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September 21st, 2021

In Memoriam — Walt Berger, Founder of Berger Bullets

Walt Berger bullets RIP memorial Benchrest Range Ben Avery

Walt Berger bullets RIP memorial Benchrest Range Ben AveryA legend in the shooting community has passed. And we are all diminished. Walt Berger passed away on September 19, 2021. A great innovator, a great benchrest competitor (with many Hall of Fame points), and a great friend to countless shooters, Walt will be truly missed.

Berger Bullets announced yesterday: “It is with our deepest regrets that we announce the passing of Berger Bullets & Ammunition founder, Walter Berger. Walt passed peacefully on Sunday afternoon September 19th, 2021, surrounded by friends and family at the age of 92.

‘If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right’, were words that Walt lived by. One could see it in how he treated friends and family, and in his impact on the shooting world. Walt’s legacy and dedication to quality is carried on by his grandson, David Hamilton, the Plant Manager of the Berger manufacturing facility in Mesa, Arizona. Walt’s philosophies and business practices are the guiding principles in our mission to ensure that products bearing the Berger name continue to be something Walt would be proud of. We celebrate his life and will do our best to live up to his example.”

Walt was a remarkable man who loved the sport of benchrest shooting. He was still competing at age 90+. Here he is in 2016 at the Cactus Classic in Arizona.
Walt Berger bullets RIP memorial Benchrest Range Ben Avery

Many of our readers and Forum members knew Walt and shot with him at matches over the decades. Here are some of the expressions of sadness at his passing:

“Great man, he had a long run, and touched many lives.” — Boyd Allen

“A real gentleman and always there to help anyone that needed it. I’m blessed to have known him many years. RIP old Friend.” — Bill Shehane

“Now there is a man for ya! I remember talking to him and Eunice on the phone back in the 80s ordering some of their benchrest bullets. May God bless his family. Thank you Walt for the great bullets — I’ve watched them do some amazing things!” — Don Mild

“Walt was an iconic figure in accurate shooting for many many years. A gentleman in the game who traveled worldwide including Australia. He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family. Rest assured men like Walt aren’t made any more. Thanks for everything Walt — your Australian friends will never forget you.” — Brad Ward

“When I first started chasing accuracy I used to buy bullets from Walt at his little shop on Camelback Road in Phoenix. He always had time to share his expertise and to help me. He and Eunice are together again, shooting at the big range in the sky where the weather is perfect with no wind.” — Doug Whitson

“My prayers go to David, Stacey, Eric, and the girls.
Walt was a truly special man and friend.” — Nancy Tompkins

“He was a Man of Legend. And Legends live forever.” — Ivan Lukashevych

Walt in 2015 at the dedication of the 100/200-yard Ben Avery range named in his honor.
Walt Berger memorial Benchrest Range Ben Avery
Walt Berger memorial Benchrest Range Ben Avery

About Walt Berger and Berger Bullets
Walt Berger shot competitive benchrest most of his adult life. Seeing that the bullets he could buy off-the-shelf were not up to his quality expectations, Walt decided that he could make better precision bullets than he could purchase. Walt started making his own bullets and proved their quality by winning competitions and eventually even earning his place in the Benchrest Shooters Hall of Fame. Other benchrest shooters saw his success and solicited him to make their bullets as well.

Walt Berger memorial Benchrest Range Ben Avery

After years of crafting bullets by hand in his garage, Walt’s wife, Eunice, who was also a legend in benchrest competition, encouraged him to expand his hobby into a business. Together, they grew Berger into a large-scale precision bullet operation with exceptionally high quality standards.

Walt Berger memorial Benchrest Range Ben Avery

Walt Berger memorial Benchrest Range Ben Avery

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 1 Comment »
August 21st, 2021

Berger Safety Notice for Four Lots of .223 Rem Ammo

Berger .223 Rem ammunition recall safety notice

Berger Issues Safety Notice for .223 Remington 77 grain OTM Tactical Ammunition
Berger’s Load Development Team has determined that some .223 Remington 77 grain OTM Tactical (Product # 65-23030) cartridges from Lot # P002745, P002745-1, P002745-2, and P002745-3 may cause function/ignition issues with AR-style gas operating platforms. Bolt action rifles are NOT affected.

Berger Ammunition Lots # P002745, P002745-1, P002745-2, and P002745-3 .223 Remington 77 Grain OTM Tactical ammunition, Item #65-23030 was shipped to retailers on April 2nd, 2021 to April 22nd, 2021.

If you own Berger ammunition from Lot # P002745, P002745-1, P002745-2, and/or P002745-3 or have questions regarding this notice, please contact Berger Customer Support at 660-460-2802 or support@capstonepg.com to arrange replacement of the product.

EDITOR: Once again, if you are running this ammo in a bolt-action rifle, there should be no issues according to Berger. If you had intended to use the ammunition in an AR-platform rifle, contact Berger for further information.

Recall is for Berger 77gr .223 Rem Ammunition when used in AR-Platform Rifles
Berger .223 Rem ammunition recall safety notice

Story notice from ELR Researcher. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip No Comments »
August 16th, 2021

Bullets Spinning Fast Enough? Use Berger Twist Rate Calculator

Berger twist rate calculator

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


CLICK HERE to Go to TWIST RATE CALCULATOR PAGE »

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

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

Berger twist rate calculator

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

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

Story idea from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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October 24th, 2020

2021 Berger Southwest Nationals Event Has Been Canceled

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

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

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

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

Notice from The Desert Sharpshooters

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

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

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

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

Kind Regards,
Desert Sharpshooters

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

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

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

Permalink Competition, News, Shooting Skills 4 Comments »
July 20th, 2020

New Berger Loaded Ammo with LR Hybrid Target Bullets

berger factory ammo ammunition 6mm 6.5mm creedmoor prs nrl loaded long range hybrid target bullets

Here’s good news for PRS/NRL shooters, and factory-class competitors at local bench and varmint matches. Berger is now offering factory-loaded ammunition with Lapua brass and Berger’s outstanding, match-proven Long Range Hybrid Target™ (LRHT) bullets. This new loaded ammo is offered for the 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor cartridges. Get the 109gr LRHT bullet in 6mm Creedmoor, or choose a 144gr or 153.5gr LRHT bullet in 6.5 Creedmoor.

Berger Long Range Hybrid Target ammunition features Berger’s high-BC, LRHT bullet, which is Doppler Radar-verified to less than 1% BC variation. LRHT ammo is assembled with Lapua cartridge cases and clean-burning, temperature insensitive propellants. These Berger cartridges are meticulously constructed to exacting tolerances — you will be pleased with the accuracy and low ES numbers.

Berger Long Range Hybrid Target™ Ammunition is available now in these offerings:

6mm Creedmoor 109 gr LRHT | 6.5 Creedmoor 144 gr LRHT | 6.5 Creedmoor 153.5 gr LRHT

This ammo will be available from leading retailers including Brownells, Graf & Sons, Midsouth Shooters, and Precision Reloading. Visit NoBSBC.com to learn more about Ballistic Coefficients (BC), and their effects on accuracy and precision. Visit Bergerbullets.com for general information on Berger loaded ammo.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Tactical No Comments »
June 30th, 2020

Berger 6.5 Creedmoor Ammo Shoots Great in PRS Rifle

Erik Cortina Berger Factory ammo ammunition OTM tactical PRS rifle MPA chassis Lapua brass

Is factory 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition good enough to win a PRS or NRL competition? The answer is a resounding “YES” if we’re talking about Berger ammunition. Produced with Berger match bullets and premium Lapua brass, this Berger 6.5 ammunition demonstrated excellent accuracy, impressive velocity, and very good ES/SD numbers. When tested at 1000 yards with an MPA-stocked PRS rig with Rem 700 action, this ammo showed just half-MOA of vertical, and produced a group that would have been a 50-1X in F-Class competition. That’s quite impressive for a PRS rig.

