We know some guys who make their own stocks, and others who do their own chambering. But consider this, Robert Carnell of Australia built his own state-of-the-art, water-cooled, tension-barrel Rail Gun, even including the action. That’s right, Robert even made his own action. Wow, this has to be the ultimate home gunsmithing, do-it-yourself project.
Carnell is an accomplished benchrest shooter and past Australian Sporter Class Champion. In 1993 he won a Silver Medal at the World Championships. But Carnell is far more than an ace trigger-puller. Robert is a skilled and creative “home gunsmith” who has crafted his own custom action and built his own railguns from scratch. Robert also runs the Austrialian Benchrest Bulletin website.
Home-Built Rail Gun — Aussie Innovation
Below are photos of one of Rob Carnell’s most amazing builds. This liquid-cooled, tension-barrel rail gun is a great example of self-reliant Aussie engineering. The barrel runs inside a coolent-filled, large-diameter sleeve, much like an old water-cooled machine gun. This is the fourth rail gun that Rob built, and the second fitted with a tensioned barrel.
Robert explains: “My railgun design has a 1.75″ barrel under tension inside an aluminium tube filled with radiator coolant. There is nearly a gallon of coolant, and the barrel stays cool no matter how many shots I seem to fire, or how quickly they are shot. The brass nut on the front rides on a nylon bearing and can be tightened to get the best accuracy. I am a believer in the ‘tuner’ idea and this seems to work for me. The main tube is thick-walled aluminium 600mm (24″) long. There is a flange at both ends. The flange at the back fits onto the barrel before the action is screwed on. The front flange is a press-fit into the tube, then there is a brass nut that fits over the barrel and screws against a nylon washer on the front flange. The Railgun’s base is aluminium and has the standard adjustments — windage, elevation and a sighter cam. In addition, there is a 1/10 thou dial indicator for windage. This allows me to zero the indicator and shoot my group. If I need to add a bit of windage for a condition, I can quickly get back to the original position if my condition comes back.”
Home-Built Action Uses Rem Bolt
Rob’s rail gun uses his own home-made stainless action, which features Panda-spec threads and a modified Remington 700 aftermarket bolt. Not bad for a do-it-yourself project we’d say! CLICK HERE to read how Rob designed and built the action.
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The CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park will host the first-ever American Marksman National Championship January 6-8, 2017. This will be the culmination of a nationwide series of competitions for the Outdoor Channel’s new American Marksman television show. The January big-money National Championship gives amateur shooters the chance to win cash, gear and fame. The top shooter will win $50,000 and earn the title of “American Marksman”.
The American Marksman competition began in March 2016 with regional qualifiers at locations across the country. That was followed by nine Regional Championships. The process all comes to a high-stakes conclusion at the American Marksman National Championship in Talladega in January 2017. Top competitors from the nine Regional Championships are eligible to compete in the National Championship. Competitors are split into one of four divisions: Men’s Open, Women’s Open, Military/Law Enforcement, and Juniors. The entire process will be filmed for later broadcast on the Outdoor Channel.
American Marksman — A Nationwide Challenge Match
“If you ever wanted to enter a shooting competition and thought it was too intimidating or too expensive – then this is your chance to show the world what you’ve got,” said producer Michael Bane of the Outdoor Channel. “For only $20 at the local level, you get the chance to try to qualify with other amateurs in a relaxed, safe environment and the best of you will meet in a … National Championship with TV cameras rolling. The person who earns the title of ‘American Marksman’ walks away with $50,000.”
Course of Fire Remains Top Secret
The Course of Fire for the National event at Talladega will not be released until competitors arrive at the venue. Eligible participants receive a sheet outlining a list of skills to practice during the fall leading up to the match. The National Championship competitor will be awarded a check for $50,000, a prize package and the honor of being named the first American Marksman.
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Rimfire shooting is one of the fastest-growing firearm sports in the USA. One of the most important rimfire events of 2016 was the NSSF Rimfire Challenge World Championship held October 14-16 at the Cavern Cove rimfire facility in Woodville, Alabama (near Huntsville). Hundreds of shooters of all ages attended this fun event.
Families Enjoy Rimfire Fun at the NSSF Rimfire Challenge
At the 2016 NSSF Rimfire Challenge Championship in Alabama, Smith & Wesson was on hand with demo rifles and pistols. See the action in the S&W-produced video above. Competitive shooting is one activity in which entire families, both oldsters and youngsters, can come together in a supervised setting to enjoy the spirit and camaraderie of competition. At the October event, attendees were able to try out the Smith & Wesson® SW22 Victory pistol and the M&P 15-22 rifle.
In this video, our friend Julie Golob explains the features of Smith & Wesson’s AR-style M&P 15-22 rifle. We’ve shot the semi-auto M&P 15-22 and it’is a ton of fun. It offers familiar AR15-type ergonomics and balance, with excellent reliability, and the inherently low recoil of the .22 LR rimfire cartridge. All that combines for affordable fun for the whole family.
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This article first appeared in 2014. We are reprising it at the request of many readers who are fans of the .30-06 cartridge.
The “Old Warhorse” .30-06 Springfield cartridge is not dead. That’s the conclusion of Forum member Rick M., who has compared the 1000-yard performance of his .30-06 rifle with that of a rig chambered for the more modern, mid-sized 6.4×47 Lapua cartridge. In 12-16 mph full-value winds, the “inefficient and antiquated” .30-06 ruled. Rick reports:
“I was shooting my .30-06 this past Sunday afternoon from 1000 yards. The wind was hitting 12-16 mph with a steady 9 O’clock (full value) wind direction. My shooting buddy Jeff was shooting his 6.5×47 Lapua with 123gr Scenar bullets pushed by Varget. Jeff needed 13 MOA left windage to keep his 6.5x47L rounds inside the Palma 10 Ring. By contrast I only needed 11.5 MOA left windage with my .30-06. I was shooting my ’06 using the 185gr Berger VLD target bullet with H4350. I managed the same POI yet the .30-caliber bullet only needed 11.5 MOA windage. That’s significant. From this experience I’ve concluded that the Old Warhorse ain’t quite dead yet!”
