Like father, like daughter. This smiling twosome hails from the Lone Star State.
At the 2017 Berger Southwest Nationals we met a talented father/daughter team from Texas. David and his daughter Claudette were enjoying the match, her first national-level F-Class competition. Father David, an Accurateshooter Forum member, tolds us: “Claudette turned 15 on the day we drove out, Tuesday, and this was her first Berger SWN match. She and my son Royse (17) have won Texas junior championships, but this match was the largest we’ve attended.” Here is Claudette’s story…
Texas Teen Enjoys Many Activities, including the Shooting Sports
As a Texan finishing her freshman year of high school, young Claudette has grown up with the shooting sports — thrown into the mix of a typical small town teen’s activities, such as year-round school sports and fall cheer-leading. Claudette and her brother Royse enjoy a leg up when it comes to target practice, though. In 2002 the family moved to far South Texas to build a new home on the clan’s fifth-generation cattle ranch, a spread renowned as the original importer of Charolais-breed cattle. Now for the family of four, shooting and even hunting can literally start outside the back door.
Claudette bypassed air guns and began shooting as a rimfire plinker in the backyard. Skipping ahead a decade, monthly .22 LR precision rifle matches are now an interest, while high power prone shooting is now quite a few notches above a shared family interest, and with Dad at least, maybe a necessity of life. In 2007 an outdoor kitchen was added in the backyard that doubled as a nice covered shooting station. 615 yards away (at the end of the red line) Dad constructed a stout bunker/backstop from old railroad ties. This allows convenient shooting practice and load development sessions between family road trips to state mid-range matches and other competitions.
Home, Home on the Range … here’s the Texas cattle ranch where Claudette hones her shooting skills.
Claudette’s first-ever group shot at her home range was on a full-value windy day with a .223 Savage Precision Varmint and 80 grain bullets. Most of a whole poster board was needed to plot those shots, in a region known for its windmills.
Big Gun for Little Lady
Now Claudette shoots F-Open’s mainstay, the .284 Winchester. Claudette recently competed at the Berger Southwest Nationals match. The .284 Win with heavy bullets definitely delivers a serious kick, but Claudette’s weight barely breaks into triple digits. That’s why she has those doubled-up bath towels — to soften the recoil impact on her shoulder. At the SWN, Claudette shot next to Team Lapua ace F-Classer Erik Cortina one day. Impressed with her shooting skills, Erik put in a good word for her. That led to Claudette joining the USA Under 25 Team for the 2017 F-Class World Championships to be held at the Connaught Ranges in Ottawa, Canada this upcoming August. Claudette is now the newest member of America’s Under 25 squad. Congrats young lady!
Learning Rifle Skills for Life
Father David says that marksmanship training serves another important purpose for his son and daughter: “These matches that hone the rifleman’s traditional skills do have a second purpose, especially for kids growing up so far from the practical response abilities of law enforcement. Self-defense is a major part of the self-reliance embodied as a core value in the still-large number of rural Americans. And that means that rifles, albeit lighter ones, are never far from reach, a right that complements the shared quest to improve proficiency and pass on the desire to do so.”
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Progressive reloading presses offer shooters speed and efficiency in producing custom-tailored rifle and pistol ammunition. However, there is a wide choice of Progressive Presses and a bewildering array of options to consider. In this video, the 6.5 Guys and UltimateReloader.com’s Gavin Gear provide an overview of the leading Progressive Presses on the market along with key considerations for precision rifle shooters. If you are considering getting a Progessive for rifle ammo reloading, you should watch this informative, 25-minute video.
10 Tips for Reloading Precision Rifle Ammo on a Progressive Press:
1. Make sure the brass is very clean. Don’t mix old range pick-up brass with newer brass.
2. Apply a thin, spray lube to all cases before the sizing/loading cycle.
3. Consider priming your brass separately (with a hand or bench tool) before the operation. Then inspect the primers before loading powder and bullets.
4. Always wear eye protection when loading with the Progressive, particularly if you are priming cases.
5. With tape, mark the powder measure/dropper with the powder type and charge weight.
6. Cycle a few cases, sizing and adding powder but NOT seating bullets. Weigh the powder charges to ensure the powder measure is dispensing the correct charge. Sometimes this will change a couple tenths as it “settles down” after the first few charges.
7. Check the brass for shoulder bump and bullet seating depth carefully for the first few rounds, then check again periodically.
8. Try to maintain a steady pace and operate the handle the same way every time.
9. Visually inspect the powder charge in each case (before bullet seating), and use a lock-out die if your Progressive Press has enough stations.
10. Never, ever mix pistol and rifle powders! If you have previously loaded pistol ammo with your Progressive, make sure ALL the powder (every flake and kernel) is removed from all components of the powder-dropping system before you add rifle powder.
Loading Pistol Ammo on a Dillon
The .45 ACP is probably our favorite centerfire pistol cartridge. In this video, Gavin Gear shows how to load this popular round on a Dillon 550B Progressive Press:
Visit these sites for more Reloading and Precision Shooting Videos:
In an article for the CMP Online Magazine, SSG Tobie Tomlinson of the USAMU Service Rifle Team explains the various sight alignments employed by iron sights shooters. Tobie writes: “There are a myriad of sight picture options that shooters have used to great effect over the years. The sight picture that allows you to consistently shoot the smallest group, with a minimal shift in zeros, is the correct one. Remember, for any shooter to be successful, consistent sight picture must be complemented by front sight focus and sight alignment.” CLICK HERE to read FULL ARTICLE
The front sight is placed directly in the center of the target. A center hold is great in different light conditions. On a bright day the target appears small. On a dark day the target appears large. In [any] light conditions the center of the target is always in the center. A shooter who has problems with elevation shots in various light conditions may benefit from a center hold.
6 O’Clock Hold
With the 6 O’Clock hold the front sight is placed at the bottom of the aiming black. For many shooters, this hold allows precision placement of the front sight. The ability to accurately call your shots will come with time and experience. Light changes, which alter the appearance of the target, may affect shooters who utilize the 6 O’Clock hold.
Sub 6 Hold
The sub 6 is just like the 6 O’Clock hold, only there is a small line of white between the front sight and the aiming black. Many shooters have a problem determining the exact 6 O’Clock position with their front sight, but by using a sub 6 or line of white they may be able to better estimate their hold.
With the frame hold, just like with the other holds, the front sight is in the center of the rear sight. The front sight can then be placed at the 6 or 12 O’Clock position on the frame when there is no visible aiming point. This hold is typically reserved for foul weather and poor light conditions. By placing the front sight at the top or bottom of the frame, a shooter may hold better when there is little target to see. It can be difficult to hold a tight group this way, but it may add more hits in bad conditions. This technique is normally applied when shooting longer ranges such 600 or 1000 yards.
