July 23rd, 2016

New Tikka TSR-1 Precision Rifle for PRS Competition

Tikka TSR-1 T3 Precison Rifle Series Beretta McCrees Precision Modular Stock PRS Production Class

Here’s good news for Precision Rifle Series (PRS) competitors. Tikka will offer a new, modular T3-based Precision Rifle for the PRS Production Rifle Class. This new, sub-$2000 Precision Rifle is a joint project between Beretta U.S.A. and McRees Precision. Tikka’s new, limited edition TSR-1 Precision Rifle combines the barrel and action of the Tikka T3 Compact Tactical Rifle with a modular aluminum chassis from McRees Precision. Tikka TSR-1 production will be limited to 400 pieces and will have a $1995.00 MSRP. Initially, chamberings will be .260 Remington or .308 Winchester.

According to RecoilWeb.com: “The TSR-1 features a McRee’s Precision G10 folding rifle stock with an M-LOK compatible fore end, adjustable LOP and cheek riser, McRee’s M-LEV integrated cant indicator, upper and lower Picatinny rails, QD sling swivel sockets, and a sniper grey Cerakote finish.” The T3 action is fitted with a +20 MOA Mountain Tactical Scope rail, and the barrel comes with a 5/8×24 threaded muzzle. Beretta even includes one of McRee’s Rear Stock Packs.

Phillip Jones, Beretta’s Product Manager for Rifles, says: “Combining the … Tikka T3 Compact Tactical Rifle with McRee’s combat-tested chassis offers the long distance and precision shooting enthusiast an accurate and reliable rifle that is priced aggressively to be eligible for the Production Division of the PRS Series.” Under PRS rules, Production Class rifles may cost no more than $2000.00 (without optic):

PRS Production Class Cost Limits
Production Division combined rifle and scope MSRP as listed on the company’s website shall not exceed $3,000 USD, the rifle shall not exceed $2,000 USD and the optic not exceed $2,000 USD. [Editor: For example, you could have a $2,000 rifle with a $1000.00 scope or vice-versa. The total system cannot exceed $3000. Rifle alone cannot exceed $2000.00 retail sale price.]

Production Division rifles are not permitted to be altered or improved in any way from the original factory configuration”

Tikka TSR-1 T3 Precison Rifle Series Beretta McCrees Precision Modular Stock PRS Production Class

In developing the Tikka TSR-1, Beretta was no doubt inspired by the huge success of the Ruger Precision Rifle, which sold out its initial production run. Scott McRee, owner of McRees Precision, is enthusiastic about how the market will respond to new Tikka TSR-1: “I am confident that the sport shooting, tactical run and gun competitor, as well as the law enforcement community will enjoy this offering. It’s an honor to be working with Beretta U.S.A. and to be helping them provide another superb product to the American market.”

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July 23rd, 2016

Maggie’s Drawers at Camp Perry

Ever wonder what “Maggie’s Drawers” means? Well, in the shooting community it means a complete miss on the target, as originally indicated by a large red flag. In this 1957 photo, the U.S. Army brought the targets to the students at the annual Small Arms Firing School. Wheeled carts with “demo” targets were positioned at the firing line, between shooting stations, so trainees could better see the procedures. Soldiers demonstrated firing a shot, scoring the target and scorecard on the Camp Perry firing line. Targets in use at the time were the “V” type. In this demonstration shot, the pit worker waves a red flag, known as “Maggie’s Drawers”, signifying a miss. This old photo comes from the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Archives.

CMP Maggie's Drawers Camp Perry AccurateShooter.com

If you click the gray tab to view the photo full-screen, you can see something extra. Look carefully at the horizon below the muzzle of the M1 Garand held by the shooter in the foreground. If you look carefully, you can see a crane being used to erect the beach tower that now watches over Lake Erie and the ranges when they are “hot”.

Origin of ‘Maggie’s Drawers’ Term
CMP Maggie's Drawers Camp Perry AccurateShooter.comHap Rocketto, noted shooting historian, has explained the etymology of “Maggie’s Drawers”. This term “refers to the red flag waved vigorously across the face of the target to signify a complete miss of the target during practice”. The term came in use in the early 20th Century (prior to WWI) when flags were used to signal shot locations on long-range rifle targets.

Hap writes: “Since [the early 20th Century] the target has changed to the decimal bull and the marking system has been revised several times. Flags are no longer used, being replaced by value panels and chalk boards. However, one term from the flag days has held on with a tenacity that is indicative of the strong traditions of the high power community. If a shooter had the misfortune of firing a miss a red flag was waved across the front of the target. The flag is commonly known as ‘Maggie’s Drawers’ giving us the term now generally used to refer to a miss. The term ‘Maggie’s Drawers’ seems to be based on, as many things are in the military, a bawdy song. Prior to The Great War there was an old music hall song entitled The Old Red Flannel Drawers That Maggie Wore which [was creatively altered], as things tend to be by the troops, into something less delicate than might have been sung in vaudeville in the United States or in British music halls of the day.”

Visit Southwest Rifle Shooting Blog, to read the full story about the origin of Maggie’s Drawers. Hap even includes the naughty lyrics of the old music hall song that gave rise to the expression.

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July 22nd, 2016

Reiter Becomes First Quadruple Distinguished Shooter in History

Steve Steven Reiter Distinguished marksman quadruple Badges Team Lapua

Steve Steven Reiter Distinguished marksman quadruple Badges Team LapuaQuadruple Distinguished Marksman
You are looking at a very special human being — the world’s only holder of FOUR Distinguished Marksmanship Badges. While competing in the 2016 National Trophy Pistol Matches at Camp Perry, Team Lapua’s Steve Reiter (Tucson, AZ) became the first Quadruple Distinguished Badge Marksman in history. This past week, 74-year-old Reiter received his most recent Distinguished Badge, the new .22 Rimfire Pistol Badge, which has only been in existence since 2015. Before that, Reiter had earned his Pistol Distinguished Badge in 1972, his International Badge in 1973, and his Rifle Distinguished Badge in 1998. Over his four-decade competitive career, Reiter has competed in free pistol, standard pistol, air pistol, and centerfire events as well as rifle.

Earning FOUR Distinguished Badges is a great achievement — something that has never been done before, much less by a Senior shooter. We offer our congratulations to Steve for achieving this first-ever, shooting milestone.

Practice and Hard Work Were Key Says Reiter
Reiter told us: “It’s a big honor, really. When you’re the first at anything, it’s a big honor. It feels great to be the first.” Steve added: “Most people don’t understand how much work it is. And it being a CMP badge … it means something.”

To be a successful marksman, Steve explained, it takes dedication and lots of practice: “You have to work pretty hard. More or less, you have to do a lot of practicing and a lot of dry-firing, and actually work at it. You can’t come out here and just shoot. You’ve got to really work at it, like anything else, to get to the top of your field.”

A former U.S. Army Reserve Team member, Reiter’s list of shooting honors over his 40-year competition career is truly remarkable:

Member of the 1980 Olympic team in Free Pistol
Five-time National Champion at Camp Perry
34 Overall National Championship Titles
44 National Records
40+ Regional Championships
Two-time President’s 100 Champion in Pistol
Two-time National Trophy Individual Match Champion in Pistol
10-time Winner of the National Match High Senior Pistol Trophy
Five-time Winner of Citizens’ Military Pistol Trophy
Canada International Service Pistol Champion
Two-time Free Pistol National Champion
Standard Pistol National Champion
Seven-time Interservice Championship Team Member

In addition to these titles, Reiter also set other numerical scoring records, including the best .22 Aggregate (899), and the best Three-Gun Aggregate Score (2671).

