August 12th, 2017

ICFRA F-Class World Championships Commence in Canada

FCWC F-Class World Championships

The F-Class World Championships (FCWC) commence today at the Connaught Ranges outside Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. We wish good luck to all the competitors. Based on the conditions at the recent Canadian F-Class National Championships, conditions could be challenging.

F-Class World Championships EVENT SCHEDULE:
Friday, August 11 (REST DAY – RANGE CLOSED)
Competitor Check-In for FCWC; Rifle Inspection; International Teams Reception
Saturday, August 12: Opening Ceremonies; ICFRA FCWC (Individual)
Sunday, August 13: ICFRA FCWC (Individual)
Monday, August 14: ICFRA FCWC (Individual); Awards Prize Giving
Tuesday, August 15: TEAM PRACTICE DAY
Wednesday, August 16: ICFRA FCWC (Teams)
Thursday, August 17: ICFRA FCWC (Teams): Awards Prize Giving & Closing Ceremonies

Tips for Success at the F-Class Worlds — #1, Avoid Train Wrecks

As an assist to all the competitors, we’re repeating an article by Bryan Litz, which many have found very helpful — how to avoid “Train Wrecks” at major championships.

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballistics

When you have a major, critical problem at a shooting match, i.e. a “train wreck”, this can be the end of your weekend. In this article, Ballistics Guru Bryan Litz talks about “train wrecks” — the big disasters (such as equipment failures) that can ruin a whole match. A recent USA F-TR Champion, Bryan illustrates the types of “train wrecks” that commonly befall competitors, and he explains how to avoid these “unmitigated disasters”.

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

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!

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August 12th, 2017

Caldwell Target Cam — Real World Reviews by Forum Members

caldwell long range target cam system forum accurateshooter.com review

We’ve used a variety of target cam systems — When you get a good one, they are a great tool for training and load development, and just fun shooting.

Over the past five years we’ve tested many target cam systems. To be frank, some have been disappointing, but we think the Caldwell Target Cam System works well. A number of our Forum members have purchased this system and the reviews have been generally quite positive — image quality is good, reception is good, software is good, and storage cases work well. The only complaint is that the flexible camera arm can droop with time. READ Target Cam Forum Reviews.

Caldwell Target Cam Review by Nando-AS
“I have been using the Caldwell camera for over a year and it works great for me in every respect. I use it mainly at 600 yards, but I have also used it at 1000 yards successfully. In my case, as opposed to the experience posted by Snakepit (see below), the flexible arm that supports the camera is as tight as when it was brand new. The only thing that has broken so far is the plastic top on one of the two stakes supplied to steady the tripods to the ground. Instead of the stakes, I now use a couple of heavy shooting bags. I just place one bag over one of the legs of the tripod, and that is good enough.”

Target Cam Output with camera placed 600 yards from shooter:
caldwell long range target cam system forum accurateshooter.com review

Target Cam view at 600 yards: Blue ring is three inches, outer circle is six inches. I use a Samsung Tablet to display the image. I zoom in when actually shooting — so each target fills the screen.

Caldwell Target Cam Review by Shoot4Fun
“Caldwell Target Camera owner here. It comes neatly packed in a soft case and even has two stands for the camera/transmitter and the receiver units. I have only used it to 500 yards though they do call it a one-mile system. The resolution is very good and it has some neat features for capturing and labeling your targets. I did buy two Tallantcell USB packs to power it but it has internal batteries as well. The App works with my iPad or my iPhone and I’m sure there is an Android version too. I see them on sale from time to time at under $375 complete.”

Caldwell Target Cam Review by SnakePit
“I have the Caldwell Target Camera system and it works great. I mainly use it at 600 yards and the transmitter has enough power that I do not have to use the receiver at the bench for my tablet or cell phone. But Caldwell needs to do something with the flexible arm that holds the camera to the tripod. It becomes loose after a while and the camera wants to droop down. Caldwell sent me a replacement flexible arm but it is starting to have the same problem. You can get it to work when this happens but it can be a hassle. Other than that it is a great system for the price and I would buy another one.”

Important Features of a Target Cam System
Key qualities you’ll want in a target cam system are: ease of set-up, good video resolution, effective range (good signal quality/strength), good battery run-time, and the ability to use WiFi-enabled devices for viewing. Caldwell’s new Long-Range Target Camera offers all these things, making it an impressive new product for the price — $359.95 at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Some other target cam systems on the market cost twice as much, yet lack key features of the Caldwell system.

