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February 20th, 2015

Forster Co-Ax Presses are In-Stock at Grafs.com

If you have been patiently waiting to acquire a Forster Co-Ax® reloading press, now’s the time to strike. These popular presses have been out-of-stock for months, but now Grafs.com has Co-Ax presses in the warehouse and ready to ship. Price is $319.99. That includes shipping charges (but there is a flat $7.95 additional handling charge per order).

Grafs.com Graf sons sale coax co-ax forster press sale

If you aren’t familiar with the unique design and function of the Forster Co-Ax Press, watch this video by Forum member Erik Cortina:

Permalink Hot Deals, Reloading 1 Comment »
February 20th, 2015

Win a Training Day with Olympic Shooting Coaches

eley national team rimfire smallbore training

Getting tutored by Olympic-class experts — now that’s a rare opportunity in the shooting world. ELEY Ltd., makers of precision rimfire ammo, has announced a special contest. Two lucky marksmen (one pistol shooter and one rifle shooter) will win the chance to train with the U.S. National Team at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. All ammunition for the one-day training session (in June, 2015) will be supplied by ELEY. (The winners must supply their own firearm.) The lucky winners will even be able to use the elite Olympic Training Center strength/conditioning facilities.

Training day sessions will be conducted by top coaches/atheletes from the U.S. National squad. Rifle coaches may include: Bryant Wallizer, Thomas Csenge, Michael Liuzza, Justin Tracy (2013 Prone National Champion), Dempster Christenson, Sarah Beard, Sarah Scherer, Emily Holsopple, Amy Sowash, Reya Kempley, and former National Rifle Coach Dave Johnson.

Pistol coaches may include: Keith Sanderson, Nick Mowrer, Jason Turner, Teresa Chambers, Morgan Wallizer (2004 rifle Olympian now training pistol), National Pistol Coach Sergey Luzov.

eley national team rimfire smallbore training

How to Enter Contest
For more information, or to enter the Training Day Contest, visit ELEY’s Training Contest Page on Facebook. NOTE — the deadline for contest entries is March 16, 2015.

eley national team rimfire smallbore training

Permalink News, Shooting Skills No Comments »
February 19th, 2015

NRA World Shooting Championship Revisited…

Trijicon is out, and Magpul is in (as lead sponsor), so the much-ballyhooed NRA World Shooting Championship (WSC) will continue — at least for one more season. Held at the Peacemaker Nat’l Training Center in West Virginia, the inaugural 2014 “World Shooting Championship” left some folks shaking their heads after match directors made a few puzzling rule changes on the fly. In addition, it was hard to call last year’s NRA event a true “World Championship”. In 2014, almost all the WSC shooters were American, and, what’s more, a real ISSF World Championship was staged at the very same time last year in Granada, Spain. That important ISSF event in Spain had shooters from 40+ countries and many Olympic medalists.

World Shooting Championship Peacemaker Glengary NRA

Nonetheless, we’ll see more WSC action this fall. The 2015 NRA World Shooting Championship will be held September 24 – 26, 2015 at Peacemaker in WV. This will once again be a “big money” event, with a $200,000 prize table and $50,000 in cash awards. With a quarter-million dollars worth of cash and hardware prizes up for grabs, this is probably the richest shooting event in the world. And, as before, the match organizers will provide all the guns and all the ammo.

Competitors at the 2015 NRA World Shooting Championship will compete in three divisions: Pro, Amateur, and Junior. The event will feature twelve (12) stages drawing from a variety of firearm disciplines, such as Cowboy Action, F-Class, and Smallbore standing.

World Shooting Championship Stages

Stage 1: Cowboy Action
Stage 2: NRA Conventional Bullseye
Stage 3: NRA Bianchi Mover
Stage 4: NRA F-Class
Stage 5: 5-Stand
Stage 6: Double Wobble Trap

Stage 7: .22 Smallbore Standing
Stage 8: 3-Gun
Stage 9: USPSA
Stage 10: USCA 2Gun
Stage 11: PRS Long Range Challenge
Stage 12: NRA Action Rifle

“We’ve created the NRA World Shooting Championship to be the top competitive shooting event in the world,” said NRA General Operations Executive Director Kyle Weaver. “Not only will providing all firearms and ammunition help level the playing field, but it will alleviate competitors needing to buy new equipment and simplify international and domestic travel.”

Get more information about the WSC at NRAWorldShootingChampionship.com. Registration for the 2015 WSC is now open. Match fees, by division, are: Pro $395.00, Amateur $325.00, Junior $375.00. CLICK HERE to REGISTER

Peacemaker Nat’l Training Center, Glengary, West Virginia

Permalink Competition, News 5 Comments »
February 19th, 2015

Phoenix Convention Center Transformed into Shooting Range

Here’s the best use of a convention center we’ve seen yet, thanks to the CMP. A section of the Phoenix Convention Center was transformed into an indoor shooting range for the 2015 JROTC Service Championship. This week (February 19-21), approximately 231 JROTC cadets will compete in Phoenix utilizing the CMP “Mobile Range”. This is a complete 60-station air rifle range that can be trucked from venue to venue and set up in a few hours. That’s pretty slick. Concurrently with the Phoenix event, USMC and NAVY JROTC cadets will be competing in Anniston, Alabama. Results from Phoenix and Anniston will be posted at on the CMP Competition Tracker webpage.

