April 14th, 2014
The 8th Annual Eastern CMP Games and Creedmoor Cup Matches will be held at Camp Butner, North Carolina, May 2-11, 2014. The Eastern CMP Games run May 2-6, while the Creedmoor Cup Matches take place on May 7-11. All interested shooters, of all experience and skill levels, are invited to participate in this popular event, which offers a wide variety of shooting competitions, including: Rimfire Sporter Match, M16 Match, M1 Garand Match, Springfield Match, M1-Carbine Match, Vintage Military Match, Modern Military Match, Vintage Sniper Match, Pistol Matches and more.
CMP Games Information Page | CMP Games Program 2014 | CMP Games Photo Galleries.
Great Place to Get Started in Competitive Shooting
The CMP Games matches are ideal events for shooters who have not participated in previous competitions. Shooters are permitted to coach or assist each other in these matches. Experienced shooters are encouraged to assist new shooters with positions, slings, loading and the rules.
To learn more about the Eastern CMP Games, email croguski [at] thecmp.org or call (888) 267-0796, extension 1114. If you have questions about the Creedmoor Cup contact Dennis DeMille, demille [at] creedmoorsports.com or call (800) 273-3366 M-F, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm Central Time.
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April 10th, 2014
The CMP Games – Oklahoma kicked off yesterday with a Small Arms Firing School session. The 2014 CMP Games – Oklahoma run 9-13 April at the Oklahoma City Gun Club. This popular 5-day event features clinics, SAFS/M16 match, EIC Rifle Match, GSMM Four Gun Aggregate, Vintage Sniper Match, CMP As-Issued 1911 Pistol Match, Military & Police Service Pistol Match, EIC Pistol match, and several other activities.
Below, Leon Rutherford, CMP Master Instructor, helps a shooter on the firing line during the CMP Small Arms Firing School. The SAFS teaches safety, positions, how to load and clear the rifle, how to loop a sling and prepare for practice firing. Students are issued AR-15 rifles to use during the school and will fire the M16 EIC Rifle Match on April 10.
On April 11-13 there will be Garand/Springfield/Vintage and Modern Military Matches, a Carbine Match, and a Vintage Sniper Match. There will also be Pistol Matches held each day from April 10 – 13, 2014. To see match results, visit the CMP Competition Tracker Webpage.
NOTE: The young shooter in the above photo IS wearing eye protection, an all-clear set of eyewear. This close-up shows the eye protection better.
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April 8th, 2014
1000-yard Benchrest competitor James O’Hara set four (4) new IBS Records in 2013. These multi-match Light Gun Agg records were secured with O’Hara’s solid performance at the 2013 Virginia 1000-yard Benchrest State Championship. Here are the new records set by O’Hara in 2013:
10-Match Score Aggregate 47.5
6-Match Score Aggregate 49.5
6-Match Score Aggregate 49.83
6-Match group Aggregate 3.072”
During the VA state championships, O’Hara was on fire. All four groups were centered for 50s, with three groups under 3″ and the fourth a 3.715″. That’s consistency.
Target 1- Group 2.996” Score 50.2
Target 2- Group 2.433″, Score 50.1
Target 3- Group 3.715″, Score 50.4
Target 4- Group 2.188″, Score 50.1
Group Average 2.833″, Score Average 50.2
On 1000-yard benchrest targets, the 10-ring is just seven inches in diameter, while the X-Ring is a mere 3 inches in diameter. At the Virginia 1K Championships, James managed to keep all his shots within the seven-inch 10 Ring with eight of the shots inside the 3 inch X-Ring. That is amazing accuracy and consistency. David Goodridge says: “This is truly a remarkable example of superb marksmanship, rifle design, assembly, load development and equipment maintenance.” (O’Hara had previously set a 10-match Aggregate Light Gun World record of 4.5389″ in 2012).
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James O’Hara Talks About Record-Setting Rifles and Ultra-Accurate Long-Range Loads
James generously agreed to share his knowledge and experiences on the many facets of IBS 1000-yard benchrest preparation, reloading and shooting techniques in an intereview with Australian David Goodridge. This feature originally appeared in Australian Target Rifle Magazine. A few of O’Hara’s responses have been updated, based on a conversation with James on April 8, 2014.
Goodridge: James on behalf of the Australian LRBR community I would like to congratulate you on your achievements in 1000-yard Benchrest and thank you for [doing this] interview. To begin, could you provide an outline on your background and the reasons or factors that led you to becoming involved in 1000-yard BR at the Virginia Club.
