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June 30th, 2019

Sunday Gunday: Bart’s 6PPC Drills Five Shots in .088″ at 200!

Bart Sauter Bart's Bullets 200-yard East Meet West
This would be an amazing group at 100 yards. But this 5-shot bughole was shot at TWO HUNDRED yards in competition by Bart Sauter of Bart’s Custom Bullets. And he did it with a borrowed barrel!

Be amazed. This five-shot group was shot at 200 yards in competition by bullet-maker Bart Sauter. Bart shot this astounding group with his 10.5-lb Light Varmint benchrest rifle at the recent East-West Match in St. Louis, Missouri. Had Bart been shooting an IBS match, this would have been a new IBS World Record, beating the .091″ by David Farrar in 2006. This .088″ group missed the NBRSA 200-yard 5-shot group record by a whisker — .013″ (thirteen thousandths). The listed NBRSA LV 200-yard Group record is 0.075″ shot by Johnnie Stewart a decade ago.

New record or not, this is one remarkably impressive group, shot by one very talented shooter and bullet-maker. Bart tells us he initially “held center” for the first three shots in the group. Then, watching his wind flags he noticed slight increase in the left-to-right condition, so he held 0.200″ to the left on shot 4 and it worked. Before shot 5, Bart detected another slight change, so he held 0.300″ left for the fifth and final shot. He explained: “If I had not held off for those last two shots, this group would have been about a flat four (0.400″).” Well done Bart!

“First three … bang bang bang … all went in one hole. Then I held left on shot 4 and it worked. On the last shot I held a little more, got lucky and it went in.” — Bart Sauter

In our Shooter’s Forum, Bart posted “This is my personal best-ever 5-shot group at 200 yards. I knew it was small, but was shocked to see it was a Zero! This will be a range record and record for the East/West match. Last group of the day! A nice way to end the match!”

Bart Sauter Bart's Bullets .088 6PPC one-hole group 200 yards amazing

Here is the 6PPC LV rifle that shot the .088″ group. Yes that’s a concrete shooting bench inside a pretty nice cabin with hunting trophies on the walls. Bart explained: “We reload and shoot out of the Monkey Hut, especially during the winter. Most of the time we shoot outside at 100/200 from a a three-bench range.

Amazing Group Shot with Borrowed Krieger Barrel!
There’s a very interesting side-note to this story. You see Bart doesn’t even own the Krieger barrel that delivered this amazing .088″ 200-yard group. That’s right this superb barrel was a “loaner” — borrowed from Bart’s buddy Gary Sullivan. [Editor: Oh that we could all be so lucky with borrowed components.] With Sullivan’s blessing, Bart has since loaned the barrel yet again to ace Billy Stevens, who will be using it at the World Benchrest Championship in Canada, July 14-21, 2019.

Bart Sauter Bart's Bullets 200-yard East Meet West
This photo shots Bart on the right and his good friend Billy Stevens on the left. Bart notes: “Billy is a 2-time Super Shoot Winner and 3-time USA World Benchrest Team member!”

Bart Sauter’s LV 6PPC Rifle Specifications

Chambering/Caliber: 6PPC
Gunsmith: Stevens Accuracy
Action: BAT DS RBLP Right Eject
Trigger: Jewell
Stock: Scarborough Carbon Fiber over Wood Skeleton
Barrel: Krieger — and it was borrowed!
Tuner: Bukys TSI Tuner

Bullet: Bart’s Avenger 68 grain BT
Powder: Accurate LT30
Charge: Stout load running 3407 FPS

Optic: 40x45mm IOR-Valdada 30mm tube
Rings: Benchsource Double Rings
Front Rest: Farley Joystick
Rear Bag: Edgewood Bunny Ear, very soft, gray leather — special order from Bruno’s.
Front Bag: Edgewood — same soft gray leather.

Bart Sauter Bart's Bullets 200-yard East Meet West

Here is Bart’s target with a bullet removed. Bart was shooting his own 6mm 68gr Avenger bullets, a double-radius ogive design. The Avengers were seated about .004″ away from the lands: “I tried going into the lands and that didn’t seem to work, then I backed it off four thousandths [from contact] and the rifle liked that.” Bart drove those 68gr Avengers with a stout load of Accurate LT30 powder running 3407 FPS.

Bart Sauter Bart's Bullets 200-yard East Meet West

Bart’s Comments on His Components and Accessories

OPTICS — Bart likes his new 40x45mm IOR-Valdada Benchrest Scope. He says that, so far, it has proved very reliable and holds zero exceptionally well. This new design features a worm drive side-focus, oversized ocular with true +/- diopter adjustment, long eye relief, and fast-focusing reticle. The 40X Valdada also boasts superb HD “double-compressed” Schott glass from Germany.

TUNER — Bart says the Bukys TSI Tuner definitely helps. He notes that once he finds the “sweet spot” for his barrel he can normally leave it alone: “With that type of tuner, I have to be in a very dire straight to move it. Normally I will set it for the lifetime of the barrel.”

REAR BAG — Bart’s rear bag is an unusual Edgewood with softer gray leather. He says this was a special order by Bruno Shooters Supply. Bart likes how the rear bag works with his carbon-stocked 10.5-lb rifle: “With PPCs we ‘ride on the ears’ — this older bag just seems to work really well for that style.”

SUPER FEET — Bart told us he uses Benchsource Super Feet for his front rest: “The bench tops at St Louis are very slick. Before I set up I’ll use a spray bottle with water and wet the bench where the Super feet and rear bag will go. This really helps to keep things from sliding around!”

Bart Sauter Bart's Bullets 200-yard East Meet West

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Gunsmithing, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
January 20th, 2010

SHOT Show Report: Murdica Tests New Norma 6PPC Brass

Lou MurdicaAt the request of AccurateShooter.com, respected Benchrest ace Lou Murdica tested the brand new, early production Norma 6PPC brass. Lou shot 30 cases (both turned and unturned) over the past few days, and he endorses the Norma brass without hesitation. Lou says “the Norma PPC brass is great brass. Without a doubt this will be highly competitive brass in the short-range benchrest group”. Lou did observe that the necks on the Norma brass were slightly thinner than on Lapua 220 Russian brass, but that really doesn’t matter. With a slight neck turn, Lou declares, “the Norma PPC brass is as good as any out there.”

Lou said, based on his testing, the Norma brass holds pressure well, and the accuracy is outstanding. Lou shot five 5-round groups, as in a match course of fire, and his largest group was “around 0.148″ at 100 yards.

If you’re a short-range benchrester, definitely watch this video and listen to Lou. He thinks this new Norma brass will “change the game”. Note — Lou said most PPC shooters can shoot the Norma cases with no change in their powder recipes. So you won’t lose any velocity using Norma’s new brass. Lou was very impressed with Norma’s new offering, enough so that he declared: “I would go right for the Norma right now if I could put a bunch in my hand.”

YouTube Preview Image
Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
January 3rd, 2010

Vintage Seeley Masker 6PPC on Gunbroker

Here’s your chance to own a piece of benchrest history — A “classic” 6PPC benchrest rifle built by renowned smith and benchrest shooter Seeley Masker. Up for auction right now on Gunbroker.com is a pretty blue Heavy Varmint rig, built by Seeley on a blued Hart 1A action. The barrel is a 20″ Hart, marked: “Seeley Masker 6PPC .262 Neck”.

Seeley Masker PPC
Seeley Masker PPC

For those young folks who haven’t heard of Seeley Masker, Seeley was a “legendary BR gunsmith, an innovator, and a major force in the development of Bench Rest shooting” (AllinWA writing on Benchrest Central). Forum member Butch Lambert notes: “Seely Masker built my first two rifles. The work was superb”. And noted tool-maker (and smith) Alan Warner says Masker would be included on any “short list” of great early BR smiths. A Masker rifle would be a piece of “treasured history” according to Warner.

Seeley Masker PPC
Seeley Masker PPC

The rifle is Gunbroker Auction #152079095. The current bid is $615 with no reserve. Here’s a chance to get a nice, older PPC with a great “provenance” for under $800.00.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hot Deals 3 Comments »
December 21st, 2009

Norma Plans to Resume 6PPC Brass Production

Norma PPC brass This is potentially big news for short-range Benchresters and for varminters who shoot PPC variants. Norma has resumed production of 6PPC brass — at least on a prototype basis. NOTE: We don’t have many specifics. Norma has not firmly committed to exporting production 6PPC brass to the USA, nor has Norma announced a product release date. However, we received the following email today:

“After some work Norma has just started production of 6 PPC cases again. A new double-press has been installed which allows us to work-harden the case better. Internal tests are promising and we wonder if you would be interested to test a bunch.”

That’s it… we’ve shared all that we know for now.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, News 3 Comments »
December 4th, 2007

SAKO 6PPC USA Brass Available from Beretta

The folks at Beretta USA just notified us that Beretta has quantities of SAKO-brand 6PPC cartridge brass in inventory. This stuff has been hard to find. At $19.95 for 20 pieces (item #P1161000C), Beretta’s SAKO PPC brass is expensive. But there are folks out there who’ve been looking for the stuff, because it gives you PPC cases without fire-forming from 220 Russian Brass, or neck-turning. These cases are correctly sized for SAKO 6PPC USA chambers with no-turn necks.

