August 23rd, 2017

Shooting USA Spotlights Texas Benchrest Varmint Silhouette

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

If you like accurate rifles and reactive targets, you’ll enjoy this episode of Shooting USA TV, which features long-range varmint silhouette competition in Texas, the Lone Star State. We have participated in these kind of matches on the West Coast — they are definitely a ton of fun. The sport combines the pure accuracy of benchrest competition with the fun of knocking down critter targets. These are smaller than standard silhouettes, so it’s quite a challenge to hit them at 300 yards and beyond. In this episode, host John Scoutten competes with his 6.5 Creedmoor PRS rifle. He found that 1-MOA Coyotes offered plenty of challenge at 385 meters! Most shooters use benchrest-grade rifles with premium front rests.

EDITOR: We strongly recommend you take the time to watch this Shooting USA feature — it shows some top-flight benchrest rifles, and also covers the origins of benchrest varmint silhouette in Pennsylvania. There are even some AccurateShooter Forum members on screen. John Scoutten also does nice job explaining the challenges of shooting this discipline with a PRS rig. We think any benchrest or tactical shooter will really enjoy watching this video.

Full 48-Minute Episode of Shooting USA featuring TX Varmint Silhouette:

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

Travis Frazier of Field & Cave Outfitters says shooters love the reactive targets: “The most exciting thing is seeing your hits — these [targets] really go airborne”. Yep, that’s the best thing about Varmint Silhouette matches — hits deliver instant gratification. Travis designs and produces these steel targets.

This Texas match features multiple target shapes, 10 at each distance: Tiny Prairie Dogs at 200m, 3″x3″ Armadillos at 300m; 3″x5″ Coyotes at 385m; 5″x4″ Hogs at 500m; Chickens (on swingers) at 600 yards; and Pigs (on Swingers) at 750 yards. Competitors are allowed 10 rounds and 10 minutes to hit each set of targets.

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

BONUS Features in this Shooting USA Episode

Rimfire Challenge World Championship
This episode also includes the Rimfire Challenge World Championship in Alabama (starting at 33:25). This event attracts hundreds of shooters who ring steel with .22 LR rifles and pistols. This may be the ultimate fun match for the whole family. Many of the top shooters are juniors, who can run the all-steel stages in three seconds. The 16 stages each have 5 to 8 steel targets that can be shot in any order, but the last round must go on the red-marked “Stop Plate”.

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

History of the Gun: Remington 700
This week’s gun history segment of Shooting USA features the Remington 700, one of the most successful bolt-action rifles ever, with over 5 million produced. The Rem 700 has served hunters, military marksmen, and Rem 700 actions have been used for countless competition rifles.

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten.

Permalink - Videos, Competition, Hunting/Varminting, Tactical No Comments »
August 23rd, 2017

Seventy Years of Sierra Bullets — The Company History

Sierra Bullets Carroll Pilant MatchKing Bullet SMK Bullet-making Jacket
Here is the original Sierra manufacturing facility in Whittier, CA.

On August 22, 2017 it was announced that Sierra Bullets has been sold to Clarus Corporation (NASDAQ: CLAR), a Utah-based holding company that also owns Black Diamond Equipment Ltd., makers of ski and mountain gear/apparel. Given the importance of this acquisition, we thought our readers might want to learn more about Sierra’s history, and how it makes its bullets…

Sierra Bullets — How It Got Started

Report Based on Story by Carroll Pilant, Sierra Bullets Media Relations Manager
What became Sierra Bullets started in the late 1940s in a Quonset hut in California. In 1947, three aircraft machinists, Frank Snow, Jim Spivey, and Loren Harbor, rented machine space to produce rivets for the aircraft industry along with fishing rod guides and rifle front sight ramps. In the post-WWII years, sport shooting was becoming hugely popular, but quality ammunition was in short supply. For shooting enthusiasts, reloading was the solution to the ammo supply shortage. Snow, Spivey, and Harbor recognized this, creating Sierra Bullets to help fill the void. Before long, they were selling a 53-grain match bullet to the Hollywood Gun Shop. These bullets are still in production today as the Sierra #1400 53-grain MatchKing.

A few years later, an accomplished competitive shooter named Martin Hull joined Sierra. Hull helped develop new bullet types and served as manager of Sierra’s ballistics laboratory for nearly 20 years. With Hull’s help, Sierra’s output grew rapidly. The California company outgrew several locations before it moved to a large facility in Santa Fe Springs, CA, in 1963.

New Owners and New President in the Late Sixties
In 1968, the Leisure Group bought Sierra Bullets. Other Leisure Group companies included Lyman Reloading, High Standard Manufacturing Company, Yard Man, Thompson Sprinkler Systems, Flexible Flyer Sleds, and Dodge Trophies (Which made the Oscar and Rose Bowl Game trophies).

Soon after purchasing Sierra, the Leisure Group hired Robert Hayden as President and General Manager. Hayden was a mechanical engineer who had worked for Remington Arms. Hayden remained the president of Sierra for 42 years, retiring in 2012 when Pat Daly became president.

Sierra Moves to Missouri
In 1990, Sierra relocated to Sedalia, Missouri, where the company remains today. Sierra Bullets now employs over 100 people including five full-time ballistic technicians who answer daily reloading and firearms questions by both phone and e-mail.

Sierra Bullets Carroll Pilant MatchKing Bullet SMK Bullet-making Jacket

The Making of MatchKings — How Sierra Produces SMKs

All Sierra bullets begin life as a strip of gilding metal, an alloy consisting of 95% copper and 5% zinc. To meet Sierra’s strict quality requirements, the gilding metal requires three times more dimensional and quality control standards than is considered standard in the copper manufacturing industry.

Sierra Bullets Carroll Pilant MatchKing Bullet SMK Bullet-making Jacket

A blanking press stamps out a uniform disc and forms the cup that will be drawn into the MatchKing jacket. The cup is then polished and sent to a draw press to be drawn into a jacket that is longer than needed for the future MatchKing, thus allowing for the trim process. Press operators constantly check concentricity to make sure we have only quality jackets. The jackets then go to a trimmer where they are visually inspected again.

Sierra Bullets Carroll Pilant MatchKing Bullet SMK Bullet-making Jacket

After being polished a second time, the jacket travels to the bullet press. In the meantime, 80-pound lead billets are being extruded into lead wire for the cores where great care is taken so that the core wire is not stretched. The core wire is lightly oiled before continuing to the bullet press to be swaged.

The lead core wire and trimmed jacket meet at the bullet press where the first stage forms a boattail on the jacket. The lead core is then formed on top of the bullet press and fed down into the jacket. In one stroke of the press, the MatchKing is formed.

Sierra Bullets Carroll Pilant MatchKing Bullet SMK Bullet-making Jacket

Quality control technicians pull samples from each lot of MatchKings to make sure they meet Sierra’s stringent standards. Samples are then sent to Sierra’s 300-meter underground test range (shown below) to be shot for accuracy on mechanical mounts referred to as “unrestricted return to battery rests” that Sierra designed and built in-house.

Sierra Underground Tunnel test facility Sedalia, Missouri

Sierra bullet sale Clarus Corporation

After inspection, the bullets are placed in the familiar green box along with reloading labels. They are then shrink-wrapped and shipped all over the world.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo 2 Comments »