June 30th, 2014

Norcal 2014 Tactical Bolt Rifle Challenge

Story based on After Action Report (AAR) by Jonathan Berry
The 2014 NorCal TBRC is in the books and what another fabulous match put on by Vu Pham and the crew at the NorCal Practical Precision Rifle Club (NCPPRC). When you attend this match you truly appreciate the effort, planning, and execution carried out by the nation’s largest practical precision rifle club. The Tactical Bolt Rifle Challenge runs smoothly from beginning to end, even though the match offers plenty of challenge and variety. Vu Pham, match director, reports: “This year’s TBRC had four major evolutions, that encompassed 22 various stages of fire. Our competitors ended up firing more than 13,000 rounds over the match weekend.”

NorCal Tactical Bolt Rifle Challenge 2014 Vu Pham Sacramento

AUDIO FILE: Vu Pham Talks about the NorCal Tactical Bolt Rifle Challenge.

NorCal Tactical Bolt Rifle Challenge 2014 Vu Pham Sacramento

CLICK HERE for 2014 NCPPRC Tactical Bolt Rifle Challenge Photo Gallery.

CLICK HERE for Full Match Report with Video Clips.

The match is broken up into three different segments: short range (25-200 yards); steel range (150-550 yards); and long range (800-1000 yards). The short range consisted of shots from 25-200 yards. It involved hostage targets, movers, little bitty dots, and my favorite stage, “The MGM Spinner”. This course of fire pitted competitor vs. competitor in a race to see who could spin the target, for 50 points, with a bonus of 20 points if you spun it first. On the 100-yard mover stage, Rockstar Regina Milkovich impressed the crowd by landing all six (6) shots on her moving target. Nice work, Regina!

NorCal Tactical Bolt Rifle Challenge 2014 Vu Pham Sacramento

NorCal Tactical Bolt Rifle Challenge 2014 Vu Pham Sacramento

The steel range runs from 150-550 yards with targets at 220, 330, 440, and 550 yards. Unusual shooting stations, time challenges, and other factors made these stages a real test of skill (and the ability to “adapt and overcome”). There was another head-to-head course of fire where you had to put six shots on a dueling tree with 6” flappers at 440 yards.

NorCal Tactical Bolt Rifle Challenge 2014 Vu Pham Sacramento

Yes, eye protection is mandatory at the TBRC. That’s a good safety rule.
NorCal Tactical Bolt Rifle Challenge 2014 Vu Pham Sacramento

NorCal Tactical Bolt Rifle Challenge 2014 Vu Pham Sacramento

NorCal Tactical Bolt Rifle Challenge 2014 Vu Pham SacramentoLong-Range Challenge
The TBRC’s long range segment involved targets at 800, 900, and 1,000 yards. Five, 3-shot groups were fired at each yardage with one minute to fire the three shots. You really had to pay attention to the mirage, wind, and your gut instinct. Many times those three indicators lead you to three different conclusions!

Several amazing 3-shot groups were shot from the 1,000-yard line by TBRC competitors. These small groups demonstrate the accuracy of today’s bolt-action tactical rifles. Jeremy Bentham (photo right), who placed second in the match, had a sub-one-inch group from the 1,000-yard line, all in the 9-Ring no less. Nice shootin’ Jeremy!

Amazing $70,000 Prize Table at 2014 NorCal TBRC
The $70K prize table that Vu and team put together for this match was incredible. Each and every sponsor deserves recognition for contributing to the match. It never ceases to amaze me to see so many great prizes on the tables at a match like this. Thank you all for supporting the sport. We, as shooters, appreciate it and try hard to support those who support us.

NorCal Tactical Bolt Rifle Challenge 2014 Vu Pham Sacramento

Look inviting? Then maybe you should plan to join the NorCal clan at one of their regular matches. Vu Pham notes that unaffiliated new shooters are welcome at NCPPRC event: “You do not have to be a member of NCPPRC or FSC to shoot with us. For those of you that would like to shoot with us, please visit our website at www.ncpprc.com. Info about when, where, and how our matches are run are posted in the various forums for matches and practice sessions.”

The NCPPRC Crew Delivered Some Serious Bar-B-Q for Challenge Competitors.
NorCal Tactical Bolt Rifle Challenge 2014 Vu Pham Sacramento

NorCal Tactical Bolt Rifle Challenge 2014 Vu Pham Sacramento

About NorCal Practical Precision Rifle Club (NCPPRC)
NCPPRC was founded in 2006 by Vu Pham and Shawn Shaw in response to the growing demands of precision rifle shooters in Northern California. As of 2011, NCPPRC has a membership roster of 100 precision rifle shooters from all walks of life.

Our mission is to provide events where serious practical/tactical precision rifle shooters can test their skills in a safe and controlled environment. We provide competent mentoring for new shooters. NCPPRC offers clinics, monthly practice sessions, and an Internet forum. Our organization offers monthly competitions, monthly practice sessions, and an annual two-day event that attracts civilians, law enforcement, and military shooters from across the nation.

NorCal Tactical Bolt Rifle Challenge 2014 Vu Pham Sacramento
Permalink Competition, Tactical 1 Comment »
June 30th, 2014

Finally — A Really Good Use for Segways (As Robotic Targets)

The gyro-stabilized two-wheeled Segway was supposed to revolutionize personal transportation. That may never happen (mall cops excepted), but remote-controlled Segways just might revolutionize the way military and police personnel train for urban engagements.

Marathon Smart Targets

Robotic Segway “Smart Targets” for Live-Fire Training
An Australian company, Marathon Robotics, has created wheeled robot targets — remote-controlled Segways fitted with target silhouettes. The Segway Robots can move and respond like humans, ducking into doorways, or dispersing at the sound of gunfire. This provides challenging, ultra-realistic training for military and police sharp-shooters. This is not just science fiction. Australian Special Forces units already train in a mock urban center populated with Marathon’s rolling robots. And the U.S. Marine Corps has hired Marathon to create a similar robot-equipped, live-fire training venue.

Marathon Smart TargetsMarathon combined computer gaming technology with armored, remote-controlled Segways to create the ultimate 21st century moving target. The lower halves of the Segways are armor-plated, so the expensive electronic innards don’t get damaged by an errant shot. On top is mounted a replica human torso. The torso section can be clothed to distinguish “civilians” from military targets, or to distinguish terrorists from hostages.