CLICK HERE for SAKO 6PPC BRASS from BERETTA

SAKO PPC USA Brass

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo 7 Comments »
November 17th, 2021

Rebate Case Rims to Shoot Bigger Brass in PPC Actions

30BR 6 PPC rim rebated Butch Lambert

Many short-range Benchresters have thought about converting their 6 PPC to shoot a 30BR for score matches, or a Dasher for mid-range (or even 1000-yard) games. That way you have a rifle that does double duty, giving you the most bang for your buck. Though an action with a PPC bolt won’t normally work with 30BR/6BR/Dasher cases with their larger .308-class rim (0.4728″ diameter), there is a pretty easy solution that allows you to cycle these bigger cartridges with a 6PPC-style bolt (designed to fit .220 Russian rims).

“Rebating case rims … lets you shoot a 30BR in score matches using your PPC action. All you need is a new barrel. This saves buying another bolt, receiver, or rifle.” — Butch Lambert

Butch Lambert of ShadeTree Engineering provided this tip. Butch notes that many 6 PPC benchrest group shooters also enjoy shooting in score matches. But to be really competitive in the BR for score game, that means shooting a 30BR, which has a wider, .308-class rim (0.4728″ diameter). Likewise, if you want to compete in 600-yard registered BR events or in varmint matches, you probably want to run a bigger case, such as the 6BR, 6mm Dasher, or 6-6.5×47. Those cartridges also have the larger 0.4728″ rims.

30Br Butch Lambers 6 PPC

Rebate Your 30 BR Rims
To convert a PPC-boltface action to shoot bigger cases you can spend a ton of money to buy a new bolt. That can cost hundreds of dollars. The simpler solution is to turn down the diameter of the larger cases on a lathe. Butch explains: “We’ve seen plenty of interest in rebating case rims. This lets you shoot a 30BR in score matches using your PPC action. All you need is a new barrel. This saves buying another bolt, receiver, or rifle if you have a PPC boltface. Anyone who has access to a lathe can do this job pretty easily. Yesterday I turned 150 case in about an hour.”

At right is the lathe form tool Butch uses to rebate the case rims.

Cutting Head for Rebating Rims

Editor’s Note: Butch Lambert (and his wife) recently returned from the hospital. We send our best wishes to the Lamberts for a full recovery and happier times in the days ahead.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
October 30th, 2021

Tackdriver II Multi-Discipline Match November 6-7 in So. Carolina

Tack Driver 300m match open class multi discipline

The Tack Driver Showdown is a one-of-a-kind “all comers” rifle match. This unique multi-discipline match will reveal what rifle types are truly the MOST accurate, at least out to 300 meters. The Tack Driver Showdown II match will be held Saturday, November 6-7, 2021 at the Mid-Carolina Gun Club in Orangeburg, South Carolina. The organizers have invited virtually any type of rifle (except railguns) to compete at 300 meters for group and score honors. There should be nearly 100 competitors at the event this coming weekend. No organization membership is required. NOTE: Registration closes Wednesday November 3, 2021 at 6:00 PM. Contact Match Director Jim Cline at: 843-957-6546. Forum members can also send a PM to Jim Cline aka jcline.

Unlike any other rifle match in the world, on the firing line you will see 6 PPC LV/HV rifles, 30 BR score rigs, 17-lb 600-yard and 1000-yard benchrest guns, F-TR rifles, F-Open rifles, Palma rifles, PRS rifles, and maybe even an AR15 or two.

Tack Driver 300m match open class multi discipline

The concept behind the event is to settle the unending arguments about which guns are TRULY the most accurate. The 6PPC is king in 100/200 group competition, the 30BR rules 100/200 score, 6mmBRs and 6BR Improveds dominate in 600-yard Benchrest, the .284 Win is the leading F-Open cartridge, and various 6mms and 6.5mms win PRS matches. It will be interesting to see which chamberings and bullet weights will “rule the roost” at 300 meters. Match Director Jim Cline plans to post match results on our AccurateShooter.com Forum. For more information, read this Forum Thread.

Tack Driver II targets will be placed at 300 meters (328 yards). That’s not even “mid-range” by benchrest standards, but it should be far enough that the higher BCs of the bullets shot by F-Class and 600/1000-yard benchrest rigs could come into play.

Basic Information on the Tack Driver Shoot:
There are two divisions — bolt-action rifles and semi-auto gas guns. There are no specific design limits other than a 22-lb maximum weight, and a .338 maximum caliber. Past IBS President Jeff Stover tells us: “We envision the full array of the world’s most accurate rifles on the line: short and long range benchrest rifles, F-Class, AR, other tactical, egg-shoot rifles, whatever…[.]” Key rules are listed below. Semi-autos will need chamber flags, otherwise bolts must be out at all times. You do not have to be a member of the IBS to shoot. The range will be open Friday, November 13th starting at 12:00 noon for practice and flag setting.

Tack Driver 300m match open class multi discipline

Cash Payouts for the Winners in both Group and Score
Match Director Jim Cline noted that First place through Fifth place will be paid in both score, group and Grand Aggregate finishing positions. Match fee is $120, which includes a catered lunch both days. Jim states: “We will have an additional $30 cash option, $50 cash option and a $100 cash option. You have to be in the $30 cash option to get in the $50 cash option and in the $50 to be in the $100.”

Tack Driver 300m match open class multi discipline

2021 Tack Driver II Showdown Rules Overview
1. NO membership of any organization required.
2. NO one piece rest, all shooting will be done off benches. You may use a bi-pod, bags or rest combination.
3. You have to shoot the same gun at all targets. If you have a catastrophic failure, you have to continue with a gun of the SAME caliber and cartridge. (Has to be approved by the match director ONLY.) Scope failure will require a scope change.
4. No electronic equipment of any type will be allowed on the bench or downrange.
5. No spotting scopes allowed on the bench or people spotting for you.
6. No coaching under any circumstances (except youth).
7. Any gun is legal 30 caliber and under with a 22 pound weight maximum.
8. Any protest will be handled by the committee and their decision is FINAL!

2021 Tack Driver II Showdown Match Course of Fire
1. Competition will consist of 5 group targets and 5 IBS 200 yard score targets at 300 METERS.
2. All targets will be 7-minute matches. There will NO warm-up match on either day. ALL
shots count in the scoring area of the target.
3. Range will be made available for practice on Friday before the match starting at 8:00 AM only closing to set flags. Flag setting times are 7-8 am, 9-10 am, 11am-12pm and the
range will be called cold at 3:00 pm to end all practice.
4. We will alternate targets each time:
Day 1: Score/Group/Score/Group/Score
Day 2: Group/Score/Group/Score/Group
5. We will rotate 10 benches for the second day’s course of fire.
6. Winner will be determined by place of finish at each discipline. If there is a tie we will break it by highest place of finish. If that can’t break it we will go to group place of finish.

tack driver showdown mid-carolina gun club south carolina
Covered Firing Line at Mid-Carolina Gun Club. Photo from 2019 100/200m Score Nationals.

Jim Cline tells us: “Preregistration is REQUIRED. A $100 nonrefundable deposit is required with your form to hold a spot. Limited to the first 100 guns! There will be a $60 nonrefundable deposit to hold a camping spot 1st come first serve. I have 13 with full hook-ups and 7 with power and water. There is space for self-contained camping as well.” For more information, including camping/RV details at the Mid-Carolina Gun Club venue, contact Jim Cline at 843-957-6546, or post questions on this Accurateshooter Forum Thread.

Permalink Competition, News, Shooting Skills No Comments »
August 9th, 2021

30BR Brass with Necks Expanded and Turned from Paul Parosky

paul parosky 30BR 30 BR Lapua cartridge brass neck-turned expanded 6mmBR processed benchrest score

Here’s good news for 30BR shooters. Paul Parosky, maker of the excellent PRP Custom Bullets, is now offering 30BR neck-turned brass. This can save you considerable time and effort forming 30BR cases from Lapua 6mmBR brass. And the neck-turning is superb, again representing time save (and no tools to buy). You will soon be able to order this 30BR brass from Bruno Shooters Supply. If you communicate with Amy at Bruno’s, Paul may be able to neck-turn to your specific thickness. Paul notes: “Here are necks turned for a 0.330 neck. I’ll try my best to accommodate anyone’s neck dimensions as they wish. Just message Amy Bruno Parosky (at Bruno’s) for details.”

paul parosky 30BR 30 BR Lapua cartridge brass neck-turned expanded 6mmBR processed benchrest score

About this Neck-Turning set-up — Paul Parosky notes: “For neck-turning I’m using an old drill press that has been re-worked. The cutter and spindle are all indicated before neck turning to ensure no runout. The RPM is around 520. The lube I use is a mixture of royal and mystery oil.”

Why the 30 BR Dominates 100/200 Benchrest for Score Competition
The 30BR, along with some wildcat variants, remains the dominant cartridge in short-range (100/200) benchrest-for-score competition. The 30BR’s .308″-diameter bullets are larger than the 6mm bullets used by the 6PPC (which rules group BR competition). The bigger 30-Cal diameter has an advantage in touching scoring rings. In addition, the 30BR is also relatively easy to tune, and barrel life is considerably better than with smaller-caliber benchrest cartridges. For more information, see our AccurateShooter 30BR Cartridge Guide.