Erik Cortina Berger Factory ammo ammunition OTM tactical PRS rifle MPA chassis Lapua brass

This ammo test was performed by our friend Erik Cortina from Texas. Erik is a top F-Class competitor who also shoots tactical matches (for fun and glory). Erik recently built a new 6.5 Creedmoor with a Remington 700 action. Though this rifle sports a top-shelf MPA chassis and premium Kahles scope, Erik calls this his “budget build” because it has a plain Rem 700 factory action rather than the elite Borden actions he normally runs. Erik’s actions of choice are the Borden Mountaineer for PRS and Borden BRM-XD for F-Class.

Erik Cortina Berger Factory ammo ammunition OTM tactical PRS rifle MPA chassis Lapua brass

Erik posted: “Shot my budget 6.5 Creedmoor today with Berger Bullets factory ammo. I shot five rounds over the chrono to get speed. I used BC info from the box and it all lined up properly. I adjusted my ECTuner to tune load and it took just 15 shots to get it shooting well. It’s simple with good components.”

This Berger factory ammo features Berger 130gr Hybrid OTM Tactical bullets. The Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor cases have a large rifle primer. You can see this ammo displays good velocity with Extreme Spread and Standard Deviation rivaling good hand-loads.

Erik Cortina Berger Factory ammo ammunition OTM tactical PRS rifle MPA chassis Lapua brass

Erik Cortina Berger Factory ammo ammunition OTM tactical PRS rifle MPA chassis Lapua brassCortina says the very accurate Brux barrel and razor-sharp 6-24x56mm Kahles scope help achieve this kind of outstanding performance at 1000 yards. Here are the key components for Erik’s latest PRS rig:

Masterpiece Arms BA Competition Chassis
Brux Heavy Varmint 26-inch, 1:8″-twist barrel
Remington 700 Action (custom bolt knob)
ECTuner (by Erik Cortina)
Kahles 6-24x56mm MIL Scope
MPA 1-piece 30mm Scope Mount

Barrel Tuner by Erik Cortina — Fits Behind Muzzle Brake
This rifle features a barrel tuner designed and crafted by Erik Cortina. You can the ECTuner alone, or, as you can see, the ECTuner can be fitted BEHIND a muzzle brake. Erik tells us: “The ECTuner allowed me to tune the barrel to my ammo rather than tuning the ammo for barrel as is done when reloading. With the tuner, there is no need to try different brands of ammo as they can all be tuned to shoot as good as possible in my rifle.”

MPA Chassis Configuration Guide
Erik’s “budget” PRS rifle employs a MasterPiece Arms (MPA) BA Competition Chassis with Rapid Adjustment Technology (RAT). This MPA Arms Video shows how to set up an MPA Chassis to suit the owner:

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Tactical 2 Comments »
May 23rd, 2020

2020 Berger Southwest Nationals Equipment Lists

2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

The best F-Class and Sling shooters in the nation compete each year at the Berger Southwest Nationals at the Ben Avery range in Arizona. Walk down the firing line and you’ll see the absolute “best of the best” in equipment — from $3500 optics to $2000 stocks and $400 triggers. Berger SWN shooters have some of the best equipment you can buy. In this game, where just 1 or 2 points can separate first from third place (considering X-Count), it’s important to have top-flight equipment. That means a custom action, custom barrel, and high-end stock or chassis system.

Matt Schwartzkopf, a range supervisor at Ben Avery, and member of the USA F-TR Team, has collected comprehensive gear reports from the 2020 Berger SW Nationals. Matt has created charts showing competitors’ choices for Actions, Barrels, Stocks, Riflescopes and Spotting Scopes. In addition, Matt has compiled bullet choice data for all classes and Cartridge rankings for F-Open Division.

There is a discussion of the 2020 SWN Gear Selection in our Shooters’ Forum. CLICK HERE to follow that Forum thread. Many top SWN shooters, including past F-Open National Champion Larry Bartholome, have contributed to this Forum discussion about gear options.

ACTIONS Listed by Division (Sling, F-TR, F-Open)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

ACTIONS by Brand (Combined Listing — All Divisions)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

BARRELS by Brand (Combined Listing — All Divisions)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

BULLETS by Brand (Combined Listing — All Divisions)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

CARTRIDGE BRASS by Brand (Combined Listing — All Divisions)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

POWDER by Brand (Combined Listing — All Divisions)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

STOCKS by Brand (Combined Listing — All Divisions)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

RIFLESCOPES by Brand (Combined Listing — All Divisions)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

SPOTTING SCOPES Listed by Class (Sling, F-TR, F-Open)
2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

Cartridge Selection in F-Open Division

In addition, Matt produced an interesting listing of cartridge/caliber types for the F-Open division. This is helpful because cartridge choice is unrestricted in the F-Open class. By contrast, the F-TR division is limited to .223 Remington (5.56×45) or .308 Winchester (7.62×51). You can see that the .284 Winchester (and variants) currently dominate F-Open.

2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

2020 Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals gear list equipment actions barrels stocks bullets scopes

Permalink Competition, Gear Review 1 Comment »
May 3rd, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Berger SWN F-Open Champ Jay C’s 284 Wheeler

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profile

Report by Jay Christopherson
2020 Berger SW Nationals F-Open Champion

Team Member, Team Lapua-Brux-Borden
I’ve been shooting F-Class for about 9 years now. In fact, I shot my very first match, a 600-yard mid-range match, using a 6mm Dasher, on March 19, 2011. My first relay was a 188-4X and my overall score was 582-19X. I remember shooting a really nice group in the 9-ring, because I dialed the scope the wrong way and I shot lots of “verification” shots before making adjustments. I also remember wondering if that was a good score for that range in those mostly calm conditions (it wasn’t). I’ve tracked every match I’ve ever shot and I’ve come a long way since then. I’ve always been a competitive person and F-Class gave me an outlet to indulge both my competitiveness and my fondness for details. In what other individual sport does a thousandth of an inch (or less!) become important? Or a tenth of a grain?

Some of my greatest pleasures in this sport come not necessarily from winning a match (though I won’t turn that down), but in identifying something small in what I am doing that has a material effect on paper. Maybe it’s a tiny change in seating depth. Maybe it’s a slightly modified strategy for making wind calls. Maybe it’s a tiny position or hold change. Whatever it is, when it works, there’s no better feeling.

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profile

I have a full-time job to go with this hobby, so finding the time for productive training is difficult. You have to really plan ahead to maximize the time you spend reloading, developing loads, and training at the range. To that end, I invest a lot of time in reducing the things that I do at the loading bench. I load ammo on a progressive press, though modified to produce ammo to my standards. I don’t clean brass. I don’t do a lot of things that most shooters would call traditional in the loading room. Because frankly, I don’t have the time between family, work, and other interests.

If it doesn’t make a difference on paper, I mostly don’t do it. Still, there are one or two loading habits I’m trying to get rid of. I also pre-seat all my ammo for matches — whatever I show up at the match with, is what I have. I don’t clean my rifle between days at the match. I had well over 200 rounds without cleaning by the time the last shot was fired at the 2020 SWN. It took a lot of time for me to get comfortable with that. That works for what I do, but I wouldn’t dare try it with any other loads or rifles, at least, not without a lot of testing to be comfortable. My original 6MM Dasher shooting Reloder 15 couldn’t go that many rounds without cleaning and building up a carbon ring. Unfortunately, I learned a tough lesson on that one my first year.

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profileI do all my own gunsmithing, including chambering, bedding, and stock work. I’m no Keith Weil, Alex Wheeler, or some of those other guys, but I feel pretty good about the work I do. I know that when there’s a mistake or imperfection, it’s MY mistake and I can live with that. I like to keep things as minimal as possible, so I shoot off a SEB Mini (no mods) and SEB rear bag.