Nammo Reiter Distinguished LapuaTeam Lapua — Supporting Excellence
Lapua, or more officially Nammo Lapua Oy, is part of the large Nordic Nammo Group. Our main products are small caliber cartridges and components. The Lapua cartridge factory was established in 1923. From a modest and practical beginning, Lapua has grown into one of the most respected brands in the industry. The best shooters in the world choose Lapua cartridges and components. In 2014, Nammo acquired the Vihtavuori smokeless powder factory.

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July 21st, 2016

Insane Railgun Accuracy — Lozano Sets Two World Records

Benchrest NBRSA Unlimited Railgun Grand Agg World Record, Visalia

You are looking at one of the most impressive examples of precision shooting in history. On each of those five targets is a five-shot group made at 100 yards. This is the best set of five targets ever shot consecutively at 100 yards in the history of firearms competition on this planet. That’s right, nobody has ever drilled a better set of five, five-shot targets. The combined Aggregate for these five targets is a stunning 0.1014″, with the individual groups measuring: 0.102″, 0.168″, 0.123″, 0.053″, and 0.061″. So, two of the five groups were in the Zeros. And the 0.1014″ Agg handily beats existing world records.

Benchrest NBRSA Unlimited Railgun Grand Agg World Record, Visalia

This is an amazing accomplishment that beats both the existing NBRSA and IBS records. The NBRSA Record 100-yard Unlimited 5×5 Aggregate is 0.1242 set by Jerry Lahr in 2012. The IBS Record Heavy Benchrest 100-yard Aggregate (for five, 5-shot groups) is 0.134″, set by R. Howell in 2004.

But there’s more…

Lozano Grand Agg of 0.1226 also Breaks IBS and NBRSA World Records
George Lozano also shot a superb five-target Aggregate at 200 yards: 0.1439. This gave him a combined 100 + 200 Grand Aggregate of .1226 which is also a new world record. NOTE: for the 200-yard Agg, the actual group measurements (in inches) are summed, averaged and then divided by two to provide equivalency with the 100-yard results. Lozano’s actual group measurements at 200 yards were: 0.205″, 0.307″, 0.220″, 0.409″, and 0.298″. As averaged and divided by two, that is 0.1439. When combined with George’s 0.1014 100-yard Agg, Lozano’s 100+200 Grand Agg is a stunning 0.1226.

Benchrest NBRSA Unlimited Railgun Grand Agg World Record, Visalia

Lozano’s 0.1226 Grand Agg breaks both NBRSA and IBS World Records. The current NBRSA Unlimited Grand Agg Record for five, 5-shot groups at both 100 and 200 yards is a 0.133 by Dave Dowd in 2012. The equivalent 100 + 200 IBS Heavy Benchrest Grand Agg Record is a 0.1575 by Lester Bruno in 2004.

Benchrest NBRSA Unlimited Railgun Grand Agg World Record, Visalia

The talented shooter, George Lozano (shown above), was modest about his achievement: “Thanks, guys. I appreciate your very kind compliments. It was a good Father’s Day weekend and a fun match.”

NOTE: These records are pending verification by the NBRSA official records committee. But based on the numbers we’ve seen, it looks like Lozano will soon find his name in the record books.

Technical Details
We don’t know much about George Lozano’s load — either the powder or bullet. We’re told he was shooting a 6PPC cartridge in an Unlimited Benchrest rig, also known as a “railgun”. Here is a photo of a modern benchrest railgun. This is NOT Lozano’s record-breaking rig, but it shows the type of hardware used in the modern Unlimited Class.

Unlimited Benchrest rifle railgun Visalia

For more information, visit the Benchrest Central Forum which has threads on Lozano’s 100-Yard Agg and Grand Agg. Great shooting George — congratulations!

Railgun Record Tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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July 20th, 2016

IBS Report: New York State Benchrest-for-Group Championships

New York State Regional IBS Benchrest Match Camillus NY Syracuse Score PPC

New York State IBS Benchrest Championships

Camillus Sportsmen’s Club, July 9-10, 2016

IBS Match Report by Kenneth Frehm
The International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) held its New York State Championships and Annual Pro-Am Group Shoot at the Camillus Sportsmen’s Club on July 9-10, 2016. Forty-nine benchrest competitors vied for glory and trophies. Among these forty-nine, we were fortunate to have two of the fairer sex (such as Donna Sutton, below), as well as youngsters and seniors taking part. The event provided ample opportunities for old friends to reacquaint with each other, as well as time for making new ones. The great camaraderie exhibited by these competitors helps define our sport of Benchrest shooting.

New York State Regional IBS Benchrest Match Camillus NY Syracuse Score PPC

Donna Sutton was “Pretty in Pink” — even down to her pink rifle stock.
New York State Regional IBS Benchrest Match Camillus NY Syracuse Score PPC

As early as the Thursday before, new arrivals tried to learn and master the prevailing conditions at the range. Of course, once the shooting events started, Mother Nature had a few surprises in store for the folks on the line. The surrounding topography at our Camillus Range assures that wind is ever-present, fickle and as changeable as can be! Both days presented the shooters with difficult wind and weather challenges. Saturday was sunny, warm and the winds ranged from two to approximately ten miles per hour. However, twitchy tails on the wind flags made for unpredictable holes appearing in the targets.

Saturday, the wind direction changed constantly making each relay different from the ones before or the ones upcoming. Flags spun along the 100-yard span showing different colors and their streamers indicated the constant changing velocities. Of course, the top shooters managed to correctly analyze these variables and produce Aggs in the “point one+” range — impressive shooting given the conditions.

New York State Regional IBS Benchrest Match Camillus NY Syracuse Score PPC

On Sunday everything changed. We were greeted with what we natives call “Syracuse Sunshine”. This is cold weather, gray skies, with rain showers that came and went all day long. On rare occasions, the sun peeked out along with its partner mirage. However, for most of the day, the 200-yard contestants had to deal with extremely high winds.

New York State Regional IBS Benchrest Match Camillus NY Syracuse Score PPC

Although a left-to-right direction prevailed, wind probes were pegged, their streamers stood straight out, vibrating to gusts that may have topped 25 mph! Those intrepid shooters who didn’t put “dope” on their scopes braved shots that almost went completely off their targets!

Those few opportunities to shoot in a constant condition were rare and only lasted for a few seconds in duration. As in the day prior, the top guns conquered these difficulties. The men were separated from the “boys” as those with the most well-honed skills prevailed.

As for equipment — almost everyone shot 6 PPCs in all classes. This is still very much the cartridge of choice in 100/200 group benchrest competition. There was one .22-caliber rig and Bruce LaChapelle experimented with a new “Wildcat .20 Caliber” rig that he designed and machined himself.

There were many interesting T-Shirts on display at the match:
New York State Regional IBS Benchrest Match Camillus NY Syracuse Score PPC

Pro-Am Competition with Two-Person Teams
One interesting element of this match was the “Pro-Am” competition. The “Pro-Am” features two-person teams with one experienced top-level BR shooter and one amateur shooter. For each two-man team, both shooters’ Two-Gun Aggregates are combined. The Pro-Am winning team is the twosome with the best winning combined, Two-Gun Aggregate. Both shooters receive First Place Pro-Am plaques. The winning amateur, Chris Jeffers (below), also won a barrel blank from Hart Rifle Barrels.

New York State Regional IBS Benchrest Match Camillus NY Syracuse Score PPC

Under Pro-Am rules, an “amateur” is a shooter who has participated in registered BR events for five years or less. The “Pro” level includes shooters who have competed in registered events for six years or more. The Pro-Am was started 18 years ago to encourage new shooters and recognize amateurs in hopes they will continue with the sport. This is a good concept that could be tried at other events.