30 BR 30BR cartridge benchrest competition

Cases are Expanded, Then Neck-Turned
To produce his 30BR brass, Parosky first uses a series of expander mandrels. Then he neck-turns with power using a converted drill press. Paul tells us: “This is done the old school way, I use three different tapered expander mandrels, then neck-turn it to the proper neck chamber, then run them up through a FL expander mandrel to ensure necks are straight. Then I clean all the cases.”

paul parosky 30BR 30 BR Lapua cartridge brass neck-turned expanded 6mmBR processed benchrest score

Paul Parosky Can Also Neck-Turn 6PPC Brass

Paul Parosky also expands and neck-turns 6PPC cases that are made from parent Lapua .220 Russian cartridge brass. Here, illustrating his 6PPC neck-turning operation, is a recent Paul Parosky post on the USA Benchrest & Extreme Precision Shooters Facebook page.

paul parosky 30BR 30 BR Lapua cartridge brass neck-turned expanded 6mmBR processed benchrest score

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Reloading No Comments »
July 13th, 2021

Benchrest Shooting Technique — How to Shoot Like a Champion

200 yard benchrest group charles huckeba australia tiny group 6 PPC

Today we feature the short-range group Benchrest game, where it’s all about shooting tiny groups in the ones and even “zeros”. Seeing the tiny groups 6 PPC aces produce, it’s easy to think that precision is all about the equipment. But there is a lot more involved. A talented human still has to watch the flags, run the gun properly, and tune his loads for the conditions. Here are some tips from one of the world’s best benchresters, Charles Huckeba.

If you were an aspiring basketball player, you’d surely study All-Stars such as Stephen Curry and Devin Booker to see how they shoot so well. This article provides a chance to see how a world-class benchrest All-Star drills tiny 5-shot groups at 100 and 200 yards.

Texan Charles Huckeba was the top individual shooter at the 2013 World Benchrest Championships (WBC) held near Sydney Australia in October 2013. In this video, 2013 WBC Two-Gun Overall winner Charles shoots a 1/8th MOA group at 200 yards — “a little bitty dot” as a fellow Team USA shooter observes. That’s impressive. If you can describe Huckeba’s style in a nutshell it would be “smooth, consistent, and rapid but not hurried”.

Charles also employed some unusual hardware. In the video, take a close look at the joystick on the Farley Coaxial front rest. There’s no knob at the end. In its place is a small, wood ammo caddy. Charles removed the standard knob from the handle of his Farley rest and replaced it with a home-made wood block that holds cartridges for the record target. The 10.5-lb Light Varmint rifle is chambered in 6PPC with a BAT Machine Action and a composite wood and carbon-fiber stock.

Watch Charles Huckeba Shoot 1/8 MOA, 200-yard group at World Benchrest Championships

Here is the actual 200-yard, 5-shot group Charles shot in the video. Photo (by Stuart Elliot) taken through the lens of Huckeba’s 50X March scope (reticle has 1/16th MOA Dot).
200 yard benchrest group charles huckeba australia
200 yard benchrest group charles huckeba australia

Analyzing the Fine Points — What Makes Huckeba So Good

Short-range benchrest shooter Boyd Allen saw some interesting things in Huckeba’s WBC performance, as captured on video. Boyd noticed Huckeba’s smooth gun-handling and efficient loading. But Boyd also spied some interesting equipment, including an innovative joystick “handle-caddy”.

1. Low Friction Bags — When Huckeba slid his rifle, there was very little apparent friction. The front bag features the new 3M material (ScotchLite) on the sliding surfaces. The rear Protektor bag has ears of the same low-friction material.

2. Pause Before Chambering — While he was watching the flags and deciding when to start firing, Charles kept his first round in the action, but out of the barrel’s chamber, probably so as not to heat the cartridge and change the round’s point of impact.

Charles Huckeba PPC World Benchrest joystick handle3. Ammo Caddy on Joystick Arm – Charles shoots a Right Bolt/Left Port action, so he pulls his rounds with his left hand. Note that Huckeba’s record rounds rest in a small, wood ammo caddy attached to the end of the joystick shaft. Look carefully, you’ll see the wood ammo block in place of the normal black ball at the end of the joystick. That allows Charles to pull shots with the absolute minimum of hand movement. Ingenious! Huckeba is very fast, with a great economy of motion. I believe that because his ammo was literally at hand, Charles was better able to keep his focus on aiming and the flags.

4. Smooth-Cycling BAT Action — Note how smoothly Huckeba’s action operates. When Charles lifts the bolt handle (to extract a round and cock the firing pin), this does not disturb the rifle. Likewise, as he closes the bolt, the gun doesn’t wobble. The smooth action allows Charles to hold point of aim even when shooting relatively quickly. Huckeba’s BAT action is chrome-moly steel. Some shooters believe this metal makes for a smoother action than stainless steel or aluminum.

5. Long-Wheelbase Stock — The wood and carbon fiber stock is light, long, and stiff. Yet, importantly, the stock is also well-damped. The longer-than-average stock length (with extended forearm) seems to help the gun track well without jumping or rocking. The longer forearm allows a longer “wheelbase”, effectively shifting the weight distribution rearward (less weight on the front, more weight on the rear). This places a greater share of the gun’s weight on the rear bag, as compared to a more conventional benchrest stock. Huckeba’s stock, built by Bob Scoville, is at the cutting edge of short-range benchrest design. Its light-weight balsa wood and carbon fiber construction provides a combination of stiffness and vibration damping that allows its relatively long fore-end to be fully utilized to increase the weight on the rear bag (always an issue with 10.5-pound rifles).

To learn more about this benchrest stock design, read the comments by stock-builder Bob Scoville in our PPC with Pedigree story in our Gun of the Week Archives. Bob observed:

“There is a lot more to the structure of the stocks than meets the eye. The carbon fiber skin with which I cover the stocks creates a light, tough exterior surface. However, this contributes very little to the overall performance of the stocks. The real strength and stiffness is the result of an internal beam utilizing balsa core/carbon fiber technology.

This type construction can be found in aircraft, race cars, powerboats, and sailboats. It is interesting to note, balsa has the highest strength to weight ratio of all woods and carbon fiber is one of the lowest stretch (modulus of elasticity) relative to weight of all materials. The marriage of these two materials is common in the high-performance world. Additionally, balsa is used commercially for vibration dampening and sound reduction.”

Video find by Boyd Allen. Video by Stuart Elliot of BRT Shooters Supply, Brisbane, Australia.
Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »
July 11th, 2021

Sunday Gunday: Multi-State Varmint Adventures with Bill White

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger
This photograph and all images for this story are by Bill White, aka “CT10Ring” in our Forum.

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 RugerAccurateShooter Forum member Bill White (aka “CT10Ring”) is not your typical member. For 37 years, Bill worked in NYC as a studio photographer specializing in still lifes and products. A neighbor visiting Bill’s home in Connecticut with a .270 Sako inspired Bill to revive his interest (obsession?) with shooting after a 25-year drought. And he owns a few Sakos now! With his gun hobby renewed, for many years Bill drove to the Western USA to shoot long range steel and a LOT of prairie dogs in season. He loved the life of the varminter, so it made sense for him to move West after retiring. He choose Idaho as his new home.

From his Idaho base, Bill enjoys long-range target shooting. But his favorite gun pastime has been varmint hunting in nearby states — the Dakotas, Montana, and Wyoming. Bill found prairie dog shooting rewarding and mapped out a western circuit route of ranches and National Grasslands in SD, ND, MT, and WY. Every year he loads up his truck and hits the road, often doing a grand circle route, visiting prairie dog havens in multiple states. In this article we feature photos from Bill’s annual “grand circle” varmint safari.

For his many cartridge types, Bill learned about reloading methods, loads, and vendors (and more) primarily from AccurateShooter.com. We start today’s story with the biggest caliber rifle he shoots regularly, his 6.5-284 Winchester. Bill favors this rig for his long-range steel shooting. He also uses it for prairie dog shooting, but only “sparingly”, because he wants to preserve barrel life, and he has many other dedicated varmint rigs.

6.5-284 for Long Range Steel Targets (and Sometimes Varmints)

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

In his home state of Idaho, Bill likes to shoot steel at long range. For distance work, Bill favors his McMillan-stocked 6.5-284 Win. This rifle was crafted in 2012 by Bob Green of York, PA, using a 1:8″-twist 28″ Krieger HV barrel (.298″ neck). The trued Rem 700 action was purchased from Long Rifles in Sturgis, SD. Bill did the Cerakote and bedded the action. For his 6.5-284, Bill loads 139gr Lapua Scenars, H4831sc powder and BR2 primers. He shoots both steel and varmints with this rifle, but the varmint work is limited because the 6.5-284 cartridge tends to be a barrel burner. The photo below from an Idaho range was taken near a 500-yard target, looking back at the firing line.

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger
Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

In the Varmint Fields — Traveling Light

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

Once situated, Bill (shown above) prefers to walk to Prairie Dog towns with a shooting mat, two bipod-equipped rifles slung up, rear bag, water, and his trusty Leica 10X42 GeoVid binoculars. While he has used a portable bench, he prefers to shoot from bipod, firing down from a mound if possible. This allows him to set up a line-of-fire that minimizes cross-wind effects. Bill notes: “While I often start early, end-of-day shooting has worked worked well for me. A setting sun shows targets better, the wind is usually down, and it’s not so hot. Often you can spot the bullet trace and that’s fun.”

Eight Great Varmint Cartridge Types — .204, .224, .243 Calibers

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger
Here is one of Bill Reid’s 6mmBR (6BR) rigs. Like his Sako 6 PPC, this is exceptionally accurate.

Bill has a large rifle collection, most of which see duty in the varmint fields of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Here are his key “take-aways” for his eight favorite varmint chamberings: .204 Ruger, .223 Rem, .22-250, .22 BR, .22-243, 6 PPC, 6mmBR, and 6-6.5×47 Lapua (aka 6×47).

.204 Ruger — This delivers great velocity with the little .20-caliber bullets, with mild recoil. The .204 Ruger easily reaches out to 400 yards, but heavier winds do move the tiny bullet around. Tremendous splat factor under 250 yards. I use Sierra 39gr bullets with IMR 8208 XBR in a Sako 75. Even now, .204 Ruger ammo is relatively easy to find.