I also shoot with a spotting scope at Long Range, using a Kowa TSN-663 with 25X LER eyepiece and a relatively new spotting scope stand by Rod Brakhage who is a fine F-Class shooter himself. I really like how smooth and adjustable it is on the ground compared to some other rigs I’ve used.

The 284 Wheeler — Slightly Modified .284 Win
This year at the SWN, I shot a 284 Wheeler, which is a straight .284 Win that has some small modifications designed by Alex Wheeler. I think that the work and experimentation that Alex does with reamer design really shows up on paper. In 2019 I was testing the reamer in a couple barrels, looking for the right load. I shot some great relays and team practices with it that year, but this was the first time I brought enough ammo to shoot the entire week with it. Coupled with Berger’s 7MM 180 grain Hybrid Target bullets which I point to increase BC consistency, and Lapua brass, it’s an effective combination. In particular, the brass has lasted me for 13 firings with no signs of fatigue, so I expect I’ll be able to use it at Worlds in 2021 and beyond.

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profile

I also shot the entire 2020 SWN with a Vortex Golden Eagle 15-60x52mm scope, my preferred scope for individual matches. It’s a rock-solid reliable scope in my experience, with a great eye box, reliable and repeatable mechanical controls. The Vortex ECR-1 reticle has quickly become my favorite reticle. All four of my Open rifles are built on Borden BRMXD actions, Brux barrels, and sitting in X-Ring F-Open stocks, which are Robertson clones (more on that below). I’ve tried to make each of my rifles as much of an identical clone as possible.

I am not sponsored by anyone as an individual shooter, only through team sponsorship with Lapua-Brux-Borden. Which means that for individual matches, I am free to use what I think gives me the best opportunity to win for individual matches. In practice, the only difference tends to be the scope that I use, as mentioned above.

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profile

Jay Christopherson F-Open Rifle Specifications:
Cartridge: 284 Wheeler (variant of .284 Winchester)
Optics: Vortex Golden Eagle 15-60x52mm
Stock: X-Ring F-Open Stock with R.A.D.
Barrel: Brux 1:9″-twist, 32″-long barrel
Action: Borden BRMXD action
Trigger: Flavio Fare

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profile

Q: What was your biggest challenge at the 2020 Berger SWN?

Jay: The biggest challenge for me at this year’s SWN was purely mental. At past SWN matches where I had done well, I was trying to focus on not thinking about the different things going on around me. Where I was ranked on the score sheet. How well other shooters were doing. How many points or Xs I was ahead (or behind). Being worried about conditions or whether my ammo would hold up. And so on. And sooner or later, I think those things break your focus.

Going into a relay calculating the points or Xs that you can’t afford to drop is a recipe for losing. It’s like trying NOT to picture a pink elephant with purple dots when somebody challenges you try to not think of a pink elephant with purple dots. In previous SWN events, I came up just short three times in a row, for one reason or another. So, in 2020 I went in with a mental game plan.

Mental Game Plan — Envisioning Success
I pictured what it would take to be successful and what winning would feel like. First relays, then days, and then the match. I started that process months before the match actually happened. I thought about who I was shooting against and how much pressure there was to make every shot count. I thought about how I had performed or reacted in similar situations in the past. And I planned out what I would do and how I would handle those things. I strived to be neither negative nor positive — I wanted to be neutral. I wanted to be ready to win, instead of being surprised by it.

Q: What gear/hardware items give you an edge over the competition?

Jay: There’s no single piece of gear that I can think of that gives someone an edge over somebody else. It all sort of works — it’s more about being consistent with whatever hardware you have. But one piece of new gear that I tried out at the SWN was a single-piece scope mount called the Alphamount (photo below), by Richard Near of NEAR Manufacturing.

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profile

I think scope mounts are the most overlooked piece of equipment in F-Class right now — whether they be improperly aligned, improperly torqued, or just plain junk. I think people put a lot of blame on their scopes that can be traced back to mounts. The Alphamount (and single-piece mounts in general) are something that I believe in now, having done a lot of testing. It worked out OK for me at the SWN.

Action for Back-Up Rifle Is Glued and Screwed into Stock
One of the new things I am trying this year is a “glue and screw” action set-up. At the 2019 US F-Class Nationals in Raton, we got rained on a little and when I pulled my rifle apart, I found water between the bedding and action (the bedding is about 2 years old). At the SWN, I found that something had moved enough that I could torque the front action screw and bind the bolt. Not good, but luckily this was my backup rifle that I shot for Mid-Range (badly) and not my lead rifle. There could have been stock movement or other factors as well, but there was no question the bedding had shrunk when I stuck a dial indicator on it and found that my pillars were now standing proud.

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profile

Some people had been goading me to try a “glue-and-screw” procedure. Since I had nothing better to do during the COVID-19 lockdown, I pulled out the Dremel, scuffed up the action and bedding, removed the recoil lug, and glued the action into the stock. I’ve had it out a couple times since and it seems to be shooting well, but we’ll see how it holds up and what sort of difference it might make as time goes on.

Q: What is your advice to newcomers in F-Class and Long Range competition?

Jay: Find a nemesis. Someone local who puts in the same effort that you do and is as competitive as you are. Be friends, share info, but work your behind off to make sure you win on match day. I guarantee you someone reading this knows what I’m talking about. The best thing you can do is have someone who pushes you to perform better each time out. You love to win against them, but not as much as you hate to lose to them.

Q: What do you like most about Long Range and F-Class competition?

Jay: I like the challenge of F-Class — it’s a nice blend of working to get the most out of your equipment and the most out of yourself as a shooter. You can have the greatest shooting rifle in the world and it won’t matter a bit if you can’t be consistent pulling the trigger or making good wind calls. By the same token, you can be the greatest wind caller and most consistent trigger puller in the world — but it won’t matter a bit if you can’t wring the best possible performance out of your rifle for that tiny little target at 1000 yards. I like Long Range because everything is magnified — there are rarely easy shots.

Q: What do you prefer, individual events or team matches?

Jay: Team matches. No contest. Most of the reason I travel to matches is for the team events. But just throwing together a team of great individual shooters is not enough to consistently win. You have to operate as a team, which at times means subsuming your own individual goals for the good of the team. I’ve gone into big matches knowing that my team rifle is my best rifle by a mile — but knowing that the best thing for the team’s current and future success is for me to not burn that barrel out (or burning up known good components) in the individual events. And that’s fine with me. Being part of a team of shooters with the same goal, with the same drive, the same focus on team rather than individual — and able to deliver the goods — that’s the reason why I do this.

Team Lapua Brux Borden

Q: What kind of stock do you use and how does it behave?

Jay: I use an X-Ring Open stock, which is basically a Robertson clone. I’ve been using X-Ring for about 4 years now. I’ve been through a lot of different stocks to find the one that fits me and the way I like to shoot, and X-Ring has done that for me. There’s a lot of focus recently on lowering the center of gravity and extending the stock length through various methods to solve problems like torque, jump, etc. — those are just problems that I don’t experience or, at least, that don’t bother me while I’m shooting. So, I don’t tend to worry about them. The X-Ring fits nicely and runs very well in the bags that I use. I do think that you have to spend some time finding the right bag setup for the stock you are using. I have at least 9 different rear bags that I have tested at one time or another until I settled on my current bag.

Q: Do you have any specific Gun Handling Tips for F-Open shooters?

Jay: As for gun handling, I prefer a light hold — my cheek indexes off the stock with a very light touch and my trigger hand indexes off the stock also with a light touch so that I have a consistent trigger finger position. What I do is in the style of “free recoil”, but is NOT fully “free recoil”, since I DO lightly touch the stock. For the butt, I run the R.A.D. recoil reducer at its lowest setting, which means that I can barely touch off for indexing purposes and still not interrupt the recoil pulse because the R.A.D. absorbs it. This was a suggestion that Will McCloskey made to me a couple years ago in place of leaving space.