L to R: Todd Jeffers, Bob Brushingham, Bill Goad, Paul Mitchell, Wyatt Peinhardt, Cody Kurtz, Kevin Donalds Sr.
New York State Regional IBS Benchrest Match Camillus NY Syracuse Score PPC

Our hats are off to the many folks who worked so hard to make this two-day event successful. I didn’t hear any grumbling or nary one complaint. Hal DeBoer, our new club President, ran the line and kept everything running smoothly and safely. Event chairman Bob Hamister had crews of club members working weeks in advance, preparing targets and organizing the many tasks that needed to be accomplished. Colin Hillman and his crew from the Syracuse Police Dept. and Jim Palumbo with the Youth Clay Targets Program were in charge of the target crews. They managed four different target crews, one for each morning and afternoon.

New York State Regional IBS Benchrest Match Camillus NY Syracuse Score PPC

The ladies in the scoring booth (see above) had to analyze each relay, carefully scoring and posting the scores. They did this so efficiently that score sheets were posted immediately after each match. We also were fortunate to have Christopher’s Catering crew who provided breakfast, lunch and dinner during the two days. The food was delicious, plentiful, and affordably-priced.

Match Trophy Winners by Category/Class:

Pro-Am Event Winners: Chris Jeffers (Amateur) and Dale Boop (Pro).
Two-Gun: Bob Hamister, Paul Mitchell, Harley Baker.
Heavy Varmint: Todd Jeffers, Bob Hamister, Paul Mitchell, Don Francis, Harley Baker.
Light Varmint: Todd Jeffers, Bob Brushingham, Bill Goad, Paul Mitchell, Wyatt Peinhardt, Cody Kurtz, Kevin Donalds Sr.

I really enjoyed my job as photographer and roving reporter. I don’t have to worry about reloading, getting to the line on time, or trying to shoot small groups. I had ample opportunities to chat with competitors. I learned a little about them, where they lived, and had a chance to pick their brains about their ongoing quest for accuracy. I saw many different styles of loading at the benches and the many variances in equipment, shooting styles and techniques.

New York State Regional IBS Benchrest Match Camillus NY Syracuse Score PPC

Once again, my most important take-away was that this group of sportsmen and sportswomen are friendly, helpful and genuine. Shooting tips, local knowledge, and advice are shared openly by all and help is there, charitably given to anyone who seeks it. — Kenneth Frehm

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July 20th, 2016

CMP Unveils First Electronic Targets at Camp Perry

Camp Perry Electronic Target Petrarca Range

Camp Perry has entered the electronic age — Perry’s first electronic targets “go live” this week. On Thursday, July 21, the CMP hosts a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to celebrate the installation of its new Kongsberg electronic rifle and pistol targets on Camp Perry’s Petrarca Range. During the afternoon, guests can test out the new targets with their own suitable firearms, or use “loaner” AR-15 rifles and M9 pistols provided by the CMP.

Camp Perry Electronic Target Petrarca RangeThe first ten electronic rifle targets, placed at 200 yards, are now ready for action on the Petrarca Range. Reduced target centers will allow shooters to practice for longer distances as well. the smaller pistol/smallbore targets are mounted in portable carriers so they can be stationed at 25 or 50 yards. Three pistol targets are now in place (see photo at right).

This is the beginning of a process to supply many ranges at Camp Perry with state-of-the-art Kongsberg (KTS) electronic targets similar to those installed at the CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park. However, the CMP is NOT planning a whole-scale replacement of all of Camp Perry’s old-fashioned targets.

CMP Offers Free “Test Drives” of Kongsberg Electronic Targets
Petrarca Range will be open throughout the National Matches to allow competitors and visitors to try the KTS targets for FREE. During this time, guests are encouraged to bring their own firearms and ammo to use at the range as no rentals will be available other than the day of the Ribbon Cutting. After the National Matches are over in August, the range will be open several Mondays for Open Public Shooting, with a small fee charged to shoot on the electronic targets.

Video Demonstrates Kongsberg Target System

KTS Electronic Targets use multiple acoustic sensors to “hear” the shot and accurately triangulate its location. Shot placements (and score values) are calculated instantly and transmitted in real time to display screens at the shooting stations. These kind of targets allow matches to run faster, with no pit duties required. All scoring is handled by the KTS central “brain” which can outputs scores to linked electronic scoreboards.

Monitors Display Score and Shot Location Instantly
Kongsberg talladega electronic targetEach Kongsberg target connects to a monitor that displays the hit locations to the shooter. Easy push-button controls allow the shooter to cycle through hits and options without having to change positions. The monitors employ non-glare glass protected by an aluminum frame that acts as a shade. This ensures good visibility for the shooter.

These state-of-the-art electronic targets are also used in the CMP’s new Talladega Marksmanship Park, where they have proven to be very popular with shooters. NOTE — the CMP is not planning a whole-scale replacement of all of Camp Perry’s old-fashioned targets. However the CMP hopes to modernize the Camp Perry facility, by installing some electronic targets on all Camp Perry ranges by summer 2018.

Kongsberg Electronic Target Camp Perry Petrarca Range

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July 18th, 2016

Derek Rodgers Sets Pending 1000-Yard F-TR Record

Derek Rodgers F-TR 1000 yard record McMillan stock berger bullets lapua brass

Derek Rodgers, the only shooter to win both the F-Open and F-TR National Championships, has done it again. While shooting the Santa Fe Trail LR Regional match in Raton, New Mexico, it looks like Derek set a new 1000-yard record. Derek nailed his 1000-yard target, recording a 200-14X score — that’s twenty (20) shots for record, all tens with 14 in the X-Ring. Derek told us: “Yesterday at Raton New Mexico’s Whittington Center, I shot a 200-14X, which should be a new pending F-TR National Record at 1000 yards.” Derek took special pride in this accomplishment, as he held the F-TR record before: “I’m happy to have the record back. I have had three of the last four records”. Well done Derek!

Derek Rodgers F-TR 1000 yard record McMillan stock berger bullets lapua brass

Derek Rodgers .308 Win F-TR Rifle Equipment List:
McMillan Xit stock, Kelbly Panda LBLP action, Bartlein .308 Win barrel (32″, 1:11.25″ twist), Nightforce NXS 8-32x56mm scope. Note that Derek shoots right-handed, but with a LEFT BOLT. This allows him to stay in position better while cycling the bolt with his LEFT hand.

Derek Rodgers F-TR 1000 yard record McMillan stock berger bullets lapua brass

This impressive performance by Derek shows that the best F-TR rifles can rival the big F-Open rigs for pure accuracy, even though the favored F-Open chamberings, such as .284 Win and .300 WSM, are still ballistically superior to the venerable .308 Winchester used by nearly all F-TR competitors. For his record-breaking load, Derek used Berger 200gr Hybrid Target bullets in Lapua .308 Win (small primer pocket) brass, pushed by Hodgdon Varget powder.

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July 18th, 2016

Pistol Perfection — How to Shoot Like a Champion

national pistol trophy match 2016 Brian Zins CMP Camp Perry

Brian Gunny ZinsThe nation’s top bullseye pistol shooters were at Camp Perry last week for the NRA National Trophy Pistol Championships. If you’ve every wondered what it takes to win a pistol match using the classic, one-handed hold, here are some tips from one of the best ever, Brian “Gunny” Zins, 12-Time NRA National Pistol Champion.

