July 3rd, 2020

North Dakota Summer Grasslands Prairie Dog Adventure

North Dakota Prairie Dog Hunt safari

Adam Scepaniak, of The Guns and Gear Store, has written an interesting story about Prairie Dog Hunting in North Dakota. If a P-Dog safari is on your “bucket list”, you’ll want to read the full story in the Sierra Bullets Blog. Adam provides many tips that can help you plan a successful prairie dog adventure.

Prairie Dog Hunting in North Dakota with Sierra Bullets
It’s that time of year where lots of men and women point their vehicles westward and try to push the limits of their rifles on prairie dogs. [A few seasons back] I was a part of this group of people… while in northwestern North Dakota. CLICK HERE to Read Full Story.

North Dakota Prairie Dog Hunt safariLittle Missouri National Grassland
Once my hunting party arrived at the Little Missouri National Grassland in North Dakota we immediately began scouting for prime prairie dog towns. There is a certain amount of strategy involved in choosing a prairie dog town … for several reasons. For one, you should try to always stay “above” the prairie dogs.

Small objects like rocks, cactuses, and prairie vegetation can easily obstruct your view if you’re shooting prone on a level plane. We encountered this in the first small prairie dog town we stopped and shot at. The prairie dog town was very visible while walking and standing, but once we laid down with our rifles on bipods the two-foot prairie grass became a severe obstruction. We shortly moved on because the small town became quick-studies to our shooting.

North Dakota Prairie Dog Hunt safari

The second prairie dog town we hunted was at the base of a small ridge with a dried, cattle creek at the bottom. This area offered better shooting opportunities because we were above most of the prairie dog holes, and if we were not above them, a deep ravine separated us from the prairie dogs removing any obstructions from our rifle scopes which was our previous problem. This area had its own disadvantage though because of some other wildlife present. There were approximately fifty head of cattle in our close vicinity grazing, which was to no surprise because many ranchers utilize the National Grassland for grazing. We had to wait for the cattle to leave our area as to not have an incidental hit due to a rare ricochet. As the sun passed over the horizon we decided to return to this spot the next morning, but would change our shooting position to increase our advantage.

This Location Offered a Nice Overlook.
North Dakota Prairie Dog Hunt safari

Zoomed Image Shows Individual Prairie Dog Mounds.
North Dakota Prairie Dog Hunt safari

My previous varminting best was a 275-yard shot near Mobridge, South Dakota on a separate prairie dog hunting trip. With more experience and better reloading, Here in North Dakota I was able to make a solid hit on a prairie dog just over 400 yards which made me ecstatic! For a central Minnesota, shotgun-raised guy, I was pretty happy that my bullet selection and hand-loading ability produced a 125-yard improvement.

Once we cleaned and cased our rifles for the journey home we had shot a little over 200 rounds of my Sierra® reloads. This was a lot less than previous prairie dog trips I have been a part of, but our hit percentage was substantially higher as well. Traveling into a new area meant a lot more scouting and experimentation for us as a group. In future trips or hunts of your own, it can be very beneficial to schedule an extra day just for scouting[.]

Little Missouri National Grassland is a National Grassland located in western North Dakota. At 1,033,271 acres, it is the largest grassland in the country. Within its borders is Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The Little Missouri National Grasslands was once a part of the Custer National Forest, but is now a part of the Dakota Prairie Grasslands, a National Forest unit consisting entirely of National Grasslands. A predominant feature of the grassland is colorful and beautiful badlands, a rugged terrain extensively eroded by wind and water. It is a mixed grass prairie, meaning it has both long and short grass.

The boundaries of the grasslands on certain maps can be misleading. Within the boundaries of the national grassland are significant portions of state-owned and privately-owned land, much of it leased by cattle ranchers for grazing.

The grassland is administered by the Forest Service as part of the Dakota Prairie Grasslands from offices in Bismarck, ND. There are ranger district offices in Dickinson and Watford City.

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July 3rd, 2020

To Protect Second Amendment Rights — Be Sure to Vote

gunvote icon logo 2020 election

As the November 2020 election quickly approaches, many of the candidates’ platforms include proposals that severely threaten your Second Amendment rights. Presumptive Democratic Nominee Joe Biden endorses a broad ban on semi-automatic rifles and further restrictions on handguns. From proposed bans on popular modern sporting rifles and ammunition to mandates for federal licensing and registration, these ill-informed proposals would strip away the rights of law-abiding citizens while doing nothing to protect public safety. It is time you make a choice and take a stand.

Visit www.gunvote.org then click on the 2020 presidential candidates link to view their positions and quotes on Second Amendment issues. Gunvote.org also has links to help you REGISTER TO VOTE for the November 2020 Election.

As target shooters, hunters, and gun owners, we must not risk our rights! On Election Day 2020, vote to protect America’s firearms freedoms: #GUNVOTE.

Even between elections, target shooters, hunters, and gun owners would do well to stay informed about the issues that affect us. Becoming educated about the views, votes, and decisions of officeholders and those positioning themselves to run for office should be an ongoing concern. #GUNVOTE is here to help you to protect America’s firearms freedoms. Don’t wait until election time. Become educated and keep yourself informed before it’s time to #GUNVOTE.

gunvote icon logo 2020 electionProtecting your rights has never been more important than it is today. Our national crisis has exposed the politicians who want to strip away our constitutional freedoms. Send them a message! Be a voter in the 2020 elections to protect your rights!

Help Drive Pro-Second Amendment Voter Registration
NSSF is urging all industry businesses and activist-minded individuals to download and display NSSF’s #GUNVOTE Banners on their company websites and incorporate #GUNVOTE messages in their social media campaigns. You can link to Gunvote.org, where visitors can find voter-registration information for their states and other helpful resources.


This message is provided by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry.

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July 2nd, 2020

Smart Advice on Barrel Cleaning — Best Techniques and Products

Criterion Barrels Cleaning Clean Solvent rod guide Hoppes Wipe-Out

This article comes from the Criterion Barrels website. It provides good, conservative advice about barrel cleaning. Understand that cleaning methods may need to be adapted to fit the amount and type of fouling (and the particular barrel). In general, we do try to minimize brushing, and we follow the procedures Criterion recommends respecting the crown/muzzle. We have also had very good success using wet patches followed by Wipe-Out bore foam. Along with the practices outlined by Criterion below, you may want to try Wipe-Out foam. Just be sure to use a fitted cleaning rod bore guide, to keep foam out of the action recesses and trigger assembly.

The above video shows how to apply Wipe-Out or other bore-cleaning foam. We use a slightly different method. First, we use 3-4 wet patches to remove loose carbon fouling. Then we apply the foam as shown, but usually from the muzzle end (with bore guide in chamber). Here’s the important point — after 20-30 minutes, once the bubbles have dissipated, we apply the foam a second time, getting more of the active ingredients into the barrel. We then patch out, as shown, after 3-4 hours.

What is the Best Way to Clean a Rifle Barrel?

We are asked this question quite frequently alongside requests for recommended break-in procedures. Improper barrel cleaning methods can damage or destroy a barrel, leading to diminished accuracy or even cause a catastrophic failure. When it comes to barrel maintenance, there are a number of useful techniques that we have not listed. Some techniques may work better with different barrel types. This series of recommendations is designed to incorporate a number of methods that the Criterion Barrels staff has used successfully both in the shop and on their personal rifles. Please feel free to to list your own recommendations in the below comments section.