Phoenix Convention Center CMP Range truck

Phoenix Convention Center CMP Range truck

Phoenix Convention Center CMP Range truck

The CMP’s state-of-the art, mobile air gun range boasts 60 electronic MEGAlink targets produced in Norway. MEGAlink is the same target system used at CMP North and South stationary air ranges. The MEGAlink target “boxes” are each connected to a lift system than can raise and lower the targets for 3-position shooting. All of the components are designed so that the range can be quickly assembled by 3-4 workers. A large trailer can haul all 60 targets plus all the related monitors, computers, tables, chairs, and hardware in one load-out.

CMP Mobile Range Phoenix

CMP Mobile Range MEGALink

Permalink Competition No Comments »
February 19th, 2015

Finnish Magic for .45 ACP Pistols — Vihtavuori N320

VV N320 for .45 ACP

VV N320 for .45 ACPMan does not live by long-guns alone. We know that many of our readers own .45 ACP handguns and load for this extremely accurate “classic” cartridge. When selecting a powder for the .45 ACP, there are many good options. All the major powder manufacturers make propellants with appropriate density and burn rate characteristics for the .45 ACP. Popular powder choices include: AA #5 (Accurate Powder); Bullseye (Alliant); Clays, HP-38, and Titegroup (Hodgdon); VV N310, N320, N340 (Vihtavuori); and WW 231 and WST (Winchester). We’ve tried these powders in a variety of .45 ACP handguns. When we consider the factors that make for a good pistol powder, we think N320 is one of the best available propellants for the .45 ACP. Vihtavuori N320 is very accurate, it meters well, and it burns clean, with minimal smoke and flash. If you haven’t tried VV N320 yet, you should.

Pros/Cons of Different Powders for .45 ACP
This Editor has personally tried out eight or more different powders for the .45 ACP. Bullseye works but it is very dirty (both smoke out the barrel and sooty powder fouling on case). Though it otherwise burns clean, Titegroup leaves a singular (and nasty) high-temp flame streak on your brass that is hard to remove. AA #5 is a good choice for progressive press newbies as you use more powder so a double charge will (usually) be obvious. I like AA #5 but N320 was more accurate. Clays burns clean but some powder measures struggle with flake powders like this. WW 231 offered excellent accuracy and metered well, but it kicked out sparks with little pieces of debris that would hit me in the face. Who wants that?

I personally tried all the powders listed above with lead, plated, and jacketed bullets. After testing for accuracy, consistency, and ease of metering, I selected VV N320 as the best overall performer.

Vihtavuori N320

  • No powder tested was more accurate (WW 231 was equally accurate).
  • Meters very well in all kinds of powder measures.
  • Produces very little smoke from muzzle.
  • Does not put nasty burn streak on brass like Tite-Group does.
  • Low Flash — you don’t get particles and sparks flying out like WW 231.
  • Cases come out from gun very clean — so you can tumble less often.

Forum member and gunsmith Michael Ezell agrees that N320 is a good choice for the .45 ACP. Mike has also found that WW 231, while accurate, produces sparks and a large flash. Mike writes: “I first started using N320 after my first night shoot, while shooting IDPA/IPSC matches. It was astonishing how much of a fireball the WW 231 created. I was literally blinded by the flash while trying to shoot a match. As you can imagine, that didn’t work out very well. I went from WW 231 to N320 and never looked back…and the flash from it was a fraction of what a kid’s sparkler would give off. I have nothing but good things to say about [N320] after using both. Night shoots are a real eye-opener! When it comes to a personal protection… there is, statistically, a very high chance that if you ever have to use a gun to protect yourself or your family, it’ll be in the darkness[.] Being blinded by muzzle flash (and deafened by the noise) are things that should be considered, IMO.”

This Editor owns a full-size, all-stainless S&W 1911. After trying numerous powders, I found VV N320 delivered the best combination of accuracy, easy metering, consistency, clean burning qualities, and low muzzle flash. My gun has proven exceptionally accurate using N320 with bullets from 180 grains to 230 grains — it will shoot as accurately as some expensive customs I’ve tried. At right is 5-round group I shot offhand at 10 yards with my 5″ S&W 1911. The bullet hole edges are sharp because I was using semi-wad-cutters. Rounds were loaded with Vihtavuori N320 and 200-grain SWCs from Precision Bullets in Texas.

Permalink Reloading 3 Comments »
February 17th, 2015

Brain Teaser: Do You Know the Rule of the Square?

wind drift wind reading 6mmbr rule of the squareHorizontal Wind-Drift vs. Distance
OK, here’s a challenge question for you.
Let’s see if you get it right.

Q: If the wind is blowing 10 mph from 9 o’clock and if my horizontal wind deflection is 0.7 inches at 100 yards, what is the horizontal drift at 1000 yards?

You may be thinking, “Well, since the target is ten times more distant, the wind-drift should be around 7 inches, maybe a little more since the bullet will be slowing down.” That sounds reasonable, right?

WRONG.

As you move from near to far, the increase in lateral deflection (from a 90° crosswind) is (roughly speaking) a function of the square of the multiple of distance. If your target is two times farther away, you use the square of two, namely four. If your target is five times farther away, you use the square of five, or twenty-five. In this example, the increased wind drift (from 100 to 1000 yards) is at least 0.7″ times (10 X 10) — over 70 inches (give or take a few inches depending on bullet type). We call that the Rule of the Square. This Rule lets you make a quick approximation of the windage correction needed at any yardage.

