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June 3rd, 2021

Kelly McMillan Has Passed — Sad News for the Shooting World

Kelly McMillan RIP memoriam obituary passing McM Fiberglass stocks

In Memoriam: Kelly McMillan, 1954-2021
Kelly McMillan has left the range. He passed away on June 1, 2021 from rapid, unexpected medical issues. This is a great loss for the shooting community. Kelly was a major figure in the shooting sports world, one of the greatest supporters of competitive shooting and rifle Team USA. Kelly was the son of Gale McMillan, founder of McMillan Fiberglass Stocks. Kelly was the driving force behind McMillan Stocks for decades, but had sold the company earlier this year.

Kelly McMillan RIP memoriam obituary passing McM Fiberglass stocks

Kelly’s successors at McMillan Fiberglass Stocks posted: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Kelly McMillan. Kelly spent most of his life putting his unique mark on the firearms industry. His influence and efforts expanded beyond the famed McMillan Stocks…. We are forever grateful to Kelly for what he built. We are grateful that he poured his heart into his many interests. We will celebrate his legacy and see that his lifelong pursuits will continue to grow. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”

Kelly McMillan RIP memoriam obituary passing McM Fiberglass stocks

Anyone who ever interacted with Kelly knew him as a strong, forthright, ethical, and generous man. He gave so much back to the shooting community — through sponsorships, by providing stocks to shooters, and by helping shooting teams.

This Editor can also say that AccurateShooter.com owes a debt of gratitude to Kelly. His company was one of the very first sponsors of this site when we started as 6mmBR.com 17 years ago. As he supported us, he also helped many notable shooters such as Derek Rodgers (F-Class World Champion, 2017 K02M Champion), and Paul Phillips, the 2019 K02M Champion. On learning of Kelly’s death, Paul Phillips posted:

“I have no words to express how saddened I am today. We lost an icon in the shooting industry. Kelly McMillan was not only a great friend but the most generous and giving man I knew in the industry. There is not enough space to write about everything he did for competitive shooters, military snipers, hunters, and shooting enthusiasts.

You were one-of-a-kind Kelly and I will forever remember your friendship and how big an advocate you were for shooting sports. RIP my friend. Prayers go out to Kelly’s family for this tragic loss.”

Kelly McMillan RIP memoriam obituary passing McM Fiberglass stocks
Kelly’s Wall of Honor in Phoenix proudly displayed McMillan-stocked rifles used by U.S. Military marksmen.

Kelly McMillan RIP memoriam obituary passing McM Fiberglass stocks
Kelly was also an avid hunter. Here he is with Derek Rodgers (left) and Paul Phillips (center).

Derek Rodgers wrote of his friend and hunting partner: “It is difficult to tell you how deeply saddened I feel about the loss of Kelly. What started as a shooting relationship quickly became a close friendship so many years ago. It was a privilege to know Kelly on a personal level and I will never forget his generous, caring nature and the never-ending kindness he had for others. My heart goes out to his family and he will forever be missed.”

Members of the Shooting Sports Industry Remember Kelly

“We mourn the passing of an icon in the precision rifle community. Rest in Peace Kelly.” — G.A. Precision

“Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat…. The shooting industry lost a legend today. You were a critical piece to the Marine Corps Sniper Program and the shooting community. Kelly McMillan, you will be greatly missed and your legacy will continue.” — Bravo Delta

“Kelly did a lot of things in the sport that were not profit driven. He was a real force in where we are today. He will be missed.” — Wheeler Accuracy

“Dad, Grandpa, Husband, Businessman. Pioneer in the firearms industry for over 30 years. Advancing and pushing the limits of composite rifle stocks. Avid supporter of the NRA, NSSF, and Youth Shooting Sports. The industry has lost a Titan. You will be missed.” — Grayboe

“We lost a great man in the shooting industry. Thank you Kelly McMillan for imparting your leadership, friendship and knowledge to the shooting community.” — Sheila Miles

Kelly McMillan RIP memoriam obituary passing McM Fiberglass stocks
Kelly (left) with 2016 K02M Winner Mitchell Fitzpatrick, and team-mates Paul Phillips and Bryan Litz

Kelly McMillan RIP memoriam obituary passing McM Fiberglass stocks
Kelly (far left) with F-Class Team USA.

