May 4th, 2019

ELR Steel Shooting with Field & Cave Outfitters

Travis frazier field cave outfitters texas ranch one mile steel ELR extreme long range giant gong
These targets were set at one mile (1760 yards). Travis Frazer (with rifle) and friend Curtis went a combined 5 for 5 at this distance.

They say that “Everything is Bigger in Texas”. Well that’s apparently true, at least when it comes to steel targets — really BIG steel targets. Our friends at Field & Cave Outfitters (FCO), based in Mesquite, Texas, recently delivered a trailer-load of super-sized steel targets to a large ranch. The Field & Cave team placed a total of 117 steel targets on 34 frames at distances from 25 yards to 1760 yards (one statute mile).

Travis frazier field cave outfitters texas ranch one mile steel ELR extreme long range giant gong
It took Field & Cave Outfitters a big trailer to haul 117 steel targets.

Naturally, after setting the targets up (on 34 frames), Travis Frazer and buddy Curtis Attaway tested the steel — with considerable success. In fact, Travis and Curtis managed to go five-for-five with the One Mile targets. That’s mighty impressive when you consider neither man had ever shot past 1200 yards before. Travis provides a yardage-by-yardage account of his Steel Shooting Adventure below. Enjoy!

Travis frazier field cave outfitters texas ranch one mile steel ELR extreme long range giant gong
Along with the jumbo-sized targets for Extreme Long Range (ELR), Field & Cave Outfitters supplied numerous smaller gongs and plates for shorter distances, starting at 25 yards.

Building a Rifle Shooter’s Paradise and Ringing Steel at One Mile

By Travis Frazer, Field & Cave Outfitters

Friend and gunsmith Johnathon Stigall of Crimson Accuracy introduced me to a customer looking to build a private range on his very expansive ranch. Curtis Attaway, a fellow shooting nut, served as facilitator for the ranch owners who ordered a vast array — 117 steel targets and 34 frames to be set up from 25 yards to a full mile. The largest was a 63″-diameter round gong cut from 3/8″ A46100 armor to serve as a One Milliradian-sized target at one mile. (Meaning the diameter of the target equals 1 Mil at 1 Mile.)

“What do you get the guy that has everything — several sections of land, a range out to one mile? Lots of steel, naturally. We delivered 117 steel targets and 34 frames!” — Travis Frazer

After about eight weeks of production time, we delivered and set up the targets in late April 2019. Upon arrival at the property, Curtis and I met the ranch manager and two hands. Luckily we had a tractor, truck, trailer, and mobile power — all the tools necessary to get things done. We worked from 10:00 am to 6:30 pm and only managed to get the long-range rifle targets set. We put steel at 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 750, 1000, 1100, 1320 (3/4 mile), 1450, 1600, and 1760 yards (1 mile). All the targets were accessible from the same elevated shooting position on the side of a hill.

Travis frazier field cave outfitters texas ranch one mile steel ELR extreme long range giant gong

Shooting Steel from 200 Yards to One Mile
Luckily, after the work was done there was still some daylight left. Optical conditions were near perfect and the wind, while still pretty stiff, had come around to straight out of 6 O’Clock. Curtis brought his 6.5×55 Swede and 28 Nosler. I brought my 6.5×47 Lapua hunting rifle. We took turns shooting — Curtis was prone on his UTV trailer, I was lying in the bed of my truck. We started at 200 yards, each shooting a single round at a steel torso silhouette. We continued taking one shot per distance, making adjustments to what our ballistic APPs suggested, based on the observed impacts on the targets. We continued scoring first-round hits until we reached one thousand yards. After a few shots, getting centered at 1K, we continued on, hitting more than we missed.

Travis frazier field cave outfitters texas ranch one mile steel ELR extreme long range giant gong

I ran out of elevation trying to engage the 1450-yard target. I needed 67 MOA of “up” and only had 60. After three shots and zero hits with varying amounts of hold-over on a Full Scale IPSC torso, I called it quits with the little 47.

Meanwhile, Curtis put a 195gr Berger out of his 28 Nosler on a half-inch-thick AR550 torso at 200 yards to confirm his zero and stress-test the steel. Both passed with flying colors. After that, it was straight to 1100 yards where he scored a first-shot hit, then followed it up with a second shot about two inches to the right. He continued to walk it out, scoring a first round hit at 1320 then 1600. We couldn’t see the hit at 1600 because a tree line obscured the lower third of the 58″ diameter gong. We only knew he hit it because of the glorious ring!