This video, from a past Berger SWN, illustrates Jay Christopherson’s shooting style. He employs a very light touch on the gun. The front rest is a SEB Mini. If this Facebook video doesn’t load, CLICK HERE.

My hold for F-Class has evolved over time into what it is now. There are lots of successful shooters that are using varying degrees of holds, from light to hard. Again, It all sort of works — the most important part is that whatever you do is consistent and repeatable, hence my touch points that ensure my head, shoulder, and trigger finger are in the same position every time. There are shooters out there that will rant about “the fundamentals of shooting” and insist that your legs have to be a certain way, your cheek has to be a certain way, your breathing has to be done a certain way. I’m sure that’s valid for what they do and I’m fine with them looking down on me for it, but I do what produces results for me. For certain, my position and hold when shooting sling is completely different. All it means is that you have to be prepared to adapt.

PARTING SHOT — Have Guns, Will Travel

Here is one of Jay’s other F-Open Rifles. When traveling he separates the stock from the barreled action. He uses a custom-cut foam piece that holds the components very securely. Note the separate slots for barreled action, stock, scope (in rings), bolt assembly, and spotting scope.

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profile

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April 27th, 2020

New 6.5mm Ultra-High BC Bullet — Berger 153.5 Grain LRHT

Berger 153.5 grain long range hybrid target bullet new PRS ELR

There’s a new “top dog” in 6.5mm match bullets. Berger just released a new 153.5 grain 6.5mm bullet that offers impressive 0.694 G1 and 0.356 G7 BC numbers. The new bullet, which should be popular with PRS and F-Open shooters, features the latest Meplat Reduction Technology for ultra-consistent shot-to-shot BCs.

Berger’s new 6.5mm 153.5 grain Long Range Hybrid Target™ is the latest projectile offering in the Long Range Hybrid Target (LRHT) product line. The 6.5mm 153.5 Grain LRHT boasts a high-BC, jump-tolerant hybrid ogive profile that is Doppler Radar verified with less than 1% BC variation. Shot-to-shot BC consistency is vital when engaging long-range targets.

The 6.5mm 153.5 Grain LRHTs are ideal for long range disciplines that reach to 1,000 yards and beyond. The new 153.5s are tailored for cartridges such as the 6.5 Creedmoor, 26 Nosler, 6.5 PRC, 6.5 x 284, 6.5 SAUM, and 6.5 Weatherby RPM among others. With a complementary profile to Berger’s successful 6.5mm 156 Grain Elite Hunter projectile, the 153.5s require 1:8″ twist or faster.

Meplat Reduction Technology
Using proprietary processes, Berger’s Meplat Reduction Technology™ (MRT™) applies controlled pressure along the nose of each LRHT bullet, producing a homogeneous and repeatable profile for the industry’s most consistent Ballistic Coefficients (BC). Visit NoBSBC.com and learn “why BC consistency wins” vs. the “highest BC is best” myth.

“The new 6.5mm-153.5 grain LRHT’s push the limits of today’s performance standards. The drag reduction achieved with Meplat Reduction Technology contributes to their superior form factor and ballistic coefficient, offering minimal atmospheric influence during flight. The 153.5 is simply our highest performance 6.5mm projectile to date”, said Garett Stoddard, Berger’s Production Engineer.

Berger 153.5 grain long range hybrid target bullet new PRS ELR

Berger 6.5mm 153.5 Grain Long Range Hybrid Target™ Bullets are shipping now to Berger authorized retailers. Visit Bergerbullets.com/dealer-map to find nearby retailers.

Coming Soon – New Long Range Hybrid Target ammunition. Details will be provided on Berger’s Facebook Page and other social media.

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February 17th, 2020

Team Lapua-Brux-Borden — Big Winners at Berger SW Nationals

Lapua brux borden Team Berger SW southwest Nationals SWN Jay Christopherson Tod Hendricks

Dominators — that’s what these blue-shirted guys were at the 2020 Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN). For the third straight year, Team Lapua-Brux-Borden won the coveted F-Open Team Grand Aggregate award at the Berger Southwest Nationals, finishing with a score of 2584-160X (out of a possible 2600). And Team Member Jay Christopherson (AccurateShooter’s System Admin) won the F-Open Overall title, while Team Member Tod Hendricks won the 600-yard Mid-Range Event. Mighty impressive…

Lapua brux borden Team Berger SW southwest Nationals SWN Jay Christopherson Tod Hendricks

Team members are Jay Christopherson, David Christian, Tod Hendricks, Pat Scully, and Jeremy Smith (alternate), with Bob Sebold serving as Coach and Erik Cortina as Captain. Remarkably Jay (1247-83X), Pat (1247-72X), and Tod (1245-81X) placed first, second, and third respectively in the F-Open Grand Aggregate individual awards. That’s right, three team-mates secured ALL the podium places. And all three were separated by only two points!

Record-Setting Performances by Team
Notably Team Lapua-Brux-Borden established a new Ben Avery range record along the way to winning the Palma Team Match with a score of 1791-113 (out of a possible 1800). We’re told that the Team’s 793-47X LR score was also a new match record. Jay set a LR Aggregate Record with 799-50X, while Tod set a LR individual relay record of 200-18X.

Berger SW Nationals 2020
Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.

Team Lapua-Brux-Borden — Winning “Team First” Philosophy
Commentary by Jay Christopherson
For Team Lapua-Borden-Brux, winning gold is the entire focus. To that end, ego is the only enemy. Sure, we all have egos as individual shooters, but as a team, ego is subsumed into that one overriding goal. If you can’t do that, then you can’t shoot on Lapua-Borden-Brux. No matter how good you think your rifle is or how well you are shooting individually, the coach is the only arbiter — no exceptions. Every job on the team is focused towards that single goal of gold and no job is more or less important than another. Our plotter saves points by spotting high or low trends and calling that out, and ensuring we don’t lose points when a scorer misses a shot. Our back-coach saves points by spotting upcoming condition changes or making observations. Our target-puller strives to provide an example of the best possible target service. And our scorer focuses on providing attentive service to the team next to us. A failure in one job is a failure in all and we either win or lose together as a team. That is only possible when each individual understands that there is only one goal.

The Berger Southwest Nationals, hosted by the Desert Sharpshooters Rifle Club, took place February 5-9, 2020 at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, AZ with a sold-out roster of 400 competitors. America’s biggest rifle match west of the Mississippi, the Southwest Nationals is a “must-attend” event for long-range shooters competing in F-Open, F-TR, and Sling disciplines. Competitors from at least nine different countries were in attendance. The Grand Aggregate is the total score from firing points of 600, 800, 900, and 1,000 yards.

Lapua brux borden Team Berger SW southwest Nationals SWN Jay Christopherson Tod HendricksPraise from Team Captain
“I am very proud of the team”, stated Team Captain, Erik Cortina: “From setting a new range record to placing first in the F-Open Grand Aggregate, our success is directly attributed to Lapua’s premium components.”

About Lapua — Premium Brass, Bullets, and Ammunition
Lapua produces the highest-quality small caliber cartridges and components for civilian and professional use. Lapua is a part of the Capstone Precision Group, exclusive U.S. distributor for Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori, and SK-Rimfire products. For more information, visit Lapua.com.

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February 10th, 2020

Berger SW Nationals 2020 Results — Hail the Winners

Berger SW Nationals SWN southwest Phoenix 2020

The 2020 Berger Southwest Nationals are complete. As expected, it was a hugely successful match that challenged the nation’s top Sling and F-Class shooters. We want to praise all the competitors and congratulate the 2020 SWN Champions in all three classes. The competition was fierce through-out the match. John Whidden won the Sling Division with a 1245-75X score, just one point ahead of runner-up Oliver Milanovic (1244-72X). Bobby Gill was third with 1240-58X.

CLICK HERE FOR 2020 Berger SWN Complete Scores »

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN F-Open win In the F-TR Division, Peter Johns had a dominant performance with 1242-58X, twelve points ahead of second-place Wade Fillingame (1230-50X) and third-place Ian Klemm (1230-46X). Ian also shot on the winning USA Independence F-TR Team.

Jay Christopherson Wins F-Open
We cheered the F-Open news. AccurateShooter’s own Jay Christopherson, our Systems Administrator, took the 2020 F-Open title with a brilliant 1247-83X score, 11 “Xs” ahead of runner-up Pat Scully (1247-72X). In third place was Tod Hendricks (1245-81X). Jay (photo right) was shooting a Brux-barreled straight .284 Win with Berger 180gr Hybrid bullets. Up front he uses a SEB Mini coaxial tripod rest. Jay also helped carry Team Lapua-Brux-Borden to an F-Open Team victory. Here’s a short video of Jay shooting when he finished second in F-Open division at the SWN a couple seasons back. You can view Jay’s smooth gun-handling and patience waiting for his condition:

Jay Christopherson, AccurateShooter.com’s System Admin, won the F-Open division. Jay’s Brux-barreled .284 Win was superbly accurate all week long. This video was from a past Berger SWN Event.

Berger SW Nationals SWN southwest Phoenix 2020

John Whidden of Whidden Gunworks won Sling division with a 1245-75X score. John really likes this match: “For most of us it’s the first match of the year, a chance to shake off the cobwebs.” John said conditions were “pretty nice on Friday, Saturday and Sunday — most of the changes came slow and conditions were readable from the mirage.” John, a 5-time National Long Range Champion, is always a threat to win at the SWN. John shot a .308 Win in the Palma Class, and then his .243 Win in the Any Rifle division. Both with Berger bullets and Vihtavuori powders. Here’s John at Ben Avery in 2018:

JOhn Whidden Berger SW Nationals SWN southwest Phoenix 2020

Peter Johns Berger SW Nationals SWN southwest Phoenix 2020

Above is Peter Johns, F-TR Class winner. Peter posted: “I just accomplished one of my goals of winning a national-level F-Class shooting match! I was only able to do with the support of my wife and family. Also I would like to thank Alonzo Custom Rifles for building a great shooting rifle, Kelly McMillan for the best rifle stock for F-TR (Kestros BR) and Vortex for the best riflecope (Golden Eagle) for F-Class.”

Top SWN Team Performances

A new team record was set at Ben Avery this year. In the F-TR Division, Team USA Independence finished with a 2563-113X score. We are told this is the highest-ever F-TR score. Congratulations to Top Scorer Ian Klemm (645-28X) and the other shooters Wade Fillingame, Fritz Braun, and Luke Ramsey. Keith Trap coached and Kent Reeve was Captain.

Berger SW Nationals Team Lapua Brux Borden

In F-Open Team Lapua-Brux-Borden continued its dominance, with a fine performance on the final day. The Team finished at 2584-160X, six points ahead of runner-up Team McMillan F-Open (2578-135X).

Berger SW Nationals Team Lapua Brux Borden


F-Open Rifle with Barrel-Cool Device on SEB Neo front rest.

Give Credit to the Match Directors and Staff
Emil Praslick III of Capstone Precision Group offered this perspective on the 2020 Berger SW Nationals: “Wrapping up the Southwest Nationals which was amazingly well run by the Desert Sharpshooters. Matthew Schwartzkopf, Michelle Gallagher, Nancy Tompkins, Melesia Cisneros, Scott Fulmer, Mid Tompkins, and everyone else behind the scenes literally work for at least six months to make the event the well-oiled machine that it is.

Emil Praslick III Berger SWN

Moving and managing close to 400 shooters is a Herculean task, and anyone who thinks they can do better should… offer to come down to help out. I shot awful, but it was a pleasure to see the joy of the shooters as they experienced this one-of-a-kind match. Imagine cooking Thanksgiving dinner for 400 relatives with individual dietary needs on a motel hot plate, and you’ll get an idea of the scale involved. Again, thank you Matt and the gang, and we’ll see you next year!”

2020 Berger Southwest Nationals SWN report

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February 7th, 2020

Report from Berger SWN — Wednesday and Thursday Highlights

Berger 2020 SWN Southwest Nationals

Thursday 2/6/2020 was the first Team Day at the Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN). Dozens of squads competed in F-TR, F-Open, and Sling Divisions. This 4-Man Palma Team Match had 15 shots for record each at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. This is a real test of wind-reading and marksmanship. Phil Kelley reports: “Tricky conditions challenged great teams throughout the day.” We first want to congratulate Team Lapua Brux Borden (LBB), with a convincing Thursday win in the F-Open Division. We were especially proud of this performance because Team LBB member Jay Christopherson serves as AccurateShooter.com’s system administrator. Congrats to Jay (far right below) and his team-mates including David Christian, Tod Hendricks, Pat Scully, Erik Cortina (Captain), and Bob Sebold (Coach).

Team Lapua Brux Borden
Team Lapua Brux Borden Archive Photo from 2019 at last year’s Berger SWN.

Berger SW Nationals team match

F-TR Berger SWN

In the F-TR division, Team USA Independence took top honors with a 1773-83X total for four shooters: Ian Klemm, Wade Fillingame, Fritz Braun, and Luke Ramsey.

Berger SW Nationals team match

Berger SWN Palma Team

In the Sling Division, Team USNRT Milanovic took top honors with 1782-82X, finishing three points ahead of Team USNRT Gill. Captain/Coach Oliver Milanovic lead the team with 449-30X.

Berger SW Nationals team match

CLICK HERE for ALL Available Berger SWN Scores »

In team competition, the shooter relies on his coach and spotter.
Berger SW Nationals team match

Berger SWN 600-Yard Mid-Range Match Results

SWN Berger Southwest Mid-Range 600 yard

In the Mid-Range match, Tod Hendricks topped the F-Open field with 598-37X, a dominant performance. Jim Fowler finished second with 596-20X, and our own Product Tester John Masek was third with 595-33X. John, aka “F-Class John” in our Forum, prepares our Deals of the Week, and does product reviews. Here is his latest Teslong Borescope Review.

In the F-TR Division, the top three shooters all finished with 584 points. However, Mid-Range Champion Scott Harris (584-30X) tallied a huge X-Count advantage over second-place Doug Boyer (584-21X), and third-place Ian Klemm (584-20X). Congrats to all three men.

In the Sling Division, Randy Teissedre won with 597-33X, followed by Mike Kelley with 593-30X, and Larry Sollars with 592-32X.

CLICK HERE for Full 600-Yard Results »

High Winds for Mid-Range Match on Wednesday
It was windy and cold to start the day for the 600-Yard, Mid-Range Match on Wednesday at the Ben Avery Range in Phoenix. Capstone’s Adam Braverman posted: “Nice full value wind to start the Mid-Range portion of the SW Nationals sponsored by Capstone Precision Group. 38 degrees felt like 27!”

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February 5th, 2020

Berger Southwest Nationals Event Commences Today in Phoenix

Berger SW Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery 2020 F-Class F-Open F-TR

The 2020 Berger Southwest Nationals, one of the biggest (and best) rifle competitions of the year, kicks off Wednesday, February 5, 2019 at the Ben Avery Range outside Phoenix, Arizona. The big match continues through Sunday, February 9th. This match attracts the top F-Class and sling shooters in the country, along with many talented foreign competitors. See Desert Sharpshooters SWN Facebook Page.