Brian has authored an excellent guide to bullseye pistol shooting. Brian’s Clinic on the Fundamentals recently appeared in The Official Journal of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association. The CMP scanned the story so you can read it online. CLICK HERE to read full article.

national pistol trophy match 2016 Brian Zins CMP Camp Perry

national pistol trophy match 2016 Brian Zins CMP Camp Perry

Top Tips from Brian Zins:

Trigger Movement: If trigger control is ever interrupted in slow fire the shot needs to be aborted and the shot started over.

Relationship between Sight Alignment and Trigger Control: Often when the fundamentals are explained these two are explained as two different acts. Well, truth be told it’s really kind of hard to accomplish one without the other. They have a symbiotic relationship. In order to truly settle the movement in the dot or sights you need a smooth, steady trigger squeeze.

Trigger Finger Placement: Where should the trigger make contact on the finger? The trigger should be centered in the first crease of the trigger finger. Remember this is an article on Bullseye shooting. If this were an article on free pistol or air pistol it would be different.

Proper Grip: A proper grip is a grip that will NATURALLY align the gun’s sights to the eye of the shooter without having to tilt your head or move your or move your wrists around to do that. Also a proper grip, and most importantly, is a grip that allows the gun to return to the same position [with sights aligned] after each and every shot. The best and easiest way to get the proper grip, at least a good starting position… is with a holster. Put your 1911 in a holster on the side of your body[.] Allow your shooting hand to come down naturally to the gun.

Brian “Gunny” Zins, History of Championships

NRA Nat’l Pistol Champion: 1996, 1998, 2001, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013

NRA .22 LR Nat’l Champion: 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010

NRA Centerfire Nat’l Champion: 1992, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006

NRA .45 Nat’l Champion: 1996, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009

NRA Regular Service Nat’l Champion: 1996, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008

NRA Civilian Nat’l Champion: 2008, 2009, 2010

NRA Nat’l Trophy Individual: 1998, 2003

Photos from CMP 2016 National Matches Zenfolio.
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July 17th, 2016

Getting Started in the Practical/Tactical PRS Game

65 Guys Ed Mobley Steve Lawrence PRS Precision Rifle Series Competition Tips

Have you been bitten by the PRS Bug? Our friends, Ed Mobley and Steve Lawrence, aka the “6.5 Guys”, have written an excellent article on getting started in practical/tactical competition. If you are new to the game, these tips can help you save money, progress faster, and have more fun. Here are article highlights, but we recommend you read the full story, 5 Tips for Attending Your First Precision Rifle Match, on www.65guys.com.

We often meet people who are new to long range precision shooting, and want to improve their knowledge and skill level. However, they aren’t sure if they are ready to sign up to compete in a match. They often ask, “What knowledge or skills are necessary to compete in a match?” Others may state, “I need to purchase this gear or that gear before I can attend a match”. For those guys who have a strong interest in precision rifle shooting, and who wish to chec out a precision rifle match, below are Five Tips to make it a positive experience.

TIP ONE: Make Plans and Commit to Go

First you need to start by finding a match to attend. This may entail a little bit of research and investigative work on your part to find what matches are scheduled in the next few months. We recommend starting with any match that may be within a reasonable driving distance. This may likely be a local “club” match, many of which are held on a regular basis. These make great venues because it will provide an opportunity to meet some of the regular attendees as well as shooters that are from your geographic area. Additionally, most of the smaller matches are a little more relaxed in terms of level of competitiveness.

Once you decide on the match you want to attend, do your homework. This means finding out if you need to pre-register or pre-pay the match fee. Commit to going by registering for the match and putting it on your schedule. Be sure to find other useful information for questions such as:

— What time should I arrive?
— Is there a mandatory safety briefing for new shooters at that venue?
— What is the travel time required to get to the match site?
— How many stages will there be?
— Is there a description of the stages available before the match?
— How many rounds should you bring?
— Are there special equipment requirements? (E.g. do you need chamber flags, is there a pistol stage?)

65 Guys Ed Mobley Steve Lawrence PRS Precision Rifle Series Competition Tips

TIP TWO: Bring What You Have

(Don’t Spend a Fortune at the Start)
Some new shooters often assume they need a custom match rifle or all of the miscellaneous shooting gear associated with long range precision shooting to compete in match. While having a Kestrel weather meter and a high quality laser range finder and other shooting accoutrements are invaluable kit, you will find other shooters at your first match that will provide you with the information and coaching you need to get on target.

In fact, the only gear you really need to bring is a scoped rifle with a bipod and ammo capable of consistently shooting within one MOA. Also, be sure to know the ballistic drops or have a ballistic drop table prepared for your rifle/ammo to dial the correct DOPE on your scope for different target ranges. Many of the other participants at the match will be willing to let you borrow a support bag, bipod, tripod or other gear if you need one — just ask. Don’t use the excuse of not having the right gear to delay getting out to a match!

One reason not to make a big initial investment in a new rifle and assorted gear before competing, is we’ve seen a number of people come into the sport and try it for a year and then make the decision to move on to something else.

TIP THREE: Be Prepared to Learn

As a new shooter at a match, there is no better opportunity to learn. We often look to our local club matches as a group ‘training’ session to prepare for the bigger matches. You will find competitors at all levels of skill and many of your fellow shooters will enthusiastically provide helpful advice once they learn you are new to the sport. Take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions if you would like ideas for how to engage a stage, but also be sure to do more listening than talking as you receive guidance and tips from more experienced competitors.

Watch and observe other shooters and how they approach and ‘game’ a specific stage or course of fire. You’ll begin to recognize which shooting positions work best for different scenarios, and maybe even come up with some new ones that no one has thought of before.

Seeing what the better shooters do is an invaluable instructional tool. You can use your smart phone’s video camera to record other shooters (with their permission). When you’re ready to shoot, ask another shooter to record your performance. Watching yourself will point out needed areas of improvement.

65 Guys Ed Mobley Steve Lawrence PRS Precision Rifle Series Competition Tips

After each match conduct an informal after action review and summarize for yourself the things that went well and what you should continue to do. You should also identify the specific shooting skills you should develop and make a plan to integrate the appropriate practice drills into your practice sessions. Finally, if you maintain a shooter’s data book or journal you’ll want to note things such as:

After Action Review – How you did, what went well, things you need to work on in practice.
Stage Observations – Successful methods used for specific courses of fire. Note barricades, positions used, specific gear used for stages.
Gear Observations – How your rifle/gear performed, what new items you should add to your “buy list”.

TIP FOUR: Be Safe and Have Fun

You’ve all heard a parent or teacher say, “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.” The same can be said of the shooting sports. Safe handling of firearms is the number one rule at any match, and comes before the FUN part in terms of importance.

Before all matches start there will always be some form of a mandatory safety briefing. Make sure you know, understand, and follow any unique safety protocols for the match you attend. Some matches require all rifles have chamber flags inserted and are stowed in bags/cases while not on the firing line — other matches may not. If you run afoul of any safety rules, you risk the chance of being disqualified from a stage or worse, the entire match.

65 Guys Ed Mobley Steve Lawrence PRS Precision Rifle Series Competition Tips

The second rule is simply have fun. This starts with having a good attitude throughout the day. Keep in mind that as a new competitor you should think of a match as a solid day of practice and training. If you blow a stage, use it as an opportunity to diagnose what you could have done differently or what you need to improve on — then smile and drive on.

Any day at the range or shooting is a good day. A match is an opportunity to hang out with like-minded people who are passionate about shooting and impacting targets far-far away. Life is great when you are doing what you enjoy!

