February 10th, 2018

Berger SWN 2018 — Friday Match and Gear Highlights

Berger SW Nationals John Whidden Palma F-TR
Reigning NRA National Long-Range Champion John Whidden in action on the 1000-yard line. John’s rifle features a centerfire action in an aluminum Anschutz small-bore stock.

There are now two more days left for the 2018 Berger SW Nationals, with the competition heating up. From this point on, all shooting will be at 1000 yards. Friday was challenging, with increasing wind velocities over the day. Shifts were harder to figure out, and some talented shooters dropped 8-10 points. Competition was fierce. In the sling division, our friend Gary Eliseo of Competition Machine came out on top via tie-breaker. Gary and Stuart Mackey shot identical scores on Friday at each distance: 150-8X, 150-7X, and 149-8X, both finishing with 449-23X. That’s as close as it gets.

One shot left… will that last bullet end up in the X-ring? We hope so…

Saturday Shooting — Team and Individual Competition at 1000
Today, Saturday 2/10/18, all shooting will be at 1000 yards, with both Individual and 4-person Team competition. The format calls for two, 20-shot matches for both individuals and teams. Good luck to all!

MATCH RESULTS: Complete Daily Scores and On-Going Match Standings are posted on the McMillan Fiberglass Stocks Facebook Page. Here are Top Five in each Division, at day’s end on Friday, 2/9/2018:

Top Five F-Open
Bob Sebold — 449-30X
Danny J. Biggs — 449-26X
Jay Christopherson — 448-28X
Stephen Potter — 448-23X
Ubaldino De Arellano — 448-23X
Top Five F-TR
Ellis Berry — 448-26X
Peter Johns — 448-25X
Philip Kelley Jr. — 448-21X
Doug Boyer — 447-27X
Greg Barkley — 447-23X
Top Five Sling
Gary Eliseo — 449-23X
Stuart Mackey — 449-23X
Bill Vaughn — 448-28X
Curtis Gordon — 448-23X
Nancy Tompkins — 447-30X

No Worries Mate — Mark Swaps Stocks in Mid-Match

Berger SW Nationals Mark Fairburn Australia  Palma F-TR

Australian Mark Fairbairn performed a “Quick Fix” during Thursday’s match. His F-Open rifle, in a conventional fiberglass stock, was giving him random vertical during one yardage: “I had a bit of a problem with elevation — the stock was hitting somewhere [causing vertical]. I was X-X-X then a shot popped up in the 9 ring with no good reason. So I figured I better put a new stock on it. I got my old aluminium stock I brought from Australia and quickly adjusted it to fit on the Stolle.” Right on the berm he swapped his barreled action into the metal stock of his own design. The clock was ticking… but the story had a happy ending. For the next yardage Mark shot a brilliant 150-7X, not dropping a point. So the “Quick Fix” did the trick. As they say Down Under — “Good on Ya, Mate!”

Patriotic Pair of Stars and Stripes F-Open Rigs

Berger Stars Stripes rifles SWN F-TR

There were two very patriotic F-Open rifles side-by-side on the firing line yesterday. These Stars and Stripes rigs were squadded right next to each other just by chance — but it made for a great show.

Like Father, Like Daughter — The Cortinas

Berger SW Nationals Erik Amber Cortina F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

Erik Cortina, member of Team Lapua/Brux/Borden, is one of the nation’s top F-Class shooters. But on Friday he was only the second-best Cortina at 1000 yards. Erik’s daughter, Amberleeana, posted a 147-7X to edge her Dad by 3 Xs (Erik scored 147-4X) from the 1000-yard line.

F-Class is for Everyone – All Ages, Guys AND Gals

Berger SW Nationals female shooter F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

F-Class is not just a man’s game. There were many lady shooters on the firing line, in both F-Open and F-TR Divisions. Some shooting instructors says females learn faster than their male counterparts, so they can excel quickly in the shooting sports.

Cool Gadget (Literally) — The BarrelCool Device

Barrel Cool F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

The clever BarrelCool is a dual-purpose device that serves as an Empty Chamber Indicator (ECI) while cooling your barrel with a battery-powered fan. This is American ingenuity at its best.

