May 2nd, 2019

Loading at the Range — Why It Works for the Benchrest Game

Benchrest IBS Shooting Reloading Chargemaster tuning load
Shown are funnel with ultra-long drop tube (which helps get more kernels in the cases), RCBS Chargemaster (in wood box), and Hood Press (similar to Harrell’s Combo press).

Loading at the range remains important in the Benchrest for Group discipline. In a Special Report below, IBS President Jeff Stover explains how loading methods (and hardware) have evolved over the years. The advent of accurate, affordable electronic powder dispensers, such as the RCBS ChargeMaster and Frankford’s new Intellidropper, have changed the game and made it easier to load efficiently at the range. And quality manual powder measures are fast and can be very consistent, with a little practice. Loading at the range permits competitors to tune their load to the conditions, change seating depths, or even choose different bullets to suit the barrel’s preferences on any given day.

IBS Benchrest

Although pre-loading is not uncommon, most 100/200-yard group shooters usually load at the match, often between relays. The goal is to shoot smaller groups by staying “in tune”. In a game where 5-shot groups “in the 1s and Zeros” is the goal, tuning loads for the conditions helps deliver match-winning accuracy. Nearly all competitors in this short-range discipline shoot the 6mm PPC cartridge, or a PPC variant.

IBS Benchrest loading at range Jeff Stover

Loading at the Range — Then and Now

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

In benchrest shooting for group, loading at the range has been de rigueur for decades. In the Score discipline, preloading is usually the custom. The main reason is that, in Score competition, only one Aggregate (warm-up match and five record targets) per day is usually shot. That would be less than 50 shots, assuming a few sighter shots. Also, the 30BR, the dominant Benchrest-for-Score cartridge, is very amenable to pre-loading.

By contrast, the Group discipline includes 21 targets (two warm-ups and twenty record targets) over a weekend, usually shot with 6PPC-chambered rifles. Many times, the 6PPC shooters may tweak their loads through the day given changing atmospheric conditions or simply trying to find the correct tune to “dot up”. This term, “Dot up”, means the shots are essentially going through the same hole, or closely so.

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

Loading at the range was a bit different when benchrest competition was in its infancy. The 1951 book, Modern Accuracy by Bob Wallack, is the best of the early benchrest books. Copies can be found, from time to time, on eBay or Alibris. It is a fascinating survey of benchrest as it existed more than six decades ago. There’s even coverage of a controversial target that was argued over at the time. In it, there is a photo of Wallack using the rear bumper of a car at the bench to clamp his reloading tools. Things have come a long way compared to the range loading set-ups of modern shooters. Here you can see Bob Wallack way back in 1950:

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

Modern loading bench set-ups shown in this Special Report belong to top shooters Howie Levy, Bob Hamister, and Kent Harshman.
Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Reloading 2 Comments »
May 2nd, 2019

Female Participation in the Shooting Sports — Today’s Trends

shooting industry magazine women woman's issue hunting

The shooting sports are not a “man’s game” these days. Far from it. More and more women have taken up target shooting. A recent survey showed an 80% increase in the number of women target shooters from 2001 to 2016. In total, six million American ladies participated in target shooting in 2016. Likewise hunting has become more popular with American women. Female hunters in the USA numbered 1.1 million in 2016. That represents a 104% increase from 2001.

Recognizing that ladies are an ever-increasing part of the shooting sports, Shooting Industry Magazine just released its first-ever Woman’s Issue dedicated to female shooters and huntresses. This May 2019 special issue can be accessed for FREE online. CLICK HERE to READ.

While the issue is focused primarily on SELLING products to women, there is some very useful information that can help match directors and club officials. The magazine interviews many business owners and range directors who have developed female-focused shooting and training programs.

NRA Convention, Jessie Harrison
Above and below — the world’s best female Action Pistol shooter, Jessie Harrison.

shooting industry magazine women woman's issue hunting

Female Participation in Shooting Sports and Hunting
The Shooting Industry Woman’s Issue spotlights female participation in target shooting and hunting. One key article summarizes a nationwide survey conducted by Southwick Associates. One interesting finding was that much of the increase in female participation can be tracked to younger ladies: “Female participation in both hunting and shooting may be highest among younger women[.]” Notably, 16% of respondents among target shooters in the 16-24 age category were female. Southwick concludes: “Future generations of hunters and shooters will contain more women than ever before”.

shooting industry magazine women woman's issue hunting

The Shooting Industry Magazine Woman’s Issue has more than a dozen articles focusing on women in the shooting sports. We found some good advice from industry leaders and shop owners on developing products for women shooters, CCW holders, and hunters:

“When the ‘shrink it and pink it’ mentality is applied to hunting and outdoor gear, it can be perceived by some as an insult to a woman’s ability and competence. Women, expecially avid female hunters, want to be taken seriously.” –Brenda Weatherby, Weatherby Inc.

“I’m glad to bring a female perspective to a predominantly male industry. In general, men and women have different concerns/issues specifically when carrying a concealed handgun.” — Melissa Torres, Owner Scoots Place

“Seek a woman’s advice and input on any gear you want to bring to market for a female.” — Jessica Hazelaar, Owner Eclipse Holsters

shooting industry magazine women woman's issue hunting

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