Watch Video, Record Video, Capture Stills, Measure Group Size and more…
The Caldwell LR Target Camera is very versatile, allowing you to both watch and record video and/or stills on any WiFi-enabled device. A free iOS/Android Mobile App allows you to record video, save still pictures, add notes, calculate group size, and save session info. This video shows the complete set-up process and how to use the free App. It shows actual Target Cam output on a WiFi-enabled tablet:

Caldwell Ballistic Precision LR Target Camera

    Caldwell LR Target Camera Features:
    — High Definition (720p) camera delivers sharp image with good detail.
    — WiFi output is compatible with Android, iPhone and most tablets.
    — System can stream live HD video, record video, and save still images.
    — Camera, transmitter, and receiver are contained in sturdy, waterproof housings.
    — Breaks down into custom-fitted storage case for easy transport.
    — Rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries run system for up to 6 hours continuously.
    — External power jack for more permanent installation.
    — Target Camera Mobile App for iOS and Android devices.
    — Includes two collapsible, tripod-base Antenna/router stands.
    — Positionable, spring-loaded camera clamp.

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August 12th, 2017

Figure Out Exact Barrel Weight with PacNor Calculator

Online Pac-Nor Barrel Calculator

Can you guess what your next barrel will weigh? In many competition disciplines, “making weight” is a serious concern when putting together a new match rifle. A Light Varmint short-range Benchrest rifle cannot exceed 10.5 pounds including scope. An F-TR rifle is limited to 18 pounds, 2 oz. (8.25 kg) with bipod.

One of the heaviest items on most rifles is the barrel. If your barrel comes in much heavier than expected, it can boost the overall weight of the gun significantly. Then you may have to resort to cutting the barrel, or worse yet, re-barreling, to make weight for your class. In some cases, you can remove material from the stock to save weight, but if that’s not practical, the barrel will need to go on a diet. (As a last resort, you can try fitting a lighter scope.)

Is there a reliable way to predict, in advance, how much a finished barrel will weigh? The answer is “yes”. PAC-NOR Barreling of Brookings, Oregon has created a handy, web-based Barrel Weight Calculator. Just log on to Pac-Nor’s website and the calculator is free to use. Pac-Nor’s Barrel Weight Calculator is pretty sophisticated, with separate data fields for Shank Diameter, Barrel Length, Bore Diameter — even length and number of flutes. Punch in your numbers, and the Barrel Weight Calculator then automatically generates the weight for 16 different “standard” contours.

Calculator Handles Custom Contours
What about custom contours? Well the Pac-Nor Barrel Weight Calculator can handle those as well. The program allows input of eight different dimensional measurements taken along the barrel’s finished length, from breech to muzzle. You can use this “custom contour” feature when calculating the weight of another manufacturer’s barrel that doesn’t match any of Pac-Nor’s “standard” contours.

Caution: Same-Name Contours from Different Makers May Not be Exactly the Same
One final thing to remember when using the Barrel Weight Calculator is that not all “standard” contours are exactly the same, as produced by different barrel-makers. A Medium Palma contour from Pac-Nor may be slightly different dimensionally from a Krieger Medium Palma barrel. When using the Pac-Nor Barrel Weight Calculator to “spec out” the weight of a barrel from a different manufacturer, we recommend you get the exact dimensions from your barrel-maker. If these are different that Pac-Nor’s default dimensions, use the “custom contour” calculator fields to enter the true specs for your brand of barrel.

Smart Advice — Give Yourself Some Leeway
While Pac-Nor’s Barrel Weight Calculator is very precise (because barrel steel is quite uniform by volume), you will see some small variances in finished weight based on the final chambering process. The length of the threaded section (tenon) will vary from one action type to another. In addition, the size and shape of the chamber can make a difference in barrel weight, even with two barrels of the same nominal caliber. Even the type of crown can make a slight difference in overall weight. This means that the barrel your smith puts on your gun may end up slightly heavier or lighter than the Pac-Nor calculation. That’s not a fault of the program — it’s simply because the program isn’t set up to account for chamber volume or tenon length.

What does this mean? In practical terms — you should give yourself some “wiggle room” in your planned rifle build. Unless you’re able to shave weight from your stock, do NOT spec your gun at one or two ounces under max based on the Pac-Nor calculator output. That said, the Pac-Nor Barrel Weight Calculator is still a very helpful, important tool. When laying out the specs for a rifle in any weight-restricted class, you should always “run the numbers” through a weight calculator such as the one provided by Pac-Nor. This can avoid costly and frustrating problems down the road.

Credit Edlongrange for finding the Pac-Nor Calculator
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