September 29th, 2012

Sally Bauer Sets Pending IBS 1000-yard HG Score Record

Last month, Sally Bauer set a pending new International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) Score Heavy Gun (HG) record for 1000-yard competition. Her score was 100-5X with a 3.495″ tie-breaker group. Sally shot the group on August 19, 2012 at the Gopher Rifle and Revolver Club in Harris, MN. If this record is approved, Sally will be the first female shooter to hold an IBS 1000-yard benchrest record. Sally’s handsome 67-lb Heavy Gun, “Stars & Stripes”, is painted with an American flag theme.

Sally Bauer IBS 1000 yard heavy gun

Sally Bauer IBS 1000 yard heavy gunSally Sets a Record
At the end of the Heavy Gun match #10 Sally was directed by Range Officer Gordy Mitchell to leave all of her equipment and rifle setting on her bench. Sally was perplexed by Gordy Mitchell’s direction but he assured her “It is a good thing”. Rumors swirled and Dave Holland was summoned to the pits.

Dave and Gordy brought the target back to the scoring shed and had club officials and some respected competitors measure and sign the target. All agreed Sally had just shot an IBS record score. Sally’s rifle and equipment were measured and photographed and the target sent off to the IBS for final measurement and verification.

Sally Bauer IBS 1000 yard heavy gun

Gun Specifications
Sally’s 67-lb Heavy Gun was originally purchased from Bill Shehane, and it uses Bill’s Maxi-Tracker stock. The gun was originally chambered for the 6-6.5×47 Lapua Improved. But the gun didn’t shoot like the Bauers wanted, so it was rechambered to 6mm Dasher by Gordy Gritters. The action is a 2″-diameter, round, chrome moly, 3-lug, 7 ½” BAT. The barrel is a 28″, 1:8″-twist Krieger, with 1.45″-diameter straight tube. The barreled action is secured in the stock with a 9″-long barrel block. The gun uses a 12X42 Nightforce BR scope and a Jewel BR trigger. Gordy Gritters smithed the rifle. Jim Sauer states: “We have known Gordy for years now and trust every phase of our gun projects — all of them are mechanical works of art. When we get our guns from Gordy we know we can put our focus on brass prep and load development and don’t have to worry about the guns being right. That really helps save time.”

Reloading Procedure for Sally’s “Stars & Stripes” Maxi by Jim Sauer
With every new rifle we start with new brass. The first step is to run them through a full length sizing die, then over an appropriate expander mandrel. Since we use a .270 neck on our 6 Dasher chambers, neck turning amounts to a 80% cleanup of the new Lapua brass necks. We do the normal primer pocket and flash-hole uniforming.

We fire-form two times to make sure we get nice sharp shoulder corners before competition. We then separate them according to weight using 1/10th of a grain differences for each box. Much of our loading process is geared around time savings. We look for easy-to-use, consistently good products and don’t vary from them unless we have a problem or results aren’t to our standards. We have chosen to shoot Clay Spencer’s 103gr 6mm bullets. We weight-sort and bearing-surface sort them and that’s it. I gave up trimming and tipping simply because it didn’t improve how Clay built them. We also use only one primer, the CCI 450.

We use one of four different powders. Our “go-to” powder is RL15, next we try Varget, then IMR 8208, and if that doesn’t work we try H4895. We have found that these bullets usually shoot best at 2970 fps. This is not an absolute, just what normally works best. We always try higher and lower velocities looking for that special load. Once we find the powder and quantity that works the best we play with the seating depth. Usually this is a fine-tune method and most of the time 15 thousandths into the rifling works the best. But don’t be afraid to jump the bullets as much as 0.100″. When we use this procedure we usually find a combination that will shoot nice, round ¾” groups at 400 yards.

Our reloading regimen starts with ultra-sonic cleaning our brass, then tumbling until shiny. We anneal the brass every time. We proceed to full-length resizing, repriming, and lubing the inside of the necks with graphite. We then charge with our selected powder and seat the bullets. We measure for concentricity, [shooting] the best ones for the record and the others for sighters. The load that Sally shot the record with is 33.0 grains of IMR 8208 XBR, CCI 450 primers, Spencer 103gr bullets, Lapua brass, bullet seated 15 thousandths into rifling, Velocity 2980 fps.

About Sally Bauer – This is the third year of competitive shooting for Sally. She listened to proper and basic instruction and learned at her pace. She developed her own style and discipline. Not wanting to be dependent on others Sally learned to set up her rests and carries Stars & Stripes to the bench by herself.