Spotting Scope Support Arm Attached to Front Rest

Berger SW Nationals Richard King F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

Texas gunsmith Richard King of King’s Armory had a very clever set-up for his spotting scope. He has fabricated a support arm that holds the spotter very close to his rifle. With this configuration, Richard can view through the spotting scope without shifting his position on the rifle. This puts the spotting scope’s eyepiece just a few inches from his riflescope eyepiece so he can move easily from one optic to the other. This set-up also reduces the amount of gear Richard carries to the line. No separate spotting scope base, stand, or tripod is needed. This is a simple, elegant solution. We bet, with a little tinkering and design work, a similar system could be mounted to a SEB or Bald Eagle front rest

Labor of Love — Do-It-Yourself F-TR Stock Milled from Aluminum

Berger SW Nationals Erik Cortina F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

We saw many interesting F-TR rigs. Here’s an one-of-a-kind stock, machined from aluminum billet by shooter/owner Mark Roberts of Lone Star Tumblers. There are a ton of man-hours in this unique stock.

Bird’s Eye Ben Avery — A Look at the Range

If you’ve never visited the Ben Avery Facility north of Phoenix, Arizona, here is a video shot in 2016 that shows the 1000-yard range (including drone footage). The desert range at Ben Avery is something special — check out this “birds-eye view”. This video also includes an interview with Derek Rodgers, the current F-TR World Champion, King of 2 Miles, and the only man who who has earned both F-Open AND F-TR National titles.

Ben Avery by Air — We are repeating this 2016 video here because it has a great aerial view of the Mid Tompkins 1000-yard Range at Ben Avery

Erik Stecker of Berger Bullets visited the match Friday. Here he talks with members of Team Berger Bullets. Eric now oversees operations of Berger, as part of the Capstone Precision Group (Berger, Lapua, SK, Vihtavuori). That’s Walt Berger in the background in the red shirt.

Berger SW Nationals Capstone Precision Berger Bullets F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

There were plenty of smiles on the firing line — the Berger SW Nationals event offers great weather, great competition, great camaraderie, and a great prize table.

Berger SW Nationals Erik Cortina F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

Swap-Meet at Ben Avery
After the matches concluded on Friday, a Swap Meet was held in the Club House. There were some great bargains to be found. Can you name the past National Champions in the background of this photo?

Berger SW Nationals Swap Meet Nancy Tompkins James Crofts F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

Parting Shot: Glamtactical by Cerus Rifleworks

Berger SW Nationals Capstone Precision Berger Bullets F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

We spotted a stunning “Glamtactical” rig from Cerus Rifleworks in the Nightforce booth. Believe it or not, Cerus owner Will McCloskey found this stunning wood buried in a “bargain bin”, and snagged the highly-figured walnut blank for under $10. Steal of the year! This rifle features a carbon-wrapped barrel with muzzle brake.

Permalink - Videos, Competition, News 2 Comments »
February 10th, 2018

Chrono Report — Using the LabRadar from Bench and Prone

Bart Sauter Ray Gross LabRadar Benchrest Review Chronograph Bench tripod

Bart Sauter of Barts Custom Bullets owns a LabRadar chronograph. He was curious to see how his loads performed in actual match conditions, so he brought his LabRadar to a match and set it up right on his benchtop. What he learned was quite surprising. For one thing, Bart found that tuning for the best accuracy (in the conditions), was NOT simply a matter of maintaining velocity. Read all about Bart’s experience in this AccurateShooter Forum Thread.

Bart has competed in short range Benchrest matches with the LabRadar on the bench! Bart observed: “The benches were quite close, but the LabRadar was able to pick up my shots even with the other guns going off very close to it. This is a pretty impressive piece of gear.” Bart’s LabRadar unit had no trouble picking up shots when set on the bench, a bit behind the muzzle. Bart noted: “Yes it can go a long way back. You can be a lot farther behind the muzzle then advertised. At home I could get back up to around 8 feet and pick up the bullet. It’s more sensitive about the side distance. I had mine on level 4. You can also point it at your buddy’s target and get his velocity.” Bart set his LabRadar to be triggered by the sound of the gun.

RAV battery pack Amazon.comLong-Life Battery Power
Powering the LabRadar at the range is not a problem. Bart used a portable battery pack that can power the LabRadar for a long time: “I bought a RavPower battery pack from Amazon.com. It was the most powerful compact cell phone charger they had and [it costs about $30.00]. It was able to run the LabRadar for two full days without recharging and still had juice.”

The LabRadar is a pretty expensive piece of kit, but there’s nothing else like it on the market. Bart notes: “The LabRadar itself is about $560.00. The stand is $29.95 for the bench mount and the padded carry case is $39.95. So you’re around $630.00 plus shipping.”