Rick likes his “outdated” .30-06 rifle. He says it can deliver surprisingly good performance at long range:
“To many of the younger generation, the Old Warhorse .30-06 is ‘outdated’ but I can guarantee that the .30-06 Springfield is a VERY ACCURATE cartridge for 1000-yard shooting (and even out further if need be). With some of the advanced powders that we have today, the .30-06 will surprise many shooters with what it’s capable of doing in a good rifle with the right rate of twist. My rifle has a 1:10″ twist rate and I had it short-throated so that, as the throat erodes with time, I could just seat the bullets out further and keep right on shooting. My recent load is Berger 185gr Target VLDs pushed by IMR 4350. This is a very accurate load that moves this bullet along at 2825 fps.”
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Match Report by David and Donna Matthews
The 2016 IBS 1000-Yard National Championships were held September 4-5 at the Cool Acres Sporting Camp in Swainsboro, Georgia. The event was well attended with 87 Registered Light Gun shooters and 76 Heavy Gun competitors. After a hurricane-filled practice day, the competitors put forth their best effort to master the sometimes tricky Georgia range. The 1000-Yard National Match for 2016 featured a three-target Aggregate for each Division (i.e. six targets total for both classes).
The Cool Acres Range and Facility is one of the best in the country. The facility features a wide 1000-yard range lined with Georgia pines on each side. Conditions held constant for most relays. Mother Nature blessed the shooters with temperatures that were cooler than during preceding weeks. The management of Cool Acres put on a great event this year. In addition, upgraded restrooms and a new cleaning shed were added — these were very much appreciated by all. Several shooters had very positive comments about the upgrades and changes made to the Cool Acres facility in Swainsboro.
The Two-Gun Champion and Overall winner was Tom Mousel from Montana with 24 rank points. Tom also won the Light Gun Overall title. Notably, Tom placed first in Light Gun Group with a stunning 3.356″ Group Agg — remember this was at 1000 yards folks. That’s a 1/3 MOA Agg at 1000 yards — truly remarkable precision.
Tom came to Georgia with one thing on his mind and that was winning. He accomplished that with his Wheeler Accuracy-built 6mm Dashers with Krieger barrels. Tom ran Vapor Trail bullets pushed by Hodgdon H4895. Finishing second in the Two-Gun Overall was 2015 winner Jim Bauer with 36 rank points. Jim took First Place honors in Light Gun Score with his Gordy Gritters-built 6mm Dasher shooting Vapor Trails pushed by Hodgdon Varget powder. The bright star of the show was Junior Division Winner Amber Brewer. Remarkably, this talented young lady topped the entire Heavy Gun field, winning Heavy Gun Score (97.667 average) and winning Heavy Gun Overall against all comers (of all ages). Her father, Henry Brewer Jr., played a role in her HG win — Henry smithed Amber’s class-winning 6.5×47 Lapua Heavy Gun, and even crafted the stock. Amber shot Berger bullets with H4895. Sally Bauer was top female shooter with her Douglas-barreled 6mm Dashers LG and HG, both built by Gordy Gritters. Sally also shot Vapor Trail Bullets with Varget.
Mousel won Light Gun Group with a stunning 3.356″ 5-shot Group Aggregate. That’s a 1/3 MOA Agg at 1000 yards — amazing, awe-inspiring accuracy.
Overall Winner Tom Mousel shot the 6mm Dasher cartridge in both Light Gun and Heavy Gun Classes. This little wildcat, shown below, has accuracy to spare. Alex Wheeler smithed Tom’s Rifles. Tom is shown below at his home range in Montana with an older rifle (not one used in Georgia this year).
Big Prize Table — Over $18,000 Worth of Hardware
Over $18,000 worth of prizes were awarded at this year’s IBS 1000-Yard Nationals. Prizes included: Nightforce scopes, Sightron Scopes, SEB Coaxial Rest, BAT Action, Bench Source Annealing Machine, Defiance Action, Baity Action, Shehane stocks, reloading tools, Sierra bullets, Berger bullets, and much more. Many thanks go to Stanley Taylor from Douglas Barrels for his time and energy in acquiring prizes for the match. And the IBS thanks ALL of the generous sponsors for the 2016 1K Nationals.
Great Southern Hospitality and BBQ
On Saturday evening competitors were rewarded with a fantastic Southern meal prepared by the talented cooks of Real South BBQ from Swainsboro, Georgia, sponsored by Vapor Trail Bullets.
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Three leading steel target manufacturers are running some very exciting sales promotions this weekend. Customers can save 25% to 35% on quality steel targets from MGM Targets, ShootSteel.com, and X-SteelTargets.com. With a big order, you can also get FREE shipping from each of these target markers. If you want to get steel targets at bargain prices, don’t delay — these promotions expire soon.
MGM Targets — 25% Off Everything
MGM Targets is one of the leading steel target producers on the planet. MGM offers a huge variety of targets, from simple steel gongs to elaborate shooting arrays and spinning targets. Now through Tuesday, November 29th, MGM targets is offering 25% Off its in-stock target inventory (except for cardboard and Sportsman Series targets). In addition, you can get FREE Shipping on orders of $250.00 or more. For orders placed before Midnight on 11/29/2016, MGM guarantees delivery by Christmas. A reactive MGM target could be a great Xmas gift item for a shooter in the family. Promo pricing is good through end of day, November 29, 2016.
The Real Deal of Steel — Why You Need Some Steel Options
We love steel targets for a variety of applications. Even if you prefer shooting paper at long range, setting up a gong at your target distance lets you quickly confirm your zero. Hearing the reassuring “clang” as you hit the steel confirms that you’ll be on paper. If you are a tactical or PRS shooter, you’ll be shooting steel at your matches, so it makes perfect sense to have steel practice targets. Last but not least, reactive steel targets are great for novice shooters as they provide “instant gratification” when one scores a hit.
