October 31st, 2013

Halloween High Jinks — Pumpkin Destruction Videos

Today is Halloween. That means it’s pumpkin time. Just how much fun can you have with pumpkins? Watch these two videos and find out. In the first video, the RatedRR team sends a few orange gourds to pumpkin heaven using Det Cord, C4, and binary explosives. The sequence starting at the 2:00 minute mark in the first video is truly amazing. WARNING: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!

Watch Pumpkin Blasting with Explosives

In the next video, a pumpkin carved as a Death Star serves as the target for a .50 caliber rifle (looks like a Barrett M82 .50 BMG). As you may guess, the pumpkin Death Star suffers the same fate as the Hollywood version in Star Wars. NOTE: At the 0:42 mark in the video, a graphic displays “30,000 FPS”. That’s the high-speed camera’s frame-per-second rate, NOT the projectile velocity in feet-per-second.

Watch .50 BMG Rifle vs. Death Star Pumpkin

Warning: These demonstrations were carried out on closed ranges by experienced professionals certified to use explosives. Possession of C4 and Det Cord may be a violation of various Federal, State, and local laws. Detonating cord and C4 are classified as high explosives and are regulated by the BATFE. Don’t even think about trying to repeat these stunts on your own.

Permalink - Videos 1 Comment »
October 31st, 2013

Report from World Benchrest Championships in Australia

WBC World Benchrest Championships Australia

There was “Thunder Down-Under” last week at the 2013 World Benchrest Championships (WBC 2013) in Australia. The event was held at the Silverdale Range, a 1.5 hour-drive west of Sydney, NSW. This event drew roughly 80 of the world’s best 100/200 yard Benchrest group shooters who competed both individually and on national teams. Squads from Australia, Canada, Finland, Italy, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the USA vied for WBC team honors. Both Australia and the United States fielded three teams, while New Zealand and South Africa each fielded two squads.

WBC World Benchrest Championships Australia

Conditions were vicious at times, with extremely high winds in a few relays. To show you how tough things were, legendary shooter Tony Boyer had a 1.560″ group during the LV 200-yard match, while Tom Libby shot a shocking 2.280″ group in the same relay. We can’t remember when we’ve ever seen groups like that posted by shooters of this skill level.

In team competition, the strong USA ‘A-Team’ finished first followed by South Africa A (second place) and Australia A (third place). Ed Adams, Tony Boyer, Gene Bukys, and Bob Scarbrough Jr. were the members of the winning USA A-Team.

WBC World Benchrest Championships Australia

In individual competition, Americans finished 1-2-3 in the Two-Gun. Texan Charles Huckeba topped the field, winning the Two-Gun Overall with a 0.2804 Grand Agg. Gene Bukys (0.2863) was second, and Bob Scarbrough Jr. (0.2881) finished third. In fourth place overall was South African Roland Thomsen (0.2919), while New Zealander Peter Haxell (0.2940) finished fifth. The top five for each of the LV and HV yardages are listed below.

WBC World Benchrest Championships Australia

Complete WBC 2013 Results have been posted on the Australian Benchrest Bulletin website. Scroll down and look for the blue “Latest Stuff” tab on the lower left. There you’ll find links for WBC 2013 events under the “Latest Results” header.

Light Varmint Grand Agg
1. Gene Bukys (USA-A) .2796
2. Todd Tyler (USA-C) .2817
3. Roland Thomsen (SA-A) .2952
4. Peter Haxell (NZ-A) .2971
5. Jan Hemmes (SA-A) .3024
Light Varmint 100 Yards
1. Freddie Botha (SA-B) .1936
2. Todd Tyler (USA-C) .2258
3. Wayne Campbell (USA-B) .2464
4. Peter Haxell (NZ-A) .2484
5. Gene Bukys (USA-A) .2486
Light Varmint 200 Yards
1. Jan Hemmes (SA-A) .2939
2. Gert Le Roes (SA-B) .2962
3. Roland Thomsen (SA-A) .2978
4. Gene Bukys (USA-A) .3106
5. Todd Tyler (USA-C) .3375
Heavy Varmint Grand Agg
1. Ivan Piani (ITA-A) .2389
2. Bob Scarbrough (USA-A) .2399
3. Ch. Huckeba (USA-C) .2424
4. Tony Boyer (USA-A) .2520
5. Ed Adams (USA-A) .2781
Heavy Varmint 100 Yards
1. Tony Boyer (USA-A) .1574
2. Ch. Huckeba (USA-C) .1722
3. C. Whittleton (AUS-B) .1872
4. Wyn. Campbell (USA-B) .1874
5. Bob Scarbrough (USA-A) .1900
Heavy Varmint 200 Yards
1. Ivan Piani (ITA-A) .2786
2. Ed Adams (USA-A) .2869
3. Bob Scarbrough (USA-A) .2897
4. Ch. Huckeba (USA-C) .3126
5. Jari Laulumaa (FIN-A) .3168

WBC World Benchrest Championships Australia

Photos by Todd Tyler, Tom Libby, and Scott Pieper, provided courtesy Aaron French.
Permalink Competition, News No Comments »
October 31st, 2013

Affordable .22 LR Rimfire Options for AR Fans

AR15 AR .22 LR rimfire conversion BrownellsAR-platform rifles are fun to shoot, but .223 Rem centerfire ammo can get expensive if you put a lot of rounds downrange. Dedicated .22 LR uppers let you do live-fire training with more affordable rimfire ammo while retaining the weight, balance, and feel of your AR-platform rifle. You use your regular lower, so the ergonomics and grip feel the same. Likewise, the trigger group is the same, so you don’t need to adapt to a different trigger pull. With these .22 LR upper conversions you can shoot reactive targets at relatively close range, with less noise and recoil. (But remember that rimfire bullets can ricochet, so always shoot at a safe distance and always wear eye and ear protection).

