September 16th, 2021

NRL22 & NRL22X — Fun and Challenging Rimfire Tactical Series

NRL22 rimfire tactical steel targets KYL JC Steel hangers

The National Rifle League (NRL) started off sponsoring major centerfire tactical matches, similar to PRS competitions. That proved successful so the NRL added a .22 LR Rimfire series, called NRL22. The NRL22 rimfire discipline has been a major success, as rimfire guns are fun to shoot and ammo is very affordable. The most popular NRL22 matches have drawn up to 200 rimfire competitors. And now there is a companion rimfire long-range series, NRL22X. Learn more about NRL22 and NRL22X at NRL22.org.

NRL22 rimfire tactical steel targets KYL JC Steel hangers

NRL22 rimfire tactical steel targets KYL JC Steel hangersNRL22 is a great way to get into competition shooting with minimal expense. There are five (5) classes: Open, Base, Ladies, Young Guns (8-16) and Air Rifle. Base Class is for the budget-minded shooter — the combined MSRP of Rifle and Optic may not exceed $1200.00 (so you could spend $700 on a rifle and $500 on a scope for example). That keeps the sport affordable. Open, Youth, and Ladies Classes have no price limits on Rifle and Optic. Visit NRL22.org to find an NRL22 match near you.

The NRL also sponsors NRL22X matches. These involve significantly longer distances for greater challenge. The latest NRL22X match is the XLR Rimfire Rumble, to be held in Grand Junction, Colorado this Saturday, September 18, 2021.

The two videos above from Long Range Shooters of Utah feature footage from the January 2019 course of fire from the NRL22 Rimfire Competition Series. Note the snow-capped hills in the lower video. Useful commentary explains how competitors establish their shooting positions.

NRL22 rimfire tactical steel targets KYL JC Steel hangersHow to Participate in NRL22 and/or NRL22X
If you want to get started in NRL22 or NRL22X competition, you’ll need an NRL22 annual membership. These run from $25-$85 depending on class and discipline. CLICK HERE for annual membership information.

NRL22 Membership Benefits Include:
– Eligibility to participate in all NRL22 matches
– Eligibility to participate in all NRL22X matches
– Welcome gift (not all welcome gifts are the same)
– Scoring and Ranking for all events
– Newsletters and updates
– Eligibility for special NRL22 raffles and giveaways
– Access to special NRL discounts from participating sponsors

NRL22 Publishes Monthly Courses of Fire
This video from a Utah NRL22 Match features shooters from each of the four rimfire classes. With the NRL22 program, scores from from local matches like this are ranked against scores from other matches nationwide. In advance of match dates, NRL22.org publishes 5 courses of fire to be used in that month. Each course of fire will always include 2 prone stages, 1 positional, 1 barricade, and a fifth that can be any of those. Details of the course of fire, including target distances, target sizes, time limits, and barricade profiles, are listed at NRL22.org.

Official NRL22 Rimfire Steel Target Package
To facilitate consistent NRL22 match scoring, there is an official NRL22 Rimfire Steel Target Kit. Crafted by JC Steel Targets from AR500 steel, this kit from JC Steel Targets includes 8 hanging targets, 4 KYL (Know Your Limits) targets, plus all needed hangers. That’s lot of steel and hardware for $394.99. There is also an official 2020/2021 Expansion Target Package with 5 more hanging targets for $79.95.

NRL22 rimfire tactical steel targets KYL JC Steel hangers

About NRL22 Tactical/Practical Competition
NRL22 tactical precision Airgun Air rifle classThe goal of NRL 22 is to make Precision Rifle competitions more available to every community. However, nearly all localities have access to 100-yard ranges and most shooters own a .22 LR rifle. The NRL22 program is designed so any facility with a 100-yard range can host matches. Participants at local NRL22 events can then attend a National Championship. NRL22 started with four classifications: Open, Base, Ladies, and Young Guns (8-18 age). Air Rifle is the new fifth class. For the 2018/2019 Competition Season, over 700 shooters attended NRL22 matches. In the 2019/2020 Competition Season, the NRL22 expects significant growth and is excited to welcome new members and clubs.

NRL22 rimfire tactical steel targets KYL JC Steel hangers

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September 13th, 2021

NRA Releases 2022 Nat’l Matches Schedule for Camp Atterbury

NRA National Matches Calendar schedule 2022 summer Camp Atterbury Indiana

The 2022 NRA National Rifle and Pistol Championships will be held July 15 through August 22, 2022 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. A provisional calendar for next summer has been released, which we publish below so our readers can start their planning.

NRA National Matches Calendar schedule 2022 summer Camp Atterbury Indiana

The 2022 NRA Rifle and Pistol Championships at Camp Atterbury will start with OTC (Over the Course) High Power Rifle competition. This is unlike 2021 when the Nationals at Atterbury started with Smallbore events. In 2022 the Smallbore cycle runs from July 28 through August 10. Some competitors have lamented that this overlaps with the Long Range Championship (July 20 – August 4), so shooters will have to choose one or the other. The 1-Mile ELR Match returns to the National Matches Calendar after being dropped in 2021.