ShootSteel.com 28% Off Everything
ShootSteel.com has put almost all its entire steel target inventory on sale at 28% Off. Use Code “28OFF” for that deal. In addition, a variety of Blowout Steel Targets will be offered at huge savings — 33.8% Off. Use Code “CyberMonday” for these exceptionally-priced Blowout items. ShootSteel.com also offers FREE Shipping on orders over $199.00. Offers can’t be combined, orders will not be combined. Don’t delay — the sale runs through the end of day Monday, November 28th (CyberMonday).
X-Steel Targets 25% Off Everything
X-Steel Targets is running a great sale this weekend, with nearly its whole line of Steel targets priced at 25% Off. Use Code “Black16″ during checkout to get the 25% Off pricing. In addition, X-Steel Targets has a host of Bargain Bin items at up to 35% Off regular price. Different items will be added to the Bargain Bin each day. NOTE: The Bargain Bin items are in limited supply. Once they are gone, they are gone. X-Steel Targets also offers FREE Shipping on orders over $250.00. This offer expires on 11/28/2016 at 11:59 pm.
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In response to the NRA’s just-revealed plans to move NRA High Power Rifle Matches away from Camp Perry starting in 2017, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) has announced that it will offer MORE matches at the storied Camp Perry facility in 2018. CMP is demonstrating its commitment to Camp Perry, which has been the site of the National Matches since 1907.
CMP Announces New Programs for 2018 National Matches
The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) is pleased to announce planning is underway for a number of new and exciting programs for the 2018 National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio.
“In an effort to continue to attract new competitors and to reward the thousands who annually participate in our matches, the CMP will add new pistol, smallbore, high power rifle, and long range rifle matches in 2018,” said Mark Johnson, CMP Chief Operating Officer.
“A major part of our mission is to conduct competitions, provide marksmanship training and recognize competitors for their progress and achievements as has been done at the National Matches since 1903. Accordingly, we enthusiastically look forward to the opportunity to expand our role at the National Matches at Camp Perry. We are committed to Camp Perry and our published dates for events in 2017 remain set. We have invested in Camp Perry with electronic targets on Petrarca Range, the Bataan Armory, our headquarters building, the CMP North Store, and the Gary Anderson Competition Center.”
Planned enhancements include a new CMP High Power Ranking System which will provide a fair and accountable method of rewarding success on the firing line at every level of experience, above and beyond our current awards. New, challenging pistol and rifle matches will be added to the schedule. Greater shooting opportunities for women and junior competitors are being developed. Increased use of electronic targets is being considered for many events. A CMP Range Officer Certification and Licensing Program has been developed for pistol, rifle and airgun disciplines and will be introduced by year-end.
“The CMP will not waver in its mission of promoting firearm safety and marksmanship training with an emphasis on youth,” Johnson said. “The tradition of the National Matches at Camp Perry will continue, supported by the CMP and the Ohio National Guard, with or without the participation of other organizations.”
AccurateShooter.com offers dozens of FREE, printable targets for target practice, load development, and fun shooting. We also offer a few of the most popular NRA Bullseye targets. One or more of these printable targets should work for most training purposes. However, some readers have asked: “Where can we get the real targets… exactly like the ones used in NRA, IBS, and NBRSA shooting matches?”
All these vendors carry nearly all the NRA High Power and Smallbore targets, including the new, smaller F-Class targets. Germany’s Kruger Targets sells all the important NRA targets, and international (ISSF) air rifle and smallbore targets too.
Orrville Printing currently sells IBS targets for rimfire (50 yard) benchrest, short-range centerfire Benchrest (100, 200, 300 yards), Hunter BR Rifle (100, 200, 300 yards), plus the official 600-yard and 1000-yard IBS targets. National Target Company also has most of the IBS targets. NBRSA short-range, 600-yard, and 1000-yard benchrest targets are available directly from the NBRSA Business Office. Call (307) 655-7415 to order for the season.
No more High Power Championships at Camp Perry. No, this is NOT an April Fools Day story. The NRA has announced that it is moving the National High Power XTC Rifle Championship, Mid-Range Championship, and Long Range Championship away from Camp Perry, Ohio, starting in 2017. These matches will henceforth be held at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. The CMP Matches will continue to be held at Camp Perry, so we are told. That means if you want to compete in both CMP and NRA rifle matches, you would need to go two different venues, located 280 miles apart, in two different states.
There is a century of tradition at Camp Perry, with the National Matches held there since 1907. It appears that this venue change is going to happen, although one source states that it might be subject to change: “The move was apparently prompted by the director of NRA Competitive Shooting, and will face final approval by the NRA Board of Directors in January 2017. If enough support is garnered among the competition community by then, it could be feasible that it would be reversed, but we doubt that is the case.” Source: The Firearm Blog.
NRA Moving National High Power Rifle Championships from Camp Perry
In an effort to keep the National High Power Rifle Championships up to the high standards that competitors have enjoyed for over one-hundred years, the NRA will move the Championship from its historic home at Camp Perry, OH, to Camp Atterbury, IN. This change in venue will take effect during the 2017 National Matches, pending approval by the NRA Board of Directors in January 2017.
Dennis Willing, director of NRA Competitive Shooting explained the decision.
“The NRA High Power Rifle Committee met and determined it would be beneficial to all competitors if we moved the Championship from Camp Perry to another site. After much discussion, the range at Camp Atterbury, IN, was selected as the new home of the NRA National High Power Rifle Championships.”
The proposed match schedule (subject to change) is below:
— First Shot Ceremony – July 7
— Welcome BBQ (afternoon) – July 7
— Across the Course – July 8-13
— Mid-Range – July 14-17
— Long-Range – July 18-22
Willing added, “I intend to change the face of High Power Rifle as a discipline, and will be presenting matches that are better than competitors have ever seen before.”