We recommend the use of the following components during rifle cleaning:

• Cloth patches (sized for the appropriate caliber)
• Brass jag sized properly for your bore
• One-piece coated cleaning rod
• General bore cleaner/solvent (Example: Hoppes #9)
• Copper solvent of your choosing (Example: Sweets/KG 12)
• Fitted cleaning rod bore guide
• Plastic AP brush or toothbrush
• Q-Tips
• Plastic dental picks
• CLP or rust preventative type cleaner

There are a number of schools of thought relating to the frequency in which a barrel should be cleaned. At minimum we recommend cleaning a barrel after each shooting session to remove condensation, copper, and carbon build-up. Condensation is the greatest immediate threat, as it can cause the barrel to rust while the rifle sits in storage. Copper and carbon build-up may negatively impact future barrel performance, increasing the possibility of a failure in feed or function. Fouling should be removed whenever possible.

The below tips will help limit the wear of different parts of your barrel during routine maintenance, helping extend the life of the barrel and improving its performance.

The Crown
The crown is the portion of the barrel where the bullet loses contact with the lands and grooves and proceeds to exit the firearm. The area most critical to accuracy potential is the angle where the bullet last touches the bore of the barrel.

Avoid damage to this area by using a plastic toothbrush and CLP type cleaner to scrub the crown from the exterior of the barrel. Even the most minimal variation in wear to the crown will negatively impact barrel performance, so be careful to avoid nicking or wearing away this part of the barrel.

Reducing Cleaning Rod Wear to the Crown
When running a patch through the barrel, place the muzzle about a ¼” from a hard surface that runs flat at a perpendicular angle to the cleaning rod’s direction of travel, like a wall or the edge of a work bench (pictured). When the jag impacts the hard surface, retract the cleaning rod and remove the patch.

By withdrawing the jag prior to its exit from the barrel, you are limiting the possibility of the brass dragging upon the crown if the rod is at all bent or misaligned. The soft cloth patch will continue to serve as the point of contact between the jag and the barrel, minimizing potential wear.

If possible, insert the rod through the chamber, pushing it forward toward the muzzle. Some rifles, such as the M1 Garand or M14, will require you to insert the cleaning rod through the muzzle. In these situations the use of a cleaning rod guide is recommended to limit the friction placed upon the crown.

Avoid using cleaning rod segments for scraping carbon from the recessed muzzle of an AR-15 barrel. We used this trick in the Marine Corps to impress the armorers and NCO’s with the cleanliness of our muzzles, but it likely played a significant role in reducing the service life of the rifle barrel in question.

Use a Q-Tip soaked in solvent to remove any copper or carbon residue from the recessed muzzle of an AR-15 barrel. A little bit of remaining carbon on the face of the muzzle will not negatively affect bullet travel so long as the crown edge remains consistent around the circumference of the bore.

The Lands and Grooves
This portion of the barrel may experience reduced efficiency due to copper fouling and cleaning rod damage. If copper fouling takes place during the initial break-in of the rifle, make sure to check our barrel break-in article.

(more…)

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July 2nd, 2020

Wind Reading Tutorial for Tactical and PRS Shooters

Sniper's Hide Frank Galli Wind Reading Book Basics

For many riflemen, reading the wind is the toughest challenge in long-range shooting. Wind speeds and directions can change rapidly, mirage can be misleading, and terrain features can cause hard-to-predict effects. To become a competent wind reader, you need range-time and expert mentoring. In the latter department, Frank Galli, founder of Sniper’s Hide, offers a detailed digital resource: Wind Reading Basics for the Tactical Shooter.

Wind Reading Basics is much more than a 47-page eBook — it has charts, instructions for ballistic calculators, and even embedded videos. Galli explains: “We break down the formulas, walk you through using a ballistic computer, and give you all the information in one place. From videos, to useful charts, we make it simple to get started. It’s all about having a plan, and we give you that plan.”

Galli’s Wind Reading Basics, priced at $7.99, can be downloaded from iTunes for iPads, iPhones and iOS compatible devices. Here are sample sections from the eBook (which includes videos):

Sniper's Hide Frank Galli Wind Reading Book Basics


Sniper's Hide Frank Galli Wind Reading Book Basics

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July 1st, 2020

Summer’s Here — You Should Have a First-Aid Kit for the Family

summer hunting first aid kit pack Amazon

It’s the first day of July, and the big holiday weekend is coming up. Do you have a good first-aid kit in your vehicle to deal with possible injuries to family members of all ages? For just $20.00 you can get an excellent kit from Be Smart/TRI, the #1 maker of First Aid Kits in the USA.

TRI’s Be Smart Get Prepared First Aid Kit has 201 items inside a sturdy case with shoulder strap and carry handle. There is also a handy, detachable mini pouch with key essentials for first aid on-the-go. You can easily bring the mini-pouch along on a bike ride or hike.

summer hunting first aid kit pack Amazon

This multi-purpose First Aid Kit includes:

• 50 – Bandages 3/4 x 3
• 30 – Bandages 3/8 x 1 1/2
• 6 – Bandages Closure
• 3 – Knuckle Bandages
• 1 – Tapes – .5 x 2.5yd Waterproof
• 10 – Cotton Tips – 2.75″”/10 Pack
• 4 – Finger Splints
• 1 – First Aid Guide
• 4 – Gauze Pad – 2 x 2 / 4 ply
• 4 – Gauze Pad – 4 x 4 / 4 ply
• 1 – Gauze Pad – 5 x 9
• 2 – Nitrile Gloves
• 1 – Instant Cold Pack – 5 x 6
• 1 – Metal Pointed Scissors 4.5″
• 1 – Metal Tweezers 3″” Slanted Edge
• 4 – Splinter Remover
• 2 – Antibiotic Ointment / .9 gram
• 24 – Alcohol Wipes
• 3 – Sting Relief Wipes
• 21 – Antiseptic Towelletes
• 1 – Lip Ointment .9 grams
• 1 – Brightsticks / 12 hr green
• 1 – Emergency plastic whistle 2″” w/ Lanyard
• 1 – Water Pouch
• 8 – Antacid
• 8 – Aspirin
• 8 – Non-Aspirin

Tips for Staying Healthy Outdoors

To help ensure that outdoor adventures remain safe and trouble-free, the CTD Shooters’ Log has a helpful Essential Summer Survival Guide. This is worth reading before you venture away from civilization.

Here are some highlights of the article with links for MORE INFO:

first aid kitFirst Aid Kits for Campers
You should never venture outside without a first aid kit close at hand. While exploring the outdoors, all types of accidents can occur—from cuts, scrapes, and burns to broken limbs and severe allergic reactions.

Basic Survival Skills
Basic survival skills are a necessity if you plan to spend any amount of time outdoors. These five tips, plus a how-to on what to pack in a lightweight, basic survival kit will help if you are ever stuck, lost, stranded or injured in the field.

How to Treat Burns
Fireworks, barbeques and campfires — in the summer we are frequently around fire, which increases our chance of getting burned. A first-degree burn is most likely home treatable, while a third degree burn requires immediate medical attention. Learn how to spot the differences between minor and severe burns.

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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:

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June 30th, 2020

Design Your Own Custom Targets with Target Generator

Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest

Are you a do-it-yourself kind of guy with a creative eye? Then you’ll love the FREE Target Generator from the folks at ShooterShed.com. This free, interactive webpage allows you to design a variety of fun targets, including grids, benchrest-type Score Shooting targets, sight-in targets, and even playing card targets. Choose the paper size and orientation (vertical or horizontal), then select the number of target elements on the page. For example, you could have four (4) bulls or 52 playing cards. You can include a grid on the target, or tell the program to include load information blocks. For bullseye targets, you can control the number, color, and spacing (diameter) of the rings. LINK to TARGET GENERATOR.

Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest

The program provides a preview of each target you generate. If you like a particular design, save the file, and then print as many targets as you want. Check it out, this program is fun and handy to use. Here are four (4) targets your Editor created just for this article. With a bit of practice, you can be generating your own custom targets in minutes. Have fun.

Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest
Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest

About the Creator of the Target Generator
The Target Generator program was created by Rod Brown of Sheridan, Wyoming. Rod tells us: “I build custom rifles and coach shooters. I’ve got a 100-yard range out my back door. I shoot short- and long-range benchrest competitively around the country. I’m a full-time software development consultant and an FFL holder. When I’m not developing custom software for my clients, I’m usually fiddling in the shop, building a custom benchrest rifle, traveling to a match, chambering a barrel, or reloading some ammunition.

Story tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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June 28th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Trio of Tack-Driving Thumbhole Varmint Rifles

gunday sunday varmint rifles Richard Franklin Custom rifles virginia thumbhole

Mr. Smith’s Tack-Driving Thumbhole Trio
What is it they say? “Can’t have too much of a good thing?” We’ll in the case of Sam Smith of Wisconsin, that goes for beautiful wood-stocked thumbhole rifles that shoot like the blazes. This week we feature a troika of thumbholes, all smithed and stocked by Richard Franklin of Richard’s Custom Rifles (Richard is now retired but still offers DVDs). Not content with a single caliber or twist, Sam commissioned three different chamberings and barrel twist rates.

First, in Fiddleback Walnut — a 6PPC Walking Varminter
thumbhole varmint rigThe most elegant of the three thumbholes is this handsome .261″-neck 6PPC. The blue-printed Rem 700 action is pillar-bedded in a highly-figured stock of laminated Curley Fiddleback Walnut, in Richard’s #004 pattern. Richard uses three sections of wood bonded together so the outside looks like a single piece of Walnut.

The lead photo at top, and the image at right show more details of this rifle. The grain really takes on a rich color in sunlight, with the Tiger-stripe figure showing brilliantly through the clearcoat. Believe it or not, Sam doesn’t even consider this one of his best-looking rifles. Sam tells us, “these three thumbhole stocks are not even close to the prettiest guns Richard has built for me–you should see the Maple ones he did for me–they are unbelievable.”

Sam tells us the gun’s 1:14″-twist Krieger barrel is a hummer — it regularly shoots one-holers at 100 yards. Sam has even logged some groups in the Zeros with the gun–awesome accuracy for a varmint rifle/Sam tells us that, using VV N133 and 58gr V-max bullets, this gun is absolutely deadly on prairie dogs out to 500 yards. (SEE: One-hole Sample Target.)

Rifle #2 — Cherry and Walnut Together in a 6mm Rem Improved

gunday sunday varmint rifles Richard Franklin Custom rifles virginia thumbhole

When more knock-down power or more distant targets are in order, Sam pulls out his 6mm Rem Improved 1:12″-twist thumbhole Varminter. Like the other two guns, this features a pillar-bedded Remington 700 action and Krieger barrel. While the 6mm AI’s #004 stock shares the same shape and form as the 6PPC above, it is much more colorful, employing a seven-layer laminate in Cherry and Walnut, covered with multiple coats of automotive clear-coat. One of Sam’s favorite varminters, this rifle sees more range use than his 6PPC because “the PPC is so accurate I want to keep the round count down.” That’s not to say the 6mm Improved is any slouch in the accuracy department. Using VV N160 and 75gr V-max bullets, the gun averages in the 2s and 3s. The best group to date was .189″ with the 87gr V-Max (See V-Max Target below). Chalk that up to another superbly accurate Krieger barrel combined with outstanding chambering work by Richard.

6mm Rem Improved with 87gr V-Max at 100 Yards
6mm Rem improved target

Rifle #3 — Fast-Twist 6.5-284 with Benchrest Forearm

6.5-284 with Benchrest Forearm

Last but not least is Sam’s handsome 6.5-284 (below), also in a laminated Walnut and Cherry stock. The Krieger barrel is a Heavy Varmint contour, with an 8-twist and .290″ neck. This gun hasn’t been shot much yet, but during initial testing it grouped in the mid-threes with 53gr of H4831 and 142gr Sierra MKs. You’ll note the stock is a bit different than the other two guns–this is the #005 stock pattern, which boasts a 3″-wide, flat forearm. It is identical to the #004 from the recoil lug rearward. Sam tells us that the #005 tracks better than the #004, though he prefers the rounded forearm of the #004 for a walking varminter.

Sam’s all-time favorite stock pattern in Richard’s #007, a roll-over comb design with conventional wrist and Cooper-style Beavertail forearm. Sam has a similar Maple #007 that he says is “even nicer than the gun in the picture.”

Nice Wood? You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet!
After this trio of thumbhole rifles, Sam commissioned two more rifles — a matched pair in 6mm BR Norma and 6PPC, done up in absolutely amazing 500 year-old Turkish Walnut, sourced from a one-of-a-kind 48″ diameter Burl. What does a piece of wood like this cost? Trust us, if you have to ask, you couldn’t possibly afford it. Let us just say these are some of the most spectacularly figured blanks ever shipped from Turkey and they are priced accordingly. Here’s a preview, taken right before Richard bonded the first stock together. The lower two pieces look lighter because of the flash angle but the upper section more accurately shows how all three pieces appear in natural light. “Wow” is right!

gunday sunday varmint rifles Richard Franklin Custom rifles virginia thumbhole

Richard Franklin is Now Retired in Montana
The last we heard, gunsmith Richard Franklin was enjoying his retirement years up in Montana. On RichardsCustomRifles.com Richard posted: “I built fine custom rifles and for many years. I was the first stock maker to laminate woods such high-grade walnut, fiddleback maple and other fancy woods. I designed my own ideas into my patterns and carved, finished, pillar bedded thousands of stocks on the rifles I built. My most popular stock pattern was my Model 11 thumbhole.

I love building rifles but my health has forced me to retire and to take time to smell the roses. I made many great videos on how to build rifles and have been selling them for many years. They are still in great demand.” CLICK HERE to check out Richard’s DVDs about rifle building and varmint hunting.

gunday sunday varmint rifles Richard Franklin Custom rifles virginia thumbhole

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June 28th, 2020

Tactical Treatises — Four Good Books for PRS/NRL Competitors

PRS NRL precision rifle training book print resource manual gun handling instruction

Are you looking to get started in PRS and NRL practical precision rifle competition? Or perhaps you’d like to advance your skill set so you can place higher in big matches (and get your hands on some of those prize table items)? Of course there is no substitute for trigger time in the field, but there ARE some great print resources. These four books can help you select the right equipment, improve your shooting skills, make better wind calls, increase your fitness level, and develop a more efficient between-match training program.