TIP FIVE: Make Friends

There is no better way to meet lots of precision rifle shooters and make friends than at a match. The people that attend the tactical precision matches on a regular basis are those that have ‘fallen into the deep end of the pool’ and are really into the sport. As a result, they have become part of the local precision shooting community. As you strike up conversations at the match, find out if your new-found friends visit specific forum boards or social media outlets, or if there are other matches they attend.

Precision shooters tend to congregate and share information in different corners of the Internet. It will serve you well to meet some of the guys in person at matches and be able to connect a face to a screen name. As you develop your friendships and develop a level of trust, you will find opportunities become available to shoot with others in your local area, or get ‘read-in’ on a secret honey-hole of a spot to shoot long distance. Additionally, the local shooting community will often find it more convenient to sell or trade gear and equipment locally than deal with buyers/sellers that are out of state.

>> CLICK HERE to READ FULL ARTICLE on 65Guys.com

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July 16th, 2016

The Pistols of Perry — EIC Rimfire and Service Pistol Matches

Camp Perry National Matches EIC Rimfire Service Pistol .22 LR Competition NRA CMP

After a rip-roaring Opening Ceremony, the 2016 National Matches at Camp Perry commenced with the handgun Small Arms Firing School (SAFS) on July 11th, followed by Excellence-In-Competition (EIC) pistol matches on July 12th. The SAFS was led by USAMU, Military Team, and CMP instructors. Following classroom instruction and practice on the range, SAFS participants fired a true M9 EIC Match with the goal of earning points towards the prestigious Distinguished Badge.

On July 12th, the CMP .22 Rimfire and Service Pistol EIC matches were held. These matches were hugely popular — with 480 Rimfire competitors and 400 Service Pistol shooters. This year, there was plenty of talent on the firing line. Of the top 50 Service Pistol shooters, 46 were Distinguished, including the top 18 competitors.

See All National Trophy Pistol Matches Results | View Camp Perry EIC Match Photos

Camp Perry National Matches EIC Rimfire Service Pistol .22 LR Competition NRA CMP

The USAMU’s SSG Greg Markowski won the Service Pistol EIC Match with a score of 293-11X. Fellow USAMU team members SFC Lawrence Cleveland (286-5X) and SFC James Henderson (284-9X) finished second and third respectively.

In the .22 Rimfire EIC Pistol Match a USAMU shooter again took top honors. SFC Michael Gasser shot 293-5X to become the overall winner. Close behind, with identical 292-11X scores, were Jonathan Shue and SGT Ryan Franks. It’s notable that both Shue and Franks had many more Xs than SFC Gasser, the overall winner.

Talented shooters stood shoulder to shoulder on the firing line…
Camp Perry National Matches EIC Rimfire Service Pistol .22 LR Competition NRA CMP

The license plate says it all — perfection at Perry is a 10X.
Camp Perry National Matches EIC Rimfire Service Pistol .22 LR Competition NRA CMP

There were 480 registered competitors in .22 Rimfire EIC match.
Camp Perry National Matches EIC Rimfire Service Pistol .22 LR Competition NRA CMP

USAMU Shooters won both EIC pistol matches (.22 Rimfire and Service Pistol).
Camp Perry National Matches EIC Rimfire Service Pistol .22 LR Competition NRA CMP

Many U.S. Military Service Personnel attended the EIC Matches
Camp Perry National Matches EIC Rimfire Service Pistol .22 LR Competition NRA CMP

It took decades of competition to acquire all those patches — that’s dedication to the sport.
Camp Perry National Matches EIC Rimfire Service Pistol .22 LR Competition NRA CMP

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July 16th, 2016

Shooting Sports USA Photo Caption Contest

Shooting Sports USA Photo caption contest

Every month, Shooting Sports USA offers a prize for the best photo caption supplied by a reader. See the photos on the Shooting Sports USA eZine. To be considered for the upcoming August 2016 issue, submit a witty/clever photo caption to shootingsportsusa [at] nrahq.org no later than July 20, 2016. The winning caption earns its author a Nikon Spot-On Wind Meter. This handy, high-tech device connects to your smart phone, providing wind data and ballistics solutions with Nikon software. This month’s photo-to-be-captioned is shown below, along with the June winner. See future contest photos in the Shooting Sports USA eZine or the monthly print magazine.

Shooting Sports USA Photo caption contest

Nikon’s new Spot On™ Ballistic Wind Meter plugs directly into the headphone port on most popular smart phones. The Spot On Wind Meter reads both wind speed and direction and inputs the data directly into Nikon’s free Spot On Ballistics Mobile App (available for iOS and Android). This allows you to quickly determine and calculate wind drift corrections without needing a separate, dedicated wind meter. When not in use, the Nikon device easily fits in a pocket.

Shooting Sports USA Photo caption contest

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July 15th, 2016

Interview with F-Class Ace Dan Pohlabel

Team Sinclair F-TR interview F-Class Reloading Load Development Training dry-fire
Team Sinclair F-Class

In response to many requests from Forum members who shoot F-Class, we are republishing this informative interview, which first appeared last summer. You’ll find many “solid good” tips that can help any long-range rifle competitor.

Dan Pohlabel is a member of the all-conquering Team Sinclair F-TR squad. This talented group of shooters hasn’t lost a team match in years. What’s the secret of Team Sinclair’s success? Well there is not one single factor. These guys have very accurate rifles, they work hard on load development, and they practice in all conditions. In this interview, Dan Pohlabel talks about F-TR competition, reviewing the hardware (and skill set) it takes to win. He offers some great tips on developing loads. You’ll find a longer version of this interview on the Sinclair Int’l website. CLICK HERE to Read Full Interview.

Q: What do you find most challenging in F-TR Shooting?
It has to be keeping up with the competition, our sport has grown so quickly with new talented shooters. Staying at the top requires having a laser of a rifle, perfect loads, near perfect wind reading, and, of course, breaking good shots.

Q: How can novice shooters improve their game?
Seek out the local F-TR shooters and go to matches with them, listen and learn. Attend team matches and offer to score for one of the teams. As a scorer, you will sit close enough to hear the coach make wind calls and see the results on the target. Through the spotting scope you will see changes in mirage and it’s the quickest way to learn the basics of wind reading. Choosing and buying equipment is relatively easy, learning to read the wind is a journey.

Q: What’s in your range bag for match days?
Rear bag, towel, shooting glasses, canned air, ear protection, data book, pen, rifle rain cover, hat, rifle tools, timer, ammo, and bug spray.

Q: What specialized gear can you not live without?

1. A good set of elbow pads. It’s hard to keep concentrating on shooting when your elbows are rubbed raw from days of competing on them.

2. Good bug spray. We shoot from the ground but our shooting mats aren’t that big. It’s hard to concentrate with bugs crawling or chewing on you.

Q: Load Development — How do you work up a load?
First, I call Derek Rodgers and get his load data, he is the best load development shooter I know! Otherwise, here is the procedure I recommend. Measure throat length with bullet of your choice, to determine how much room is left in the case. The above measurement determines what powders you can use. We use only Hodgdon Extreme powders. Shoot a ladder test, five rounds each in 0.2 grain increments, to find the accuracy node for that bullet/powder combination. Take the best two loads and do a jump test with five rounds each, test at .005″, .025″, .060″ jump. One of these groups will be significantly better than the rest, now you can tweak that measurement +/- .002” or .005” to get the best accuracy.

Test at least three different primers to determine which offers a little better ignition for your load, a 5-shot test will usually tell you which is the best. Go back and test the two best combinations in a 10-shot test at least twice, pick a cool overcast day and also a hot sunny day and compare results. Take your final “best load” back and do a “simulated match”, 20 shots, waiting at least 20 seconds between shots. If you like those results it’s probably a reliable and accurate load.