Dedicated .22 LR Rimfire Uppers for AR-Platform Rifles
A number of companies offer dedicated .22 LR rimfire uppers that work with any standard AR15-platform lower. Brownells carries dedicated .22 LR AR uppers starting at $419.99. Brownells offers flat-top AR uppers, allowing you to easily mount the aiming system (iron sights or optics) of your choice. Brownells offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all products it sells, including .22 LR uppers.

AR15 AR .22 LR rimfire conversion Brownells

AR-Style .22LR Rimfire Rifles (Complete Guns)
Another option is to purchase a complete AR-style rimfire rifle chambered for the .22 LR cartridge. This option may be more affordable than you think. Right now Impact Guns is selling the Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 with 16″ barrel for just $509.99 (marked down from $649.99). It’s a nice little rifle. The M&P 15-22 is designed and built as a true .22 LR semi-auto from the ground up, with ergonomics (and most operating controls) identical to a centerfire M&P 15 rifle. Here’s the black and tan version:

AR15 AR .22 LR rimfire conversion Brownells

H&K offers the HK 416 D145RS, a dedicated .22 LR rimfire rifle. Engineered and built in Germany by Carl Walther, the HK 416 D145RS features a match-grade precision barrel, metal upper and lower receivers, retractable stock, and machined rail interface system with on-rail iron sights. These HK rimfire rifles (which employ a blow-back action) are accurate and reliable. Current ‘street price’ is around $660.00. One purchaser writes: “Great .22. I have had this gun a couple of months and have put about 500 rounds of 5 different brands of ammo through it. Not one FTE. I have shot other brands that can’t get through one 30-round mag without a failure. [The 416] is a little pricey compared to the competition but you get what you pay for.”

AR15 AR .22 LR rimfire conversion Brownells

Permalink New Product 3 Comments »
October 29th, 2013

Extreme Long-Range Accuracy — Making the Mile Shot

As a member of the World Champion Team USA F/TR squad, Paul Phillips regularly competes (and wins) at 1000 yards. Paul is also a long-range hunter. Here’s his story about developing his ultimate long-range hunting rifle. Chambered for the .338 Lapua Magnum, this rig is accurate out to 1800 yards.

The Long-Range Challenge By Paul Phillips
Being an avid big game rifle hunter, my goal was to build the most accurate long-range hunting rifle possible that would still be light enough to carry. My thought was to use the same type of high-quality components as what I used on my US F/TR Team Rifle, except in a bigger caliber — a caliber that would have plenty of knock-down power at very long ranges. After extensive research, including both ballistic data analysis, as well as discussion with top gunsmiths and champion long-range shooters, I chose the .338 Lapua Magnum. My past experience from being a member of a USMC Scout Sniper Platoon and a shooting member of two World Champion U.S. F-Class F/TR teams, I knew that this rifle was more than capable of performing the task. After establishing that the rifle had half-MOA accuracy at 600 yards, we wanted to see how far the rifle could maintain sub-MOA accuracy, to see what the cartridge and rifle could achieve. Could this gun shoot sub-MOA at a mile? That was our challenge.

Paul Phillips .338 Lapua Magnum rifle one mile Brux Barrel McMillan A5 stock

Rifle Components and Gunsmithing
My rifle was built on a Stiller Tac-338 single-shot action. It has a 30″, 1:10″-twist Brux barrel, a McMillan A-5 stock with Magnum fill, a Sinclair Bipod, and a Remington X-Mark trigger set at two pounds. The rifle wears a Nightforce NXS 8-32x56mm scope in Nightforce rings on a +40 MOA rail. I chose David Tooley to install the barrel, custom brake, apply a Cerakote dark earth finish and bed the stock. After speaking with Mr. Tooley in great length, I chose his no-neck-turn match .338 Lapua chamber specifically designed for the 300 grain Berger Bullet. This rifle weighs 17 pounds and, with the muzzle brake, it recoils like a standard .308 Winchester.

Paul Phillips .338 Lapua Magnum rifle one mile Brux Barrel McMillan A5 stock

Load Development and Accuracy Testing
I used the 600-yard range at the Midland County Sportsman’s Club. If I was going to have any chance of hitting small targets at a mile, I would need to find a load that could produce half-minute (0.5 MOA) or better accuracy. I found an accurate load that gave me consistent half-minute groups that chronographed at 2825 FPS. My load consisted of Lapua brass, Federal 215M Primer, Alliant Reloder 25, and Berger 300gr Hybrid OTM bullet. With the Berger 300-grainer’s listed 0.419 G7 BC, this load would be good enough to reach 1880 yards before going subsonic. This load’s calculated energy at one mile is 960 ft/pounds. This is similar to a .44 magnum pistol round at point-blank range.

Paul Phillips .338 Lapua Magnum rifle one mile Brux Barrel McMillan A5 stock

With my +40 MOA scope rail, my 100-yard zero ended up with the elevation at the bottom of the tube and the windage just 2 MOA left of center. This left a full 65 Minutes of Elevation — enough to get out to 1800 yards. This gave me the capability to aim and shoot from 100 yards to 1800 yards with a projectile that is still supersonic at 1800.