Kelly McMillan RIP memoriam obituary passing McM Fiberglass stocks

Remembering Kelly McMillan — How He Helped Shooters
by David Joe, Texas
Kelly McMillan often proudly referred to his father Gale McMillan’s early pioneering work in fiberglass stock production. He assumed that family mantle and moved it forward, for very much of his life, with an energy and dedication few sons match. Kelly was part of a real American family business success story…

He was especially proud of the military’s adoption and deployment of several McMillan stock models. He described to me once how he, himself, was the one who mixed the green camo colors for those early military stocks. I could tell that Kelly really loved stock building for competitions. I think those were his proving grounds for new ideas, but more importantly, his people — the competitors he supported.

Kelly McMillan RIP memoriam obituary passing McM Fiberglass stocks
Kelly with F-TR World and past USA Champion Derek Rodgers and Nightforce’s Sean Murphy.

Kelly enthusiastically and generously helped a large number of F-Class teams, ELR teams, and individuals. I recall dinner in 2018 in Raton with Kelly and some 40 grateful members of teams, including the team my young daughter was on. Kelly was the honoree, but he picked up dinner and then defrayed costs for the teams — what a gentleman. Kelly treated people really well, and that leaves such a lasting impression.

Kelly McMillan RIP memoriam obituary passing McM Fiberglass stocks
Kelly was an original sponsor of the first All-Women F-class Team, X-It Strategy. That was just one example of the many teams he sponsored.

Kelly McMillan RIP memoriam obituary passing McM Fiberglass stocks

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June 3rd, 2021

How to Kill a Barrel in One Afternoon — Firing Rate and Heat

barrel life test rapid fire cooling

Can sustained rapid-fire shooting with no cool-down period wear out a quality barrel more quickly? The answer is “Yes” according to Forum member LCazador, who did an interesting comparison test with two .243 Winchester barrels. He started off with two, identical, match-grade HV taper stainless barrels. Both were NEW at the start of testing, and LCazador shot the same load through each: 95gr match bullets with 38 grains of Hodgdon Varget. After giving both barrels the same, gentle 20-round break-in, 300 rounds were then fired through each barrel — in very different ways. Barrel condition and wear were monitored with a borescope.

Barrel One — Slow Fire, Cool Down Periods, Cleaning Every 50 Rounds
At the end of the 300-round test, Barrel One looked brand new. There was none of the severe fire cracking found in Barrel Two. This barrel was shot no more than 10 times without a cool down and firing was done at a much slower pace. Cleaning for this barrel was done every 50 shots.

Barrel Two — Fast Firing, No Waiting, Cleaning Every 100 Rounds
The second barrel, which received hard use and minimal cleaning, was severely damaged with severe fire cracking at the leade and throat. As a result, the barrel had to be re-chambered. This barrel was shot 100 rounds at time without cleaning and was shot up to 20 times in succession without a cool down.

LESSON LEARNED — Heat Kills Barrel Life
Don’t let your barrel get too hot, and keep it clean. One afternoon can ruin a barrel!

Hawkeye Borescope imageMonitoring Barrel Wear with Borescope
Some folks worry too much about what their borescopes reveal — many barrels do not have to be “squeaky clean” to perform well. In fact some barrels run better after ten or more fouling shots. However, a borescope can be very helpful when your barrel starts losing accuracy for no apparent reason. Forum member FdShuster writes:

“A borescope is a positive way of backing up your suspicions when the rifle starts to throw an occasional (soon followed by more frequent) wild shot. Using the scope is also an excellent way to determine that the cause is barrel wear and not simply a need for a concentrated cleaning session to remove built up copper and more importantly, carbon fouling.

I’ve had a few barrels that gave every indication of being shot out. But I ‘scoped them out and found the cause to be nothing more than requiring a good cleaning. They then returned to their usual performance. There’s no guessing involved when you are able to get ‘up close and personal’ using the scope. The borescope also provides an excellent view of the all-important condition of the crown. My borescope is one of the most valuable investments I’ve ever made.”

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June 3rd, 2021

Match Etiquette: Be Prepared, Know the Rules and Course of Fire

Match Etiquette USAMU Course of Fire Rules SFC Norman Anderson CMP Rulebook NRA

Match Etiquette USAMU Course of Fire Rules SFC Norman Anderson CMP Rulebook NRA

Don’t Be “That Guy” (The Bad Apple on the Firing Line)

By SFC Norman Anderson, USAMU Service Rifle Team Member
You know the guy, he’s still talking at the coffee jug when his preparation period begins, then his magazines aren’t loaded when the command “STAND” is given, and finally, he doesn’t know the rules when he argues with the block officer as his target comes up marked “9 and No”. Although this guy might be the highlight of the “after match” activities, he is the proverbial bad apple on the firing line. With this example fresh in your mind, let’s go over how not to be “that guy”.