Sally and I would like to thank the kind people we have met in this crazy frustrating game of shooting. For the most part fellow competitors have been helpful and giving of the time, experience and knowledge. Every range owner and operator we have come across has treated us like family and friend. I can think of no other sport where the participants give so freely. We would also like to thank Dave Holland, Gordy Mitchell and all the others at GRRC for the professional way they handled the target and situation. — Jim and Sally Bauer


As an interesting historical note, Gordy Mitchell observed that there was an all-star line-up at the match when Sally set her record: “After checking our bench roster I noticed we had three national champions (2009-Ed Nazy, 2010-Jim Bauer, 2011-Todd Soeby) and current top five Shooter of the Year points leaders (Al Forbes, Sally Bauer, Jim Bauer, Shannon Lowman, and Larry Bryant) all at one match.”
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September 29th, 2012

CMP Kimber Benchrest Conversion by Roy Bertalotto

Last year, our friend Roy Bertalotto acquired a budget-priced Kimber 82G rimfire target rifle from the CMP. The Kimber comes with an oiled-wood stock that works fine for three-position training, but Roy wanted to shoot the gun for the bench. The original Kimber stock, with its narrow, radiused forearm, was not ideal for this purpose. Roy wanted a wide, flat fore-end, which is much more stable in the bags. Rather that spend hundreds on a new benchrest stock, Roy modified his Kimber’s original stock by slicing a section off the bottom of the stock and then replacing this with a 3/4″ X 2 3/4″ X 15″ piece of walnut. The finished product is in the second photo below.

Roy explains: “The modification I did on my Kimber 82G stock was done using a milling machine, hand planes, files, die grinder and sand paper. It can also be done with simple hand tools — it will just take longer. The first step is removing the wood on the bottom of the fore-end. This was accomplished in the milling machine. A scrap piece of 2X8 was mounted to the milling machine’s table and the surface milled to be perfectly flat. The Kimber stock was screwed to this 2X8 with two large screws and the bottom of the stock was milled flat. Once this was done, a piece of 3/4″ X 2 3/4″ X 15″ walnut was glued using West System epoxy to the cut out area. I use West System epoxy in boat building, but any good wood glue will work.” WATCH project stages in Slide-Show below:

After gluing the new bottom piece in place, Roy milled the sides to provide side flats with a radius to transition from the wider lower section to the narrower upper part of the fore-end. As a added enhancement, Roy contoured the rear of the fore-end to blend with the rear of the stock, adding what he calls “1965 Ford Mustang side scoops”. Roy then used a Die Grinder with a 1.5″ sanding wheel to modify the wrist area to provide more thumb relief.

Following the cutting, milling, gluing, and shaping, Roy sanded with 150 grit and 300 grit sandpaper before applying multiple coats of Tung Oil. Once the main stock was completed, Roy completed the project by crafting an extended buttplate from a couple pieces of 1/8″ aluminum and two 1.5″ aluminum tubes, “all polished to a slightly less than mirror finish”. NOTE: This metal buttplate assembly was made from scratch (other than the pad). This is not an aftermarket extension kit.

Overall the gun turned out very nicely. Log on to Roy’s RVB Precision webpage to learn more about this Kimber stock modification project, and view more photos of the building process.

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September 29th, 2012

American Gunsmithing Institute Offers Firearms Appraiser Course

AGI AppraisalAmerican Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) now offers a Firearms Appraiser Course conducted via audio CDs, DVDs, books, and an extensive course manual. The total package costs $2497.00 (Yikes!). We think that’s a lot of money, but the program does include a large library of materials including thirteen (13) audio CDs from top firearms appraisers such as Jim Supica, Director of the National Firearms Museum, and Steve Fjestad, author of the Blue Book of Gun Values.

The course package also includes three of the best gun valuation books in print: Blue Book of Gun Values, Flayderman’s Guide to Antique American Firearms, and American Gunsmiths (Frank Sellers).

Greg Martin Firearms AuctionsExperts Share Knowledge on DVDs
Four multi-media DVDs are also included in the Firearms Appraiser Course. DVD One provides a step-by-step course content review with AGI President, Gene Kelly. In DVD Two, gun expert and auction operator Greg Martin shares his extensive knowledge of gun valuation and auctions.

In DVD Three, Master Gunsmith Gene Shuey covers Firearms Restoration vs. Refinishing. The fourth DVD, “Appraising in Action,” features Gene Kelly and noted collector/appraiser Carey Creech who specializes in Colt Single Action revolvers and Winchester® rifles.

Students Receive Certification after Completion of Course
Once a student has completed the material and passes the course exam, he will receive a certification number and documentation to validate his AGI Certified Firearms Appraiser status. The AGI Firearms Appraiser Course is offered through AmericanGunsmith.com for $2,497.00. (Product ID# FAPCOURSE)

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