Marathon’s sophisticated software can control multiple Segway Robots at the same time. A group of Segways can be programmed to mimic a squad on patrol, or a group of terrorists holding hostages. The control software allows autonomous or “intelligent” behavior by the Segway Robots. For example, the Segways can disperse automatically at the sound of a gunshot, and the Segways can be trained to seek cover in hallways or behind objects. Importantly, the Segway Robots are capable of human-like movement — they can stop quickly, turn 360° and retreat slowly, or accelerate to a human running pace. Marathon’s Segway Robots are equipped with laser range finders so they can avoid running into obstacles, including people on the move. The “Segbots” lean forward slightly as they walk forward, like people do.

To really understand how the Robotic Smart Targets work, watch this amazing video:

YouTube Preview Image

RESOURCES: Marathon Targets Webpage | Smart Targets Product Info (PDF) | Photo Gallery

Marathon Smart Targets

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June 29th, 2014

USA National Shooting Championship Results from Fort Benning

Rifle events concluded June 28th at the USA Shooting National Championships for Rifle/Pistol. These National Championships were Part Two of an intensive qualification process for the World Championship. USA junior team members were chosen through a selection process that included two qualifiers and a final at the National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships (NJOSC) and another two qualifiers and two finals at the National Championships held at Fort Benning, Georgia this week.

USA Shooting National Championships Fort Benning Georgia

USA Shooting National Championships Fort Benning Georgia

Photos from Championship events can be viewed and downloaded for free here.

Not only were USA titles on the line, but for Junior shooters, the chance to represent the USA at the ISSF World Championship in Granada, Spain was also up for grabs.

USA Shooting National Championships Fort Benning Georgia

Garrett Spurgeon claimed yet another National Title today by winning the Junior Men’s Air Rifle event. At this National Championships, Spurgeon also won the Junior Men’s 3P Rifle title. The gold medalist for Junior Women’s Three-Position Rifle, was Lauren Phillips.

In the Open division, Ryan Anderson claimed top honors in Men’s Air Rifle, narrowly edging out defending National Champion Connor Davis. The Women’s Open Division Three-Position title went to Amy Sowash. Winning silver was 2012 Olympian Amanda Furrer and winning bronze was Sarah Beard. Beard also won the prone rifle National Championship title. Beard has now won five National titles throughout her career (four in the Open division, one in Junior).

USA Shooting National Championships Fort Benning Georgia

Paralympic Competition at Fort Benning
Along with the regular competition for able-bodied shooters, these Championships included Paralympic Air Rifle Prone, Free And Sport Pistol events for injured/disabled athletes. Some of these competitors shot from wheelchairs, while others shot from a bench with support for the rifles.

Click Photo for Large Version
USA Shooting National Championships Fort Benning Georgia

USA Shooting National Championships Fort Benning Georgia

USA Shooting National Championships Fort Benning Georgia

Complete results from the National Championships can be found here.

Permalink Competition 1 Comment »
June 29th, 2014

When Good Scopes Go Bad — Making the Difficult Diagnosis

Riflescopes are mechanical contraptions. One of the sad realities about precision shooting is that, sooner or later, you will experience a scope failure. If you’re lucky it won’t happen in the middle of a National-level competition. And hopefully the failure will be dramatic and unmistakable so you won’t spend months trying to isolate the issue. Unfortunately, scope problems can be erratic or hard to diagnose. You may find yourself with unexplained flyers or a slight degradation of accuracy and you won’t know how to diagnose the problem. And when a 1/8th-MOA-click scope starts failing, it may be hard to recognize the fault immediately, because the POI change may be slight.

When An Expensive Scope Goes Bad
Recently, this editor had a major-brand 8-25x50mm scope go bad. How did I know I had a problem? Well the first sign was a wild “drop-down” flyer at a 600-yard match. After shooting a two-target relay, I took a look at my targets. My first 5-shot group had five shots, fairly well centered, in about 2.2″. Pretty good. Everything was operating fine. Then I looked at the second target. My eye was drawn to four shots, all centered in the 10 Ring, measuring about 2.4″. But then I saw the fifth shot. It was a good 18″ low, straight down from the X. And I really mean straight down — if you drew a plumb line down from the center of the X, it would pass almost through the fifth shot.

That was disconcerting, but since I had never had any trouble with this scope before, I assumed it was a load problem (too little powder?), or simple driver error (maybe I flinched or yanked the trigger?). Accordingly, I didn’t do anything about the scope, figuring the problem was me or the load.

Riflescope Repairs

But, at the next range session, things went downhill fast. In three shots, I did manage to get on steel at 600, with my normal come-up for that distance. Everything seemed fine. So then I switched to paper. We had a buddy in the pits with a walkie-talkie and he radioed that he couldn’t see any bullet holes in the paper after five shots. My spotter said he thought the bullets were impacting in the dirt, just below the paper. OK, I thought, we’ll add 3 MOA up (12 clicks), and that should raise POI 18″ and I should be on paper, near center. That didn’t work — now the bullets were impacting in the berm ABOVE the target frame. The POI had changed over 48″ (8 MOA). (And no I didn’t click too far — I clicked slowly, counting each click out loud as I adjusted the elevation.) OK, to compensate now I took off 8 clicks which should be 2 MOA or 12″. No joy. The POI dropped about 24″ (4 MOA) and the POI also moved moved 18″ right, to the edge of the target.

Riflescope RepairsFor the next 20 shots, we kept “chasing center” trying to get the gun zeroed at 600 yards. We never did. After burning a lot of ammo, we gave up. Before stowing the gun for the trip home, I dialed back to my 100-yard zero, which is my normal practice (it’s 47 clicks down from 600-yard zero). I immediately noticed that the “feel” of the elevation knob didn’t seem right. Even though I was pretty much in the center of my elevation (I have a +20 MOA scope mount), the clicks felt really tight — as they do when you’re at the very limit of travel. There was a lot of resistance in the clicks and they didn’t seem to move the right amount. And it seemed that I’d have four or five clicks that were “bunched up” with a lot of resistance, and then the next click would have almost no resistance and seem to jump. It’s hard to describe, but it was like winding a spring that erratically moved from tight to very loose.

