September 24th, 2012

Air Guns are Fun! SoCal Regional Air Rifle Benchrest Match

Open Grove Range in Southern California recently hosted an air rifle benchrest match. The Open Grove (SoCal) Regional was conducted in conjunction with the World Postal Championship and U.S. Air Rifle Benchrest nationwide standings, under World Rimfire and Air Rifle Benchrest Federation (WRABF) rules. All shooters competed for individual placements and SoCal Regional standings for this one event. In addition, three SoCal team members, Linzie Boise, Jim Herrick, and John Carter, would have their combined three-person match scores entered into World Postal Match team competition standings. It sounds more complicated than it really was. For most of the shooters this match was all about having fun with good friends. The cost was low, the fun factor was high, and, at the end of the day, everyone left with a big smile. CLICK HERE to View Match Photo Gallery (170 hi-rez pictures).

Open Grove Air Rifle Benchrest

WATCH Match Video with Shooter Interviews

There were two competition classes: Light Varmint (LV) and Heavy Varmint (HV). Light Varmint class is for rifles weighing no more than 10.5 pounds, with a power limit of 12 foot-lbs-energy (FPE) max power. The Heavy Varmint class allows 15 pounds max weight, with a max power limit of 20 FPE. Any scope magnification is allowed. Unlike ARA rimfire benchrest, you can’t use a one-piece rest; a two-piece set-up (with front rest and rear bag) is required. For more information on Air Rifle Benchrest rules and classifications visit www.wrabf.com and usairriflebenchrest.com.

Open Grove Air Rifle Benchrest

Hardware and Course of Fire
The rifles used at SoCal Regional are pre-charged using compressed air tanks. The rifles were chambered for either .177 or .22 caliber pellets. While some of the rifles were dedicated benchrest rigs, many were converted/adapted Field Target Rifles. The large side-focus-parallax wheels you see on some of the rifles are used for ranging in Field Target competition. The targets were set at 25 meters. Each target has 25 record bulls. The time limit was 30 minutes per target. Winners were determined based on the Overall Aggregate from the combined scores of three, 25-bull targets. Trophies were awarded to top shooters in HV and LV classes, and the Overall winner.

Open Grove Air Rifle Benchrest

Comments from Match Director
After seven years as a rimfire benchrest shooter, I found a new passion with these air rifles. The cost involved will vary depending on where one wants to start. The sport right now is developing quickly with barrel manufacturers, custom action builders, and stock makers all getting involved. For Open Grove Benchrest, this event was a huge success in attracting different levels of competitors from first-time shooters to Benchrest regulars. We hope this will be a turning point for attracting new shooters to the sport. We tried to make this a fun family event. People really did seem to enjoy themselves. After the last relay, all the shooters were treated to a lunch. Then we gave out door prizes and awarded trophies to the winners.

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September 24th, 2012

RCBS Neck Bushings with Tungsten Disulfide Coating Option

RCBS neck bushingGear Review by Boyd Allen
Just about everyone knows that Wilson and Redding make neck-sizing bushings. But few shooters seem to be aware that RCBS produces bushings. In fact, RCBS does make quality neck-sizing bushings, including very nice Tungsten Disulfide-coated bushings.

As a companion product for their Gold Medal bushing-style dies, RCBS produces its own line of sizing bushings, that have a couple of notable features. First, along with plain steel bushings, RCBS offers bushings with a distinctive, dark gray Tungsten Disulfide (WS2) anti-friction coating. Redding offers bushings in bare “white” steel or with a gold-colored Titanium-Nitride anti-friction coating. Wilson bushings are plain steel with a shiny silver finish. Though the Redding and Wilson plain steel bushings may look like stainless, remember that these un-coated bushings need to be kept oiled or they WILL rust. In normal use, you shouldn’t have to worry about rust on the Tungsten Disulfide-coated RCBS bushings.

Comparing coated bushings, Redding’s gold TiN-coated bushings look pretty, but the WS2 anti-friction coating on RCBS bushings seems to work as well. Tungsten Disulfide (WS2) has an extremely low coefficient of friction — 0.03 compared to 0.6 for Titanium Nitride. Accordingly, the RCBS WS2-coated bushings can work with minimal neck lubrication. When I actually sized necks with the RCBS WS2-coated bushings, the “smoothness” of the neck-sizing operation seemed on a par with other quality, coated bushings.