OTC Events and Championship: 15-21 July, 2022
Precision Pistol Championship: 17-24 July, 2022
Mid-Range Championship: 23-28 July, 2022
Long Range Championship: 30 July – 4 August, 2022
Smallbore Nationals: 28 July – 10 August, 2022
Extreme Long Range 1-Mile Shoot: 5-7 August, 2022

The 2022 NRA High Power Across the Course, Mid-Range, and Long Range Championships will be fired on the ranges of Camp Atterbury. Matches will begin on July 15 and run through August 4. This year the NRA revives the Extreme Long Range Challenge, which will run August 5-7. All registrations are through the NRA Competition Portal.

NRA National Matches Calendar schedule 2022 summer Camp Atterbury Indiana


CLICK HERE to View Full Screen Calendar PDF »

NOTE: The F-Class Nationals, to our knowledge, will NOT be held at Camp Atterbury in 2022. We’ve been informed that the probable venue will be the Ben Avery Range in Arizona, with probable dates in late October 2022.

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September 9th, 2021

Top Shooters Teach Marksmanship at Camp Perry Nat’l Matches

CMP National Matches Camp Perry Brandon Green USAMU marksmanship training

This article recognizes the efforts of military men and women who teach others shooting skills and preserve the proud traditions of American marksmanship.

The National Matches at Camp Perry, a staple in the marksmanship world for over 100 years, include many excellent training clinics taught by military teams as well as CMP instructors. The CMP offers an entire lineup of educational courses for those new to the sport and those eager to develop their skills. The types of rifle and pistol courses span from junior to adult, competitive to maintenance and everything in between. Along with classes taught by CMP staffers, other courses are taught by military personnel, including many past and current National Champions and record-holders.

Small Arms Firing School Led by 3-Time Nat’l HP Champion SSG Brandon Green
This year, the Small Arms Firing School was directed by many top-flight marksmen from a number of military teams. The rifle classroom portion was led by the USAMU’s SFC Brandon Green (shown below), a 3-Time National High Power Champion who holds multiple national records including a perfect score in the President’s Rifle event.

CMP National Matches Camp Perry Brandon Green USAMU marksmanship training

CMP National Matches Camp Perry Brandon Green USAMU marksmanship training
The 2021 Rifle Small Arms Firing School helped train over 250 individuals on the range.

Out on the line, world-class shooters such as SSG Amanda Elsenboss and MAJ Samuel Freeman, the 2021 winner of the President’s Rifle Match, brought their knowledge and experience into one-on-one training with participants. Elsenboss is one of America’s greatest shooters. She recently won the 2021 National High Power Championship at Camp Atterbury, after winning the National Long-Range Championship in 2019.

“Having those world-class shooters serve as instructors is an honor and one the students should remember always”, Cooper added.

U.S. Marine Corps Junior Clinic
The Marine Corps junior clinic, guided by MAJ Martinez (USMC Shooting Team Officer), is always a big hit with up-and-coming young rifle shooters. CMP Training Manager Steve Cooper noted: “It was great to see so many enthusiastic young people, who revere the Marine Corps Shooting Team, come out and take advantage of the instruction at this year’s clinic.”

The 3-day clinic includes more advanced training beyond fundamentals, including weather conditions, how to read wind, equipment use, shooting positions, and rulebook standards. Juniors in the clinic spend one day in the classroom, followed by two days of live-fire on the range at 200, 300, and 600 yards.

Marine corps junior clinic CMP National Matches Camp Perry Brandon Green USAMU marksmanship training

“We talk to them and try to understand them, what they struggle with as individuals and their process,” Cooper said of the USMC’s training technique. “We try to give them tiny, little fixes to what they already have going on.”

GySgt Daniel Rhodes, the staff non-commissioned officer in charge of the Marine Corps Rifle Team, helped lead instruction on the firing line in 2021. Rhodes was pleased with the turnout of around 80 juniors. Rhodes explained that around 25 percent of the juniors in the clinic were first-timers.

Team CMP Advanced High Power Clinic:
Led by members of Team CMP (the organization’s own competitive High Power squad) the Advanced High Power Clinic offers more complex instruction in service rifle competition techniques using classroom and range discussion. Though the class traditionally only utilizes dry-fire training on the range, in 2021, a 600-yard live-fire portion was added.

CMP National Matches Camp Perry Brandon Green USAMU marksmanship training
The Advanced High Power Clinic, led by Team CMP members including Bob Gil (above), provides advanced training on wind reading, mental management and more.

With 65 individuals signed up, the course was broken into groups headed by Sara Rozanski, James Fox, Nick Till, Danny Arnold, Robert Taylor and Bob Gil — all experienced and award-winning marksmen. Each focused on a specific area, such as wind reading, mental management and positioning.