Since Across the Course is scheduled to end on July 13th, there will be sufficient time for competitors to attend the CMP National Trophy Matches.
The NRA Smallbore Prone Championship is scheduled to end with sufficient time for competitors to leave Bristol, IN, and come to Camp Atterbury to compete in Mid-Range Prone and Long-Range Prone. The NRA National Pistol Championship will remain at Camp Perry but will be held July 9-14, 2017, following previous year’s practice.
The Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center is administered by the Indiana National Guard, and has just under 35,000 acres of training and maneuver space—plenty of room in case the NRA decides to expand beyond the High Power Rifle Championships. Additionally, Camp Atterbury is home to several active U.S. Army components, including several from the First Army Division East. The site also provides various training and testing sites for military and civilian responders from around the world.
Competitors’ Comments — Pro & Con
Comments on this Venue Change have been both negative and positive.
“Nothing like abandoning over 100 years of tradition. Really stupid idea!” — C.G.
What venue could possibly be better than Camp Perry? It’s not a destination, it’s an experience.” — Stephen B.
“Very disappointing decision. The NRA should have asked shooters for their input instead of decision by committee, and, my bet…some politicians.” — Jeffrey C.
“How about the people that wants to shoot long range and CMP? Keep it Camp Perry or change the dates.” — Kevin G.
“Don’t see how this will help attendance. It doesn’t make sense.” — Alton N.
“It makes beautiful sense! Are you kidding?! Atterbury is a much more modernized facility and is HUGE. The accommodations for sleeping quarters are infinitely better and more extensive than Perry and with Indianapolis only 30 min away or less it will make attendance MUCH easier for so many people. I love Perry but you will see just how superior this facility is when you come. This should have happened a LONG time ago.” — Ron W.
“Atterbury’s ranges are outstanding, and there’s LOTS more housing options available on base if that’s part of the package put together with the base. The carriers are the same as the new ones at Perry (they were installed at Atterbury first).” — W.M.
History of the National Matches at 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.
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.
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Here’s a great promotion from Creedmoor Sports. Right now, if you purchase any Creedmoor Hardback Heavy Coat in stock, you’ll get a $75.00 gift certificate. This coat is very popular with Service Rifle shooters, Palma competitors, and other sling shooters. These Hardback Coats are high-quality items that will last a lifetime. To see the Hardback shooting coat sizes and colors in stock, CLICK HERE.
These coats are in stock now and ready to ship. Due to the limited inventory of these coats (and specialized sizes), please call 1-800-273-3366 to order. Creedmoor’s inventory spreadsheet will be updated every 24 hours so please call to check real-time inventory levels and sizes. NOTE: This is a limited time offer.
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Stan Pate is the first-ever F-TR competitor to earn International Distinguished Rifleman honors in his discipline. We congratulate Stan for that achievement. As a long-time competitor, Pate has earned numerous honors throughout his shooting career. The International Distinguished Rifleman award is a culmination of decades of hard work and dedication to the shooting sports.
“To earn the International Distinguished Badge, especially as the first F-T/R shooter to do so, is the pinnacle of my competitive shooting career,” Pate said. “I’m honored to share this award with all of those who have supported me, especially Leupold[.]”
The coveted International Distinguished Rifleman Badge is earned by accumulating points at authorized matches. In the USA, this program is overseen by the National Rifle Association. International Distinguished points can only be earned at authorized international competitions. Points can be earned for the International Distinguished award at World Championships, the America Match, and the Australia Match. A total of 30 points must be earned to be recognized as International Distinguished.
“Stan represents the pinnacle of his sport and we’re honored to call him a friend and a partner,” said Rob Morrison, vice president of global marketing for Leupold & Stevens. “His tenacity and perseverance in competition demand that his optics perform at a similar level, which is why he chooses Leupold.”
Watch Video for Tips from Past National F-TR Team Members Mike Miller and Stan Pate
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To get the best accuracy out of any benchrest rifle, you need to find the optimal position of front rest and rear bag. The important point to remember is that each rig is different. One gun may perform best with the front rest right at the tip of the forearm (Position ‘D’ in photo), while another gun will work best with the rest positioned much further back. This Editor’s own 6BR sits in a laminated stock that is pretty flexy in the front. It shoots best with the front rest’s sandbag located a good 6″ back from the forearm tip (position ‘A’).
Here’s some benchrest advice that can help you reduce vertical and shoot tighter groups… without spending another penny. Many benchrest shooters spend a fortune on equipment and devote countless hours to meticulous handloading, but they never experiment with their rifle’s position/balance on the bags. This article explains why you should test your rifle in various positions. What you learn may surprise you (and improve your scores).
Next time you go to the range, experiment with the position of your rifle on the front rest, and try a couple different positions for the rear bag. You may find that the rifle handles much better after you’ve made a small change in the placement of your gun on the bags. Recoil can be tamed a bit, and tracking can improve significantly, if you optimize the front rest and rear bag positioning.
This competitor has the front rest positioned fairly far forward but not all the way out. Note the stop on the front rest — this limits forward stock travel.
Balance Your Gun BEFORE You Spend Hours Tuning Loads
In the pursuit of ultimate accuracy, shooters may spend countless hours on brass prep, bullet selection, and load tuning. Yet the same shooters may pay little attention to how their gun is set-up on the bags. When you have acquired a new rifle, you should do some basic experimentation to find the optimal position for the forearm on the front rest, and the best position for the rear bag. Small changes can make a big difference.
Joel Kendrick, past IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year, has observed that by adjusting forearm position on the front rest, he can tune out vertical. He has one carbon-fiber-reinforced stock that is extremely rigid. When it was placed with the front rest right under the very tip of the forearm, the gun tended to hop, creating vertical. By sliding the whole gun forward (with more forearm overhang ahead of the front sandbag), he was able to get the whole rig to settle down. That resulted in less vertical dispersion, and the gun tracked much better.
Fore/aft stock position is important even with very wide fore-ends.
Likewise, the placement of the rear bag is very important. Many shooters, by default, will simply place the rear bag the same distance from the front rest with all their guns. In fact, different stocks and different calibers will NOT behave the same. By moving the rear bag forward and aft, you can adjust the rifle’s overall balance and this can improve the tracking significantly. One of our shooters had a Savage 6BR F-Class rifle. By default he had his rear bag set almost all the way at the end of the buttstock. When he slid the rear bag a couple inches forward the gun tracked much better. He immediately noticed that the gun returned to point of aim better (crosshairs would stay on target from shot to shot), AND the gun torqued (twisted) less. The difference was quite noticeable.
A small change in the position of the forearm on the front rest, or in the placement of the rear bag, can make a big difference in how your gun performs. You should experiment with the forearm placement, trying different positions on the front rest. Likewise, you can move the rear bag back and forth a few inches. Once you establish the optimal positions of front rest and rear bag, you should find that your gun tracks better and returns to battery more reliably. You may then discover that the gun shoots smaller groups, with less vertical dispersion. And all these benefits are possible without purchasing any expensive new gear.
Earlier this month the International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) held its annual 200/300 Yard Score Nationals at the Mid-Carolina Gun Club in Orangeburg, South Carolina. The event was attended by 40 shooters from the Mid-Atlantic states. Despite sometimes tricky conditions the IBS competitors produced impressive results. Wayne France shot a great match to win the Grand Agg with 497-14X as well as take top honors at 300 yards (249-6X). Steve Hill won the 200-yard stage with a 250-10X, not dropping a point even in challenging conditions. Finishing a close second in the Grand Agg was bullet-maker Allie Euber with 497-11X. Third overall was Jim Cline with 496-10X.
TOP TEN Grand Aggregate Results
IBS 200/300 Yard Score Nationals, South Carolina, Oct. 14-16, 2016
Report by Paul Hammer, IBS Editor
I attended the 200-300 Yard IBS Score Nationals this year, being held for the first time at the Mid-Carolina Gun Club in Orangeburg, South Carolina. The Mid-Carolina Club is a well-established, multi-discipline shooting facility that offers Benchrest matches, as well as other types of rifle, pistol, skeet, and trap shooting. The well-designed Benchrest facility at the club is fairly new.
The Mid-Carolina Gun Club Benchrest range featured 20 benches, with a new and very nice covered area. There is plenty of room for the competitors to “set up shop” for reloading and do gun maintenance between relays. The Benchrest area even has its own office for weighing in the guns etc., and its own restrooms. The Benchrest area also has a modern PA system that permits the range officers to run the match safely and efficiently.
The Mid-Carolina Gun Club offered 20 concrete benches, sheltered from the sun.
Mother Nature provided extra nice southern weather for everyone for the entire weekend, except for some persistent and tricky winds to keep the shooters on their toes. Friday was the first day of this exacting Benchrest shoot that gave the competitors time for practice and to set up the wind flags before the Saturday 200-yard event. And Saturday’s conditions proved that the wind flags would be necessary!
Shifting Conditions on Saturday Challenged Shooters
Saturday morning started out with lots of erratic shifting winds which tested the competitors’ wind-reading skills. The winds did subside later in the day, but not much, and after each relay shooters were talking about the one or two that “got away” from them.
Benchrest Score shooting is all about trying to “hit the dot” on 25 separate bullseye targets over five relays. The center “dot” is only about 1/16th of an inch in diameter, and if you hit it, the hits score an “X” for you. Perfect scores of 250 are the goal of top competitors in this exacting rifle competition. Hits on the Xs are what break the ties.
IBS Score Benchrest shooting is fun for young and old alike….
Most score rifle shooters usually use a co-axial (Joystick-type) front rest that enables them to rapidly position their rifle for each shot, moving from target to target quickly and precisely.
“Blonde on Blonde” — Here’s a lovely blonde maple stock resting in a custom light-colored wood cleaning cradle box. Handsome gun, nice workmanship on the cleaning box.
Rifles for Score Benchrest are usually built especially for the sport. The 30 BR is by far the most popular cartridge for this discipline. The 30 BR’s larger-diameter bullet hole gives the shooter a scoring edge over a 6mm or smaller caliber. Though the 6PPC is “King of the Hill” in group matches, the larger-caliber 30 BR rules the roost in Score competition.
Mr. Ronnie Long is one of the leading developers of the 30 BR and also an excellent riflesmith. Ronnie showed up Saturday morning for the match to see many of his friends. It was good to see him at the match! It is not surprising that many of the competitors use his rifles. I would also mention that the 30 BRs that Ronnie crafts are really works of art. Ronnie’s custom-built rifles display precision metal and beautiful stock work (many have exotic paint jobs), and of course they are very accurate!
Sunday’s 300-Yard match concluded the tournament. The competitors really seemed to enjoy this match, which gave them the opportunity to pursue perfection in shooting, and to learn from others. Many thanks to the Mid-Carolina Gun Club, whose members assisted with the targets and cooked some great meals. The Mid-Carolina Club proved an excellent host facility, delivering a well-run match and excellent meals for the competitors.
The Mid-South Club in South Carolina hosted this year’s 200/300 Score Nationals.
If you’d like to try out the sport of Benchrest shooting then you’ll be welcome to join us at any of our matches. The IBS offers a variety of rifle-shooting disciplines: Group BR Matches, Score BR Matches, Mid-Range Matches, and Long-Range Matches. It’s a great way to learn a lot about rifle shooting and meet some nice folks too!
For complete match results from the 200/300 Nationals, visit the IBS Website. You’ll find full individual results, plus a full equipment list. Shown below is the the Top TEN equipment list (click to enlarge).
TOP TEN Equipment List — CLICK to VIEW Full-Screen:
While some competitors shoot, others reload — that’s the nature of the short-range Benchrest game.
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This profile of a talented young female shooter was so popular when we first ran it last year, we decided to re-publish Sydnie’s story for those who may have missed it the first time. Believe it or not, young Sydnie won the first rifle match she shot, competing as an 8-year-old against adults. She now holds an NRA F-Class “Master” Classification. Here is her remarkable story…
Sydnie Lipski has grown up surrounded by the shooting sports in Michigan. Her father, Alan Lipski, is a gunsmith who began teaching her about rifles and shooting when she was just 3 years old. By the time she was 6, she had already started varmint hunting. At just 8 years of age, Sydnie won her first rifle match, competing against adults in an F-Open event. A year later, at 9 years old, Sydnie fired her first perfect score of 200-11X.
She also earned her Expert Classification. She ended the season in second place for the IOSCO Sportsmen Club’s 3×600 Grand Aggregate. Now 12 years old, Sydnie now holds a “Master” Certification. She may be one of the youngest F-Class “Masters” in the nation. The specs for the rifle in the photos are listed below. However, Sydnie now has a new rifle, custom built to fit her.
Rifle: Custom 6XC built by Alan Lipski with blue-printed Model 700 Remington action.
Barrel: 1:8″-twist, 6mm Bartlein.
Stock: Custom wood stock by Alan Lipski.
Load: Norma brass, H4831SC powder, Tula primers, and Berger 6mm 105gr Match Hybrid Target bullets.
Alan reports: “Bergers are very forgiving and extremely accurate!”
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If you want to see the world’s best multi-gun shooters in action, head to Henderson, Nevada this weekend. Henderson’s Pro Gun Club hosts the 2016 SureFire World Multi-Gun Championships, a challenging day + night, high-round-count match with 16 fast and furious stages. Earlier this week fun matches were held at Henderson, but the main event kicks off Friday, October 21st and runs through Sunday, October 23rd. The main match, with 16 grueling stages, is a real test of shooter and equipment. This unique match combines various Multi-Gun and 3-Gun competition shooting styles, with stages influenced by USPSA Nationals stages, speed stages, outlaw stages, large Ironman-style stages, open-terrain stages, and even low-light night stages (as shown below).
With an extensive prize table and some of the top competitors in the world, this will be one of the most important multi-gun matches of the year. For more match information, visit www.Surefirewmg.com. Match photos and results will be posted on the Surefire Multi-Gun Championship Facebook Page.
While this is an impressive photo of Matt Loganbill shooting last year’s night stage, Surefire lights might actually do a better job illuminating the stage.
Here are two stage maps for this year. Note the number and variety of targets! CLICK to ZOOM.
Ammo A-Plenty — 780 Rounds To Be Fired By Each Competitor Over Course of 16 Stages
The 2016 course of fire includes sixteen (16) stages. All three guns will be used on almost all the stages, except for the night stages. There will be plenty of ammo sent down range this year. Each competitor will be shooting roughly 780 rounds of rifle, pistol, and shotgun ammo:
Rifle: 260 rifle rounds, some 50-yard shots and a spinner. In addition there will be 20 rounds of rifle over the berms with two shots past 350 yards. Pistol: 280 pistol rounds, but there will be many paper and steel options. Shotgun: 200 normal shotgun rounds, plus 15-20 slugs.
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Here’s an example of world-class benchrest shooting. Charles Huckeba of Texas was the top individual shooter at the 2013 World Benchrest Championships (WBC) held near Sydney Australia in October 2013. In this video, 2013 WBC Two-Gun Overall winner Charles shoots a 1/8th MOA group at 200 yards — “a little bitty dot” as a fellow Team USA shooter observes. That’s impressive. If you can describe Huckeba’s style in a nutshell it would be “smooth, consistent, and rapid but not hurried”.
Charles also employed some unusual hardware. In the video, take a close look at the joystick on the Farley Coaxial front rest. There’s no knob at the end. In its place is a small, wood ammo caddy. Charles removed the standard knob from the handle of his Farley rest and replaced it with a home-made wood block that holds cartridges for the record target. The 10.5-lb Light Varmint rifle is chambered in 6PPC with a BAT Machine Action and a composite wood and carbon-fiber stock.
Watch Charles Huckeba Shoot 1/8 MOA, 200-yard group at World Benchrest Championships
Here is the actual 200-yard, 5-shot group Charles shot in the video. Photo (by Stuart Elliot) taken through the lens of Huckeba’s 50X March scope (reticle has 1/16th MOA Dot).
Analyzing the Fine Points — What Makes Huckeba So Good
Short-range benchrest shooter Boyd Allen saw some interesting things in Huckeba’s WBC performance, as captured on video. Boyd noticed Huckeba’s smooth gun-handling and efficient loading. But Boyd also spied some interesting equipment, including an innovative joystick “handle-caddy”.
1. Low Friction Bags — When Huckeba slid his rifle, there was very little apparent friction. The front bag features the new 3M material (ScotchLite) on the sliding surfaces. The rear Protektor bag has ears of the same low-friction material.
2. Pause Before Chambering — While he was watching the flags and deciding when to start firing, Charles kept his first round in the action, but out of the barrel’s chamber, probably so as not to heat the cartridge and change the round’s point of impact.
3. Ammo Caddy on Joystick Arm – Charles shoots a Right Bolt/Left Port action, so he pulls his rounds with his left hand. Note that Huckeba’s record rounds rest in a small, wood ammo caddy attached to the end of the joystick shaft. Look carefully, you’ll see the wood ammo block in place of the normal black ball at the end of the joystick. That allows Charles to pull shots with the absolute minimum of hand movement. Ingenious! Huckeba is very fast, with a great economy of motion. I believe that because his ammo was literally at hand, Charles was better able to keep his focus on aiming and the flags.
4. Smooth-Cycling BAT Action — Note how smoothly Huckeba’s action operates. When Charles lifts the bolt handle (to extract a round and cock the firing pin), this does not disturb the rifle. Likewise, as he closes the bolt, the gun doesn’t wobble. The smooth action allows Charles to hold point of aim even when shooting relatively quickly. Huckeba’s BAT action is chrome-moly steel. Some shooters believe this metal makes for a smoother action than stainless steel or aluminum.