O’Hara: I started short-range Benchrest in 1996 for a brief time and won my first 100-yard IBS match and I was hooked. Loss of eye-sight in one eye put a damper on it and I quit shooting for while, and I started shooting trap to try to switch over to left-handed. It worked and I started to pick up a gun left-handed so I went back to the rifle and built a tube gun.
I tried the local groundhog matches but the rules changed every match. I then found the Reade Range and 1000-yard matches. I restocked my gun with a long-range stock and started 1000-yard Benchrest. Finding I enjoyed the challenges associated with long range benchrest, I began 1000-yard Benchrest competition at Harry Jones Range and White Horse Range, two IBS ranges in West Virginia. I basically started after the year was under way in 2011 and I must say it was a very humbling experience. I soon learned that my previous short range [techniques] were not working.
New scales, a K&M arbor press with a force indicator, led to improvements. Then designing and obtaining reamers to my own specifications led to further substantial improvements, with the end result being that the same loads now seem to work from barrel to barrel.
James O’Hara Equipment Details
Gunsmithing: I do all the work myself, except barrel chambering/fitting is done by Dave Bruno.
Favored Caliber: I use a 6mm Dasher with a .266 neck and a .135 free bore. My load is a 103gr Spencer bullet trimmed and pointed with Hoover tools. Load is Alliant Reloder 15, 33.0+ grains weighed on a GD503 scale, with a CCI 450 primer. Right now I’m jumping the bullet about .006″. Previously, I shot them about .010” into the rifling but it was pulling the bullets or pushing them back.
Actions: For the IBS record groups I used a Bat 1.350” Bat B action in a Roy Hunter Stock. Other actions in use include a 1.530” Bat B and a Kelby F-Class Panda.
Barrels: The record barrel was a Brux Heavy Varmint, 1:7.83″ twist, finished at 28″, and fitted with a Harrell’s brake.
Stocks: I have two Roy hunter stocks and a PR&T and all track very well. They are balanced at two inches ahead of the receiver. All three stocks are glued with liquid Devcon and are pillared, so they are “glued and screwed”. I think this is the best system.
Scopes: The PR&T-stocked rifle has a March 10-60X and the two Hunter-stocked guns have Nightforce 12-42x56mm NXS scopes.
Rests: My front rest is a Sinclair Competition model that I modified with a cartridge holder that holds cartridges up by the port. I use the new super slick bag by Protektor and a rear Doctor Bag with leather ears.
Scope Mounts: Rings are Burris Signature Extra High (the ones with inserts).
Case Preparation and Reloading Techniques:
My cases are three years old, with close to 100 firings. They are all from the same lot. I anneal the cases dirty to save some work and I anneal every time to have consistent neck tension. I punch the primers out and clean the pockets and run the flash hole uniformer in to make sure there is no carbon build-up. You can use the same tool as you use to prep the new cases. Flash holes are uniformed to .0625″. (Flash holes, “out of the box”, are less consistent than you may think.)
I turn necks to .0102″ with a K&M tool. Some competitors don’t turn necks, but without uniform neck tension you will have vertical. I use a K&M VLD chamfering tool and a Wilson case trimmer for new cases and when I trim fired cases. I use a nylon brush for inside the necks and clean the cases outside with 0000 steel wool using a small power station or a drill to spin them. The cases are sized on a Forster Coax press with a Harrell’s full length bushing die. Priming is done by hand using a K&M priming tool. I throw a “close” charge with Harrell’s bench rest powder measure. That charge goes in the pan of my Sartorius GD503 scale and then I trickle up to weight with an Omega powder trickler.
For bullet seating, I now use the 21st Century Hydraulic arbor press with seating force indiciation. I previously used the K&M arbor press with force indicator — it was good, but the 21st Century unit is more sophisticated, more precise, and easier to read. I have a loading block that is color-coded in the pounds of force needed to seat the bullet. I try to keep rounds in sets of 3-lb seating force settings. Each loaded round is put in the appropriate column (based on measured seating force). All loaded rounds are color-coded to avoid mixing. Leftovers from matches are used at a later date.
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I have now made a tool from an old bearing surface comparator. It will contact the ogive of the loaded round and it will check the seating depth while it is sitting on a granite block. Relying completely on the force and feel of the dial indicator allows seating depths to be held to .0005″ (i.e. one-half-thousandth). Compared to others means, this seems a more accurate way to check seating depth.