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September 9th, 2021

Mental Preparation for Shooting Competitions

randi rogers mental preparation

Randi Rogers is one of best female action shooters in the world. Randi has captured over 60 World and National Titles in seven different shooting disciplines for pistol, shotgun, and rifle. From her early wins in the world of Cowboy Action Shooting, to bringing home a Gold Medal from the 2011 IPSC World Shot in Greece, Randi is a winner. Competing as ‘Holy Terror’, Randi has won the ladies’ division at the SASS Cowboy Action World Championships so many times, they might as well retire the Ladies’ Trophy with her name on it. Randi, who started shooting at age 11, now competes in several disciplines including Cowboy Action Shooting, USPSA, Steel Challenge, IDPA, IPSC, and NRA Action Pistol. When Randi is not on the road or in the office (where she serves as Comp-Tac’s Marketing/Sales Manager), there’s a good chance you’ll find Randi on the range preparing for the next match. In this article from RandiRogersShooting.com, Randi talks about the “mental game” and how she gets ready for a big match.

randi rogers mental preparation


Preparing Mentally for a Shooting Competition by Randi Rogers

As I head to [a major match] I have a lot of tasks to complete. One of the most important [tasks] is preparing mentally. For an experienced shooter, the mental part of shooting is more important than knowing how to pull a trigger. The mind is an amazing thing and if you/it believes something, your mind will override all the skills you have. Example: if you think that you are bad at throwing a ball you will throw the ball badly.

Over the years I have formed a few techniques to help myself with my mental game:

1. Make Peace with your Current Skills. When I get on the plane is when my mental preperation really starts. This is when I decide that I am ready to shoot, confident in my skills and can achive the goals I set for myself. From this point forward I make peace with my shooting and tell myself that if I follow my plan I will achive my goals. There is no longer any time for me to become a better shooter.

2. Set a Goal and a Plan. When I attend a shooting competition I have a goal in mind and a plan for how I want to get there. This varies on what shooting sport it is. I may have the goal that I want to place in the top half of the shooters in my division. In order to achieve that goal I may have decided that I need to concentrate on accuracy. When you set goals and plans they need to reflect all of the work you have been doing. For instance, it does not make sense to say “I will win everything” if you haven’t practiced in four years. It is important to set achievable but still challenging goals.

3. Stay Positive! Whenever you set goals or “talk” to yourself mentally it is important to stay away from negative commands and negative words. I don’t tell myself “Don’t Miss,” because this is a negative command. It is like telling a child “Don’t spill the milk.” What are they going to do? Spill the milk.

4. Stick to the Plan. As I get ready and start competing in the match sometimes my mental voice goes haywire saying things like, “that wasn’t fast enough,” “that was a huge mistake,” “look how fast they are,” “they are going to beat you” and so on. It is hard but you have to banish these thoughts. You can’t change your plan now, there is nothing that you can do to suddenly become a better shooter. Instead think of your goal and plan and repeat it to yourself over and over again. For instance, “I am going to finish in the top half of my division and I am going to shoot accurately.”

As I head into a major competition my mental plan is to [remember] “Sights” and “Stay Aggressive.” I want to make sure I am remembering to look at my sights and shoot accurately, but I also want to make sure that I am not getting lazy. I need to move and shoot as fast as possible while still making my hits. As for my goal, I will keep that a secret for now.

5. Work on your Weak Points On her Facebook Page, Randi posted: “Fun fact — when I first started shooting, my left hand was so weak that the gun would jam up every single shot. So my grandfather made me shoot for a week straight with nothing but support hand. To this day I never sweat support hand stages even if they are limited!”

Have a great next match and remember Rise to the Challenge! — Randi Rogers, Team Ruger

Watch Randi Speed Through a Cowboy Action Competition Stage

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September 8th, 2021

CMP New England Games in Vermont September 19-26, 2021

2021 CMP Games New England Electronic Targets

CMP games new englandOn September 19-26, the CMP 2021 New England Games will take place in Jericho, Vermont. Hosted by the Vermont State Rifle and Pistol Association and the Burlington Rifle and Pistol Club, the New England Games will be conducted at the Camp Ethan Allen Training Site, a beautiful facility.

» CLICK HERE to Register for 2021 CMP New England Games

New England Games Registration is currently open. Competitors are encouraged to register right away, though interested shooters will also be able to register for additional matches while attending the event. The CMP expects over 150 competitors this year. The New England Games have become extremely popular for the breathtaking views and serene environment. Add in the new electronic target system and you have a recipe for success.

IMPORTANT — New Magazine Restrictions. To comply with a new Vermont law, competitors may NOT bring 20-round magazines into Vermont. Competitors may use 10-round magazines during the New England Games to be compliant with the new Vermont State Law. Note, however, you may BORROW a 20-round magazine from a member of the Vermont State Rifle and Pistol Association after your arrival to Camp Ethan Allen. Contact a CMP associate during check-out process for magazine loans.

2017 CMP Games New England Electronic Targets

The 2021 New England Games will feature the CMP’s electronic High Power targets. The electronic target system is now well-sorted and provides accurate scoring. Shooters have monitors right at their shooting stations, providing instant scoring info — no more waiting for the targets to be marked manually. And with the elimination of pit duty allowed by the target system, matches are completed more quickly.

Here’s the view from the berm, looking back to the firing line…
new england cmp games 2017 camp ethan Allen

new england cmp games 2017 camp ethan Allen

Similar to the Eastern, Western, and Oklahoma CMP Travel games, the New England Games features a variety of competitive shooting matches. The CMP Highpower Rifle Matches include a 4-Man Team Match, two CMP 800 Aggregate Matches followed by an EIC Service Rifle Match. Following the CMP HP Matches will be the CMP Games Matches. The CMP Games Matches include Rifle Marksmanship 101 & M16 Match (formerly SAFS), Garand/Springfield/Vintage/Modern Military Matches, Carbine Match, Rimfire Sporter Match and Vintage Sniper Team Match. There are also several pistol matches for competitors to fire including CMP As-Issued 1911 Pistol Match, EIC Service Pistol Match, and .22 Rimfire Pistol EIC Match.

There will also be a GSM New Shooter Clinic and an M1 Maintenance Clinic during the event. CMP Sales will be at NE Games with a limited supply of rifles. They will also have ammo available for purchase.

High Praise for Venue and Match
Competitors at past CMP New England Games were mightily impressed by Camp Ethan Allen, a beautiful venue. “I was blown away by the facilities at Camp Ethan Allen,” said Steve Cooper, CMP North general manager. “The grounds were neatly manicured, our offices for registration and sales were very convenient and the classrooms were perfect for our clinics.” Photos from past events are posted on the CMP’s Zenfolio website.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a true CMP Games event without a Rimfire Sporter Match.
New England Games CMP CEATS SAFS

The CEATS Pistol Range hosted both centerfire and rimfire matches in a lovely, tree-lined setting.
New England Games CMP CEATS SAFS

Learn More about the CMP New England Games
For registration, travel, and housing information, visit the New England Games Page on the CMP website. If you have questions, Contact Vera Snyder at vsnyder@thecmp.org or call 888-267-0796, ext. 782. Competitors can also find more housing information here at Vermont.org/places-to-stay.

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September 5th, 2021

Handy 50-Yard Sight-In Target for .30-06 Vintage Military Rifles

Garand sighting 50 yard target

Take a look at that unusual target below. We bet you’ve never seen one of these before. It’s a 50-Yard Sighting Target for the M1 Garand (and other .30-06 Springfield vintage military rifles). It’s designed to allow a rifleman to confirm his zeros for multiple yardages all the way out to 1000 yards. But importantly, he can establish those zeros at a very “short” shooting facility, since the target is positioned at a mere 50 yards.

Garand sighting 50 yard target

Here’s how it works. The target is placed at fifty (50) yards. You start at the bottom, aiming at the black circle. Then check your come-up table and work your way up, clicking step-by-step to the various horizontal lines set for 200, 300, 500, 600 and 1000 yards. This is NOT “spray and pray” — you need to have a pretty good idea of the clicks you need, based on your ammo’s ballistics. This target is calibrated for the U.S. Military M72 Ball Ammo. The targets are available from Champion’s Choice ($0.75 each) or from Creedmoor Sports (12 for $5.95).

Kevin Thomas used this target to get zeroed for a D-Day Anniversary Match at the Talladega Marksmanship Park a few seasons back. Kevin used the target for both his M1 Garand as well as his M1903A1 Springfield, both chambered for the .30-06 Springfield cartridge.

Garand sighting 50 yard target

Zeroing at a Short Distance — How to Use the 50-Yard Sighting Target, by Kevin Thomas
As part of my preparation for the Garand Match at the CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park, I needed to zero my new M1 Garand, but I was crunched for time. I didn’t have time to get to my normal range and confirm zeros at actual yardages. But a 50-yard zero target came to the rescue. Made for M1s using the M72 National Match ammo, the target allows the shooter to establish fairly good zeros at 200, 300, 500, 600 and 1,000 yards if you’ve got access to a 50-yard range.

I have no idea when these 50-yard Sighting Targets were first developed, but they’ve been around for at least as long as I’ve been involved in this game (longer than I care to admit). It consists of a tall target, with a smallish black bullseye located at the bottom center. The bullseye is an aiming point only. Extending through the top of the target is a vertical line that runs directly up the center, to nearly the top of the paper. Across this, there are intersecting horizontal lines that are marked 200, 300, 500, 600 and 1,000.

The target was designed for the M1 Garand rifle using then-issued M72 National Match ammunition. This ammo launched a 173gr FMJBT bullet at approximately 2,640 FPS. It was a good load in its day, supersonic out to the 1,000-yard line. While that ammo is fairly scarce these days, this isn’t a problem for the handloader. My standard match load for the M1 Garand utilizes the 175gr Lapua Scenar HPBT, and delivers remarkably similar ballistic performance. Thus my normal Garand load translates nicely to this 50-yard target. Yes, this is by design. No point in reinventing the wheel when Lake City has already established what works!

Garand sighting 50 yard target

In use, the shooter sets the target up at a measured 50 yards, and (this is critical) checks the vertical line with a plumb bob or a carpenter’s level, to ensure that it is absolutely vertical. Once the target is set, the rifle is fired and the group noted. From there, it is a simple matter of zeroing it normally to bring the groups into alignment with the vertical line, at the elevation needed for a particular range. Once your group is hammering the intersection of the vertical line and the horizontal line marked “200”, you have established your 200-yard zero for that rifle. Record the number of clicks, and you’re good to go. Raise the impacts up to coincide with the line marked “300” and you now have a 300-yard zero as well. And so on, right up the target. Record those settings in your data book, and you’re ready to go to the range at the full distances. If done carefully, you may be in the X-Ring, but at the very least, you’ll be well-centered and ready to get some hard dope recorded for future shoots.

The same target can also be used with an M14/M1A, at least at the shorter distances. The ballistics of the M118 and the current M118LR are similar enough that this will get you on target at the full distances, probably requiring just a half MOA or so change from the 50 yard zero you recorded. Same bullets, moving at a slightly more sedate 2,550 fps, you’ll be in the ballpark at least.