At this point I announced to my shooting buddies: “I think the scope has taken a dump.” I let one buddy work the elevation knob a bit. “That feels weird,” he said: “the clicks aren’t consistent… first it doesn’t want to move, then the clicks jump too easily.”

Convinced that I had a real problem, the scope was packed up and shipped to the manufacturer. So, was I hallucinating? Was my problem really just driver error? I’ve heard plenty of stories about guys who sent scopes in for repair, only to receive their optics back with a terse note saying: “Scope passed inspection and function test 100%. No repairs needed”. So, was my scope really FUBAR? You bet it was. When the scope came back from the factory, the Repair Record stated that nearly all the internal mechanicals had been replaced or fixed: “Replaced Adjustment Elevation; Replaced Adjustment Windage; Reworked Erector System; Reworked Selector; Reworked Parallax Control.”

How to Diagnose Scope Problems
When you see your groups open up, there’s a very good chance this is due to poor wind-reading, or other “driver error”. But my experience showed me that sometimes scopes do go bad. When your accuracy degrades without any other reasonable explanation, the cause of the problem may well be your optics. Here are some of the “symptoms” of scope troubles:

1. Large shot-to-shot variance in Point of Impact with known accurate loads.
2. Uneven tracking (either vertical or horizontal).
3. Change of Point of Impact does not correspond to click inputs.
4. Inability to zero in reasonable number of shots.
5. Unexpected changes in needed click values (compared to previous come-ups).
6. Visible shift in reticle from center of view.
7. Changed “feel” or resistance when clicking; or uneven click-to-click “feel”.
8. Inability to set parallax to achieve sharpness.
9. Turrets or other controls feel wobbly or loose.
10. Internal scope components rattle when gun is moved.

Source of Problem Unknown, but I Have a Theory
Although my scope came with a slightly canted reticle from the factory, it had otherwise functioned without a hitch for many years. I was able to go back and forth between 100-yard zero and 600-yard zero with perfect repeatability for over five years. I had confidence in that scope. Why did it fail when it did? My theory is side-loading on the turrets. I used to carry the gun in a thick soft case. I recently switched to an aluminum-sided hard case that has pretty dense egg-crate foam inside. I noticed it took some effort to close the case, though it was more than big enough, width-wise, to hold the gun. My thinking is that the foam wasn’t compressing enough, resulting in a side-load on the windage turret when the case was clamped shut. This is just my best guess; it may not be the real source of the problem. Remember, as I explained in the beginning of this story, sometimes scopes — just like any mechanical system — simply stop working for no apparent reason.

Permalink - Articles, Optics 6 Comments »
June 29th, 2014

Big Discounts on Nikon AR Riflescopes — Up to $100.00 Off

If you need a scope for your AR-platform rifle, Nikon has you covered. With Nikon’s latest AR New Rules promotion, you can save up to $100.00 on caliber-specific AR riflescopes and mounts.

nikon scope discount sale rebate

The New Rules for AR promotion offers shooters up to $100 instant savings on a wide selection of AR-dedicated riflescopes. The New Rules for AR promotion includes nearly 20 models of AR-dedicated riflescopes, including the M-308, M-223, and P-300 BLK lines. This Nikon promotion is in effect right now, and will run through August 2, 2014. To learn more about the New Rules for AR promotion, visit www.nikonpromo.com.

Permalink Hot Deals, Optics No Comments »
June 28th, 2014

Can’t Find .22 LR Ammo? Here’s One Solution…

.22 LR 22LR Laser Trainer
Watch LaserLyte .22 LR Trainer in Action

Do you own a .22 LR rimfire pistol? Well now you can transform that handgun into a high-tech laser pistol, thanks to a new gadget from LaserLyte. The new .22 Caliber Laser Trainer works with nearly all .22 LR pistols (but not revolvers) with a striker or conventional firing pin. The battery-powered device emits a laser beam when you pull the trigger. The video below shows how it works.

We have to admit we liked the idea of this device so much, we ordered one from Amazon.com. The $83.22 retail price seems a little steep, but think of all the money you can save on .22 LR ammo (which is pretty darn hard to find these days anyway). We just wish there was a version for .22 LR revolvers.

.22 LR 22LR Laser Trainer

.22 LR 22LR Laser TrainerWARNING: Before you use the LaserLyte .22 Caliber Trainer, check and double-check to ensure your pistol is UNLOADED!! That means NO ROUND IN THE CHAMBER! Pulling the trigger with the training device in the barrel (and a loaded round) could cause serious injury or death to yourself or someone downrange. As with any firearm, always make sure to follow all basic firearm safety rules! Additionally, never point the laser beam at another person — as the laser can cause eye injury.

New product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink New Product 2 Comments »
June 28th, 2014

Brownells/NRA Days Introduce Young People to Shooting Sports

Report based on story by Kyle Jillson for NRA Blog
Summer is the time of year to get outside and have fun with family and friends. A great way to enjoy shooting with friends and family members is to attend a Brownells/NRA Day. These fun events will be held throughout the summer, at locations across the USA. These events are designed for all ages — from youngsters to senior citizens. The activities appeal to all skill levels, from first-time shooters to seasoned competitors.

NRA Brownells Day event

Brownells/NRA Day events are fun affairs, where participants can try out a variety of different shooting disciplines. Events are always a big hit and you won’t find people as friendly and helping anywhere else. Below is a complete list of upcoming July events. If you see one nearby, go to the Brownells/NRA Day website to learn more.

NRA Brownells Day event

Find a Brownells/NRA Day Event Near You

NRA Brownells Day event

Permalink News, Shooting Skills No Comments »
June 28th, 2014

Cody’s ‘Glam-Tactical’ Curly Maple Precision Field Rifle by Russo

Forum member Cody H. (aka “Willys46″) provided this report on his new Russo-stocked 6-6.5×47 Rifle.

Joel Russo out of Harrisburg, PA is taking modern technology and new stock designs and mating them with Old World materials and craftsmanship. The result: rifles that shoot true and look seriously sharp. Russo got his start making laminated wood stocks for budget-minded tactical rifle shooters with his popular A5-L design. Motivated by his passion for woodworking and a mindset for detail, Russo has shifted his focus from the run-of-the-mill laminates to create shootable works of art in some of the most highly figured, beautiful, exotic and domestic woods. Russo has come to feel that if he as a craftsman is going to spend precious time creating something out of wood, it should be for something worthy of his personal investment.

