November 15th, 2016

First Test: Sierra .30-Cal 195gr Tipped Match King (TMK)

Sierra 195 grain Tipped Match King

Our friend Bill at got his hands on some of Sierra’s brand new .30-Cal match bullets, the 195-grain Tipped Match Kings (TMKs). These feature an impressive 0.610 G1 BC above 2000 fps. We predict these new bullets will be popular with F-TR shooters shooting the .308 Winchester cartridge.

To see how the new 195gr TMKs perform, Bill loaded up some .308 Win ammo with IMR 4064, ranging from 40.5 grains up to 42.5 grains. That gave him a velocity range of 2438 FPS at the lowest charge weight, up to 2552 FPS at 42.5 grains. This was with a relatively short, 22-inch barrel. Best five-shot accuracy (and second lowest SD) was at 41.0 grains even, producing a 0.498 MOA five-shot group at 2480 fps (6.1 SD). CLICK HERE for full accuracy results.

>> READ Sierra 195gr TMK Test Report on

I headed to the range on a brisk November day. Targets were 2″ orange dots at 100 yards. All shooting was done prone from a bipod with a rear bag. The Nightforce 3.5-15X scope was set at 15X. All ballistic information was recorded with a MagnetoSpeed barrel-mounted chronograph. Temperature was 54° F. Standard deviation for the loads ranged from 5.3 to 20.5 FPS. Average standard deviation was 12.5 FPS. Five-shot group sizes ranged from .521″ (.498 MOA, ) to 1.057″ (1.010 MOA). Average group size for all ten loads was .692″ (.661 MOA).

Sierra 195 grain Tipped Match King

New 195gr TMK offers Impressive Long-Range Ballistics

Sierra 195 grain Tipped Match King

Bill was also interested in how the ballistics of the new 195gr TMKs compared to other .30-cal projectiles. Even with a moderate, 2539 fps velocity, the new 195gr TMK showed less wind drift than other Sierras, thanks to its high 0.610 G1 BC. It also had a flatter trajectory beyond 600 yards than the 175gr and 190gr Sierra MatchKings. (The faster-flying 175gr TMK had slightly less drop at all yardages.)

Bill explains: “For comparison purposes, I selected the 42.0 grain load, with a muzzle velocity of 2,539 feet/second and an SD of 6.9. This load is compared to loads for the 190 SMK, 175 SMK, 175 TMK, and 168 Federal Gold Medal ammunition in the test rifle. In other words, these aren’t maximum loads, but loads that I have developed and would feel comfortable shooting a match with in the rifle shown (you may note the 190 SMK is fairly slow, but this is what the rifle liked). Also note that this rifle has a relatively short 22″ barrel compared to those you might find on a purpose built f-class rifle.”

Bill provides a full write-up on the website complete with target photos and load details. If you are interested in these new 195-grainers, you should read the full report.

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November 15th, 2016

Altitude, Air Pressure and Ballistics — What You Need to Know

Trajectory of Bullet fired at Sea Level

Trajectory of Bullet fired at 20,000 feet

You can do your own experimental calculations using JBM Online Ballistics (free to use). Here is an extreme example, with two printouts (generated with Point Blank software), one showing bullet trajectory at sea level (0′ altitude) and one at 20,000 feet. For demonstration sake, we assigned a low 0.2 BC to the bullet, with a velocity of 3000 fps.

Suunto AltimeterOne of our readers asked “What effect does altitude have on the flight of a bullet?” The simplistic answer is that, at higher altitudes, the air is thinner (lower density), so there is less drag on the bullet. This means that the amount of bullet drop is less at any given flight distance from the muzzle. Since the force of gravity is essentially constant on the earth’s surface (for practical purposes), the bullet’s downward acceleration doesn’t change, but a bullet launched at a higher altitude is able to fly slightly farther (in the thinner air) for every increment of downward movement. Effectively, the bullet behaves as if it has a higher ballistic coefficient.

Forum member Milanuk explains that the key factor is not altitude, but rather air pressure. Milanuk writes:

“In basic terms, as your altitude increases, the density of the air the bullet must travel through decreases, thereby reducing the drag on the bullet. Generally, the higher the altitude, the less the bullet will drop. For example, I shoot at a couple ranges here in the Pacific Northwest. Both are at 1000′ ASL or less. I’ll need about 29-30 MOA to get from 100 yard to 1000 yards with a Berger 155gr VLD @ 2960fps. By contrast, in Raton, NM, located at 6600′ ASL, I’ll only need about 24-25 MOA to do the same. That’s a significant difference.

Note that it is the barometric pressure that really matters, not simply the nominal altitude. The barometric pressure will indicate the reduced pressure from a higher altitude, but it will also show you the pressure changes as a front moves in, etc. which can play havoc w/ your calculated come-ups. Most altimeters are simply barometers that read in feet instead of inches of mercury.”

As Milanuk states, it is NOT altitude per se, but the LOCAL barometric pressure (sometimes called “station pressure”) that is key. The two atmospheric conditions that most effect bullet flight are air temperature, and barometric pressure. Normally, humidity has a negligible effect.

It’s important to remember that the barometric pressure reported on the radio (or internet) may be stated as a sea level equivalency. So in Denver (at 6,000 feet amsl), if the local pressure is 24″, the radio will report the barometric pressure to be 30″. If you do high altitude shooting at long range, bring along a Kestrel, or remember to mentally correct the radio station’s pressure, by 1″ per 1,000 feet.”

If you want to learn more about all aspects of External Ballistics, provides a variety of useful resources. In particular, on that site, Section 3.1 of the Sierra Manual is reprinted, covering Effects of Altitude and Atmospheric Pressure on bullet flight.

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November 15th, 2016

Competition Tips: 30CalGal Talks about ‘The Mental Game’

In this video, Anette Wachter (the 30CalGal) offers tips for shooting from bipod.

Anette Wachter Mental Game VisualizationOur friend Anette Wachter, aka “30CalGal”, stars in a smart video from NRAWomen.TV. In this episode of Tips & Tactics, Anette talks about the “mental game” in competition. Specifically she explains how to “visualize success”:

I have found that a lot of my success in competition has come through what I call a ‘mental rehearsal’. I actually visualize every stage of the match and I visualize the success of the match and winning the match.

I actually visualize that round going downrange into the target, and the target coming up with a dead-center ‘X’. I visualize this over and over. If you visualize success you will achieve success.

Visualization is a process of mental preparation that is done before you get to the range. Many of the greatest shooting champions have used this technique to get ready for big matches, and to optimize their performance during record fire. If you want to enhance your “mental game” through pre-match visualization, we strongly recommend Lanny Bassham’s book, With Winning in Mind.

As a competitive smallbore 3P shooter, Bassham developed a mental management system. Using this system, Lanny Bassham won 22 world individual and team titles, set four world records, and captured an Olympic Gold Medal in Montreal in 1976. His techniques have been embraced by professional and Olympic athletes in many sports. With Winning in Mind covers a complete system of “mental management” techniques used by Olympians and elite champions.

About 30CalGal
Life is short. Go Shoot! — Anette Wachter
Along with being a talented competitive shooter, Anette has her own Gun Blog,, and she writes for several gun publications including GunUp Magazine, Shooting Sports USA, Sure Shots Magazine, and Wide Open Spaces. She also designs and crafts custom jewelry items, sold through her AW Collections webstore.

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