Tactical Practical PRS Precision Rifle Series NRL NRL22 good books

1. IMPACT! — Training and Preparing for Precision Rifle Matches

Rodney Maze, $19.99 Paperback, $4.99 Kindle

PRS NRL precision rifle training book print resource manual gun handling instruction

Impact!, by PRS competitor Rodney Maze, is an entry/intermediate level guide to preparing yourself and your equipment to compete in precision rifle type matches. It will also benefit anyone looking to learn about practical-style long range and precision shooting. We recommend you check it out for yourself — there are 20 Pages of free sample content on Amazon. Topics covered include:

— Rifle, optic, and equipment selection
— Setting up your rifle, bags, tripods for PRS/NRL matches
— Understanding ballistics and how to record and use ballistic data
— Techniques for using holdovers for multi-target stages
— Gun skills, rapid fire techniques, clearing malfunctions
— Shooting off of barricades, and specialty stages
— Effects of wind and how to improve your wind calls
— Tips for live fire and dry fire practice
— Preparing yourself and your equipment for a match
— Mental strategies and techniques

Impact! is illustrated with plenty of photographs. Topics are divided logically, and concepts are explained in clear language. Also included is an extensive glossary of terms used in precision shooting and a list of additional resources you can use to further pursue your precision shooting knowledge. This book also includes a handy Appendix with formatted pages for recording data about your rifle, scope, and ammunition. There is also a Wind table for recording your rifle “dope” and wind hold-offs. Lastly, Impact! has a useful table of unit conversions.

2. Practical Shooter’s Guide

Marcus Blanchard, $19.99 Paperback, $9.99 Kindle

Marcus Blanchard Practical Shooter's Guide

Thinking of getting started in the Practical/Tactical shooting game? Looking for ways to be more stable when shooting from unconventional positions? Then you may want to read Marcus Blanchard’s Practical Shooter’s Guide (A How-To Approach for Unconventional Firing Positions and Training). Unlike almost every “how to shoot” book on the market, Blanchard’s work focuses on the shooting skills and positions you need to succeed in PRS matches and similar tactical competitions. Blanchard provides clear advice on shooting from barricades, from roof-tops, from steep angles. Blanchard says you need to train for these types of challenges: “I believe the largest factor in the improvement of the average shooter isn’t necessarily the gear; it’s the way the shooter approaches obstacles and how they properly train for them.”

3. Long Range Shooting Handbook

Ryan Cleckner, $19.85 Paperback, $9.99 Kindle

Ryan Cleckner’s Long Range Shooting Handbook is the best-selling modern book on practical rifle skills. A former U.S. Army sniper instructor, Cleckner is knowledgeable, and his text is well-organized and chock full of good information. You can view Sample Chapters on Amazon.com.

Ryan Cleckner’s highly-regarded Long Range Shooting Handbook is designed as an intro to important fundamental concepts such as MOA vs. Mils, External Ballistics, and Environmental Effects. Included are personal tips and advice based on Cleckner’s years of experience as a sniper instructor and special operations sniper.

The Long Range Shooting Handbook is divided into three main categories: What It Is/How It Works, Fundamentals, and How to Use It. “What It Is/How It Works” covers equipment, terminology, and basic principles. “Fundamentals” covers the theory of long range shooting. “How to Use It” gives practical advice on implementing what you’ve learned, so you can progress as a skilled, long range shooter. This book will benefit any long-range shooter, not just PRS/NRL competitors.

4. Official U.S. Army Sniper Training and Operations Manual

From U.S. Army Sources, $17.59 paperback.

PRS NRL precision rifle training book print resource manual gun handling instruction

This U.S. Army Sniper Training Manual is a very comprehensive resource, with over 450 pages of information in a large 8.5″x11″ format. NOTE: Unlike other editions on Amazon, this is NOT the basic, outdated FM 23-10. This is the completely-overhauled 450+ page edition (FM 3-22.10). Heavily illustrated, this is a very useful resource for tactical/practical precision shooter. Employed as the “textbook” for the U.S. Army Sniper School at Fort Benning, GA, this big manual explains ranging methods, rifle handling, optics selection and operation, and rifle maintenance.

There is also extensive discussion of ballistics, wind reading, and weather effects. Practical competitors will appreciate the discussions of moving targets, range estimation, and range safety procedures. One reviewer explains: “This book contains the distilled wisdom of the Sniper School’s instructors and expert marksmen, giving you over 450 pages of unique insight into the long range combat shooter’s art.”

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June 27th, 2020

With Social Unrest — Indoor Ranges Are Important for Training

NSSF indoor range survey pistol shooters Southwick Associates range report
Photo courtesy Silver Eagle Group Shooting Range, Northern Virginia.

With the civil disorder, rioting, and looting happening in major U.S. cities, many Americans are getting very serious about armed self-defense. But if you own defensive firearms, you definitely need to train with them. Indoor ranges are most convenient for those who live near urban centers, where the biggest threats to public safety currently exist. This article talks about indoor firearms training and the proper procedures you should follow at indoor ranges.

This Video Covers Basic Gun Range Safety Rules and Etiquette

FIVE IMPORTANT SAFETY PROCEDURES for Indoor Ranges

1. Follow the Three Fundamental Rules for Safe Gun Handling
ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

2. Follow ALL Range Officer Instructions
ROs are the first and final authority on any range and their decisions are generally final. Arguing with a Range Officer may just get you thrown out.

3. Don’t Bother Others or Touch Their Guns
Respect other shooters’ privacy unless a safety issue arises. Do NOT engage other shooters to correct a perceived safety violation unless absolutely necessary – inform the RO instead. NEVER handle or touch another shooter’s firearm without their permission!

4. Know Your Range’s Rules
Review and understand any and all range rules and requirements/expectations. For example, what is the range’s maximum rate of fire? Are you allowed to collect your brass?

5. Know What To Do During a Cease Fire
IMMEDIATELY set down your firearm, pointed downrange, and STEP AWAY from the shooting booth (or bench). Range Officers do not want shooters trying to “secure/unload” their firearms in a cease fire situation — they want the shooters separated from their guns instantly.

NSSF indoor range survey pistol shooters Southwick Associates range report

BAD RANGE BEHAVIOR — Five Things NOT to Do at the Range

Here are the five worst behaviors we’ve seen at indoor ranges. These behaviors are both dangerous and inconsiderate. Any one of these behaviors can get you permanently banned from an indoor range.

1. Sweeping other individuals after loading a weapon behind the firing line is very bad. All your weapons should be empty until you reach your shooting station.

2. Turning the handgun sideways while trying to clear a malfunction or insert/remove a magazine. This will point the muzzle at a fellow shooter. Or, after shooting a gun, the shooter fails to clear the weapon and then places the gun somewhere near the shooting station with the muzzle in an unsafe position.

3. Reacting unpredictably when firing a high recoil handgun. We’ve seen people take a second shot by accident with the muzzle way off target.

4. Not obeying range commands — in particular continuing to shoot during called cease-fires.

5. Poorly aimed shooting that hits target frames or carriers, causing ricochets.

Double-Up on Hearing Protection When Shooting Indoors
When shooting indoors we recommend quality muffs with earplugs underneath, offering double protection. When inside an enclosed range, with other shooters blasting away right next to you, you really need effective hearing protection. But you also need to hear range commands and be able to communicate. That’s why we recommend electronic muffs with plugs underneath.

indoor range survey results NSSF

For pistol shooting, we like the latest Howard Leight Impact Pro Muffs. These offer an impressive 30 dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). In addition, these muffs are pretty comfortable and offer Headphone Functionality so you can connect to your smartphone, MP3 player, or other audio device. These muffs are a good value. They are currently offered for $39.50 on ALLMAX.