High-Quality Portable Base for LabRadar

Labradar Swivel base

If you want to use your LabRadar when shooting prone, there’s a smart new accessory you should consider buying. Matt Owens, one of our Forum members, has created a new, compact base for the LabRadar that works better than the flat, orange baseplate offered by the manufacturer. This $75 folding base is especially useful when shooting prone (see photo above). Matt, aka “Arkcomatt”, explains: “The folding base will fit in the LabRadar case with the unit. No more having to take apart! Just fold the legs. It takes up less room on the bench and allows you to get it closer to the rifle. It is very stable and holds up very well in high winds.” Forum member Peterson1 agrees: “This is more stable than the Labradar base for my use–off a concrete BR bench, yet takes up less space. Also easier/quicker to set unit up and aimed at target. Never take the unit off for transport in LabRadar case.” ORDER BASE HERE.

LabRadar base swivel base chronograph unit

Forum Member SkiUtah02 uses the base with optional spiked feet: “I bought my base with spikes for the feet to put into the ground. I removed the rubber feet, and screwed in the four spiked feet, [and mounted] an old photography lighting stand swivel head to the base! Worked perfectly. Thanks Matt!”

Full LabRadar Field Test/Review by Ray Gross

If you are considering purchasing a LabRadar Chronograph system, we strongly suggest you read the very thorough and informative LabRadar Review by Ray Gross, past Captain of the USA F-TR team.

Bart Sauter Ray Gross LabRadar Benchrest Review Chronograph Bench tripod

Permalink Optics, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
February 10th, 2018

TIP: Polish Seating Stems to Eliminate Ring Marks on Bullets

Seating Stem Reloading Tip Sierra Bullet .223 Remington compressed loads

Here’s a helpful hint for hand-loaders from Sierra Bullets. While this article focuses on Sierra’s new Tipped Match-King bullets, the recommended solutions apply to other bullet types as well. The article explains how sharp edges on a seating stem can cause a ring to be pressed into the bullet jacket — especially with compressed loads that resist downward bullet movement. Here Sierra technician Rich Machholz diagnoses the problem and provides a solution.

Seating Stem Reloading Tip Sierra Bullet .223 Remington compressed loads

Solutions for Ring Marks Caused by Seating Stems

by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Rich Machholz
Now that the new Tipped MatchKing® (TMK) bullets are being shipped and shooters are putting them to use I have received several calls regarding marking on the bullet ogive from the seating stem.

The cause can be traced to one of several things. In the .223 and especially with the long, 77 grain TMK seated at 2.250” or even 2.260” most loads of Varget® and Reloder® 15 are compressed loads, sometimes heavily compressed. This puts a great deal of pressure on the bullet through the seating stem. The result of all this pressure is a mark of varying depth and appearance on the ogive of the bullet. [Editor: We have seen this issue with a variety of other bullet types/shapes as well, including non-tipped VLDs. The solution is profiling the internal cone of the seating stem to match your bullet shape.]

Some older seating stems might even bear against the tip of the bullet which can make a slight bulge in the jacket just below the junction of the resin tip and the copper jacket in a compressed load. If this is the case there is not a ready fix other than calling the die manufacturer and requesting a new deeper seating stem.

Polish Your Seating Stem to Remove Sharp Internal Edges
If the seating stem is of proper depth the culprit most generally is a thin sharp edge on the inside taper of the seating stem. This is an easy fix that can be accomplished by chucking a spare 77 grain bullet in your drill, coating it with valve grinding compound or even rubbing compound or in a pinch even tooth paste.* Remove the seating stem assembly from the seating die. Turn the drill on and put the seating stem recess over the spinning bullet with the polishing compound to break or smooth the sharp edge that is making the offending mark. This might take more than one application to get the proper polish depending upon what you use, but the more you polish the better the blend of angles which will [ensure the stem matches the bullet contours, not leaving a sharp ring].

If the above is a little more than you care to tackle you might try very fine emery cloth twisted to a point that can be inserted into the mouth to the seating stem and rotated to polish the inside to eliminate any sharp edges that might be present.

Load Advice for 77gr TMKs in the .223 Rem
And last but certainly not least. Actually, even though we don’t say you need additional data for the TMKs, remember you are dealing with heavily-compressed loads in some cases because of the additional bullet length. Due to the additional length of these new bullets and in the interest of gaining some room in the case you might consider trying a slightly faster extruded powder like BenchMark or the 4895s or an even more dense powder like the spherical H335®, CFE223 or TAC. The extra room will allow for trouble free bullet seating also.

Good luck and remember we are no further away than your telephone: 1-800-223-8799.

Sierra Bullets Match-King Reloading Bullet Seating

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »