December 27th, 2020

SunDay GunDay: Doctor Paula Goes Distinguished at Age 67

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman
Paula Crenshaw earned Distinguished Badge #2521 in 2020 at age 67.

Feature based on story in CMP’s The First Shot
Paula Crenshaw, a 67-year-old grandmother, never stops reaching toward new ambitions. This November, Paula earned the prestigious Distinguished Rifleman Badge at the 29 Palms Marine Base. “I’ve always been late to the party,” Paula said. “I didn’t start medical school until I was 37.”

A physician from Reno, Nevada, Paula took up rifle shooting in her early fifties to support her husband’s interests and undertake a new challenge. Turns out she loved competitive shooting. And now, in 2020, many years later she earned her own Distinguished Badge, #2521 at the age of 67. Earning the coveted Badge was “The fulfillment of my dream” Paula notes.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman
Paula earned her “hard leg” 10 EIC points during the National Matches at Camp Perry in 2019.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman

Distinguished Badges are awarded to marksmanship competitors who collect at least 30 Excellence-In-Competition (EIC) “leg” points — earned by placing in the top 10% of an EIC match. This Distinguished Rifleman program was started way bay in 1884. Now, two decades into the 21st century, the badge continues to be a prized achievement for competitive shooters.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman

Paula is a member of the Coalinga Rifle Club in California and the Palomino Valley Gun Club in Nevada. She had been on the hunt for a Distinguished Badge since she earned her first points in 2018, then went on to claim her own “hard leg” (10 EIC points) at the annual National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio, in 2019.

After that, “legging out” (that is, earning enough points to receive a Distinguished Badge) became a near obsession. “I dry-fired almost every day,” she recalled. “I worked out. I thought about winning first thing in the morning and as I fell asleep at night. I read many shooting books, sometimes multiple times. I drove my non-shooting friends away talking about shooting!”

By the end of 2019, she had been so dedicated to competing that she had wrangled up 22 EIC points, just eight points away from a badge.

Overcoming a Pandemic and Anxiousness about Earning the Badge
The start of 2020 met Paula with not only the difficulty of finding matches due to the enduring pandemic but also with some EIC nervousness that kept her scores below a point-earning level. With the close of the 2020 shooting season rapidly approaching, Paula decided to go to the 29 Palms Marine Base in California in November for one of her last EIC match chances — carrying within her a newfound resolve to capture those final points she had sought after for so long.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman
Click HERE to order mask like this.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman

Achieving the Goal — After So Many Years
Though her emotions were up, Paula competitive game was down as she fired a sub-par offhand score to start out the first stage of her match. “I was done for, and therefore totally relaxed and enjoyed shooting the rest of the match,” she said. Her new leisurely approach to her final three firing stages, without the pressure, shockingly boosted her scores — enough to earn herself the final points she needed for her Distinguished Rifleman Badge.

“No one was more surprised than me to learn I had won the eight-point leg,” she said, proudly. “I had finally done it”.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman

Husband and Wife that Shoot Together
Paula and husband Greg have shot together for many years. This demonstrates that competitive shooting can be a great activity for a couple to share. Paula told us that she often meets shooters’ wives at shooting matches who are interested in trying the sport, but some feel intimidated at first. Paula encourages them to get started. Interestingly, many shooting instructors find that women learn faster than men initially, primarily because they are better listeners, and they don’t let their egos get in the way.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman

Paula notes: “For us, as a couple, to share in the joys and despairs of shooting competition has been really special. The wives and girlfriends of the men I shoot with have a really wonderful opportunity to grow in their relationships. So many men I shoot with have expressed remorse they don’t share this with the women they love. Greg doesn’t babysit me and we are independent at the range. But he really helped me get started, and continues to be supportive to this day. But I’m at a point I can help him too.”

Paula said husband Greg has been a great shooting partner — helpful and supportive from the very start. And Greg was very proud of Paula’s accomplishment in earning her Distinguished Badge. To celebrate and mark the moment she earned her final Distinguished Points, Greg pinned his own Distinguished Badge on her hat. “Greg most certainly helped make this possible for me….”

Details of Service Rifle — Components and Match Loads

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman
Click photo to see FULL SCREEN image.

