September 30th, 2016

John Whidden’s Anschutz-Barnard .308 Win Palma Rifle

John Whidden Palma Rifle .308 Win Barnard Anschutz P action smallbore stock

This feature story is the third (and final) installment of a three-part series by 2016 National Long-Range Champion John Whidden. In this article John, who runs Whidden Gunworks, talks about the Palma rifle he used at the 2016 Camp Perry National Matches. This unique .308 Win prone rifle features a Barnard “P” action in a converted aluminum Anschutz “Precise” smallbore (rimfire) stock. The combo of Barnard action and Anchutz ergonomics is hard to beat, says John, who told us: “this is easily the best Palma rifle I’ve ever had.”

As a bonus, the Barnard “drop-in” required no modification of the Anschutz Precise stock. This means John can actually swap in his rimfire barreled action and shoot smallbore with the same stock.

Sling Rifle Evolved: The Ultra-Accurate Hybrid Palma Rifle

by John Whidden
The mental component of Long Range competitive shooting is always challenging but having tremendous confidence in the accuracy of your equipment is a huge benefit. There’s nothing to start your Palma match off well like knowing that you are shooting the most accurate Palma rifle you’ve ever owned.

John Whidden Palma Rifle .308 Win Barnard Anschutz P action smallbore stock

After winning the 2016 NRA Long Range National Championships at Camp Perry, there are always plenty of questions about the equipment used by those at the top. Shooters are always looking to learn what is the best equipment at any given time so that when the time comes to spend our own hard earned dollars we can make the best choices. Even if you shoot an entirely different discipline knowing which manufacturers are making winning gear is very valuable.

Whidden 2016 Palma Rifle
Action: Barnard “P” (three lugs, 60° bolt lift)
Barrel: Bartlein 32″, Light Palma contour, cryo-treated by 300 Below.
Stock: Anschutz Precise aluminum smallbore stock, set up for centerfire barreled action.
Trigger: Barnard Two-Stage adjustable

John Whidden Palma Rifle .308 Win Barnard Anschutz P action smallbore stock

Whidden’s Wonder-Gun: German Stock, New Zealand Action, American Barrel
The Palma rifle I shot this year at Camp Perry is one that I have been super pleased with. I built the rifle early this year and the major components are a Barnard P action, Anschutz Precise smallbore stock, and Bartlein barrel. The caliber is .308 Win, as dictated by the Palma rules. Palma matches are fired from 800, 900, and 1000 yards utilizing iron sights only. No optical sights are allowed.

The Anchutz Precise stock is so well-designed that once I finished adjusting the details, I realized that my hold was about 1/3 smaller than with the stocks I shot previously. While in recoil the gun will track vertically and fall back down right on my own target just as it should. In the past, with my other Palma rifles, it was frankly sometimes a struggle to get them to settle back on target after a shot.

Whidden Gunworks has installed a variety of different actions in the Anschutz Precise stocks. Though the stocks are designed for the .22 LR caliber 2013 action rifles, we’ve successfully installed Barnard, Kelbly, Bat, Nesika, and Remington clone actions into them. The Barnard Model P makes a particularly simple installation because there is no modification necessary to the stock at all. A competitor can then shoot both his centerfire rifle as well as his smallbore gun in the exact same stock. The location of the trigger and bolt handle on the Barnard are positioned just right to make this work. Other actions do require at least some amount of modification to the stock, and we have found the Barnard works the best.

Barnard manufactures several models of actions as part of their lineup. All of the actions in the lineup use three lug bolts which give a shorter 60-degree bolt lift when opening and closing. All of the critical surfaces are machined after heat treating. This means that they are exceptionally true and square, more so than other actions. The Model P action is most familiar to Palma and F-Class shooters and are commonly seen on the firing line. The fact that Model P actions include an excellent two-stage trigger makes also the pricing very attractive.

Based on my previous excellent experiences, I selected Bartlein barrels for this rifle. When shooting internationally in the Palma matches we are restricted to 155 grain .308 bullets, but I made the unusual choice of a 1-10″ twist for these bullets. I’ve shot this fast twist for some years with the 155s with good success and it’s pleasing to know that Bryan Litz is finding benefits in some cartridges to shooting faster twist rates than we previously thought we needed. The chamber is the 2011 Palma and the barrel is a Light Palma contour finished at 32” length. The barrel was cryo-treated by 300 Below. The point of impact isn’t changed at all by barrel heating and the accuracy is incredible regardless of the temperature of the barrel. This can’t be said of all the barrels I’ve owned.

John Whidden Palma Rifle .308 Win Barnard Anschutz P action smallbore stock

Get Your Own Whidden Wonder-Gun for $4500.00
Like what you see — but wonder how much it will cost? Whidden Gunworks can build you a rig like this, fitting a centerfire barreled action in the Anschutz Precise stock. John tells us: “The price of a rifle like this one but without sights or mounts would be just under $4500.00. We attempt to keep all of the parts except the stock in inventory, so lead time should be under eight (8) weeks.”

Stock Offers Great Adjustability
John Whidden Palma Rifle .308 Win Barnard Anschutz P action smallbore stockOne thing that is quickly noticed about the Anschutz Precise stock is its adjustability. The engineers did a very good job of allowing many of these adjustments to be made while in the shooting position, most notably the cheekpiece adjustments. When a shooter picks up a Precise stock for the first time they also notice how narrow the fore-end is. This really contributes to reducing the pain in the forward hand in prone when shooting with a sling. This stock is, by far, the most comfortable sling stock I’ve ever handled.

This rifle was very accurate right away and very comfortable to shoot. I’ve built some really good shooting Palma rifles but this is easily the best Palma rifle I’ve ever had. The Barnard action with its superb quality and excellent two-stage trigger has been the best choice I could have made. When you can go to the firing line knowing that you have the very best, the foundation for success has been set.

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
September 30th, 2016

Forum Member Offers Hand-Crafted Oak Cartridge Caddies

Cartridge Caddy Caddies .308 6mm Red oak wook F-Class

Forum member Alex M. (aka Nando-AS) has crafted some very nice wood Cartridge Caddies fitted with timers. He’s made these for competitors at the F-Class Nationals in Lodi, Wisconsin, and he’s now taking orders for other shooters who might want one. The caddies are made from Oak, hold 25 rounds, and feature a battery-powered shot timer. Price is $75.00 shipped for the 6mm and .308 caddies and $85.00 shipped for the Magnum size. Forum members can contact Alex via our Forum Classifieds Board, or you can email alextek [at] charter.net.

Alex tells us: “Several forum members and shooting buddies suggested that I should make more Cartridge Caddies with Timers, so I made over a dozen to take to Lodi and to offer to Forum members.”

These Caddies are made of solid red Oak and are finished with five coats of clear Polyurethane. Each has 25 holes, which consist of a counter-bore of the appropriate diameter and depth for the cartridge, and a Ø0.40″ through-hole to allow the bullet and/or the neck of the cartridge to fit through. The Timers are a Silver color normally, but Alex has a few in black.

Alex offers three sizes of caddies: 6MM for 6mm cartridges with .308-size rim; 308W for .308 Win/.284 Win size cartridges; and Magnum for 300 WSM and similar magnum diameter cases.

Cartridge Caddy Caddies .308 6mm Red oak wook F-Class

6MM – For 6mm family, which will accommodate 6mmBR, 30BR, 6×47, and other cartridges based on the .308 base. (Counter bore is Ø0.50” x 0.8” deep)
Price: $75 including USPS priority shipping with tracking number provided.