Take, for example, a recent Russo stock that started its life as a highly figured piece of Curly Maple harvested in the Pacific Northwest. After CNC inletting, profiling, pillar- and glass-bedding, the stock was meticulously finished to showcase the wood’s beauty. This stunning stock was commissioned for my new 6-6.5×47 Precision Field Rifle [Editor: it’s just too pretty to be labeled ‘tactical’]. Have a look….


Rifle Specifications: Remington 700 short action with R&D Precision bottom metal. Bartlein Barrel (Sendero Contour). Joel Russo Stock in A3-5 pattern (A5 buttstock with A3 fore-end). Barrel chambering/fitting (6-6.5X47 Lapua) by Steve Kostanich.

How does it shoot? Cody reports: “I’ve had the rifle two weeks, and sent about 200 rounds down range so far. I could not be happier with the performance of the whole package. The 6-6.5×47 Lapua chambering really makes it a pleasure to shoot with its low recoil and accuracy potential. With the fitted muzzle brake, recoil is minimal. The ballistics of 105gr Berger hybrids at 3100 fps make the wind at 600 yards very manageable. As for the stock, the slimmer fore-end holds the bipod much nicer than my old A5L. The lighter weight also makes it more maneuverable in different shooting positions.”


NOTE: Hi-Rez Gallery images may take some time to load. Be patient — it’s worth the wait.


Cody Talks About His Rifle
and Joel Russo’s Work

Click Play Button to Hear Audio


Like any artist, Russo carefully considers where to begin. Deciding where the stock will be cut out of the wood blank can take days. He must determine where the forend and pistol grip will lay to be sure the true beauty of the wood will transfer to the stock design. After Russo cuts the rough pattern out of the blank, it’s off to the CNC mill for barrel and action inletting. The stock is almost completely inletted but still in the rough; enough material remains for Russo to hand-blend the wood and metal for that all-important fit and finish. Then it’s off to the duplicator, which cuts out the stock in the specified pattern.

With inletting completed, the action is pillar- and glass-bedded, then readied for final shaping. The tang/pistol grip area demands careful work for a perfect look and feel. It takes hours with files and rasps to get everything just right. Once material is removed it’s a done deal so patience with the tools is a must. Russo is a very painstaking woodworker, and as an artisan and champion shooter himself, he wants the tang to melt into the pistol grip for the perfect look and feel.

Once the major wood removal is complete, Russo begins surface sanding. To make the finish come out smooth and flat, a sanding block is a must. With the density change in figured wood, some sections will be softer and so material is removed more quickly, making for a very wavy finish. When Russo is satisfied with the final sanding he starts the finishing process.

Russo generally does a hand-rubbed TUNG Oil finish. Since this stock is for a tactical competition rifle, and I wanted to preserve the natural blond color of the Maple, a clear coat finish was in order. In all fairness the maple would look even better with a darker oil finish, which allows the deep grain and figure to come out, creating an almost 3-D effect. A hand rubbed oil finish can take months to be applied properly. The shorter application time was another advantage for this particular build.

Clear coat maintains the original color of the wood while being comparatively easy to apply with basic paint-spraying tools. If you scratch the surface, it’s a simple matter to buff it out just like you would a car door ding. After a numerous coats are applied then it is wet-sanded just like the finish on a classic hot rod. The finer the sandpaper grit, the shiner the finish. For the maple stock project, a higher-than-typical gloss finish was selected because the wood kept looking better the shiner it got. Want it shinier? All you have to do is invest a little more time in sanding and polishing. Sometimes Russo works his way to 6000 grit sandpaper.

Walk-Around Video Showing Beautiful Wood

After final wet-sanding of the clear-coat, the finished stock is one even a millionaire would be proud to shoot. With the advent of fiberglass composite materials and assembly-line production methods, there are fewer true craftsmen like Joel who can start with a block of wood and some metal and create a complete rifle. So it’s refreshing that wood artisans like Russo are keeping alive the craftsman tradition. To see more examples of Joel Russo’s work, visit www.RussoRifleStocks.com.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review 3 Comments »
June 27th, 2014

Kevin Thomas Rides with Custer’s Ghost

1873 Springfield trapdoor carbing musketKevin Thomas of Lapua USA recently acquired a bit of living history — a reproduction Model 1873 Trapdoor Springfield. Here is Kevin’s story of his new rifle and the legacy it carries.

This week marked the 138th Anniversary of Lt.Col. George Armstrong Custer’s historic ride into the valley of the Little Big Horn, along with 200+ men of the U.S. Seventh Cavalry. June 25, 1876 did not go well, as Custer and his men became a well-known, sad footnote in U.S. history. [Editor: Well it was sad for Custer fans. Native Americans have a different perspective.]

For years now, I’ve wanted one of the rifles Custer and his men carried that day, a Model 1873 Trapdoor Springfield, chambered for the 45/70 cartridge. I finally acquired one, when I walked into a gunstore a while back and saw a handsome repro Trapdoor sitting peacefully on the shelf. It called to me.

1873 Springfield trapdoor carbing musket

Somewhere in the distance, I could hear the bugle calls, the Sioux and Cheyenne war cries and the thundering of cavalry across the plain. It simply had to go home with me, and so it did. It seemed an especially insistent demand with this being the 138th anniversary and all, so I took it along to our regular Wednesday night practice session. All I can say is, I’m glad we don’t have to do rapid-fire with one of these in our matches today, because they do have a mule-like kick to them!

1873 Springfield trapdoor carbing musket

The Trapdoors were a cost saving measure that the Armory came up with at the end of the Civil War, to convert muzzle-loading Springfield muskets into breech-loading cartridge arms. A quick look will give several dead giveaways that many of the parts on the “new” rifle were actually interchangeable with the old 1861 and 1863 Springfield muskets. The parts that were altered or newly fabricated were relatively minor changes.

1873 Springfield trapdoor carbing musket

Above, you can see where these rifles got their name. Loading was done by flipping a lever which opened up a trap door that provided access to the chamber. Flipping that same lever and opening the trap door then ejected the case after firing.