Paula’s rifle features a 1:7″-twist Krieger barrel with Wylde Chamber, barrel sourced from White Oak. The Sun Devil lower is fitted with a Geissele Nat’l Match trigger. The stock is a Magpul UBR. The upper is fitted with a Hera Handguard. On top is a March 1-4.5x24mm Service Rifle scope with MTR-5 reticle. Paula uses a Hollis sling, Monard shooting coat, and both Monard and Creedmoor gloves.

Match Ammunition — For 200/300 yard stages, Paula runs 73gr Berger bullets, with Varget powder and Wolf primers. For 600 yards, she uses 75gr or 80gr Hornady bullets, also with Varget powder but with CCI BR4 primers. Bullets are loaded 0.060″ off the lands.

Paul Crenshaw AR16 service rifle distinguished
Here is Paula’s rifle from 4 years ago. She has upgraded her rig with many new components.

Shooting Sports — Multi-Generational Fun for All Ages
One thing Paula really likes about the shooting sports is that you can keep getting better even in your 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond. Walt Berger has won Benchrest matches in his 80s! Few other sports offer true multi-generational competition like this.

“The really wonderful thing about shooting is that you can do it at any age, and even with disabilities. There is a discipline for everyone. We all seem to put lots of energy into the junior shooters. I’d like to see more energy put into helping older shooters get started. For an aging person who can no longer do some of the sports of their youth, shooting is a wonderful new venture. For me, my age, just was never a factor. I do work out to stay as strong since old age is somewhat of a slide into decrepitude. Whether you are young, middle-aged, or a senior shooter, you can all compete together.” — Paula Crenshaw

Paula is justifiably proud of her accomplishment, and she notes that there is, perhaps, an important message to be found in her earning the Distinguished Badge at age 67. Paula demonstrated that men and women can achieve important things even late in life, even after retirement. “Keep striving for your dreams” Paula told us, and “stay active with the outdoor activities you love”. A physician, Paula observes some people who remain vital and active even in their 80s, while some people in their 40s let things slide.

Even during this tough Pandemic year, Paula stays fit through weight-lifting, and she also enjoys motorcycle riding (on her own machine). She wants to encourage readers to continue all their outdoor hobbies as long as they can. As they say, you only go around once in life. The important thing, Paula tells us, is to continue to do what you enjoy, focus on your goals, and remain positive. Even at 67 Paula still enjoys mountaineering and motorcycling as well as shooting. Here is Paula in her younger days, rock-climbing.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman

NEXT Challenge for Paula Will Be Palma Shooting
What’s the next challenge for Dr. Paula Crenshaw? Well right now our friend Gary Eliseo of Competition Machine is building Paula a new Palma rifle, using his vaunted TubeGun chassis. Paula looks forward to competing in long-range Palma matches with the new rifle, which will be chambered in the .223 Remington. Yes, you read that right. With the latest generation of bullets and high-energy powder, a .223 Rem can be competitive with a .308 Win in many conditions.

Paula encourages women of all ages to try shooting. In her experience women often excel far beyond their expectations: “Women seem to have an advantage in shooting, in that they take to it quicker. They get better quicker. Everyone has theories. I watch beginning juniors. The guys fidget more and seem to feel embarrassed if they don’t do well. The girls don’t seem to worry if they do badly. They listen better. But I see many fantastic female juniors excel only to give it up later. So it seems men stick with it longer.”

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Badge 2500 william Tom Collins Michigan Ohio
Photo courtesy photographer Jonathan Ocab, who himself earned the Distinguished Rifleman Badge.

Read more about Paula’s journey to earn her Distinguished Badge on the CMP website (search for Paula Crenshaw and then click on the Biography link).

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Gear Review 6 Comments »
December 27th, 2020

Is Your Twist Rate OK? Use Berger Twist Rate Stability Calculator

Berger twist rate calculator

Berger Twist-Rate Stability Calculator
Berger twist rate calculatorOn the Berger Bullets website you’ll find a handy Twist-Rate Stability Calculator that predicts your gyroscopic stability factor (SG) based on mulitiple variables: velocity, bullet length, bullet weight, barrel twist rate, ambient temperature, and altitude. This cool tool tells you if your chosen bullet will really stabilize in your barrel.