Knowing that he hit it low, Curtis dialed up to one mile, but ran out of travel three minutes short. He backed the power down to 24X so his reticle would subtend properly, held the three minutes and let one fly. He was rewarded with a first-, second-, and third-round hits — the third being almost perfectly centered on the 63-incher. He let me get behind the trigger and told me where to hold. I hit the 63″ gong on the first try, so I decided to give the smaller, half-Mil 37″ target a shot.

That two and a half-second flight time seemed like an eternity. I had resigned to the fact that I missed… but then I saw the 37″ plate swing with the impact. Incredible! The impact was centered horizontally, about 10″ below the top edge (see top photo). That Crimson Accuracy-smithed 28 Nosler made two newbies look like old pros at ELR. The ranch manager watching through the spotting scope couldn’t believe what he was seeing. What he didn’t know is that neither could we!

Travis frazier field cave outfitters texas ranch one mile steel ELR extreme long range giant gong

For more information on these steel targets, visit FieldandCaveOutfitters.com. You can also post questions for Travis Frazer on this AccurateShooter Forum Thread.

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May 4th, 2019

Cartridge “Efficiency” — Factors to Consider from the USAMU

USAMU Handloading Guide Facebook cartridge efficiency

Efficient cartridges make excellent use of their available powder and case/bore capacity. They yield good ballistic performance with relatively little recoil and throat erosion.

USAMU Handloading Guide Facebook cartridge efficiency

Cartridge Efficiency: A Primer (pun intended!) by USAMU Staff

Each week, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) publishes a reloading article on its Facebook Page. In this week’s article, the USAMU discusses cartridge case efficiency and its benefits. While this is oriented primarily toward NRA High Power Rifle and Long Range (1000-yard) competition, these factors also apply to medium/big game hunters. Assuming one’s rifle and ammunition are accurate, key considerations include ballistic performance (i.e., resistance to wind effects, plus trajectory), recoil, and throat erosion/barrel life.

Efficient cartridges make excellent use of their available powder and case/bore capacity. They yield good ballistic performance with relatively little recoil and throat erosion. A classic example in the author’s experience involved a featherweight 7x57mm hunting/silhouette rifle. When loaded to modern-rifle pressures, just 43-44 grains of powder pushed a 139gr bullet at 2900 fps from its 22” barrel. Recoil in this light rifle was mild; it was very easy to shoot well, and its performance was superb.

An acquaintance chose a “do everything” 7mm Remington Magnum for use on medium game at short ranges. A larger, heavier rifle, it used ~65 grains of powder to achieve ~3200 fps with similar bullets — from its 26″ barrel. Recoil was higher, and he was sensitive to it, which hampered his shooting ability.

Similarly efficient calibers include the 6mm BR [Norma], and others. Today’s highly-efficient calibers, such as 6mm BR and a host of newer developments might use 28-30 grains of powder to launch a 105-107gr match bullet at speeds approaching the .243 Winchester. The .243 Win needs 40-45 grain charges at the same velocity.

Champion-level Long Range shooters need every ballistic edge feasible. They compete at a level where 1″ more or less drift in a wind change could make the difference between winning and losing. Shooters recognized this early on — the then-new .300 H&H Magnum quickly supplanted the .30-06 at the Wimbledon winner’s circle in the early days.

The .300 Winchester Magnum became popular, but its 190-220gr bullets had their work cut out for them once the 6.5-284 and its streamlined 140-142gr bullets arrived on the scene. The 6.5-284 gives superb accuracy and wind performance with about half the recoil of the big .30 magnums – albeit it is a known barrel-burner.

Currently, the 7mm Remington Short Action Ultra-Magnum (aka 7mm RSAUM), is giving stellar accuracy with cutting-edge, ~180 grain bullets, powder charges in the mid-50 grain range and velocities about 2800+ fps in long barrels. Beyond pure efficiency, the RSAUM’s modern, “short and fat” design helps ensure fine accuracy relative to older, longer cartridge designs of similar performance.

Recent design advances are yielding bullets with here-to-fore unheard-of ballistic efficiency; depending on the cartridge, they can make or break ones decision. Ballistic coefficients (“BC” — a numerical expression of a bullet’s ballistic efficiency) are soaring to new heights, and there are many exciting new avenues to explore.

The ideal choice [involves a careful] balancing act between bullet BCs, case capacity, velocity, barrel life, and recoil. But, as with new-car decisions, choosing can be half the fun!

Factors to Consider When Evaluating Cartridges
For competitive shooters… pristine accuracy and ballistic performance in the wind are critical. Flat trajectory benefits the hunter who may shoot at long, unknown distances (nowadays, range-finders help). However, this is of much less importance to competitors firing at known distances.

Recoil is an issue, particularly when one fires long strings during competition, and/or multiple strings in a day. Its effects are cumulative; cartridges with medium/heavy recoil can lead to shooter fatigue, disturbance of the shooting position and lower scores.

For hunters, who may only fire a few shots a year, recoil that does not induce flinching during sight-in, practice and hunting is a deciding factor. Depending on their game and ranges, etc., they may accept more recoil than the high-volume High Power or Long Range competitor.

Likewise, throat erosion/barrel life is important to competitive shooters, who fire thousands of rounds in practice and matches, vs. the medium/big game hunter. A cartridge that performs well ballistically with great accuracy, has long barrel life and low recoil is the competitive shooter’s ideal. For the hunter, other factors may weigh more heavily.

Cartridge Efficiency and Energy — Another Perspective
Lapua staffer Kevin Thomas explains that efficiency can be evaluated in terms of energy:

“Cartridge efficiency is pretty straight forward — energy in vs. energy out. Most modern single-based propellants run around 178-215 ft/lbs of energy per grain. These figures give the energy potential that you’re loading into the rifle. The resulting kinetic energy transferred to the bullet will give you the efficiency of the round. Most cases operate at around 20-25% efficiency. This is just another way to evaluate the potential of a given cartridge. There’s a big difference between this and simply looking at max velocities produced by various cartridges.”

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May 4th, 2019

Super Deal — Lake City 7.62×51 Primed Brass $49.99/250

Midsouth Shooters Lake City Surplus pull-down primed .308 Win 7.62x51 brass sale bulk 250

Do you shoot a Springfield M1A rifle chambered for the .308 Win/7.62×51? Or maybe you have a rugged, semi-auto FN-FAL in 7.62×51 NATO? Are you looking for very strong, durable brass you can shoot in these semi-auto battle rifles, without breaking the bank?

M1A Camp Perry 2009 6.5 Creedmoor .308 Win Winchester
Photo of 2009 M1A Match at Camp Perry. Shooter is Nick Till, 2007 Service Rifle Champion.

Semi-autos such as the M1A are tough on brass. You want brass that isn’t too costly, but at the same time is very strong and durable. For decades, USA-made Lake City brass have been a solid choice for 7.62×51 semis, and now you can get quality, unfired 7.62×51 Lake City brass for just $49.99 for 250 cases at Midsouth. That’s just $0.20 (twenty cents) per case! That’s a fourth what you’ll pay for premium, virgin .308 Winchester brass. These cases are never-fired brass, with CCI #34 primers seated in crimped, military-style primer pockets.

Midsouth Shooters Lake City Surplus pull-down primed .308 Win 7.62x51 brass sale bulk 250
springfield armory M1a service rifle m14 6.5 CM Creedmoor

This 7.62×51 Lake City brass comes from disassembled “pull-down” ammunition. It has NOT been fired, but it has been previously assembled. So, there may be some cosmetic issues with the brass. Note that these are primed cases. If you choose to neck-size or FL-size the brass before loading for the first time, REMOVE the decapping rod in your sizing die. This brass has LIVE PRIMERS!! Do NOT use a die with a decapping rod for the first loading of this brass. Got that guys? This is important!!

Midsouth Shooters Lake City Surplus pull-down primed .308 Win 7.62x51 brass sale bulk 250

We have shot FN-FAL-type rifles built on DS Arms semi-auto lowers with European uppers. Those beasts were tough on brass, so we relied on Lake City brass when available. If you have a FN-FAL or STG-58, you should give this Lake City primed, pull-down brass a try. (Federal Gold Medal Match ammo shot great in our DSA/STG-58 but the brass was toast after a few firings).

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