4″ and 6″ lengths and repeat zero flawlessly every time.

Gunsmithing — Dick Beaudoin from Derry, NH has done most of the customization work on my rifle. I want to give him credit. His patience and attention to detail has made all the difference.

Editor’s Comment: We thank Forum member Rodrigo Rosa for taking the time to share his knowledge with our readers. He is a very talented, yet humble young shooter who works diligently on his game. We have no doubt that one day we will see Rodrigo standing on top of the podium at Camp Perry. Boa sorte Rodrigo, we wish you 10s and Xs and continued success…

Permalink - Articles, Competition, News 11 Comments »
February 13th, 2012

Compact Video Cam Records What You See Through Scope

Idaho-based Hooker Tactical Safety & Defense has introduced an interesting new product that records images and video directly from your scope’s eyepiece, while still allowing the shooter to look through the scope. This system, dubbed the Third-Eye Sharp Shooter Eye-Cam (“Eye-Cam”), fits a small (8 oz.) video camera directly to the eyepiece of a riflescope. The Eye-Cam outputs live video to an iPhone, lap-top computer, or DVR. One can easily imagine the benefits of such a system for tactical and law enforcement marksmen, as well as game hunters. The key elements of a tactical engagement can be recorded, in real time, for later review and analysis. Or a hunter can record the results of his shot at a “once-in-a-lifetime” bull elk.

Hooker Tactical Sharp Shooter Eye-Cam

No Scope Modifications Required
The water-, shock-, and dust-resistant Eye-Cam is easily installed, with no modifications to your scope. Your scope’s zoom, elevation, and windage controls are not altered, and there are no changes to point of aim or point of impact. Unlike most other video adapters for scopes, the compact Eye-Cam does NOT block off the shooter’s view through the eye-piece. You can continue to use the scope normally. Hooker Tactical claims that the Eye-Cam does not distort or change the image viewed through the scope: “The clarity of the image… is as accurate and dependable as if the [Eye-Cam] was not there.”

Comment: Despite Hooker’s claims, we do suspect that the shooter would notice a slight reduction in brightness, and possible softening of focus at the edges — simply as the result of having another piece of glass placed between his eye and the scope’s actual eyepiece.

Hooker Tactical Sharp Shooter Eye-CamSharp Shooter Eye-Cam Costs $2370.00
The Hooker Tactical Eye-Cam retails for $2370.00. It weighs just 8 ounces. Hooker offers a variety of flexible collars that fit over scope eyepieces, allowing the Eye-Cam to be adapted to most popular scopes. Eye-Cams ship with collar of choice, video cables, power cable, 9-volt power supply, and a handy storage pouch. Hooker Tactical stands behind its product with a 2-year unconditional warranty for repair and replacement “with proper usage”. For more info, visit www.HookerTactical.com, or call Hooker Tactical at (208) 527-3395.

Click Here for Sharp Shooter Brochure PDF | Click Here for Sharp Shooter Spec Sheet PDF

Editor’s Comment: This is an intriguing product. While the Eye-Cam’s utility for hunters and law enforcement marksmen is obvious, we think the Eye-Cam could benefit competition shooters as well. The Eye-Cam could be particularly effective in shooter training, allowing a coach to see how well his student actually responds to hold-off calls and wind reads. The recorded video could also allow a shooter to review the effects of mirage as he proceeded through a course of fire. Video would also help a shooter develop techniques to hold the gun more steady and have a better follow-through.

While the Hooker Tactical Eye-Cam is very expensive ($2370.00), we think this is the predecessor of future products that will provide a variety of digital viewing/recording options for rifle shooters. As such products evolve (and become more affordable), we predict digital viewing technology will benefit precision shooters in many ways.

Low-Cost Alternative
MeoPix iPhone Adapter for Spotting Scopes
The Third-Eye Sharp Shooter Eye-Cam costs a whopping $2370.00. For a tiny fraction of that price (about $70), Meopta’s MeoPix digi-scoping adapter lets you record stills and movies directly to an iPhone from a spotting scope.

Though you won’t be able to record what you actually see through your riflescope, the Meopta adapter will perform many of the functions of the Eye-Cam, such as recording the results of hunting shots — so long as you’ve got your spotter aimed at the target. Meopta’s simple but cleverly-designed MeoPix lets you easily record photos and videos from your range and hunting sessions. Anything you can see through the spotting scope can be captured by an iPhone. Hunters can capture images of distant prey, and record successful shots on game.

The MeoPix bracket is a universal-type device that was developed to allow the iPhone 4 or 4s models to interface with ANY binocular or spotting scope eyepiece (fitted cup required). When mated to a long-range optic, the MeoPix transforms a smart phone into a handy, long-range photo and movie capturing tool. The Apple-approved MeoPix adapter attaches securely to the iPhone. Meopta claims the MeoPix bracket ensures precise alignment and excellent image quality.

Eye-Cam Tip by EdLongRange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 9 Comments »
February 13th, 2012

New Rapid-Access Under-Desk Handgun Safe from GunVault

Here’s smart new product for someone who wants to keep a handgun safely secured, but quickly accessible under a desk at home or at a business. The new SpeedVault (from GunVault) is a drop-down safe that can be mounted under a desk or in various concealed locations. The handgun is cradled in a a holster-like protective foam lined interior. The SpeedVault offers a combination of covert placement and fast, reliable access.

The SpeedVault is constructed of tamper-proof, 18-gauge steel and available in digital lock or biometric finger print scanner. An activation button triggers a spring-loaded door that not only has a high-strength lock mechanism, but also performs reliably, time after time. Foolproof security is ensured with an audio and LED low battery indicator to help guard against direct tampering and unexpected power loss. Mounting hardware is included. The SpeedVault comes in two models, the SV 500 (with standard lock) for $199.99, and the SVB 500 (with fingerprint lock system) for $319.99. Dimensions are the same for both units: Width: 3.5″ W x 6.5″ front to back x 13″ top to bottom.

Fingerprint-Reading Biometrics (SVB Model Only)
The higher-priced SpeedVault Bio handgun safe uses biometrics, specifically fingerprint recognition, to access the safe contents rapidly. A high-performance algorithm is used to achieve speedy identification of enrolled fingerprints and at the same time has a very low False Reject Rate (FRR). The self-learning algorithm adds new details to the fingerprint templates each time a user touches the fingerprint sensor, reducing the chance of FRR. The system can handle up to 120 fingerprint templates.

Permalink New Product, News 1 Comment »