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

.223 Remington — Probably the most popular centerfire rifle round in the USA, the .223 Rem offers inexpensive brass, and is a great choice for AR-15 owners. If you run short on ammo, you can find it nearly everywhere. I often bring one AR-15 and one .223 Rem bolt gun on varmint safaris. My Rem 700 5R 1:9″-twist barrel likes 53gr V-Max bullets.

.22 BR — My .22 BR is my first choice for most prairie dog missions. Accuracy is superb with necked-down 6mmBR Lapua brass — quarter-MOA and blazing fast. With the right twist rate, this chambering can shoot anything from 40gr FB bullets to 80gr VLDs. Load development is easy. Below is my .22 BR ammo for another varmint trip. I use 55gr Sierra BlitzKings with Varget in my 1:12″-twist Shilen-barreled rifle. 60gr Bergers are very accurate with a fairly flat trajectory for useful distances.

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

.22-250 Rem — A classic varmint cartridge, the .22-250 with 50gr V-Maxs delivers spectacular hits. If three P-Dogs happen to be lined up, I’ve witnessed one .22-250 shot take ‘em all out with a triple hit. I currently have five .22-250-chambered rifles: 3 Sako 75s, one Rem 700, and a single shot Nesika that shoots tiny groups. I favor the very deadly Berger 52gr Varmint HP. Making a custom .22-250? With a 1:8″-twist barrel you can use the full weight range of .22-cal bullets, while spinning the lighter bullets fast for “red mist” effect. Remember this cartridge can be a barrel burner. Don’t shoot too many rounds too quickly.

.22-243 Win — This wildcat is even more potent than the .22-250, delivering devastating results on P-Dogs. Run a .243 Win case slowly through a full-length .22-243 die, with plenty of lube to form the brass. I start with Lapua .243 Win brass. There can be some issues necking-down the brass. Watch for donuts forming at the neck-shoulder junction. I bought my .22-243 rifle not sure how it would perform. But now I love shooting it. My .22-243 delivers half-MOA groups with 41.0 grains RL-22 and Hornady 75gr Amax bullets. With those 75-grainers, it’s great in the wind and good to 600 yards easily.

6 PPC — You may consider the 6 PPC a benchrest competition cartridge only, requiring fire-forming. However I have an original Sako 75 single-shot 6 PPC rifle that I load with Sako-headstamp 6 PPC brass (see below) so no fire-forming is required. This Sako 75 came with a test target that measured 0.113″! With my 6 PPC Sako, I found that 58gr V-Maxs, pushed by Vihtavuori N133, are potent out to 300 yards.

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6PPC 6 PPC Sako 75 Ruger

6mmBR — The 6mmBR Norma (6BR) offers a nearly unbeatable combination of accuracy, efficiency, and tunability. With the 6BR and a fast twist barrel, you can shoot everything from 40gr flat-base bullets to the latest 105-110gr match bullets. I load Lapua brass, Vihtavuori N135, and Hornady 58, 65, and 75gr bullets for my Krieger 1:14″-twist HV barrel. While this cartridge is capable of long-range accuracy, I usually limit my 6BR shots to 350-400 yards.

6-6.5×47 Lapua — In this story’s lead photo is my 6-6.5×47 Lapua varmint rifle, with Surgeon action and Manners stock. I Cerakoted the barreled action and then bedded the action. Shown below is 6-6.5×47 ammo I loaded for recent testing. Note how I separated different bullets and powder loads into multiple, labeled bags. Hodgdon H4350 is a great choice for this cartridge — 39 grains H4350 with 105gr Amax was the winner here, but 88gr Bergers also shot well. This cartridge has tremendous “critter dismantling” abilities out to 600-700 yards.

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

Six Tips for Novice Long Range Varmint Hunters

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

1. Take twice as much ammo you think you may need. The fields could be particularly rich, or, because of wind or other variables, you may have far more misses than expected.

2. When possible, set up with the wind at your back (or, alternatively, directly ahead). This will minimize the effect of cross-winds. Set up a stake with a ribbon to show wind direction.

3. Bring at least two rifles. Ideally one would be a low-recoil rifle with cheaper components for the closer shots. Then bring a rifle with higher-BC bullets for longer shots where wind is a bigger factor.

4. Check the weather before you head out. Prairie dogs like sunshine and calm conditions. If a cloudy, very blustery day is predicted, considering staying in town and cleaning the rifles.

5. Bring plenty of water on a trip. An adult male should be drinking at least 64 ounces of water (or other liquid) every day — more if it’s very hot or you are sweating a lot.

6. Preferably always hunt with a companion. If you do go out solo, have a Garmin inReach SatComm/GPS for emergencies if there is no cell coverage in your location.

Veteran Varmint Hunter Shares his Secrets

Where to Find Abundant Prairie Dogs — Generally, black-tailed P-Dogs are found in the Western high desert, in the same states/areas where cattle are raised. You’ll find good hunting in Montana, North and South Dakota, Colorado, and Wyoming. There are good hunting grounds on private ranches, BLM tracts, and U.S. National Grasslands. To find specific locations, I’d suggest calling the USFS, BLM, and State Fish & Game. Some have lists of ranches that allow P-Dog shooting. Give the agencies a call before your trip and then check in with ranchers. IMPORTANT: You need a current hunting license in some states.

How to Connect with Ranch Owners– A good varmint adventure can begin with a local connection. Stop into the local Ag/feed store and the town breakfast spot. I bet you’ll find some retired ranchers having coffee together who may direct you to a place that needs rodents thinned out. Let’s say you’re in Roundup, Montana. Stop by a local store and ask what ranchers allow PD shooting. Keep in mind that ranchers may be wary of allowing a total stranger to sling lead on their place. Show respect and if you had a good experience, send a thank-you note. A guided shoot is worth considering — the outfitter will know where the P-Dogs are and he has arrangements with landowners. He may even supply benches. I’ve taken two guided trips, with excellent results, one near Sturgis, SD, and the other on Sioux tribal land near Rosebud, SD.

Getting Set Up — I start early in the a.m. to mitigate mirage. Plus there is usually less wind at that hour. I prefer to drive to within half mile or so of a PD town, then walk and shoot prone. Most shooters like to set up a rotating bench on a knoll. This is a tried-and-true way to shoot long distances accurately, especially if you are on top of a hill and can shoot 360 degrees. I once shot from a rotating bench, but I prefer walking now. Some country is quite stunning and that’s half the fun — being out in nature. But yes there are negatives to shooting prone — ground hazards and tall grass can impede your vision.

Equipment for a Serious P-Dog Safari — In the field, I normally carry two rifles with Harris 9-13″ bipods, backpack, a rolled-up shooting mat, at least two liters of water, food, ammo, two rear bags, and binoculars. A good laser rangefinder comes in handy. If you prefer shooting from a bench you may want to have a front rest and a spotting scope. Many guys will shoot prone from the bed of a truck. That gets you off the ground without the need to haul around a heavy bench. But some locations restrict vehicles. Before a P-Dog trip, I make a detailed pack list and check off as I load my truck and camper. I would suggest bringing waterproof rubber or muck boots. June in South Dakota can be cold and wet, and the mud there is not to be believed. Don’t attempt to drive off road in it!

It’s good insurance to bring an extra 5 gallons of fuel for your vehicle in a jerry can and 2 gallons of H20. There may be NO shade for miles and dehydration is a real possibility. Having a couple heavy duty tarps will provide a sun shade and cover your gear in a rainstorm. I bring a 16″ X 20″ plywood target backer, a stand, and paper targets. This allows me to check zero on each rifle before I head out to the Dog Town.

Western Varmint Country Vistas

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger
Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger
Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

Taking Photos on Shooting Adventures

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 RugerBill knows a thing or two about taking pictures, having been a professional photographer in NYC for many decades. He uses modern digital cameras for both his outdoor and indoor work. Most photos in this story were taken with a Canon EOS 5DSR MKIV. We asked Bill for some tips on taking good photos. Here are his FIVE Top Tips for Photography:

1. Take photos in the early a.m. and later p.m. when the light has definition. Mid-day results will not be so nice.
2. Use the highest-resolution camera available that fits your budget. Yes lens quality, focus, and exposure controls make a big difference.
3. When feasible, shoot using a manual setting with the lens wide open (for shallow focus). Set the focus on the most important object/subject in the frame.
4. Photoshop is useful, especially when RAW images need to be corrected to show the scene more faithfully, or enhance it.
5. After you take a picture, before you post it on social media, learn to crop the image, straighten the horizon, and do other basic fixes. This can make a big difference.

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

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July 11th, 2021

How Long Will Barrels Last? Dan Lilja Lists Factors to Consider

Lilja Rifle Barrels barrel life 3-groove AR15 Barrel heat

Barrel-maker Dan Lilja’s website, RifleBarrels.com has an excellent FAQ page that contains a wealth of useful information. On the Lilja FAQ Page you’ll find answers to many commonly-asked questions. For example, Dan’s FAQ addresses the question of barrel life. Dan looks at factors that affect barrel longevity, and provides some predictions for barrel life, based on caliber, chambering, and intended use.

NOTE: This article was very well-received when it was first published. We are reprising it for the benefit of readers who missed it the first time.

Dan cautions that “Predicting barrel life is a complicated, highly variable subject — there is not a simple answer. Signs of accurate barrel life on the wane are increased copper fouling, lengthened throat depth, and decreased accuracy.” Dan also notes that barrels can wear prematurely from heat: “Any fast varmint-type cartridge can burn out a barrel in just a few hundred rounds if those rounds are shot one after another without letting the barrel cool between groups.”