At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best 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. Cabela’s — Winchester XBR Hunter, $349.99 after Rebate
Here’s a very sweet deal on a handsome Winchester hunting rig with detachable box mag. Right now Cabelas.com is offering $170.00 off a Winchester XPR. Plus there’s a $50.00 Mail-in Rebate. That reduces your net cost for the rifle to $349.99. That’s a great deal for a rifle with a smooth bolt action (with 60° lift), nice trigger, and detachable box magazine. This XPR is offered is a wide variety of chamberings: .243 Win, 7mm-08, .270 Win, .308 Win, .30-06 Springfield, .300 WSM. GO TO DEAL PAGE.
Here’s a great deal on Pacific Tool & Gauge-crafted Rem actions with PT&G bolts. These are new Remington-made actions, blueprinted, with PT&G bolts fitted. Sold by PT&G’s retail outlet Cabin Fever Sports, these are pretty much the same as PT&G’s $640 actions with special promo pricing. The prices for the Right Hand actions are $380.00 to $420.00 depending on bolt face. Cabin Fever Sports also has roughly 20 Left Hand (LH) Rem actions at $399.99. You can choose trigger type and add options, such as bolt fluting, for a few dollars more. Order online, or call in and ask for special pricing.
3. CDNN — Smith & Wesson Model 617 10-Shot Revolver, $699.99
This Editor’s first really accurate handgun was a Smith & Wesson model 617 that could easily stack ten shots in a dime at 10 yards. It remains my favorite and most-used handgun, and I will never part with it. What can we say about the model 617? Every serious gun guy should own one. The single-action trigger pull is superb, and the accuracy surpasses most any semi-auto rimfire pistol, except for a few, very, very expensive target pistols. We like the 6″ version for the longer site radius, but the 4″-barrel 617 is also very accurate, and it balances better. CDNN’s $699.99 sale price may seem like a lot of money, but MSRP is $829.00 and most dealers are charging $750.00 or more for a new 6″-barrel 617. Get one — you won’t regret it.
4. Amazon — Plano Field Locker Double Long Gun Case, $111.50
A full 54″ long inside, this Plano Field Locker Double Long Gun Case will hold big rifles with 30-31″ barrels. The case has tough latches, watertight seals, and wheels for easy transport. Right now this case is just $111.50 with Free Prime Shipping. That’s less than half what you’d pay for a Pelican this big. Buyers confirms this Plano case is capacious and tough: “It holds two 17-lb bench rifles with 30″ barrels… even the airline baggage handlers couldn’t damage this case” (Smitty). “I bought this case for a Savage 110BA .338 Lapua Magnum, and it’s so nice that I just bought a second one for a 50 BMG. There are very few rifle cases that will fit the larger rifles.” (Bruce L.) “I’ve used one case in extensive
field abuse, and it has held up remarkably well. IMO there is not a finer case available on the market for any big-bore center-fire rifle. You can spend more; but I don’t think you can get any better.” (Gene).
5. Monmouth Reloading — 500 Lake City 5.56 Cases, $35.00
500 pieces of Lake City brass for just thirty-five bucks? Yep, that’s a great deal for anyone who needs .223/5.56 brass for varmint safaris and tactical comps. Monmouth Reloading is selling genuine, once-fired Lake City 5.56x45mm brass, thick-walled and sourced direct from the U.S. Military. Monmouth reports: “Our current stock of Lake City 5.56 looks to be all newer year Lake City head stamp but may contain a small percentage of other NATO headstamps. Lake City is a popular, reliable brass, normally capable of many reloads.” Monmouth includes 1% overage to account for any damaged brass. NOTE: Brass has crimped primers, so the pockets will need to be reamed or swaged prior to reloading.
Here’s an awesome deal from EuroOptic.com. Save $200 on a very popular Vortex Precision Shooting Tactical (PST) optic. On sale for just $499.99, this 4-16x50mm EBR-1 Scope offers tactical turrets with Milradian adjustments, an illuminated second focal plane EBR-1 reticle, 30mm main tube, side-focus parallax, plus a large, bright objective. What’s more, this scope weighs just 22 ounces — making it an ideal optic for a tactical or precision rifle, varmint blaster, or hunting rifle.
We use 1″-diameter Target Spots for sight-in and practice at 100-300 yards. These bright red/orange self-adhesive dots are easy to see. At 100 yards the high-contrast black diamond centers provide precise aiming points. We found this 10-pack of target spots on Amazon at a rock-bottom price. You get 630 total stick-on dots for just $9.65 with FREE Shipping. You can also get 360 Birchwood Casey 1″ dots from Midsouth for just $3.15, but shipping is extra. If you’re already ordering something from Midsouth, you may want to add the dots to your order.
8. Harbor Freight — 8-Drawer Rolling Tool Cabinet, $169.99
This 27″-wide Roller Tool Cabinet makes a nice addition to any loading room or workspace. The eight (8) drawers will hold tools, reamers, dies, and spare parts. Larger items (such as tumbling media), can be placed on the lower shelf. Now through the end of February, this rolling cabinet is on SALE for just $169.99. This is a two-piece cabinet, with six (6) drawers in the top section, and two (2) large drawers in the bottom unit. The two units bolt together. CLICK HERE for more details.
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6.5 Creedmoor (right) shown with .308 Win (left) and .243 Win (center) for comparison.
Though most popular for competition applications (PRS and XTC), the 6.5 Creedmoor is also a capable hunting cartridge. This month Norma spotlights the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge and outlines the game-harvesting capabilities of Norma 6.5 Creedmoor factory ammunition.
Origins of the 6.5 Creedmoor
Dave Emary, senior engineer at Hornady, asked fellow competitive shooters about their “wish list” for a mid-sized round with long-range potential. It needed to offer efficiency, good ballistics, fine accuracy, and reliable feeding from a magazine. To achieve these goals, Emary necked the .30 T/C to .264 caliber (6.5 mm). The shoulder on this case is well to the rear, so long bullets with high ballistic coefficients can be used in short actions. The efficient Creedmoor case and its modest powder charge deliver hard hits on big game while keeping recoil modest.
Hunting with the 6.5 Creedmoor
by Wayne van Zwoll
I learned about the 6.5 Creedmoor by way of a rifle from Todd Seyfert at Magnum Research. The Remington 700 action wears a carbon-fiber barrel with a Krieger stainless core. GreyBull Precision added a stock and a modified 4.5-14X Leupold scope. Its 1/3-minute elevation dial is calibrated specifically for 130-grain boat-tail spitzers at Creedmoor velocities. “Spin the elevation dial to the distance in yards, and aim dead-on.” said GreyBull’s Don Ward. Prone with a sling, I was soon banging steel at 500 yards.