5. Long-Wheelbase Stock — The wood and carbon fiber stock is light, long, and stiff. Yet, importantly, the stock is also well-damped. The longer-than-average stock length (with extended forearm) seems to help the gun track well without jumping or rocking. The longer forearm allows a longer “wheelbase”, effectively shifting the weight distribution rearward (less weight on the front, more weight on the rear). This places a greater share of the gun’s weight on the rear bag, as compared to a more conventional benchrest stock. Huckeba’s stock, built by Bob Scoville, is at the cutting edge of short-range benchrest design. Its light-weight balsa wood and carbon fiber construction provides a combination of stiffness and vibration damping that allows its relatively long fore-end to be fully utilized to increase the weight on the rear bag (always an issue with 10.5-pound rifles).
To learn more about this benchrest stock design, read the comments by stock-builder Bob Scoville in our PPC with Pedigree story in our Gun of the Week Archives. Bob observed:
“There is a lot more to the structure of the stocks than meets the eye. The carbon fiber skin with which I cover the stocks creates a light, tough exterior surface. However, this contributes very little to the overall performance of the stocks. The real strength and stiffness is the result of an internal beam utilizing balsa core/carbon fiber technology.
This type construction can be found in aircraft, race cars, powerboats, and sailboats. It is interesting to note, balsa has the highest strength to weight ratio of all woods and carbon fiber is one of the lowest stretch (modulus of elasticity) relative to weight of all materials. The marriage of these two materials is common in the high-performance world. Additionally, balsa is used commercially for vibration dampening and sound reduction.”
Jeffrey Block has created a great FREE software program, OnTarget, that measures shot groups quickly and precisely. All you need is a photo or scan of your target. The program allows you to set your target distance, and provides caliber-specific tools to precisely mark the center of each shot. Once you’ve marked each bullet hole, Jeff’s OnTarget program automatically calculates group center, maximum group spread (CTC), average distance to center, group width and height, and group offset from point of aim. The program will even measure multiple groups on the same target.
Video Tutorial Shows How OnTarget Software Works
Jeff created an excellent Animated Tutorial demonstrating OnTarget’s functions. It shows how to import a target image or scan, how to set target distance and scale, how to set bullet size, how to circle each bullet hole, and how to save the marked and measured target. VIEW OnTarget TUTORIAL.
After just a few minutes spent learning the program’s tool buttons, we were able to plot shot groups on a variety of targets with ease. Once you select the target distance and bullet diameter, figuring group size is a simple matter of centering a circle tool over each bullet hole. Then the program “connects the dots” and provides all the info you could want automatically.
The program worked with bullet holes as small as 17 caliber and as large as 50 caliber. It is very precise, but remember that if your target photo was taken at an angle, distorted perspective can cause slight errors in measurement. Therefore, for the ultimate precision, you want to start with a flat scan of the target.
OnTarget Compared to Measuring Manually
We found OnTarget to be especially useful for groups with widely dispersed bullet holes, or very small bullet holes, such as 17 caliber holes. We’ve found that it’s difficult to measure 17-cal group sizes with a standard caliper, because the tool itself obscures the tiny holes. With OnTarget, the program can zoom up your target view, making it much easier to plot the center of each shot. And with a widely dispersed group of shots, the program automatically finds the two most distant shots. You can’t mistakenly pick the wrong pair of shots to measure.
MEASURING REAL TARGETS — Actual Examples
Here are examples we created with OnTarget. The first photo shows a 17 Mach 2 target. These tiny 17-cal holes are notoriously hard to measure. With OnTarget, it’s a snap. You just load the target image into the program, zoom in with the controls, and then click on the center of the holes. The program automatically calculates group size, displaying measurements in both inches and minutes of angle (MOA)
Original Target (with ruler for scale)
Target Captured and Displayed in Program
Detail of Group, Enlarged by Program
10-shot Groups? — No Problem
Here’s another target, showing 6mm bullet holes at 600 yards. The first image shows the target image loaded into the program with the ten holes circled in red.
Target Displayed in Program
For this target we have used the Aiming Point option. The Aim Point was set at the center of the “X” and the program calculates average distance from the Aim Point. Very cool.
Detail of 10-Shot Group, Enlarged by Program
No Scanner Needed
The OnTarget program grabs target scans directly from a flatbed scanner using Microsoft’s Windows Image Acquisition system. But don’t worry if you don’t have a scanner. You can just take a digital photo of your target and OnTarget will import it quickly and easily. To set target scale, a simple tool allows you to mark a known length on the target (such as the diameter of the “X” Ring), and the program will then size the target accordingly. Is OnTarget precise and accurate? Here’s what Forum Member Steve W. says: “I used the extreme spread measurement of a group on one of my 600-yard match targets… as it was officially scored at the match. By clicking the +—+ icon, then clicked the cursor in the centers of the two extreme spread holes, I then entered that value in the reference window. After that it was simple because the bullet placement cursor’s circle was the same size as the black outline of the actual bullet holes on the picture of the target. OnTarget’s measurement came up within .006″ of the official 2.772 inch measurement of the group. That’s pretty darned close; well inside the human judgment of aligning the tips of a micrometer on the bullet holes.”
Bottom Line — Great Program — Download It Today
Jeffrey Block has done a great service for shooters by creating the FREE OnTarget program. It is easy to learn, it functions great, and it can save you time and effort measuring targets. It also lets you easily archive and compare multiple targets produced during load development or rifle testing. You can record ammo type, date, location, weather etc. in note fields accessed by “Group Info” and “Target Info” tabs.
Keep in mind that OnTarget was NOT created to replace existing methods for scoring competition targets. But for all other target measuring purposes it does a great job. Visit Jeff’s website, OnTargetShooting.com, view the tutorial, and check out OnTarget for yourselves.