Hitting a 10″ Balloon at One Mile
For a one-mile target, I chose a balloon inflated to 10″ in diameter. The balloon would be a challenging, reactive target that would show up well on video. I teamed up with a fellow long-range shooter, John Droelle and friend Justin Fargo to attempt this feat. Using my known 600-yard Zero, my ballistics program showed my come-up for 1783 yards to be 53 MOA. After two sighters that measured 4 inches apart, I adjusted up one minute from my spotter shot and nailed my 10″ balloon at one mile. This video was recorded with my iPhone attached to my 25-power Kowa spotting scope, so it may seem a lot closer than it really is. Below is a video of the shot. Needless to say I achieved my goal and was very excited.

Watch Hit on 10″-Diameter Balloon at One Mile with .338 Lapua Magnum

After my balloon shot, I let my friend Justin Fargo, a novice shooter, try his skills. Justin told me that he had never shot past 100 yards using a common deer rifle. Surprisingly, Justin not only kept all his shots under 1 MOA, he hit the 9-inch white circle in the middle of the target. This bullet hole measured only 4.3 inches from the center of where he was aiming. Truly amazing! The target below shows Justin’s shots at one mile. Note that All the hits are located within the 24-inch black circle.

Paul Phillips .338 Lapua Magnum rifle one mile Brux Barrel McMillan A5 stock

What I Learned — With the Right Equipment, Even a Novice Can Make Hits at a Mile
The above results demonstrate that even a novice shooter with a high-quality, custom rifle and match-grade ammo can make extreme long range shots with great accuracy. It is very important to understand the ballistics of the bullet and the effect of wind drift to make precision, first-shot hits on your target. It is also important that you know your target, backstop and beyond when making these shots. To date, I have shot approximately 40 shots at a mile in calm conditions while averaging 3-shot groups between ½ to 1 MOA (1 MOA is about 18.5″ at that distance). My next experiment is to see how well these bullets perform traveling at subsonic speeds out to 1.5 – 2 miles. Stay tuned!

Special thanks to the following people that helped out with this project: Geoff Esterline, David Tooley, Dick Davis, John Droelle, Ray Gross and Bryan Litz.

Editor’s Comment: The point of this article is to show the kind of accuracy a precision rifle system can achieve, consistently, at extreme long range. Though this rifle will do duty as a hunting arm, Phillips is not advocating that a .338 LM be used to harvest animals at the full limit of its supersonic range. Because winds are hard to predict at extreme long range in a hunting situation, Phillips cautions that the practical distance at which he would shoot game with a rig like this is much, much shorter.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting 9 Comments »
October 29th, 2013

Natchez Has Remington and Lapua .22LR Rimfire Ammo in Stock

Remington rimfire ammo natchezA common lament among our Forum members is that they can’t find affordable .22LR rimfire ammo for fun shooting and plinking. This stuff flies off the shelf whenever it appears. However, Natchez Shooters Supplies has received substantial shipments of Remington bulk-box rimfire ammo. Note, due to high demand, there is a one-box limit for the 500-count and 525-count boxes per customer per day. Here’s what we found in-stock today at Natchez:

Remington .22 LR 36gr Golden Bullet Plated HP, 525 rounds per box — $39.99 On SALE
(1 box limit per day)

Remington .22 LR 40gr Thunderbolt Hi-Vel, 500 rounds per box — $39.99 on SALE
(1 box limit per day)

Remington .22 LR 33gr Yellow Jacket HP, 100 rounds per box — $15.99
(3 box limit per day)

If you want the good stuff, Natchez also has Lapua .22 LR 40gr Midas+ ammo in stock at $17.99 for 50 rounds. Not cheap, but this is top-flight stuff that has won matches at the Olympics. There is no purchasing limit on this Midas+.

Remington rimfire ammo natchez

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals 4 Comments »
October 28th, 2013

Mike Moses Wins IBS 600-Yard Nationals

This past weekend the IBS 600-yard Nationals were held at the Bench Rest Rifle Club of St. Louis. Attendance was strong, with 78 Light Gun shooters and 74 Heavy Gun competitors. Initial results are posted below. Forum member Mike Moses was the Two-Gun Overall winner, claiming the 2013 600-yard Title as National Champion. In the Two-Gun rankings, Johnny Powers finished second, followed by Dallas Johnson, Sam Hall, and Ryan Hunt. In the Light Gun Division Charlie Macke (shooting a big 7mm) finished first, ahead of second-place Mike Moses, and third place Ryan Hunt. In the Heavy Gun Class the top three were: Johnny Powers, Andy Ferguson, Dallas Johnson.

Past IBS 600-yard National Champ Sam Hall said conditions were brutal on the first day: “On Saturday, the wind was switching and gusting to 30 mph. Though there still were some crazy switches, Heavy Gun on Sunday was calmer thank The Lord! Day One was just about survival!”.

We will provide additional match details and photos as soon as they are available. Here are the unofficial standings for Two-Gun, Light Gun, and Heavy Gun. The order of finish is determined by combined rank points for Group Aggregate and Score Aggregate.

Two-Gun Overall Light Gun Division Heavy Gun Division
1. Mike Moses
2. Johnny Powers
3. Dallas Johnson
4. Sam Hall
5. Ryan Hunt
6. Andy Ferguson
7. David Dorris
8. Charlie Macke
9. Richard Schatz
10. Mike Hanes
JR Champion: Rory Jacobs
1. Charlie Macke
2. Michael Moses
3. Ryan Hunt
4. Rich Elijah
5. Samuel Hall
6. David Dorris
7. Dallas Johnson
8. Steven Hall
9. Johnny Powers
10. Richard Schatz
1. Johnny Powers
2. Andy Ferguson
3. Dallas Johnson
4. Mike Hanes
5. Danny Forehand
6. Sam Hall
7. Mike Moses
8. Jeff Godfrey
9. Ryan Hunt
10. Steve Hoskin
Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
October 28th, 2013

Want to Be the Boss? Leupold & Stevens Seeks New CEO

Want to guide one of America’s leading optics companies? Well here’s your chance. Leupold & Stevens, Inc. is seeking a Chief Executive Officer. Leupold is seeking a new CEO to “lead the company as it continues to expand into new markets and experience record growth.” Here’s the job description:

Leupold & Stevens logo company optics“The CEO at Leupold & Stevens, Inc. partners with the Board of Directors and Corporate Executive Team to ensure short- and long-term organizational goals are achieved. This position is responsible for the strategic leadership and direction of the business, with the objective of providing optimum financial results while maintaining the vision and values of the company.

