October 24th, 2020

2021 Berger Southwest Nationals Event Has Been Canceled

desert sharpshooters 2021 SWN SW southwest nationals cancellation cancel notice Ben Avery AZ Phoenix F-Class
Berger SWN Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.

Bad news folks — one of the very best rifle matches on the planet, the Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN), will NOT be held in 2021. The Desert Sharpshooters Rifle Club, organizers of the big match, stated that because of Arizona state health regulations, it would be too difficult to conduct a match this big. An email notice was issued on 10/22/2020 which concluded:

“The Desert Sharpshooters feel that we cannot maintain the integrity of the match while also following all of Ben Avery’s COVID requirements. Additionally, we feel that it is not fair to the shooters and sponsors to hold the match in conditions that will not allow it to be on par with the world class standards we strive for. Therefore … we must announce the cancellation of the 2021 Southwest Nationals.”

desert sharpshooters 2021 SWN SW southwest nationals cancellation cancel notice Ben Avery AZ Phoenix F-Class

Notice from The Desert Sharpshooters

2021 Southwest Nationals Registration Information
The Ben Avery Shooting Facility is owned and operated by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. As a state owned facility, we must follow all COVID restrictions in place, and it seems that these measures will not be lifted anytime soon. We have been informed that the AZ Governor’s office will not enter into any new phases until there is a vaccine in place.

In planning for the F-Class Nationals held this month, the Desert Sharpshooters have struggled to put in place measures that follow all of Ben Avery Shooting Facility’s requirements. This is for a match half the size of a traditional Southwest Nationals. While the F-Class Nationals will still be taking place, it will not have the traditional atmosphere that shooters expect from a national championship event. Among other measures, shooters will not be permitted to gather in groups on the range and will be forced to socially distance themselves. This will virtually eliminate the comradery typical of the shooting sports, especially at an international event.

In recent years, the Southwest Nationals has filled all 360 available spots in a matter of minutes after registration opens. In addition, we typically see a waiting list of 100 to 150 shooters hoping to get into the full match. In order to follow COVID measures, we would have to limit entries to 180 available spots. Since this match consists of Sling, F-TR, and F-Open, we would further have to limit each division to 60 shooters.

After much deliberation, the Desert Sharpshooters feel that we cannot maintain the integrity of the match while also following all of Ben Avery’s COVID requirements. Additionally, we feel that it is not fair to the shooters and sponsors to hold the match in conditions that will not allow it to be on par with the world class standards we strive for. Therefore, it is with much sadness that we must announce the cancellation of the 2021 Southwest Nationals.

Kind Regards,
Desert Sharpshooters

Desert sharpshooters | P O Box 11684, Prescott, AZ 86304

desert sharpshooters 2021 SWN SW southwest nationals cancellation cancel notice Ben Avery AZ Phoenix F-Class

If you have never been to the Berger SW Nationals before, this video from the 2016 match provides an aerial view of the Ben Avery Shooting Facility, along with images from the firing lines:

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October 24th, 2020

Loading Accurate Pistol Ammo for Competition — USAMU Tips

Accurate Reloading hand loading handgun pistol progressive 9mm .45 ACP
Photo courtesy UltimateReloader.com.

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) regularly publishes a weekly reloading article on its Facebook Page. In this article, the second in a 3-part series, the USAMU covers the process of loading competition pistol ammunition. The authors focus on two key elements — the taper crimp and the quality/uniformity of the original brass. If you shoot pistol competitively, or just want to maximize the accuracy of your handguns, read this article. The taper crimp tips are very important.

Pistol Reloading USAMU taper crimp Brass

Loading Accurate Competition Pistol Ammunition — Part 2 of 3

Today, we resume our series on factors affecting accuracy in pistol handloads. Readers who missed Part One can visit our USAMU Facebook Page. Scroll down to March 28, 2018 to find that first installment which is worth reading.

One often-overlooked aspect of handloading highly-accurate pistol ammunition is the amount of taper crimp used, and its effect on accuracy. (NOTE: this article pertains to loading for semi-autos – revolver crimp techniques involve some quite different issues.) Briefly, different amounts of taper crimp are used with various handloads to obtain best accuracy. The amount is based on bullet weight, powder burn rate and charge, plus other factors such as case neck tension. During machine-rest testing of experimental Service Pistol ammunition, many variables are examined. Among these, our Shop often varies a load’s crimp in degrees of 0.001″ when re-testing for finest accuracy.

How to Measure Taper Crimp on Pistol Cartridges
One question that often arises is, “How do I measure the taper crimp I’m putting on my cartridges?” Using the narrow part of one’s dial caliper jaws, carefully measure the case diameter at the exact edge of the case mouth on a loaded cartridge. It’s important to take several measurements to ensure consistency. Also, be sure to measure at several places around the case mouth, as case wall thickness can vary. After measuring 2-3 cartridges with a given crimp setting, one can be confident of the true dimension and that it can be repeated later, if needed.

Accurate Reloading hand loading handgun pistol progressive 9mm .45 ACP

However, for good results, one must use brass from one maker due to variances in case wall thickness. For example, the same degree of crimp that imparts a measurement of 0.471″ with Brand X brass may result in 0.469″ with Brand Y. Thus, for best accuracy, using brass from the same manufacturer is important — particularly for 50-yard Slow Fire. In a perfect world, it is better still to use brass from one lot number if possible. With the popularity of progressive presses using interchangeable tool heads, keeping separate tool heads adjusted for each load helps maximize uniformity between ammunition lots.