Another notable difference with the RCBS bushings (compared to other brands) is that RCBS stamps the bushing size onto the outside of the bushing, rather than on the top. RCBS puts the bushing diameter on a reduced-diameter band that runs around the circumference of each RCBS bushing. I think that this is a good idea because it eliminates the possibility that raised edges from the stamping itself might interfere with proper bushing alignment*. (Remember that the top of the bushing — where size marks are stamped by other bushing-makers — contacts the retaining cap in the die during sizing.) Putting the size marks on the outside also makes it easy to distinguish RCBS bushings from other bushing brands.

RCBS neck bushing

The other feature that I like is the shape of the entry chamfer on the bottom of the RCBS bushing. This chamfer is large and angular, rather than curved. This is only a guess, but I think that it may do a better job of letting the bushing align itself with the case as it is inserted into the die, and do a better job on brass from chambers that allow more neck expansion. (The picture shows the smaller chamfer at the top of the bushing.)

That about wraps it up, with the exception of one small point. While MidwayUSA has a wide selection of RCBS bushings, other retailers need to do a better job of stocking these bushings. I got mine from RCBS, but you may have trouble finding them in many online catalogs, or on dealers’ shelves. Hopefully this small review will help to increase awareness of RCBS bushings, and more retailers will carry them.

*As you probably know, stamping displaces metal, some of which is raised above the level of the surface that was stamped. Although it can be argued that shooters have gotten some pretty spectacular results in spite of any cocking of neck bushings caused by their being stamped on top, I am sure that a lot of us would prefer to have things as straight as they can be, and moving the stamping to a recessed band that runs around the outside of the bushing helps accomplish this.
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September 24th, 2012

Koenig and Duff Win at World Action Pistol Championships

World Action Pistol Championship

World Action Pistol ChampionshipsTwo familiar names topped the Open Division at the 8th NRA World Action Pistol Championship in Phillipsburg, Germany, which concluded September 16th. Doug Koenig won the Mens Open Division with a 1916-184 tally, finishing ahead of fellow Americans Kevin Angstadt (1916-171), and Bruce Piatt (1916-167). Among lady shooters, Jessie Duff scored an impressive come-from-behind victory to capture the Womens Open title with a 1900-151 score, edging USA team-mate Helen Jeavons (1899-131) by one point. Team USA’s Troy Mattheyer won the Metallic Division.

The host German Team also did well, winning titles in the Open Modified, Production, and Revolver Divisions. In fact, Germany’s Christoph Geppert (1912-159), Roman Hauber (1897-148), and Frank Reiche (1896-124) finished 1-2-3 among the wheelgunners.

CLICK HERE for Complete World Action Pistol Championships Results

Jessie Wins Ladies’ Open Title
Jessie explained how she pulled out a gritty, come-from-behind win: “Dropping 12 points in the Practical event and being four points behind the leader, I was feeling rather defeated right out of the gate. I still had another event to shoot that day. After a short time to gather my thoughts, I decided I didn’t come to Germany to give up, and would give the rest of the match everything I had! My next two events were plates and barricade, and approached them with a clear mind and positive attitude, and cleaned them both.”

The last day of the event Jessie, sponsored by Taurus, was still four points behind the leader. With the “Mover” still to shoot, she knew she had to turn in her best performance to stay in the hunt for the championship. “I realized, I had given it everything I had, and that’s what I asked of myself. I couldn’t change anything now, and whichever way the title goes, I would be happy. When they brought our targets over to be scored officially, is when I realized I had pulled ahead by one point and won the Bianchi World Cup!”

USA ‘A-Team’ Wins Team Event
Team USA A, composed of Kevin Angstadt, Jerrold Della Bella, Doug Koenig, and Bruce Piatt, won the Team Open title with a combined score of 7652-658. Germany’s Team BDMP finished second with 7614-607. USA Team B (shown below) scored 7573-566 to finish third. In the two-person team comps, Rob Leatham and Kyle Schmidt combined for a Mens’ Production division win, while Americans Helen Jeavons and Vera Koo won the Ladies’ Team Event.

World Action Pistol Championship

Photos courtesy Julie Golob, D. Brandenburger, and Jessie Duff.
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