Here’s a state-of-the-art F-Open rig with sleek, low-profile, Speedy-designed Shurley Brothers stock:
2020 Berger Southwest Nationals SWN

Talk to the competitors and many will tell your that the SWN is their favorite match of the year. For those in Northern states, the chance to enjoy some Arizona sunshine is a big draw, along with the quality of the competition, and the camaraderie.

Berger 2020 SW Nationals

The 2020 Berger SWN event commences today with a Mid-Range, 600-yard Match:

berger southwest nationals F-Class 2020 Ben Avery Mid-Range Berger SWN

Capstone Precision Group Makes This Event Possible
The Berger SW Nationals are made possible through the principal support of Berger Bullets and Lapua, both part of the Capstone Precision Group, which also distributes Vihtavuori powder and SK Ammunition in the USA. Berger and Lapua both generously donate prizes for 2020 SWN competitors.

Berger SW Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery 2020 F-Class F-Open F-TR

Bird’s Eye Ben Avery — A Look at the Range

If you’ve never visited the Ben Avery Facility north of Phoenix, Arizona, here is a video shot in 2016 that shows the 1000-yard range (including drone footage). The desert range at Ben Avery is something special — check out this “birds-eye view”. This video also includes an interview with Derek Rodgers, F-TR World Champion, King of 2 Miles, and the only man who who has earned both F-Open AND F-TR USA National titles.

Event Schedule for 2020 Berger SWN

Wednesday, 5 February 2020, 9:00 AM
Mid-Range Match – Three 20-shot matches at 600 yards. (Divisions – Palma, Any Rifle-Any Sight, F-Open, F-TR)

Thursday, 6 February 2020, 9:00 AM
4-Man Palma Team Match – 15 shots for record at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. (Divisions – Palma, F-Open, F-TR)

Friday, 7 February 2020, 8:30 AM – Start of Grand Agg
Individual Palma Match – 15 shots for record at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. (Divs – Palma, F-Open, F-TR)
Swap Meet at 1000-Yard Line after conclusion of Day’s Match

Saturday, 8 February 2020, 8:30 AM
Individual 1000 Yard Matches – Two 20-shot matches at 1000 yards. Any Rifle-Iron Sight (Any sight for F-Class shooters). (Divisions – Palma, Any Rifle-Iron Sight, F-Open, F-TR)
4 Man Team Match – 20 shots at 1000 yards. Any Rifle-Iron Sight (Any sight for F-Class shooters). (Divisions – Palma, Any Rifle-Iron Sight, F-Open, F-TR)
Banquet Dinner – Approximately 5:00 pm at Indoor Range.

Sunday, 9 February 2020, 8:30 AM
Individual 1000 Yard Matches – Two 20-shot matches at 1000 yards. Any Rifle-Any Sight (Any sight for F-Class shooters). (Divisions – Palma, Any Rifle-Any Sight, F-Open, F-TR)
Awards Ceremony at the Indoor Range.

Sling Shooters in Palma Division
For the Palma division, the cartridge of choice is the .308 Winchester (7.62.x51). This versatile cartridge is still capable of extreme accuracy. Never underestimate a skilled sling shooter with a good Palma rifle. Below is multi-time NRA National Long-Range Champion John Whidden in action. John’s rifle features a centerfire action in an aluminum Anschutz small-bore stock.

John Whidden Berger 2020 SW Nationals

CLICK HERE for Phoenix Travel and Lodging Information.


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February 4th, 2020

How to Avoid a Train Wreck at Berger SW Nationals This Week

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballistics

The 2020 Berger Southwest Nationals kicks off 2/5/2020 at the Ben Avery Range outside Phoenix, AZ. The big event starts with a 600-yard Mid-Range Match. Many of the nation’s most talented F-Class and sling shooters will be there. But no matter what your skill level, it is still possible to make major mistakes that can spoil the day and/or put you out of the running for the entire match. This article aims to help competitors avoid the big errors/oversights/failures, aka “train wrecks”, that can ruin a match.

Berger SW Nationals mid-range match
Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.

Berger SW Nationals mid-range match

In any shooting competition, you must try to avoid major screw-ups that can ruin your day (or your match). In this article, past F-TR National Mid-Range and Long Range Champion Bryan Litz talks about “Train Wrecks”, i.e. those big disasters (such as equipment failures) that can ruin a whole match. Bryan illustrates the types of “train wrecks” that commonly befall competitors, and he explains how to avoid these “unmitigated disasters”.

Urban Dictionary “Train Wreck” Definition: “A total @#$&! disaster … the kind that makes you want to shake your head.”

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballisticsTrain Wrecks (and How to Avoid Them)
by Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics LLC

Success in long range competition depends on many things. Those who aspire to be competitive are usually detail-oriented, and focused on all the small things that might give them an edge. Unfortunately it’s common for shooters lose sight of the big picture — missing the forest for the trees, so to speak.

Consistency is one of the universal principles of successful shooting. The tournament champion is the shooter with the highest average performance over several days, often times not winning a single match. While you can win tournaments without an isolated stellar performance, you cannot win tournaments if you have a single train wreck performance. And this is why it’s important for the detail-oriented shooter to keep an eye out for potential “big picture” problems that can derail the train of success!

Train wrecks can be defined differently by shooters of various skill levels and categories. Anything from problems causing a miss, to problems causing a 3/4-MOA shift in wind zero can manifest as a train wreck, depending on the kind of shooting you’re doing.

Berger SW Nationals Train Wreck Bryan Litz

Below is a list of common Shooting Match Train Wrecks, and suggestions for avoiding them.

1. Cross-Firing. The fastest and most common way to destroy your score (and any hopes of winning a tournament) is to cross-fire. The cure is obviously basic awareness of your target number on each shot, but you can stack the odds in your favor if you’re smart. For sling shooters, establish your Natural Point of Aim (NPA) and monitor that it doesn’t shift during your course of fire. If you’re doing this right, you’ll always come back on your target naturally, without deliberately checking each time. You should be doing this anyway, but avoiding cross-fires is another incentive for monitoring this important fundamental. In F-Class shooting, pay attention to how the rifle recoils, and where the crosshairs settle. If the crosshairs always settle to the right, either make an adjustment to your bipod, hold, or simply make sure to move back each shot. Also consider your scope. Running super high magnification can leave the number board out of the scope’s field view. That can really increase the risk of cross-firing.

2. Equipment Failure. There are a wide variety of equipment failures you may encounter at a match, from loose sight fasteners, to broken bipods, to high-round-count barrels that that suddenly “go south” (just to mention a few possibilities). Mechanical components can and do fail. The best policy is to put some thought into what the critical failure points are, monitor wear of these parts, and have spares ready. This is where an ounce of prevention can prevent a ton of train wreck. On this note, if you like running hot loads, consider whether that extra 20 fps is worth blowing up a bullet (10 points), sticking a bolt (DNF), or worse yet, causing injury to yourself or someone nearby.

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballistics

3. Scoring/Pit Malfunction. Although not related to your shooting technique, doing things to insure you get at least fair treatment from your scorer and pit puller is a good idea. Try to meet the others on your target so they can associate a face with the shooter for whom they’re pulling. If you learn your scorer is a Democrat, it’s probably best not to tell Obama jokes before you go for record. If your pit puller is elderly, it may be unwise to shoot very rapidly and risk a shot being missed (by the pit worker), or having to call for a mark. Slowing down a second or two between shots might prevent a 5-minute delay and possibly an undeserved miss.

Berger SW Nationals
Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballistics4. Wind Issues. Tricky winds derail many trains. A lot can be written about wind strategies, but here’s a simple tip about how to take the edge off a worse case scenario. You don’t have to start blazing away on the command of “Commence fire”. If the wind is blowing like a bastard when your time starts, just wait! You’re allotted 30 minutes to fire your string in long range slow fire. With average pit service, it might take you 10 minutes if you hustle, less in F-Class. Point being, you have about three times longer than you need. So let everyone else shoot through the storm and look for a window (or windows) of time which are not so adverse. Of course this is a risk, conditions might get worse if you wait. This is where judgment comes in. Just know you have options for managing time and keep an eye on the clock. Saving rounds in a slow fire match is a costly and embarrassing train wreck.