Q: What rear bag do you use?
I use a two-bag system, large bag on bottom with a smaller bag on top. I had the bags made of marine canvas, zippered and filled with plastic beads. I can adjust the amount of fill to make them a perfect height for my shooting position. Teammate Jeff Rorer uses a similar system and mine is nearly a copy of his rear bags.

Q: How often do you practice and how many rounds do you shoot per year?
In good weather I practice a couple times a week at the local range, a couple more dry-firing practices/week at home. I typically shoot between 2,000-2,500 rounds per year.

Q: How do you prepare mentally before a match?
[I do] lots of visualization — run the video in my head of what I expect to see and of my performance. I think about the correct strategy for the conditions, staying disciplined to the strategy.

Q: What do you avoid before a shoot?
No late nights or excessive alcohol. Very little caffeine in the morning. Leave your cell turned off. Avoid emotional people.

Q: What’s your procedure on a Match day?
I arrive early, get squadding card, move gear, watch wind speed/direction, check over rifle and gear, sit and relax, visualize and focus on the most important goal of the day. Most days we shoot three relays of 20 shots. It’s important to eat and hydrate continually all day. My focus and concentration are better when I snack all day with fruit and energy bars, and lots of water. While taking my turn in the pits, I try to relax and only focus on what is ahead of me and [not] what’s already happened.

Q: What is your favorite reloading product?
My favorite reloading product is the Sinclair Premium Neck Turning Tool with Handle, I also use the expander mandrels provided by Sinclair for sizing the brass in preparation for the turning process. Correct and repeatable neck tension begins with turning necks to a uniform thickness. Sinclair also has mandrels to size the necks after neck turning that accurately size the necks for a specific neck tension.

Q: What is your preferred scope?
The scope I find the most useful is the Nightforce Competition Scope. This scope is very light-weight, has 15-55X magnification, world-class quality glass, 10 MOA per revolution on the turrets, 1/8 moa adjustments. It’s perfect for F-Class competition.

Q: What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into the sport?
Find a local club with some F-TR shooters and ask for their help. Most shooters will be happy to take you with them to a match, listen and learn while you’re there. You may find out it’s not what you thought, or you may be hooked. If you decide to jump in, start with an inexpensive rifle. This sport is expensive and you don’t need a $5000 rifle to learn good wind-reading skills. Start with a used Savage F-TR rifle and learn the basics, shoot for a year at least before making a larger investment. The money you saved buying a used Savage rifle will help pay for your divorce lawyer, LOL.

Q: What training drills do you use?
Dry-firing the rifle at home is a good way to practice when you can’t get to the range and shoot. It allows me to practice set-up, rifle handling, and position. When I can practice at a local range, I also dry-fire between shots to increase the amount of repetitions and increase the time spent in position.

Q: Who has been your biggest influence in shooting?
Eric Bair, 2006 F-Open National Champion helped me get started and gave me great advice. Most of the shooters on Team USA and Team Sinclair help each other, nobody knows all the answers but we share what we have learned. Danny Biggs, 2008 and 2009 F-TR National Champion also helped me when I was struggling to learn some of the ranges. I learned a lot from Danny.

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July 13th, 2016

Fun for All Ages: Rimfire Sporter Match at Camp Perry

National Rimfire Sporter Match Camp Perry 2016

The National Rimfire Sporter Match took place on Saturday, July 9, 2016 at Camp Perry. The day before (Friday, July 8th), a free instructional Rimfire Sporter Clinic was held in the afternoon. One of the most popular events at Camp Perry, the Rimfire Sporter Match attracts hundreds of shooters from 8 to 80 years, novices as well as experienced competitors. It is a great game for shooters who “just want to have fun” without spending a small fortune on rifle, optics, gear and ammo.

Watch Highlights from the 2016 National Rimfire Sporter Match:

Download CMP Rimfire Sporter Guidebook | View AccurateShooter’s Rimfire Sporter Page

National Rimfire Sporter Match Camp Perry 2016

National Rimfire Sporter Match Camp Perry 2016

National Rimfire Sporter Match Camp Perry 20162016 Rimfire Sporter Top Gun — Ted James
Ted James had an incredible day on July 9, winning both the scoped T-Class and the Tactical Class. Out-firing over 220 T-Class competitors, James recorded a remarkable 598-40X. In the Tactical Class, where he currently holds the National Record (595-37X set at Perry in 2015), shot an impressive 592-27X.

“I just had a good day,” he said as he laughed. “I practiced pretty hard in the week leading up to it.”

Going along with practice, James also credits his win to the Rimfire Sporter Match’s accessibility — the way it’s meant to encourage old and young marksmen alike with affordable gear and a fun course of fire.

“That’s the thing about it – it’s low cost, and it’s easy to get started in. There shouldn’t be any fear in trying it out,” he said. “People come out here and have a good time. I’ve never seen anyone have a bad time.”

Rimfire Sporter Equipment

Rifles used during the competition may be manually operated or semi-automatic and supported with sights or a sling. Competitors will complete slow fire prone, rapid fire prone, slow fire sitting or kneeling, rapid fire sitting or kneeling, slow fire standing and rapid fire standing shot sequences. To learn more about the National Rimfire Sporter Match, CLICK HERE.

National Rimfire Sporter Match Camp Perry 2016

National Rimfire Sporter Match Camp Perry 2016

Three different classifications of rifles can be used in Rimfire Sporter competition: “O Class” for open-sighted rifles, “T Class” for telescope-sighted rifles and the recently-added “Tactical Rimfire” class. Awards are offered to High Juniors, High Seniors, High Women as well as Overall winners are named for each class.

National Rimfire Sporter Match Camp Perry 2016

National Rimfire Sporter Match Camp Perry 2016

National Rimfire Sporter Match Camp Perry 2016

National Rimfire Sporter Match Camp Perry 2016

Do you want to see more match photos? CLICK HERE to view the CMP Zenfolio Archive with 500+ photos from 2016 National Rimfire Sporter Match.

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July 12th, 2016

Talladega Marksmanship Park on Shooting USA This Week

Talladega Marksmanship Park
The Talladega Marksmanship Park boasts Kongsberg electronic targets at 200, 300, and 600 Yards.

The CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park — the most impressive (and high-tech) shooting facility in North America, will be featured on this week’s episode of Shooting USA television. The show tours the Talladega facility and spotlights Talladega’s first-ever competition, the inaugural D-Day Memorial match last year. (Talladega recently held its second D-Day match on June 4-5, 2016).

Shooting USA Television Air Times (Wednesday/Thursday) on the Outdoor Channel:
Eastern Time: 9:00 PM, 12:30 AM, 3:00 AM (Th)
Central Time: 8:00 PM, 11:30 PM, 2:00 AM (Th)
Mountain Time: 7:00 PM, 10:30 PM, 1:00 AM (Th)
Pacific Time: 6:00 PM, 9:30 PM, Midnight

John C. Garand Match — Part of D-Day Memorial Event
Talladega Marksmanship Park

Talladega is known for NASCAR and its super-speedway, but now there is another destination for sports enthusiasts, thanks to the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). Congress created the CMP in 1903 with an original mission to promote civilian marksmanship, but in its 110-year history, the CMP never had its own range. So, the organization built the CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park, a $20 million sports facility, one of the most advanced shooting sports facilities in the world.

Talladega Marksmanship Park

Talladega Marksmanship Park

“You won’t find another place like this in the United States, and I think in most of the world,” says Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama. “You know, I brag on the Talladega 500 all the time, being the fastest NASCAR track, and now I’ll be able to brag about having the best, if not the most world-class marksmanship facilities in the world here in the same neck of the woods.”

