August 23rd, 2018

Insanely Small Groups — World Champion Reveals His Techniques

200 yard benchrest group charles huckeba australia tiny group 6 PPC

With the recent IBS 100/200 Group Nationals in Pennsylvania, we thought our readers might like to learn more about the short-range Benchrest game. Seeing the tiny groups 6 PPC aces produce, it’s easy to think the precision is all about the equipment. But there is a lot more involved. A talented human still has to watch the flags, run the gun properly, and tune his loads for the conditions. Here are some tips from one of the world’s best benchresters, Charles Huckeba.

Texan Charles Huckeba was the top individual shooter at the 2013 World Benchrest Championships (WBC) held near Sydney Australia in October 2013. In this video, 2013 WBC Two-Gun Overall winner Charles shoots a 1/8th MOA group at 200 yards — “a little bitty dot” as a fellow Team USA shooter observes. That’s impressive. If you can describe Huckeba’s style in a nutshell it would be “smooth, consistent, and rapid but not hurried”.

Charles also employed some unusual hardware. In the video, take a close look at the joystick on the Farley Coaxial front rest. There’s no knob at the end. In its place is a small, wood ammo caddy. Charles removed the standard knob from the handle of his Farley rest and replaced it with a home-made wood block that holds cartridges for the record target. The 10.5-lb Light Varmint rifle is chambered in 6PPC with a BAT Machine Action and a composite wood and carbon-fiber stock.

Watch Charles Huckeba Shoot 1/8 MOA, 200-yard group at World Benchrest Championships

Here is the actual 200-yard, 5-shot group Charles shot in the video. Photo (by Stuart Elliot) taken through the lens of Huckeba’s 50X March scope (reticle has 1/16th MOA Dot).
200 yard benchrest group charles huckeba australia
200 yard benchrest group charles huckeba australia

Analyzing the Fine Points — What Makes Huckeba So Good

Short-range benchrest shooter Boyd Allen saw some interesting things in Huckeba’s WBC performance, as captured on video. Boyd noticed Huckeba’s smooth gun-handling and efficient loading. But Boyd also spied some interesting equipment, including an innovative joystick “handle-caddy”.

1. Low Friction Bags — When Huckeba slid his rifle, there was very little apparent friction. The front bag features the new 3M material (ScotchLite) on the sliding surfaces. The rear Protektor bag has ears of the same low-friction material.

2. Pause Before Chambering — While he was watching the flags and deciding when to start firing, Charles kept his first round in the action, but out of the barrel’s chamber, probably so as not to heat the cartridge and change the round’s point of impact.

Charles Huckeba PPC World Benchrest joystick handle3. Ammo Caddy on Joystick Arm – Charles shoots a Right Bolt/Left Port action, so he pulls his rounds with his left hand. Note that Huckeba’s record rounds rest in a small, wood ammo caddy attached to the end of the joystick shaft. Look carefully, you’ll see the wood ammo block in place of the normal black ball at the end of the joystick. That allows Charles to pull shots with the absolute minimum of hand movement. Ingenious! Huckeba is very fast, with a great economy of motion. I believe that because his ammo was literally at hand, Charles was better able to keep his focus on aiming and the flags.

4. Smooth-Cycling BAT Action — Note how smoothly Huckeba’s action operates. When Charles lifts the bolt handle (to extract a round and cock the firing pin), this does not disturb the rifle. Likewise, as he closes the bolt, the gun doesn’t wobble. The smooth action allows Charles to hold point of aim even when shooting relatively quickly. Huckeba’s BAT action is chrome-moly steel. Some shooters believe this metal makes for a smoother action than stainless steel or aluminum.

5. Long-Wheelbase Stock — The wood and carbon fiber stock is light, long, and stiff. Yet, importantly, the stock is also well-damped. The longer-than-average stock length (with extended forearm) seems to help the gun track well without jumping or rocking. The longer forearm allows a longer “wheelbase”, effectively shifting the weight distribution rearward (less weight on the front, more weight on the rear). This places a greater share of the gun’s weight on the rear bag, as compared to a more conventional benchrest stock. Huckeba’s stock, built by Bob Scoville, is at the cutting edge of short-range benchrest design. Its light-weight balsa wood and carbon fiber construction provides a combination of stiffness and vibration damping that allows its relatively long fore-end to be fully utilized to increase the weight on the rear bag (always an issue with 10.5-pound rifles).