Howard Leight Impact Pro Electronic Muffs NRR 30

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June 26th, 2020

New, First-Time Gun Owners — More Support for 2d Amendment?

new gun buyers ccrkba second amendment

CCRKAB Hopes Millions of New Gun Owners Can Aid Second Amendment Battle
First concern over the COVID-19 pandemic spurred a huge increase in gun purchases. And the civil unrest, rioting, and looting that followed the death of George Floyd caused countless citizens to seek armed self-protection. COVID-19 and the riots convinced millions of Americans to become gun owners for the first time. These citizens wanted to protect their families, homes, and businesses. The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA.org) hopes that these new gun owners may aid the fight to preserve the Second Amendment and gun rights in the USA.

new gun buyers ccrkba second amendment

“Look at all of the new people who suddenly decided to exercise their Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms”, observed CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “We’ve witnessed something that is nothing short of a sea change… about gun ownership. We’ve heard anecdotal reports from all over the country about people flocking to gun shops who had never before owned a firearm. Now that they are gun owners, we expect them to be very protective of their rights”.

March, April, and May 2020 saw record numbers of background checks, according to FBI data and information from industry sources. For example in April 2017, gun sales set an all-time record — up 71% from the pervious year.

new gun buyers ccrkba second amendment

Gottlieb added: “We welcome all of these new gun owners to the firearms community… many of them are minorities, especially black and female citizens … from all age groups. They can… gain a new understanding of our efforts to protect the one fundamental right that actually protects all of the other rights.”

“This new wave of gun owners could become a formidable force during this year’s election,” Gottlieb noted. “From now on, we expect millions of new gun owners to pay closer attention to candidates, and reject those who would trample on their Second Amendment rights. With legions of new gun owners ready to protect these newly-discovered rights, it could be a pretty scrappy election year…”

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June 24th, 2020

Efficient Big-Batch Case Lubrication — Best Methods

accurateshooter USAMU Handloading hump day case lube lubrication spray can cartridge brass reloading marksmanship

Each Wednesday, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit publishes a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. A while back, the USAMU’s reloading gurus looked at the subject of case lubrication. Tasked with producing thousands of rounds of ammo for team members, the USAMU’s reloading staff has developed very efficient procedures for lubricating large quantities of cases. This article reveals the USAMU’s clever “big-batch” lube methods. For other helpful hand-loading tips, visit the USAMU Facebook page on upcoming Wednesdays.

Rapid, High-Volume Case Lubrication

Today’s topic covers methods for quickly applying spray lube to cartridge cases prior to sizing. A typical order for this shop may be 25,000 rounds, so [speeding up] the lubrication process can be a real time-saver. While your ammunition lots probably aren’t this large, the efficient methods discussed here may help save a considerable amount of time over your handloading career. Our case lubrication rates range from 1500-1600 cases per hour, to 2400-2500 cases per hour, depending on caliber.

This shop uses virgin brass, whereas most home handloaders use fired brass, which necessitates some small changes at times. These will be discussed as they arise. Begin with fired brass that has been tumbled clean.

Ensure as much tumbling media as possible is removed from the brass, as when it gets into a size die, it can dent cases significantly. This is a good time to round out dents in the case mouths using a tapered tool to prevent damage from the decapping stem.

First, dump the clean cases into a large box or reloading bin. Shake the bin back and forth so that many cases are oriented with the mouths up. Next, pick up as many cases as is convenient with the mouths “up”, from natural clusters of correctly-oriented cases. With 7.62mm-size cases, this is usually 3-4, and with 5.56mm cases, this can be up to 8-10. Place the cases into the rack slots, mouth-up. Doing this in groups rather than singly saves considerable time. Once these clusters have been depleted, it will be time to re-shake the bin to orient more cases “up.”.

This photo shows a case lubrication rack made by a USAMU staffer.
accurateshooter USAMU Handloading hump day case lube lubrication spray can cartridge brass reloading marksmanship

Naturally, adjust the spacing to best fit the calibers you reload. We have found this size … convenient for handling through the various phases of case lubrication/transfer to progressive case feeders for processing. Note that the 1/2-inch angle does not cover much of the critical case area at the base, just forward of the extractor groove, where most re-sizing force will be exerted. As the USAMU uses virgin brass, less lubrication is required for our brass than would be needed for Full Length (FL) sizing of previously-fired brass.

NOTE: The amount applied using our rack is easily enough for our purpose. If using fired brass, be sure to adequately lube this base area to avoid having cases stick in the full-length sizing die.

Using a spray lube, coat the cases adequately, but not excessively, from all sides. Be sure to get some lube into the case mouths/necks, in order to reduce expander ball drag and case stretching/headspace changes. The spray lube this shop uses does not harm primers or powder, and does not require tumbling to remove after lubing.*

accurateshooter USAMU Handloading hump day case lube lubrication spray can cartridge brass reloading marksmanship

Take a close look at the photo above. The USAMU shop uses a common kitchen turntable, which allows the rack to be rotated easily. We place this in a custom-made box which prevents over-spray on to floors and walls.

Angled Box Method for Smaller Cases to be Neck-Sized
A refinement of the above method which especially speeds processing of 5.56x45mm cases is as follows. A small cardboard box which holds about 100 cases is fitted with an angled “floor” secured by tape. With the smaller 5.56mm cases, usually about 8-10 cases per handful can be picked up, already correctly-oriented, and placed into the box together. This prevents having to place them into the rack slots, saving time.

accurateshooter USAMU Handloading hump day case lube lubrication spray can cartridge brass reloading marksmanship

HOWEVER, note that this does not allow nearly as much lube access to the case bodies as does the rack. For our purposes — neck-sizing and setting neck tension on new brass, this works well. If using this procedure with fired brass, take steps to ensure adequate lube to prevent stuck cases.

As always, we hope this will help our fellow handloaders. Good luck, and good shooting!


*A two-part test performed here involved spraying primed cases heavily, while getting more lube into the case mouth/body than even a careless handloader would likely apply. The second part of the test involved literally spraying considerable quantities of the lube directly into the cases, drenching the primers. After a several-day wait to allow the lube to penetrate the primers, they were then fired in a test barrel. All fired normally; no unusual reports were noted. This bolstered confidence that normal amounts of the lube would not adversely affect our ammunition, and we have been pleased with the results over several years.

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June 24th, 2020

Go Big or Go Home — Reloading .416 Barrett with 50 BMG Press

Ko2m king two miles ELR .416 Barrett cheytac .50 BMG Extreme long range press

In the ELR game, particularly the King of 2 Miles (KO2M), it’s “go big or go home”. The top shooters run large-capacity cartridges that push large-caliber, ultra-high BC bullets at very high velocities. Bullets launched by cartridges such as the .416 Barrett can sustain supersonic velocities at Extreme Long Ranges — and that’s what it takes to win. The .416 Barrett can launch a 550-grain solid bullet at 3000+ FPS.

.416 Barrett cartridge ELR .50 BMG RCBS press
Photo from ELR Competitor Corbin Shell.

2018 and 2019 Kings of 2 Miles Loaded on RCBS Presses
So how do you load jumbo cartridges such as the .416 Barrett? It takes a big, heavy, super-strong reloading press. We’ve learned that the last two Kings of 2 Miles, Paul Phillips (2019) and Robert Brantley (2019) both loaded their KO2M ammo on RCBS AmmoMaster .50 BMG presses. Phillips loaded .416 Barrett ammo, while Brantley loaded custom .416 MCS rounds.

In 2018, Robert Brantley topped the field using his custom .416 MCS loads perfected on the AmmoMaster .50 BMG Press. This year, Brantley took a close second to 2019 KO2M winner Paul Phillips. Both Phillips and Brantley use the AmmoMaster .50 BMG single stage press kit and RCBS .416 Barrett dies to hand-load for extreme long-range. “My ammo has been much more consistent after switching to the RCBS press and dies,” remarked Phillips, who runs the Global Precision Group. Brantley said he uses RCBS products for most of his reloading needs — from the dies and AmmoMaster, to the ChargeMaster and Brass Boss. His custom .416 MCS loads launch a 550-grain bullet more than 3,100 fps.