The Chief Executive Officer also has a key responsibility to ensure that the interests of customers, owner-shareholders, and employees are served in a manner that supports business objectives and in a manner consistent with Leupold & Stevens, Inc. core values. A strong outdoors background is preferred for this highly visible role within the organization and industry.”

Candidates should submit resumes via the Leupold Career Page at Careers.Leupold.com by November 15, 2013. For questions, contact Kimberly King, VP of Human Resources/ Organizational Development. King can be reached at (503) 526-1433 or by email at kking [at] leupold.com.

Permalink News, Optics No Comments »
October 27th, 2013

Free Mirage Shields from X-Ray Test Films

Mirage shields are useful for all shooters, not just hard-core competitors. A mirage shield helps you see your target better, without distortion caused by heat waves coming off your barrel. This isn’t rocket science — it’s a simple, inexpensive way to see better and shooter more accurately. We’ve advocated that varmint shooters give mirage bands a try on those hot summer groundhog and prairie dog expeditions. And we observed that practically every shooter at the 2013 World F-Class Championship was using a mirage shield of some kind.

Forum member Fabian from Germany, whose Sako 6BR was featured as a Gun of the Week, has devised a clever and inexpensive mirage band option. Fabian is a radiologist by trade. He notes that many X-ray machines require a daily test film for calibration. These are normally just discarded in the trash, so you can get them for free.

mirage shield

Fabian explains: “I’m a radiologist, so I handle medical x-ray films every day. Modern X-ray machines use laser-based printers and they need to print a test-film every day. One x-ray film is about 43×35 cm (16.9″ x 13.7″). Made from polyester, the films are very stable and only 0.007″ inches thick. They are light-weight, semi-transparent, and very stable. Using normal scissors, you can easily cut four mirage shields from a single sheet of film. Then glue on some velcro to attach to your barrel. Try it, you will not be disappointed.”

mirage shield

If you’re not into making your own mirage shield, aka “mirage band” or “mirage shade”, you can also purchase these from Sinclair International. Two Velcro-attached sizes are offered, 18″ long (item 749-000-423WS) and 24″ inches long (item 749-000-426WS). Both sizes are priced at a reasonable $4.95.

mirage shield

Permalink Tech Tip 3 Comments »
October 27th, 2013

Simple, Inexpensive ‘Pogo Stick’ Rest for Hunters

varmint shooting restForum member RidgeRunner has devised a clever shooting support for field use. He calls it the “Pogo Stick”. It’s simply welded stainless rod with a two-pronged base, and a ‘U’-shaped cradle that adjusts for height along a vertical shaft. RidgeRunner tells us: “It is very solid and made from stainless steel so it won’t rust under sweaty hands. The rifle hook, or support, slides up and down the main stem and secures with the knob. It has two prongs you tramp into the ground and is VERY stable. It is shiny, but I have been using this one since about 1983, and I can’t say I have noticed it spooking any whistlers. Before I had an actual bench to shoot off of, I used it to sight-in rifles. I would lay down and use a sand bag under the butt stock. Worked just fine.”

While this “Pogo Stick” rest was created for varmint hunting, it would work well for hunters of larger game, in terrain where the prongs could be set in the ground. The whole unit is small enough to carry easily in a day-pack. It sets up in seconds, and it stays in position by itself, unlike shooting sticks, which normally require a firm hold with one hand.

Yep, that’s one big Pennsylvania groundhog in the photo below. RidgeRunner reports: “This old boy has been giving me the slip for a couple weeks. I finally got a 52gr A-Max in him before the hay got high enough to hide him again. This sucker weighed 15 pounds. My heaviest to date I believe. The rifle is a Tikka 22/250 with a 4-16X Weaver 1/8-MOA dot scope. Nice and light for carry, nice and accurate too.”

Pennsylvania Ground Hog Rifle

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting 11 Comments »
October 26th, 2013

2013 Western CMP Games Slide Show from Ben Avery

Here’s a great Slide Show featuring images from the recent Western CMP Games at the Ben Avery Shooting Range outside Phoenix, Arizona. CLICK HERE for full match results. This video slide show features photos by Grant Guess and others. How many of your buddies do you recognize in the photos?

Click Arrow at lower left to start slide show (with music):

The Western CMP Games and Creedmoor Cup Matches were held October 11-20, 2013. As usual, the event was well-attended. The CMP Games featured the Small Arms Firing School, M16 Match, four Garand/Springfield/Vintage Military matches and the New Modern Military match. Other matches include a Carbine Match, a Rimfire Sporter Match, and the popular Vintage Sniper Match. The Creedmoor Cup events included a High Power Rifle Clinic, Creedmoor Cup (2400 point aggregate) Match, 4-Man Team Match, and Creedmoor EIC Match.

