July 21st, 2018

Kevin Nevius Wins 2018 NRA Long Range Championship

NRA Long Range National Championship Kevin Nevius Lapua 6.5x47 .308 Win Palma Camp Atterbury Indiana David Tubb Bob Gill John Whidden

Our friend Kevin Nevius, best known for his smallbore skills, went head to head against the nation’s top long-range aces this past week, and emerged on top. Besting the likes of past multi-time Long Range Champions David Tubb and John Whidden, Kevin Nevius shot superbly at Camp Atterbury to win his first NRA National Long Range Championship. Kevin finished with 1245-64X, one point ahead of Phillip Crowe, 1244-74X. Bob Gill, shooting a .223 Rem with iron sights, was third on X-Count, with 1244-68X. Kevin built his own rifles for the match, using Kelbly centerfire actions in a Grunig & Elmiger smallbore stock. Here is Kevin’s first-hand report of his 2018 LR Championship victory.

Click Here for 2018 NRA High Power Long Range Championship Full Results

2018 NRA Long Range Championship — Rising to the Challenge

by Kevin Nevius
NRA Long Range National Championship Kevin Nevius Lapua 6.5x47 .308 Win Palma Camp Atterbury Indiana David Tubb Bob Gill John WhiddenThis was my first opportunity to shoot the NRA Long Range Nationals since its relocation to Camp Atterbury, and it was great to see everyone and get back to the matches. It is always so humbling walking onto the range and seeing all of the people I read about and admire so much. I can’t think of another sport where people so accomplished will share so much and be so helpful.

Regarding the weather, we had generally great conditions with very mild winds in the mornings, building gradually as the days progressed. By the afternoon hours, there were certainly challenges as the air started moving. Obstructions to the wind on either side of this range vary, so you needed to pay attention for sure — it may be calm at the targets or firing line, only to show something to worry about on the mid-range flags. Mirage is my primary indicator shooting smallbore, but mirage over 5/8ths of a mile is a little less telling (and a lot more confusing, at least for me!). I think most competitors, including me, use some combination of mirage and flags to make corrections. At the start of the string, I try to gauge a predominant condition, and more importantly which indicator is the most reliable to look at to determine that condition.

NRA Long Range National Championship Kevin Nevius Lapua 6.5x47 .308 Win Palma Camp Atterbury Indiana David Tubb Bob Gill John Whidden

Smallbore shooting is where I learned to build a good position, and so much of that carries forward to Long Range High Power. It was a huge shock though, the first time I looked at a 44” aiming black through aperture sights at 1000 yards! Smallbore aiming blacks are twice as big, at one tenth the distance — the fact that we can hit something at 1000 yards with that sight picture still amazes me!

NRA Long Range National Championship Kevin Nevius Lapua 6.5x47 .308 Win Palma Camp Atterbury Indiana David Tubb Bob Gill John Whidden

Kevin’s Arsenal — 6.5×47 Lapua and .308 Win Barreled Actions in Smallbore Stock
I have always build my own rifles, and always struggled to get the individual rifles you need for the LR aggregate (Any and Palma) and smallbore to feel, balance and fit identically. This year for the first time, I machined bedding blocks that allowed me to put almost identical centefire barreled actions into my smallbore prone stock – effectively making the position and fit of all the rifles for all disciplines identical (it is, after all the same stock used for everything).

NRA Long Range National Championship Kevin Nevius Lapua 6.5x47 .308 Win Palma Camp Atterbury Indiana

I used two modified Kelbly Grizzly actions (one barreled in 6.5×47 for the any rifle matches, and one barreled in 308 for Palma) fitted to two identical aluminum bedding blocks. The bedding block footprint matches my smallbore barreled action – a Grunig & Elmiger Racer WC. The stock is a Grunig & Elmiger Hybrid, which is a composite aluminum skeleton and carbon fiber skin.

Championship-Winning 6.5×47 Lapua and .308 Win Loads
I was using a 6.5×47 Lapua in the “Any Rifle” matches. The barrel is a 1:8″-twist Benchmark medium Palma contour finished at 35 inches, throated +0.060″. My 6.5×47 load was Lapua brass, CCI 450 primers, VV N160 powder, and 140 grain Berger Hybrid bullets. For the Palma match, a .308 Win barreled action was fitted in the same Grunig & Elmiger smallbore stock. The .308 barrel was another Benchmark 35″ medium Palma, using the current Fullbore chamber throated +0.120″. I was using Lapua .308 Palma small primer brass, Federal 205M primers, VV N140, and 155 grain Lapua Scenar L bullets.