Ko2m king two miles ELR .416 Barrett cheytac .50 BMG Extreme long range press

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June 23rd, 2020

7 SAFE: Seven Vital Safety Tips for Reloaders

seven reloading safety tips powder primers brownells manual

You can never be too safe when hand-loading your own ammunition. This helpful Brownells video outlines the Seven Fundamental Reloading Safety Tips. This is important information for novice hand-loaders and a good refresher for those with reloading experience!

Summary of the Seven Safety Tips:

1. Store your reloading supplies in a safe and dry location, away from children and away from any possible source of ignition. It is also smart to keep your powder and primers separate.

2. Get and use respected reloading manuals, especially for new cartridges. Start low and work up slowly while watching for warning signs of pressure and/or case fatigue.

3. Locate your reloading activity where you will not be distracted. If you get interrupted, stop. (Distractions will eventually lead to mistakes.)

4. Do NOT mix powders. Keep your powders clearly marked and dated. You can use masking tape to write the date on the container.

5. If you load the same cartridge type for different firearms, make sure your ammo headspaces properly in each gun.

6. Check cases frequently. Look for split necks, case head separation or other signs of fatigue and excessive pressure.

7. If reloading military brass, be aware that case capacity is usually reduced, and initial loads should be at least 10-15% lower than published data.


Here are some other tips that will help your avoid making costly mistakes (such as using the wrong powder, or undercharging a case):

  • Powder Type — Always double-check the label on your powder containers. After placing powder in the powder measure, put a piece of tape on the measure with the powder type written on it. Some guys write the powder type on a card and place that right in the hopper.
  • Scale Drift — Electronic balances can drift. If you are using a digital powder scale, calibrate the scale with a test weight every 50 rounds or so.
  • Case Fill — If you throw more than one charge at a time, look INSIDE every case before seating a bullet. Squib charges can be dangerous if you don’t notice them before firing the next round.
  • Progressive Presses — When using a progressive press, consider using an RCBS Lock-Out Die. This will detect a low charge and stop the machine. These dies will work with RCBS, Hornady, and Dillon progressives.
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June 22nd, 2020

22 Creedmoor — Versatile Varmint and Tactical Cartridge

GunsAmerica Digest 22 Creedmoor

The 6.5 Creedmoor is now one of the most popular cartridges chambered in factory rifles. It found favor among hunters and PRS competitors, but then its little brother the 6mm Creedmoor became widely adopted because the 6mm version delivered less recoil, equivalent or better ballistics, and lower bullet cost.

Now there’s a new Creedmoor kid on the block, the 22 Creedmoor. While this certainly can be used for PRS and tactical competition, the 22 Creedmoor seems to be ideally suited as a high velocity varmint round — something to replace the 22-250. You get 22-250 class velocities with a more modern cartridge design, and high-quality brass.

LEARN MORE about the 22 Creedmoor
There is an excellent write-up in the GunsAmerica Digest about the 22 Creedmoor cartridge. Reviewer Jeff Cramblit built a 22 Creedmoor rifle and tested it with a variety of bullet weights. He concluded it worked best as a varminter, but could also do PRS duty, provided it is loaded under the 3200 fps velocity limit common in PRS matches. CLICK HERE to read full GunsAmerica 22 Creedmoor test report.

Since there is not yet a SAAMI spec for the 22 Creedmoor, the cartridge is officially still a wildcat. However some ammo-makers are producing 22 Creedmoor loaded ammo right now: Copper Creek, Gunwerks, and Spark Munitions. We expect Hornady and possibly Federal might also produce loaded ammo in the near future. Currently Cooper Creek has the most 22 Creedmoor loaded ammo varieties, with 17 different bullet options from 60 grains to 95 grains. Copper Creek also offers load development packs with either Alpha or Hornady brass. Here are five Cooper Creek options with Sierra and Berger bullets:

GunsAmerica Digest 22 Creedmoor

In addition, multiple companies are now selling 22 Creedmoor cartridge brass: Alpha Munitions, Atlas ADG, Hornady, and Peterson Cartridge. The Peterson 22 Creedmoor brass is excellent.

Of course you can neck down high-quality Lapua 6mm Creedmoor brass. Lapua brass has outstanding consistency and durability. Choose from large primer or small primer types. Necking down is a simple one-step operation with a neck-sizing or full-length sizing die.

22 Creedmoor Brass from Peterson Cartridge
According to Derek Peterson, President of Peterson Cartridge, “We decided to build the tooling to make our .22 Creedmoor brass in response to the uptick in long-distance predator and varmint hunting. Plus the round is just straight-up fun to shoot. It is a low-recoil, flat shooting, wind-bucking round [that is] deadly accurate up to 800 yards.”

22 Creedmoor Peterson Brass

“When we designed the tooling for the .22 Creedmoor we set out to make casings with improved features”, Peterson added. “And we were successful. We increased the head hardness to tolerate higher pressures. And we increased our internal volume slightly to work better with the slow-burning powders [such as Reloder 26 or H1000].”

22 Creedmoor for Varmints — Video from the Varmint Fields of Eastern Oregon

Bullet Choices for 22 Creedmoor
If you have an appropriate twist-rate barrel, you can load the 22 Creedmoor with heavy 85-95 grain bullets. However, we think that the cartridge is better suited for lighter 65-80 grain bullets. This yields high velocities that provide explosive impacts on small varmints.

GunsAmerica Digest 22 Creedmoor
This GunsAmerica photo shows, L to R, 90gr Sierra MK, Hornady 88gr, 80gr, and 75gr .224 caliber bullets.

What is the Best Role for the 22 Creedmoor?
GunsAmerica tester Jeff Cramblit favors the 22 Creedmoor as a varmint round: “The performance of the 22 Creedmoor with 75-80 grain bullets makes it an outstanding varmint cartridge. I’ve seen claims of 80 grain Bergers at 3500 fps out of 26″ barrels, which would be devastating on any varmint. Loaded ammunition is available with bullets in the 70-75 range leaving 24” barrels at velocities around 3400+ fps, a bit more conservative than personal hand-loading, but still making it a very flat shooting, low recoiling round delivering impressive results.”

Jeff says the 22 Creedmoor will also work for PRS with heavier bullets: “I built the 22 CM to be a dual-purpose gun, or actually a 3-purpose gun. The first was for the coyotes and varmints previously mentioned. The second was for shooting PRS (Precision Rifle Series) style matches on occasion, and the third was for hunting deer-sized game. As with any multi-purpose tool there tends to be compromises.”

Source: The Amazing 22 Creedmoor — A Wildcat Worth a Hard Look

22 Creedmoor Cartridge Dimensions (No SAAMI Spec Yet)

22 Creedmoor Peterson Brass

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June 21st, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Father & Son Compete at 1000 Yards Together

Trystan Shawn Williams Deep Creek Montana 1000 yards
Young Trystan Williams with father Shawn Williams competing at recent 1000-yard Match at Deep Creek Range near Missoula, Montana.

For Father’s Day 2020, we feature a father and son duo who showed their skills at 1000 yards at the Deep Creek Range outside Missoula, Montana. Representing the younger generation, Trystan Williams drilled a 3.205″, 46 score 5-shot group on his first-ever target shot in his first-ever match. That represents 0.305 MOA at 1000 yards! Trystan’s 6mm Dasher IBS Light Gun was built by his father, Shawn Williams of North Ridge Rifles. Both father and son were competing at an IBS match held June 13-14, 2020.