5. Mind Your Physical Health. While traveling for shooting matches, most shooters break their normal patterns of diet, sleep, alcohol consumption, etc. These disruptions to the norm can have detrimental effects on your body and your ability to shoot and even think clearly. If you’re used to an indoor job and eating salads in air-conditioned break rooms and you travel to a week-long rifle match which keeps you on your feet all day in 90-degree heat and high humidity, while eating greasy restaurant food, drinking beer and getting little sleep, then you might as well plan on daily train wrecks. If the match is four hours away, rather than leaving at 3:00 am and drinking five cups of coffee on the morning drive, arrive the night before and get a good night’s sleep.”

Keep focused on the important stuff. You never want to lose sight of the big picture. Keep the important, common sense things in mind as well as the minutia of meplat trimming, weighing powder to the kernel, and cleaning your barrel ’til it’s squeaky clean. Remember, all the little enhancements can’t make up for one big train wreck!

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January 10th, 2020

New Berger 7mm 190 Grain Long Range Hybrid Target Bullet

Berger 7mm F-Open Hybrid Long Range Target Bullet new high bc

Just in time for the Berger SW Nationals, Berger has released a class-leading new 7mm bullet — the 190 Grain Long Range Hybrid Target (LRHT). The new 190-grainer boasts a “jump-tolerant” hybrid ogive profile along with formed meplat (bullet tip) for more consistent Ballistic Coefficient (BC). In fact, with its new MRT (Meplat Reduction Technology) nose, Doppler Radar testing confirms less than 1% BC variation from bullet to bullet. While a high BC is of course desirable for competitive shooting, shot-to-shot BC consistency is most critical when engaging targets to 600 yards and beyond. The new 7mm 190gr LRHT’s BC numbers are very impressive: 0.751 G1 and 0.384 G7.

Designed for F-Open competition, the 7mm 190gr LRHTs are optimized for cartridges such as .284 Winchester, 7mm WSM, 7mm SAUM, and 7mm Remington Magnum among others.

No you don’t need a new barrel to shoot the 190s. If you are running Berger 184s in a 1:9″ or faster twist you should be fine. Berger states: “The 190gr LRHT is complementary to the industry-leading Berger 184gr F-Open Target bullet with an identical stability factor and improved ballistics when launched from 1:9″-twist barrels.”

Berger 7mm F-Open Hybrid Long Range Target Bullet new high bc

Meplat Reduction Technology for More Consistent BCs
Utilizing advanced and proprietary manufacturing processes, Berger’s innovative Meplat Reduction Technology (MRT) applies controlled pressure along the nose of each LRHT bullet. Berger states this delivers ” a homogeneous and repeatable profile for the industry’s most consistent Ballistic Coefficients”.

“With improved MRT consistency contributing to its superior ballistic coefficient and form factor, the 190 is one of our highest performance projectiles to date. They provide minimal dispersion and more hits on target for F-Open competitors, long range shooters and larger capacity 7mm enthusiasts.” said Garett Stoddard, Berger’s Lead Production Engineer.

The new Berger 7mm 190 Grain Long Range Hybrid Target Bullets are shipping now to Berger authorized retailers.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, New Product, News 1 Comment »
December 12th, 2019

Berger Releases NEW 6.5mm 144gr LR Hybrid Target Bullet

New berger 109 grain hybrid bullet LRHT long range hybrid target

A hot new 6.5mm match bullet has arrived — the Berger 144-grain Hybrid. This new 144-grainer, officially called the Long Range Hybrid Target (LRHT), features a formed meplat (bullet tip) for more consistent Ballistic Coefficient (BC). With its new MRT (Meplat Reduction Technology) nose, the new 144gr LRHT boasts a high-BC, “jump-tolerant” hybrid ogive profile along with an extremely consistent BC. In fact, Doppler Radar testing confirms less than 1% BC variation from bullet to bullet. While a high BC is of course desirable for competitive shooting, shot-to-shot BC consistency is most critical when engaging targets to 600 yards and beyond. The 144’s BC numbers are very impressive for a 6.5mm bullet: 0.655 G1 and 0.336 G7.

New berger 109 grain hybrid bullet LRHT long range hybrid target

AccurateShooter.com plans to test these new 144s very soon — we’ve sent some to championship-level shooters. The new 144s should prove very popular. These bullets are optimized for leading accuracy and long-range cartridges such as 6.5mm Creedmoor, 6.5×47 Lapua, Remington .260, 6.5-284, and 6.5 PRC among others. NOTE: Berger states that the new 144gr LRHT offers the same stability factor as Berger’s 140gr Hybrid Target. Accordingly, the new 144-grainer can be considered a “direct replacement” for the proven Berger 140gr Hybrids. And YES, the 144gr LRHT will work in 1:8″-twist barrels.

“The 6.5mm 144 Grain LRHTs offer several advantages”, said Bryan Litz, Berger’s Chief Ballistician. “The ultra-sleek profile provides a higher Ballistic Coefficient (BC) resulting in less wind drift at all ranges. The proprietary MRT manufacturing process also provides a higher and more consistent BC, important for reducing dispersion at long range.”

“During our initial Doppler Radar testing we concluded that the new 6.5mm 144gr Long Range Hybrid Target bullets consistently displayed ballistic coefficients with standard deviations far less than one percent of the documented average” reports Garett Stoddard, Berger Engineer. “Driven at muzzle velocities typical for today’s popular 6.5mm cartridges, that variation translates to only a 2″ vertical group dispersion at 1000 yards. [This demonstrates] the advantage of the Meplat Reduction Technology, as well as the importance of ballistic coefficient consistency.”

The new 6.5mm 144 Grain Long Range Hybrid Target is the latest offering in Berger’s impressive Long Range Hybrid Target (LRHT) product line, which also includes .224-Cal and 6mm projectiles:

New berger 109 grain hybrid bullet LRHT long range hybrid target

Meplat Reduction Technology for More Consistent BCs
Berger’s new 6.5mm 144gr Long Range Hybrid Target is designed to provide Benchrest, F-Class, and PRS enthusiasts a class-leading level of precision and consistency. Utilizing advanced/proprietary manufacturing processes, Berger’s Meplat Reduction Technology™ (MRT™) System applies controlled pressure along the projectile nose, producing a homogeneous and repeatable bullet profile. This yields what Berger claims are “the industry’s most consistent Ballistic Coefficients (BC)”.

The Berger 6.5mm 144 Grain Long Range Hybrid Target™ Bullets will be available very soon at authorized Berger Retailers. Use the Berger Dealer Locator to find a store near you.

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November 20th, 2019

Berger Releases New 6mm 109gr LR Hybrid Target Bullet

New berger 109 grain hybrid bullet LRHT long range hybrid target

A hot new 6mm match bullet has arrived — the impressive Berger 109-grain Hybrid. This new 109-grainer, officially called the Long Range Hybrid Target (LRHT), features a formed meplat (bullet tip) for more consistent Ballistic Coefficient (BC). Berger tells us that the new 109gr LRHT boasts a high-BC, “jump-tolerant” hybrid ogive profile along with an extremely consistent BC. In fact, Doppler Radar testing confirms less than 1% BC variation from bullet to bullet. While a high BC is of course desirable for competitive shooting, shot-to-shot BC consistency is most critical when engaging targets to 600 yards and beyond. The 109’s BC numbers are very impressive for a 6mm bullet: 0.568 G1 and 0.292 G7.