By the charts, the 6.5 Creedmoor is a superb cartridge for deer-size game. But I caught only a late elk season with this new rifle. The 6.5×55 and .260 had taken elk for me; surely the Creedmoor would as well. Alas, the close shot I’d wanted, to ensure precise bullet placement, didn’t come. When on the final evening Don and I spied a bull far off, there was no approach. “Your call,” he shrugged. “The air is dead-still.” I snugged the sling, prone, and dialed to the yardage. Ribs spot-lit by a sinking sun, the bull paused. Craaack! The animal spun, sprinted and fell. That shot was twice as long as any I’d ever attempted at elk.
Whitetail hunting with a Ruger 77, then a trip to sub-Saharan Africa with a T/C Icon, kept the 6.5 Creedmoor in my ammo pouch. The T/C dropped a Vaal Rhebok at 250 yards, in stiff wind (photo below). Shorter pokes on a variety of game produced consistently quick kills. I found the Creedmoor’s limit with an eland.
A high ballistic coefficient helped a Creedmoor bullet slice stiff wind 250 yards to this Vaal Rhebok.
Since then, I’ve seen several animals brought to bag by the 6.5 Creedmoor. And I’ve used it in a variety of rifles on paper and steel targets to 1,200 yards. It has become one of my favorite cartridges for deer-size game. Its mild report and recoil make it easy to shoot accurately. It seems an inherently accurate cartridge too. I’ve punched half-minute groups from production-class rifles. The proliferation of hunting loads for the 6.5 Creedmoor includes none better than Norma’s 130-grain Scirocco. This sleek, polymer-nose bullet, with its 15° boat-tail and a G1 ballistic coefficient over .550, flies very flat. In expansion and penetration tests, it opens reliably down to 1,750 fps, and drives straight and deep. A bonded bullet, it stays in one piece after high-speed impact, routinely retaining more than 80 percent of its original weight.
Here’s a rifle that earned a Presidential medal. It has a unique heritage, having been used to shoot 3000 consecutive bulleyes in a single day. The year was 1926 and a high school shooter named Sam Moore hoped to set a record. With his trusty Winchester Model 52 rifle in hand, Moore fired 3,000 rounds downrange, only stopping when his rifle became too hot to hold and daylight was fading fast. But he had fired 3,000 consecutive bullseyes in NRA Junior Rifle competition (target at 50 feet). The event, which set a world record, received national attention.
Moore was summoned to Washington, DC on April 26, 1926 to meet President Calvin Coolidge. At the White House, President Coolidge presented Moore with a gold medal. The engraving on the back reads: “Presented to L.S. Moore by the President of the United States [on] behalf of the National Rifle Association. Junior Rifle Corps World Record — 3000 — consecutive bullseyes.”
Moore went on to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1931, helped develop the Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife, served in WWII as a USMC aviator and maintained his interest in shooting until his passing in 1982. Moore’s rifle and engraved gold medal were donated to the National Firearms Museum by his son David.
Here’s a little known fact that may startle most readers, even experienced gunsmiths: your barrel wears out in a matter of seconds. The useful life of a typical match barrel, in terms of actual bullet-in-barrel time, is only a few seconds. How can that be, you ask? Well you need to look at the actual time that bullets spend traveling through the bore during the barrel’s useful life. (Hint: it’s not very long).
If a bullet flies at 3000 fps, it will pass through a 24″ (two-foot) barrel in 1/1500th of a second. If you have a useful barrel life of 3000 rounds, that would translate to just two seconds of actual bullet-in-barrel operating time.
Ah, but it’s not that simple. Your bullet starts at zero velocity and then accelerates as it passes through the bore, so the projectile’s average velocity is not the same as the 3000 fps muzzle velocity. So how long does a centerfire bullet (with 3000 fps MV) typically stay in the bore? The answer is about .002 seconds. This number was calculated by Varmint Al, who is a really smart engineer dude who worked at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, a government think tank that develops neutron bombs, fusion reactors and other simple stuff.
On his Barrel Tuner page, Varmint Al figured out that the amount of time a bullet spends in a barrel during firing is under .002 seconds. Al writes: “The approximate time that it takes a 3300 fps muzzle velocity bullet to exit the barrel, assuming a constant acceleration, is 0.0011 seconds. Actual exit times would be longer since the bullet is not under constant acceleration.”
We’ll use the .002 number for our calculations here, knowing that the exact number depends on barrel length and muzzle velocity. But .002 is a good average that errs, if anything, on the side of more barrel operating life rather than less.
So, if a bullet spends .002 seconds in the barrel during each shot, and you get 3000 rounds of accurate barrel life, how much actual firing time does the barrel deliver before it loses accuracy? That’s simple math: 3000 x .002 seconds = 6 seconds.
Gone in Six Seconds. Want to Cry Now?
Six seconds. That’s how long your barrel actually functions (in terms of bullet-in-barrel shot time) before it “goes south”. Yes, we know some barrels last longer than 3000 rounds. On the other hand, plenty of .243 Win and 6.5-284 barrels lose accuracy in 1500 rounds or less. If your barrel loses accuracy at the 1500-round mark, then it only worked for three seconds! Of course, if you are shooting a “long-lived” .308 Win that goes 5000 rounds before losing accuracy, then you get a whopping TEN seconds of barrel life. Anyway you look at it, a rifle barrel has very little longevity, when you consider actual firing time.
People already lament the high cost of replacing barrels. Now that you know how short-lived barrels really are, you can complain even louder. Of course our analysis does give you even more of an excuse to buy a nice new Bartlein, Krieger, Shilen etc. barrel for that fine rifle of yours.
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If you load pistol or rifle ammo with a progressive press, we strongly recommend you get a Lock-Out Die from RCBS. This unique reloading die will prevent your progressive press from advancing if the dispensed powder charge is more or less than about 0.3 grains too high or too low. The Lock-Out Die really works. Your Editor uses it on his RCBS 2000 progressive press. I can affirm that a Lock-Out Die has “saved my bacon” a half-dozen times over the years when there was an over-charge (which could cause a Kaboom) or a low charge (which could cause a squib load).
The Lock-Out Die works by using a central die detection rod that sets its vertical position based on the height of the powder column in the case. Through an ingenious design, if the powder column height is too low or too high, the rod locks in place as you start to pull the press handle. This halts the press before the ram can lift and the cartridge plate can advance. Unlike a beeping alarm system (which can be ignored or defeated), the Lock-Out Die physically stops the movement of the press ram and prevents a bullet being seated in the “problem” case.
It takes a bit of tweaking to get the Lock-Out Die detection rod setting just right, but once it is correctly positioned, the Lock-Out Die works smoothly in the background. The Lock-Out Die won’t interfere with the loading process unless it detects a high or low charge — and then it positively stops the progressive loading cycle.
While crafted for use in RCBS progressive presses, the RCBS Lock-Out Die can also be used on a Dillon XL Progressive (see video below) or Hornady Lock-N-Load progressive — though it does take up one station which could otherwise be used for a final crimp die (after the seating die). The RCBS 2000 has one more station than a Dillon 550/650, so it’s an ideal platform for using the Lock-Out Die.