Q. What Barrel Life, in number of rounds fired, can I expect from my new barrel?

A: That is a good question, asked often by our customers. But again there is not a simple answer. In my opinion there are two distinct types of barrel life. Accurate barrel life is probably the type most of us are referencing when we ask the question. But there is also absolute barrel life too. That is the point where a barrel will no longer stabilize a bullet and accuracy is wild. The benchrest shooter and to a lesser extent other target shooters are looking at accurate barrel life only when asking this question. To a benchrest shooter firing in matches where group size is the only measure of precision, accuracy is everything. But to a score shooter firing at a target, or bull, that is larger than the potential group size of the rifle, it is less important. And to the varmint hunter shooting prairie dog-size animals, the difference between a .25 MOA rifle or one that has dropped in accuracy to .5 MOA may not be noticeable in the field.

The big enemy to barrel life is heat. A barrel looses most of its accuracy due to erosion of the throat area of the barrel. Although wear on the crown from cleaning can cause problems too. The throat erosion is accelerated by heat. Any fast varmint-type cartridge can burn out a barrel in just a few hundred rounds if those rounds are shot one after another without letting the barrel cool between groups. A cartridge burning less powder will last longer or increasing the bore size for a given powder volume helps too. For example a .243 Winchester and a .308 Winchester both are based on the same case but the .308 will last longer because it has a larger bore.

And stainless steel barrels will last longer than chrome-moly barrels. This is due to the ability of stainless steel to resist heat erosion better than the chrome-moly steel.

Barrel Life Guidelines by Caliber and Cartridge Type
As a very rough rule of thumb I would say that with cartridges of .222 Remington size you could expect an accurate barrel life of 3000-4000 rounds. And varmint-type accuracy should be quite a bit longer than this.

For medium-size cartridges, such as the .308 Winchester, 7×57 and even the 25-06, 2000-3000 rounds of accurate life is reasonable.

Hot .224 caliber-type cartridges will not do as well, and 1000-2500 rounds is to be expected.

Bigger magnum hunting-type rounds will shoot from 1500-3000 accurate rounds. But the bigger 30-378 Weatherby types won’t do as well, being closer to the 1500-round figure.

These numbers are based on the use of stainless steel barrels. For chrome-moly barrels I would reduce these by roughly 20%.

The .17 and .50 calibers are rules unto themselves and I’m pressed to predict a figure.

The best life can be expected from the 22 long rifle (.22 LR) barrels with 5000-10,000 accurate rounds to be expected. We have in our shop one our drop-in Anschutz barrels that has 200,000 rounds through it and the shooter, a competitive small-bore shooter reported that it had just quit shooting.

Remember that predicting barrel life is a complicated, highly variable subject. You are the best judge of this with your particular barrel. Signs of accurate barrel life on the wane are increased copper fouling, lengthened throat depth, and decreased accuracy.

Lilja Rifle Barrels barrel life 3-groove AR15 Barrel heat

Benchrest Barrel Life — You May Be Surprised
I thought it might be interesting to point out a few exceptional Aggregates that I’ve fired with 6PPC benchrest rifles with barrels that had thousands of rounds through them. I know benchrest shooters that would never fire barrels with over 1500 shots fired in them in registered benchrest matches.

I fired my smallest 100-yard 5-shot Aggregate ever in 1992 at a registered benchrest match in Lewiston, Idaho. It was a .1558″ aggregate fired in the Heavy Varmint class. And that barrel had about 2100 rounds through it at the time.

Lilja Rifle Barrels barrel life 3-groove AR15 Barrel heat

Another good aggregate was fired at the 1997 NBRSA Nationals in Phoenix, Arizona during the 200-yard Light Varmint event. I placed second at this yardage with a 6PPC barrel that had over 2700 rounds through it at the time. I retired this barrel after that match because it had started to copper-foul quite a bit. But accuracy was still good.

Lilja Rifle Barrels barrel life 3-groove AR15 Barrel heat

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May 30th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: More Pride & Joy Rifles from our Forum

pride joy 6.5x55 Ackley Borden Action Robertson Stock F-Class F-Open, Bartlein Barrel
pride joy 6.5x55 Ackley Borden Action Robertson Stock F-Class F-Open, Bartlein Barrel
Forum member Rardoin’s handsome F-Open rig features the new Borden BRM-XD action.

One of the most popular items in our Shooters’ Forum is the ongoing “Pride and Joy” thread. Since 2009, Forum members have posted photos and descriptions of their most prized rifles. Here are some of the most recent “Pride and Joy” rifles showcased in our Forum. Do you have a gun you’d like to see featured there? Just Register for the Forum and you can add your favorite gun to the list.

Bill Goad’s 6PPC Hunter “Ranch Rifle”

pride joy Bill Goad Hunter 6mm PPC benchrest

Forum member Grimstod tells us: “This is the personal rifle of Bill Goad. He has been experimenting with it on several levels. It is shooting great and has several matches on it now. Please enjoy these photos. More can be found on the website www.PremierAccuracy.com. We like the subtle barbed wire effect on the stock.

Twin-Upper AR with Custom Wood Furniture

pride joy AR Sporting Rifle Maple Walnut Furniture AR Platform

This very unique AR belongs to Forum member Nuto-BR. He tells us: “Here are the two uppers I built. The top one is am X-caliber in 20 Practical with 24-inch, 1:11″-twist barrel. The bottom one is a WOA in .223 Rem, with 20″, 1-12″ twist barrel. They both shoot 1/2 MOA or better. Both stocks are laminated Maple and Walnut. I reversed the order of the two woods to tell them apart.”

Two Dashers and a Rimfire for Fun

pride joy 6mm Dasher Anshutz

Courtesy Forum member Dan H., here are two red-stocked Dashers plus an Anschutz 54.30 (Benchrest Stock) to make it a trio. Dan says: “The Anschutz provides good practice in trigger-pulling. It’s amazing what you can learn from a rifle that is as sensitive as this one.”

Dream Hunting Rifle with Custom Camo

pride joy Hunting stock camo custom paint 6.5-280 Ackley Improved

Here is Forum member TyDaws’s “Dream Hunting Rifle” in 6.5-280 Ackley Improved. We love the custom paint work by by Melodie Yarbrough. Smithed by West Texas Ordnance, this rifle features a Rem 700 action with fluted bolt, PT&G tapered recoil lug, and Timney 510 2-lb trigger. The barrel is a fluted 26″ 1:8″-twist Bartlein 5R #3 contour. On top is a Huskemaw Blue Diamond 4-16x42mm optic in Warne Maxima rings. That’s an Atlas bipod up front.

Three Guns for Mr. Big

pride joy .243 Win Stiller Rem 700 Tactical Farley 6.5x47 Lapua 6PPC

Forum Member Mr. Big offered up another trio of rifles — two bench guns and a tactical rig. Mr. Big says: “Here are the rifles I shoot most: Farley 6mm PPC, Stiller .243 Win, and Rem 6.5×47 Lapua. They will do just about anything I ask them to…” Challenge: Can you identify the makers of the three different stocks shown in this picture (and the different materials used in each)?

Classic M1917 Enfield Action in Hand-Carved Maple Stock

Pride Juy AccurateShooter hunting benchrest rifles wheelgun Ruger Revolver hunter

This impressive rifle features an “antique” 1917 Enfield action chambered for the .338 Win Magnum cartridge. The lovely Maple stock was hand-carved by Forum member Spitfire_ER. He tells us: “I found this piece of wood as a return at a lumber yard about [many] years ago. I asked the guy in the yard about it and he said it had been returned because it had too much figure for the job the customer was working on. First thing I thought was, ‘That would make a nice stock’.”

6mm Dasher in Robertson Spider Web Stock

pride joy 6mm Dasher Robertson Stock

Here is Forum member Vahena’s 6mm Dasher. It has a no-turn-neck chamber in a 28″, 1:8″-twist barrel with 1.25″ straight contour. This has an original Robertson fiberglass stock with spider web graphics. This rifle was originally built as a 6.5×284 with a fluted barrel. Now it sports a bigger barrel for a smaller cartridge. The front rest is a SEB Neo with counterweight up front.

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March 15th, 2021

Benchrest is Back! Lester Bruno Wins Big at 2021 Cactus Classic

Cactus Classic 2021 COVID Benchrest NBRSA match Lester Bruno

Congrats to Lester Bruno, overall winner of the 2021 Cactus Classic Benchrest Match. This popular NBRSA match is held every year at the Ben Avery Range outside Phoenix, Arizona. Lester shot brilliantly, particularly at 200 yards, to win the Two-Gun convincingly with an 0.2099 Overall Aggregate. Ed Adams was second with a 0.2303 Two-Gun Agg, with Durward Wofford in third place with 0.2655. Along the way Lester nailed a remarkable 0.1742 200-yard Heavy Varmint Agg. That’s mighty impressive.

Click Image Below for full-screen Panorama Image:
Cactus Classic 2021 COVID Benchrest NBRSA match Lester Bruno

Paul Parosky reported: “So the Cactus Classic COVID Edition of 2021 has come to an end. Lester Bruno won with some amazing shooting at the LV and HV 200 yards. Myself? I need some more time behind the rifle and at 200 yards. We came across some nasty mirage that basically it was really hard to see the bullet hole. I still was able to finish in the middle of the pack 29th in the 2-Gun Aggregate, which is OK with me. But most of all had super great time, meeting new people and also putting faces to the FB friends from the group. The referees, Matthew Schwartzkopf and his crew [plus] the Wickenburg School volunteers did a wonderful job keeping the match going flawlessly.”

Cactus Classic 2021 COVID Benchrest NBRSA match Lester Bruno

2021 Cactus Classic Top 25 Two-Gun Overall Results:

Cactus Classic 2021 COVID Benchrest NBRSA match Lester Bruno

Cactus Classic 2021 COVID Benchrest NBRSA match Lester Bruno

In 100/200 yard Group Benchrest, most top competitors load at the range, tuning their loads for the conditions. Here you can see the portable powder measure (left) and a compact ARKCO Hood Press (right). That blue combo press can both size cases with a screw-in die and seat bullets using a Wilson Seater die (placed on left side). The vast majority of short-range benchrest-for-group competitors run the 6PPC cartridge with fast-burning powders such as Vihtavuori N133.

Cactus Classic 2021 COVID Benchrest NBRSA match Lester Bruno

Capstone Precision Group (Berger Bullets, Lapua, SK, Vihtavuori) provided many valuable prizes to competitors at the 2021 Cactus Classic.

Cactus Classic 2021 COVID Benchrest NBRSA match Lester Bruno

Permalink Competition, News 3 Comments »
March 11th, 2021

Riding the Wave — How Tuner Settings Alter Point of Impact

Tuner Pascal Bukys Point of Impact shift test 6 PPC benchrest

6PPC Pascal Fischbach Bukys Barrel Tuner sine waveHave a good look at the photos below — this may be one of the most noteworthy target strings we’ve ever published. What you can see is the effect of barrel tuner position on point of impact (POI). You can clearly see that the tuner position alters the up/down POI location in a predictable fashion.

This remarkable 15-shot sequence was shot by French benchrester Pascal Fischbach using his 6 PPC fitted with a CG (Carlito Gonzales) action and a Bukys barrel tuner.

Pascal reports: “After [bullet] seating and load validation, I put the Bukys tuner on, screwing it out 10 turns. According to Carlito, the CG’s super stiff action-to-barrel fit gives a faster vibration modulus that is detrimental below 10 turns [position of the tuner].” Pascal’s procedure was to screw out the tuner 1/4 turn progressively from one shot to the next. He shot one bullet at each tuner position, with a total of 15 shots.

15-Shot Sequence with Tuner Changes
6PPC Pascal Fischbach Bukys Barrel Tuner sine wave
CLICK HERE to SEE Large Version of Complete Test Strip (All 15 shots in a row).

Left Half of Target Strip (shots with 1/4 rotation change of tuner in sequence)
6PPC Pascal Fischbach Bukys Barrel Tuner sine wave

Right Half of Target Strip (shots with 1/4 rotation change of tuner in sequence)
6PPC Pascal Fischbach Bukys Barrel Tuner sine wave

Pascal observed: “Note the point of impact displacement [from shot to shot] tracks clearly along a sinusoide (sine wave curve).” This is indeed notable and significant! This shows how the tuner’s ability to change barrel harmonics can alter the position of the muzzle as each bullet exits, resulting in a higher or lower POI. Pascal sent his results to Carlito Gonzales in Argentina for analysis.

Pascal poses this question to readers: “Guess which three positions Carlito recommends to try?”

Editor’s Note: While this target sequence clearly shows how tuner position can alter bullet point of impact, this, by itself, does not tell us which tuner position(s) are best for accuracy. That will require further multi-shot group testing, involving careful experimentation with tuner position (and powder charge weights). But for those folks who doubt that a tuner can make a difference on a short, fat barrel, just take another look at the photos. The up/down changes are undeniable, and noteworthy in the wave pattern they follow.

Shooting Set-up and Test Conditions:
Pascal did this test at an outdoor range under very good conditions: “This was shot at my home range, outdoors, with four Smiley flag. The range is a narrow cut in high woods. Wind was consistent with readable flags. I started testing the tuner from 10 turns out and on to 15. I recently… found a sweet spot very close to the rearmost position of the tuner, so the rigidity provided by this super long tenon (just short of 70mm) was not a reason to overlook the recommended Bukys tuning procedure.”

6PPC Pascal Fischbach Bukys Barrel Tuner sine wave

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
March 9th, 2021

Handy Shim Sets for Sizing Dies — Quickly Adjust Shoulder Bump

Sinclair Die Shims

When your cases become hard to extract, or you feel a stiff bolt lift when removing a cartridge, it’s probably time to full-length size your cases, and “bump” the shoulder back. Short-range benchrest shooters, running high pressures, typically full-length size every load cycle, bumping the shoulder .001-.002″. The vast majority of mid-range and long-range F-Class shooters also full-length size every time. High Power shooters with gas guns should definitely full-length size every time, and may need to bump the shoulders .003″ or more to ensure reliable feeding and extraction.

Use Shims for Precise Control of Shoulder Bump
Some shooters like to set the “default” position for their full-length die to have an “ample” .003″ or .004″ shoulder bump. When they need less bump, a simple way to reduce the amount of shoulder movement is to use precision shims in .001″ (one-thousandth) increments. Brownells offers a set of seven (7) shims for your standard 7/8-14 FL sizing dies for $14.99. These Sinclair Int’l shims are Brownells Item 749-001-325WB. They may be out of stock, but they can be back-ordered.

Sinclair explains: “Each shim is notched for easy size identification. Just set your die using one of the middle thickness shims. Adjustments can be made easily by changing shims to increase or decrease die depth without changing the stem setting. This is a great upgrade for non-micrometer adjustable dies.”

Here are reports from Forum members who use the shims:

“Great product. I have my die lock ring(s) adjusted for the shortest headspace length on my multiple 6BRs and 6PPCs. When needing a longer headspace, I just refer to my notes and add the appropriate shim under the lock ring. Keep it simple.” — F.D. Shuster

Mats Johansson writes: “I’ve been using [shims] since Skip Otto (of BR fame) came out with them. I set up my dies with the .006″ shim, giving me the option of bumping the shoulder a bit more when the brass gets old and hardens while still having room to adjust up for zero headspace, should I have missed the original setup by a thou or two. Hunting rounds can easily be bumped an extra .002-.003″ for positive, no-crush feeding. Being a safety-oriented cheapskate, I couldn’t live without them — they let me reload my cases a gazillion times without dangerous web-stretching. Shims are a must-have, as simple as that.” — Mats Johansson

Sinclair Die ShimsBrownells offers the seven-piece set of Sizing Die Shims that let you adjust the height of your die (and thereby the amount of bump and sizing) in precise .001″ increments. Sinclair explains: “Some handloaders will set their die up to achieve maximum sizing and then progressively use Sinclair Die Shims between the lock ring and the press head to move the die away from the shellholder. Doing this allows you to leave the lock ring in the same position. These shims are usually available in increments of .001″ and work very well.”

Seven Shims from .003″ to .010″
For use with 7/8-14 threaded dies, Sinclair’s $14.99 Die Shim Kit (Sinclair item 22400 or Brownells Code 749-001-325WB) includes seven shims in thicknesses of .003, .004, .005, .006, .007, .008, and .010. For ease of use, shim thickness is indicated by the number of notches cut in the outer edge of each shim. Even without looking you can “count” the notches by feel.

NOTE: These shim sets can also be use to adjust bullet seating depth for seating dies that lack micrometer adjustment. Use the same 7/8-14 shims with your non-micrometer seating dies.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading 5 Comments »
February 8th, 2021

Bargain Finder 281: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Brownells — Radical Firearms AR-15 with 16″ Barrel, $669.99

radical firearms brownells AR AR-15 AR15 SOCOM .223 Rem 5.56
Good AR value given current market, very trustworthy seller

We know many readers are looking to add a basic .223/5.56 AR to their collection. Many vendors are pretty much sold out of complete rifles, but we found a good deal at Brownells. The Radical Firearms 16″ SOCOM 5.56mm AR-15 rifle uses MIL-STD Upper and lower receivers. The metal free-float handguard offers a 12″ RPR top rail providing plenty of options for optics and accessories. The MFT Grip and MFT Stock provide a comfortable hold on the rifle. Complete price is $669.99. Sights and/or optics sold separately.

2. Grafs.com — Redding Dies in Stock!

sig sauer scope sale
Very large selection of Redding Dies — your search ends here

Graf & Sons just received a large shipment of Redding Reloading Dies — both sizing and seating dies. You’ll find a large selection of types, basic sets as well as micrometer seaters and bushing FL dies. Graf’s has Redding dies in a myriad of sizes from .17 Fireball up to .338 Lapua Magnum. You’ll find dozens of popular type including: .204 Ruger, .22 PPC, .22 BR, .223 Rem, .224 Valkyrie, .22-250 Rem, 6PPC, 6BR, 6XC, .243 Win, .260 Rem, .284 Win, 7mm WSM, .308 Win, .30-06, 300 Win Mag, and countless more. Prices vary considerably based on cartridge choice. The selection is very good (except for 6mm and 6.5 Creedmoor).

3. Natchez Shooters Supplies — Sig Sauer Whiskey 5 Scope Sale

sig sauer scope sale
Best Sale in many months on quality Sig Sauer riflescopes

This week Sig Sauer Whiskey 5 riflescopes are on sale at Natchez. Rugged and reliable, these Whiskey 5 scopes are justifiably popular with tactical shooters and hunters. Right now you can get huge savings — $300, $400, even $500. For example, the 5-25x52mm Whiskey 5 is now $889.99, marked down from $1399.98 — a $509.99 savings! Use the money saved for a spotting scope, Kestrel, or other gear.