Trystan Shawn Williams Deep Creek Montana 1000 yards

Deep Creek 1000-Yard IBS Match — June 13-14, 2020
Report by Alex Wheeler
We are back to shooting after the draconian measures taking by our state have been lifted for the most part. Our regular match 7 and 8 where held as scheduled as well as a make-up match for match #2 which was canceled in March. Conditions for the weekend where variable, ranging from very good, low winds and mirage, to extreme wind and thunderstorm warnings. Surprisingly, as conditions worsened on Sunday and scores went down, some still managed very respectable groups.

One of the main highlights of the weekend was the shooting by 11-year-old Trystan Williams. This was Trystan’s very first time shooting in a match. His first 1000-yard Light Gun target ever was a 3.205″ 46 score. Trystan backed that up with a couple more excellent targets, a 3.143″ 46, and a 3.819″ 47. Trystan shot his own tuning targets Friday before the match and helped his Father Shawn Williams load the ammunition for the match. Shooting talent runs in the family, with father Shawn shooting back to back 4″, 10-shot groups in Heavy Fun class and Uncle Jim shooting three, 50-point scores in a row in LG class. An interesting note, Trystan shot some of the new Alpha Dasher brass on some targets, using his 6mm Dasher. Internal volumes are different than Lapua, requiring different powder charges, but accuracy seems to be on par.

Trystan Shawn Williams Deep Creek Montana 1000 yards

Ultra-Accurate 6mm Dasher Built by Dad
Trystan’s rifle features a 1.550″ BAT B dual-port action and Krieger 1:8″-twist HV barrel chambered in 6mm Dasher. The action is pillar-bedded in a wood laminate Deep Creek Tracker stock. Trystan shot off of a SEB NEO coaxial rest. Father Shawn Williams, a talented gunsmith, built Trystan’s rifle. Shawn is the owner of North Ridge Rifles in Helena, Montana.

Looking back at the firing line from behind the 1000-Yard Targets at Deep Creek.
Deep Creek Montana

Top-Performing Bullet Options for the 1000-Yard Game
V-Tac 103gr bullets from Vapor Trail have been performing very well this year. Trystan was shooting them, as well as Jim Williams and James Bradley. James shot the smallest group of the weekend, a 2.551″ 50 score with sorted V-Tacs in his 3-lug BAT action. James says they sort like a good lot of Bergers and they can’t be beat for the price. Even with the excellent custom bullets we have, you can still compete with a good lot of Bergers. Chris Bosse shot a 3.986″ 100 score in HG with his 6.5×47 Lapua on a Borden action and custom stock. He was jumping 140gr Berger Hybrids. Eight of those ten shots on the target went into a mid-two-inch cluster. That’s impressive.

Trystan Shawn Williams Deep Creek Montana 1000 yards Tom Mousel

Tom Mousel (shown above) had a very good weekend, winning group in each class he entered. Sweeping all three Lignt Guns matches. Tom was part of the development process of Roy Hunter’s impressive 103A bullet and Tom used them in all three of his rifles this weekend. Tom reports that tuning is key. Tom does full load development with every barrel, even if they are chambered the same. This weekend all three of Tom’s barrels were running a different powder charge, seating depth, and primer. Lesson here — every barrel is unique, so each needs its own load development process.

Trystan Shawn Williams Deep Creek Montana 1000 yards

It was great to see some good groups and scores, as well as see some new shooters and out of state shooters travel to the match. We’re all Looking forward to the next match at Deep Creek. CLICK HERE for Match Results (ZIP file).

Deep Creek Montana 1000 yard range
Deep Creek 1000-yard line: 46°55’35.03” N 114°14’45.40” W, elevation 3355′.

New Long Range Benchrest Trend — Loading at the Range
Loading at the range has become common practice at Deep Creek. While that load method is the norm for short-range Benchrest, it’s still uncommon in long range disciplines. Montana has very drastic weather changes on a daily basis and it’s unrealistic to expect a rifle to stay in tune though those changes. It’s tough to come pre-loaded and beat the guys loading at the range. You are relying on luck that the tune will not change. It does take a little more effort to bring all your gear. But in my opinion, the pay-off is worth the effort. Like many things in life, you get out what you put in. Loading at the range does provide a step forward in accuracy and that’s what Benchrest competition is all about. — Alex Wheeler

Trystan Shawn Williams Deep Creek Montana 1000 yards

Here is a birds-eye view video of the Deep Creek Range, taken with an aerial drone.

Trystan Shawn Williams Deep Creek Montana 1000 yards

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June 21st, 2020

eBook Edition of Zeglin’s ‘Wildcat Cartridges’ Now Available

Zegline Wildcat Cartridges ManualFred Zeglin has released a Kindle eBook edition of his popular book Wildcat Cartridges — Reloader’s Handbook of Wildcat Cartridge Design. Gunsmith/author Zeglin explains: “The print edition of Wildcat Cartridges has gone out of print. We have plans to produce a second edition, but that is currently on the back burner. Demand of this book has remained strong so the decision to offer the first edition in a e-book format was made.” The Kindle eBook edition retails for $9.99 on Amazon.com. You can preview a FREE SAMPLE of the book to “try before you buy”.

CLICK HERE to Read FREE eBook Sample from Zeglin’s Wildcat Cartridges

This is more than just a history of cartridges. Dimensional drawings and loading data accompany many of the cartridge descriptions. More recent and popular designs are included as well as the “classic” older wildcats. There are chapters about important cartridge designers like P.O. Ackley, Jerry Gebby, Rocky Gibbs, and Charles Newton. (The hardback edition of the book contains 288 pages of stories, illustrations, instructions, and data.)

Gunwriter Wayne Van Zwoll says Zeglin’s book is a valuable resource: “Fred has illustrated his book well, with neat line drawings and photos you probably won’t find anywhere else. It’s a rare technical treatise that draws you in with illustration, or that keeps you with an easy flow of chat that, were it lifted from print, might pop up at any gun counter or handloading bench. Fred Zeglin has done well with this book, giving wildcatters – indeed, all rifle enthusiasts – an overview of a culture often mentioned but little explored on the page.”

Writing about the 2005 Print Edition of Wildcat Cartridges, Big Bore Journal declared: “This is a fantastic book on American wildcats, US loads and much more. A must have for wildcatters and gunsmiths.”

About the Author
An award-winning writer, Fred Zeglin operates Z-Hat Custom, and Hawk Cartridges. Fred has taught classes for the NRA Gunsmithing Schools in Colorado and Oklahoma. He served as production manager for McGowen Precision Barrels for a time, and was a tech advisor for 4D Reamer Rentals. To learn more about Z-Hat and Fred’s Wildcat Cartridges eBook, contact:

Z-Hat Custom Inc.
Fred Zeglin
432 E. Idaho St., Suite C420
Kalispell, MT 59901

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June 19th, 2020

Arizona Teen Excels at CMP Western Games Competition

CMP western games Arizona Ben Avery Tyler Fisher High Power Service Rifle

Report based on story by Serena Juchnowski for CMP Newsletter
This 15-year-old kid is a shooting prodigy. Young Tyler Fisher from Arizona shot superbly at the 2020 CMP Western Games Match in Phoenix (Ben Avery). His impressive marksmanship secured second place overall (and High Junior) at the Western Games M16 EIC Match. Talented Tyler shot a 383-11X, only one point short of the match winning score, a 384-9X. Impressive performance for a young man with less than two years of High Power experience!