Precision Shooting and the Rule of the Square
I was going through some back issues of Precision Shooting Magazine and found many references to the Rule of the Square. This made me curious — I wondered how well the Rule really stacked up against modern ballistics programs. Accordingly, I ran some examples through the JBM Ballistics Trajectory Calculator, one of the best web-based ballistics programs. To my surprise, the Rule of the Square does a pretty good job of describing things.

EXAMPLE ONE — .308 Win (100 to 400 Yards)
For a 168gr Sierra MK (.308), leaving the muzzle at 2700 fps, the JBM-predicted values* are as follows, with a 10 mph, 9 o’clock crosswind (at sea level, 65° F, Litz G7 BC):

Drift at 100: 0.8 MOA (0.8″)
Drift at 200: 1.6 MOA (3.3″)
Drift at 400: 3.4 MOA (14.4″)

Here you can see how the Rule of the Square works. The rule says our drift at 200 yards should be about FOUR times the drift at 100. It the example above, 0.8″ times 4 is 3.2″, pretty darn close to the JBM prediction of 3.3″. Quoting Precision Shooting: “Note that the deflections at 100 yards are typically a quarter of those at 200; lateral deflections increase as the square of the range”. Precision Shooting, June 2000, p. 16.

EXAMPLE TWO — .284 Win (100 to 1000 Yards)
For a .284 Win load, with the slippery Berger 180gr Target Hybrids, the Rule of the Square still works. Here we’ll input a 2750 fps velocity, Litz G7 BC, 10 mph, 9 o’clock crosswind, (same 65° temp at sea level). With these variables, JBM predicts:

Drift at 100: 0.5 MOA (0.5″)
Drift at 500: 2.5 MOA (13.3″)
Drift at 1000: 5.9 MOA (61.3″)

Again, even with a higher BC bullet, at 1000 yards we end up with something reasonably close to the 100-yard deflection (i.e. 0.5″) multiplied by (10×10), i.e. 50 inches. The Rule of the Square alerts you to the fact that the effects of crosswinds are MUCH greater at very long range. In this example, our JBM-calculated drift at 1000 is 61.3″ — that’s over 100 times the 100-yard lateral drift, even though the distance has only increased 10 times.

Note that, even with a 5 mph 90° sidewind, the “Rule of the Square” still applies. The 1000-yard lateral deflection in inches is still over 100 times the lateral deflection at 100 yards.


Why This All Matters (Even in the Age of Smartphones)
wind drift wind reading 6mmbr rule of the squareNow, some would say, “Why Should I Care About the Rule of the Square? My iPhone has a Ballistics App that does all my thinking for me”. Fair enough, but knowledge of this basic Rule of the Square enables a shooter to make an informed guess about necessary windage even without a come-up sheet, as long as he knows the distance AND can fire a sighter at 100 or 200 yards as a baseline.

For example, if I see empirically that I need 1″ windage correction at 100 yards, then I know that at 600 yards I need at least roughly (6 x 6 x 1″) or 36 total inches of drift correction, or 6 MOA. (To be precise, 1 MOA = 1.047″ at 100 yards). I can figure that out instantly, even without a ballistics chart, and even if my Smartphone’s battery is dead.

*Values shown are as displayed on the JBM-figured trajectory tables. The numbers can be slightly imprecise because JBM rounds off to one decimal place for both inches and MOA.

Permalink Shooting Skills, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
February 16th, 2015

Trudie Fay, Derek Rodgers, and Bob Sebold Win at Berger SWN

The 2015 Berger Southwest Nationals are now history. It was a remarkable event, one of the best-run matches in the country. Over 350 shooters enjoyed generally fine conditions, with sunny skies and warm temps. Records were set, and there were some remarkable performances. The talk of the tournament was Derek Rodgers’s stunning F-TR score. Derek served notice that F-TR rifles can run with the F-Open rigs (at least when piloted by a wizard). Rodgers shot superbly to finish at 1234-56X, just two points shy of F-Open winner Bob Sebold, who shot 1236-63X. In fact, Derek’s score would have placed him third overall in the F-Open division, one point behind Christine Harris (1235-45X). In sling division, shooting a Palma rifle, Trudie Fay won with 1242-64X. Two points back (at 1238-66X) was last year’s sling winner Bryan Litz.

Brilliant F-TR performance by Derek Rodgers shocked some F-Open shooters…
Sinclair Derek Rodgers SW Nationals

F-Open Winner Bob Sebold loved the bling, but for Sling winner Trudie Fay, “Cash was King”.
F-Class Lapua Bob Sebold Trudie Fay

The Harris Clan — Top Shots
Christine Harris was one of four talented Harris family members shooting at the event. Husband Scott Harris (1220-46X) took second in F-TR, and son Devon Harris (1203-29X) was F-TR High Junior. Twelve-year-old Adrian Harris also shot well, piloting a .223 Rem in F-TR. Adrian did great in the mid-range match, beating most of the adults. Dad Scott Harris says Adrian may have set an Age Group record during the SWN.

