February 8th, 2018

Berger Southwest Nationals 2018 — Bigger and Better Than Ever

2018 Berger Southwest Nationals

The Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN) is the biggest and best long-range shooting event west of the Mississippi, and the best mid-winter event by far. And because it includes both F-Class and Sling (Palma) disciplines, the SWN attracts more top shooters than even the F-Class Nationals. You will find multiple National and even World Champions on the firing line. Combine the level of competition with warm Arizona weather and a massive prize table and you have a stellar event that is the highlight of any long-range shooter’s season.

Berger Southwest Nationals bullets ben avery phoenix arizona

This year’s Berger SWN is even more notable because Berger Bullets has relocated to Mesa, Arizona, so this is truly Berger’s “home match”. Berger moved to Arizona after the company was acquired by the Nammo Lapua group. Berger bullets are now distributed in the USA by the Missouri-based Capstone Precision Group, which also markets Lapua brass, bullets and ammo, SK Rimfire ammunition, and Vihtavuori powder.

Sling Shooters and F-Classers compete on the same firing line at the Berger SW Nationals. Sling competitors are on the left with F-TR and F-Open shooters on the right.

Berger SW Nationals

Berger SW Nationals F-Open

The Berger SWN has amazing awards. Here is one of the Native American-themed perpetual trophies.
Berger SW Nationals trophy Ghost Dancer

This year, as usual, the Berger SWN started off with a Shooters’ Clinic on Monday and Tuesday. Experts provided instruction on wind reading, match strategies, shooting technique and more. This initial clinic also affords SWN participants a chance to check out the Mid Tompkins Range at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility north of Phoenix, Arizona. This range can be challenging, no doubt, but the typical calm morning conditions have allowed records to be set here.

Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Ben Avery Arizona

Yesterday, Wednesday, February 7, the 2018 SW Nationals competition phase began with the Mid-Range Match. F-Classers and sling shooters set-up on the firing line with targets 600 yards away. Wednesday turned out to be very tough, with very strong, gusty winds. Still there were some impressive performances. Mastering the tough conditions, Christine Harris shot 598-31X to win the F-Open division, beating all the male shooters, including many past National Champions. You Go Girl!

Here is the firing line for Wednesday’s 600-yard Match. Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.
SWN Sherri Jo Barrels 600 yard match

Full Results for Wednesday’s Mid-Range Match are published on the McMillan Facebook Page.

Berger SW Nationals 600-yard mid-range

Berger Southwest Nationals Wednesday

From here on it gets even tougher. Today, Thursday, there’s a four-man Team match with with 15 shots for record each at 800, 900 and 1000 yards. There will be three classes: Palma, F-Open (shot from rest), and F-TR (.223 Rem and .308 Win shot from bipod)

Here is AccurateShooter.com’s System Admin, who shot F-Open with Team Lapua/Brux/Borden on Thursday.
Jay Christopherson SWN Berger team Lapua

Berger Southwest Nationals bullets ben avery phoenix arizona

Warm Arizona Weather
Wonder warm weather is predicted for the whole week, It was 79° on Wednesday and temps in the low 80s are predicted for the rest of the week. We didn’t hear any complaints from the Canadians who fled ice and snow to shoot the match. It was sunny and warm in Arizona as promised. This is a great location for a shooting holiday, and you can even book a “dawn patrol” balloon ride near the Ben Avery range.

Berger SW Nationals

2018 Berger SWN Schedule of Events

Monday and Tueday, 5 and 6 February, 2018, 9:00 AM
Shooting Clinic: Clinic will include instruction in both classroom and live fire settings. Check in starts by 7:00 AM and instruction will start at 9:00 AM.

Wednesday, 7 February, 2018, 9:00 AM
Mid-Range Match – Three 20 shot matches at 600 yards. (Divisions: Palma, Any Rifle-Any Sight, F-Open, F-TR)

Thursday, 8 February 2018, 9:00 AM
4-Man Palma Team Match – 15 shots for record at each of 800, 900 and 1000 yards. (Divisions: Palma, F-Open, F-TR). NOTE: Practice available to those not shooting with a team.

Friday, 9 February 2018, 8:30 AM – Start of Grand Agg
Individual Palma Match – 15 shots for record at each of 800, 900 and 1000 yards. (Divisions: Palma, F-Open, F-TR). BONUS: Swap Meet – after conclusion of fire at 1000 yard line.

Saturday, 10 February 2018, 8:30 AM
Individual 1000 Yard Matches – Two 20 shots matches at 1000 yards. Any Rifle-Iron Sight (Any sight for F-Class shooters). (Divisions: Palma, Any Rifle-Iron Sight, F-Open, F-TR)
4 Man Team Match – 20 shots at 1000 yards. Any Rifle-Iron Sight (Any sight for F-Class shooters). (Divisions – Palma, Any Rifle-Iron Sight, F-Open, F-TR)
— Banquet Dinner – Approximately 5:00 pm at Indoor Range.

Sunday, 11 February 2018, 8:30 AM
Individual 1000 Yard Matches – Two 20 shots matches at 1000 yards. Any Rifle-Any Sight (Any sight for F-Class shooters). (Divisions – Palma, Any Rifle-Any Sight, F-Open, F-TR)
— Awards Ceremony at the Indoor Range.

