February 23rd, 2014

“People Win Matches, Not the Calibers” — Larry Bartholome

Larry Bartholome F-Open Champion SWN

Larry Bartholome (aka “LBart” on our Forum) is the current F-Open USA National Champion. He also won the F-Open division at the recent Berger Southwest Nationals. A “Senior Citizen” now, Larry is still at the top of the F-Class game. If you were to pick the top ten F-Open shooters on the planet, Larry would be on the short list, that’s for sure.

In a recent AccurateShooter Forum thread, there was a discussion of caliber/cartridge choice for F-Open shooting — specifically whether 6mm cartridges can be competitive at long-range (as opposed to mid-range).

Larry, who currently shoots a 7mm-270 WSM, offered some wise words. Here’s some sage advice from Larry, a champion who has triumphed at the highest level, against the toughest competition. F-Class competitors will benefit from reading what Larry has to say, and taking it to heart:

Cartridge Choice for F-Class — What Really Matters
Matches are won with what people decide to shoot. The people win matches, not the calibers. A person makes his decision on what he is going to shoot with and [that person] wins or loses based on the decision.

The smaller cases and bore sizes have advantages in less recoil and more inherent accuracy. They are easier to shoot well. Because they shoot smaller groups on average they make the 10 ring seem bigger. With light winds that helps.

When the wind gets to changing and picking up this advantage is negated by the wind drift advantages of the larger calibers. Once the switches and velocity changes get beyond the mind’s ability to stay up with them, the small caliber advantage is minuscule.

My own thought is I need all the help I can get. I know I can’t read the wind. I play the percentages. [My 7mm offers] good grouping, good wind drift, lower recoil than the 30s. My 7mm/270 WSM was shooting very well in Phoenix, just as the other Bartlein barrels shot well in Raton. The points lost were mine, not the rifle’s or the caliber.

When the wind flags and mirage are telling you to hold left and your bullets are going left, no caliber in the world will help you. You are the one steering those bullets.

Larry Bartholome
Team Berger/Norma

Larry Bartholome F-Open Champion SWN

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February 23rd, 2014

Range Kit Carbon Calipers for under $10.00 at Midsouth

Every serious hand-loader should have at least one high-quality set of calipers — a serious tool that can reliably (and repeatably) measure to .001″ (and preferably, .0005″). Quality calipers made by Starrett, Mitutoyo (and other good manufacturers) aren’t cheap, but they will work well for decades.

In addition to the quality calipers you keep at home, every shooter have a “range kit” caliper set. This can be used to quickly measure Cartridge OAL, check base-to-ogive lengths of loaded ammo (with a comparator placed on the jaws), measure group size, and perform a myriad of other tasks at the range. You don’t want to spend a fortune on your range calipers — in the event that they are inadvertently left behind (or loaned to a fellow shooter and never returned).

Right now, Midsouth Shooters Supply is selling Electronic Digital Calipers for under $10.00 that fill the “range kit” role very nicely. Constructed with carbon fiber components, these Altraco calipers are light-weight and rust-resistant. Measurements are displayed in large, easy-to-read, high contrast numbers. And with the flick of a button you can switch between English (inch) and Metric (mm) read-outs. For $9.66 these are a bargain “back-up” set of calipers to be kept in a glove compartment or range kit. No they will not replace your Mitutoyo calipers, but you won’t cry if they get lost!

Midsouth Shooters Supply Carbon Fiber Digital Calipers

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