308W
– For .308 Win, 6.5-284, .284 Win, and similar cartridges based on the .308 and .284 cases. (Counter bore is Ø0.52” x 1.0” deep)
Price: $75 including USPS priority shipping with tracking number provided.

MAGNUM – For 300WSM, 300RUM and similar cartridges with larger diameter bases.
(Counter bore is Ø0.56” x 1.0” deep)
Price: $85 including USPS priority shipping with tracking number provided.

Permalink New Product 4 Comments »
September 30th, 2016

New Compact Ruger American Pistol in 9mm Luger

Ruger Compact American Pistol

Ruger has just introduced a new compact version of its Ruger American Pistol. We predict the new American Compact will become popular with CCW-holders. With a 3.55″ barrel, and 6.65″ length, Ruger’s new 9mm carry gun is similar in size to a S&W M&P9C, and slightly smaller than a Glock 19. At 28.7 ounces, the new Ruger Compact is heavier than the M&P9C (21.7 oz.), and the Glock 19 (23.6 oz.), but the Ruger is the slimmest of the three, with a slide width of just 1.05 inches.

Ruger Compact American Pistol

We’re pleased to see the American Compact is offered either with or without an external frame-mounted safety, to suit the buyer’s preference. Also, the gun offers easy take-down with no trigger pull required (by contrast, you have to pull the trigger to take-down a Glock).

Ruger Compact American PistolRuger’s new Compact American Pistol is offered either with 10+1 capacity*, or 17+1 capacity. The 17+1 version employs magazines from the full-size Ruger American pistol, with a sleeve or “boot” to fit the shorter grip. With either type of magazine, the gun has proven 100% reliable, according to writer Rich Grassi, who tested the new pistol for The Shooting Wire.

The grip ergonomics on the Compact American Pistol could be described as “Walther-esque”. Rich Grassi says that’s a good thing — this little pistol is comfortable in the hand: “You also don’t pinch a finger when inserting a magazine – either magazine – into the American Compact. Like the service-size gun, three grip modules (back strap with palm swells) are included. The gun has the Novak Low Profile carry sights with the ‘3-dot’ pattern thereon.” Grassi said his test pistol shot low with a standard sight picture, but otherwise the accuracy was good.

NRA testers say the new Compact Ruger American Pistol is extremely reliable and very accurate.

Ruger says this pistol “combines a recoil-reducing barrel cam… with a low-mass slide, low center of gravity and a low-bore axis to provide better balance, less felt recoil, and less muzzle flip[.]” The Ruger Compact American Pistol also features a pre-tensioned striker system, which allows for a short-take-up trigger with positive reset. Like its bigger brother, the Compact American Pistol features a modular wrap-around grip system that fits a wide range of hand sizes.

Ruger Compact American Pistol

*Some early reviews have stated the “standard” capacity as 12+1. However Ruger’s website and the official Spec Sheet lists 10+1.

Permalink - Videos, Handguns, New Product 1 Comment »
September 29th, 2016

Mid-Range F-TR Nationals — Litz and Team Michigan Triumph

F-Class Mid Range Championship
Ballistics Guru Bryan Litz needed all of his wind-reading skills in Lodi, WI. Conditions were challenging!

Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics won his second straight Mid-Range F-TR National Championship this past weekend. Likewise the Michigan F-TR Team won its second Championship in a row. So it was a heck of a showing by the Michiganders overall. With a strong individual performance, Phil Kelley finished second with his fellow X-Men teammate James Crofts in third. The X-Men Team also garnered second-place in the F-TR Team event. Kelley told us: “It sure is fun to compete with the best in the business — to share the individual overall podium with Bryan Litz and James Crofts is an exciting honor.”

It was a bit cold in Lodi, Wisconsin, photo by K. McSparron.
F-Class Mid Range Championship

F-Class Goes High-Tech with Electronic Targets
This was the first-ever F-Class National Championship that used electronic Targets. Litz offers his perspective on the new E-Targets in the Q&A section below — Bryan is mostly positive about the E-Targets but he says there are still some minor bugs to be worked out.

Bryan, a sling-shooter at heart, has really taken to this F-TR game. He won both the Mid-Range and Long Range F-TR National Championships in 2015 and now he has one 2016 title in the bag. Bryan tells us: “Many thanks go out to all those who’ve supported me in winning my second F-TR Mid-Range National Championship. My serious pursuit of F-TR shooting began the day I called John Pierce and requested: ‘John, build me one like yours’. That rifle and others built by Pierce Engineering are at the top of the game. Thanks also to my many great team-mates on the Michigan and U.S. Rifle Teams who have taught me a lot about this sport. As always the competition was stiff and mother nature gave us some drastically different looks. The challenging weather, combined with the introduction of electronic targets to this sport at the national level, required shooters to be highly adaptable. Thanks to the match organizers and technical staff who did a great job.”

John Pierce (left) and Bryan Litz with his Championship-winning Pierce-built F-TR rifle (2014 photo).
F-TR National Championship

Litz Loads Vihtavuori N140 with 215gr Berger Hybrids in his .308 Win
Bryan told us: “Load data is always a common question and I keep no secrets –I’m running the same basic load I shot the past few years with the exception that I’m now burning 43.0 grains of Vihtavuori N140 instead of Hodgdon Varget in new Lapua brass with Fed 210M primers and 215 Berger Hybrids seated about 0.005″ off the riflings. This gets 2520 fps in a 28-inch barrel. I use this same load for both mid-range and long range.”

Team Competition — Michigan Wins F-TR Division with X-Men in Second
Michigan F-TR Team won its second consecutive Mid-Range National Championship. Congratulations to team-mates Al Barnhart, Doug Boyer, Bryan Litz, and John Roethlisberger. Al and Doug are experienced veterans but this is John’s first experience in a national-level event. Michigan actually fielded two teams in this event and the second squad also won a medal in one of the matches. Byran Litz noted that the Michigan F-TR Team “has been working hard to develop our shooters and many have made it onto the U.S. Rifle Team. We have many great sponsors including: Applied Ballistics, Berger Bullets, Bartlein Barrels, Marksmanship Training Center, Nightforce Optics, Pierce Engineering, and Vihtavuori Powder.” Bryan added: “I also thank Team X-Men for the spirited competition. You guys (James Crofts, Tracy Hogg, Phil Kelly, Ian Klemm, and Ken Klemm) are great and make these team matches very fun.”

Bryan Litz with Michigan F-TR team-mates Al Barnhart, John Roethlisberger, and Doug Boyer.
F-Class Mid Range Championship

Q & A with the Champ — Litz Talks Targets and Match Strategies

We asked Bryan how the new Electronic Target technology used in Lodi alters the F-Class game. As the Long Range Nationals are underway now, we also asked Bryan to comment on Mid-Range vs. Long Range strategies — what does he do different at 1000 yards vs. 600 yards.

1. How did you like the electronic targets? Did this require/allow a change in your shooting style or rhythm (e.g. can competitors shoot faster now with less wait time between shots)?

LITZ: I really like the E-Targets for many reasons. Not pulling pits is the biggest one but the E-Targets also bring a level of fairness that human pullers could never achieve in the sense that everyone gets the same speed ‘service’.

For the 2016 FCNC in Lodi, WI, all the targets are programmed with a 7-second delay which is equivalent to “very good” target service. The system actually shows your shot value immediately, but doesn’t plot the location of the shot for 7 seconds. So if you want to “machine gun” a shot following an X with the same hold, you can take your chances without knowing where the X was.