The Harris Clan: Scott Harris (2d Place F-TR), Christine (2d Place F-Open), and Adrian (600-yd High Junior)
berger sw Nationals

INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
F-OPEN F-TR SLING
Bob Sebold – 1236-63X
Christine Harris – 1235-45X HW
Dan Bramley – 1230-54X
David Mann – 1229-57X HSR
William Wittman – 1227-48X
Derek Rodgers – 1234-56X
Scott Harris – 1220-46X
Matt Schwartzkopf – 1216-38X
Jade Delcambre – 1214-44X
Daniel Lentz – 1213-35X
Trudi Fay – 1242-64X P
Bryan Litz – 1238-66X
John Whidden – 1237-76X
Justin Skaret – 1235-63X P
Phil Hayes – 1234-56X

Berger SW Nationals f-open seb rest

FINAL TEAM RESULTS
F-OPEN F-TR SLING
Third Gen. Shooting – 2551-100X
Lapua/Brux – 2544-108X
Spindle Shooters -2544-90X
Team Berger – 2542-92X
U.S. F-TR Team Blue – 2513-67X
Mich. Rifle Team F-TR – 2498-60X
Team Savage – 2492-68X
U.S. F-TR Development -2487-67X
U.S. Nat’l Tompkins – 2563-127X
Team Phoenix -2562 -122X
Team Challenger – 2555-112X
Two Worlds – 2550- 113X

The Guns of the Southwest Nationals
We saw some serious hardware on display at Ben Avery. Here is a beautiful maple-stocked F-Open rig. We believe this belongs to David Mann of Texas. This gun shoots as good as it looks. David Mann scored 1229-57X to finish fourth overall (and High Senior) in F-Open Division.

Click Photo to View Full-screen Version
Berger SW Nationals f-open seb rest

Stunning Phoenix sunset after Sunday’s awards ceremony…
Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix

NOTE: Scores listed may be subject to final correction.

Permalink - Videos, Competition, News 1 Comment »
February 15th, 2015

U.S. Team Blue Wins F-TR Title at Berger SW Nationals

Breaking news from Ben Avery — the U.S. FT-R Team Blue, consisting of Phil Kelley, Dan Pohlabel, Derek Rodgers, Matt Schwartzkopf, and coach Jim Crofts, won the F-TR team event at the Berger Southwest Nationals. The “Blues” scored an impressive come-from-behind victory, finishing at 784-24X on Team Day 2 to secure the overall Berger SWN F-TR Team Championship. Well done gentlemen. Show in the photo, left to right are: James Crofts, Derek Rodgers, Ray Gross, Matt Schwartzkopf, Phil Kelley, and Dan Pohlabel.

F-TR Blue Berger SW Nationals

U.S. F-TR Team matt schwartkopf ray gross

Team member Matt Schwartzkopf is a double amputee below the knee, having had his lower legs removed due to a birth defect. Matt is an inspiration to us all. He told us: “This condition has not held me back from anything.” Jokingly, he added, “I may not have ‘a leg to stand on’, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still shoot 10s and Xs at 1000.” Matt is living proof that competitive shooting is a sport for all individuals — young and old, able-bodied and physically challenged.

matt schwartzkopf

Permalink Competition 4 Comments »
February 15th, 2015

Bill Goad Concentricity Gauge Works by Impact

Over the years, many different concentricity tools have been on the market. Various approaches have been taken to straightening rounds that exhibit poor concentricity. With extreme examples of excessive run-out, the bullet is is visibly crooked in the neck with the bullet tip clearly off-center. That’s never a good thing. Straight ammo shoots better.

Bill  Goad Extreme Precision Concentricity  Gauge Tool Video

Straighten-Up and Fly Right
If you could straighten up crooked rounds, accuracy should be improved. In the past, some tools promised more than they delivered. But now Bill Goad, a record-setting benchrest shooter, has invented a new tool that improves concentricity via an impact or “jarring” method. A vertical rod with a curved face mates with the case-neck. You spin the case to find the “high spot” of max eccentricity. Then just tap the rod a couple of times and the neck comes back onto centerline. You can then confirm the concentricity improvement with the dial indicator. Watch the video to see how this is done. Pay particular attention to times 01:25 to 01:45. The case starts at .004″ run-out (01:32). After correction (01:40) the neck shows less than .001″ (one-thousandth) run-out.

Benchrest ace Bill Goad demonstrates his innovative Fli-Right Concentricity gauge tool. It works differently than other concentricity enhancers on the market.

Bill Goad knows something about accuracy. He shot a 10-target 100/200 benchrest Combined Aggregate of 0.178″ (see video at 00:15-00:35). Bill Goad’s tool offers advantages over systems that clamp a cartridge at both ends and try to bend the case or tilt the bullet without straightening the neck. Goad’s new Fli-Right tool is available now from PremierAccuracy.com.

Goad Fli-
Right Concentricity tool gauge

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 11 Comments »
February 15th, 2015

Ben Avery Range Dedicated to Mid Tompkins Plus New Building

Competitors at the 2015 Berger Southwest Nationals were treated to something special on Saturday morning. After a short address by Eric Stecker, fireworks boomed from downrange and a flight of three warbirds streamed overhead, trailing smoke. Watch these dramatic moments in the video below.

This ceremony marked the dedication of Ben Avery’s 1000-yard range as the Middleton Tompkins Range. With his family by his side, Mid was recognized for his achievements in the shooting sports and his decades of service. This was a heart-warming event honoring Mid, a six-time National High Power Rifle Champion, and the leading member of America’s first family of shooting. Wife Nancy Tompkins and step-daughters Sherri Jo Gallagher and Michelle Gallagher have all been National rifle champions (High Power and/or Long-Range). This was an emotional day for Mid — he revealed to us that this was certainly one of the greatest highlights of his life.