Learn More at UltimateReloader.com
On the UltimateReloader.com website, run by our friend Gavin, you’ll find an excellent two-part series on the function and set-up of the RCBS Lock-Out Die. Part One explains how the Lock-Out Die functions, using cut-away illustrations. Part Two shows how to install and adjust the Lock-Out Die on various progressive presses. The video below shows setup of the RCBS Lock-Out Die on the Dillon XL-650 progressive press.
We’ve been giving a lot of coverage to tactical rigs and gas guns lately, so we though it was time to showcase a purebred, state-of-the-art 1000-Yard Benchrest rig. This article features the impressive .284 Shehane Light Gun used by Henry Pasquet to capture the 2013 IBS 1000-yard Nationals.
With a 5″-wide “hammerhead” front and a special 3″-wide bag-rider plate in the rear, this 17-lb rig is ultra-stable in the bags, and tracks like a dream. In this story, Henry explains his set-up plus his processes for loading super-accurate ammo. Every long-range shooter can benefit from some of tips revealed here. And F-Class guys — if you’re shooting a .284 Win-based case in F-Open you should definitely read Henry’s precision reloading advice.
EDITOR: Guys, there is a ton of solid gold information in this article — take your time and read it carefully.
Yes old dogs can learn new tricks. Just five years ago Forum member Henry Pasquet (aka “HenryP”) got started in 1000-yard benchrest shooting. He was 66 at the time. Henry worked hard, learned fast, and pursued accuracy with a vengence. That all paid off when Henry won the 2013 IBS 1000-yard Nationals this summer, finishing as the Two-Gun Overall National Champion. Henry was kind enough to talk about his rifle, his reloading methods, and his strategy for success. In fact, Henry was eager to share “everything he knows, so that other guys can fast-track their learning process”. Henry told us: “I want to share every lesson I’ve learned, so that other guys can improve their game and enjoy the sport more.” Henry also wants to encourage other senior shooters: “If you pay attention to details (when reloading), and get a good rifle with a good barrel, age is not a handicap. With a good set-up, older guys can compete with anyone out there. This is one sport where you can be a champion in later life.”
Click on Rifle Photos to View Full-screen Versions
Q&A with Henry Pasquet, IBS 1000-Yard National Champion
Q: First, do you have any advice for older shooters getting started in their golden years?
Henry: You’re never too old. In this sport, you can excel even in your 60s, 70s and beyond. At this stage in life, we now have the time and money to get good equipment and rifles. Plus, our years of work experience help us to think, analyze, and thereby make progress. In this game, we older guys can definitely compete on a par with younger shooters.
Q: Tell us about your Nationals-winning rifle and bench gear. Is there anything unique about your hardware that gave you an edge?
Henry: At the Nationals, I used my 17-lb Light Gun for both Light and Heavy Class. This rifle has a 1.55″, round BAT LP/RE action, fitted with a Bartlein barrel chambered for the .284 Shehane (an improved version of the .284 Winchester). The barrel was near-new; this was the first time I had used it this year. A great barrel and great batch of Berger 180gr VLDs all made a difference. Jay Cutright chambers my barrels. Jay’s metal-work is so precise that I can screw any barrel he’s chambered to any BAT action I own. The laminated stock was modified by Tommy Shurley from a standard 3″-wide fore-end to a 5″-wide True-Trac with an adjustable 3″-wide rear plate. It’s not pretty but it tracks like a Heavy Gun stock. Tommy made my other stocks as well.
On top is a Nightforce 12-42x52mm Benchrest scope with CH-3 reticle. I used a Fulghum (Randolph Machine) front rest with an Edgewood bag made with the low-friction 3M material. In the rear I use a special-order Protekor rear “Doctor” bag with ears spaced 3 inches apart. The rear bag also has the new 3M material on contact surfaces (photo at right).
Q: During the Nationals, at the last minute you switched guns. Why did you go from a 6mm Dasher to a 7mm Shehane?
Henry: I had planned to use my Light and Heavy Dashers, but after placing the Dasher on the ready line, decided to switch to the .284 Shehane. It was still early in the morning and I felt that the heavier bullets would be easier to see against the berm. The Dasher had actually been giving tighter groups under perfect conditions, but seeing the impact is important.
Q: Tell us about the combined tuner/muzzle brake on some of your barrels. How does this improve rifle performance and how do you set the “tune”? Do you tune the barrel to the load?
Henry: I use a tuner or tuner/brake on every barrel. I started with Time Precision tuners. Art Cocchia advised getting a load with a good known accuracy node with minimum extreme spread, which controls vertical. Do not go for the hottest loads, which just reduces brass life. Then use the tuner and tune the barrel to the load. The .284 Light Gun needed a muzzle brake and tuner. I had a local gunsmith cut a thread on the muzzle brake for a tuner I got from Sid Goodling. (Eric Bostrom developed an almost identical unit at the same time. I use Eric’s tuner/brakes on all my new barrels.) Just before Nationals, I tried going up and down one marker. Down one mark cut the group in half! Think how much range time (and barrel life) that saved me. Using a tuner is easier than messing around changing loads and tweaking seating depths. Tuners definitely can work. Last year I shot a 3.348″ 10-shot group at 1000 with my .284 Win Heavy Gun fitted with a Time Precision Tuner.
Q: What are the advantages of your stock’s 5″-wide fore-end and 3″-wide rear plate? Is there a big difference in tracking and/or stability? Does the extra width make the rifle easier to shoot?
Henry: I had true Heavy Guns with 5-inch fronts and 3-inch rears. They tracked well. I felt the same result could be had with a Light Gun. I talked two stock makers into making them. I initially had the standard rear stock until Tommy Shurley and Mike Hearn came out with an adjustable rear plate. The stocks track perfectly. You can see your scope’s crosshairs stay on the target the whole time and push the rifle back for the next shot. There is no torquing (gun wobbling) when cycling the bolt. Us old guys need all the help we can get. I am getting rid of my 45-pound Heavy Guns and replacing them with Light Guns with heavy barrels.
Q: Some people say the .284 Shehane is not as accurate as the straight .284 Winchester. You’ve proved them wrong. Why do you like the .284 Shehane? More speed, less pressure?
Henry: The reason I rechambered my 7mm barrels to .284 Shehane was not velocity, pressure, or brass life. It was all about bolt lift. My straight .284 almost required me to stand up to eject brass. I damaged an extractor and had to send the bolt back to BAT. With the .284 Shehane, my bolt cycles like there is no case to eject.
Q: People want to know about your load and your loading methods. What can you reveal?
Henry: For my .284 Shehane at the Nationals, I loaded 52.5 grains of Hodgdon H4350 and Federal BR-2 primers behind Berger 180gr VLDs. I usually anneal the brass each winter. I have used the same brass for years. I use Redding bushing dies, apply Imperial sizing wax, resize, wipe off wax, clean and uniform the primers pockets using the RCBS Trim Mate Case prep center, then apply Imperial dry neck lube with a bore mop.