The E-Targets require some adaptation from regular pit service. For those with many years of experience on traditional targets, it’s just WEIRD that the target doesn’t go up and down or have a spotter in it. All the information you need is on the tablet. This isn’t better or worse, just different. Occasionally the tablets lose signal for a few seconds and it can be frustrating, but this is not different than when a puller missed a shot and you had to “call for a mark”. I think that very soon the connectivity issues will be fully resolved and the systems will operate flawlessly. I know it would be impossible to get all the shooters through on such a small range any other way. The E-Targets have enabled a medium-sized range like Lodi to host a National Championship.

Q: How is the mid-range F-TR game different than long-range F-TR competition?

LITZ: Usually Mid-Range is about consistent precision — not having any fliers and not dropping any points. Mid-Range matches are usually decided by a narrower point spread than long range. Conditions aren’t typically big enough to move you out of the 10 ring very much at mid-range. The first couple days of the 2016 Mid-Range Nationals was just like this. I won the first two days, dropping only 3 points in total. But then the wind picked up on Day 3 and it was totally different! It became more like a Long Range match with all the points falling like rain and [conditions] very difficult to read. Many more 8s and 7s appeared at 600 yards and the field really spread out. In the end I was able to hold onto my lead and win the tournament.

Q. Why the change to Vihtavuori N140 powder? Was it more available or were you seeing lower ES/SD?

LITZ: I’m seeing the same ES/SDs with VV N140 as what I was using before (Varget) and N140 may burn a little cleaner. Also availability has been improving on the Vihtavuori powders in recent years. We (the Michigan F-TR Rifle Team) are very fortunate to have Vihtavuori as a sponsor and look forward to winning many matches with Vihtavuori products.

Editor’s Note: If any readers have results for the F-Open Mid-Range Nationals, please post in the comments section below and we will update this story.

Permalink Competition, News 2 Comments »
September 28th, 2016

Western CMP Games & Creedmoor Cup Matches Coming Soon

CMP Western Games Games Creedmoor Cup Ben Avery

Ready for some action in Arizona? The 13th Annual Western CMP Games and Creedmoor Cup Matches will be held at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, Arizona. The CMP Games run 7-11 October while the Creedmoor Cup Matches take place 12-16 October. All interested shooters are invited to participate in these prestigious, national-level competitions. NOTE: Registration for the Creedmoor Cup matches must be done online via www.creedmoorsports.com.

The CMP Western Games will include the Garand, Springfield, Vintage Military, Modern Military, Rimfire Sporter, Carbine, and Vintage Sniper matches. Along with the shooting matches, the CMP will offer a special CMP Games Match Clinic plus a Small Arms Firing School (Rifle). These training programs can benefit novices as well as experienced shooters. If you need to buy ammo or hardware, the CMP will operate a Sales Booth at Ben Avery all 4 days of Western Games.

Western CMP Games Entry Form | Western CMP Games Online Registration
Western CMP Games & Creedmoor Cup Program | Directions to Ben Avery Range

Creedmoor Cup Schedule and Events
The Creedmoor Cup Matches will begin on October 12th and conclude on October 16th. A great Bar-B-Q on Saturday is included with entry. This year’s Creedmoor Cup schedule includes the following events: High Power Rifle Clinic, Creedmoor Cup Match (2400 point aggregate), 4-Man Team Match, and Creedmoor EIC Match. The Special High Power Shooting Clinic will include lectures, demonstrations and dry-fire training by some of the world’s most talented service rifle marksmen.

CMP Games Creedmoor Cup Ben Avery

Western CMP Games Matches

  • Garand & Springfield Match Clinic
  • John C. Garand Match
  • Springfield Match
  • Vintage Military Rifle Match
  • Small Arms Firing School/M16 Match
  • Rimfire Sporter Match
  • Carbine Match
  • Vintage Sniper Match
  • Modern Military Rifle Match
  • Western Creedmoor Cup Events

  • High Power Rifle Clinic
  • Creedmoor Cup (2400 point aggregate)
  • 4-Man Team Match
  • Creedmoor EIC Match
  • To see a real pro shooting Service Rifle, check out the above video. That’s former National Champion (now Creedmoor Sports G.M.) Dennis DeMille, shooting 300-yard Rapids from the prone position. This was filmed at the 2010 Berger Southwest Nationals at Ben Avery. You’ll see Dennis adjusts his sights while looking through the spotter. Then watch how calm and steady Dennis stays from shot to shot. That comes with years of practice and training.

    Permalink Competition, News No Comments »
    September 28th, 2016

    Big Turn-Out for Pyramyd Air Cup Airgun Competition in Ohio

    Pyramyd Air Field Target GunSlynger air rifle airgun match

    The third annual Pyramyd Air Cup attracted nearly 100 amateur and professional shooters from around the nation, making it the best-attended AAFTA Grand Prix Field Target event in the USA this year. Hosted September 9-11 at the Tusco Rifle Club in New Philadelphia, Ohio, the Pyramyd Cup featured multiple airgun shooting disciplines including Field Target, the rapid-fire GunSlynger benchrest event, and the PayDay Challenge. Watch this video to see all the events:

    Reigning AAFTA National Champion Ken Hughes stated: “What a weekend! The Field Target courses were challenging, and the wild, rapid-fire style of the Gunslynger event was difficult in its own right. It was great getting to meet new airgun buddies and check out the new gear from the many vendors in attendance. I really enjoyed the PA Cup!”

    Pyramyd Air Field Target GunSlynger air rifle airgun match

    Field Target Discipline Is Challenging
    “Field Target is one of the most difficult shooting disciplines out there,” says Pyramyd Air Cup Match Director, Tyler Patner. “Combine the multiple skills required to rise to the top of your game, with the myriad of factors you take into account at each lane, and you’ve got a challenging sport.”

    Pyramyd Air Field Target GunSlynger air rifle airgun match

    Pyramyd Air Field Target GunSlynger air rifle airgun match

    “Targets are small, metal silhouettes of animals that consist of a kill zone and a colored paddle,” explains Patner. “Placed at unknown distances from between 10 yards to as far as 55 yards, the targets have kill-zones ranging in size from 3/8 inch to 1 1/2 inches. When the pellet passes through the kill zone and hits the paddle, the target falls and you’re awarded a point. It’s a game of precision and practice. You range-find with your scope, dope for distance, take the wind into account, and then you have to execute. There are different restrictions based upon your selected class, but the challenges remain the same. Wind-doping, range-finding, and remaining mentally tough over the entire course of fire are the biggest hurdles competitors face.”

    Pyramyd Air Field Target GunSlynger air rifle airgun match

    Pyramyd Air Field Target GunSlynger air rifle airgun match

    Huge Prize Table for Competitors
    Competition prizes were donated by many airgun and optics manufacturers including: AirForce Airguns, Air Arms, Beeman, Crosman, Birchwood Casey, Diana, Feinwerkbau, H&N, Hawke Sport Optics, JSB, Leapers, Plano, Predator, Umarex, UTG, and Walther. “You’d be hard-pressed to find an airgun competition with a better selection of prizes for its winners,” says says Pyramyd Air CEO, Joshua Ungier. “Our winner’s packages help assure shooters that if they’re limited to traveling to only one competitive shooting event, they recognize the Pyramyd Air Cup as the industry’s premier event.”

    For more info, and complete match results for all events, visit the Pyramyd Air Cup Match Recap Page.