Western CMP Games Complete Match Results | 2013 Western CMP Games Program

Creedmoor Cup Western CMP Games

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October 25th, 2013

Good Resource: The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

Readers often ask us: “Is there a decent, easy-to-comprehend book that can help my wind-reading?” Many of our Forum members have recommended The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters by Linda Miller and Keith Cunningham. This 146-page book, published in 2007, is a very informative resource. But you don’t have to take our word for it. If you click this link, you can read book excerpts and decide for yourself. When the Amazon page opens, simply click the book cover (labeled “Look Inside”) and another screen will appear. This lets you preview the first few chapters, and see some illustrations.

Other books cover wind reading in a broader discussion of ballistics or long-range shooting, such as Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting by Bryan Litz. But the Miller & Cunningham book is ALL about wind reading from cover to cover, and that is its strength. The book focuses on real world skills that can help you accurately gauge wind angle, wind velocity, and wind cycles.

All other factors being equal, it is your ability to read the wind that will make the most difference in your shooting accuracy. The better you understand the behavior of the wind, the better you will understand the behavior of your bullet. — Wind Book for Rifle Shooters

The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters contains straightforward guidance on the thought processes, techniques, and tactics used by expert wind-readers. The written text is supplemented by numerous easy-to-understand charts and illustrations. The authors show you how to put together a simple wind-reading “toolbox” for calculating wind speed, direction, deflection and drift. Then they explain how to use these tools to read flags and mirage, record and interpret your observations, and time your shots to compensate for wind. The essential wind-reading basics taught in this book can definitely help any shooter. Here are some reviews from actual book buyers:

I believe this is a must-have book if you are a long-range sport shooter. I compete in F-Class Open and when I first purchased this book and read it from cover to cover, it helped me understand wind reading and making accurate scope corrections. Buy this book, read it, put into practice what it tells you, you will not be disappointed. — P. Janzso

If you have one book for wind reading, this should be it. Whether you’re a novice or experienced wind shooter this book has something for you. It covers how to get wind speed and direction from flags, mirage, and natural phenomenon. The book also details methods for recording shots and improving your shooting and thus your wind reading skills. In my opinion this is the best book for learning to read wind speed and direction. — Muddler

I found this book to be something I have needed for quite a while. I have been shooting Long Range for 20 years and always had problems with the wind. I would just chase the spotter. This book makes it all make sense. — L. Cash

As far as I know this is the only book of its type. It’s very well written in a way that’s easy to understand for such a complex subject. The charts and graphs are extremely helpful. It’s a bit on the short side at about 146 pages but still packed with knowledge. — R. Johnson

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »
October 25th, 2013

Polly Tubb — A Lady Champion Who Raised a Champion

Pauline Polly Tubb David Tubb NRA High Power Championship ChampionWe expect you’ve heard of David Tubb, 11-time NRA National High Power Champion. Without question, David is one of the greatest rifle shooters who ever lived. What you may not know is that David came from a family of shooters. David’s father, George Tubb, was a nationally-ranked High Power competitor. What’s more (now this may surprise you), David’s mother “Polly” was was a great shooter in her own right. When she wasn’t rearing a future Champion, Polly was hitting the X-Ring at rifle matches.

Pauline (“Polly”) S. Tubb of Canadian, Texas, earned several rifle championships during the course of her shooting career. In this photo, Polly took a moment to appear for a photo after winning the 1962 National Woman’s Bolt Rifle championship at Camp Perry. One shooter who competed against Polly observed: “I was there as a 1962 Pennsylvania State Team junior! I remember Polly. She beat some of the best Army and Marine shooters and always did it with style and good humor.”

Now that’s our kind of gal. God Bless you Polly. Thanks for being a Leading Lady of our sport.

Pauline Polly Tubb David Tubb NRA High Power Championship Champion

Archive photo courtesy Civilian Marksmanship Program, TheCMP.org.
Permalink Competition, News 5 Comments »
October 24th, 2013

Software Update for Applied Ballistics Kestrel Weather Meter

Kestrel Weather meter wind gauge software update Bryan Litz applied ballisticsThe Applied Ballistics Kestrel 4500 Shooters’ Weather Meter has a new software upgrade available. You will find instructions for connecting and upgrading your Kestrel 4500 at this link:

CLICK HERE for Applied Ballistics
Kestrel Software Upgrade
.

Read Comments on Sniper’s Hide Forum
Also, there is a thread on the Snipers Hide Forum in which Applied Ballistics and Kestrel Pro Staff are responding to questions/issues related to use of the Applied Ballistics Kestrels.

Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics LLC wants to express appreciation for Kestrel users who have posted input: “Thanks to the users who provided valuable feedback that was used to make the product better.”

Permalink New Product, News No Comments »
October 24th, 2013

When Will Your Barrel Die? Spreadsheet Predicts Barrel Life

We can predict, with some certainty, how long a light bulb will last (in use), or a shingle roof, or even a nuclear reactor. But how about barrels? Is there a way to reliably estimate barrel life based on known characteristics? This article explains one effort to quantify barrel life…

Rifle Barrel Life CalculatorHow long will a barrel last before the accuracy “goes south”? There are so many variables involved (powder type, bore diameter, bullet coatings etc.) that it’s hard to predict. You might say “Well, my buddy has a .243 and he got 1500 rounds before the throat was shot out” — those kind of comparisons can be useful, but they’re not very scientific, and they won’t help much if you’ve got a gun in a new chambering (such as the 6.5×47) for which long-term test results are lacking.

Is there a more reliable way to predict barrel life — one that will work for a broad range of calibers? Well, Forum member MikeCr has developed an Excel spreadsheet that accounts for a number of variables, and gives a pretty good estimate of useful barrel life, whether you’re shooting a .223 Rem or a 338 Lapua Magnum. Mike’s program predicts barrel life using five variables: 1) Bullet Diameter; 2) Powder Charge weight; 3) Powder Heat Potential (KJ/kg); 4) Pressure (in psi); and 5) Bullet Coating (yes/no). Mike provides a table with Heat Potential ratings for most popular powder types. The user needs to know the pressure of his load. This can be estimated with QuickLOAD.