To dispense powder, I use a RCBS ChargeMaster set 0.1 grain below my desired load and then weigh them on a Sartorius GD-503 magnetic force restoration scale to get identical charges. I use a K&M Arbor Press with seating force gauge when seating the bullets with a Wilson inline die. My “target” seating force on the K&M dial is 20-23 units for Dashers and 35-40 units for the .284 Shehane. I put any variables aside for sighters. I do not weigh brass, bullets, or primers. My bullets were so consistent that I did not sort by bearing surface. I did trim the Berger VLDs to the shortest bullet length with a Hoover Trimmer, and then pointed the meplats just enough to close them with a Whidden pointer. I sort my bullets to 0.005″ overall length, rejecting about five percent.
Q: What kind of precision are you looking for in your reloads? Do you trickle to the kernel? Does this really help reduce extreme spread?
Henry: I try to keep my charge weights consistent to one kernel of powder. I use the Omega powder trickler with a Sartorius GD-503 lab-grade balance to achieve that. For accurate dispensing, put very little powder into the Omega so you can drop one kernel at a time. Single digit ES (Extreme Spread) is the goal. This does make a difference at 1000 yards. If you get the same push on the same bullet with the same neck tension, good things are going to happen.
Q: You believe consistent neck tension (i.e. grip on the bullet) is really important. What methods are you using to ensure consistent bullet release?
Henry: I apply Imperial dry neck lube to the inside of my case-necks with a bore mop. The K&M arbor with seating force gauge shows the need to do this. If you put a bullet into a clean case, it will be jerky when seating the bullet. You may see 40 units (on the K&M dial) dropping to 20, then slowly increasing pressure. I explained to a friend that not lubing the neck is like overhauling an engine without lubing the cylinders. Smooth entry gives the bullets a smooth release.
Q: You go 60-80 rounds between cleaning and the results speak for themselves. What is your barrel cleaning procedure? Do you think some guys clean too often or too aggressively?
Henry: I cringe when I see people wearing out their barrels with bronze brushes between relays. I clean my barrels at the end of each day when I get home. I shot my best-ever 1K Heavy Gun group (3.348″) at day’s end after 60 to 80 rounds. After trying other solvents, I have gone back to Wipe-out’s Carb-Out and Patch-Out products. I use about four patches of Carb-Out, let it sit a few minutes, then use one stroke of a nylon brush followed by Patch-Out until the barrel is clean. I use a bore mop to clean inside the chamber, then some Break Free LP on the bolt followed by bolt grease on the lugs and cocking part. I use a bore guide when anything goes down the barrel.
Shooting Skills and the Learning Process
Q: Henry, you can shoot long-distance on your own property in Missouri. How important is practice, and what do you do during a typical practice session?
Henry: I can shoot 1000 yards on my farm. I have a concrete bench using a slab from a yard furniture place on concrete blocks. Two 4 x 8 sheets of plywood hold four IBS targets. I never practice. I only test, keeping a notebook with all the info. I do most of my testing at 300 to 500 yards, shooting off my deck so I can see my shots immediately.
Q: How much of your success do you credit to really accurate rifles, versus superior shooting skills?
Henry: I do not consider myself another Carlos Hathcock or some master marksman. I am an average 1000-yard shooter, but I do work hard getting the most out of my rifles. Four other people have shot their first 1000-yard matches with my rifles, including my wife, and all of them won relays! I loaned my Dasher to another shooter two years ago and he got second at the 600-yard Nationals. Others will tell you that the rifle must be “on” to win. If your barrel or bullets are average, don’t expect to perform above average in competition.
Q: What you do enjoy most about long-range benchrest shooting? What are the attractions of this sport?
Henry: The sport offers good people and a real challenge. 1000-yard shooting keeps us all humble, but we still keep trying to see how good we can do. I am thankful for Robert Ross providing the only match location that I can shoot regularly.
Q: Henry, you have been a Forum member for many years. Have you learned important techniques from other Forum members and other shooters?
Henry: I have followed the AccurateShooter Forum since 2008. At my age I am not good at computers. I copied and analyzed many articles, especially on the .284 and the Dashers. Without AccurateShooter.com, I would probably still be shooting double-digit (10″+) groups at 1000 yards, and I sure wouldn’t have my name on a National Championship trophy.
Q: You are in your 70s now and have only been shooting competitively for a few years. How did you get so good so fast? How did you manage to beat shooters who are decades younger?
Henry: I had 20/10 vision when I was young, but am down to only 20/20. I have been interested in long range shooting for a long time including ground hog hunting. I went to some VHA jamborees also. In 2008, I went to the Williamsport Benchrest School with a friend from Pennsylvania, John Haas. We would compare notes frequently. I bought a BAT three lug from Tom Mousel in Montana. We also compared notes and made each other better. At IBS matches I studied other shooters’ equipment and techniques. I tried some, accepting some and rejecting some.
Here’s my advice:
Always be ready to learn something new. If it makes sense, try it. I would also encourage other older shooters not to quit. Stick to it. You can make enormous progress in a few seasons.
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At long range, small bullet holes are much easier to see “in the white” than in the black center of the normal High Power target. When you’re practicing at long range using a scoped rifle, one way to enhance your ability to see your bullet holes is to print a “negative” version of the regulation bullseye target so that your black center is now white.
How do you create a “negative” of a target image? Many image programs, including the FREE Irfanview software, have a “Negative” function in the pull-down menu. If you don’t see a “Negative” menu option in your program, look for a “substitute colors” option. Many printers also have a “reverse colors” function. If you can’t find a solution with your computer or printer, just take a normal bullseye target to a copy shop, and the staff can easily print you a set of targets with white centers in black fields.
Forum member Watercam has a Pentax PF-80ED spotting scope that allows him to see 6mm bullet holes in the white at 600 yards. However, 6mm holes in the black are only visible out to 400 yards or so. Accordingly, Watercam uses a modified “reversed” black-to-white target for 600-yard practice. Watercam explains: “[Using the Pentax] With my 6mm and limited mirage I see defined, 6mm holes in the white out to 600. In the black, however, I can see bullets holes at about 400. I now use reverse-color targets for training without a pit partner at the 600-yard line.”
The Hi-Viz Solution — Day-Glo Pasters
If you’re not concerned with official scoring rings, you can use an all-white target with a bright, fluorescent target dot in the middle. A 2″- or 3″-diameter stick-on target dot is highly visible at 600 yards. Birchwood Casey Target Spots® assortment #33928-TSA offers neon orange target dots in 1″, 2″, and 3″ diameters.
TARGET TIP — Use Chart Paper
For practice backers for the Day-GLo pasters at long distance, use Flip Chart Paper (aka Easel Pads) marked with graph lines at 1″ intervals. Available either regular or self-stick, one sheet can hold 4-8 pasters and the white paper allows for easy spotting of the holes and quick estimation of group size. Get Flip Chart Paper at Amazon.com, Staples, or Office Depot.