Berger President Eric Stecker speaks at range dedication ceremony. Mid Tompkins stands with his family members Sherri Jo Gallagher (to Mid’s left), wife Nancy Tompkins, and Michelle Gallagher.
Middleton Tompkins, Ben Avery Berger Nightforce range dedication

Along with the dedication of the 1000-yard range, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the new multi-purpose facility at Ben Avery. Situated at the 1000-yard range, this facility was constructed with $420,000 in funding from Berger Bullets and Nightforce Optics. Mid Tompkins cut the red ribbon on the facility’s front doors, officially opening the multi-purpose center for public use.

ben avery range dedication middleton tompkins

Mid jokes with the crowd, showing his quick-witted sense of humor.
Middleton Mid Tompkins

Panorama of Middleton Tompkins 1000-Yard Range at Ben Avery (CLICK to ZOOM)
satmid06x1600


Interview with Past NRA President John Sigler at Ben Avery
In the video below, we interview past NRA President John Sigler. An avid long-range shooter himself, John is the current chairman of the NRA High Power Committee. John was at Ben Avery this week competing in the F-Open Division. John says that the emergence of the F-Class discipline has extended his competitive shooting career. He had high praise for the Ben Avery Range and the new multi-purpose building dedicated on February 14th.

satmid05

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February 15th, 2015

Valentine’s Day Precision at 600 Yards

Valentines Day Cupid Arrow Accurateshooter ForumYesterday was February 14th — Valentine’s Day. While testing a rifle at the range recently, Forum member Ron B. (aka Snakepit) managed a 3-shot group that would definitely make Mr. Cupid proud. Yep, Ron shot a lovely cluster that formed a sweet little heart in the splatter-type target.

That’s nice enough, mind you — but it gets even better. Ron’s three-shot group was shot at SIX HUNDRED yards, making this a Valentine’s Day Masterpiece of precision shooting (and, we have to say it, quite a little bit of luck). Good Shootin’ Snakepit!

Valentine's Day Group Accurateshooter

600-Yard Heart Shot with a Savage and Factory Ammo!
In our Shooter’s Forum, Ron explained that this group was actually shot with factory ammo… from a Savage no less:

“This will be one that may be hard to believe for some but it is my Savage 12 FTR .308 and I was shooting 168gr Federal Gold Medal Match. The stock has been modified for benchrest shooting with a 3″-wide shoe on the forward stock. I do not shoot this rifle very often as most of my time is spent with my 30″ Brux barreled 6BR working up loads and shooting. That day I had put the scope back on it and was sighting it in at 600 yards and those were my last three shots after my last scope correction and then I was out of ammo. This rifle has always been very accurate. The weather was good, no wind or mirage.”

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February 14th, 2015

Friday the 13th at the Berger Southwest Nationals

Today marked the third day of competition at the Berger Southwest Nationals. The superstitious types among the competitors viewed the day with some trepidation. There was actual bad luck for some folks, including Mid Tompkins, who broke his leg in a parking lot accident in the morning. But most shooters didn’t worry too much about the date — they were more concerned about calling the wind correctly. As Bryan Litz said: “I don’t believe in superstition. We make our own luck”. In the video below, you’ll see highlights of Day 3 at the SW Nationals from the break of dawn to the final shots on the 1000-yard line.

accurateshooter.com Berger Southwest Nationals Palma sling Phoenix Ben Avery F-class

accurateshooter.com Berger Southwest Nationals Palma sling Phoenix Ben Avery F-class

accurateshooter.com Berger Southwest Nationals Palma sling Phoenix Ben Avery F-class

accurateshooter.com Berger Southwest Nationals Palma sling Phoenix Ben Avery F-class

accurateshooter.com Berger Southwest Nationals Palma sling Phoenix Ben Avery F-class

Permalink - Videos, Competition 3 Comments »
February 14th, 2015

New Ben Avery Multi-Purpose Building Built with $420K from Berger and Nightforce

Today the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD), Berger Bullets, and Nightforce Optics will officially dedicate a new Multi-purpose Building at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility. The building dedication ceremony will be held Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 8:15 a.m. during the Berger Southwest Nationals, one of the most prestigious long-range rifle matches in the nation.

Berger Nightforce Ben Avery Building 1000-yard range Middleton Tompkins Mid

“The Ben Avery Shooting Facility is recognized as one of the nation’s top venues for recreational shooting,” said AZGFD Director Larry Voyles. “With the donation by Berger Bullets of a new multi-purpose building at the 1,000-yard rifle range, and expansion of the parking area paid for by Nightforce, our long range recreational shooters will enjoy the addition of much needed facilities and a better shooting experience at a world-class facility.”

Berger Nightforce Ben Avery Building 1000-yard range Middleton Tompkins MidBerger Bullets and Nightforce Optics have together provided Arizona with $420,000 in funding to cover the costs of the new building and adjacent parking facility.

“We’re proud to partner with Arizona Game and Fish Department to improve recreational shooting facilities in Arizona,” said Eric Stecker, President of Berger Bullets. “Arizonans should be proud that their state is actively working to benefit shooting sports enthusiasts.”

Fireworks and Firepower
After the National Anthem and an address by AZGFD Commission Chairman Robert Mansell, there will be a fireworks display, and an aerial display by vintage World War II aircraft.