Brass Uniformity and Accuracy
Brass is important to pistol accuracy. While accurate ammunition can be loaded using brass of mixed parentage, that is not conducive to finest results, particularly at 50 yards. It is important for the serious competitor to pay attention to his brass – even if only for the 50-yard “Slow Fire” portions of “Bullseye” matches and practice. By segregating brass as described above, and additionally keeping track of the number of times a given batch of cases has been fired, one can ensure case neck tension and case length are at their most uniform.

Accurate Reloading hand loading handgun pistol progressive 9mm .45 ACP

Given the large volumes of ammunition consumed by active pistol competitors, using inexpensive, mixed surplus brass for practice, particularly at the “short line” (25 yards), is understandable. In NRA Outdoor Pistol (“Bullseye”), the 10-ring is relatively generous — especially for a well-trained shooter with an accurate pistol and load. However, for the “long line” (50 yards), purchasing and segregating a lot of high-quality brass to be used strictly for slow-fire is a wise idea. To keep track of your brass on the line, use a unique headstamp marking with 1 or 2 colors of marking pen ink.

Uniform Cartridge Overall Length is Important
Cartridge case Overall Length (OAL) uniformity as it comes from the factory is important to achieving utmost accuracy. More uniform case lengths (best measured after sizing) contribute to greater consistency of crimp, neck tension, ignition/burn of powder charge, headspace (rimless cartridges), etc. Cartridge case-length consistency varies noticeably by maker and, with lesser manufacturers, also from lot to lot. Some manufacturers are more consistent in their dimensions than others, and also in the hardness/ductility of their brass. Similarly, pay attention to primer brands, powder lot numbers, etc.

Consider Using a Lock-Out Die with Progressive Presses
When reloading pistol ammo with a Progressive press, we strongly recommend the use of a lock-out die, or other system that can detect double charges or low charges. If your progressive is manually advanced, the possibility of a double charge is very real — and that can have disastrous consequences.

On UltimateReloader.com website you’ll find an excellent two-part series on the function and set-up of the RCBS Lock-Out Die. This die prevents loading if a high or low powder charge is detected. The video below shows setup of the RCBS Lock-Out Die on the Dillon XL-650 progressive press.

Permalink Handguns, Reloading, Tech Tip No Comments »
October 24th, 2020

NRA Annual Meeting Today, October 24, in Tucson, Arizona

NRA Annual Meeting Tucson Arizona AZ Loews Ventana hotel October 24 2020

The NRA Annual Members Meeting takes place today in Arizona at the Loew’s Ventana Canyon Resort Hotel on the far north side of Tucson. The results of the 2020 Mail Ballot for the NRA Board of Directors will be formally announced at the meeting. The meeting is being held in the Kiva Ballroom starting as 9:00 am local time, with Balloting for the 76th Director taking place in the Ventana Room starting at 8:00 am local time. Highlights from the meeting may be posted on Facebook and Instagram.

The meeting was originally scheduled to be held April 18 in conjunction with the 2020 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits, but was rescheduled due to the cancellation of the 2020 Convention. For further information about the meeting, visit NRAam.org/members-meeting. As the Loew’s Hotel site capacity has been reached, on-site registration today is not possible.

NRA Annual Meeting Tucson Arizona AZ Loews Ventana hotel October 24 2020

The official results of the 2020 election of members to the NRA Board of Directors will be announced as well. Eligible NRA members are strongly encouraged to vote during the Annual Meeting of Members. Eligible Life members and Annual Members with five or more consecutive years of membership may vote on Association business during the meeting and/or vote for the 76th Board Member. Annual Members with less than five years of consecutive membership may only vote for the 76th Board Member.

All members wishing to vote at the Annual Meeting of Members MUST have their memberships verified in the Voter Verification area in the Ventana Room at the Loew’s Resort Hotel.

NOTE: On-site registration is no longer possible, and site capacity has been reached. Capacity was limited due to AZ state health regulations. The NRA provided this notice:

NRA Annual Meeting UPDATE 10/15/20
Registration is Closed — No Walk-up Guests: The NRA’s highest priority is ensuring the well-being and safety of the members and special guests attending the NRA’s 2020 Annual Meeting of Members in Tucson, Arizona. In accordance with Covid-19 density guidelines established by Pima County and local health officials, we have, regrettably, reached full capacity for this event. Only those who are pre-registered will be admitted and no walk-up guests are allowed to enter the meeting facility. We regret that local health guidelines prevent us from accommodating any walk-up guests. We appreciate your support and cooperation.

Face Mask Notice: Pima County regulations, in coordination with the CDC and Arizona Department of Health Services, recommend social distancing. Pima County requires face coverings in both indoor and outdoor settings. The NRA must comply with this guidance. Barring any special exceptions, face coverings are not optional for members, NRA employees, or guests attending the NRA’s 2020 Annual Meeting of Members in Tucson, Arizona. Thank you for your efforts to protect yourself and other members of the NRA community.

NRA Annual Meeting Tucson Arizona AZ Loews Ventana hotel October 24 2020

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