1873 Springfield trapdoor carbing musket

Here is the opposite side, trapdoor open. The ring and slide on the side of the stock was to facilitate an attachment point for a lanyard that the troopers wore over their shoulders. Remember, they often used these while at a full gallop, not an easy feat!

Permalink - Articles 3 Comments »
June 27th, 2014

300+ Juniors Compete at 3P Air Rifle National Championship

3 position 3P air rifle championshipAfter seven months of hard work and concentration, over 300 sporter and precision air rifle juniors are competing this week at the 2014 CMP National Three Position Air Rifle Championship. The event runs June 23 through 28 at the new Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center in Camp Perry, Ohio.

Junior marksmen participating in the CMP National Championship will also be competing in the USA Shooting National 3P Junior Olympics. Sporter competitors will fire on Tuesday, June 24, while precision competitors will follow on Friday, June 27. The National Junior Olympics will also be held in the Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center.

3 position 3P air rifle championship

Big money is at stake for the teams. First place teams in the sporter and precision competitions will receive $10,000 towards their team’s MidwayUSA endowment, while second and third place teams will earn $7,500 and $5,000, respectively. MidwayUSA contributed over $460,000 towards the competition.

The event is free and open to the public. The world-class Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center boasts 80 firing points with state-of-the-art electronic targets. Spectators are able to observe each competitor’s shot via large, 90-inch overhead monitors. CLICK HERE for more info on the CMP National Three Position Air Rifle Championship.

3 position 3P air rifle championship

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June 26th, 2014

Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting — By Bryan Litz

Litz Applied Ballistics Book Modern Advancements Long Range ShootingApplied Ballistics, LLC is offering an all-new book by Bryan Litz, the first in a series. The new 339-page, hard-cover book, Modern Advancements for Long Range Shooting, Volume I, documents the ongoing R & D being done at the Applied Ballistics laboratory, the “Area 51″ of the shooting world.

“This new series is heavily based in experimental ballistics, and takes a ‘Myth Busters’-type approach to many of the questions and problems faced by modern long range shooters,” stated Litz. Volume I of the series is scheduled for release in late July, 2014. The book will cost $39.95, but you can pre-order now for $35.95, a 10% savings.

Bryan adds: “Anyone interested in the underlying science behind shooting can benefit from this book. We address the important questions… How much does faster twist affect MV? How does stability affect BC from the muzzle and downrange? What chronographs are capable of high accuracy and precision? What characteristics should you look for in your long range rifle and optic set up? What new gadgets are being developed to enhance long range shooting?

New Book Features Extensive Live-Fire Test Results
Bryan tells us: “The book spotlights state-of-the-art technologies (and methodologies) in long range shooting. New equipment and old ideas are explored using experimental, live-fire testing. Extensive test results are reported in an easy-to-understand way. Among other things, our tests explore the effects of twist rate on muzzle velocity, BC (supersonic and transonic), precision, even spin rate decay for various rifling profiles as they are tested experimentally.

Chronographs and Optics Are Tested and Compared
Litz’s new book traces the evolution of modern rifle, bullet, and optic design. Results from chronograph comparison tests are presented, showing the strengths and weaknesses of available commercial chronographs. High-tech instrumentation such as laser rangefinders and wind measurement devices are explained in detail by contributing author Nick Vitalbo.

The New Book Puts Theory into Practice
We asked Bryan Litz how this new book differs from his previous treatises. Bryan replied: “My original Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting book explains the fundamental elements of external ballistics. It’s the academic background which all future work relies on. The new book, Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting, covers the ongoing development of equipment and ideas. We explore things like twist rate effects, modern rifle and optic design, and some of the high tech instruments which are being used to enhance the effectiveness of long range shooting.

Litz Applied Ballistics Book Modern Advancements Long Range Shooting

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 1 Comment »
June 26th, 2014

‘Everything AR’ in Guns Magazine Special Edition

Do you like black rifles? Do you suffer from an irrepressible desire to modify, tweak, and upgrade every little component on your ARs? Then check out “Everything AR” in the GUNS Magazine Combat Special Edition. From upgrades and accessories to brand reviews and insight into AR operating systems, the Fall/Winter 2014 GUNS Magazine Combat Special Edition is a cover-to-cover AR love-fest.

This 194-page Special Edition includes a helpful review of direct gas versus piston operating systems by Richard Mann. Another article by this same writer, “Pistol Caliber Carbine Perfection”, explores the evolution of pistol-caliber AR carbines, discussing pros and cons of several pistol calibers. Publisher/editor Roy Huntington contributes a story on Black Rain Ordnance, a company known for its high-quality AR-platform rifles, and lifetime warranty.

Want gadgets for your AR? In “Ten Got-To-Have Accessories For Your MSR,” contributing editor Dave Douglas spotlights some of the best bolt-ons for “Modern Sporting Rifles”, from sling mounts and LED lasers to sights and rubber grips.

The Fall/Winter 2014 issue of GUNS Combat includes the all-new 2015 Buyer’s Guide. This 128-page, comprehensive catalog features hundreds of products ranging from all types of handguns and long guns, to knives, lights and lasers

Permalink - Articles 1 Comment »
June 25th, 2014

MidwayUSA Announces New Reduced-Cost Nitro Express Shipping

midwayusa midway shipping charges nitro expressMidwayUSA has completely revamped its shipping system, putting in a new billing structure that should result in significant savings for customers, particularly for small orders. The new “Nitro Express” shipping program at MidwayUSA will offer $3.99 shipping for orders under one pound (non-DOT regulated products). Packages 1 to 10 pounds can ship for $5.99 (USPS) plus $0.60 per pound. DOT-regulated products cost more to ship, but the rates are still reasonable. Here are the new Nitro Express Shipping Rates from the MidwayUSA website:

midwayusa midway shipping charges nitro express

midwayusa midway shipping charges nitro express

midwayusa midway shipping charges nitro express

Nitro Express Shipping Basics
MidwayUSA founder Larry Potterfield explains: “I’m very pleased to announce… our new Nitro Express Shipping® system. We discovered that if MidwayUSA re-engineered our system for shipping packages… we could save our customers a lot of money on shipping costs.

We’ve spent several years and millions of dollars to develop one of the best, most efficient shipping systems in the country; and we’ve negotiated very hard with our freight partners — all to save our customers money on shipping costs.