CLICK HERE to Go to TWIST RATE CALCULATOR PAGE »

How to Use Berger’s Twist Rate Calculator
Using the Twist Rate Calculator is simple. Just enter the bullet DIAMETER (e.g. .264), bullet WEIGHT (in grains), and bullet overall LENGTH (in inches). On its website, Berger conveniently provides this info for all its bullet types. For other brands, we suggest you weigh three examples of your chosen bullet, and also measure the length on three samples. Then use the average weight and length of the three. To calculate bullet stability, simply enter your bullet data (along with observed Muzzle Velocity, outside Temperature, and Altitude) and click “Calculate SG”. Try different twist rate numbers (and recalculate) until you get an SG value of 1.4 (or higher).

Gyroscopic Stability (SG) and Twist Rate
Berger’s Twist Rate Calculator provides a predicted stability value called “SG” (for “Gyroscopic Stability”). This indicates the Gyroscopic Stability applied to the bullet by spin. This number is derived from the basic equation: SG = (rigidity of the spinning mass)/(overturning aerodynamic torque).

Berger twist rate calculator

If you have an SG under 1.0, your bullet is predicted not to stabilize. If you have between 1.0 and 1.1 SG, your bullet may or may not stabilize. If you have an SG greater than 1.1, your bullet should stabilize under optimal conditions, but stabilization might not be adequate when temperature, altitude, or other variables are less-than-optimal. That’s why Berger normally recommends at least 1.5 SG to get out of the “Marginal Stability” zone.

In his book Applied Ballistics For Long-Range Shooting (3rd Ed.), Bryan Litz (Berger Ballistician) recommends at least a 1.4 SG rating when selecting a barrel twist for a particular bullet. This gives you a safety margin for shooting under various conditions, such as higher or lower altitudes or temperatures.

Story idea from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
December 27th, 2020

300 FREE Tactical Targets for Precision Rifle Fans

AccurateShooter Free downloadable tactical storm print targets shooting paper PDF

AccurateShooter’s Target Page provides over 50 FREE downloadable targets. You’ll find all types of targets — sight-in targets, varmint targets, rimfire targets, bullseye targets, tactical targets, load development targets and more. CLICK HERE for all our free targets, including our popular LOAD DEV target.

FREE Accuracy Precision Rifle Shooting Target

On this load development target, all your load data fits neatly in the boxes under each target. The diamonds have 1/2″ sides and you can align your cross-hairs on the horizontal and vertical lines. When we test, we crank in a little elevation, setting the point-of-impact higher. That way our shots fall in the gray circles, leaving the red diamonds intact for precise aiming.

Storm Tactical Targets — Hundreds of FREE, Printable Targets

AccurateShooter Free downloadable tactical storm print targets shooting paper PDFIf you want an even greater selection of targets, specialized for PRS and NRL shooters, Storm Tactical offers a vast collection of tactical targets, available in three different versions: MOA, MIL Yards, and MIL Meters. Storm Tactical also has a rimfire target set. This includes side-by-side target blocks for fun, one-on-one competition. Overall there are 299 Storm Tactical Targets in four downloadable sets.

CLICK links to launch each Storm Tactical target collection. Then you can click the download icon to save to your hard drive. OR, you can scroll up and down to select the target(s) you like which you can tell your printer to print. We do recommend downloading the complete archives. File sizes are listed.

Storm Tactical MOA TARGET PACK, 62 Targets, 28 MB PDF file.

Storm Tactical MILRAD Target Pack — YARDS, 174 Targets, 98 MB PDF file.

Storm Tactical MILRAD Target Pack — METERS, 57 Targets, 31 MB PDF file.

Storm Tactical RIMFIRE Target Pack, 6 Targets, 4.6 MB PDF file.

AccurateShooter Free downloadable tactical storm print targets shooting paper PDF

AccurateShooter Free downloadable tactical storm print targets shooting paper PDF

tikka t3 tactical
Here’s a Tikka T3 in Third Eye Tactical cerakoted chassis.

AccurateShooter Free downloadable tactical storm print targets shooting paper PDF


Rimfire Twin Target, for One-on-One Shooter Challenges

AccurateShooter Free downloadable tactical storm print targets shooting paper PDF

You’ll find this fun target on the third page of the Rimfire Target Pack. Just download the PDF file and instruct your printer to deliver page three. Or print out all six (6) rimfire targets if you like.

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »