Thinking of getting started in 3-Gun competition? In this NSSF video, Top Shot Finalist Chris Cerino reviews the hardware you’ll need for multi-gun matches. Chris talks about carbine configurations — including barrel, handguard, and optics options. In reviewing shotguns, Chris discusses shotshell caddies and the high-capacity extended tubular magazines now available. Cerino also demonstrates pistol techniques and explains the key features of a belt/holster rig for 3-Gun competition.
Gun Control — Tips on AR Shooting with Jerry Miculek
In another NSSF video, pro shooter Jerry Miculek provides tips on handling an AR-type rifle in 3-Gun matches. First, Jerry recommends a slightly forward stance, with your nose over your front toe. Second, it is important to have a consistent trigger pull. No matter how good your sight alignment, Jerry cautions, you can miss the target with a sloppy trigger pull. Finally, Miculek recommends placing your non-trigger hand well forward on the handguard. That provides better balance, tames muzzle rise, and gives you better control over the rifle for quick follow-up shots. Some shooters use a low hand position on the magwell, but Jerry says that makes the AR-15 feel top-heavy. Having your support hand out front on the handguard lowers the AR’s perceived center of gravity, allowing faster transitions for better stage times.
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Want to see how some of the best rifle shooters in the world operate in high-stakes, 1000-yard competition? This video shows Team Sinclair powering to victory at the 2014 F-Class National Championships in Phoenix. Scoring an impressive 792-38X, Team Sinclair topped the field, winning the 4-man team title and setting a new 1000-yard F-TR National Team Record in the process. It was a close match, with America’s “powerhouse” F-TR teams battling it out for the top three spots: Team Sinclair (Gold), Team X-Men (Silver), and Team Michigan (Bronze). Team Sinclair’s wind coach Ray Gross did a superb job. Ray also serves as the Captain of the USA F-TR Rifle Team.
Along with the Team Sinclair shooters, this video also features Team X-Men (orange shirts), and Team Michigan. Starting at the 2:05 time-mark, you can hear Bryan Litz calling wind for Team Michigan. Watch the mirage in the video and see if you can match Bryan’s wind calls with the movement of the mirage. This is a great opportunity to see F-TR Top Guns in action. Team score cards appear in the video, starting at the 3:01 time-mark.
Watch Team Sinclair, Team X-Men, and Team Michigan at 2014 F-Class Nationals:
Warning — Video starts with loud rock music. You may want to turn down your speakers if at work.
Thanks to Paul Phillips for editing and uploading this video. Photos courtesy Nightforce Optics.
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The folks from Nightforce Optics attended the 2014 F-Class National Championships in Phoenix last week. Sean Murphy and his Nightforce colleagues snapped a ton of photos of F-TR and F-Open shooters in action. You can see over 300 images from the Nationals on the Nightforce Facebook Page. Below are some of our favorite shots, with captions. Facebook users can access the full F-Class Nationals Gallery.
Click any image to see large-size version
Here’s winning 2014 F-TR National Champion James Crofts, with his PR&T-built rig.
Young female shooter uses SEB JoyPod, a coaxial, joystick-actuated bipod. Yes it is F-TR legal.
Yes, you CAN shoot F-Open with a Tube-gun. This modular chassis sports a Delrin bag-rider.
With the rising popularity of F-TR compeition, shooters are adapting Benchrest-style stocks to use a bipod. Here’s a McMillan Bench stock fitted with a bipod.
It was hot in Phoenix. Notice that the shooter covered his ammo as well as his head.
“See, Focus, Trust” — One competitor wrote his mantra on his ammo box lid.
Here ballistics Guru Bryan Litz shoots a John Pierce-built F-TR rig. This uses a low-profile, Benchrest-style carbon composite stock.
Shiraz Balolia had a very patriotic rig and a blinged-out tripod front rest.
Cactus and morning balloon ascents before the wind starts. Yes, this is Ben Avery…
All photos copyright Nightforce Optics 2014, used with permission.
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“Ready on the Left, Ready on the Right… Commence Watching!” On Wednesday, November 5, 2014, Shooting USA will broadcast coverage of the 2014 National Matches and CMP events at Camp Perry, Ohio. This is a “must-watch” episode for anyone interested in competitive shooting. The National Matches at Camp Perry are the World Series of American shooting sports, attracting the nation’s top pistol and rifle marksmen. Shooting USA’s coverage begins Wednesday on the Outdoor Channel. This week’s episode will also feature the m1903 Springfield, an historic American military weapon.
Eastern Time – 3:30 PM, 9:00 PM, 12:00 M
Central Time – 2:30 PM, 8:00 PM, 11:00 PM
Mountain Time – 1:30 PM, 7:00 PM, 10:00 PM
Pacific Time – 12:30 PM, 6:00 PM, 9:00 PM
History of Camp Perry
The National Matches have been held at Camp Perry since 1907. The range is located along the shores of Lake Erie in northern Ohio near Port Clinton. The site was first acquired in 1906, in response to the need for a larger facility for military training and the NRA’s shooting programs. In 1906 Gen. Ammon B. Crichfield, Adjutant General of Ohio, ordered construction of a new shooting facility on the shores of Lake Erie, 45 miles east of Toledo, Ohio. The original land for Camp Perry was purchased in 1906, and the reservation was named after Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, the American naval commander who won the Battle of Put-in-Bay during the War of 1812.
On August 19, 1907, Cpl. L. B. Jarrett fired the first shot at the new Camp Perry Training Site. And that year, 1907, Camp Perry held its first National Pistol and Rifle Championship events. This location has hosted the annual NRA National Matches ever since. Today, over 4,000 competitors attend the National Matches each year, making it the most popular shooting competition in the western hemisphere.
Federal legislation originally launched the National Matches. In February 1903, an amendment to the War Department Appropriations Bill established the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice (NBPRP). This government advisory board became the predecessor to today’s Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety, Inc. that now governs the CMP. The 1903 legislation also established the National Matches, commissioned the National Trophy and provided funding to support the Matches.
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Congratulations to James Crofts (F-TR) and to Emil Kovan (F-Open), our new 2014 F-Class U.S. National Champions. Crofts, F-TR Team USA Vice-Captain, won the F-TR Title with a 1574-59X score. Emil Kovan took the F-Open National Championship with a 1587-83X. Well done, gentlemen!
Battle of the Ages in F-TR Division
USA F-TR teammates James Crofts and Derek Rodgers entertained all with a 3-day battle that will be remembered for many years to come. James Crofts took home the title of US F-TR National Champion by just one point, scoring 1574-59X to Derek’s 1573-65X. These two great shooters, both at the top of their game, were neck and neck right down to the final shot. Rodgers had the higher X-Count but fell just one point short. He was shooting Berger 200gr Match Hybrid bullets with Varget powder. Crofts was also shooting heavy .30-caliber projectiles.
The battle between James Crofts (left) and Derek Rodgers (right) went down to the wire.
In the F-TR Division, William Litz was third with 1563-58X. Brad Sauve, 3-Time National Champ, was close behind, with 1563-54X, to finish fourth in a very high-scoring event.
James wanted to give credit to others who helped him along the way: “There are a lot of people that I need to thank that have helped me in my quest to become the U.S. National Champion, twice. First, I thank my family for giving me there unconditional support throughout it all. Second is Ray Bowman of Precision Rifle and Tool, he builds the best F-Class rifles in my opinion hands down. The rifle I used was the second F-TR rifle Ray has built for me. Thank you Ray.
Next, [I want to thank] all my teammates from the NorthState X-Men: Phil Kelley, Tracy Hogg, Joseph Conley, Mike Hardy, Ian Klemm and Radoslaw Czupryna. Your quest for perfection and determination make us all better and it is my honor to be your coach and captain.
Last [I want to thank] all my team mates from F-TR Team USA — thank you all. I just hope I can represent our growing sport in a positive manner. — James E Crofts, 2012 and 2014 F-TR US FTR National Champion
Congratulations to all those who participated in the 2014 F-Class National Championship. There were many superb performances at this event, and new National individual and team records were set in Phoenix this past week. F-Class continues to grow in popularity, and with each passing year, the standard of precision improves, and the competition gets tougher.
Medal photo by Shiraz Balolia, Captain of Team Grizzly, winners of the F-Open Team Championship.
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There have been some remarkable team performances at the 2014 F-Class Nationals. With good conditions, talented shooters, and ultra-accurate rifles, three teams have “raised the bar” with record-breaking performances this week in Phoenix.
Team Long Shots Breaks Records with 800-42X Score at 1000 Yards
Congratulations to the Long Shots rifle team for breaking the 80-shot, 1000-yard, F-Open Civilian and Open Team Match National Records with a score of 800-42X. That is amazing shooting! Give credit to Michelle Gallagher, David Bailey, Ken Dickerman, David Gosnell, and Mark Walker.
Michelle Gallagher (as Snow White) on Halloween with her four team-mates.
Team Grizzly — F-Open National Champions
Shiraz Balolia reports: “Team Grizzly just won the F-Open National Team Championship. This is the third major match that Trudie Fay has coached four shooters into winning. She was also our coach when she coached us to a win at the last National Championship in Raton, and then again in February this year (2014) when we set a new National record in the Palma course in Phoenix at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. Trudie is a heck of a wind reader!” Shooters are: Kenny Adams, Shiraz Balolia (Captain), Emil Kovan, and John Myers.
Team Sinclair — Six-Time National F-TR Champions
Ray Gross Posted: “I just got home after the Team Sinclair victory dinner… teammate Derek Rodgers set a new 1000-yard national record Wednesday, then beat it for a new, higher, record Thursday. Then we won the team National Championship today and set a new National Record doing it! We are ‘stone cold’, 6-time National Champions. I’m proud to be a part.”
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Readers often ask us: “Is there an inexpensive way I can get started in position shooting?” The answer is “yes” — across the country CMP-affiliated clubs host Rimfire Sporter matches. You can use a wide variety of .22LR rimfire rifles — manual actions (such as a Winchester model 52) or semi-automatics (such as a Ruger 10/22). There are prone, sitting/kneeling, and standing stages. CMP rules provide separate classifications for scoped rifles, open-sighted rifles, and aperature-sighted rifles. The matches are fun, the ammo is inexpensive, and everyone has a good time while improving their marksmanship.
Our friend Dennis Santiago recently helped run a CMP Rimfire Sporter Match in Southern California. Dennis reports: “You want something challenging? Well that X-Ring 50 yards away is the diameter of a 50 cent piece, and there are people out there that can womp that thing with iron sights.”
The rapid-fire sitting or kneeling stage of a CMP-sanctioned .22 Sporter Match consists of two, 5-shot strings. A manually-operated or semi-automatic rifle may be used for this match. Below is a video Dennis made that shows a sitting/kneeling rapid fire stage.
Dennis notes: “There are six (6) stages of fire on a tough little target. Notice the rifles that can be used run the gamut from pump and bolt actions to variations on the semi-auto theme. All still require a good eye and a steady hold to earn one’s bragging rights for the day. A match takes about an hour and a half per relay. The slowest part of the match is initial sighting in. It’ll take longer than the allocated 5 minutes for the typical first timer coming to a club match.”
At Dennis’s Burbank Rifle & Revolver Club (BRRC), procedures are modified a little bit: “What we typically do at BRRC is run two relays. Experienced competitors shoot per the full rulebook. New shooters are afforded a bit more relaxed environment to make the experience more fun and inviting. We do the same thing in our M-1 Garand Clinic/Match series.”
Rimfire Sporter Match Basics
The CMP Rimfire Sporter Rifle Match is an inexpensive, fun-oriented competition using .22 caliber sporter rifles (plinking and small game rifles) commonly owned by most gun enthusiasts. To compete, all you need is a basic rifle, safety gear, and ammunition. No fancy, high-dollar rifles are required.
The event is shot with standard sporter-type, rimfire rifles weighing no more than 7 ½ lbs, with sights and sling. Rifles may be manually-operated or semi-automatic. Shooters with manually-operated actions are given extra time in the rapid-fire stage to compensate for the difference. (See Video).
There are three classes of competition — the standard “O Class” for open-sighted rifles, “T-Class” for telescope-sighted and rear aperture-sighted rifles and “Tactical Rimfire” class, which is a .22 caliber A4 or AR15 style rifle. Firing for all classes is done at 50 and 25 yards on a target with a 1.78″ ten-ring and an 18″ outer one-ring. Even new shooters can get hits on this target, but it’s still tough enough that no one yet has fired a perfect 600×600 score.