Bullets are spun on a Juenke machine after they are trimmed on a Hoover trimmer and pointed on the Hoover tool. For the next step, a Tubb Bearing Surface Comparator is used to sort bullets to plus/minus .0005″. I don’t discard any bullets — if I have some small lots of bullets that have a shorter or longer measurement they are used for testing. With the Spencer and BIB bullets there are not many that are not within plus/minus .001”. I quit weighing cases because of the outside variations. I only do what makes a difference [on target] and I only test and do load development at 100 yards, where I can control the conditions.
Barrel Freezing (Cryogenic treatment)
For the 2013 season, I cut barrels back to 28″ and had them “frozen” (cryo-treated) at Cryo Plus. I think that both barrels are average in the wind, but the first shot from a clean barrel is in the group. I shot around seven 100s with my other Light Gun. In Heavy Gun, I even won the group Aggregate at the Virginia State shoot. I have cryo-treated all of my barrels and I believe I have proof that it does produce benefits. I talked to George Kelbly about this before I did it. My results agreed with what George had indicated: fire cracking was less, chambering was easier and the major benefit was that the groups did not ‘walk’ as the barrels became heated.
Bench Set-up and Shooting Procedures
I use a spotting scope to help see the flags and the mirage. The mount is a Sinclair for the bench. This really helps because I can’t see the flags far out. I think the most important part of the set up is getting the gun to track, it has to come back in the box every time and shooting under the same condition every shot. I know everybody likes to run them — I do if the condition holds — but if it doesn’t you must pick them one at a time. This is where the direction and the speed of the wind come into play; you must shoot in the same condition you zero in.
When I set up to shoot, I line up the gun on my target and I move it back and forth till I can get it coming back in the ten ring and then I set my scope. I load my record rounds in my holder and I use my sighters out of the box. I now am watching and timing the conditions and I now make the decision of the one I will use and this is the only one I sight-in with. If I have some big guns beside me with brakes, I will wait till they are done or try to get in between their shots (this doesn’t always work).
Trigger control is a must and you have to be consistent. I will give up a perfect sight picture for a perfect trigger pull. I use free recoil and only my finger is on the trigger. After the rifle recoils back, I hold the fore-arm and open the bolt — you have to be careful not to upset the gun in the bags. After loading the next round, I close the bolt and push the gun forward with my right hand on the fore-arm. I am guiding [the stock] forward in between the bags. This gives me less chance to make a mistake, and maybe half of the shots need no or very little adjustment. I know it’s hard to get accustomed to, but try not to take your eye out of the scope so you are watching the mirage and not to get caught in a change. For the best part, I shoot free recoil and do all my testing at 100 yards in my backyard range. I zero dead on at 100 and come up 24 minutes for 1000 yards.
Bore Cleaning Procedures
I never try to get the gun super clean at a match, I like to see a little gray on a clean patch. I don’t want the barrel to be squeaky clean — I like to see a little haze on a patch. When it’s like that, after one fouling shot, the next shot usually goes right where it’s supposed to. When it’s squeaky clean, it may take five shots to foul in.
I used a product called WartHog 1134, and it has served me well for a long time but now that the Hazmat stopped the shipment of it, so I went to over-the-counter products and all are equally bad compared to what I had used but they do the job, it just takes longer. I never pull a patch or brush back through (across the crown), I go one way only (outward) out and then unscrew the brush or take the patch off at the muzzle. I use a 50/50 mix of Hoppies and Kroil after I clean. Just before I shoot I run a smaller patch down the bore to leave a very thing film of oil in the bore. I never want to shoot over a dry bore. If you shoot over a squeaky clean, dry bore, you’ll get copper every time.
What the Future Holds for O’Hara
My goal last season was to set the Agg records. Now I only have one more goal — that is the single target group, so I will back off shooting the Heavy Gun. I have three excellent Light Guns and a bunch of barrels to do it… so maybe! I think the greatest enjoyment is the people you shoot with, the common interest is the bond I guess but I wouldn’t change it for anything. — James O’Hara
Goodridge: James, on behalf of all Australian IBS 1000-yard BR competitors, I would like to thank you for your great patience and cooperation in preparation of this article, and for the valuable and interesting insight that you have provided into what is required to achieve success at the highest levels of 1000-yard BR competition. Not that you need it, but good luck for the 2014 shooting season.