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July 11th, 2016

A New Day for Service Rifles — Shooting with 4.5X Optic

AR15 Zero Nightforce Service Rifle Scope Optics
Establishing zero at 300 yards. Dennis says: “Wow you can really drive that crosshair into the center of the bull with ease” with the 4.5X optic.

Dennis Santiago recently received the all-new Nightforce Competition SR Fixed 4.5x24mm Service Rifle scope. He will be using this at Camp Perry soon, so he needed to get zeros (and click values) for all his yardages. Off he headed to the Burbank Rifle and Revolver Club (BRRC) for a Zero Session.

After establishing a 100-yard, base-line zero from the bench, Dennis put on his sling and jacket to work out to 200, 300, and 600 yards. When shooting at 200, Dennis said: “The target is huge in that 4.5X scope. Fun to drive. Next stop NRA Week at Camp Perry!”

AR15 Zero Nightforce Service Rifle Scope Optics

Above you can see Dennis working up two elevation zeroes for 600 yards. First he fired a center hold using the crosshair inside the circle to “pie” the bull. Next, he shot with a 12 o’clock hold using the lower leg of the crosshair to bisect the target. You can see the target at 600 yards in the top right of the photo.

AR15 Zero Nightforce Service Rifle Scope Optics

Zeroing Task accomplished, Dennis is ready to take this rifle to Camp Perry for the National Championships. He says: “In the end, it’s always about your handy-dandy notebook.”

New 2016 CMP/NRA Rules Allow 4.5X Optics
Dennis Santiago explains the Service Rifle rule changes that now allow scopes up to 4.5X max magnification (and max 34mm objective):

“Per the 2016 Rulebooks of the CMP and NRA, today’s Service Rifle is now defined to include an M-16/AR-15 variant with an optical sighting system not to exceed 4.5X magnification. So, this optic-equipped rifle goes head-to-head with the match-tuned M-16A2/AR-15A2 iron sight guns in the same class. The rules were updated to take into account that some military branches no longer train service members to shoot iron sights as their primary marksmanship method and have switched to reliance combat optics. The rules were debated and tried in 2015 and codified at the beginning of this year. This will be the first Nationals where the old and new generation guns compete side-by-side.

Here is my personal prediction: There will be improved scores by Expert class shooters who figure out how to work with optics jumping into Master class. At the High Master level, there may be a slight rise in numerical scores but there will be a massive jump in X-Count. EICs will remain the all-out race they’ve always been; whoever makes the fewest mistakes wins the day.”

Permalink Competition, Optics 5 Comments »
July 9th, 2016

TECH Tip: Empty Chamber Indicator for Rimfire Rifles

Larry Medler has come up with another smart little invention–a simple, inexpensive Empty Chamber Indicator for rimfire rifles. It is made from a section of plastic “weed-wacker” line and a wooden ball from a hobby shop.

Medler Rimfire Empty Chamber Indicator

Larry explains: “At all Highpower rifle matches, silhouette matches, and other shooting events I have attended, Open Bore Indicators (OBI), or what are now called Empty Chamber Indicators (ECI) have been mandatory. The NRA’s yellow ECI for Highpower rifles is easy to use and has been well-received by the shooters. However, I had not seen a truely workable ECI for 22 rimfire rifles–until I visited Michigan’s Washtenaw Sportsman’s Club where I saw juniors using ECIs for their 17 Caliber Air Rifles. Someone at the club made the empty chamber indicators by attaching an 8″ piece of weed wacker line to a 1″-diameter wooden ball, painted bright yellow. I now make similar ECIs for the 22 rimfire silhouette matches I run.”

Construction Method: First, drill a 7/64” diameter hole all the way through the 1″-diameter wooden ball. Then enlarge half of that 1″-long hole using a 13/64” diameter drill. Next insert an 8″ piece of heavy duty (0.095″ diameter) weed wacker line through the ball, leaving about 2″ on the side with the bigger-diameter hole. Then, with the short end of the line, fold over the last half-inch so the line is doubled-over on itself. Then slide the line into the ball, stuffing the doubled-over section through the 13/64″ (large) hole. Finally, pull the longer end of the line until the doubled-over section is flush with the outside of the ball. This gives you a sturdy line attachment without messy adhesives. When the assembly’s complete, hold the ECI by the tail and dip the ball in yellow paint. If you’re making more than one ECI, you can drill horizontal holes in a spare block of wood and use that as a drying rack.

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July 7th, 2016

Prepare for Perry — Opening Ceremony Monday, July 11, 2016

Camp Perry 2016 National Matches

On Monday, July 11th, the CMP and NRA host the 2016 First Shot Ceremony, the official opening of the National Trophy Pistol and Rifle Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio. The ceremony kicks off at 9:30 am and is open to the public.

Camp Perry First Shot Ceremony 2016 Ohio

The event begins with music from the 122nd Army Band. Next come aerial fly-overs by a Navy TBM Avenger, a WWII-era B-25 bomber, and the Yankee Air Museum’s Yankee Lady B-17. Vintage military vehicles (jeeps and tanks) will also be on display during the ceremony.

After the aircraft, a salute will be fired from four artillery pieces, which span 200+ years of the nation’s history. The “Guns of July” will include: War of 1812-era cannon, Civil War-era cannon, modern-era 37mm anti-aircraft gun, and last but not least, Camp Perry’s own 70mm cannon.

The distinguished First Shot Speaker will be CMP Board Member, Oscar Mahlon Love, a former Commissioner of the New Mexico State Police and Civilian Aide Senior to the Secretary of the Army. After the speech Mr. Love will fire the first official shot of the National Matches down Rodriguez Range.

Birds-Eye View of Camp Perry Ranges
We know many of our worldwide readers may never have a chance to visit Camp Perry in person, but they are still interested in this historic facility on the shore of Lake Erie, near Port Clinton, Ohio. If you’ve always wanted to see what Camp Perry looks like, here are a series of “Birds-eye” photos taken from the Beach Tower.

Photos Courtesy Civilian Marksmanship Program.
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July 6th, 2016

On Shooting USA Tonight: Cowboy Action World Championship

Cowboy Action Championship End of Trail SASS

This Wednesday, July 6th, Shooting USA features End of Trail, the Cowboy Action World Championship. Hosted annually at the SASS Founders Ranch in New Mexico, End of Trail attracts over 700 shooters, hailing from 50 states and many foreign countries. The event is part shooting competition, part family reunion, and part Wild West jubilee. SASS, the Single Action Shooting Society, is one of the most popular shooting organizations on the planet, having issued over 90,000 member badges. This special Shooting USA broadcast of the 2016 End of Trail airs at 8:00 PM, 11:30, and 2:00 am (Thursday) Central Time on the Outdoor Channel. This year’s End of Trail took place June 16-26, 2016.

Past Champions Randi Rogers (“Holy Terror”) and Spencer Hoglund (“Lead Dispencer”)
Cowboy Action Championship End of Trail SASS

If you like multi-gun competition, you’ll enjoy watching Cowboy Action Matches. The top male and female shooters are experts with three kinds of firearms: Lever Rifle, Single-Action Revolver, and Shotgun (which can be a double-barrel side-by-side, or a pump, or even an 1887 lever-action). Generally speaking the guns must be originals or reproductions of pre-1900 designs to be used in competition (however 1911-style pistols are allowed in “Wild Bunch” side matches). A typical stage will require 5 shots from each of two six guns, ten rounds from the rifle, chambered in a pistol caliber, and 6 to 8 shotgun rounds.