Brits Use White-Field Target for F-Class
In the UK, some ranges are now using a “reverse-style” target with a mostly white area. Laurie Holland says this allows shooters to see shots much more easily. Laurie reports: “Here’s a photo of the 500/600 yard F-Class match target we use in PSSA comps at Diggle Ranges with club members Chris Hull (L) and Terry Mann (R). We now use this target form at all ranges up to 1K for F-Class, and, yes you can often see your hits at 600 yards on the target before the markers pull it. Regards from England — Laurie”.
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To err is human… Sooner or later you’ll probably get a case stuck in a die. This “fix-it” article, which originally appeared in the Western Powders Blog, explains the procedure for removing a firmly stuck cartridge case using an RCBS kit. This isn’t rocket science, but you do want to follow the directions carefully, step-by-step. Visit the Western Powders Blog for other helpful Tech Tips.
Curing the Stuck Case Blues
Sticking a case in the sizer die is a rite of passage for the beginning handloader. If you haven’t done it yet, that’s great, but it probably will eventually happen. When it does, fixing the problem requires a bit of ingenuity or a nice little kit like the one we got from RCBS.
The first step is to clear the de-capping pin from the flash hole. Just unscrew the de-capping assembly to move it as far as possible from the primer pocket and flash hole (photo at right). Don’t try to pull it all the way out. It won’t come. Just unscrew it and open as much space as possible inside the case.
Place the die upside down in the padded jaws of a vise and clamp it firmly into place. Using the supplied #7 bit, drill through the primer pocket. Be careful not to go too deeply inside the cartridge once the hole has opened up. It is important to be aware that the de-capping pin and expander ball are still in there and can be damaged by the bit.
Drill and Tap the Stuck Case
Once the cartridge head has been drilled, a ¼ – 20 is tap is used to cut threads into the pocket. Brass is relatively soft compared to a hardened tap, so no lube is needed for the tapping process. RCBS says that a drill can be used for this step, but it seems like a bit of overkill in a project of this nature. A wrench (photo above right) makes short work of the project.
RCBS supplies a part they call the “Stuck Case Remover Body” for the next step. If you are a do-it-yourselfer and have the bit and tap, this piece is easily replicated by a length of electrical conduit of the proper diameter and some washers. In either case, this tool provides a standoff for the screw that will do the actual pulling.
With an Allen Wrench, Finish the Job
Run the screw through the standoff and into the tapped case head. With a wrench, tighten the screw which hopefully pulls the case free. Once the case is free, clamp the case in a vice and pull it free of the de-capping pin. There is tension here because the sizing ball is oversized to the neck dimension as part of the sizing process. It doesn’t take much force, but be aware there is still this last little hurdle to clear before you get back to loading. Don’t feel bad, everyone does this. Just use more lube next time!
Article find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Shoot 101 Quiz
How much of an expert are you when it comes to firearms and ballistics? Test your knowledge with this interactive test. Vista Outdoors (formerly ATK Sporting Group) has launched a new multi-platform media campaign called Shoot 101, which provides “how to” information about shooting, optics, and outdoor gear.
On the Shoot 101 website, you’ll find a Ballistics Quiz. The questions are pretty basic, but it’s still fun to see if you get all the answers correct.
You don’t need a lot of technical knowledge. Roughly a third of the questions are about projectile types and bullet construction. Note, for some reason the layout doesn’t show all the possible answers at first. So, for each question, be sure to scroll down using the blue scroll bar on the right.
Here’s a very sweet deal on a handsome Winchester hunting rig with detachable box mag. Right now Cabelas.com is offering $170.00 off a Winchester XPR. Plus there’s a $50.00 Mail-in Rebate. That reduces your net cost for the rifle to $349.99. That’s a great deal for a rifle with a smooth bolt action (with 60° lift), nice trigger, and detachable box magazine. This XPR is offered is a wide variety of chamberings including: .243 Win, 7mm-08, .270 Win, .308 Win, .30-06 Springfield, .300 WSM. The rifle has nice controls — two-position safety, bolt-release button, and cocking indicator. The action comes drilled and tapped for scope mounts. GO TO DEAL PAGE.
Button-rifled, free-floating steel barrel with recessed target crown
Smooth nickel-Teflon-coated bolt
Vias camouflage composite stock with textured panels
M.O.A. adjustable trigger system
QUICK REVIEW: We’ve shot this rifle, and we like it much better than most entry-level hunting rigs from other USA manufacturers. The ergos are good, the action runs smoothly and feeds reliably. A verified buyer states: “No frills hunting rifle that is extremely accurate. Winchester wanted their piece of the pie in the entry level rifle market and they seemed to nail this one. Shoots sub-MOA with cheap factory ammo. I would put this a step ahead of the Ruger American and the Savage Axis and a step below the Tikka T3, but it’s also cheaper than the T3.” We agree 100% with that assessment. If you’re looking for a basic hunting rig, this is a very good buy at $349.99 (after rebate).
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Sean Murphy, Nightforce Optics Marketing Manager, shoots what he sells. Sean recently competed at the inaugural PRS Gas Gun match held February 17-19, 2017 at the CORE Shooting Solutions range in Baker, Florida. Here is Sean’s report:
PRS Gas Gun Match at CORE by Sean Murphy
The series-opening PRS Gas Gun match is in the books. Ryan Castle put on a fun match to help set the tone for what this series will become. There were plenty of challenges for both the PRS and 3-Gun competitor. The best way I can explain it is to go as fast as you can because time matters, and then don’t miss because the penalties for leaving targets are harsh. I am looking forward to shooting more of these matches and would encourage any of my PRS and 3-Gun friends to give one a try.
Congratulations to the USAMU’s Tyler Payne (right) for the exhibition on how to shoot this and a very commanding overall win. [Payne won overall and high military with a score that was 25% higher than the next-best finisher.] Also congrats to Rhett Walters and Terry Cross for their first-place and second-place finishes in Tac Lite (and 2nd/3rd overall). I was fortunate to place third in Tac Lite and 4th overall for the match. Thank you to FALKOR Defense for the prize table contribution.
Squad 4 was a lot of fun and I was fortunate to shoot with some of our nation’s finest warriors and competitors. It was great to see various military guys in attendance refining their craft. It was great as always to see all of my friends at the match and make new ones. While I love shooting, the people are why I keep coming back.