Right off the bat you’ll notice that most shipping costs went down substantially — and it’s really easy to understand. There are no order minimums or small order fees and shipping costs are calculated ‘real-time’ as you add products to your shopping cart. The complete details are available by clicking on Shipping Charges & Options on our website.

News Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink News 12 Comments »
June 25th, 2014

Firearms Guide 5th Ed. Has Over 59,000 gun types, 39,000 Photos

Covering over 59,000 firearms, the Firearms Guide is the most comprehensive resource on guns ever created. And now it’s bigger and better than ever. The updated 5th Edition of the Firearms Guide is now available on dual-layer DVD for $39.95 from Impressum Media. This latest DVD now include Military Guns and Antique Guns as well. The Windows Version is available right now.

Think of this as a digital encyclopedia of guns — the mother of all gun reference guides. The sheer amount of information is mind-boggling. The Firearms Guide covers nearly 60,000 models of rifles, pistols, shotguns, air rifles, and air pistols from 705 manufacturers worldwide.

Products are illustrated with 39,000 high-res color photos, plus 4,850+ schematics with parts lists for 360 gun-makers. If you’re a gunsmith or armorer, you’ll want to buy this DVD, just to have the searchable schematics with part numbers handy.

If you are a gun collector, or just an information junkie, you’ll find this DVD to be an invaluable resource. The DVD’s scope is truly worldwide, with coverage of gun makers in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, South America, South Africa and Asia as well as North America. With the DVD’s search capability you can search by gun caliber, manufacturer, and key features (e.g. “.223 Rem, Colt, folding stock”). There are 14 different search criteria — this allows you to “drill down” precisely to find the gun you want in seconds. Shown below are typical profiles of listed products:

Here are some of the useful bonus features included on the the $39.95 DVD. Gunblast.com says the DVD is “worth the price for the target images alone”.

  • 650 Printable Targets: game animals, silhouettes, crosshairs, sight-ins, fun targets.
  • FFL Locator – Searchable database of over 62,000 gun dealers in the USA with contact info.
  • US-EU Ammo Caliber Chart: Cartridge equivalency charts identify the correct domestic equivalent of European ammo.

Video Shows Search Functions on DVD (from Previous Edition)

Permalink Handguns, New Product 1 Comment »
June 24th, 2014

Litz Dominates His First-Ever F-TR Match with Pierce-Built Rifle

Bryan Litz shot his first F-TR match recently, and he came up a winner — a big winner. Competing at the Midwest Palma event, Bryan topped the F-TR field, winning by 15 points. In fact Bryan ended up finishing within 10 points of F-Open winner Alex Lipworth. In the 20-shot, 1000-yard matches, Bryan averaged an impressive 195-7X, with a stunning 196-11X score in one match. (Consider that the 1000-yard X-Ring is just five inches in diameter!) Not bad for Bryan’s first attempt at the F-TR game.

We all know Bryan has serious long-range shooting skills. But he also had a secret weapon — a wickedly accurate, wood/carbon-stocked, low-profile F-TR rifle built by John Pierce. With this Pierce rifle, Bryan had to abandon the hard-holding style he uses in sling-shooting competition. Instead he adopted a “less is more”, almost-free-recoil method — and it worked. Is this the future of F-TR? Read on and learn what Bryan has to say about F-TR shooting, “belly benchrest” style.

Bryan Litz F-TR John Pierce Midwest Palma

Sling Shooter Tries F-TR

by Bryan Litz
I’ve been coaching the Michigan F-TR team for a while and finally decided to participate in the competition. F-TR is more rifle-centric than Palma, meaning the precision demands are greater due to the smaller scoring rings. After seeing Eric Stecker’s results with his Pierce rifle at the 2014 Berger Southwest Nationals, I asked my good friend and Michigan team-mate John Pierce to “build me one like Eric’s”. This is the same basic set up as John’s own F-TR rifle as well. It’s a Pierce F-TR action with a 30″ long, 1:9″ twist Bartlein Barrel chambered for the Berger 215gr Hybrids. The barreled action is bedded into a light-weight, BR-style stock built by Bob Scoville. A Phoenix bipod underneath and a Nightforce 15-55X Competition scope complete the package.

Click Image to Zoom
Bryan Litz F-TR John Pierce Midwest Palma

Loading the .308 Winchester with Berger 215gr Hybrids
I received the rifle just one week before the Midwest Palma match. During that week prior to the match, I put over 700 rounds on the rifle. I did some load development but was mostly learning to shoot a new rifle in a new discipline. I settled on 215gr Berger Hybrids seated 0.015″ off the riflings over a stout charge of Varget in Lapua Palma (small primer) brass with CCI BR4 primers. The only brass prep was mandreling the necks of the new brass for consistent neck tension. Bullets were slightly pointed, but nothing was segregated by weight, base-to-ogive, or anything. All the ammo I shot in Lodi was loaded in brand-new Lapua brass.

Check Out Bryan’s Set-up with the Rifle (Click Photo to Zoom)
Bryan Litz F-TR John Pierce Midwest Palma

Learning the F-TR Game — Adapting to a New Shooting Style
Coming over from sling shooting, I knew there would be unique challenges to F-TR which I wanted to learn prior to (not during) a major tournament. I learned a new shooting position which doesn’t involve drawing the right knee up. For F-TR I get more straight behind the gun rather than at an angle. I found that the rifle shoots best with very light cheek, shoulder and grip pressure, approaching free recoil. This is how Eric Stecker shot his similar rifle into second place in the SW Nationals. I learned the rifle’s sensitivity to different bipod and rear bag supports, and found the best buttplate position to allow the rifle to track and stay on target after recoil. This set-up shot best with a mostly free-recoil approach, that means “hovering” over the comb, rather than resting your head on the stock. This took some “getting used to” in terms of neck and back muscle tone. These are the kind of details I think it’s important to focus on when entering a new dicipline.