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April 7th, 2014
Ten shots… 1000 yards … 2.6872″. Think about that. Ten shots you could cover up with a coffee cup. That’s some amazing shooting. Is this a world record? Consider this — we believe this is the smallest 10-shot group ever shot at 1000 yards in any form of rifle competition, by anyone, anywhere, anytime. It is smaller than the existing Williamsport Light Gun and Heavy Gun 1K records. The IBS and NBRSA do not shoot 10 rounds for Light Gun, but this 2.6872″ group is smaller than the current IBS (3.044″) and NBRSA (4.322″) ten-shot HEAVY GUN records.
This amazing group was shot by Jim Richards at the Deep Creek Range outside Missoula, Montana during the 4th Light Gun Relay of a 1000-yard match. Jim was shooting the small 6mm Dasher cartridge with 105gr Berger bullets. Fellow Deep Creek Shooter Tom Mousel says this should be a new world record. The Deep Creek Range shoots under Williamsport rules, with ten shots for Light Gun. The current Williamsport Light Gun record (as listed) is 3.835″ by Cody Finch in 2006, but we’re told that Paul Martinez shot a 3.505″ at Williamsport last year. If approved at 2.6872″, Jim Richards’ new record is 23% smaller than the 3.505″ previous record. That’s remarkable — Jim Richards utterly demolished the previous mark. (As measured, Jim’s group is also smaller than the current Williamsport Heavy Gun record, 2.815″ by Matt Kline in 2010.)
The Record-setting rifle features a Borden action, Shehane ST 1000 fiberglass stock, and Nightforce Benchrest scope. The Krieger barrel was chambered by King Machine for the 6mm Dasher, with a 0.269″ neck and 0.103″ freebore. Jim Richards was running Berger 105gr Hybrid bullets.
The rifle was purchased used from Tim Claunch. We suspect Tim wishes he had not parted with it! Any gun that can put ten shots under three inches at 1000 yards is a “keeper”, that’s for sure.
Forum member Wayne B. says: “I am really happy for Jim. He has asked 1000 questions, slept in his pickup, upgraded his equipment, bought a rifle from another friend of mine and now he is a world record-holder. The men and women who shoot at Deep Creek in Missoula Montana are the best group of shooters in the world bar none! They will give you all the info you need to win and if you don’t have what you need they will loan it to ya, up to and including a rifle and ammo.”
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April 6th, 2014
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has taken over the Ruger Rimfire Challenge program. Now called the NSSF Rimfire Challenge, the program retains the format that has made it so popular. This remains a two-gun timed competition with rimfire rifles and pistols. Shooters engage steel targets at relatively close distances. The matches are for young and old alike, all skill levels, with mentoring by experienced shooters. The emphasis is on fun and safety.
The use of .22 caliber pistols, revolvers and rifles make the Rimfire Challenge more affordable than most centerfire matches. “The affordability of this program is something that participants really like and keeps them coming back,” said Zach Snow, NSSF’s Manager of Shooting Promotions. “Event fees are affordable as well.”
For participants, NSSF Rimfire Challenge offers categories for everyone — Open and Limited Divisions, plus Special Recognition competitions. To learn more about on program equipment, rules, courses of fire, scheduled matches and the first NSSF Rimfire World Championship, visit NSSF.org/Rimfire.
NSSF Rimfire Challenge Basics
NSSF Rimfire Challenge Courses of Fire | NSSF Rimfire Challenge Rulebook
- This is a two-gun event so you need a rifle and a handgun (which can be either a semi-auto pistol or revolver).
- Bolt-action rifles and lever-action rifles are allowed, but self-loading (semi-auto) rifles are most popular because they can shoot quickly.
- It is suggested that your firearms hold at least ten rounds each, as there is no reloading allowed during the actually stages.
- It is a good idea to have five (5) magazines per gun (5 each for rifle and pistol). That way you don’t have to reload between stages. If you have a 10-shot revolver, you can reload manually, or use speed loaders.
- At Rimfire Challenge Matches, each competitor get five (5) runs through each target stage.
- Eye and ear protection is required on the range at all times. This is true for spectators as well as competitors.