AccurateShooter.com plans to test these new 109s very soon — we’re getting them into the hands of some championship-level shooters. The new 109s should prove very popular. These bullets are optimized for leading accuracy cartridges such as 6mm Creedmoor, 6mmBR, 6BRA, 6mm Dasher, 6BRX, 6GT, 6XC, and 6×47 Lapua among others. NOTE: Berger states that the new 109gr LRHT offers the same stability factor as Berger’s outstanding 105gr Hybrid Target. Accordingly, the new 109 can be considered a “direct replacement” for the 105s. And YES, the 109gr LRHT will work in 1:8″-twist barrels.

“The 6mm 109 offers several advantages,” said Bryan Litz, Berger’s Chief Ballistician. “Its ultra-sleek profile provides a higher Ballistic Coefficient (BC) resulting in less wind drift at all ranges. Using the proprietary MRT technology also results in a higher and more consistent BC, which is important for reducing dispersion at long range.”

New berger 109 grain hybrid bullet LRHT long range hybrid target

Meplat Reduction Technology for More Consistent BCs
Berger’s new 6mm 109-grain Long Range Hybrid Target™ Bullets is designed to provide Benchrest, F-Class, and PRS enthusiasts a class-leading level of precision and consistency. Utilizing advanced/proprietary manufacturing processes, Berger’s Meplat Reduction Technology™ (MRT™) System applies controlled pressure along the projectile nose, producing a homogeneous and repeatable bullet profile. This yields what Berger claims are “the industry’s most consistent Ballistic Coefficients (BC)”.

The Berger 6mm 109 Grain Long Range Hybrid Target™ Bullets will be available very soon at authorized Berger Retailers. Use the Berger Dealer Locator to find a store near you.

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October 9th, 2019

New High-BC 85.5 grain .224-Caliber Bullet from Berger

Berger hybrid target MRT Meplat reduction technology 85.5 grain .224 22 caliber bullet

This could be big news for F-TR and Palma competition, where cartridge options are limited to .223 Rem and .308 Win. Berger is introducing a NEW, very high-BC, 22-caliber Long Range Hybrid Target Bullet. Stated Ballistic Coefficents (BCs) are: 0.524 G1 and 0.268 G7. That’s near the top among .22-cal bullets and makes this 85.5 grain projectile a very viable long-range option. Want to try some? These should be available very soon. Pre-order now from Creedmoor Sports, MidwayUSA, and other vendors.

» SEE Full Report with Test Targets on Berger Site

Berger hybrid target MRT Meplat reduction technology 85.5 grain .224 22 caliber bullet

This new 85.5gr bullets boast smaller, more uniform meplats, giving them a higher long-range BC. The meplat enhancement is achieved with “Meplat Reduction Technology” (MRT). Berger Engineer Garett Stoddard, who spearheaded the MRT project, explains: “Every bullet nose is formed with optimal swage pressure determined by force instead of length. In addition to reducing a projectile’s drag by shrinking its meplat diameter, this technique takes the inherent meplat inconsistencies that plague OTM style projectiles and brings them closer to the rotational axis. This is a key factor to the consistent balance of the bullet in flight.” The new 85.5s, like all other Berger projectiles, are made with precise Berger/J-4 bullet jackets which boast +/- .0003″ jacket TIR (total indicated runout).

Berger hybrid target MRT Meplat reduction technology 85.5 grain .224 22 caliber bullet

7-Twist Barrels Recommend for new 85.5gr MRT Berger
The 85.5gr Long Range Hybrid Target Bullet’s G7 BC of .268 is achieved with optimal stability from a 1:7″-twist barrel. Berger says “Excellent accuracy may also be attained with 1:8″-twist rifle barrels, resulting in a slightly decreased BC value”.

Initial Test Results Are Very Positive
A third party tester, shooting the new 85.5-grainer in Arizona, reported excellent performance at 1000 yards: “The projectile performed extremely well at 1000 yard in spite of only being driven to ~2800 to 2850 fps. This projectile is clearly competitive at 1000 yards in a Palma rifle as tested. With a slightly longer throat and a faster-twist barrel, I am confident the 85.5 Hybrid would be a viable option for those looking to shoot .223 Rem in Long Range competitions.”

Meplat Reduction Technology Enhances Shot-to-Shot Consistency
Berger says: “Utilizing advanced and proprietary manufacturing processes, Berger’s innovative Meplat Reduction Technology (MRT) System applies controlled pressure along the projectile nose, producing a homogeneous and repeatable bullet profile for the industry’s most consistent Ballistic Coefficients (BC). While a high BC is desirable to competitive shooters, shot-to-shot BC consistency is critical when engaging targets to 1000 yards and beyond.”

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July 5th, 2019

Optimize Bullet RPM with Berger Twist Rate Stability Calculator

Berger twist rate calculator

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


CLICK HERE to Go to TWIST RATE CALCULATOR PAGE »

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

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

Berger twist rate calculator

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

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

Story idea from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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April 19th, 2019

Big Berger Bullets for U.S. Military Sniper Program and ELR

Berger Applied Ballistics Extreme Snikper Strike Operations Solid .375 caliber enabelr Bryan Litz

Berger Match Solids are now government-endorsed. The U.S. military has selected Berger’s .375 caliber ELR Match Solid Bullet for the Extreme Sniper Strike Operations (ESSO) program (Phase 2). The ESSO program is a U.S. government project to develop a high performance, extreme long-range sniper weapon system built on a bolt-action, magazine-fed platform.

For ESSO, .375-cal Berger solids are loaded into the .375 EnABELR (Engineered by Applied Ballistics for Extreme Long Range) cartridge. This was designed to offer .375 CheyTac performance in a slightly shorter package that mag-feeds well.

Berger Applied Ballistics Extreme Snikper Strike Operations Solid .375 caliber enabelr Bryan Litz

Bryan Litz, Berger’s Chief Ballistician said: “The .375 caliber Berger ELR Match Solid Bullets were optimized for use in the ESSO project, which requires high performance and reliability over many rounds in adverse conditions. In addition to meeting the needs of our US military, the Berger Match Solids provide proven, match winning performance for the ELR competition shooter as well.”

Berger Applied Ballistics Extreme Snikper Strike Operations Solid .375 caliber enabelr Bryan Litz

ELR Match Solid Bullets drive state-of-the-art ESSO weapon systems. The EnABELR is designed to reliably engage targets at distances out to 2500 meters.

Table 1 below presents basic load data for the .375 EnABELR. Considering the Berger .375 Cal 379gr and 407gr solid bullets were developed in conjunction with the EnABELR case, load data is provided to achieve certain landmark velocities with these bullets, for a range of suitable powders. According to Applied Ballistics, with a 30″ barrel, “the .375 EnABELR can safely push the Berger 379gr Solid to 2900 fps, and the Berger 407gr Solid to 2800 fps.”

Table 1 — .375 EnABLER Load Data
Berger Applied Ballistics Extreme Snikper Strike Operations Solid .375 caliber enabelr Bryan Litz

Table 2 — .375 EnABELR Comparative Velocities
Berger Applied Ballistics Extreme Snikper Strike Operations Solid .375 caliber enabelr Bryan Litz

Applied Ballistics notes that: “These are conservative, baseline velocities. Higher velocities are possible but the above performance is safely achievable well within pressure limits of the cartridge. Note the performance of the .375 EnABELR is driven by the high BC Berger Solid bullets. If the .375 CheyTac were loaded with the same bullets, the performance would be about the same. ”

Berger Applied Ballistics Extreme Snikper Strike Operations Solid .375 caliber enabelr Bryan Litz

About Berger Bullets
Berger manufactures precision projectiles and match-grade ammunition for Target, Hunting and Tactical applications in Mesa, AZ. Berger is part of the Capstone Precision Group, the exclusive U.S. distributor for Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori and SK-Rimfire products. For more information, visit Bergerbullets.com.

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