“I love the way this Pierce F-TR rifle flings brass, and wins tournaments. None of my sling guns ever had an ejector. With this rig, it’s become one of my favorite things to eject the brass and just let it fly!”
Bryan Litz F-TR John Pierce Midwest Palma

I think many shooters consider themselves ‘ready for a match’ the first time the rifle shows them a couple 1/3 or 1/4 MOA 5-shot groups from a bench at 100 yards. While making the rifle shoot precisely is certainly a prerequisite for successful match shooting, it’s certainly not the whole story. So as soon as I got the load and rifle shooting 1/2 MOA from the bench, I proceeded to shoot many 10- and 20-shot strings from the ground at 300 and 1000 yards. I shot more than 500 rounds this way, studying the rifles character, and learning to shoot it. It’s amazing how much the precision (grouping) is affected by subtle variables in the set-up, especially when shooting heavy bullets. I truly believe that many F-TR rifles are hindered in their precision potential by something in the way they are set up and shot.

Advice on Shooting the Heavy Bullets in a .308 Win
I believe F-TR set-ups are way more forgiving with light- to medium-weight bullets (155 to 185 grains). By this I mean that it’s easier to shoot good groups with a variety of bipods, rear bags, etc. But as you get into the 200 – 215 grain bullet weights, the precision of the rifle (i.e. group size) becomes very sensitive to set-up and shot execution. I was able to find a good set-up which let the rifle shoot very well on a variety of surfaces (hard gravel, soft grass, sand, etc.). In Lodi, the rifle shot well all week.

Having done so much preparation and training with the rifle the week prior to the match, I felt very prepared and confident. The results were actually better than expected. There were no problems at all with equipment, and I just shot the rifle the way it liked to be shot. In the end, I won the F-TR Division. I can say there were many shooters interested in the Pierce rifle!

Impressive Performance
Bryan observes that this rifle held 1/2 MOA of vertical at 1000 yards for 17 out of 20 shots. That’s impressive accuracy. Bryan was in first place each day of the match, including the 3×1000 on Friday where he averaged over 195-7X. Remarkably, Bryan finished just 10 points behind the F-Open winner, with the next closest F-TR competitor 15 points behind Bryan. In fact, with his .308 Win, Bryan out-scored 75% of the F-Open shooters. CLICK for match results.

Bryan Litz F-TR John Pierce Midwest Palma

Bryan gave credit to his smiths and his team-mates: “I’d like to thank John Pierce for building a great F-TR rifle and thank my dad, Bill Litz, for loading the best ammo on the planet. Finally, I’d like to thank the Michigan F-TR team for helping me learn how to shoot F-TR.”

Bryan writes: “Here I am with ‘The Man’, John Pierce, and the epic F-TR rifle he built for me. This thing shoots ‘No S***’ 1/2 MOA Vertical at 1000 yards.”
Bryan Litz F-TR John Pierce Midwest Palma

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing 15 Comments »
June 24th, 2014

Not Bad for a Grand-Dad — Bryant’s Still Got His “A-Game”

gene bukys benchrestTexan Mike Bryant is a superb gunsmith and a very successful benchrest competitor. And though he is getting up in years, he hasn’t lost any of his talent as a trigger-puller. In fact, if recent results are any indication, Mike Bryant isn’t getting older, he’s getting better.

Check out this set of targets Mike recently shot, which represent the best 100-Yard Aggregate of Mike’s shooting career. Maybe being a grandfather has improved his skill set.

Mike reports: “Here’s the set of targets I shot at the East-West HV100. Needless to say, I was tickled to death. This is the best 100-yard Agg I’ve ever shot [in benchrest competition]: 0.1744″ average.”

Click Photo for Full-Size Version
Mike Bryant Agg

Mike is a great gunsmith, but he’s retired for the most part now: “I’ve closed up my shop and won’t be gunsmithing for the general public. I want to help my son on the ranch and shoot more benchrest.”

As far as the “shoot more benchrest” part, it looks like Grandfather Bryant is doing well indeed. Mike credits his recent success to other shooters:

gene bukys benchrest“I owe a lot of what I was able to accomplish with this Agg to Gene Bukys. Gene is currently one of the hottest-shooting benchrest competitors in the United States, and a member of the Benchrest Hall of Fame. After the Cactus Classic this year, Gene shared with us the make, twist rate, and contour of the barrels that he had been using to win everything in sight. He also told me which of his reamers that Dave Kiff had made him that he had been using and which one to order from Kiff to shoot the same chamber.”

“Gene had already matched a die to my previous chamber that [eliminated] the click at the top of the bolt stroke to insure smooth bolt operation. After the Cactus I ordered some of the same barrels that Gene was using and ordered a reamer from Kiff. I chambered two of the barrels with the reamer that Gene was using on Monday and fire-formed brass for them on Tuesday and spent a little time at home trying to get the rifles tuned up for the East-West.”

“On Saturday morning I started with one of the rifles and shot it through the LV 100. Not doing particularly well. So, switched rifles to the other one for the HV 100. It seemed to be working better and seemed to get better as the day went along. After the match, I was out pulling up my flags and Wade Hull walks up to me and holds out his hand and says ‘Congratulations, you won the Heavy 100′.”

Hall of Famers Helping Other Benchresters
Mike concludes: “If there is a story in my experience, it is really about benchresters helping other benchresters. People like Gene Bukys, Jack Neary, and Bart Sauter, all Hall of Fame members, are giving back to other benchrest shooters to help them become better. Jack Neary has been giving Vihtavuori tuning classes for many years, passing on the info that helped him get into the Hall of Fame. Bart Sauter posts on Benchrest.com, passing on key secrets of his success. And let’s not forget Tony Boyer who has helped others in many ways, including one-on-one private benchrest lessons. So, if there is a story here, it’s about these guys, not about me.”

Between benchrest matches, Mike Bryant likes to spend “quality time” with his children and grandchildren. Here is Mike on a playground slide with his grandson. Mike’s philosophy is to enjoy life and stay young at heart. We think that’s a good approach to life.

Mike Bryant Agg

Permalink Gunsmithing 5 Comments »
June 24th, 2014

Save 7.5% on All Products at Brownells — Even Sale Items

In today’s economy, saving money is a good thing. And here’s a way you can save 7.5% on anything and everything that Brownells sells. To celebrate its 75th year in business, Brownells is offering a special 7.5% discount on all products. Yes, this 7.5% savings applies to everything Brownells carries, including current sale items. To get your 7.5% savings, be sure to use Discount Code FRK during checkout while shopping at Brownells.com. This is a limited time offer.

