September 22nd, 2018

Best Ever — 1000-Yard Records Set at 2018 F-Class Nationals

F-class record raton new mexico f-class nationals Ray Gross Erik Cortina

200-22X New F-Open 1000-Yard National Record

200-22X — That’s a stunning score, at any distance, but to do that at 1000 yards, at the most important match of the year, in a notoriously tricky venue, is a remarkable achievement. This 200-22X, a pending new F-Class Open Division National Record, was shot by Norm Harrold of Team McMillan at the 2018 F-Class Nationals, running this week at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, NM. Norm’s brilliant 200-22X beat the existing F-Open record by five Xs.

Gun and Load: Norm’s F-Open rig features a McMillan stock and Bartlein barrel chambered for the .284 Shehane. Norm loaded Berger 184gr 7mm bullets in Lapua brass. Erik Cortina joked — “the minute this video goes live, the 184s will be hard to find”. Norm says “Stock up guys — they shoot good!”

Keep Shooting — Don’t Stop!
How can you have more than twenty Xs in a 20-shot string? Here’s how it works — when you shoot all Xs for the entire string of fire, you are allowed to keep shooting. After his 20th shot, Norm recalled, “I said ‘I’m done, give me my target’, but … my shooting partner said ‘No! Keep shooting!'” So Norm did, drilling two more Xs to set the new National Record.

A 200-17X was shot (twice) by David Gosnell in 2015 to set the previous F-0pen 1000-yard record, which was later tied in 2017, first by Keith Glasscock, and then by Pat Scully. But right now Norm Harrold’s 200-22X is the best ever. To beat the previous record by five Xs, and to do that at Raton, during the Nationals, is a great achievement. And to top it off, this new record was shot in the rain!

200-16X New F-TR 1000-Yard National Record

Ray Gross and Mike Plunkett Both Shoot 200-16X to Share New Record
In the F-TR class, two men, Ray Gross (Team McMillan) and Mike Plunkett, both set a new pending 1000-yard record with a 200-16X score. That’s a perfect 10 points for all twenty (20) shots, with 16 of them in the smaller X-Ring. This F-TR division is limited to two cartridge types, .223 Remington (5.56×45) and .308 Win (7.62×51), and F-TR rifles must be shot with a bipod (no front rest). F-TR Weight limit, including bipod, is 8.25 kgs (approximately 18.18 pounds).

Ray, along with the vast majority of other F-TR competitors, was shooting a .308 Win. His load included Berger 220X bullets, in Lapua brass, with Vihtavuori N140 powder and CCI 450 bullet. Ray’s rifle features a 28″ Bartlein Heavy Palma barrel, mated to a Kelbly Panda action in McMillan stock. Up front was a Phoenix bipod with lowering bracket. The scope was a Nightforce NXS 8-32x56mm.

Ray Gross Scorecard — 200-16X is mighty impressive, given Raton’s notorious conditions.
Ray Gross F-TR National Record F-Class Nationals Raton NM Team McMillan

The previous F-TR 1000-yard record was 200-14X shot by Derek Rodgers of Team McMillan. That record by Derek was also recorded at Raton, back in September, 2016.

CLICK HERE for current NRA F-Class and Long Range Records »

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September 22nd, 2018

Shooting Range Locator Maps Ranges Around the Country

Desert Tech Range locator mapping tool map

Looking for places to shoot — out to 1000 yards and beyond? Well the folks at Desert Tech have created a very powerful web-based, Range Locator System. Simply type in town name or Zip Code, and the Desert Tech Range Locator plots the nearest ranges on a Google Map interface. Use plus/minus controls to zoom in and out. This handy, online mapping tool includes thousands of shooting ranges, with max target distances for each. As Shooting Sports USA explains, you can find “the exact mileage and directions to the range, then call the contact for information about hours and protocol. Pretty simple.”

Desert Tech Range locator mapping tool map

How to Use Range Locator
All ranges are marked with “ice cream cone”-shaped markers. Ranges which allow shooting at 500 yards or greater have orange icons. Other ranges limited to shorter distances are marked in blue. When you click on a range icon, the name, address, phone number, and website are displayed. Simply click on the web link to get more info.

SEE RANGE LOCATOR HERE »

NOTE: The system works remarkably well. This Range Locator is our first stop when we are looking for a rifle range in another part of the country. The connection with Google Maps makes this database way more user-friendly than other options. In seconds, you can find rifle ranges anywhere in the nation, including those that specialize in Long Range, and Extreme Long Range shooting. If you are traveling to a shooting match, this will also help you get to your destination. Many undeveloped shooting ranges may not show on your GPS or on AAA maps.

Are there shortcomings? Yes — there are some notable omissions. We searched the Phoenix, Arizona area, and for some reason the Ben Avery Shooting Facility did not show up. Considering that Ben Avery may be the most important outdoor range West of the Rockies, that’s troublesome. That just shows the range locator needs some updates. Overall it is still very impressive. See Ben Avery Map Omission.

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September 22nd, 2018

Tech Tip: Figuring Out Barrel Twist Rates

FirearmsID.com barrel rifling diagram
Erik Dahlberg illustration courtesy FireArmsID.com.

Sometimes you’ll get a barrel that doesn’t stabilize bullets the way you’d anticipate, based on the stated (or presumed) twist rate. A barrel might have 1:10″ stamped on the side but it is, in truth, a 1:10.5″ twist or even a 1:9.5″. Cut-rifled barrels, such as Kriegers and Bartleins, normally hold very true to the specified twist rate. With buttoned barrels, due to the nature of the rifling process, there’s a greater chance of a small variation in twist rate. And yes, factory barrels can be slightly out of spec as well.

After buying a new barrel, you should determine the true twist rate BEFORE you start load development. You don’t want to invest in a large supply of expensive bullets only to find that that won’t stabilize because your “8 twist” barrel is really a 1:8.5″. Sinclair International provides a simple procedure for determining the actual twist rate of your barrel.

Sinclair’s Simple Twist Rate Measurement Method
If are unsure of the twist rate of the barrel, you can measure it yourself in a couple of minutes. You need a good cleaning rod with a rotating handle and a jag with a fairly tight fitting patch. Utilize a rod guide if you are accessing the barrel through the breech or a muzzle guide if you are going to come in from the muzzle end. Make sure the rod rotates freely in the handle under load. Start the patch into the barrel for a few inches and then stop. Put a piece of tape at the back of the rod by the handle (like a flag) or mark the rod in some way. Measure how much of the rod is still protruding from the rod guide. You can either measure from the rod guide or muzzle guide back to the flag or to a spot on the handle. Next, continue to push the rod in until the mark or tape flag has made one complete revolution. Re-measure the amount of rod that is left sticking out of the barrel. Use the same reference marks as you did on the first measurement. Next, subtract this measurement from the first measurement. This number is the twist rate. For example, if the rod has 24 inches remaining at the start and 16 inches remain after making one revolution, you have 8 inches of travel, thus a 1:8 twist barrel.

Determining Barrel Twist Rate Empirically
Twist rate is defined as the distance in inches of barrel that the rifling takes to make one complete revolution. An example would be a 1:10″ twist rate. A 1:10″ barrel has rifling that makes one complete revolution in 10 inches of barrel length. Rifle manufacturers usually publish twist rates for their standard rifle offerings and custom barrels are always ordered by caliber, contour, and twist rate. If you are having a custom barrel chambered you can ask the gunsmith to mark the barrel with the twist rate.

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