To learn more about this benchrest stock design, read the comments by stock-builder Bob Scoville in our PPC with Pedigree story in our Gun of the Week Archives. Bob observed:

“There is a lot more to the structure of the stocks than meets the eye. The carbon fiber skin with which I cover the stocks creates a light, tough exterior surface. However, this contributes very little to the overall performance of the stocks. The real strength and stiffness is the result of an internal beam utilizing balsa core/carbon fiber technology.

This type construction can be found in aircraft, race cars, powerboats, and sailboats. It is interesting to note, balsa has the highest strength to weight ratio of all woods and carbon fiber is one of the lowest stretch (modulus of elasticity) relative to weight of all materials. The marriage of these two materials is common in the high-performance world. Additionally, balsa is used commercially for vibration dampening and sound reduction.”

Video find by Boyd Allen. Video by Stuart Elliot of BRT Shooters Supply, Brisbane, Australia.
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August 23rd, 2018

Bargain Gun Cases and Racks at Wally World

Discount Sale Gun Rifle Case Walmart Flambeau 50.5

Right now Walmart is offering some remarkable savings on gun cases, gun racks, and other gun transport/storage products. There are pistol cases for $7.99 and 50.5″ rifle cases for $9.97. Plus you can get stackable pistol racks for $9.40 each. You can get all three for $27.36 — that’s quite a deal.

Flambeau 50.5″ Rifle/Shotgun Transport Case, $9.97

Discount Sale Gun Rifle Case Walmart Flambeau 50.5

If you need to ship a rifle to a gunsmith via UPS, you might want to pick up one of these Flambeau Rifle/Shotgun cases just for that task. This case is also fine for holding a typical shotgun or hunting rifle for a trip to the range. At 50.5″ overall it will hold most rifles up to about 48″ overall length. One verified buyer reports: “Good basic protection for a light weight case. Excellent value.”

This is an online sale price. You can get free two-day shipping with an order of $35.00 or more. So, combine this with other items (or buy four for $39.88) to get free shipping. IMPORTANT: We would NOT use this to ship rifles with large, expensive scopes mounted. Buy a better case with thicker internal padding for that, or remove the scope. Also, we do NOT recommend leaving a rifle in this case long-term. Place the rifle in a silicon-treated Bore-Store bag, and then place in your safe.

Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H): 50.51 x 3.70 x 10.85 Inches

Plano 4-Pistol Transport Case, $7.99

Discount Sale Gun pistol handgun Glock Case Walmart plano 4-gun

This is a decent two-level pistol case that can easily handle four (4) standard or compact-sized handguns. There is a hasp for an external padlock (sold separately). We doubt you’ll find a pistol case of this size elsewhere for anything near Walmart’s $7.99 price. If you don’t have a Walmart nearby, you can get free two-day shipping with an order of $35.00 or more. Combine this case with other items to get free shipping.

Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H): 16.75 x 6.00 x 14.50 Inches

Stack-On 4-Pistol Rack, $9.40 or SnapSafe 8-Pistol Rack, $9.34

Discount Sale Gun pistol handgun gun rack pistol rack Snapon Snapsafe

The Stack-on 4-Pistol Rack includes two steel stacking supports for stability. Multiple units can be stacked on each other, or they can be placed side-by-side on a shelf in your safe. This unit is made of tough ABS plastic, and costs just $9.40. Walmart also offers a nice 8-pistol SnapSafe rack for $9.34. The 8-gun SnapSafe rack, made of PVC-coated metal, will take up less shelf space than two Stack-On units. Either rack is available with free shipping with an order of $35.00 or more.

Stack-On Rack Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H): 10.63 x 4.38 x 1.38 Inches

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