    Permalink - Videos, Competition No Comments »
    September 28th, 2016

    TECH Tip: Fire-Form with Fouler Shots

    PPC Fire-formingHere’s a tip for guys who shoot the 6 PPC, 6 Dasher, or other wildcat cartridges that require fire-forming. Use your fouler shots to fire-form new cases. That way your fouler shots do “double-duty” and you get your brass fire-formed without putting extra rounds through your expensive barrel.

    This procedure is recommended by Joel Kendrick, the 2004 IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year. After he cleans his barrel, Joel knows it takes two or three shots to foul in the bore before accuracy returns. When shooting his PPC, Joel uses those fouler shots to fire-form his new brass. Joel explains: “I like to have relatively new brass always ready. By fire-forming a couple cases after each barrel-cleaning during a match, by the end of the weekend I’ve got a dozen or more freshly fire-formed cases to put into the rotation. If you do this with your fouler shots you get your fire-forming accomplished without using up any extra barrel life.”

    We thank Joel for this smart suggestion. For those who do not have a dedicated barrel for fire-forming, this should help keep your round-count down. Joe currently works as the Supplier Quality Process Engineer for MMI-TruTec, a company that offers barrel surface coatings that can further extend your barrel life.

    Permalink Tech Tip 2 Comments »
    September 27th, 2016

    Bolt Configuration: The Benefits of Weakside Bolt Placement

    left port McMillan Rifle

    Most bolt-action rifle shooters work the bolt with their trigger-pulling hand. This is because most rifles sold to right-handed shooters come with right-side bolts, while “lefty” rifles come with left-side bolts. This “standard” configuration requires the shooter to take his dominant, trigger-pulling hand off the stock to cycle the bolt, then re-position his hand on the stock, and “re-claim” the trigger. Often the shooter must lift or move his head to work the bolt, and that also requires him to re-establish his cheek weld after each and every shot. Not good.

    This really doesn’t make much sense for precision shooting with fore-end support*. There is a better way. If you leave your trigger hand in position and work the bolt (and feed rounds) with the opposite hand, then you don’t need to shift grip and head position with each shot. All this requires is a weakside-placed bolt, i.e. a left bolt for a right-handed shooter or a right bolt for a left-handed shooter. The video below shows a “Lefty” working a right bolt. Note how efficient this is:

    As our friend Boyd Allen explains: “If you think about it, if you are going to work with a factory action where your options are left bolt and left port or right bolt and right port, and you are building a rifle that will only be shot from a rest, using the left/left for a RH shooter or using a right/right for a LH shooter works better than the conventional configuration”.

    Shoot Like a Champ and Work the Bolt with Your Weakside Hand
    Derek Rodgers, the only person to have won BOTH F-Open and F-TR National Championships, runs this kind of “opposite” bolt set-up, shooting right-handed with a left bolt. Though Derek is a right-hander, he shoots with a Left Bolt/Left Port (LBLP) action. He shoots with his right hand on grip, while manipulating the bolt (and feeding rounds) with his non-trigger-pulling hand. He pulls the trigger with his right index finger, while working the left-side bolt with his left (weakside) hand. This allows him to stay in position, and maintain his cheekweld.

    2013 National Championship-Winning Derek Rodgers Left Bolt/Left Port Rifle.
    left port McMillan Rifle Derek Rodgers

    left port McMillan Rifle Derek Rodgers

    *For true standing, off-hand shooting (whether in competition or on a hunt), a conventional strongside bolt placement makes sense, since the non-dominant arm must support the front of the rifle all the time. When shooting from bipod or rest, it’s a different story.

    Permalink - Videos, Competition, Shooting Skills 6 Comments »
    September 27th, 2016

    Remington Trigger Dispute Class Action Settlement Notice

    Remington trigger X-Mark connector settlement class action lawsuit

    If you have a Remington bolt-action rifle, you may qualify for a trigger upgrade, a voucher, or reimbursement of costs spent changing out your trigger mechanism.

    These benefits result from the settlement of a class action lawsuit which alleged that Remington trigger mechanisms with “trigger connectors” and X-Mark Pro® triggers could have accidental discharges without the trigger being pulled. The settlement involves two classes. The first class includes owners of firearms that utilize a trigger connector. The second class includes owners of firearms that utilize the X-Mark Pro trigger mechanism that is the subject of a voluntary safety recall. The settlement allows owners of Remington models 700, Seven, and related models to have their trigger replaced free of charge, among other benefits.

    WHO IS INCLUDED?

    The Settlement provides benefits to: Current owners of Remington Model 700, Seven, Sportsman 78, 673, 710, 715, 770, 600, 660, XP-100, 721, 722, and 725 firearms containing a Remington trigger mechanism that utilizes a trigger connector; Current owners of Remington Model 700 and Model Seven rifles containing an X-Mark Pro trigger mechanism manufactured from May 1, 2006 to April 9, 2014 who did not participate in the voluntary X-Mark Pro product recall prior to April 14, 2015; and Current and former owners of Remington Model 700 and Model Seven rifles who replaced their rifle’s original Walker trigger mechanism with an X-Mark Pro trigger mechanism.

    WHAT DOES THE SETTLEMENT PROVIDE?

    Settlement Class Members may be entitled to: (1) have their trigger mechanism retrofitted with a new X-Mark Pro or other connectorless trigger mechanism at no cost to the class members; (2) receive a voucher code for Remington products redeemable at Remington’s online store; and/or (3) be refunded the money they spent to replace their Model 700 or Seven’s original Walker trigger mechanism with an X-Mark Pro trigger mechanism.

    HOW CAN I OBTAIN BENEFITS?

    If you are in the affected class you can submit a claim form electronically by clicking the link below:

    CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT a REMINGTON TRIGGER CLAIM FORM

    Even if you do nothing you will be bound by the Court’s decisions. To keep your right to sue the Defendants yourself, you must exclude yourself from the Settlement Class by November 18, 2016. If you stay in the Settlement Class, you may object to the Settlement by November 18, 2016. For more info, or to make a claim, call 1-800-876-5940 or visit www.remingtonfirearmsclassactionsettlement.com.

    Permalink Gunsmithing, News No Comments »
    September 27th, 2016

    CMP Hosts Talladega 600 in December, “A Southern Classic”

    Are you from a Northern state that’s snowbound in the winter? Looking for a fun December diversion (and a break from cold weather)? Then consider a trip to Talledega, Alabama. This December, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) hosts the Second Annual Talladega 600, “A Southern Classic”, at the Talladega Marksmanship Park. This event for rifle, pistol, and shotgun shooters kicks off Tuesday, December 6, 2016, and concludes Sunday, December 11th. It should be fun for the whole family. For more info, visit the Talladega 600 Webpage.

    Competitors of all ages and skill levels are welcome at the Talladega 600. Events will include popular CMP Games Matches: Garand, Springfield, and Vintage Military Match, as well as the Vintage Sniper, Carbine and Rimfire Match. There will be a Small Arms Firing School with an M16 Match, the Congressional 30 (similar to President’s Rifle Match), the Dixie Double Highpower Match, and an EIC Rifle Match. Pistol events will include the .22 Rimfire EIC Pistol Match, the Service Pistol EIC Match, the As-Issued 1911 and the Military & Police Matches. Shotgunners can enjoy a Sporting Clays Shoot and a 5-Stand Shoot.