Cowboy Action Championship End of Trail SASS

24 Rounds from Four Guns in under 13 Seconds
To give you an idea of the action you can see on Shooting USA, here is a video of past world Champion Spencer Hogland, aka “Lead Dispencer”. In this video, Spencer fires 24 rounds, with four guns, in just 12.81 seconds (look at the timer in lower right corner). Spencer shows blazing speed with his lever gun and note how quickly he loads his shotgun. Fast loading is key to a successful stage run. Unlike modern multi-gun comps, normally Cowboy Action Shooters must start with empty shotguns.

YouTube Preview Image
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July 5th, 2016

The Best-Performing Cartridge Types For F-Class Competition

F-Open F-TR F-class competition cartridge guide comparison Emil Covan

Cartridge Choices for F-Class Competition

By Emil Kovan
Kovan Match Rifles LLC, www.matchrifles.com

There are hundreds of cartridge types capable of winning in F-Open. For F-TR you can shoot either the .223 Rem or .308 Win, but you have many load options. This article will focus on proven choices, currently used by the top F-Class shooters in the world. Our discussion will analyze cartridge selection based on the four different F-Class sub-disciplines: Open Mid-Range, Open Long-Range, F-TR Mid-Range, and F-TR Long Range.

F-Open F-TR F-class competition cartridge guide comparison Emil Kovan
Click image to view full-screen photo.

Mid-Range F-Open Cartridges

For starters, a .300 WSM is certainly capable of winning mid-range matches but it is not ideal. So what is ideal, and why? F-Class Mid-Range matches usually are usually shot at 300, 500, or 600 yards — or all three. At those distances the 6mm and 6.5mm cartridges rule. In moderate conditions, the 6mm Dasher is unbeatable. Its low recoil along with its super grouping ability and good ballistics make it my number one choice for Mid-Range.

Best bullets for the 6mm Dasher are: Vapor Trail 103gr, Berger 105 Hybrid, 108 BT, and 105 VLD (hunting). Best powders are: Varget, H4895, and Reloder 15.

Choices for Mid-Range in Tougher Conditions:
We all know that conditions are not always “moderate” that’s why something a little bit bigger will save you a “Nine” or two. The 6.5X47 Lapua was designed for 300-meter competition, but as soon as it was released, it was adopted by F-Class, benchrest, and tactical shooters. It offers great ballistics with very low recoil and big “accuracy window”. Lapua makes great brass for it (no surprise there) and Berger makes great bullets: 130gr VLD, 140gr VLD, 140gr Hybrids. Best powders in most barrels are Varget and H4350, I don’t use double-based powders such as Reloder 17 and the Vihtavuori N500 series because of their unpredictable performance day to day (greater temp sensitivity).

The 6.5X47 Lapua necked down to 6mm is also a great option for mid range matches. I was able to easily get 3200 fps with 105 hybrids and H4350.

Choice for Long-Range F-Open Competition

In Long-Range F-Open Class (out to 1000 yards), the big, high-BC bullets rule. If I had to pick one cartridge for F-Class (both mid- and long-range) I would pick the .284 Winchester or one of its variants. The .284 Win is currently dominating in F-Open competition. It offers great barrel life, it is super-easy to tune and its recoil is very manageable. The best bullets for it by far (in my opinion), are the Berger 180 Hybrids. But Sierra’s new 183gr MK bullet (with factory-uniformed meplats) seems to perform very well as does the Berger 180 VLD. Best powders for the .284 Win are H4350 and H4831SC.

F-Open F-TR F-class competition cartridge guide comparison Emil Covan

Long-Range Only F-Open Cartridge
As much as I like the .284 Win, for long-range competitions I like the .300 WSM even more. If you look at a .300 WSM and a 6mm Dasher side by side, they appear almost identical in geometry — the .300 WSM looks like an “super-sized” Dasher. Both cartridges are currently the “darlings” of long-range benchrest due to their extraordinary grouping ability and huge “node’’ windows. Big accuracy windows allow loads to perform well in different conditions and geographical locations. That’s obviously very important if you travel to compete. The .300 WSM loaded with Berger 215gr or 230gr Hybrids is very tough to beat at long range, and it is currently my number one choice.

The 7mm RSAUM is another outstanding long-range round. It resembles a 6BR on steroids and it is almost as easy to tune. Best bullets for it are Berger 180gr Hybrids, 195gr EOLs, and Sierra’s 183gr MatchKing. Best powders for the 7mm RSAUM are: H4350, H4831SC, and VV N160.

Top Caliber/Bullet Combos for F-TR

In F-TR competition, the choice is clear — a .308 Win throated for Berger 185gr BTLRs and 200gr Hybrids will win in mid-range AND long-range comps. Many championships have been won, and many records set with those two bullets in the .308 Win. To quote Danny Biggs (a two times FTR National Champion) “The 185 BTLR is the best bullet for .308 Win ever made”.

The Berger 215gr Hybrids have been used to win many competitions including recently the 2015 F-Class Nationals. Bryan Litz won both the Mid-Range and Long-Range 2015 Championships using 215s. Bryan’s rifle is shown below:

Bryan Litz F-TR 2015 National Championship rifle

I recommend chambers throated for the 185/200 grain projectiles over the 215/230 grain bullets. The reason is that if you have your barrel throated out for the 215s or the 230s, you could have a “slow” barrel and max out on pressure before the desired velocity is reached. Optimum freebore for the 230s is too long for the 185/200s, so you would be limited to using only 215/230gr bullets in that barrel.Furthermore, the recoil increase with heavier bullets is substantial, causing the rifle to be more difficult to shoot.

.223 Remington Cartridge Diagram.223 Rem — Not A Competitive Option
I would stay away from the .223 Remington. On paper the 90gr VLD will shoot inside most .308 Win loads even at a 1000 yards. But in reality, on average, the .223 Rem, regardless of what powder/bullet combo is used, cannot compete with the .308 Win. [Editor: The equipment lists at major F-TR matches will confirm Kovan’s conclusion here.]

Conclusion (and Other Options)
This article covers only the (currently) most popular cartridge/bullet combos for F-Class (F-Open and F-TR). As I said in the beginning, many cartridge types are capable of winning but are not listed due to their low popularity, case design, or lack of quality components. All of the above information is based on my personal experience and it is meant to help new shooters choose the right cartridges for F-Class matches. Thanks for reading and good luck — Emil Kovan

Emil Kovan F-Class competition bio photoEmil Kovan Competition History:

– 2014 F-Class Open National Champion

– 2015 F-Class Open National Championship, Silver Medal

– F-Class Open National Championship Teams, 2015, 2014, 2013, Shooting Team Member

– Over 15 wins in Regional and State Championships in Palma, F-TR, F-Open

– 2013 U.S. National Team Member

– 2017 U.S. National Development Team Member

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition 5 Comments »
July 5th, 2016

NRA Competition Database Lists 7000 National Records

NRA Competition RecordsDid you know the NRA Competition Database lists nearly 7,000 national shooting records?

Why are there 7000 records? Start with the fact that there are a host of different NRA disciplines: Air Pistol, Action Pistol, High Power Rifle, Smallbore Rifle, Fullbore, just to name a few. Within each discipline there may be records for metallic sight, any sight, rapid fire, slow fire, prone, standing, and other variations. And then there may be separate records for indoor, outdoor, distance, and number of shots fired. Then add team records on top of the individual records. Finally, there are separate records for all the NRA classifications: Open, Civilian, Service, Woman, Junior, Senior, Police, and so on….

The task of validating and registering so many different records is daunting. And the work never stops. Consider this — the NRA sanctions 11,000 tournaments each year. This means that new record claims are being submitted throughout the year.

Report based on story by Kyle Jillson in NRAblog.com.

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