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Competition Tips from Bryan Litz

To help competitors at the Berger SW Nationals, here are some smart tips from Bryan Litz. Bryan knows the Ben Avery range well. He won the Mid-Range and Long-Range F-TR National Championships there in 2015. And twice he has won the sling division at the Southwest Nationals. Here are wise words from Bryan:

Competition TIP ONE. Improving your scores in long range competition is a constant process of self-assessment. After each match, carefully analyze how you lost points and make a plan to improve. Beginning shooters will lose a lot of points to fundamental things like sight alignment and trigger control. Veteran shooters will lose far fewer points to a smaller list of mistakes. At every step along the way, always ask yourself why you’re losing points and address the issues. Sometimes the weak links that you need to work on aren’t your favorite thing to do, and success will take work in these areas as well.

Competition TIP TWO. Select your wind shooting strategy carefully. For beginners and veterans, most points are typically lost to wind. Successful shooters put a lot of thought into their approach to wind shooting. Sometimes it’s best to shoot fast and minimize the changes you’ll have to navigate. Other times it’s best to wait out a condition which may take several minutes. Develop a comfortable rest position so you have an easier time waiting when you should be waiting.

Competition TIP THREE. Actively avoid major train wrecks. Sounds obvious but it happens a lot. Select equipment that is reliable, get comfortable with it and have back-ups for important things. Don’t load on the verge of max pressure, don’t go to an important match with a barrel that’s near shot out, physically check tightness of all important screws prior to shooting each string. Observe what train wrecks you and others experience, and put measures in place to avoid them.

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February 8th, 2018

How Changes in Cartridge OAL Can Alter Pressure and Velocity

Berger Bullets COAL length cartridge

Figure 1. When the bullet is seated farther out of the case, there is more volume available for powder. This enables the cartridge to generate higher muzzle velocity with the same pressure.

Berger Bullets COAL length cartridgeEffects Of Cartridge Over All Length (COAL) And Cartridge Base To Ogive (CBTO) – Part 1
by Bryan Litz for Berger Bullets.
Many shooters are not aware of the dramatic effects that bullet seating depth can have on the pressure and velocity generated by a rifle cartridge. Cartridge Overall Length (COAL) is also a variable that can be used to fine-tune accuracy. It’s also an important consideration for rifles that need to feed rounds through a magazine. In this article, we’ll explore the various effects of COAL, and what choices a shooter can make to maximize the effectiveness of their hand loads.

Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI)
Most loading manuals (including the Berger Manual), present loading data according to SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute) standards. SAAMI provides max pressure, COAL and many other specifications for commercial cartridges so that rifle makers, ammo makers, and hand loaders can standardize their products so they all work together. As we’ll see later in this article, these SAAMI standards are in many cases outdated and can dramatically restrict the performance potential of a cartridge.

Bullet seating depth is an important variable in the accuracy equation. In many cases, the SAAMI-specified COAL is shorter than what a hand loader wants to load their rounds to for accuracy purposes. In the case where a hand loader seats the bullets longer than SAAMI specified COAL, there are some internal ballistic effects that take place which are important to understand.

Effects of Seating Depth / COAL on Pressure and Velocity
The primary effect of loading a cartridge long is that it leaves more internal volume inside the cartridge. This extra internal volume has a well known effect; for a given powder charge, there will be less pressure and less velocity produced because of the extra empty space. Another way to look at this is you have to use more powder to achieve the same pressure and velocity when the bullet is seated out long. In fact, the extra powder you can add to a cartridge with the bullet seated long will allow you to achieve greater velocity at the same pressure than a cartridge with a bullet seated short.

When you think about it, it makes good sense. After all, when you seat the bullet out longer and leave more internal case volume for powder, you’re effectively making the cartridge into a bigger cartridge by increasing the size of the combustion chamber. Figure 1 illustrates the extra volume that’s available for powder when the bullet is seated out long.

Before concluding that it’s a good idea to start seating your bullets longer than SAAMI spec length, there are a few things to consider.

Geometry of a Chamber Throat
The chamber in a rifle will have a certain throat length which will dictate how long a bullet can be loaded. The throat is the forward portion of the chamber that has no rifling. The portion of the bullet’s bearing surface that projects out of the case occupies the throat (see Figure 2).

Berger Bullets COAL length cartridge

The length of the throat determines how much of the bullet can stick out of the case. When a cartridge is chambered and the bullet encounters the beginning of the rifling, known as the lands, it’s met with hard resistance. This COAL marks the maximum length that a bullet can be seated. When a bullet is seated out to contact the lands, its initial forward motion during ignition is immediately resisted by an engraving force.

Seating a bullet against the lands causes pressures to be elevated noticeably higher than if the bullet were seated just a few thousandths of an inch off the lands.

A very common practice in precision reloading is to establish the COAL for a bullet that’s seated to touch the lands. This is a reference length that the hand loader works from when searching for the optimal seating depth for precision. Many times, the best seating depth is with the bullet touching or very near the lands. However, in some rifles, the best seating depth might be 0.100″ or more off the lands. This is simply a variable the hand loader uses to tune the precision of a rifle.

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Article sourced by EdLongrange. We welcome tips from readers.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 2 Comments »