Berger Nightforce Ben Avery Building 1000-yard range Middleton Tompkins MidBen Avery 1000-Yard Range To Be Named
the Middleton Tompkins Range

During the Saturday ceremony, Ben Avery’s 1,000-yard shooting range will be dedicated to U.S. Air Force Veteran and World Champion rifle shooter Middleton “Mid” Tompkins. Tompkins has dedicated his life to shooting sports. His success as a shooter is matched only by his contribution to the shooting sports in his role as a member of the NRA Board of Directors and director of the matches held at the 1,000-yard rifle range since Ben Avery opened in 1957.

Mid Tompkins Inteview
In the video above, Mid talks candidly about his storied career as a shooter and a shooting coach. He explains what it takes to win, and offers advice on how new shooters can improve their skill sets. Mid also offers invaluable advice on how to dope the wind at Ben Avery. Mid also offers some thoughts on the advancements in rifle hardware and bullet design.

Permalink News 2 Comments »
February 14th, 2015

Tech Tip: Use Your iPhone as a Leveling Device

iphone level app application bubbleMany shooters are familiar with ballistics tables, weather programs, and even wind meters for smart devices, but few may know about a very handy Leveling Tool that comes factory-installed on Apple iPhones. The leveling function is a little-known option in Apple’s Compass App. It works well for a multitude of tasks.

There are a numerous reasons that a leveling tool should be in every rifleman’s range bag. From leveling optics during mounting to figuring out how much extra compensation is going to be required for a tricky angled shot, knowing just how far off things are from plumb can go a long way towards realizing success in the field.

This writer has used the leveling app on his iPhone to level a rifle on a rest while at the range. It definitely worked for “field expedient” leveling duties. That’s especially important for long-range applications. Just one degree of cant (tilt) can move your point of impact 7 inches at 1000 yards.

iphone level app application bubble

Of course, the iPhone level doesn’t use an actual bubble to find angles. Rather, it relies on the device’s sophisticated accelerometer to do so, and with a great degree of accuracy. Navigating to the level is done by first selecting the Compass App, at which point the device will need to be calibrated by rotating it a full 360 degrees. Once the compass is fully calibrated, simply make right swipe gesture to bring up the level — it will start operating immediately.

iphone level app application bubble

From there, use is intuitive and easy, like most iPhone Apps. Switching from horizontal plane to vertical is done by simply changing the physical axis of the phone. How do you know when you’ve got things just right — well the entire lower half of the screen turns green when everything is perfectly level. You’ll also see a zero° read-out, like this:

iphone level app application bubble

Bottom Line: If you already own an iPhone, you should definitely give this App a try. The price is right (free), and for a wide variety of tasks the iPhone Level App is actually pretty handy.

Permalink Tech Tip 2 Comments »
February 13th, 2015

Team Match at Berger Southwest Nationals

Thursday at the Berger Southwest Nationals was Team Match day. Teams of sling shooters as well as F-TR and F-Open marksmen competed at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. Conditions on Thursday (Feb. 12) were much better than on Wednesday (Feb. 11) when strong, fish-tailing winds created big problems for the shooters. For the Thursday Team Match, the winds were variable, but generally the mirage was a good indicator of speed, and the flags were showing the angles. The wind coaches for the teams told us that the conditions “were quite readable”.

Here is AccurateShooter.com’s video wrap-up of the Team Match on Thursday. F-TR shooters should watch carefully — Ray Gross, captain of the F-TR USA Team. talks about the latest equipment used by the top shooters. In addition, Ray announced a Team Try-Out Session on Monday February 16, 2015.

In team competition, the shooter relies on his coach and spotter.
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

This could be the most beautiful F-Open rifle we’ve ever seen. Look at the figure in that wood.
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

Nancy Tompkins dials wind for Anette Wachter (aka “30 Cal Gal”).
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

Matt Schwartzkopf excels despite lacking two lower legs. He works as a range manager at Ben Avery.
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

Tube-gun chassis-maker Gary Eliseo shot in the Sling Division. His company, Competition Machine, is now based in Cottonwood, Arizona.
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

Dan Polabel’s F-TR Rifle with Flex Bipod.
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

Walt Berger enjoyed the Team Match. “Seems like the wind’s a bit better today” he joked.
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

It was just a warm, beautiful day at Ben Avery….
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

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February 13th, 2015

Chariots of the (Gun) Gods

Ben Hur

Ben Avery

Was this Ben Hur or Ben Avery? With all the wheels rolling around the place, the Berger SW Nationals looked a bit like the Chariot scene from the 1959 Hollywood blockbuster movie.

Folks attending a big match such as the Berger Southwest Nationals must haul a lot of gear — both to the range and from vehicles to the firing lines (and then back again). This transportational necessity has inspired shooters to develop a wide variety of modern chariots. Here’s a selection of the “wheeled contrivances” we found at Ben Avery This week.

Don’t mess with Texas. That kind of says it all…

Folding carts were the favored mode of transport. Yes there are TWO carts in the back of this SUV.

Grizzly President Shiraz Balolia, appropriately enough, customized his cart with ursine artwork.

This rig had a custom bracket to support a rifle vertically. This clever invention preserves space in the main cargo section.

Felix Solis of the U.S. Veterans’ Rifle Team customized his travel van’s interior. Rifles are secured upright in the left compartment, with shooting coats on the right.

The little red wagon offers four-wheel stability. This one even has its own license plate.