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September 4th, 2021

Blast from the Past — Setting Prize-Winning Record in 1955


Barney M. Auston of Tulsa, OK with rifle he built to break NBRSA record and win $250 cash award from Sierra Bullets. (From cover of Precision Shooting magazine. May 1956).

Way back in 1955 Sierra Bullets offered a $1000 prize for anyone setting a new Aggregate benchrest record with a 6mm (or larger) bullet. At the time the .222 Remington ruled the roost, and Sierra wanted to promote the larger caliber. (NOTE: That was serious money in 1955 — the equivalent of $10,187 in current dollars corrected for inflation). Sierra also offered a $250.00 prize for a record-breaking performance with any size caliber (including the .22s). Here is the story of how a Tulsa shooter claimed the $250.00 award with a world-record-setting Aggregate involving 10-shot groups at 100 and 200 yards.

Barney Auston’s record-setting rifle was built on an FN Mauser action with double set trigger, with a Hart stainless steel barrel, 30″ x 1 1/8″, chambered for the .222 Remington cartridge. The stock, made by Auston, has a hydraulic bedder as made by L. F. Landwehr of Jefferson City, MO. The scope is a 24X, 2″ inch Unertl. Mr. Auston shot 50gr bullets, custom made by W. M. Brown of Augusta, Ohio, with .705″ Sierra cups and soft swedged. His powder charge was 21 grains of 4198. The rifle rests, both front and rear, were also made by Auston.

Record-Setting Performance
On August 20, 1955, shooting at night in a registered shoot on the John Zink range near Tulsa, Oklahoma, Barney M. Auston of Tulsa broke the existing National Match Course aggregate record. As the first person to do that in 1955, Auston won the Sierra Bullets $250 cash award. Here is the original Sierra Bullets prize offer from 1955:

10-Shot Groups at 100 and 200
Mr. Auston’s winning Aggregate for the National Match Course (five 10-shot groups at 100 yards and five 10-shot groups at 200 yards) was .4512 MOA. He also broke the 200-yard aggregate with an average of .4624 MOA, beating the .4801 match MOA record set by L.E. Wilson only a month earlier.

Barney Auston was a custom rifle maker in Tulsa who fabricated the rifles used by many of the leading benchrest competitors in the Mid-Continent and Guild Coast Regions. Auston was himself one of the top benchrest shooters in those regions during his shooting career.

Editor’s Note: Both of Mr. Auston’s records were broken before the end of the 1955 shooting season, but Auston was the first to win the Sierra Prize. Interestingly, in setting his record, Austin broke the existing Agg record by L.E. Wilson of Cashmere, Washington — yes, the same L.E. Wilson that now makes dies.

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September 3rd, 2021

Weakside Bolt Placement — When and Why It Works

left port McMillan Rifle

Most bolt-action rifle shooters work the bolt with their trigger-pulling hand. This is because most rifles sold to right-handed shooters come with right-side bolts, while “lefty” rifles come with left-side bolts. This “standard” configuration requires the shooter to take his dominant, trigger-pulling hand off the stock to cycle the bolt, then re-position his hand on the stock, and “re-claim” the trigger. Often the shooter must lift or move his head to work the bolt, and that also requires him to re-establish his cheek weld after each and every shot. Not good.

This really doesn’t make much sense for precision shooting with fore-end support*. There is a better way. If you leave your trigger hand in position and work the bolt (and feed rounds) with the opposite hand, then you don’t need to shift grip and head position with each shot. All this requires is a weakside-placed bolt, i.e. a left bolt for a right-handed shooter or a right bolt for a left-handed shooter. The video below shows a “Lefty” working a right bolt. Note how efficient this is:

As our friend Boyd Allen explains: “If you think about it, if you are going to work with a factory action where your options are left bolt and left port or right bolt and right port, and you are building a rifle that will only be shot from a rest, using the left/left for a RH shooter or using a right/right for a LH shooter works better than the conventional configuration”.

Shoot Like a Champ and Work the Bolt with Your Weakside Hand
Derek Rodgers, the current F-TR World Champion and the only person to have won BOTH F-Open and F-TR U.S. National Championships plus the King of 2 Miles Match, runs this kind of “opposite” bolt set-up. Yep, Derek shoots right-handed with a left bolt. Though Derek is a right-hander, he shoots with a Left Bolt/Left Port (LBLP) action. He pulls the trigger with his right index finger, while working the left-side bolt with his left (weakside) hand. This allows him to stay in position, and maintain his cheekweld. He places his right hand on the grip, while manipulating the bolt (and feeding rounds) with his non-trigger-pulling hand.

Recent F-TR World Champion and King of 2 Miles Derek Rodgers
left port McMillan Rifle Derek Rodgers

This is the rifle with which Derek won the 2013 F-TR National Championship.
left port McMillan Rifle Derek Rodgers

*For true standing, off-hand shooting (whether in competition or on a hunt), a conventional strongside bolt placement makes sense, since the non-dominant arm must support the front of the rifle all the time. When shooting from bipod or rest, it’s a different story.

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September 2nd, 2021

F-Class Wow Factor — Borden Action, Cerus Stock, Brux Barrel

Speedy Thomas Gonzalez F-Open F-Class .284 Winchester 284 win custom rifle
Note the owner’s name, “S. Limbourne” was engraved on the bolt release (and trigger guard, see below).