UPDATE: On October 29th, at the Nationals, Derek Rodgers beat his own new record, with a 200-12X!
Congratulations to Derek Rodgers for setting a new 1000-yard National Record with a score of 200-11X at the Arizona Long Range Regional in Phoenix. A past national F-Class Champion, Derek is a member of Team Sinclair and the U.S. National F-TR team. Derek’s rifle is built on a Kelbly action, using a Bartlein barrel and a McMillan stock. It is topped with a Nightforce Optics scope. His ammo was made using Berger bullets, Lapua brass and Hodgdon Powder.
F-Class competition continues this week at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix Arizona this week. The 2014 F-Class National Championhip runs October 28 through November 2, 2014. The F-Class National Championship is a multi-day match comprising of all shots at 1000 yards. There will be a mix of individual and four person team matches. The competition consists of two different Divisions: F-Open and F-TR (Target Rifle). Each Division is made up of five different Categories: High Master, Master, Expert, Sharpshooter and Marksman.
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In the digital archives of Shooting Sports USA, we’ve found some great features that deserve a second look. A few years back, Shooting Sports USA published Sights, Wind and Mirage, an outstanding article that explains how to judge wind speed/direction and adjust your sights accordingly. Authored by highly respected shooter Ernest (Ernie) Vande Zande, this article is a definite “must-read” for all competitive rifle shooters — even those who shoot with a scope rather than irons. Vande Zande’s discussion of mirage alone makes the article well worth reading. Highly recommended.
Invaluable Insights from a World-Class Shooter
The article covers a wide variety of topics including Wind Reading, Mirage, Effects of Sight Canting, Quadrant Shooting, and Sight Adjustment Sequencing. Vande Zande offers many jewels of insight from his decades of experience shooting and coaching in top level tournaments. U.S. Shooting Team Leader at the 1996 Olympics, Vande Zande has set more than 200 records in National and International competition. He was the Smallbore Rifle Prone Champion at Camp Perry in 1980. An International Distinguished shooter, Ernie has been on nine Dewar teams and he was a member of the USAR Shooting Team from 1982. No matter what your discipline, if you are a competitive rifle shooter, you should CLICK HERE to read Sights, Wind, and Mirage.
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Here’s a very interesting spotting scope stand, from Forum member (and ace F-Class shooter) Monte Milanuk. You can see this stable rig can be adjusted super-low for prone shooting. The components are from Italian photography accessory maker Manfrotto (but it’s not as expensive as you might think).
Click for larger image
Monte tells us about his spotting scope stand, which is really a conventional photography tripod adjusted to a very low position, with a special head:
This stand has a Manfrotto 322RC2 pistol-grip head to make positioning easier. It actually goes even lower, and much, much higher. Both the head and the tripod are about $170-ish each, so it’s a bit more expensive than a Ray-Vin, a little less than a Creedmoor Polecat, and a whole lot more flexible overall.
This Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod is actually a little on the big side – probably should have gone with a Manfrotto 190 model (couple inches shorter on the legs) so it can be a bit of a hassle to set up when you have to shoot two-to-a-mound a la Fullbore.
It’s probably not as [expensive] as you might think… a Ray-Vin F-Class stand (without head) is about $170 from Creedmoor Sports. A Ray-Vin stand head is $150, plus the outrigger attachment is another $100+. I’ve got two of them downstairs for when I used to shoot conventional prone[.]
Comments from Facebook Fans: Pretty high end setup, should work well for prone, not sure about other positions. — John T.
An excellent and sturdy Manfrotto stand. I have one that I use not only for a spotting scope but to mount the rifle on when allowed for unknown distance tactical matches.–Dennis Santiago
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“Rumble on the Range”, the 3-Gun Nation (3GN) Championship, takes place today, October 25th at the U.S. Shooting Academy in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The 2014 FNH USA 3-Gun Nation Pro Series culminates in this season-ending event. This is a big money match, with serious prize money going to the winners. Top 3GN Pro Series competitors will duel in a head-to-head, no holds barred shoot-off for cash, prizes and the championship title.