Tyler Fisher Western Games CMP

Tyler started shooting for fun with his dad when the Fisher family settled in Arizona in 2012. “Don’t start this sport trying to compete”, Tyler said, “have fun at first”. Tyler was born in Italy, while his dad, a member of the U.S. Air Force, was stationed there. Tyler is now in his high school’s Air Force ROTC program. Tyler joined the Arizona State Rifle & Pistol Association (ASRPA) smallbore rifle program in 2018. His talent was soon recognized, and he was invited to join the Arizona Scorpions Junior High Power Rifle Team.

CMP western games Arizona Ben Avery Tyler Fisher High Power Service Rifle

Tyler says his AZ Scorpions teammates have really had an impact on his shooting experience: “My favorite thing are the people that I have met along the way,” he said. “My coaches have taught me everything they know, and my teammates encourage me on the way and have become great friends.” Discipline is the number one thing Tyler has taken from his training,

Tyler Fisher CMP Western Games
Can you spot Tyler on the firing line at the Western Games?

About Tyler’s High Power Equipment — White Oak Upper and Aero Precision Lower
Tyler started out with a team rifle, but his family acquired his own service rifle for him to use. This features a White Oak Armament upper with an Aero Precision lower and a Magpul UBL generation 1 stock. He uses one of the AZ Scorpion’s team Hi-Lux scopes. Tyler borrows a jacket from the team, but loves his customized David Tubb-style shooting hat with his last name and team name on its sides.

CMP western games Arizona Ben Avery Tyler Fisher High Power Service Rifle
Tyler Fisher (right) competes against his father, Matt Fisher (left).

Having less than two years of experience as a High Power Power competitor, Tyler is proud to represent the state of Arizona and to have earned his first four Excellence-in-Competition points at the Western CMP Games. He hopes to shoot for at least the next three years as a junior competitor and hopes to earn the Distinguished Rifleman Badge.

Tyler Still Prefers Smallbore, Though He has Excelled at Service Rifle
Though High Power is now his primary discipline, Tyler admits that he enjoys smallbore more. He finds it easier than High Power, and shooting rimfire is a “very relaxing thing to do”. Tyler is now on the last levels of the NRA/Winchester Marksmanship Qualification Program for four-position smallbore at his home club. Regardless of what discipline he is shooting, Tyler enjoys the competition.

CMP western games Arizona Ben Avery Tyler Fisher High Power Service Rifle
Tyler first attended the National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio in 2019 as a member of the Arizona Scorpions Junior Team.

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June 19th, 2020

Great Guide for Do-It-Yourself AR-Platform Rifle Projects

AR15 Varmint rifle AR gunsmithing robert whitley
AR15 Varmint rifle AR gunsmithing robert whitley

AR15 construction guideMany of our readers use AR-type rifles for Service Rifle matches, varmint hunting, 3-Gun competition, or defensive use. AR-platform rifles can be configured in a multitude of ways to suit the application. But if you plan to put together your own purpose-built AR rifle, how do you get started?

For AR Do-It-Yourselfers, we suggest reading Glen Zedicker’s book, the Competitive AR-15 Builders Guide. Following on Zedicker’s The Competitive AR15: Ultimate Technical Guide, the Builders Guide provides step-by-step instructions that will help non-professional “home builders” assemble a competitive match or varmint rifle. This book isn’t for everyone — you need some basic gun assembly experience and an aptitude for tools. But the AR-15 Builders’ Guide provides a complete list of the tools you’ll need for the job, and Zedicker outlines all the procedures to build an AR-15 from start to finish.

One of our Forum members who purchased the AR-15 Builders Guide confirms it is a great resource: “Much like any of the books Mr. Zediker puts out this one is well thought-out and is a no nonsense approach to AR building. I can not stress how helpful this book is from beginner to expert level.”

Along with assembly methods, this book covers parts selection and preparation, not just hammers and pins. Creedmoor Sports explains: “Knowing how to get what you want, and be happy with the result, is truly the focus of this book. Doing it yourself gives you a huge advantage. The build will honestly have been done right, and you’ll know it! Little problems will have been fixed, function and performance enhancements will have been made, and the result is you’ll have a custom-grade rifle without paying custom-builder prices.” Other good resources for AR projects is Gunsmithing the AR: The Bench Manual, and the Building Your AR from Scratch DVD.

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June 18th, 2020

AR Trigger Round-Up: Geissele, Elftmann, Timney, and ALG

AR15 AR10 Trigger Geissele Timney Elftmann 2-stage ALG Defense modularTrigger images from PrimaryArms.com, which sells all the triggers reviewed here: Geissele, Elftmann, Timney, and ALG Defense.

Are you thinking of upgrading the trigger system for your AR-platform rifle? There are dozens of options available, from $45 up to $300. Thankfully, Brownells has created video reviews of some of the more popular AR trigger options from Timney, Geissele, and ALG Defense. And we included a video review of the highly-regarded Elftmann Match Trigger. If you want the best solution for Service Rifle competition, you might favor the Geisselle. For ease of installation, it’s hard to beat the Timney, a “drop-in” module. Like the Timney, the super-smooth Elftman is a drop-in module. At $249.00 it’s pricey, but it is one of the best AR triggers out there. If you’re on a tight budget, the best “bang for your buck” may be the “Perfected Mil-Spec” ALG which starts at around $45.00.

Geissele Enhanced Two-Stage Trigger

Geissele makes a variety of quality AR trigger sets both single-stage and two-stage. Many High Power competitors like the two-stage Geissele trigger. This delivers a repeatable, controlled pull through the first stage with a very clean break in the second stage. The Super Dynamic Enhanced Trigger, shown above, features a distinctive, trigger blade. Reviewer Thomas Conroy says: “The flat surface is very easy to press against. Both stages are light and very distinct.”

Elftmann Drop-In Match Trigger

Though pricey ($249.00 at PrimaryArms.com), we really like the Elftmann AR trigger. It combines the best of both worlds — the precision and smoothness of the Geissele with the Timney’s ease of installation. This single stage trigger is user-adjustable from 2.75 to 4 pounds pull weight. It is offered with either straight or curved trigger blade. Primary Arms says: “The amazingly short take-up, glass-rod crisp break and [near-zero] over-travel can be compared to the finest custom 1911 triggers.” The above video shows the installation process start to finish. There is also a “mil-spec” version for $162.00 at Primary Arms.

Timney Drop-In Trigger Module

This trigger module is available for both the AR15 and the AR10 platform (as covered in the above video). Timney triggers are easy to install and come with multiple pin size and pull-weight options. Reviewer Thomas Conroy confirms that the single-stage Timney “breaks cleanly and crisply. This trigger is modular, meaning that the trigger, sear, hammer, and spring are all encased in a bright, shiny yellow aluminum housing.”

ALG Defense Trigger — Higher-Quality Basic AR Trigger

According to Thomas Conroy, ALG triggers “are the perfected version of the standard, non-adjustable mil-spec original trigger. They have the same geometry, but are made to higher quality standards, and come with … hardened and smoothed-out sear contact surface to eliminate all grittiness.” These are also offered in a nickle-boron coated version. Available for under $50.00, the ALG is a well-made, low-cost option for shooters who want a better factory-type trigger system.

GET MORE INFO about AR-Platfrom Triggers

Learn more about Geissele, Timney and ALG triggers, plus two more AR trigger options (CMMG and Rock River Arms) in a Trigger Comparison Review by Thomas Conroy on Ammoland.com. And here is a very current (April 2020) review of 10 popular AR triggers:

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