    Talladega 600 Match Schedule | Talladega 600 Online Registration

    Talladega Marksmanship Park
    The 500-acre CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park is one of the most impressive shooting venues in North America. Talladega boasts superb facilities and state-of the-art electronic target systems. Each rifle firing point is equipped with a modern KTS electronic target and scoring monitor. Located beside each shooter on the firing line, these monitors allows competitors to see shot locations and scores instantly — no more waiting for targets to pulled and then marked with with a spotter disc.

    Electronic Targets Vintage sniper Talladega CMP

    For spectators following the action, large monitors inside the comfortable 13,000-square-foot Clubhouse will display scores from the shooting matches as they are being fired. Scores are also viewable online through the CMP’s Competition Tracker.

    Permalink Competition, News No Comments »
    September 26th, 2016

    Bargain Finder 54: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

    Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

    At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

    1. Amazon — Caldwell Long Range Target Camera System, $349.49

    Amazon Caldwell Precision Long Range Target System Cam Camera

    Forum members have purchased this Caldwell Target Cam System and they’ve found that it works reliably, providing a clear signal to any WiFi-enabled mobile device (smartphone, iPad, Laptop). One member specifically tested the unit at 1000 yards and it functioned fine. NOTE: This system does NOT have a zoom camera lens, so you need to position the camera within 10 yards or so of the target. But if you place it to the side a bit, this shouldn’t be a problem. This system comes with a nice, fitted carrying case that holds camera, transceivers, antennas, and stands. You get a very capable system for under $350.00 (Amazon price includes free shipping for Prime members). You can also get this system from Midsouth for $357.02 (shipping extra).

    2. Midsouth — Lyman BoreCam Digital Borescope, $222.46

    Bargain Deal Lyman Borecam Midsouth Shooters

    Note: We are repeating this special because it is the best deal we’ve found on an excellent product in high demand. The Lyman BoreCam is an electro-optical borescope with a digital display. You can record “stills” on a SD card. This is one of the hottest products on the market right now — and users really like the BoreCam (although some wish the digital view-screen was larger). Midsouth Shooters Supply now has the Lyman BoreCam for $222.46. Grab it while you can at that price. Other online vendors are charging a LOT more (e.g. MidwayUSA price is $259.99).

    3. Amazon — AR500 Steel 8″-Diameter Gong, $19.95 Delivered

    Reactive Target AR500 Steel Gong Free Shipping 8 inch 8

    We like reactive targets. It’s fun to “ring steel” and see a target move instantly when hit. For just twenty bucks (including shipping), it’s hard to go wrong with this 8″ AR500 Steel Gong. The 8″-diameter size is big enough for zeroing at 200 yards, yet offers a nice challenge at 500 yards and beyond. There is also a 6″-diameter model for $16.00.

    4. CDNN — Browning A-Bolt 300 Win Magnum, $499.99 (+ Rebate)

    Browning A-Bolt 300 Winchester Win Mag Magnum

    Here’s a rifle with a smooth three-lug action and good trigger that can take any game in North America. The Browning A-Bolt is justifiably respected as a solid hunting rifle. The 300 Winchester Magnum chambering offers serious hitting power, even at long range. This rifle, with a blued barreled action, normally retails for $600.00+. Now it’s on sale for under $500.00. To sweeten the deal even more, right now Browning is offering $50 CASH BACK on Browning centerfire rifles purchased between August 1, 2016, and September 30, 2016. CLICK HERE for $50.00 REBATE FORM.

    5. ULINE.com — 200 Pairs of NRR32 Ear Plugs for $19.00

    deals week bargain ear plugs ULine Corded Protection

    Every shooter needs good hearing protection, and when you buy in bulk you can save big. Right now Uline.com is offering 200 pairs of NRR32-rated tapered foam ear plugs for $19.00. That’s a steal. Corded (linked) models are $36.00 for 200 pairs. This Uline offer is a great way to supply your local shooting club or youth marksmanship training program. NOTE: This deal expires 10/9/2016.

    6. Natchez — 1k Rounds Blazer 9mm (Brass Cased), $199.99

    9mm Blazer Brass Cased

    This is quality, CCI made-in-USA ammo with reloadable, brass casings. We have used this CCI-made Blazer 9mm ammo in Sig, HK, and Glock pistols and it performed very well. This stuff won’t last long at this price (less than $0.20 per round). If you need 9mm practice ammo, order soon — this very same 1000-round case of Blazer 9mm ammo costs $60.00 more at MidwayUSA. Blazer Brass is loaded in boxer-primed, reloadable brass cases for added value.

    7. Midsouth — Lyman 50th Edition Reloading Manual, $19.70

    RCBS Special 5 Reloading Kit

    Here’s a good deal on the new Lyman 50th Ed. Reloading Manual. Our Forum members have rated this as the best Loading Manual for starting hand-loaders. This 50th Edition, the first to be produced in full color, includes more load data, and covers more cartridge and bullet types than ever before. This handbook has a strong heritage, starting with the Ideal/Lyman reloading manuals from the early 20th Century. Midsouth offers an excellent price — MidwayUSA sells this for $24.99.

    8. Amazon — Yes4All 36″x16″ Gun Cleaning Mat, $9.99

    Amazon cleaning mat $9.99

    Every gun owner should have a work mat to protect valuable firearms during cleaning and maintenance operations. Right now you can get a quality 36″x16″ mat for under ten bucks. The non-slip polyvinyl chloride (PVC) surface won’t harm gun’s finish, and its absorbent features keep the fluids from going through your work surface. This week Amazon is offering the Printed Version (shown above) for $9.99 and a Plain Black Version for just $8.09. That’s an excellent value either way.

    Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals No Comments »
    September 26th, 2016

    How to Win in F-TR Competition — Tips from Mike and Stan

    F-TR shooting Competition Mike Miller Stan Pate

    F-TR Stan Pate SavageOver the past few years, participation in F-Class competition has grown dramatically. At the 2013 SHOT Show we had a chance to talk about F-TR competition with then-U.S. National F-TR Team members Mike Miller and Stan Pate, two of America’s top F-TR shooters. With the U.S. F-Class Nationals underway this week (in Lodi, Wisconsin), we are reprising this interview for readers who may have missed it the first time around. If you shoot F-TR (even if you’re a High Master), we think you’ll learn a few things from this interview.

    In this interview, Mike and Stan agreed to share their vast store of knowledge about long-range shooting. In a wide-ranging dialog, we discussed many topics of interest to F-Class shooters: position set-up, bipod shooting techniques (and hardware), gun-handling, and bullet selection. In addition, Mike and Stan offer some great advice on wind reading and precision reloading. These general tips will benefit all competitors, no matter what their discipline.

    Watch Video for Tips from past U.S. National F-TR Team Members Mike Miller and Stan Pate

    If you shoot F-TR or you are considering getting involved in this fast-growing shooting sport, definitely watch this 14-minute video interview from start to finish. Mike and Stan are true F-TR gurus whose knowledge of the F-TR game has been gleaned from years of top-level competition. If you shoot a .308 from a bipod, we guarantee you can learn much from Mike and Stan. If you follow their advice, we bet you’ll see your scores improve in future matches.