You can download the lastest version of Mike’s spreadsheet below. You’ll need Excel or an Excel viewer to open the file.

Click to Download Spreadsheet: Barrel Life Spreadsheet (Latest Version)

Shown below is Mike’s Spreadsheet, with variables for a 6BR shooting 105gr “naked” bullets with 30.3 grains of Hodgdon Varget powder. The formula predicts 2401 rounds of barrel life. That corresponds pretty well to what we’d expect for a 6BR — about 2500 rounds.

Barrel Life ProgramBarrel Life Program

Mike observes: “There has been alot of discussion lately related to cartridge design and resulting barrel life. This is a really important factor to consider amongst a myriad of choices. Barrel life is controversial, and subjective. There are no clear-cut standards for comparison. But a few years ago, I put together a spreadsheet based on Bart Bobbit’s rule of thumb. It worked pretty good, only occasionally failing some tests when validated against posted barrel lives.

According to Ken Howell, I had to account for pressure. And Henry Child’s powder temperature testing provided another piece needed. So, I’ve tweaked it here and there to pass more tests. From 223rem to 300 UltraMagnum. Another element added, but turned off is shot interval. I would need way more tests to lock in on this. But everyone knows, the faster you shoot, the worse the barrel life.

Anyway, another factor hard to define is ‘accurate’ barrel life. This cannot be quantified without standards. Barrels are replaced when expectations are no longer met. I feel that a [barrel] passes peak potential in a finite period due to throat erosion. But that don’t mean it’s toast, if it still shoots well enough. It’s just as likely that many of us never see that peak potential anyway. It’s a slippery thing. Point-blank BR competitors will toss a barrel when it leaves the 1s. I could get another 4000 rounds from it, and be content with its performance, I’m sure.”

NOTE: Mike says: “This spreadsheet may show a lower barrel life than you prefer. But it pretty well spotlights cartridges to stay away from if you plan much time at the range or in dog town.”

Editor’s Comment: We want to stress that Mike’s spreadsheet is a helpful tool, but it is not a definitive “take-it-to-the-bank” indicator of barrel life. Mike cautions that predicting barrel life involves so many different factors (including how hot the barrel is run), that the task is a bit like predicting tread life on car tires. Still, the spreadsheet is very helpful. It can certainly warn us that some chamberings (such as the 6-284) are likely to be barrel burners. That can help you make a smart decision when choosing a chambering for your next rifle.

Permalink Tech Tip 8 Comments »
October 23rd, 2013

Burris Signature Zee Rings with Inserts Now In Stock

Signature Zee Rings Burris

Signature Zee Rings BurrisBurris Signature Rings in Stock Again
Because they allow you to mount a scope without markings, to “pre-load” elevation, and to correct for windage mis-alignment, Burris Signature Rings (with Pos-Align inserts) are extremely popular. So popular in fact that Signature Rings, particularly the “Zee” models for Weaver rails, have been hard to find. Well, Signature Ring fans can now celebrate. Burris has recently shipped large supplies of Signature Rings, including the hard-to-find 30mm High Zees, to vendors across the country. If you’ve been waiting on these unique, affordable ring sets, get your orders in now.

Records Have Been Set with Signature Zee Rings
Are Signature Zees good enough for competition? Absolutely. Some folks scoff at these Burris rings, given their low price. A set of 1″-diameter Sig Zees cost less than $35.00 at Midsouth Shooters Supply. But consider this, Rodney Wagner shot the smallest 600-yard group in history, a 0.359″ 5-shot stunner, using Signature Zee Rings on his IBS Light Gun. Here’s a photo of Rodney showing the record-setting rifle, outfitted with affordable Signature Zee 30mm rings.

Signature Zee Rings Burris

Vendors Have Burris Signature Rings in Stock Now
A quick search of webstores shows that various models of Burris Signature Rings are available from many vendors. NOTE: You may have to check with more than one seller to get the exact size, height, and model you prefer. But right now Midsouth has a very complete selection of Signature Zees, including the hard-to-find 30mm High and Extra High models.

Midsouth Shooters Supply: Wide selection — 1″ and 30mm Signature Zee (including 1″ Nickel-finish), Universal, Dual Dovetail, and 1″ Rimfire Signature Zee.

Eabco.com: Signature Zee 1″ and 30mm, Medium and High, Weaver Base, starting at $37.00.

Bruno Shooters’ Supply: 1″ and 30mm Signature and Universal, 1″ Rimfire Signature Zee (Call for availability of sizes).

Signature Zee Rings Burris

Permalink Hot Deals, Optics 2 Comments »
October 23rd, 2013

For Hunting Season — Get a Free Weather App for Your iPhone

Hunter weather radar AppIt’s hunting season now, so here’s an App that may aid you hunters headed out into the wild. Realtree offers an iPhone application (“App”) designed for hunters that displays up-to-date radar images, current conditions, plus wind speed and direction on an interactive Google map. The Realtree Weather Base Station automatically detects the user’s current location. Or you can simply type in the name of a location of interest and the application drops a pin on the map, marking that location and providing current weather conditions, temperatures, forecasts and highs and lows. The Realtree Weather App for iPhone is now available on the iTunes store for FREE.

