March 7th, 2013

New CMP Mobile Range Serves Air Rifle Shooters Nationwide

mobile cmp air rifle rangeStory based on report by Ashley Brugnone for CMP’s First Shot Online Magazine

High-Tech Hits the Road
The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) has a portable air gun range that travels around the country in trailer rigs. The CMP’s new $425,000 mobile range features 60 electronic targets, automated target lifts, target monitors (for 60 stations), and jumbo viewing screens for spectators. Positioned on tables along the firing line (photo below), the 60 MEGALink color screens show scores in real time. The high-tech electronic targets provide quick and accurate results, and spectators can watch a “live feed” on eight big-screen LED television monitors. The entire system is controlled by a trio of computers which do the scoring and operate the targets, lifts, and TVs.

mobile cmp air rifle range

mobile cmp air rifle range

The CMP’s state-of-the art, mobile air gun range boasts 60 electronic MEGAlink targets produced in Norway. MEGAlink is the same target system used at CMP North and South stationary air ranges. The MEGAlink target “boxes” are each connected to a lift system than can raise and lower the targets for 3-position shooting. All of the components are designed so that the range can be quickly constructed using as few as three people. A large trailer can haul all 60 targets plus all the related monitors, computers, tables, chairs, and hardware in one load-out.

mobile cmp air rifle range

mobile cmp air rifle range“With travel being difficult for competitors to make it to Ohio or Alabama, the idea of the mobile range arose to transport electronic targets to the shooters instead of them coming to us,” said James Hall, CMP Program Outreach Supervisor. Because of its versatile design, the range can be used as either a 60-point range or broken down into three sets of 20 targets or two sets of 30 targets. “The range can be set up in almost any combination of targets, which allows small gyms and conference centers to host a match with maximum target use,” said Hall.

The first “trial” match of the Mobile Range was at the Montgomery Bell Classic in Nashville, TN in October 2012. “The match was a success, not only for the Montgomery Bell Academy, but also for the CMP,” Hall said. “The targets ran well, and we received a positive response from spectators.” Other CMP events where the range has been put to the test include the 5th Brigade Championship in Kerrville, TX in December 2012 and the Bass Pro 600 in Leeds, AL in January 2013.

mobile cmp air rifle range

All packed up and ready to go, the CMP’s Mobile Range will roll on to future events, including the JROTC Service Championship in Salt Lake City, UT, 4H Nationals in Grand Island, NE, the American Legion Championship in Colorado Springs, CO and various CMP summer camps and clinics. “The Mobile Range has generated a great response,” Hall admitted. “We hope it continues to give shooters out west and other areas of the United States a chance to compete.”

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March 7th, 2013

How to Tame Vertical Stringing — Tips from Speedy

One of our Shooter’s Forum members recently built a new benchrest rifle. He was concerned because his groups were stringing vertically. This is a common problem that all precision shooters will face sooner or later. In addition to ammo inconsistencies, many other factors can cause vertical stringing. Accordingly, it’s important that you analyze your gun handling and bench set-up systematically.

Hall of Fame benchrest Shooter Speedy Gonzalez has written a helpful article that explains how to eliminate mechanical and gun-handling problems that cause vertical spread in your groups. Speedy’s article addresses both the human and the hardware factors that cause vertical. CLICK HERE to read the full article. Here are a few of Speedy’s tips:

Front Bag Tension — Vertical can happen if the front sand bag grips the fore-arm too tightly. If…the fore-arm feels like it is stuck in the bag, then the front bag’s grip is too tight. Your rifle should move in evenly and smoothly in the sand bags, not jerk or chatter when you pull the gun back by hand.

Sandbag Fill — A front sandbag that is too hard can induce vertical. Personally, I’ve have never had a rifle that will shoot consistently with a rock-hard front sandbag. It always causes vertical or other unexplained shots.

Stock Recoil — Free-recoil-style shooters should be sure their rifle hits their shoulder squarely on recoil, not on the edge of their shoulder or the side of their arm. If you shoulder your gun, you need to be consistent. You can get vertical if your bench technique is not the same every shot. One common problem is putting your shoulder against the stock for one shot and not the next.

Front Rest Wobble — You will get vertical if the top section of the front rest is loose. Unfortunately, a lot of rests have movement even when you tighten them as much as you can. This can cause unexplained shots.

Stock Flex — Some stocks are very flexible. This can cause vertical. There are ways to stiffen stocks, but sometimes replacement is the best answer.

Rifle Angle — If the gun is not level, but rather angles down at muzzle end, the rifle will recoil up at butt-end, causing vertical. You may need to try different rear bags to get the set-up right.

Last Shot Laziness — If the 5th shot is a regular problem, you may be guilty of what I call “wishing the last shot in”. This is a very common mistake. We just aim, pull the trigger, and do not worry about the wind flags. Note that in the photo below, the 5th shot was the highest in the group–probably because of fatigue or lack of concentration.

vertical stringing rifle shooting

CLICK HERE for Speedy’s full article with more tips and advice.

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