Wait a minute — is that a stroller? Actually these rigs can be easily adapted to hold rifles and rests. Check out Craigslist for low-cost, “previously owned” strollers.

Past F-Class Nat’l Champ Larry Bartholome was seen rolling around with a familiar cart. This cart used to belong to our good friend German Salazar. Hey German, we all miss your presence at Ben Avery…

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February 13th, 2015

Very Scary Movie (With an Important Safety Message)

Do you like scary movies? This video will send chills up and down your spine. But it’s not about Space Aliens, or slime monsters — it’s about two-legged creatures that appear out of nowhere… while you’re shooting. Watch this video carefully. Something happens at 0.38″ that will make your heart race. Warning: Adult language — Not suitable for playback at work.

Why You Must Always, Always Be Careful When Shooting on Public Lands…

LESSON Learned: Always be aware of your backstop and beyond. If there is any possibility of someone venturing into the “danger zone”, mark off the target area, and designate a person to watch the area around the target. That designated spotter should instantly call a halt to shooting if any person or vehicle appears. It is also a good idea to place warning signs, but don’t count on these to be headed.

BLM SinCityPrecision.com Las Vegas Long Range Safety

This video was filmed on BLM land out in the Nevada desert. In such public areas, one must be very careful about shooting. There may be hikers, bikers, explorers, and horse-riders nearby. An offroad motorcyclist might be moving at 65 miles an hour. At that speed he’ll cover 32 yards in just one second! With that possibility, you really have to be ultra-careful. To be forewarned of potential risks, you need to watch way out to the left and right, not just focus on the backstop and the bullet’s flight path.

BLM SinCityPrecision.com Las Vegas Long Range Safety

The shooting area shown above is located on BLM land. All BLM rules and regulations apply. Remember it is everyone’s desert so always think “safety first”. The video-maker, JFComfort (aka “Joe”), explains: “We do the majority of our shooting on BLM land surrounding the Las Vegas Valley. We have found shooting in small groups in the desert works well for us. We have spent a lot of time out there in the past. I advise you not to shoot alone and be very mindful of off-road enthusiasts. Guys on quads, dirt bikes, and Rhinos seem to pop out of nowhere. Also keep a close eye out for other shooters, not everyone is safe, respectful and courteous.”

BLM SinCityPrecision.com Las Vegas Long Range Safety

Story idea by EdLongrange. Photos and video courtesy SinCityPrecision.com.
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February 12th, 2015

High Winds Challenge Shooters at Berger Southwest Nationals

Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix

This was supposed to be the “easy day” at the Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN), with targets at the “shorter” distance of 600 yards. But the wind gods did not cooperate. The wind blew all day long, with significant velocity changes (from strong to very strong) and tricky angle changes. It was a challenge even for a National Champion. James Crofts, reigning F-TR National Champ, said today presented the toughest wind conditions he’s ever witnessed at Ben Avery: “Conditions were brutal, to say the least. At 600 yards I found the 7 Ring, so it wasn’t easy”. But James was up to the task, winning the F-TR division. Forum member Erik Cortina took top F-Open honors in this Wednesday mid-range match. But he agreed with Crofts that the blustery winds were very challenging — with the high velocities you had to watch the right flags to pick out the angle changes.

In the video below, James and Erik talk about the challenge of shooting in these kind of conditions, and they also talk about their choices in F-Class hardware (rests, bipods, scopes).

Check out the strong winds at Ben Avery:

Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix

Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix

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February 12th, 2015

Thoughts on Competitive Shooting — Top Guns Talk

At the Berger Southwest Nationals we had a chance to meet with many friends, including past and current champions. Here are some of the interesting comments from some top F-Class and Sling Shooters.

John Whidden
James Crofts talks wind with Erik Cortina at the Berger SWN. At Wednesday’s 600-yard match, James topped the F-TR field while Eric won the F-Open Division.

James Crofts
“The thing that has helped my shooting the most this past year was not fretting so much about the ammo — getting out of the reloading room. I’m putting more focus on shooting the gun and calling the wind. What advice would I give other shooters? Buy high-quality gear and cry once. For example, the Nightforce competition scope — it’s a great scope and we do use the full 55 power at times.”

Erik Cortina
“I shot a .284 Shehane today with 180gr Scenars. I’m glad I had that BC working for me, even at 600 yards. Do 6mm Dashers have a place in F-Open? Not on a day like today. If I was able to hold a 10 with my .284, the Dasher guys were over in the nine ring. If I shot a 9, they might shoot an 8. When conditions are tough, you want the heavy bullet.”

Larry Bartholome
“What trends do I see in F-Open? Well, for 600 yards, maybe more guys will start using the Dasher, now that Norma Dasher brass will be available thanks to Shiraz. Personally, for mid-range I’m shooting a .284 Shehane with 180 Bergers. I’ll stick with my 7mm/270 WSM for 800 [and longer].”

John Whidden

John Whidden
“It’s good to see so many old friends here. But I can’t say Ben Avery has been friendly today. This certainly gives me a chance to practice my wind calling — that should come in handy later this year at the Fullbore world championships at Camp Perry. On the business front we’re expanding our range of cartridge dies. I know a lot of guys at this match are now using our dies. That makes me proud.”

John Whidden

Carl Bernosky
“What with the back surgery, I haven’t had a sling on in nearly two years. Today was tough — my rifle felt like a log. The Southwest Nationals is a great match mind you, but it’s all on the ground and I miss standing up… I like to shoot standing.”