Hunter weather radar App

The iMap-enabled Realtree Weather application, developed by weather leader Weather Decision Technologies, Inc., (WDT) detects the user’s location and provides local radar data, as well as current conditions, a 7-day forecast, humidity, wind direction and dew-point data. The Realtree application delivers severe weather information, including the latest US radar, IR satellite and lightning strikes. The Realtree App also provides direct access to national conservation and hunting news.

Hunter weather radar App

“Weather is a high priority for any hunter or outdoor sportsman,” said Mike Gauthier, vice president of sales for WDT. “With Realtree’s mobile application, we are bringing the most powerful, innovative and accurate weather, radar and satellite data available in the United States, transforming any iPhone into a reliable decision-making tool for the nation’s 23 million hunters.”

Permalink Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
October 22nd, 2013

F-Class Featured on Shooting USA TV This Week

F-class f-tr f-t/r shooting using television TV

F-Class competition will be featured on this week’s episode of Shooting USA television. This week, Shooting USA takes an inside look at the rapidly-growing sport of F-Class shooting, with coverage of both F-TR and F-Open competition at 600 yards and beyond. This show will air three times on Wednesday, October 23rd, on the Outdoor Channel (see air times by region below). This episode will also feature the historic 1907 Winchester, a choice of gangsters in the 1920s.

F-class f-tr f-t/r shooting using television TVThe Shooting USA Hour on Wednesdays:
AIR TIMES BY TIME ZONE

Eastern Time 3:30 PM, 8:30 PM, 12:00 Midnight
Central Time 2:30 PM, 7:30 PM, 11:00 AM
Mountain Time 1:30 PM, 6:30 PM, 10:00 PM
Pacific Time 12:30 PM, 5:30 PM, 9:00 PM

F-Class Basics
The ‘F’ in F-Class stands for Farquharson. Canadian George Farquharson is credited with founding the sport in the 1990s. Farquharson wanted to create a discipline for fellow older shooters whose fading eyesight made it difficult to compete in traditional iron-sight high power matches. In 2007, the United States NRA officially recognized the prone shooting disciple. Since then the sport has grown rapidly. Over 350 shooters attended the 2013 F-Class Nationals in Raton, NM.

F-Class is similar to High Power rifle shooting, with competitors taking turns in the pits, pulling and scoring targets. Unlike conventional High Power shooting with iron sights, F-Class shooters use scopes (with up to 80x max power, though the most popular scope is still probably the 12-42x56mm Nightforce Benchrest).

All F-Class competition is shot prone. Competitors are classified into two divisions, F-TR (Target Rifle) and F-Open. F-TR rifles must be shot from bipod, and must be chambered for either the .223 Rem or .308 Win cartridges. Max F-TR gun weight is approximately 18.18 pounds, including bipod. In the F-Open division, rifles can weigh up to 10 kg (22 pounds) and front rests can be used (but you may shoot from a bipod if you wish). F-Open competitors may shoot any cartridge which is .35 caliber or under.

Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
October 22nd, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court Will Decide Firearms ‘Straw Purchaser’ Case

U.S. Supreme Court seal logo scotusThe U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to adjudicate a case involving a firearms purchase and subsequent resale to a family member. The case of Abramski v. United States, arises from the prosecution of Bruce James Abramski, Jr., a former Virginia police officer, for allegedly making a “straw purchase” of a Glock handgun. Abramski had lawfully purchased a Glock pistol in Virginia, then later resold the Glock to his uncle, a resident of Pennsylvania. Both purchases were conducted through FFLs, with full background checks, and both parties were legally entitled to own a handgun. Abramski arranged the sale in this fashion to take advantage of a discount available to him as a law enforcement officer.

Abramski was indicted and prosecuted for violating Federal laws against “straw purchases”, specifically making a false declaration on BATFE Form 4473, which is a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(6). Abramski challenged the indictment, but the District Court ruled against him and the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the District Court’s decision. However, the Fourth Circuit acknowledged that there was a split of authority among the Circuits as to whether § 922(a)(6) applied in a case like this one, where the ultimate recipient of the firearm was lawfully entitled to buy a gun himself. The Fourth Circuit’s ruling conflicts with previous decisions by the Fifth Circuit holding that “straw purchaser” laws are NOT violated if both the original purchaser and secondary buyer are legally entitled to own a firearm. See United States v. Polk, 118 F.3d 286 (5th Cir. 1997).

U.S. Supreme Court seal logo scotusThe key issue is whether Abramski committed a crime by buying a gun, and then promptly re-selling it to another person who was legally entitled to own the firearm. The government argues that Abramski broke the law when he checked a box on Form 4473 indicating he was the “actual transferee/buyer of the firearm”.

Arguably, Abramski’s purchase and subsequent resale did not violate the intent of the law, since the Glock never ended up in the hands of a criminal (or someone who was otherwise barred from gun ownership). The John Floyd Law Firm explains this argument:

“Attorneys for Abramski sought to have the indictment dismissed on the legal premise that because Abramski and the uncle were both legally entitled to purchase a firearm, Abramski could not be a ‘straw purchaser.’ Attorneys further argued that Abramski’s ‘yes’ answer to question 11(a) on the 4473 that he was actual buyer of the Glock was never intended to be punished under the Gun Control Act of 1968 if the buyer had a legal right to purchase the weapon. The attorneys theorized that the intent of Congress in passing this Act was ‘to make it possible to keep firearms out of the hands of those not legally entitled to possess them.’

Second Amendment proponents strongly believe there is nothing wrong with a nephew purchasing a weapon he is legally entitled to purchase with the specific intent to sell it to an uncle who is also legally entitled to purchase a weapon. The Fifth Circuit says such a purchase is legal because both parties are legally entitled to purchase and possess a firearm. The Sixth and Eleventh Circuits [and now the Fourth Circuit] say these legal entitlements do not matter.”