Gas guns to 800 yards, yep there are targets down there somewhere…
Jeff Cramblit Facebook photo
Gas Gun Match Loads — Short Range vs. Long Range The .223/5.56 guns had some lag time waiting on shot impacts. I believe the long-term solution may be to find a light and fast load for closer stages for near-instant reaction time and use a heavy load for the long shots to see splash and get the target to move a little more. — Sean Murphy
GEAR Selections for PRS Gas Gun Matches
OPTICS for the PRS Gas Gun Series
I was proud to see Nightforce Optics well represented on guns, with the ATACR 4-16×42 F1 seeming to be a solid choice for many competitors. My optic of choice is an ATACR 16x F1 with a Horus H59 reticle. For this style match the magnification range, Zero-Hold adjustment and wide field of view are a perfect combination. We had some smoke roll in from area fires on Sunday, and the ED glass was an aid in finding the targets in deep haze and shadows. Because of the time component [stages are “on the clock”], being able to shoot with holdovers is key, as well as being able to make fast corrections on follow-up shots. The H59 or TReMoR 3 will be strong contenders for this.
BARREL Choice — Proof Carbon-Wrapped
I shot a 20″ PROOF Research carbon fiber-wrapped barrel that was expertly installed by Greg Hamilton himself. It shot lights out while keeping the gun light and handy for movement and getting in/out of multiple positions.
While I like the Geissele Automatics, LLC Super 3-Gun (S3G) trigger for carbines as it’s really fast, I went with their DMR trigger for a more refined break that helped on the 600-800 yard shots.
The preferred rifle color choice at the first PRS “Gasser” Match was definitely black…
AMMUNITION Choice (.223 Rem/5.56x45mm)
My ammunition of choice for this match was Black Hills 77gr .223 Rem. The ammo shot outstanding, especially at longer ranges. I believe the long-term solution may be to find a light and fast load for closer stages for near instant reaction time and use a heavy load for the long shots to see splash and get the target to move a little more. The .223/5.56 guns had some lag time waiting on shot impacts, so finding a way to speed that up over 20 or so shots might save a few seconds per stage.
BALLISTICS Solver and Wind Meter
I continue to love my Kestrel 5700 AB. It was very confidence inspiring to show up at the range, get my atmospherics and run accurate data to get first round hits all the way to 800 yards.
BAGS and Gear
The precision rifle game seems to require an assortment of bags and other gear for the various shooting positions to conquer. My Armageddon Gear and Wiebad bags and gear continue to deliver and hold up to much abuse.
Scoring and Penalties
The Gas Gun Series utilizes a time plus penalty-based scoring system for all match scoring. This means the score is the shooter’s total combined time on all stages plus any penalties accrued.
Penalties are as follows:
30 seconds for any rifle targets not engaged or neutralized.
15 seconds for any pistol targets not engaged or neutralized.
15 seconds for hitting a “No Shoot” target.
No more than 50% of the stages at a match can utilize an unlimited round count. At least 25% of the targets in Gas Gun Series match must be 2 MOA or smaller. Max distance is 800 yards.
Open Division: The Open Division rifles will not exceed a caliber of .30 or a velocity of 3,200 fps. A match DQ will result any rounds over the speed limit of 3,200 fps (+/- 32 fps for environmental factors and equipment discrepancies). Match Officials may request at any point during a match that a competitor fire their rifle through chronograph. If the bullet exceeds the 3,200 fps speed limit, the shooter will receive an automatic match DQ.
Tactical Light Division: Intended to allow competitors the opportunity tocompete using traditional military and law enforcement caliber. This promotes Active Duty military and law enforcement competitors use of their Service and Department-issued rifles. Tactical Light Division rifles are restricted to 5.56 NATO/.223 Remington calibers only. Bullet weight cannot exceed 77 grains and muzzle velocity cannot exceed 3,000 fps.
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Berger Twist-Rate Stability Calculator
On the updated Berger Bullets website you’ll find a handy Twist-Rate Stability Calculator that predicts your gyroscopic stability factor (SG) based on mulitiple variables: velocity, bullet length, bullet weight, barrel twist rate, ambient temperature, and altitude. This very cool tool tells you if your chosen bullet will really stabilize in your barrel.
LIVE DEMO BELOW — Just enter values in the data boxes and click “Calculate SG”.
How to Use Berger’s Twist Rate Calculator
Using the Twist Rate Calculater is simple. Just enter the bullet DIAMETER (e.g. .264), bullet WEIGHT (in grains), and bullet overall LENGTH (in inches). On its website, Berger conveniently provides this info for all its bullet types. For other brands, we suggest you weigh three examples of your chosen bullet, and also measure the length on three samples. Then use the average weight and length of the three. To calculate bullet stability, simply enter your bullet data (along with observed Muzzle Velocity, outside Temperature, and Altitude) and click “Calculate SG”. Try different twist rate numbers (and recalculate) until you get an SG value of 1.4 (or higher).
Gyroscopic Stability (SG) and Twist Rate
Berger’s Twist Rate Calculator provides a predicted stability value called “SG” (for “Gyroscopic Stability”). This indicates the Gyroscopic Stability applied to the bullet by spin. This number is derived from the basic equation: SG = (rigidity of the spinning mass)/(overturning aerodynamic torque).
A full 54″ long inside, this Plano case will hold big rifles with 30-31″ barrels. This case is very sturdy, and will survive rough handling at airports. The case has tough latches, watertight seals, and wheels for easy transport. Right now this case is just $111.50 with Free Shipping for Amazon Prime members. This is the lowest price ever on Plano’s largest gun case.
One buyer confirms this Plano case will fit long match rifles: “It holds two 17-lb bench rifles with 30″ barrels. It is very heavily made — even more stout than a Pelican 1750. Only draw back is the weight with two guns, over 60 pounds. But for shipping guns to a match, even the airline baggage handlers couldn’t damage this case! Case is great for two long guns!” (Smitty)
Another certified buyer states: “I bought this case for a Savage 110BA .338 Lapua Magnum, and it’s so nice that I just bought a second one for a 50 BMG. There are very few rifle cases that will fit the larger rifles… and this is a great choice for the heavy caliber rifles with long barrels.” (Bruce L.)
Plano’s new Field Locker line of gun cases features reinforced construction, watertight seals, double-density foam, industrial draw-down latches and customizable inserts. These quality cases, engineered to military specifications, rival the protection offered by Pelican and SKB cases at less than half the price.
+ Cut to Fit Foam
+ Extra Wide Latches
+ Wheeled case for ease of transport
+ Cases designed to stack and interlock
+ Exterior 56.38″ x 18″ x 7.25″
+ Interior 54″ x 15″ x 6.38″
Model number#: 109540
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There is an excellent article about Mirage on the South Texas Marksmanship Training Center (STMTC) website. This article explains what causes mirage and how mirage can move the perceived aiming point on your target. Most importantly, the article explains, in considerable detail, how you can “read” mirage to discern wind speeds and wind directions.
Mirage Is Your Friend
While hot days with lots of mirage can be frustrating, mirage can reveal how the wind is flowing (and changing). If you learn how to recognize and read mirage patterns, you can use that information to shoot higher scores. That’s why many leading long-range shooters tell us: “Mirage is your friend.” As the STMTC article explains: “A mirage condition is not a handicap, since it offers a very accurate method of perceiving small wind changes[.]”