To learn more about OnTarget, see more measuring samples, and read advanced Power-User Tips, visit our full OnTarget Product Review.
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“Here is a sneak peak of my new barreled action for ELR. Compliments of Lethal Precision Arms. This Bartlein barrel is chambered in .375 Lethal Magnum. This massive cartridge will be launching the 405 grain Berger solids with a BC of 1.09 @ 3200+ FPS. The 38″ barrel is screwed on to a two-inch round .50 Cal Action from BAT Machine. This barreled action weighs 35 pounds and is approximately 48 inches long as shown in the photo. Yes that’s 35 pounds NOT counting stock, scope, muzzle brake, and bipod.
This barreled action is now being sent to McMillan Group International for custom in-letting and a custom Big Mac Stock optimized for Extreme Long Range. Stay tuned for more progress on this new ELR Beast for the next King of 2 Miles competition.”
Our buddy Paul Phillips is an outstanding shooter who has competed with the U.S. National Team and is currently a member of the U.S. Rifle Team F-TR. Paul has been interested in extreme long-range (ELR) shooting for quite some time, but the King of 2 Miles (KO2M) event this fall at Raton, NM really brought things into focus for Paul. A member of the K02M-winning Applied Ballistics squad, Paul now knows exactly what kind of hardware (and cartridge) it takes to win at two miles (and beyond). Now he’s ready for more, and he’s building a very special (and very big) rifle.
After his experience at the King of 2 Miles event, Paul decided he needed his own world-class rifle for the ultra-long-range game. For this rifle, Paul acquired a massive BAT action and a ginormous Bartlein barrel, finished at 38 inches. The .375 Lethal Magnum chambering is wildcat that starts with the 585 Hubel Express (HE) case, adapted for a Cheytac boltface. This jumbo cartridge can propel 405gr Berger solids at 3200+ FPS. The G1 BC of these prototype solids is a stunning 1.09. Note: Berger has no current plans to market this .375-caliber solid bullet — it is still in the prototype stage.
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Bryan Litz, 2016 F-TR National Mid-Range Champion, tried his hand at a new discipline recently — tactical shooting. Bryan competed in the Guardian Match, a PRS-type competition hosted by the Marksmanship Training Center in Lake City, Michigan. Though the course of fire was new to Bryan, he did very well indeed, finishing second overall in his first-ever Tactical Match.
Bryan said PRS-type tactical shooting is “totally different” than F-TR competition: “I think the biggest difference (from F-TR) are the time constraints. The time pressure’s totally different. We had just 25 seconds to do one short-range stage, and other stages are 90 seconds, 120 seconds….”
Bryan added: “You’ve got to know your dope for the first shot — no sighters. F-TR is more deliberate, precision-based. This [tactical game] is about accuracy to be sure, but there’s even athleticism — if you’re not flexible, you’re just straight up not going to be able to aim at some of these targets.”
Bryan, who first achieved great success in sling-shooting disciplines, said that tactical matches, with their multiple “on the clock” stages, offer new challenges: “This was a way different experience than I’m used to, mostly due to time pressure and awkward shooting positions. But I enjoyed the problem- solving element. Fellow shooters were very helpful and generous with advice.” Posting on Facebook, former USAMU coach Emil Praslick offered this sarcastic advice: “You need more Velcro and camouflage. That is what is preventing you from winning.”
During his match Brian shot in multiple locations, with a variety of target types, including steel and IPSC movers. There were some unusual challenges including a “Tree-Stand Hunter” stage, and a stage that required moving “Around, Over, and Under a Vehicle” as you can see…
Before the match, Bryan practiced from a tripod, but he wasn’t sure about the best technique: “Seriously, what kind of groups are considered ‘good’ from a position like this? Does 2 MOA suck?” Here’s the recommended technique (from Gunny N.): “Anchor the sling to the front of the rifle but not the back. Wrap sling around leg or center post of the tripod. Place your off hand on the wrap and twist it to tighten up. That will apply down pressure on the forearm. Your shoulder will apply down pressure on butt stock. You’ll tighten groups 25-50%.”
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If you look at that 5-round group you might think it was shot with a 6 PPC or maybe a 6mmBR. But no, this was done with heavy 180gr Berger Hybrid bullets and the .284 Shehane, an improved version of the .284 Winchester. In fact, this impressive sub-quarter MOA group was shot while fire-forming with a very well-worn barrel!
Here’s a 5-shot 0.191″ group at 100 yards with my .284 Shehane fireforming loads. This barrel has 2200 rounds through it. It had 2000 as a straight .284 Win and then I set it back to .284 Shehane to form brass with. This was the first five rounds through it after I cleaned it after the last match. [The load was] 180 Hybrids with 54.0 grains of H4831 SC.
Ya, I figured why not I had some old barrels laying around so I just chopped 2″ off the back and 1″ off the front and chambered it up as a Shehane. Had 1000 pieces to fireform and didn’t want to do all that on a brand new barrel.
My fireform loads are going 2765 FPS. I have a 29″ barrel also though since it’s a setback. Once you get it formed I would push it faster than that or I wouldn’t even bother with the Shehane. My old straight .284 load at 2890 fps had ES spread in single digits for 10 shots. I figured if I get it up to 2935-2950 fps that will be a point or two saved in a several day match.
Fellow .284 Shehane shooter Erik Cortina notes that the .284 Shehane has a velocity edge over the straight .284 Win because it holds more powder: “The Shehane has more capacity than the .284 Winchester. Ryan is using 54.0 grains simply as a fire-forming load. Typical load for a Shehane is around 57.0 grains of Hodgdon H4831 SC.” By blowing the sidewalls out 0.010″, the .284 Shehane picks up about 3.3 grains of extra case capacity. That enhancement makes a BIG difference. The extra boiler room is enough to drive the 180s at 2900-2950 fps with H4831sc, with long barrels.
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