July 21st, 2014

Texas Teen Wins National Smallbore 3P Championship

by Lars Dalseide for NRABlog.com
For the first time in decades, NRA’s Smallbore 3-Positions Championships have departed the wind and shores of Camp Perry for the peaceful pines of the Wa Ke’ De range. With 100 shooting points, permanent cover, and a considerable asphalt firing line, the Wa Ke’ De is a gem amongst ranges. “It’s a beautiful location,” said Smallbore Match Director Howard “H.Q.” Moody. “The community is receptive and our competitors are having a whale of a time.”

Smallbore championship

But the firsts don’t stop at the change in location. There was a change in the champion too. A Texas teen by the name of Jacob Buchanan edged out fellow junior Anna Weilbacher along with U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s George Norton and approximately 160 others with a winning total of 2391-129x. His first time at the NRA Nationals, Buchanan made quite the impression on the officials.

“He is such a nice young man,” said Assistant Match Director Victoria Croft. “Very energetic, very gracious, and one heck of a shooter.”

Team Blackhawk Mixed Wins Team Title
Combining totals from the Metric and Conventional 3-Position Championships, It was Jeffery Doerschler, Michael O’Connor, Michelle Bohren, and Katie Bridges of team Blackhawk Mixed who walked away with a 9471-541x National Team Championship title.

“This is the first year for the title and the first time we’ve been able to use scores from both championships,” Moody explained. “Just another benefit of holding Smallbore here at Wa Ke’ De.”

Photos Courtesy NRABlog.com.

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July 21st, 2014

SASS End of Trail Featured on Shooting USA

This Wednesday, July 23rd, on the Outdoor Channel, Shooting USA features End of Trail, the Cowboy Action World Championship. Hosted annually at the SASS Founders Ranch in New Mexico, End of Trail attracts nearly 1,000 shooters, hailing from 50 states and many foreign countries. SASS, the Single Action Shooting Society, is one of the most popular shooting organizations on the planet, having issued over 90,000 member badges. For SASS members, End of Trail represents the Superbowl and World Series combined. This special Shooting USA broadcast of the 2013 End of Trail airs at 3:30 PM, 9:00 PM, 12:00 Midnight (Thursday) Eastern Time. This year’s End of Trail took place June 19-29, 2014.

End of Trail SASS

If you like multi-gun competition, you’ll enjoy watching Cowboy Action Matches. The top male and female shooters are experts with three kinds of firearms: Lever Rifle, Single-Action Revolver, and Shotgun (which can be a double-barrel side-by-side, or a pump, or even an 1887 lever-action). The guns must be originals or reproductions made prior to 1898 to be used in competition. A typical stage will require 5 shots from each of two six guns, ten rounds from the rifle, chambered in a pistol caliber, and 6 to 8 shotgun rounds.

End of Trail SASS

24 Rounds from Four Guns in under 13 Seconds
To give you an idea of the action you can see on Shooting USA, here is a video of past world Champion Spencer Hogland, aka “Lead Dispencer”. In this video, Spencer fires 24 rounds, with four guns, in just 12.81 seconds (look at the timer in lower right corner). Spencer shows blazing speed with his lever gun and note how quickly he loads his shotgun. Fast loading is key to a successful stage run. Unlike modern multi-gun comps, normally Cowboy Action Shooters must start with empty shotguns.

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July 21st, 2014

Muzzle Brake Performance Tests by Bertalotto

Muzzle brakes are controversial. Some people swear by them, while others swear at them. Still, there’s no question that a good brake can reduce felt recoil up to 45%. And likewise, the best brakes, when installed properly, seem to have no negative effect on accuracy.

VAIS muzzle brake

Roy Bertalotto has done considerable experimentation with muzzle brakes, testing dozens of brake designs on his own rifles over the past few years. Roy’s article, Adventures with Muzzle Brakes, discusses various aspects of muzzle brake design and performance. Roy doesn’t claim that his testing is definitive, but his article is definitely worth a read. Here are some of Roy’s interesting findings:

Exit Hole Diameter
“Best accuracy and effectiveness of the brake was obtained with a hole .020″ over bullet diameter. If the exit hole is too small, such as +.005″ over bullet diameter, accuracy suffers. If the depth of the exit hole is too shallow, the metal around the hole will erode very quickly.”

Hole Placement
“The most effective braking was with a brake 1″ in diameter with a 3/4″ exit hole on each side, just in front of the muzzle. The bullet passes through a cone of 35 degrees before it exits the brake. (Like the tank example), Incredible reduction of recoil. But loud and ugly. Very easy to make since you don’t need a spin fixture or a dividing head.”

Bottom Gas Venting Helps Accuracy
“In my tests, not having holes all around the brake effects accuracy a bit. I believe it does something to the bullet by the air pushed ahead of the bullet creating unequal turbulence in the bullet path. I’ve tried a few brakes where I drilled only holes on the top, test fired, and then completed holes on the bottom and in every case, accuracy improved.” Below are spiral-ported brakes crafted by Clay Spencer.

VAIS muzzle brake

Brakes Work Best with High-Pressure Cartridges
“The higher the pressure of the particular round, the more effective the brake. I have over 20 rifles with brakes. The 220 Swift is the king of reduction. Followed very closely by the 25-06, 6mm Remington, any Weatherby small bore. With a proper brake and a hot handload under a 40 gr bullet, the Swift will move 1/2″ to the rear and 0 muzzle rise! Big boomers with low pressure like 45-70s and shot guns benefit the least.” [Editor’s Note: Roy is judging effectiveness by the percentage of recoil reduction rather than absolute levels of recoil. Obviously if you start with a heavier-recoiling round, the absolute amount of recoil energy reduction is greater. Roy is really talking about efficiency–brakes are most efficient when used with high-pressure cartridges.]

Installation is Key to Accuracy
Roy’s findings are fascinating and suggest that further study of muzzle brakes is warranted. But we can all agree that precision installation of the brake is essential for accuracy. A poorly-installed, mis-aligned brake will degrade accuracy, that is well-known.

Harrell’s Precision has made thousands of muzzle brakes, in many styles and port arrangements. The Harrell brothers offer some good advice for gunsmiths installing brakes: “Muzzle brakes aren’t magic, they reduce recoil by redirecting exiting gas. What’s important is that they are straight and the threads are perpendicular with the base. The only way to get the base and threads perpendicular is to thread, not tap, them on a lathe.”

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