Mid Tompkins
“Electronic targets, you want electronic targets? That would change the whole game. Sure I can see my own shot locations on a monitor, but what about the other guys’ shots? I learn a lot looking at where other shooters’ shots end up [displayed by the shot markers]. Take that away and things are completely different. Looking at shots from other shooters on the line is a big part of the game today.”

John Whidden

John Whidden

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February 11th, 2015

Revolutionary Flexible-Lens Optics Technology Zooms Instantly

Editor’s comment: The new lens technology described here is a big deal. The “flexible” polymer lens is nothing short of revolutionary — there’s never been anything like it on a riflescope (though our own human eyes have flexible lenses). In the world of optics, this is as noteworthy a development as the touch-screen was for personal computing. Flexible, “adaptive” lenses can potentially be employed for a wide variety of products, from cameras to spotting scopes. Think about the benefits of “instantaneous zoom” for security cameras.

Sandia RAZAR Rifle flexible polymer lens adaptive zoom riflescope Scope

Sandia’s RAZAR Scope Features Flexible Lenses That Can Change Focal Length Instantly
Sandia National Laboratories has developed a truly game-changing piece of optical technology at the direct request of the Department of Defense: the RAZAR (Rapid Adaptive Zoom for Assault Rifles). Fundamentally different than every other riflescope ever made, the RAZAR represents a revolution in lens design and function. Until now, all riflescopes used a set of rigid, hard lenses (usually glass). The new RAZAR utilizes an advanced set of flexible polymer lenses that allow the user to toggle between high and low magnification with the press of a button. The RAZAR can literally zoom in and out in the blink of an eye (250 milliseconds).

The RAZAR works in conjunction with a tactical-style optic, such the Leupold HAMR (top photo). This tandem (two-part) sighting system combines the conventional scope’s eyepiece and illuminated reticle with the RAZAR’s ultra-fast zooming capability. Unlike traditional eyepiece (ocular) magnifiers, the RAZAR sits in front of the primary optic.

See RAZAR Demonstrated in Sandia Labs Video

Game-Changing Technology
The RAZAR’s instant, push-button zoom capability gives soldiers the ability to change field of view and magnification without re-positioning their grip on the rifle, unlike traditional variable-power riflescopes. This capability can be invaluable to a soldier in combat.

Michael Squire, a former SFC with Special Operations Research Support Element, said the ability to zoom between near and far targets within seconds, without taking his hand off the weapon, is “game-changing.” Squire added: “The difference that can make, especially with somebody shooting back, could mean life or death…”

The secret to the RAZAR’s high performance lies within the development of the advanced technologies within the scope. A hermetically sealed, flexible polymer lens core encapsulates a proprietary polymer liquid, and this core then works in tandem with glass lenses to form the basis of the optical design.

Sandia RAZAR Rifle flexible polymer lens adaptive zoom riflescope Scope

Rapid changes in magnification are accomplished via a piezoelectric motor that changes the curvature of the lenses, achieving the correct positioning within 250 milliseconds within an accuracy level of 100 nanometers. When zooming, these electronically-controlled actuators act much like the tiny muscles that allow the human eye to change focus from near to far. Human eyes have flexible lenses controlled with muscles*. The RAZAR has flexible lenses controlled by tiny electric motors.

Sandia RAZAR Rifle flexible polymer lens adaptive zoom riflescope Scope

Sandia RAZAR Rifle flexible polymer lens adaptive zoom riflescope Scope

It’s important to highlight the reliability that Sandia was able to build into the RAZAR. The system requires very little mechanical power to operate, and can undergo up to 10,000 zoom actuations on a single set of two standard AA batteries. The ultrasonic motor draws no power unless it’s being used to bend the soft lenses, which makes the RAZAR very reliable. If the batteries do go flat, the RAZAR remains fully usable — the system simply stays at the last magnification level until the batteries are replaced.

Sandia RAZAR Rifle flexible polymer lens adaptive zoom riflescope Scope

Sandia’s RAZAR design provides a large, clear viewing aperture, without sacrificing any of the optical quality found in traditional riflescopes. The RAZAR is also shock-proof, vibration-proof and capable of operating in a very wide temperature range.

Sandia RAZAR Rifle flexible polymer lens adaptive zoom riflescope Scope

The Future of “Instant Zoom” Adaptive Lenses
Sandia Labs is developing other specialty lenses in the near-infrared, short wave-infrared and mid-wave infrared spectrum, primarily for DOD use. However, Sandia has suggested that its flexible polymer-lens technology could be adapted for other imaging applications where rapid zoom is needed, such as binoculars, spotting scopes, and even security cameras. For more information, visit the Sandia Labs website.

Sandia RAZAR Rifle flexible polymer lens adaptive zoom riflescope Scope

*Changing the curvature of the human eye lens is carried out by the ciliary muscles surrounding the lens. They narrow the diameter of the ciliary body, relax the fibers of the suspensory ligament, and allow the lens to relax into a more convex shape. A more convex lens focuses divergent light rays onto the retina allowing for closer objects to be brought into focus.


About the Author
Kip Staton is a freelance gun writer based in North Texas, and loves to blog about news within the firearms industry and his perceptions on marksmanship. Kip is a content marketer, copywriter and digital strategist for an award-winning Dallas marketing agency. To read more by Kip, visit KipStaton.com.

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