Mirage Illustrated with Diagrams
With simple but effective graphic illustrations, this is one of the best explanations of mirage (and mirage reading) we have found on the internet. This is a “must-read” for any serious competitive shooter. Here is a brief sample from the article, along with an illustration. NOTE: the full article is six times longer and has 8 diagrams.
The term “mirage” as used by the shooter does not refer to a true mirage, but to heat waves and the refraction of light as it is bent passing through air layers of different density. Light which passes obliquely from one wind medium to another it undergoes an abrupt change in direction, whenever its velocity in the second medium is different from the velocity in the first wind medium; the shooter will see a “mirage”.
The density of air, and therefore its refraction, varies with its temperature. A condition of cool air overlaying warm air next to the ground is the cause of heat waves or “mirage”. The warm air, having a lower index of refraction, is mixed with the cooler air above by convection, irregularly bending the light transmitting the target image to the shooter’s eye. Figure 1 shows (greatly exaggerated) the vertical displacement of the target image by heat waves.
Heat waves are easily seen with the unaided eye on a hot, bright day and can be seen with spotting scope on all but the coldest days. To observe heat waves, the scope should be focused on a point about midway to the target. This will cause the target to appear slightly out of focus, but since the high power rifle shooter generally does not try to spot bullet holes, the lack in target clarity is more than compensated by clarity of the heat waves.
Story tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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This Wednesday, February 22nd, Shooting USA TV features the Bushnell Brawl, a tactical competition that draws top long-range shooters from military, law enforcement and civilian shooting communities. The match is held at the famed Rifles Only range in Kingsville, Texas. The Brawl is a one-of-a-kind physical and mental challenge that tests shooters’ abilities to read wind, figure ballistics, and adapt to difficult shooting scenarios. There is even a helicopter stage.
Helicopter Stage at 2014 Bushnell Brawl in Texas:
Shooting from a helicopter, shooting off of a wire, and shooting from the physically demanding maze called the Mouse Trap. These are just a few of the unique courses of fire at the Bushnell Brawl, part of the PRS series. Over the course of two days, competitors tackle more than a dozen stages. In addition, Bushnell hosted a special one-day event for the new PRS Production Class. This new division should attract new shooters by limiting the cost of equipment — making PRS competition more affordable.
This image is from Bushnell Brawl Barricade Stage (SEE Video):
New PRS Production Division — Lowering the Cost of Entry
The Production Division is a new PRS classification. Under Production Division rules, the rifle must not exceed $2000.00, and rifle + scope combined must not exceed $3000.00. All other accessories, such as bipod, rear bag, and the sling, can be added at the shooter’s own discretion. Even with these cost limits, you can put together a great rig: “There’s a lot of gear out there that’s not that expensive,” says Production Division Match Director Jacob Bynum. For example, you can get the new Tikka T3X TAC A1 in 6.5 Creedmoor for $1798.00.
Shooting USA Hour on Wednesday Primetime
AIR TIMES BY TIME ZONE
Eastern Time: Wednesday 9:30PM, 1:00 AM
Central Time: Wednesday 8:30 PM, Midnight
Mountain Time: Wednesday 7:30 PM, 11:00 PM
Pacific Time: Wednesday 6:30 PM, 10:00 PM
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What if you could see a speeding bullet in the milliseconds it exits the muzzle of a pistol? How cool would that be… Well, the Mythbusters folks (Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman) have made that possible. Using an exotic Phantom super-high-speed camera running at 73,000 frames per second, the Mythbusters recorded a .45 ACP bullet being fired from a 1911-type handgun.
Watch Mythbusters Super-Slow-Motion Pistol Video:
What unfolds is spectacular. First you see a ball of flame as the bullet emerges from the barrel of the 1911, then two distinct, separate swirling clouds form as the bullet races toward the target. Watch the video a couple times — it’s mesmerizing.
Co-host Adam Savage is nearly rendered speechless by the remarkable slow-motion footage from the Phantom. Filmed at 73,000 frames per second, the video reveals a dance of pressure and fire that would otherwise be missed by the unaided eye.
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Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks
One of the first things new reloaders notice is that load data varies between reloading manuals. The Sierra Bullets Technicians frequently get inquiries asking us to explain why the load data appears to be inconsistent. This article explains five key factors that can influence published load data.
Example of load data variances for two 168 grain bullets:
Here are five reasons why the load data varies:
Basically, the similarities in the .30 caliber 168 grain Match bullets (for example) end with weight and diameter. The bullets likely have dimensional differences such as bearing surface length. Bearing surface has a large effect on pressure and velocity. There are also differences in boat tail, flat base, ogive and over-all lengths, which each help determine the cartridge over-all-length (COAL). With different COAL’s, we can expect changes in pressure and velocity also. In some calibers there are differences in bullet diameter with different bullet manufacturers.
It is also worth noting that bullet manufacturers do not all use the same copper alloy for their jackets. This produces more or less friction that results in load pressures and velocities. The solid copper bullets also vary quite a bit in comparison to a lead core and copper jacketed bullet.
Each gun is unique, even if you are using the same make, model, and caliber. Special consideration should be used to consider that not all firearm chambers are the same either, creating more variables that need consideration. There can be drastic differences in the throat length. This controls the amount of “jump” that a bullet experiences when the cartridge is fired.
Within normal manufacturing tolerances, you can see some variation in a given powders burn rate between different lots of the same powder. So naturally when two different Manuals are produced, it would be doubtful that the same lots would be tested.
The Cartridge Cases
New cases are almost always near minimum specs in dimension. A load fired in a new case would likely have slightly more pressure that when fired in a re-sized case. This would certainly be true if we were loading into fire-formed cases that have had minimal re-sizing done. Fired cases that are full length resized most of the time be slightly larger than the new unfired cases. This gives you differences in case capacity. The same powder charge placed within a new case and a full length resized case will produce different pressure levels and probably different velocities.
Temperature can cause pressure increases or decreases. Hot temperatures tend to cause pressures to increase, while cold temperatures will usually do the opposite. Humidity and altitude can impact pressures and velocities likewise.
As you can see, an amazing number of variables effect any load combination. With the differences in the manuals, you’re just seeing firsthand examples of what took place when the data was collected with that particular set of components and firearm. Think of a reloading manual as a report. In essence, a reloading manual says, “We tried this particular component combination, and these are the results we obtained.”
Remember that you may or may not reach the same maximum load safely. There is no “one load fits all bullets.” The minimum load data offers a safe place to start. The maximum load data listed should always be regarded as a safety guideline and not necessarily a goal! Your gun should shoot accurately without breaching the maximum load data. The best advice is: always start low and work your load up!
If you have questions about variances in load data or other reloading questions, please call our ballistic technicians at 1-800-223-8799 or send us an email at sierra [at] sierrabullets.com.
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