Competition rifles don’t need to be beautiful, as long as they shoot. But who doesn’t like a spectacular figured-wood stock, particularly when it is combined with a superb custom action and a tack-driving barrel. This custom .284 Winchester F-Class Open division rig was crafted by gunsmith Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez for competitive shooter Scott Limbourne. The handsome Bacote wood stock comes from Cerus Rifleworks, while the action is a polished Borden RBRP BRMXD. Two Brux 1:9″-twist barrels were chambered for the project, both finished at 32″. The stock is also fitted with a R.A.D. Recoil System. This rig has top-of-the-line hardware all around.

Speedy Thomas Gonzalez F-Open F-Class .284 Winchester 284 win custom rifle

Speedy Thomas Gonzalez F-Open F-Class .284 Winchester 284 win custom rifle

Action: Borden BRMXD – Polished
Rail: 20 MOA Polished
Chambering: .284 Winchester
Trigger: Jewell BR – Blueprinted
Barrel: (2x) Brux 32″ 1:9″ Twist
Stock: Cerus F-Open in Exhibition Grade Bacote
Recoil System: R.A.D. System
Extras: Carbon Fiber Tunnel Plate, Custom Engraving Work on Action, Trigger Guard, and Bolt Release.

Speedy Thomas Gonzalez F-Open F-Class .284 Winchester 284 win custom rifle

Speedy Thomas Gonzalez F-Open F-Class .284 Winchester 284 win custom rifle

You’ll find other impressive rigs on Speedy’s Facebook Page. If you’d like a superb custom rifle like this, call Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez at 972-672-6630, or send email to: speedy.godzilla [at] msn.com.

SPEEDY GONZALEZ
9023 HUEBNER RD. STE 102
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78240

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August 30th, 2021

SSG Amanda Elsenboss Wins National High Power Championship

Amanda Elsenboss 2021 High Power Champion championship Camp atterbury service rifle National Guard USAMU

Hail the new Champion — SSG Amanda Elsenboss is the 2021 NRA High Power Rifle National Champion. Amanda secured the High Power title with a Grand Aggregate score of 2386-133X. This is a major achievement for Amanda. In winning the coveted High Power title, Amanda is now just the third female to earn this honor, along with Nancy Tompkins and Nancy’s daughter Sherri Gallagher. And we believe this is the first time a woman won the High Power title shooting a Service Rifle in all matches.

Amanda Elsenboss 2021 High Power Champion championship Camp atterbury service rifle National Guard USAMU

Elsenboss, formerly with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, now competes with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard Team. She is classified as a High Master in NRA High Power. Finishing second overall was SSG John Coggshall of the Army National Guard with a score of 2380-125X. Coggshall, like Amanda, shot a Service Rifle. Kenneth Lankford, shooting a Match Rifle, finished third with 2379-104X.


CLICK HERE for Full High Power Championships Results »

The match was held August 22–28 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. On her Facebook Page, Amanda posted:

“Today was a great day. After four long, hot days on the range I won the 2021 NRA [High Power] Rifle Championships. Thank you to everyone for the support and encouragement along the way. Congratulations to John Coggshall for coming in second overall and second Service Rifle, and to Kirk Freeman for being third Service Rifle. It was some great shooting by the Guard… and everyone really making the last day count.”

Amanda Elsenboss 2021 High Power Champion championship Camp atterbury service rifle National Guard USAMU

Amanda added: “I have to thank my biggest supporter — Perry Sabertooth X Mayfly” (shown above in Amanda’s shooting cart at Camp Atterbury).

Before Her High Power Victory, Amanda Took 2nd in Long Range

Amanda Elsenboss 2021 High Power Champion championship Camp atterbury service rifle National Guard USAMU
Before winning the 2021 High Power National Championship, Amanda took second in the 2021 NRA Long Range National Championship, also held at Camp Atterbury.

This has been a great summer for Amanda at Camp Atterbury. She finished second overall at the 2021 NRA Long-Range Nationals, behind Oliver Milanovic, and she also won the Canadian Cup at Atterbury. Prior to that, competing at Camp Perry with the National Guard All Guard Marksmanship Team, Amanda shot perfect individual scores in both the National Trophy and Hearst Doubles team events. Her 500-34X in the National Trophy Team (NTT) event set a National Record.

Amanda, then shooting with the USAMU team, previously won the NRA Long Range National Championship in 2019. Now that she has won BOTH High Power and Long Range National Championships, Amanda can truly be ranked among the most notable shooters in U.S. history.

Amanda Elsenboss — America’s New Leading Lady of Shooting

SSG Amanda Elsenboss 2021 NRA High Power Championship

Before his retirement from the U.S. Army, Emil Praslick III coached Amanda as a shooter with the U.S. Army Markmanship (USAMU) team. Emil, considered one of the greatest shooting coaches in the nation, was impressed with Amanda’s skill and dedication. Emil posted: “[Amanda is] by far the easiest shooter to coach I’ve ever worked with. A machine.”

SSG Amanda Elsenboss high power championship NRA Camp Atterbury

Video Interview with SSG Amanda Elsenboss
This video, featuring SSG Amanda Elsenboss, was created by the USAMU to mark Women’s History Month. Amanda talks about her career in the military, and her love of competitive shooting. This is a great video, well worth watching. There are images from many shooting ranges around the nation.

SSG Amanda Elsenboss. CLICK Speaker Icon to Hear Sound!

When serving with the USAMU, Amanda shot the sling division at the Berger SW Nationals:
SSG Amanda Elsenboss

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August 29th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: King of point28 Miles — Rimfire ELR Match in MN

king of point28 miles KO2M rimfire .22 LR ELR applied ballistics

No this isn’t the King of 2 Miles ELR event. But it is the rimfire equivalent — the King of 0.28 Miles (roughly 500 yards). Every year in Minnesota a challenging rimfire match is held at the scenic Rush Lake Range. This combines PRS-style stage shooting out to 300+ yards, along with prone rimfire ELR shooting out to the full “point28 miles”. The 2021 King of point28 Miles match kicked off on August 27, 2021, and concludes today, August 29, 2021. CLICK HERE for LIVE Video from 8/29/21 match, courtesy Applied Ballistics LLC.

king of point28 miles KO2M rimfire .22 LR ELR applied ballistics

king of point28 miles KO2M rimfire .22 LR ELR applied ballistics

king of point28 miles KO2M rimfire .22 LR ELR applied ballistics

king of point28 miles KO2M rimfire .22 LR ELR applied ballistics

The King of point28 Miles match features custom-painted steel targets
king of point28 miles KO2M rimfire .22 LR ELR applied ballistics

king of point28 miles KO2M rimfire .22 LR ELR applied ballistics

king of point28 miles KO2M rimfire .22 LR ELR applied ballistics
Here is an interesting rimfire rig with a unique front end.

Video from 2019 Match (Don’t mind the distorted first frame — the video is excellent!)

king of point28 miles KO2M rimfire .22 LR ELR applied ballisticsTactical Rimfire and .22 LR Rimfire ELR
As conducted in recent years, the King of point28 Miles has been a unique “hybrid” type of competition. The match begins with multiple tactical-style stages with steel targets at various distances. Many of the steel targets are custom-painted, some with elaborate faces. Some stages included PRS/NRL-style barricades or support structures. In past years there have been some specialty targets such as the Accushot One-Shot Challenge (see right) which uses playing cards.

After the shorter stages, there is the namesake “point28 Miles” competition, with dozens of competitors lined up prone shoot distant targets — starting at about 300 yards and moving out progressively to targets 0.28 miles away (about 500 yards). How challenging is that? Consider this — at 500 yards a .22 LR rimfire cartridge may be only traveling 610 fps while a 10mph 90-degree wind can deflect the bullet 8.75 feet off point-of-aim!*

CLICK HERE for LIVE Video from the 8/29/2021 match, ELR stages.

king of point28 miles KO2M rimfire .22 LR ELR applied ballistics
Competitor in Long-Range prone event with Masterpiece Arms (MPA) Chassis rifle.

Custom Personal Drag Models (PDMs) for Rimfire Competitors
The Team from Applied Ballistics was on hand for the King of point28 match. They brought the AB Mobile Lab trailer with its computers, sensors, and advanced Doppler Radar equipment. The Doppler Radar was employed to create custom ballistic profiles (aka “Personal Drag Models”) for 90+ shooters.

king of point28 miles KO2M rimfire .22 LR ELR applied ballistics

Personal Drag Models (PDMs) provide shooters with exact, precise ballistics data for their preferred ammo as fired in their match rifles. This is especially important for rimfire ammo which may start supersonic, then go transonic, and finish well subsonic during much of its flight. Bryan Litz explains: “The Doppler Radar system allows us to track the bullet’s velocity as it flies down-range. As the bullet’s velocity decays, that’s what tells you the ballistic coefficient, the drag, and [other factors].”

king of point28 miles KO2M rimfire .22 LR ELR applied ballistics

Prizes Galore for King of point28 Miles Competitors

king of point28 miles KO2M rimfire .22 LR ELR applied ballistics
With a big list of sponsors, the King of point28 Miles Match always has an impressive prize table. Vudoo Gunworks and Accurate Rifle Systems also provided a Match Charity Rifle.

king of point28 miles KO2M rimfire .22 LR ELR applied ballistics
Interesting 4-wheeled range carts from sponsor Range Tactical Gear. Carts are priced from $395 to $650.


* Trajectory calculated with JBM Ballistics based on .22-cal 40gr bullet with 1150 fps muzzle velocity and 0.125 G1 BC. With that BC and MV, the drop at 500 yards from 100-yard zero is 20.1 MOA. Rimfire bullets launched at higher MVs, or which have higher BCs, will exhibit less drop and less wind drift.

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August 28th, 2021

Prone Shooting Technique — Mastering the Prone Position

prone shooting position smallbore highpower lones wigger nra sports usa

Shooting Sports USA (SSUSA) offers a wide selection of informative articles on marksmanship techniques. If you shoot prone, “hard-holding”, you know how important proper positioning and technique can be. There is a SSUSA article that every prone shooter should read — whether you shoot air rifle, smallbore, or High Power. Compiled wtih the help of some of the country’s best prone marksmen, this article, How to Master Prone Shooting, provides a step-by-step guide to perfecting your prone position technique.