Soon the U.S. Supreme Court will decide which interpretation of the law is correct.

CLICK LINKS Below to Read Briefs Filed in Abramski v. U.S.

Date Proceedings and Orders
Jun 21 2013 Petition for a writ of certiorari filed.
Jul 25 2013 Brief amici curiae of Steve Stockman, et al. filed.
Jul 25 2013 Brief amicus curiae of NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund filed.
Aug 26 2013 Brief of respondent United States in opposition filed.
Sep 9 2013 Reply of petitioner Bruce James Abramski, Jr. filed.
Permalink News 2 Comments »
October 21st, 2013

Can Your Rifle Beat This XP-100 Pistol for Accuracy?

Report by Boyd Allen
This pistol belongs to Dan Lutke, a Bay Area benchrest shooter who publishes the results for the Visalia matches to the competitors and the NBRSA. He has been an enthusiastic competitor for an number of years, at various ranges, notably Visalia and Sacramento. The action is a Remington XP-100, to which a Kelbly 2 oz. trigger has been fitted. On top is an old Japanese-made Tasco 36X scope (these were actually pretty darn good). The Hart barrel (a cast-off from Dan’s Unlimited rail gun) was shortened and re-chambered for the 6x45mm, a wildcat made by necking-up the .223 Remington parent case. The custom stock/chassis was CNC-machined by Joe Updike from 6061 Billet Aluminum to fit the XP-100 action and mount a target-style AR grip with bottom hand rest. The gun was bedded and assembled by Mel Iwatsubu. In his XP-100 pistol, Dan shoots 65gr custom boat-tails with Benchmark powder.

XP100 target pistol 6x45 6x45mm benchrest

TEN Shots in 0.303″ at 100 Yards
How does Dan’s XP-100 pistol shoot? Look at that target showing TEN shots at 100 yards, with eight (8) shots in the main cluster at the top. The ten-shot group measures .303″ (0.289 MOA), as calculated with OnTarget Software. Not bad for a handgun! What do you think, can your best-shooting rifle match the 10-shot accuracy of this XP-100 pistol?

XP100 target pistol 6x45 6x45mm benchrest

XP100 target pistol 6x45 6x45mm benchrest

This diagram shows the most common 6x45mm wildcat, which is a necked-up version of the .223 Remington parent cartridge. NOTE: The dimensions for Dan Lutke’s benchrest version of this cartridge may be slightly different.

XP100 target pistol 6x45 6x45mm benchrest
ACAD drawing by Peter Gnanapragasam CC by SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Title Added.

Story tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing 6 Comments »
October 21st, 2013

High Schooler Wins High Woman Title at National Championships

Here’s a feel-good story about a talented young shooter.
Article based on report by Lars Dalseide, for
NRA Blog.

Amy Fister stands Camp Perry NRA Smallbore 3-Position High Woman

Finding the X-Ring while taking part in NRA’s National Rifle and Pistol Championships can be challenging enough. Finding the X-Ring from three positions during the smallbore rifle phase of the championships can be even more trying. But Amy Fister, winner of this year’s NRA 3-Position Rifle High Woman title, found it with no trouble at all. A surprising result given her wry self-description.

“I’m a nerd,” she said with a laugh. “I’m very dedicated to my studies.”

Based out of Kutztown, Pennsylvania, Fister walked away from the 3-Position Awards Ceremony with three titles: High Woman with Metallic Sights, High Civilian with Metallic Sights, and High Woman Overall. Fister finished with a score of 2374 – 140X (good for 7th overall). “Last year I was close but not close enough,” said Fister. “I guess this year it was my time.” Seeing her on stage, winning award after award, it’s hard to believe that it almost didn’t happen — she nearly fell victim to the summer heat at Camp Perry.

Fighting Dehydration at Camp Perry
About halfway through the National Championship match, Fister was setting up targets when she realized something was wrong: “I was delusional, seeing things,” Fister explained. “After setting up my target, it wasn’t there. I started chasing down the target guy for another one. It was an interesting and a little bit scary of an experience.”

She was dehydrated. Heartbeat rapid, extremely lethargic, unsteady on her feet — she recognized the signs and started back for the line. Pulling a bottle of Gatorade out of her bag, she gulped until it emptied. Feeling a touch steadier, she made for the water coolers behind the line. A few cups later and she was ready to proceed. “Luckily it happened during prone,” she said with a laugh. “Standing would have been a different story.”

How a Nerd Became a World-Class Rifle Shooter
Starting as far back as she can remember, Fister was out shooting with her dad. First as the official gear porter, then as a huntress. “Deer and goose, that’s what we went for,” she said. “I go out deer hunting whenever I can, but it cuts into my shooting time. You’ve got to find a happy medium.”

Amy Fister stands Camp Perry NRA Smallbore 3-Position High WomanThough it was dad who first put a rifle in her hand, it was her sister Valerie who started her down the competitive trail. Like most stories of sibling rivalry, big sister joined the rifle team so little sister (Amy) wanted to also. A little practice, a little patience, and it all came together — so well in fact that Amy has earned a shooting scholarship to the University of Memphis. But her ambitions don’t stop there. They reach as far as Rio de Janeiro, site of the 2016 Olympics.

“I missed a spot on the U.S. Team by two points. Now the goal is to be part of the Olympic Rifle Team in 2016. Problem is that I don’t want my scores to drop and I don’t want my grades to drop.

“My goal is to become a pediatrician and an Olympian. Guess I’ll just find a way.”

To learn more about the NRA’s Competitive Shooting Programs, visit compete.nra.org.

Permalink - Articles, Competition No Comments »