Brownells 75th anniversary discount sale
Brownells 75th anniversary discount sale

Sale tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Hot Deals 1 Comment »
June 23rd, 2014

Dozens of Vendors on ‘Commercial Row’ at Camp Perry

One of the fun aspects of a summer visit to the National Matches at Camp Perry is a visit to Commercial Row. Here you’ll find shooting hardware and accessories from a variety of vendors — from big outfits to small, “boutique” suppliers. There are usually some very good deals to be had. In fact, many vendors offer special “Camp Perry Pricing” that can’t be beat anywhere else (or at any other time of year).

CLICK HERE for List of Commercial Row Vendors (PDF)

Over 60 companies will have a presence on Commercial Row this year, including respected suppliers such as Armalite, Champion Shooters Supply, Compass Lake Engineering, Fulton Armory, Geissele Automatics, Remington Arms, and Rock River Arms.

If you visit Camp Perry this summer, be sure to walk down Commercial Row, situated opposite CMP Headquarters on Lawrence Road. Whether you’re a competitor in need of a replacement part or just a shopper looking for a good deal, you’ll find something of interest on Commercial Row.

Commercial Row Camp Perry
Photo from NJPistol.com. This site has a very helpful Camp Perry FAQ Page.

Permalink Competition 3 Comments »
June 22nd, 2014

Now That’s Accuracy — Mike Ezell’s Tack-Driving 30 Major

Sometimes everything comes together — a great barrel, the right load, good bullets, and, of course, a gifted trigger-puller. Check out this target from Forum member Mike Ezell. That’s five (5) shots at 100 yards from Mike’s 30 Major benchrest rifle. When this was shot a while back, Mike reported: “I fired a few groups in the great weather. No surprises — it did VERY well! My little wildcat, the 30 Major, has always been a shooter. That target was not a fluke — I shot a few groups today and Agg’d a high One.” Mike is a Kentucky gunsmith who builds his own rifles.

30 Major 6.5 Grendel 30 caliber PPC

30 Major is Based on 6.5 Grendel
What’s a “30 Major” you ask? This is Mike’s own wildcat, a 6.5 Grendel necked up to .30 caliber. Mike writes: “The 30 Major is essentially a .070″-long 30 PPC. With the great 6.5 Grendel brass available from Lapua, all you need to do is neck-up and turn the necks to prep the brass.” Mike says it is very much like a 30 BR, but you just start with 6.5 Grendel brass instead of 6mmBR brass.

The cartridge has one major benefit — it utilizes a PPC-diameter bolt face. That makes it easy to convert your group-shooting 6 PPC to shoot score with .30-cal bullets. Mike explains: “If you have a PPC, to shoot score, all you have to do is chamber up a [.30 caliber] barrel and screw it on your PPC.”

From 7.62×39 to 30 Major — Full Circle
Arms expert Neil Gibson has an interesting perspective on the lineage of the 30 Major. He reminds us that this wildcat has returned to its roots: “Start off with the 7.62×39 Russian [cartridge]. The Russians then modify it, necking it down to .223 for deer hunting. The U.S. bench rest guys then modify that, necking it up to 6 mm and blowing the case out making the 6mm PPC. Someone takes that case, necks it out to 6.5 mm, making the 6.5 PPC. Alexander Arms takes that and makes the 6.5 Grendel. Then finally Mike Ezell takes the Grendel and necks it up to 30 caliber, making the 30 Major. From 30 caliber, back to 30 caliber. OK, the original uses .31 caliber bullets, but the bore is still .300. Talk about almost coming round full circle!”

Great Accuracy Restored after Solving Mystery Problem
To get his 30 Major rig shooting this well, Mike had to solve a mysterious problem that cropped up last year. Mike explains: “Two years running, I have finished in the top 15 in IBS points shooting [the 30 Major], but last year’s benchrest season was tough.” Mike was having some accuracy issues that defied explanation. But he figured it out: “The front action screw was bottoming out against the barrel extension – just barely. A simple fix brought the gun back to life. It’s a Stiller Viper Drop Port. The action is screwed and glued into the stock, so I was a bit surprised … especially after having checked for [that issue] while looking for the problem. I’m just glad to have found the trouble so I can begin to re-instill some confidence in the gun and myself, after last year.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition 11 Comments »
June 22nd, 2014

Sign Up for 2014 NRA National Championships at Camp Perry

Report based on story by Kyle Jillson for NRA Blog
Camp Perry National MatchesThe 2014 Remington and NRA National Rifle & Pistol Championships at Camp Perry, Ohio are just a couple weeks away. You can still register for one or more of the matches. Just click the orange “Register” button (below) to register online.

Many of the finest civilian and military marksmen in the United States will square off for weeks of rifle and handgun competition while vying for the NRA’s historic and prestigious trophies. From pistol, to smallbore rifle, high power rifle, and long-range high power rifle, the National Matches have something for just about everybody.

Head on over to the Camp Perry sign-up page and get started on this year’s application.

Camp Perry National Matches Ohio High Power Fullbore Smallbore NRA

Smallbore Matches Will Be in Indiana This Year
If you’re a smallbore shooter, these next two years will be a little different. In 2014 and 2015, the NRA National Smallbore Position Championships and the NRA National Smallbore Prone Championships will be held at Chief Wa-Ke-De Range in Bristol, Indiana. This change of venue for the Smallbore Championship Events was made to accommodate the 2015 World Palma Rifle Championships at Camp Perry. (The change was made in 2014 because the World Palma teams will be practicing at Camp Perry this summer, a year before the big event.) The Chief Wa-Ke-De Range is an excellent location that has hosted the NRA National Metric Championships for the past few years.

The NRA National Rifle & Pistol Championships are the pinnacle of target shooting in the USA. If you’re itching to try out some new equipment or are looking for an excuse to buy some more accessories, the National Matches are the perfect excuse. Use the links below to register for the National Matches, or to view the 2014 program brochures (in PDF format) for the High Power, Fullbore, and Pistol disciplines.

Click Here to Register for the National Rifle and Pistol Matches

Click Here to Sign Up for Camp Perry

2014 National Matches Calendar (Draft)

2014 High Power Program

2014 Fullbore Program

2014 Pistol Program

Permalink Competition, News No Comments »