4. KyGunCo — Canik TP9SFx Tungsten 9mm Pistol, $499.99

Canik 9mm match pistol
Owners praise this pistol for accuracy, ergos, trigger

Do you shoot IDPA or 3-gun matches? Then take a good look at this 9mm Canik. Shooters report exceptional accuracy. We shot this at Media Range Day in 2020 and can confirm the ergonomics, balance, and trigger are good (much better than a typical stock Glock). Right now the 9mm Canik TP9SFX is just $499.99 at KyGunCo, including TWO 20-rd mags plus a polymer holster. This pistol features a grey cerakote finish and 4 Red Dot interface plates. TP9SFx Owner Reviews: “For the money [it] absolutely can’t be beat. The Canik is on par with $1500 setups!”; “Trigger is extremely light and crisp with hardly any reset.”

5. Midsouth — Caldwell AR500 Steel Targets, starting $14.79

Caldwell AR500 steel yellow target gong
Great deals for AR500 steel targets — watch video above right

On sale now at Midsouth Caldwell’s new bright, easy-to-see targets come in all shapes and sizes for competition, training, and recreational use. Made of AR500 hardened steel, these targets can withstand thousands of rounds. Rated up to a 3000 fps impact velocity and a 3500 ft-lb impact energy, these targets come in seven various sizes with three hanging solutions. These bright yellow AR500 targets are On Sale now at Midsouth, starting at just $14.79 for 5″ Gong Target.

6. Creedmoor Sports — .308 Win Ammo Lapua Brass & Bullets

Caldwell AR500 steel yellow target gong
Match-grade ammo for less than cost of just the Lapua Brass and Bullets

If you shoot a .308 Win, check out this deal on ammo loaded with premium Lapua cartridge brass and true match-grade Lapua Scenar bullets. You could pay $90/100 for Lapua .308 Win brass and $67/100 for the Scenar bullets (if you could find them in stock). That would be $157 per hundred, or $1.57 for just a case and a bullet. Here you are getting a fully loaded round (with primer and powder) for $1.50 — less money! Choose 155gr .308 Win, 167gr .308 Win, or 175gr .308 Win — all top-quality stuff.

7. Frankford Vibratory Tumbler ($48.99) or Wet Tumbler ($99.95)

Frankford Arsenal Vibratory Rotary Wet Tumbler
Wet Tumble or Dry Tumble — you choose and save either way

Do you prefer vibratory tumbling with dry media, or wet tumbling with a rotary system? Either way, Frankford Arsenal has you covered. And right now you can enjoy big savings on either Tumbler system. The Quick-N-EZ Vibratory Case Tumbler is just $48.99 (or $58.94 with media separator). Or choose the excellent Platinum Series Rotary Tumbler Lite for $99.95.

8. Sportsman’s WHSE — 12-gun Steel Security Cabinet, $189.99

tactical safe cabinet
Great Value on versatile security cabinet — good secondary safe

In addition to a heavy, primary gunsafe, many gun-owners can use a smaller security cabinet for another area of the house, for the garage, or even for an RV. If you’re looking for a good basic gun locker, check out the SnapSafe Premium 12-Gun Tactical Cabinet. It has a simple key-lock system and can fit in most closets. Purchasers praised this unit given the low cost: “For a gun case below $200 you can’t get much better than this” and “More of a light-weight gun locker … it is well made and sturdy though, and is much better than I expected for the price.”

9. Amazon — Caldwell NRR 23 Muffs + Shooting Glasses, $32.79

Caldwell electronic E-Max ear muffs low profile shooting Glasses NRR 23
Sweet deal on Ear and Eye Protection — good spare set for friends

Every shooter needs good eye and ear protection. Get BOTH the E-Max Muffs and Shooting glasses for just $32.79 on Amazon with free shipping. This combo can be an affordable spare set for yourself or to have on hand for your guests. The E-Max earmuffs offer a 23 dB Noise Reduction Rating while allowing you to hear range commands.

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January 13th, 2021

Legendary Indoor Accuracy — Secrets of the Houston Warehouse

houston warehouse 6ppc secrets
Kelbly Light Varmint PPC Rifle from Gunbroker.com.

From the late ’70s through 1983, a huge, concrete-walled warehouse in Houston was used for benchrest testing. Virgil King and Bob Fisher set up a bullet-catching backstop at the end of a 30-yard-wide, 325-yard-long fire lane that remained unobstructed even when the warehouse was in use. This allowed accuracy tests in virtually perfect “no wind” conditions. Over a six-year period, about 30 shooters were invited to test their rifles. The results were amazing, with numerous “zero groups” being shot in the facility. Many of the lessons learned in the legendary Houston Warehouse still help benchresters achieve better accuracy today.

Dave Scott wrote a superb article, the Secrets of the Houston Warehouse which appeared in a special issue of Precision Shooting Magazine. That issue has long been sold out, but, thankfully, Secrets of the Houston Warehouse is now on the web: CLICK HERE to READ Secrets of the Houston Warehouse.

Houston WarehouseDave Scott explains why the Warehouse was so unique:

“Over a period of six years, the levels of accuracy achieved in the Houston Warehouse went beyond what many precision shooters thought possible for lightweight rifles shot from sandbags and aimed shot-to-shot by human eye. For the first time, a handful of gifted, serious experimenters — armed with the very best performing rifles (with notable exceptions) — could boldly venture into the final frontiers of rifle accuracy, a journey made possible by eliminating the baffling uncertainties of conditions arising from wind and mirage. Under these steel skies, a shooter could, without question, confirm the absolute limits of accuracy of his rifle, or isolate the source of a problem. In the flawlessly stable containment of the Houston Warehouse … a very few exceptional rifles would display the real stuff, drilling repeated groups measuring well below the unbelievably tiny .100″ barrier. The bulk of rifles, however, embarrassed their owners.”

Scott’s article also reveals some interesting technical points: “One thing that IS important is that the bullet be precisely seated against the lands. T.J. Jackson reported this fact in the May 1987 issue of Precision Shooting. In a letter to the Editor, T.J. wrote, ‘…in all our testing in that Houston warehouse… and the dozens and dozens of groups that Virgil King shot in there ‘in the zeroes’… he NEVER fired a single official screamer group when he was ‘jumping’ bullets. All his best groups were always seated into the lands, or at the very least… touching the lands. Virgil said his practice was to seat the bullets so the engraving was half as long as the width of the lands. He noticed an interesting phenomenon with rifles that could really shoot: if the bullets were seated a little short and the powder charge was a bit on the light side, the groups formed vertically. As he seated the bullets farther out and increased the powder charge, the groups finally became horizontal. If he went still farther, the groups formed big globs. He said the trick is to find the midway point between vertical and horizontal. That point should be a small hole.”

You should definitely read the complete article, as it provides many more fascinating insights, including shooting technique, barrel cleaning, neck-turning, and case prep.

EDITOR: Will the lessons of the Houston Warehouse work elsewhere? Is this repeatable magic? We remind readers that what T.J. Jackson discovered worked for his barrels, his cartridge type, and his choice of bullets. Jumping bullets can definitely produce good results in other cartridge types with bullets such as Berger Hybrids. Still, the Houston results are intriguing. Any time someone shoots in the “zeros” one should pay attention to how that was achieved.

houston warehouse 6ppc secrets

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December 28th, 2020

Save Time and Barrel Life — Let DJ’s Hydro-Form Your Brass

Darrell Jones DJ's Brass hydraulic hydro-forming cartridge brass 6 Dasher 6mmBR 6BR BRX BRDX
Along with these popular cartridge types, DJ’s Brass can hydro-form 6 PPC, 30 PPC, 6 BRA, 30 BR, .260 AI, .284 Shehane and other wildcats.

Do you shoot a popular wildcat (such as the 6 BRA), but hate the hassle of fire-forming all your own cartridge brass? That takes time, costs money (in bullets and powder), and consumes precious barrel life. Well there IS a better solution — you can have your new brass hydro-formed to your exact specifications for a reasonable cost.

DJ’s Brass Service now offers custom case hydro-forming to your exact specs. Darrell Jones offers this service for a variety of popular cartridges: 6 PPC, 30 PPC, 30 BR, 6 BRA (BR Ackley), 6mm Grinch, 6 BRDX, 6 BRX, .260 Ackley, .284 Shehane and of course the very popular 6mm Dasher. After hydro-forming your brass, Darrell can also neck-up or neck-down the cases to meet your needs. For example, if you shoot a 22 Dasher, Darrell can hydro-form the cases to a 6 Dasher and then neck them down to .22 caliber. He can also turn the necks to your specs (for an additional charge).

» CLICK HERE for MORE INFO on Hydro-Forming Cartridge Brass

Darrell Jones DJ's Brass hydraultic hydro-forming cartridge brass 6 PPC 6PPC 6 Dasher 6mmBR 6BR BRX BRDXDarrell is a hydro-forming wizard who has perfected the process over the last couple of years. He has learned a few special techniques along the way to ensure uniform case-forming.

Without revealing any trade secrets, we can say the Darrell has very special dies and Darrell doesn’t use a mallet or hammer — he has a system that is much more consistent. Darrell tells us: “Many of my customers take this brass and load it ‘as is’ and go straight to a match and shoot some very nice groups.”

With Darrell’s hydro-forming service you don’t have to buy any special dies or other equipment. Darrell says: “Simply send me the brass you need or have it dropped-shipped to me along with a fired case that has not been sized. If you need formed brass for a new build (gun not yet fired), let me know and I will size the brass to fit within .001 of a PT&G GO gauge.”