    Permalink News No Comments »
    September 25th, 2016

    Join the Fun at the Texas Firearms Festival in October

    Texas Firearms Festival Liberty HIll Austin TX try buy

    You have to love Texas. While in other states (such as California) gun rights are under attack, in Texas, gun ownership is cherished and even celebrated…

    Proof is the Texas Firearm Festival (TXFF), a celebration of shooting where you can “try and buy” the latest guns and gear. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill gun show. At the Texas Firearms Festival, the biggest “hands on” firearm exhibition in North America, you can “test drive” dozens of new firearms from top manufacturers including: FN, Sig Sauer, STI, Walther Arms, Remington, Taurus, Blaser, Henry Repeating Arms, Bergara, Benelli, Wilson Combat and more.

    Texas Firearms Festival Liberty HIll Austin TX try buy

    The TXFF takes place October 14-16 at the Best of the West Shooting Range in Liberty Hill, Texas, just outside Austin. The Third Annual Texas Firearms Festival is a two-day event where firearms enthusiasts can try and buy guns and gear from leading manufacturers. Saturday and Sunday ammo is all free! And with some of Austin’s best food trucks and exhibits, the festival is great for the whole family.

    Here are video highlights from last year’s Texas Firearms Festival (loud volume):

    Texas Firearms Festival Highlights:

    • 20+ Dedicated Firearms Demonstration Try & Buy Bays.
    • Retail Village Showcasing the Best in Ammo and Accessories.
    • Full Auto Friday on Friday, October 14th for VIP Ticket Holders.
    • Ammunition Provided to Ticket Holders.

    Texas Firearms Festival Liberty HIll Austin TX try buy

    Texas Firearms Festival Liberty HIll Austin TX try buy

    Ticket Options and Prices
    The Festival isn’t free — but the price is more than reasonable considering the hours of fun you can have. A one-day pass, which includes the cost of ammo, is $79.00. A weekend pass for two full days of shooting is $119.00 (ammo included). There is also a $275.00 VIP Package which includes Full Auto Friday. And non-shooter tickets are available for $25.00. Purchase tickets at TexasGunFest.com/ticket.

    Texas Firearms Festival Liberty HIll Austin TX try buy

    Festival Location and Directions
    The Festival will be held at the Best of the West Shooting Range in Liberty Hill, Texas. The address is 19500 W. SH 29, Liberty Hill, TX 78642. For driving directions, use this interactive Google map:

    Permalink - Videos, Handguns, News No Comments »
    September 25th, 2016

    Shilen Actions, Barreled Actions, and Complete Rifles

    Shilen Actions Complete rifles barrel nut Savage Remage

    Did you know that Shilen Rifles Inc. offers barreled actions and complete rifles? And that Shilen offers a Savage-style, barrel-nut system for its Rem-clone actions? After several years of development, Shilen now offers custom actions ($950.00), barreled custom actions with triggers ($1500.00), and complete rifles ($3200.00 and up).

    Shilen Actions Complete rifles

    The new Shilen custom actions are CNC-milled from high-grade stainless steel. Two types are offered — the multi-shot DGR (Repeater) or the single-shot DGV (Varminter) action. Both actions will be offered in most common bolt faces and both right-hand and left-hand actions are immediately available. The DGR and DGV actions have a 1.350″ diameter with 8-40 scope base mounting screw holes, and an 0.300″ pinned recoil lug. The spiral-fluted bolts feature a floating bolt head with an interchangeable bolt handle knob. These actions feature a footprint similar to the Remington Model 700. Both DGR and DGV actions will accept many aftermarket components crafted for Rem-700 style actions, including triggers and bottom metal.

    Barreled Actions with Barrel-Nut System for Easy Barrel Exchanges
    Along with the stand-alone DGR and DGV actions, Shilen is offering barreled action assemblies, chambered and ready to drop into Rem 700-inletted stocks. The actions are fitted with Shilen match-grade barrels and Shilen triggers. The barrels feature a 1-1/16″x20 barrel thread and are attached to the action by a barrel nut. This Savage-style barrel nut system simplifies headspacing, allowing easy swapping from one barrel to another. With the simple barrel-exchange procedure, you can shoot multiple chamberings with a single action/rifle. For example, shooters can change from a .223 Remington to a .204 Ruger or a .22-250 to a 6mm BR in a matter of minutes.

    Complete Rifles with McMillan Stocks
    With Shilen’s complete rifles, buyers can choose their chambering, and select barrel and stock configuration. Shooters can choose between a sporter weight wood stock or a variety of McMillan fiberglass stocks. With all complete rifles, the entire package is delivered in a quality gun case and Shilen even includes table mat, cleaning rod, bore guide, jag, bore brush, and cleaning patches. For more info, call (972) 875-5318 or email comments@shilen.com.

    Shilen Actions Complete rifles

    Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting 2 Comments »
    September 24th, 2016

    Norway Hunting Video — A Visual Feast

    Norway Fjord Hunting Skorpen

    Today, September 24th, is National Hunting and Fishing Day. To help mark that event, we’re reprising a story from Europe that showcases the beauty of nature that can be experienced on a hunting trip.

    Norway Fjord Hunting SkorpenIf you need a break from your hum-drum day at the office, how about taking a virtual vacation to Norway, where you can explore the scenic mountains in the Fjord region?

    Forum member Kenneth Skorpen (aka “Sal”) has created a cool video of a deer-hunting trip he took in Norway. He didn’t bag a buck on this trip, but the walk in the Fjordland mountains took Kenneth through some spectacular scenery. (At the 11:25 time mark you’ll see an amazing sunset over the Fjord.) Kenneth did encounter a doe that had fallen down the mountain, and apparently broken its neck (14:35 time mark). The terrain is very steep, and Kenneth observed that: “I feel fortunate to be able to do this, but I also feel very tired in my legs. Did you know that the hares around here have shorter left legs due to the steep hills?”

    More Hunting/Shooting Videos from Norway
    You can watch more interesting hunting and shooting videos from Norway on Kenneth Skorpen’s Streken Vertebrae YouTube Channel. Here are some links:

    And here is another Skorpen video showcasing beautiful Norwegian landscapes. This was filmed during a February rifle testing session with targets at 1100 and 1400 meters. You’ll see some stunning snow-capped scenery here, starting at the 4:30 time mark.

    Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
    September 24th, 2016

    Two Great Books for Hunters by New Zealand’s Nathan Foster

    Nathan Foster Practical Guide Long Range Hunting Cartridges Hunting Rifles

    Today, September 24th, is National Hunting and Fishing Day. If you are a serious hunter (or aspire to be) here are two resources you should definitely add to your library. Written by a lifelong New Zealand hunter with a wealth of field experience, the Practical Guide to Hunting Cartridges tells you what you need to know about hunting cartridge performance. In no-nonsense terms, this book reveals how various rounds actually perform in a wide variety of game species. Nathan’s first book, The Practical Guide to Long Range Hunting Rifles, is a classic — one of the best books ever written on choosing and using a hunting rifle. We recommend booth books highly.

    If you really want to learn about long-range hunting, listen to a pro like Nathan Foster who has spent decades in the wild, harvesting over 7500 head of game. His classic guide to Hunting Rifles analyzes what you need in a hunting firearm and compares various action/stock/barrel/scope options. This book also provides some practical stalking and shooting tips for hunters. Nathan’s 415-page companion book on Hunting Cartridges guides you through the process of choosing cartridge and projectile(s) for your hunts. Nathan examines the pros and cons of various cartridges so that the reader can select the best cartridge and projectile to get the job done. This book represents years of first-hand research, testing scores of calibers/loads in the field.