There are 40 competitors — 32 men and 8 women — with separate classes for the guys and the gals. In the men’s championship, the top 32 male finalists will compete for a $50,000 cash payday sponsored by Leupold and NRA Sports. Shooters will use pistols, AR-platform rifles, and shotguns — all tricked out for maximum speed and high capacity.
The 3-Gun Nation Ladies Professional Series, sponsored by Samson Manufacturing, concludes with the top eight (8) ladies competing for $25,000 Cash. The shooters to beat are 2013 Mens’ Champion SSG Daniel Horner of the USAMU and 2013 Ladies’ Champion Lena Miculek (at right).
Watch Video from 2013 3-Gun Nation Championship
HOW IT WORKS:
The event will feature 3 stages of fire (shoot-off stages). Each of the top 32 (males) and 8 (females) will be paired against each other based on series rank. The first of the paired competitors to complete the course of fire will advance. Stage 1 will feature 32 males; 8 females. Stage 2 will feature 16 males; 4 females. Stage 3 will feature the final 8 males; final 2 females. The final male will win the $50,000 cash prize. The final female will win the $25,000 cash prize.
U.S. Shooting Academy
6500 East 66th St N
Tulsa, OK 74117
Saturday, October 25
All Day 8:00 AM-6:00 PM
Grand Finale: 4:00-6:00 PM
3-Gun Nation Side Stage
A special Side Stage will be open to the public with guns and ammo provided. Spectators can try their hands at 3-Gun, shooting pistols, AR-type carbines, and shotguns. The top score wins a DPMS AP4 Carbine!
Machine Gun Shoot
A machine gun demo featuring a wide variety of full-auto firearms with be open to the public, under the direction of the U.S. Shooting Academy Range staff. Ammo fees apply.
Sneaky Ladies. Maggie Reese (left) and Janna Reeves (right) try to steal the big $25,000 check!
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Is The Challenge Of Big Bore Extreme Range Shooting And Hunting Right For You? By James Patterson
Handling a 50 BMG
Is a 50 BMG caliber rifle difficult to shoot? Not at all. The relatively heavy weight of a standard rifle at 30 pounds or more combined with a very efficient muzzle brake makes it a pleasure to shoot. The typical recoil can be compared to a .243 rifle or a 12 gauge trap load. On the other hand, the burning of a typical load of 230 grains of powder combined with that muzzle brake makes the muzzle blast experience exhilarating. A first time shooter will fire, pause for a moment in awe at the muzzle blast, and then break out into what has become known as “The 50 caliber Grin”, almost impossible to wipe from ones face. My daughter started competing with the 50 BMG at 18 (115 lbs of tall skinny girl) and happily shoots 100+ rounds in the course of a match, her grin on the last round is as wide as on the first! Many members and competitors in the FCSA are women and many have distinguished themselves as excellent marksman having set world records on numerous occasions.
Cost of Big-Bore Shooting
Is owning and shooting a 50 BMG caliber rifle expensive? Relatively speaking yes, but one must put it into perspective. Rifles may run from $2500 to $7000, maybe even more for a top of the line custom rifle. A good scope will set you back $500 to $1500. And while excellent commercial ammo is available it runs from $3 to $5 a round. Most serious shooters start reloading for the rifle as soon as practical, not only for the economics of reloading but also for the ability to fine tune custom ammo for their specific rifle. It’s a very rare match that is won shooting commercial ammo. I recently compared the cost of my hobby — owning, shooting, and competing with the 50 BMG — with a friend whose hobby is snowmobiling. Factoring in the cost of equipment, licensing, gasoline, clothing, etc. it was soon obvious that my hobby was significantly less expensive than his.
So how does one get started? You could do as I did, purchase a rifle not knowing what you were really getting into; or you could come out to a FCSA-sponsored event, shoot a number of different rifles, rub shoulders with those who have already taken the plunge, and see if this sport is right for you. While membership in the Fifty Caliber Shooters Association (FSCA) is required to compete at a FSCA event, membership is not required to come and experience first hand what is going on. If you have any inclination that you are interested in the extreme sport of long rang, big bore shooting then a year’s membership in the FCSA is only $60 ($20 for active duty military) a significant bargain if it helps you make just one well-informed equipment choice. In addition one of the primary functions of the FCSA is helping to identify active members near you who can help you understand just what is involved and help you ‘get your feet wet’ in this challenging sport.