Hydro-forming by Darrell costs $0.60 (sixty cents) per case with a minimum order of $60. Neck-turning is an additional $0.60 (sixty cents) per case (or $0.75 for magnums) plus actual return shipping. The turnaround is usually less than five days.

NOTE: After cases are hydro-formed by Darrell, every case is washed, cleaned and re-annealed. This cleaning and annealing process is included in the $0.60 (sixty cents) per case price — that’s all part of the Hydro-forming service.

For more information, visit DJsBrass.com, or call Darrell at (205) 461-4680. IMPORTANT: Contact Darrell for shipping instructions BEFORE sending brass for processing. In a hurry, don’t have time? Just call Darrell and he’ll make something work for you.

DJs Brass hydro-forming

Hydro-Forming Customer Reports

Here are testimonials from recent customers.

“Recently had Darrell Jones of DJ’s Brass Service hydro-form 6 BRX brass for me. The turn around time was very fast and the brass was to the exact specification I ask for. I actually shot the hydro-formed brass in a match [without further fire-forming]. It shot a 3.597″ — pretty amazing. Let DJ do the work for you!” — Mike Wilson (3 Time IBS Record Holder; 2013 and 2014 1000-yard IBS Shooter of the Year.)

“Darrell Jones of DJ’s Brass Service went far beyond the call of duty, to assist me [with my first] IBS match. I have had an interest in 1000-yard competition for many years and finally got the opportunity to try it. After researching the winning competitors, rifles, and rounds I ordered a Panda action with Krieger barrel in 6mm Dasher from Kelby’s. It was one week before the match and I had a rifle and no rounds. I contacted Darrell to hydraulically form 6mm Dasher from Lapua 6mm BR brass. He formed the brass and had it in the mail the next day[.] Since I have only reloaded for hunting or magazine fed rifles I was not familiar with proper seating to allow land engagement of the bullets for 1000-yard accuracy. Darrell took the time to advised me every step of the way to allow me to shoot a 3.158″ (5) shot group to win my first round of my first competitive match ever.” — Mike Youngblood

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November 11th, 2020

Tack Driver Showdown Multi-Discipline Match This Weekend

Tack Driver 300m match open class multi discipline

The Tack Driver Showdown is a one-of-a-kind “all comers” rifle match. This match is long overdue — we will finally get to see what rifle types are truly the MOST accurate, at least out to 300 meters. The Tack Driver Showdown match will be held November 14-15, 2020 at the Mid-Carolina Gun Club in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Co-Sponsored by the IBS, the organizers have invited virtually any type of rifle (except railguns) to compete at 300 meters for group and score honors. There are 100+ competitors pre-registered for the event this weekend. No organization membership is required.

Unlike any other rifle match in the world, on the firing line you will see 6 PPC LV/HV rifles, 30 BR score rigs, 17-lb 600-yard and 1000-yard benchrest guns, F-TR rifles, F-Open rifles, Palma rifles, PRS rifles, and maybe even an AR15 or two.

Tack Driver 300m match open class multi discipline

The concept behind the event is to settle the unending arguments about which guns are TRULY the most accurate. The 6PPC is king in 100/200 group competition, the 30BR rules 100/200 score, 6mmBRs and 6BR Improveds dominate in 600-yard Benchrest, the .284 Win is the leading F-Open cartridge, and various 6mms and 6.5mms win PRS matches. It will be interesting to see which chamberings and bullet weights will “rule the roost” at 300 meters. Match Director Jim Cline will post match results throughout the weekend on the AccurateShooter.com Forum.

Tack Driver Showdown targets will be placed at 300 meters (328 yards). That’s not even “mid-range” by benchrest standards, but it should be far enough that the higher BCs of the bullets shot by F-Class and 600/1000-yard benchrest rigs could come into play.

Basic Information on the Tack Driver Shoot:
There are two divisions — bolt-action rifles and semi-auto gas guns. There are no specific design limits other than a 22-lb maximum weight, and a .338 maximum caliber. IBS President Jeff Stover tells us: “We envision the full array of the world’s most accurate rifles on the line: short and long range benchrest rifles, F-Class, AR, other tactical, egg-shoot rifles, whatever…[.]” Key rules are listed below. Semi-autos will need chamber flags, otherwise bolts must be out at all times. You do not have to be a member of the IBS to shoot. The range will be open Friday, November 13th starting at 12:00 noon for practice and flag setting.

Tack Driver 300m match open class multi discipline

Cash Payouts for the Winners in both Group and Score
Match Director Jim Cline tells us: “1st place through 3rd place will be paid in both score, group, and Grand Aggregate finishing positions. Team Cash option also available- 4 man teams $100. The Grand Aggregate team winner takes all.”

Tack Driver 300m match open class multi discipline

2020 Tack Driver Showdown Rules Overview
1. No membership in any organization is required.
2. Any gun .338 caliber and under is legal (other than rail guns), with a 22-pound weight maximum.
3. There are two divisions: 1) Bolt Guns; and 2) Gas Guns.
4. All shooting will be done off benches.
5. Shooters may use bipod, bags, or rest combination but no one-piece rests.
6. You have to shoot the same gun at all targets. If you have a catastrophic failure, you have to continue with a gun of the same caliber and cartridge.
7. No electronic equipment of any type will be allowed on the bench or downrange.
8. No spotting scopes are allowed on the bench.
9. No people may coach or spot for competitors.
10. Chamber flags and brass catchers are required for gas guns.

2020 Tack Driver Showdown Match Course of Fire
1. There will be 5 group targets and 5 IBS 200-yard score targets placed at 300 METERS.
2. Targets will alternate between Score and Group each day: Day 1 Score/Group/Score/Group/Score; Day 2 Group/Score/Group/Score/Group.
3. All relays will be 7-minute matches with one 3-minute sight-in period on Saturday first target only.
4. Benches will be rotated for the second day’s course of fire.
5. Winner will be determined by place of finish at each discipline.

tack driver showdown mid-carolina gun club south carolina
Covered Firing Line at Mid-Carolina Gun Club. Photo from 2019 100/200m Score Nationals.

For more information, including camping/RV details at the Mid-Carolina Gun Club venue, contact Jim Cline at 843-957-6546, or post questions on this Accurateshooter Forum Thread.

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October 28th, 2020

Cure Primer Cratering — Get Firing Pin Bushed by Greg Tannel

Crater moon primers greg tannel bushing firing pinCraters may look interesting on the moon, but you don’t want to see them on your primers. Certain mechanical issues that cause primer craters can also cause primer piercing — a serious safety problem that needs to be addressed. If you have a gun that is cratering primers (even at moderate pressure levels), there is a solution that works with many rifles — send your bolt to Greg Tannel to have the firing pin hole bushed.

Shooters who convert factory actions to run 6BRs, 6PPCs or other high-pressure cartridges should consider having the firing pin bushed. These modern cartridges like to run at high pressures. When running stout loads, you can get cratering caused by primer flow around the firing pin hole in the bolt face. The reason is a little complicated, but basically the larger the hole, the less hydraulic pressure is required to crater the primer.

A limited amount of cratering is normally not a big issue, but you can reduce the problem significantly by having a smith fit a bushing in the firing pin hole. In addition to reduced cratering, bushing the firing pin often produces more consistent ignition.

CLICK HERE for Gre-Tan Firing Pin Hole Bushing Service INFO »

This is a highly recommended procedure that our editors have had done to their own rifles. Greg Tannel (Gre-Tan Rifles) is an expert at this procedure, and he does excellent work on a wide variety of bolts. Current price for a bushing job, which includes turning the firing pin to .062″, is $92.00, or $100.00 with USPS Priority Mail return shipping.

If you have a factory rifle, a bushed firing pin is the way to go if you are shooting the high-pressure cartridges such as 6PPC, 6BR, 6-6.5×47 and 6.5×47. This is one of the most cost-effective and beneficial upgrades you can do to your factory rifle. For more info on the Firing Pin Bushing process, visit GreTanRifles.com, or email greg [at] gretanrifles.com. After clicking the link for GreTanRifles.com, Click on “Services” > “Shop Services” and you’ll see a listing for “Bush Firing Pin Hole & Turn Pin”. CLICK that Box.

Gre-Tan Rifles firing pin bushingFiring Pin Hole Bushing by Greg Tannel

Work Done: Bush firing pin hole and turn pin
Functions: Fixes your cratering and piercing problems
Price: $92.00 + $8.00 return shipping
Total Price: $100.00

Actions for which Bushing is Offered: Remington, Winchester, Savage multi-piece pin, Sako, Kimber, Nesika, Stiller, BAT Machine, Kelbly, Lawton, Surgeon, Borden, Wichita, Hall, Ruger, Howa, Weatherby, Dakota, Pacific Tool, Phoenix, and Defiant bolt action rifle or pistol.

Actions for which Bushing is NOT Available: Case hardened receivers, ARs, Accuracy International (AI), Barnard, Big Horn, Cooper, Desert Tactical Arms, Kimber, Rosenthal, New Savage single piece pin, Rim fires, Falling block, Break open, Lever, Pump rifles, 1903-A3, CZ, Mauser.

How to send your bolt in to be bushed:
Send your bolt and firing pin assembly via snail mail, priority mail, or UPS. Please do not use FEDEX as it sometimes has delivery delays.Include your name, phone number, and return shipping address, and a note as to what you want done. Pack your bolt carefully and ship to: Gre’-Tan Rifles, 24005 Hwy. 13, Rifle CO 81650.

Due to the high volume of work, turn-around time for bolt bushing jobs can be 12 weeks (though it usually is faster). Customers can pay by check, money order, or credit card. For more information visit GretanRifles.com.

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