Many different stage designs can be employed at Rimfire Challenge matches. Here are two examples from the NSSF Rimfire Challengs Suggested Courses of Fire:
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April 5th, 2014
One of our readers, Joshua Targownik, is a very talented photographer. Last year he captured an evocative series of photos at the 2013 California State Palma Championships, hosted at the Coalinga range. Joshua reports: “I shot all these images on good old-fashioned medium format black and white film”. We like Joshua’s images — they have a classic “old school” look which seems to suit the Palma (Full-bore) discipline. The black and white photography seems appropriate to the world of iron sights, leather shooting coats, and “hard-holding” marksmen.
Images by Joshua Targownik. To see more of Joshua’s photos, visit TargoPhoto.com.
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CLICK HERE to View Full PHOTO GALLERY (17 images).
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April 4th, 2014
The April 2014 Digital Edition of Shooting Sports USA is now available online (for free). This month’s issue has many articles of interest to competitive shooters. The cover story From Smallbore to High Power, profiles Col. Denise Loring, an international smallbore competitor who recently made the transition to High Power shooting. This is an excellent article.
Col. Loring “compares and contrasts” smallbore and High Power, providing fascinating insights into the differences between the disciplines: “I was very nervous about having only two sighters for NRA High Power matches. Then, I heard about the CMP style of HP where there are no sighters and could not believe you could shoot a match without them. We have unlimited sighters in smallbore and I took full advantage of that aspect. In NRA conventional smallbore you can even return to the sighter bull once you have begun shooting for record.”
Biathlon — Shooting at 180 Beats Per Minute
There is also an interesting feature on Biathlon shooting. This tutorial covers the basics of this challenging Olympic sport that combines Nordic skiing and smallbore position shooting. This in-depth article profiles the top athletes, explains the rules, and provides interesting details of the hardware: “Most athletes use a Fortner (straight-pul bolt) action, although traditional bolt-action guns are allowed. The rulebook regulates biathlon rifles by minimum width, trigger resistense, dimensions and shape[.] Magazines may be spot-checked before or after an event to ensure they contain only five rounds[.]”
The April issue of Shooting Sports USA also includes a complete round-up of 2013 State Champions for all NRA shooting disciplines, from BB Gun to Black Powder Cartridge Rifles.
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April 3rd, 2014
This week’s big story from the ISSF World Cup in Fort Benning involves a lanky Army Reserve Marksman from Montana, Nick Mowrer. The shooting world was shocked when this “pistol guy” (a 50m Free Pistol shooter for the 2012 USA Olympic Team) took a bronze medal in a World Cup rifle competition. Yes, we said “rifle”. And get this — in the process of earning that World Cup bronze medal, Nick racked up enough points to become a triple distinguished marksman (three disciplines).
In the highest level of ISSF competition, it is very unusual for a pistol shooter to even compete in a rifle match. It is unheard-of that a pistol shooter would actually earn a medal. That is like an Olympic 100m spinter also medaling in the Marathon. It just doesn’t happen.
USAR Team shooter Nick Mowrer pulled off this remarkable accomplishment at the 2014 ISSF World Cup at Fort Benning. It’s not known whether a pistol specialist has ever earned a World Cup medal in rifle competition. In fact none of the experts from USA Shooting can recall another shooter who has even competed in both rifle and pistol categories at the same World Cup event. It appears Mowrer made history with his smallbore rifle Bronze medal. Competitive pistol shooters aren’t supposed to be good rifle shooters as well. Mowrer’s bronze-medal-winning performance has changed that view.
Cross-Training Works Well Mowrer Says
Will we see more pistoleros “cross the aisle” and shoot rifle? Only time will tell. But Mowrer believes that “cross-training” with both rifle and pistol has improved his overall marksmanship skills: “I have used prone smallbore (rifle) as cross training for pistol for years now and I am very excited to have the unique opportunity to represent the USA not only in pistol but rifle as well. I shoot multiple events, not only prone, but the reason is just the same; I use other shooting disciplines to be able to compete in more matches and gain more experience that I am able to then use in my pistol shooting! It also keeps shooting fun and exciting.” Read related USAR story.
Mowrer’s medal at Fort Benning has caused a stir among top-level World Cup shooters. The reigning Olympic gold medalist in Women’s 3-P rifle, Jamie Gray, recently posted:
“Today is an amazing day…our Olympic Pistol Shooter Nick Mowrer broke into the medals in Men’s Prone [rifle event]! Couldn’t be more excited for him and obviously his amazing shooting abilities! Nick… [took] a Prone Rifle Bronze, nothing more to say than AWESOME!”
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April 2nd, 2014
Maggie Reese, one of the nation’s top female 3-gun shooters, recently signed as a factory-sponsored Team Colt shooter. It seems that blue and white suits Maggie just fine. Maggie just won the Ladies Open Division title at the Superstition Mountain Mystery (SMM) 3-Gun match in Mesa, Arizona. This marked the third time Reese finished as “High Lady” at this competition. Maggie told us: “The SMM 3-Gun is a competition I’ve gone to since the start of my shooting career, and it’s always a pleasure to go back.”
Photo credit: Yamil Sued
Reese used a Colt LE6920 for the rifle portion of the SMM 3-Gun. “There was a lot of accuracy involved in this particular match,” said Reese. “Having a dependable rifle made all the difference in trusting my shot placement.”
The stages also included distance targets up to 350 yards, along with some unique challenges. One stage had competitors strapped to a chair that was rotated to a 90-degree angle (See video below). “Shooting sideways was a fun experience,” said Reese. “Body placement was so important for this stage, along with being comfortable with your rifle. Up next for Reese is the 3-Gun Nation Pro Series Event in Tulsa, followed by the USPSA Multi-Gun Nationals on April 16 in Las Vegas. To follow Maggie Reese and other Team Colt members this season, visit Facebook.com/ColtFirearms.
Superstition Mountain Tilting-Chair Stage (Benny Hill style)
This video, by Brett Russo, features Jamie Franks, Taran Butler, Craig Outzen, Maggie Reese, Peter Jonasson, Chris Cheng, Jessica Hook, and others.
Here is Maggie with other shooters at SMM 3-Gun. Can you name the people in the picture?
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March 30th, 2014
The 2014 ISSF World Cup at Fort Benning is underway, and some events have already finished, such as the 10m Air Rifle and 10m Air Pistol. The World Cup, which has attracted many of the world’s top rifle and pistol shooters, continues through April 3, 2014. Here are some photo highlights from the first three days of the Fort Benning World Cup. There were plenty of exotic, expensive rifles and pistols on display — plus a few small toy animals (favored by the lady shooters).
ISSF Fort Benning World Cup Photo Stream
Young Russian Wins First Gold of the Competition
Nazar Luginets, 24, from the Russian Federation, won the first medal match of the competition, the 10m Air Rifle Men event. With 209.4 points, the Russian athlete beat Serbian Milutin Stefanovic, who finished just one tenth behind Luginets. The 2013 Euro Champion, Sergey Richter from Israel, finished third.
10m Air Rifle Winner Nazar Luginets
New Air Pistol Record Set
Hoang Xuan Vinh, from Vietnam, won the 10m Air Pistol Men final, setting a new world record in the process. Currently ranked 8th in the world, The Vietnamese pistol shooter pocketed the Gold medal with a record score of 202.8 points in the final, breaking the previous 202.3-point record set by the 2008 Olympic Champion Pang Wei of China. Hoang beat Russians finalists Sergey Chervyakovskiy, and Vladimir Gontcharov, 36, who finished in second and third place with 202.3 and 181.3 points, respectively. This was an important comeback for Gontcharov, a 14-time ISSF World Cup medalist. Vladimir who started competing back in 1990, had been far from ISSF podiums since 2012.
Photos © International Shooting Sport Federation.
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March 24th, 2014
If you only know Bryan Litz from his Applied Ballistics Books and DVDs, you may not realize that this guy is a great marksman (along with being an actual rocket scientist). This guy can shoot. At the recent Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN), Bryan took top honors among all sling shooters — and he managed to do that while performing many other important match duties. The pay-off for Bryan was getting his name on a really cool “ghost dancer” perpetual trophy. Litz joked: “With what the wind gods can do at shooting matches, it makes sense to have a trophy that puts you in touch with the spirit world.”
This is actually the second time Litz has finished first in Sling class at the Southwest Nationals. After his impressive win, we asked Bryan if he had any advice for other long-range competitors. First Bryan provided three tips concerning Ballistics, his special area of expertise. Next Bryan offered three more general tips about long-range competition — how to analyze your shooting, how to choose your ‘wind strategy’, and how to avoid the most costly mistakes, i.e. how to avoid the “train-wrecks”.
Litz Ballistics Tips
Ballistics TIP ONE. If you’re having trouble getting your ballistic software to match actual drops, you need to look at a number of possible reasons. Here are some common issues that can cause problems.
Click Values Are Not Exact. Scopes and iron sights don’t always produce accurate adjustments. In other words, if your ballistics program predicts 30 MOA of drop, and you dial 30 MOA but hit low, it might be that your sight actually only moved 28 MOA (for example). To see if your sight is adjusting accurately, shoot a tall target at 100 yards and measure group separation when dialing your sight.
Barometric vs. Station Pressure. This is a commonly misunderstood input to ballistics programs. You can avoid this pitfall by remembering the following: station pressure is the actual measured pressure at your location, and you don’t need to tell the program your altitude when using station pressure. Barometric pressure is corrected for sea level. If you’re using barometric pressure, you also have to input your altitude.
Muzzle Velocity. Chronographs are not always as accurate as shooters think they are — your true MV may be off by 10-20 fps (or more). If your drop is different than predicted at long range, it might be because your muzzle velocity input is wrong.
Mixing Up BC (G1 vs. G7). Knowledgeable long range shooters know that the G7 standard is a more representative standard for modern LR bullets. However, using G7 BCs isn’t just a matter of clicking the ‘G7′ option in the program. The numeric value of the BC is different for G1 and G7. For example, the G1 BC of the Berger 155.5 grain Fullbore bullet is .464 but the G7 BC is .237. If you were to enter .464 but click on G7, the results would be way off.
Ballistics TIP TWO. A properly installed level is absolutely essential for long range shooting. Without a good level reference, your long range wind zero will be off due to minor canting of the rifle from side to side. You can verify that your level is installed correctly on a 100-yard ‘tall target’. Draw a plumb line straight up the target and verify that your groups track straight up this line as you go up in elevation.
Ballistics TIP THREE. If your long range ballistic predictions aren’t tracking, always come back and verify your 100-yard zero. Sometimes a simple zero shift can be misconstrued as errors in long range ballistics predictions.
Litz Competition Shooting Tips
Competition TIP ONE. Improving your scores in long range competition is a constant process of self-assessment. After each match, carefully analyze how you lost points and make a plan to improve. Beginning shooters will lose a lot of points to fundamental things like sight alignment and trigger control. Veteran shooters will lose far fewer points to a smaller list of mistakes. At every step along the way, always ask yourself why you’re losing points and address the issues. Sometimes the weak links that you need to work on aren’t your favorite thing to do, and success will take work in these areas as well.
Competition TIP TWO. Select your wind shooting strategy carefully. For beginners and veterans, most points are typically lost to wind. Successful shooters put a lot of thought into their approach to wind shooting. Sometimes it’s best to shoot fast and minimize the changes you’ll have to navigate. Other times it’s best to wait out a condition which may take several minutes. Develop a comfortable rest position so you have an easier time waiting when you should be waiting.
Competition TIP THREE. Actively avoid major train wrecks. Sounds obvious but it happens a lot. Select equipment that is reliable, get comfortable with it and have back-ups for important things. Don’t load on the verge of max pressure, don’t go to an important match with a barrel that’s near shot out, physically check tightness of all important screws prior to shooting each string. Observe what train wrecks you and others experience, and put measures in place to avoid them.
Photos by Steve Fiorenzo
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March 23rd, 2014
The International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) World Cup season kicks off right here in the USA, March 26 through April 3, 2014, in Fort Benning, Georgia. Many of the world’s best rifle and pistol shooters will be on hand — more than 400 competitors from 50 nations are expected to compete at the home of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU).
ISSF World Cup (Fort Benning) 2013 50m Rifle Prone Winner Valerian Sauveplane of France.
At the last Rifle/Pistol World Cup USA back in May 2013, the USA earned two medals with Will Brown winning a gold medal in Men’s 10m Air Pistol and Dempster Christenson winning a silver medal in Men’s Air Rifle. Highlights from last year’s ISSF World Cup at Fort Benning are featured in the 24-minute video linked below. The video covers both rifle and pistol disciplines.
Here is last year’s women’s 50m 3P winner at the Fort Benning World Cup, Andrea Arsovic of Serbia.
Complete ISSF World Cup (Fort Benning) Match Schedule
If you want to watch the matches,or meet some of the shooters here is a schedule for the all the events, starting with training sessions on March 27th.
CLICK HERE for General Match INFO (PDF)
CLICK HERE for list of competitors, grouped by Nation (PDF).
Photos ©2014 ISSF | Competitor Photos: Marco Dalla Dea
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