While the sport of High Power shooting is a hobby for most, all are passionate about performance throughout the day. In order to achieve your maximum performance each and every day, it is essential that you conduct yourself as a professional competitor. As a competitor, you have a personal responsibility to know the course of fire as well as the rules and procedures that apply to it and to be prepared to follow them. Knowing this will not only make you a better competitor, but it will enable you to resolve situations with other targets besides your own. So what does all this mean? I’ll explain…

Know the Course of Fire
Know the course of fire. It sounds easy enough, as we all shoot plenty of matches, but it’s more than that. If you think about it, how many people in the pits, for example, do not really know what is happening on the firing line? This leads to targets being pulled early during a rapid fire string or missing a shot during a slow fire string. In cases like this, the result is the same, delays in the match and upset competitors. To avoid being “that guy,” it is imperative that you stay tuned to the events as the day progresses. When you are at the range shooting a match, be at the range shooting the match.

At any firearms competition — be sure you know (and understand) the course of fire.
CMP Match Etiquette

Match Etiquette USAMU Course of Fire Rules SFC Norman Anderson CMP Rulebook NRAKnow the Rules
Now, let’s discuss rules. As you have probably heard more than once, the rulebook is your best friend. Here is why. I can virtually guarantee that most competitors know some of the rules based only on the old “this is how we do it at home” adage. The funny part of that is, the same green NRA rulebook and orange CMP rulebooks are used to govern High Power matches all over the country.*

It is vital that all shooters be familiar with the rules as they are written, not with “how they are applied at home”. This creates consistency and continuity in how matches are conducted, from local club matches to state tournaments to National Championships. Knowledge is power when it comes to scoring targets under contention, what to do in the case of a malfunction, or even how to file a protest correctly. These rules are in place for a reason and it benefits everyone to both know and operate by these rules.

Maintain Composure and Humility — Exhibit Good Sportsmanship
One aspect of competing that cannot be forgotten is bearing. As I mentioned earlier, you must be prepared for both good and bad to happen. All too often we all see “that guy” (or that “that guy’s” gear) flying off of the firing line in disgust. Remember that we all must maintain our composure and humility in all conditions, not matter what happens. After all, it’s just a game. To put it into perspective, if it were easy, attendance would be a lot higher. Sportsmanship must be displayed in an effort to keep from ruining the day for all those around you. It doesn’t cost anything to smile, and smiling never killed anyone. So turn that frown upside down and keep on marching, better days will come.

Like a Boy Scout — Always Be Prepared
Lastly, I would like to cover preparedness. Being prepared goes beyond simply having your magazines loaded and a zero on your rifle. It means approaching the firing line, knowing what you are about to do, being ready for what is going to happen (good or bad), and being ready for the results. If you approach the firing line to merely shoot 10 shots standing in your next LEG match, you are not going to be pleased with the result. You must be prepared mentally and physically, not only for the next stage, but also the next shot. By being prepared physically (equipment ready), you give yourself peace of mind which is an essential part of being prepared mentally, and by being prepared mentally, you are less likely to become distracted and are more likely to maintain focus for each and every shot.

Conclusion — Informed Competitors Make for Better Matches
The culmination of these efforts results in a shooter that knows how to be ready for success on the range, but also and perhaps more importantly, a shooter who knows what it means to be a competitor. When you have a range full of competitors who know and follow the rules and proper match procedures, the match runs smoothly, everyone shoots well, and a good time is had by all. In the end, isn’t that what it’s all about?


* After this article was originally written, the CMP separated its rules into multiple Rulebooks:

The 2020-21 8th Edition of the CMP Games Rifle and Pistol Competition Rules for CMP-sanctioned matches for As-Issued Military Rifle and Pistol events including Special M9 and M16 EIC Matches, and Service Pistol, and Rimfire Sporter.

The 2020-21 24th Edition CMP Highpower Competition Rules for CMP-sponsored and sanctioned matches for Highpower Rifle events in National Trophy Matches, Excellence-In-Competition (EIC) Matches, CMP Cup Matches and other CMP-sanctioned competitions.

The 2020-21 24th Edition CMP Pistol Competition Rules for CMP-sponsored and sanctioned Pistol Matches in the National Matches, National Trophy Matches, Excellence-In-Competition (EIC) Matches, and other CMP-sanctioned competitions.

This article by SFC Norman Anderson originally appeared in the CMP First Shot Online Magazine.

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