    Nathan is truly a hunting expert. Nathan has spent thousands of hours in the field and he knows the subject cold. Unlike some outdoor writers, Nathan doesn’t pull punches — he tells the unvarnished truth about what works and what doesn’t. Here’s what Nathan says about these two books:

    Nathan Foster Practical Guide Long Range Hunting CartridgesFor several years, I have received two types of email. The first question is which is the right rifle for me? The second question is which is the right cartridge? My first book dealt with the accurate rifle. This second book deals with long range hunting cartridge selection. I firmly believe that there has been a huge gap in education regarding optimal long range hunting cartridge performance. In many instances, both hunters and bullet manufacturers do not understand what’s required to achieve goals. Many times, the wrong tools are used for long range hunting. This book seeks to remedy these problems.

    In the Practical Guide to Long Range Hunting Cartridges, I start with the fundamentals of game killing — but from the perspective of the long range hunter (also encountering close range shots). This section is not politically correct in any way, as after the study of anatomy, I explore worst case scenarios in as much depth as ideal shot placement.

    The second section of the book is a study of projectile design. I wanted to get right down to the finer details of the long range hunting bullet in this section, exploring manufacturers, manufacturing techniques, and ways in which the end user can perform preliminary testing as well as bullet modifications.

    The third section explains how to select a long range hunting cartridge. The system I have used here is based on a selection method I developed over the years to help clients worldwide. This method takes individual circumstances into consideration rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. It is a system that relies on plain common sense based on research. The fourth section of the book is the cartridge section. Cartridge information is presented in a set format with Pro/Con summary tables. In many instances I have included my own load notes.


    Nathan Foster Practical Guide Long Range Hunting CartridgesAbout the Author: New Zealander Nathan Foster lives and breathes what he teaches. An expert in the field of terminal ballistics, Nathan has taken over 7500 head of game, and has field-tested a vast number of cartridges and projectiles. Nathan’s first book, The Practical Guide to Long Range Hunting Rifles, is widely recognized as one of the best books ever published on the subject. The new book goes into greater detail on specific cartridges. Nathan’s website includes an outstanding online cartridge knowledge base with over 60 detailed cartridge profiles. CLICK HERE for Cartridge INFO.

    Nathan runs Terminal Ballistics Research, a small company in Taranaki, New Zealand, that conducts cartridge and projectile performance research. Nathan also operates a long-range shooting school. Nathan is also the creator of MatchGrade Bedding Products.

    Permalink Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
    September 24th, 2016

    NSSF and Retailers Sue Massachusetts Attorney General

    Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey Federal civil action lawsuit NSSF

    NSSF and Retailers File Federal Suit against Massachusetts A.G. Healey’s ‘Enforcement Notice’.
    Four federally-licensed Massachusetts firearms retailers and the National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF) filed an action in United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts to challenge on Constitutional grounds the “Enforcement Notice” issued by state Attorney General Maura Healey. The lawsuit, filed September 22, 2016, states that Healey’s office overstepped its legal authority and deprived the retailers of their due process protections guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution. The action seeks declaratory relief and a permanent injunction enjoining enforcement.

    The retailers are Pullman Arms Inc. of Worcester; Guns and Gear, LLC of Agawam; Paper City Firearms of Holyoke; and Grrr Gear of Orange.

    “Attorney General Maura Healey’s actions were unconstitutional. Firearms retailers in Massachusetts cannot determine the meaning or scope of the Attorney General’s Enforcement Notice and subsequent explanations,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “Because criminal penalties can result due to Attorney General Healey’s unilateral reinterpretation of a state statute done without administrative process or input from affected parties, her office exceeded its lawful authority and retailers were deprived of their due process protections under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.”

    “In addition, if the Attorney General’s Enforcement Notice is understood as applying to all semi-automatic firearms, it violates the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to keep and bear arms because it bans the manufacture, sale and possession of a broad range of firearms in common use by the citizens of Massachusetts,” Keane said.

    Representing NSSF and the retailers are the Boston-based law firm of Kenney and Sams, and Michael Sullivan of the Ashcroft Law Firm. Sullivan is a former U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts and former Acting Director, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

    CLICK HERE to Read Civil Action vs. Massachusetts Attorney General.

    Permalink News 1 Comment »
    September 23rd, 2016

    How to Avoid Having a ‘Train Wreck’ at the F-Class Nationals

    train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballistics

    Today is practice day for the Mid-Range F-Class Nationals, which commence bright and early tomorrow morning in Lodi, Wisconsin. In any shooting competition, you must try to avoid major screw-ups that can ruin your day (or your match). In this article, reigning F-TR National Mid-Range and Long Range Champion Bryan Litz talks about “Train Wrecks”, i.e. those big disasters (such as equipment failures) that can ruin a whole match. Bryan illustrates the types of “train wrecks” that commonly befall competitors, and he explains how to avoid these “unmitigated disasters”.

    Urban Dictionary “Train Wreck” Definition: “A total @#$&! disaster … the kind that makes you want to shake your head.”

    train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballisticsTrain Wrecks (and How to Avoid Them)
    by Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics LLC.

    Success in long range competition depends on many things. Those who aspire to be competitive are usually detail-oriented, and focused on all the small things that might give them an edge. Unfortunately it’s common for shooters lose sight of the big picture — missing the forest for the trees, so to speak.

    Consistency is one of the universal principles of successful shooting. The tournament champion is the shooter with the highest average performance over several days, often times not winning a single match. While you can win tournaments without an isolated stellar performance, you cannot win tournaments if you have a single train wreck performance. And this is why it’s important for the detail-oriented shooter to keep an eye out for potential “big picture” problems that can derail the train of success!

    Train wrecks can be defined differently by shooters of various skill levels and categories. Anything from problems causing a miss, to problems causing a 3/4-MOA shift in wind zero can manifest as a train wreck, depending on the kind of shooting you’re doing.

    Below is a list of common Shooting Match Train Wrecks, and suggestions for avoiding them.

    1. Cross-Firing. The fastest and most common way to destroy your score (and any hopes of winning a tournament) is to cross-fire. The cure is obviously basic awareness of your target number on each shot, but you can stack the odds in your favor if you’re smart. For sling shooters, establish your Natural Point of Aim (NPA) and monitor that it doesn’t shift during your course of fire. If you’re doing this right, you’ll always come back on your target naturally, without deliberately checking each time. You should be doing this anyway, but avoiding cross-fires is another incentive for monitoring this important fundamental. In F-Class shooting, pay attention to how the rifle recoils, and where the crosshairs settle. If the crosshairs always settle to the right, either make an adjustment to your bipod, hold, or simply make sure to move back each shot. Also consider your scope. Running super high magnification can leave the number board out of the scope’s field view. That can really increase the risk of cross-firing.

    2. Equipment Failure. There are a wide variety of equipment failures you may encounter at a match, from loose sight fasteners, to broken bipods, to high-round-count barrels that that suddenly “go south” (just to mention a few possibilities). Mechanical components can and do fail. The best policy is to put some thought into what the critical failure points are, monitor wear of these parts, and have spares ready. This is where an ounce of prevention can prevent a ton of train wreck. On this note, if you like running hot loads, consider whether that extra 20 fps is worth blowing up a bullet (10 points), sticking a bolt (DNF), or worse yet, causing injury to yourself or someone nearby.

    train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballistics

    [Editor’s Note: The 2016 F-Class Nationals will employ electronic targets so conventional pit duties won’t be required. However, the following advice does apply for matches with conventional targets.]

    3. Scoring/Pit Malfunction. Although not related to your shooting technique, doing things to insure you get at least fair treatment from your scorer and pit puller is a good idea. Try to meet the others on your target so they can associate a face with the shooter for whom they’re pulling. If you learn your scorer is a Democrat, it’s probably best not to tell Obama jokes before you go for record. If your pit puller is elderly, it may be unwise to shoot very rapidly and risk a shot being missed (by the pit worker), or having to call for a mark. Slowing down a second or two between shots might prevent a 5-minute delay and possibly an undeserved miss.

    train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballistics4. Wind Issues. Tricky winds derail many trains. A lot can be written about wind strategies, but here’s a simple tip about how to take the edge off a worse case scenario. You don’t have to start blazing away on the command of “Commence fire”. If the wind is blowing like a bastard when your time starts, just wait! You’re allotted 30 minutes to fire your string in long range slow fire. With average pit service, it might take you 10 minutes if you hustle, less in F-Class. Point being, you have about three times longer than you need. So let everyone else shoot through the storm and look for a window (or windows) of time which are not so adverse. Of course this is a risk, conditions might get worse if you wait. This is where judgment comes in. Just know you have options for managing time and keep an eye on the clock. Saving rounds in a slow fire match is a costly and embarrassing train wreck.

    5. Mind Your Physical Health. While traveling for shooting matches, most shooters break their normal patterns of diet, sleep, alcohol consumption, etc. These disruptions to the norm can have detrimental effects on your body and your ability to shoot and even think clearly. If you’re used to an indoor job and eating salads in air-conditioned break rooms and you travel to a week-long rifle match which keeps you on your feet all day in 90-degree heat and high humidity, while eating greasy restaurant food, drinking beer and getting little sleep, then you might as well plan on daily train wrecks. If the match is four hours away, rather than leaving at 3:00 am and drinking five cups of coffee on the morning drive, arrive the night before and get a good night’s sleep.”

    Keep focused on the important stuff. You never want to lose sight of the big picture. Keep the important, common sense things in mind as well as the minutia of meplat trimming, weighing powder to the kernel, and cleaning your barrel ’til it’s squeaky clean. Remember, all the little enhancements can’t make up for one big train wreck!

    Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »
    September 23rd, 2016

    New Meprolight FT Bullseye Sight Uses Fiber Optics and Tritium

    FT Bullseye T.A.S. TAS fiber optic Glock Rear pistol handgun sight Tritium

    What if you could have a normal-height rear sight that could dispense with the need to align front sight and rear sight? In fact, what if that rear sight could eliminate the need for a front sight altogether?

    That’s exactly what the new Meprolight FT Bullseye does. Employing fiber optics and tritium, the FT Bullseye provides a bright aiming dot inside a circle — no front sight is needed. When the dot is centered in the circle, you’re on target. It’s as simple as that! This really is innovative technology, albeit expensive — the FT Bullseye’s MSRP is $199.00 — not cheap.

    Traditionally, a shooter aims by aligning the front and rear sights. Meprolight combined the dot and the circle on the rear sight, eliminating the need to use the front sight altogether. This sight is fast on target and works in all light conditions.

    FT Bullseye T.A.S. TAS fiber optic Glock Rear pistol handgun sight Tritium

    Red dot and reflex systems also work without iron sights, but red dots are tall and bulky, and they don’t work well at all for shooters with astigmatism.

    Meprolight’s engineers created a sleek, low profile rear sight by combining fiber optics with tritium. For concealed carry, this is better than a bulky red-dot. The low-profile design allows the shooter to draw from holster without worrying about snagging a bulky red dot or reflex sight assembly. To see how the FT Bullseye sight works, watch this video.

    The fiber optic technology used in the FT Bullseye was pioneered by Tactical Aiming Systems (T.A.S.) an Israeli company. Meprolight dramatically improved the TAS system, adding tritium and an enhanced dot/circle reticle. The FT Bullseye is also smaller and sleeker than the original T.A.S. rear sight. The FT Bullseye is currently available in red or green dot/circle for all Glock models. Meprolight guarantees the tritium to last 12 years. MSRP is $199.00.

    Permalink Handguns, New Product 10 Comments »
    September 22nd, 2016

    Aiming Techniques for F-Class Competition

    F-Class Aiming Long Range Score Shooting
    The movie “The Patriot” gave us the phrase “Aim small, miss small”. While that’s a good mantra, aiming strategies for long-range competition are a bit more complicated, as this article explains…

    The U.S. Mid-Range and Long Range Nationals kick off tomorrow, September 23rd, in Lodi, Wisconsin. Here are some tips that can help F-TR and F-Open shooters aim more precisely, and achieve higher scores. F-Class ace Monte Milanuk reviews reticle choices and strategies for holding off.

    In our Shooters Forum, one newcomer wanted some advice on selecting a reticle for F-Class optics. He wondered about the advantage of Front (first) Focal Plane (FFP) vs. Second Focal Plane scopes and also wondered if one type of reticle was better for “holding off” than others.

    In responding to this question, Forum regular Monte Milanuk provided an excellent summary of aiming methods used in F-Class. For anyone shooting score targets, Monte’s post is worth reading:

    Aiming Methods for F-Class (and Long-Range) Shootingby Monte Milanuk

    600-yard F-Class TargetF-Class is a known-distance event, with targets of known dimensions that have markings (rings) of known sizes. Any ‘holding off’ can be done using the target face itself. Most ‘benefits’ of Front (first) focal plain (FFP) optics are null and void here — they work great on two-way ranges where ‘minute of man’ is the defining criteria — but how many FFP scopes do you know of in the 30-40X magnification range? Very, very few, because what people who buy high-magnification scopes want is something that allows them to hold finer on the target, and see more detail of the target, not something where the reticle covers the same amount of real estate and appears ‘coarser’ in view against the target, while getting almost too fine to see at lower powers.

    Whether a person clicks or holds off is largely personal preference. Some people might decline to adjust their scope as long as they can hold off somewhere on the target. Some of that may stem from the unfortunate effect of scopes being mechanical objects which sometimes don’t work entirely as advertised (i.e. one or two clicks being more or less than anticipated). Me personally, if I get outside 1-1.5 MOA from center, I usually correct accordingly. I also shoot on a range where wind corrections are often in revolutions, not clicks or minutes, between shots.

    Some shooters do a modified form of ‘chase the spotter’ — i.e. Take a swag at the wind, dial it on, aim center and shoot. Spotter comes up mid-ring 10 at 4 o’clock… so for the next shot aim mid-ring 10 at 10 o’clock and shoot. This should come up a center X (in theory). Adjust process as necessary to take into account for varying wind speeds and direction.

    John Sigler F-Class

    600-yard F-Class TargetOthers use a plot sheet that is a scaled representation of the target face, complete with a grid overlaid on it that matches the increments of their optics — usually in MOA. Take your Swag at the wind, dial it on, hold center and shoot. Shot comes up a 10 o’clock ‘8’… plot the shot on the sheet, look at the grid and take your corrections from that and dial the scope accordingly. This process should put you in the center (or pretty close), assuming that you didn’t completely ignore the wind in the mean time. Once in the center, hold off and shoot and plot, and if you see a ‘group’ forming (say low right in the 10 ring) either continue to hold high and left or apply the needed corrections to bring your group into the x-ring.

    Just holding is generally faster, and allows the shooter to shoot fast and (hopefully) stay ahead of the wind. Plotting is more methodical and may save your bacon if the wind completely changes on you… plotting provides a good reference for dialing back the other way while staying in the middle of the target. — YMMV, Monte

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