Shooting Between Champions — Tubb on the Left, Whidden on the Right
On the final day (the Palma Individual), we were squadded based on seed position, so David Tubb was on my left, and John Whidden on my right. I am not sure if a more intimidating position on the firing line exists, but it was so clear to me especially on that last day how blessed I was to be there. In every match, there is an element of luck — regarding weather, squadding assignment, target service, firing point condition, even equipment malfunction. A host of things can go wrong…

I lost my very first shot at 900 mostly due to elevation (I was coming a little unhinged with the realization I might be in the lead – just being completely honest!), and settled down to clean the remainder of the string. The wind had built by then, and would run both right and left with the small boils in between. At 1000 I lost two, and was pretty happy with that. It was getting pretty dicey, and I resigned myself to the fact that it was becoming one of those days where 10s were enough (and Xs were pure luxury!). John shot well at 1000, but he always does — I don’t think there is a better long range shooter in the country and it’s been that way for a bunch of years. I can’t say enough about him – he is a dear friend and everything a champion should be. (Editor: Whidden finished fourth overall, at 1243-78X, with high X-count for the event.)

To put it all together takes so many things — preparation, tuning, load development, position practice. And yes, it takes some divine intervention for sure. I will never forget this experience, and am so grateful to have been successful this year.

John Whidden of Whidden Gunworks congratulated Kevin: “I was really proud of my friend Kevin Nevius and his fine shooting over the match. Kevin is respected both for his shooting and his character. The match went well and a number of improvements were made over last year. The targets were better, the number boards better, and the match ran very efficiently. Kudos to those who made these positive changes happen.”

Tough Time for Tubb on Last Day
Kevin noted that it was intimidating to be squadded between David Tubb and John Whidden, two multi-time Champions. Unfortunately Tubb, who had shot brilliantly (800-50X) throughout the Long Range event, had issues with his .308 Palma rifle on the final day. Kevin noted: “Yes David had some problems with his .308. When we arrived at the range on the last day, for the Palma Individual, David was in the lead with 800-50X, having shot ‘clean’ (not dropping a point). Bob Gill was second with 798-43X, and I was in third place with 798-42X. As we started the 800-yard string, there was some commotion going on to my left, and all I know is that as we finished and started moving to 900 yards, David was not happy. I believe he had lost 4 points at 800. We went to the pits, and he said his rifle was not shooting well, and he was pretty unhappy to say the least. He tried to adjust the seating depth of his ammunition before heading back out to the 900-yard line, in the hopes the gun would shoot better”. But it ended up a very tough day for David, as his chances for another LR Championship vanished.

Editor: With a 800-50X total, David Tubb was the Winner of the Canadian Cup Trophy, earned before the last day.

Bob Gill Proves the .223 Remington (and Iron Sights) Can Be Competitive
There were many interesting stories at this year’s Long Range Championship. The .223 Rem Eliseo Tubegun belonging to Californian Bob Gill proved to be “the little rifle that could”. Gill shot his .223 Rem Palma rifle for the entire Long Range Championship cycle. And yes Bob shot irons the whole way, even during the Remington and Wimbledon “Any Sight” matches where scopes are allowed. Kevin observed: “Bob Gill was amazing, and that rifle must be pretty awesome too. I don’t think I have ever seen someone shoot a .223 Rem at 1000 yards that well — ever. I believe Bob was shooting 80 grain bullets. As I pulled for Gill on the third day, I can testify that his bullets were still plenty supersonic!”

Editor: Gill finished 3rd overall, just one point down from Kevin, and six Xs behind runner-up Phillip Crowe. Gill also won the Sierra Trophy.

CLICK HERE for all NRA 2018 National Championships Results

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July 21st, 2018

National Matches Smallbore Competition Returns to Camp Perry

Camp Perry Smallbore 2018 National Matches Orion Scoring System App

Elite smallbore competition returned to the summer National Matches in high-tech style this year. New Orion scoring software was used to enhance and speed up the scoring process. Range officers simply snapped photos of targets after each relay using the Orion App on smartphones. The software then identified the bullet holes and logged the shot location in the scoring rings. This handy new software was used for 3P and prone smallbore competition. It will also be used tomorrow, July 22nd, at the hugely popular Rimfire Sporter Match.

Story based on Camp Perry Report by Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer
A staple during the National Matches season for over half a century, high-level Smallbore Matches returned to Camp Perry this summer (after the NRA moved the Smallbore Championships to Camp Wa-Ke’-De in Indiana in 2016).

“We had a lot of competitors who wanted smallbore to return to Camp Perry” said Match Director Brad Donoho. “This year, we tried to give everybody the opportunities they were used to at Camp Perry and try to stay true to history while also being innovative at the same time.”

The CMP’s new National Matches Smallbore series kicked off July 17 on Camp Perry’s Rodriguez Range with the Three-Position Day 1 event. Competitors in the event fired 40 shots onto paper targets at three positions: prone, kneeling and standing.

Camp Perry Smallbore 2018 National Matches Orion Scoring System App

For the Camp Perry smallbore matches, new image-based software was used for scoring. Orion Scoring System developed scoring software that can read shots from photos captured with smartphones. The Orion Smartphone App links directly to the Orion Scoring system, which then identifies shots on the target and scores accordingly based on shot placement in scoring rings.

Camp Perry Smallbore 2018 National Matches Orion Scoring System App
Range Officers snap photos of targets with Orion Scoring App.

Once all firing was completed for each stage at the National Matches events, range officers on the line walk downrange with a mobile device loaded with the Orion Scoring System App. The new scoring system drastically slashed competition time while also easing the scoring element for both competitors and match workers.

CMP verifiers reviewed the targets on computers before posting the results online, all in a matter of minutes. The physical paper targets were also retained — just in case a challenge was brought forward by a competitor.

Camp Perry Smallbore 2018 National Matches Orion Scoring System App

“The hope is, at its best, we should be able to have scores posted online before firing begins for the next stage, which would be pretty revolutionary for paper targets at Camp Perry,” said Donoho.

The electronic Orion Scoring System will also be used to score the National Rimfire Sporter rifle competition, set to take place at Camp Perry on Sunday, July 22. “This is the first step to allow Orion users to use this at their home range”, noted Donoho. An extensive amount of testing was conducted on the Orion electronic scoring system in the months leading up to the National Matches. It performed admirably this past week at Perry

3P Finals and Prone Elimination Match on Electronic Targets
Another exciting element added to the prone match is a prone elimination event, fired on CMP’s electronic targets on the Petrarca Range — another first for a National Match smallbore event. “We wanted to do something new – something creative,” said Donoho. “Hank Gray, from the USAMU suggested an elimination event where we start with a full range of shooters and start elimination shooters after the first stage of fire to get them down to the Top 10.” The Three-Position finals was also fired on the CMP’s Petrarca Range electronic targets at Petrarca Range during the Matches.

Video Demonstrates Kongsberg Electronic Target System Installed at Camp Perry:

These electronic targets have sensors on the target frame that plot each shot’s point of impact in the bullseye. Shot location and score value are calculated instantly with results visible on a monitor placed next to the shooter. This is faster than the Orion system, but it is also much more expensive. The advantage of the Orion system is that it can work with conventional paper targets on standard target frames. Orion scoring does not give instant results, however, unlike the Kongsberg system.

Camp Perry Smallbore Petraca range electronic target

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July 21st, 2018

Super-Size Me! Ten-Foot Tall Safe for Serious Gun Collectors

Bigger is Better?
Yes, size matters — at least when it comes to gun safes. Is your current safe bursting at the seams with your ever-growing firearms collection? Perhaps you need a little more vertical clearance for your Lahti L-39 or favorite Punt Gun? Well Superior Safe Co. has a solution for you — a humongous safe that stands 10-feet tall and weighs more than a pick-up truck. For reference, the young man in the picture, Greg from Pyramyd Air, is an honest 6’3″ tall.

Sized Right — For a 7-Footer
Now if you’re not an NBA center, the lock placement on this safe is not very practical. The lock’s keypad is a good foot above Greg’s head, making access somewhat difficult for the “vertically challenged” customer. We’re not sure what Superior Safe hand in mind here — unless this mega-safe was really created for the likes of Shaquille O’Neal or Joel Embiid.

Still, Americans love big stuff — big cars, big houses, and, of course, big guns. At least if you purchase one of these monsters, you’ll have the peace of mind that a smash-and-grab thief can’t roll it away on a hand dolly. Superior Safe, which displayed this yellow giant at the NRA Annual Meeting & Exhibits a while back, explains that this is a “custom model” not on the normal price list — face it, if you need to ask about the price, you can’t afford it. Joking aside, if you really need this kind of capacity for a firearms collection (with a punt gun or Lahti), you’d be wise to consider a custom walk-in vault, built into a room in your house. (Safe photo courtesy Pyramyd Air.)

What is a Punt Gun?
A punt gun is an extremely large shotgun used in the 19th and early 20th centuries for shooting large numbers of waterfowl for commercial harvesting operations and private sport. Punt guns could have bore diameters exceeding 2 inches (51 mm) and fire over a pound of shot at a time. A single shot could kill over 50 waterfowl resting on the water’s surface. Punt guns were too big to hold so they were often mounted directly on the punts (boats) used for hunting, hence their name. Generally the gun was fixed to the punt, requiring the hunter to manuever the entire boat to aim the gun. Firing the gun often propelled the punt backwards from recoil. Sometimes fleets of punt gun-boats were used together. In the United States, this practice depleted stocks of wild waterfowl and by the 1860s most states had banned the practice. In the United Kingdom, a 1995 survey showed fewer than 50 active punt guns still in use. UK law limits punt guns to a bore diameter of 1.75 inches (1 1/8 pounder). Learn more at Wikipedia.com.

Lahti L-39 photo, courtesy Gordon Greene, originally appeared in The Gun Zone.

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