READ Full Article on Shooting Sports USA »

How to Master Prone Shooting — SSUSA by NRA Staff
The prone position is the most precise of the rifle shooting positions. It is used in many different shooting events at distances as close as 5 meters and as far away as 1,000 yards, and beyond that in long-range disciplines such as PRS and NRL. Prone shooting is very popular among shooters whose training time is limited, because it does not require as much practice. Age has little effect on a shooter’s ability to do well in prone; many older shooters are able to continue competing successfully in prone matches.

Here is a sample, listing STEP ONE, the basics of the prone position:

Step One: Study the Position
The prone position is steady because it is low, which gives a wide base of support to help keep the rifle still. Below are the key features of the prone position.

1. Straight line form left hand through left arm, side and leg.
2. Head tipped down comfortably.
3. Right hand grips rifle lightly.
4. Body lies behind rifle. Angle to rifle is 10 to 20 degrees.
5. Right knee bent slightly, toe pointing out.
6. Rifle lies on heel of left hand, fingers relaxed.
7. Left elbow rests to left of rifle.
8. Sling (if present) supports weight of rifle. Left arm relaxed.
9. Body rests slightly more on left side.
10. Left leg straight, toe pointing inward or straight back.

There are FIVE MORE STEPS described in detail with specific actions to perform, in the FULL Article. For example, in STEP FOUR (Sling Adjustment), the article explains: “Put the sling high on the arm and tighten the sling keeper. Wrap the arm around the sling so that the sling comes across the left hand and forearm.”

prone shooting position smallbore highpower lones wigger nra sports usa

prone shooting position smallbore highpower lones wigger nra sports usa

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August 21st, 2021

Oliver Milanovic Wins NRA Long Range National Championship

NRA High Power long range national championship palma oliver milanovic Eliseo tubegun
Top Guns at LR Nat’l Championship: SSG Amanda Elsenbuss (2nd place), Oliver Milanovic (Champion), Jeffrey Miles (3rd place). Photo courtesy Shooting Sports USA.

NRA High Power long range national championship palma oliver milanovic Eliseo tubegunMilanovic Wins LR National Championship
We have a new Long-Range National Champion. Competing at Camp Atterbury in Indiana, Oliver Milanovic took the 2021 NRA National Long Range Championship with a score of 1245-73X. Oliver was shooting an Eliseo Chassis + Borden Action Palma Rifle with 155gr bullets. Finishing second, tied on points but with four fewer Xs, was 2019 National Long Range Champion SSG Amanda Elsenbuss, with 1245-69X. In third place was Jeffrey Miles, just one point back, with 1244-73X.

As you can see, with the top three shooters all separated by just one point, it was a very close competition. But Milanovic, a popular marksman from Arizona, put on an impressive performance to take the win and the Thompkins Trophy. No stranger to the podium, Oliver has been on the winning Sling Division Team at the Berger SW Nationals in the past.

For all the relays, Milanovic shot his trusty .308 Winchester Competition Machine (Eliseo) chassis rifle with a Borden action, loading Palma-spec 155-gr bullets. In the Long Range Championship, other chamberings are allowed for some stages, but we’re told Oliver ran his 155gr Palma load throughout. Milanovic also won the Palma Individual Trophy Match with an impressive 450-30X score, not dropping a single point.

CLICK HERE for Full Long Range Nat’l Championship Results »

NRA High Power long range national championship palma oliver milanovic Eliseo tubegun

NRA High Power long range national championship palma oliver milanovic Eliseo tubegun

A full report on the 2021 NRA High Power Long Range Championship will appear in a future digital edition of Shooting Sports USA.

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August 21st, 2021

How to Install and Adjust Competition Rifle Slings

Dennis DeMille Creedmoor Sports Rifle Sling video training set-up
Dennis DeMille shows a young competitor at the CMP Western Games how to adjust his leather sling.

The NRA High Power Over-the-Course (OTC) National Championship will be held at Camp Atterbury over the next 7 days. Firing will be done in multiple positions — prone, sitting/kneeling, and standing. Proper support and adjustment of the sling is vital for successful High Power competition. In this short article, Dennis DeMille, a past Service Rifle Champion, explains how to set-up a sling on match rifles.

Setting-Up a Leather Service Rifle Sling for Competition
So you made the mistake of disassembling your leather service rifle sling, or are intimidated about how to use one? In this Creedmoor Sports InfoZone video, Dennis DeMille (past Creedmoor G.M.) explains how to set up and use a sling. The covers the basics — Dennis starts with a totally disassembled leather service rifle sling and shows you how to set it up properly.

Tip: “Many shooters shy away from using a leather sling because they have never been taught how to use one. That’s unfortunate. In my opinion a leather sling offers more support than a web sling, which is important when competiting with the heavier than normal rifles.”

Configuring the Sling for the Standing (Offhand) Position
In this second in a series of Creedmoor InfoZone videos on the setup and use of the leather service rifle sling, Dennis DeMille details how to configure and best utilize the leather service rifle sling while shooting from the standing position.

Tip: “Putting the Frogs in different hole will change the amount of added elevation a sling provides.”

Looking at Sling Types — Comparing the Features
In this video Dennis showcases a large variety of shooting slings. He explains the strong points of each type so you can choose the sling best suited to your discipline and shooting style.

Dennis DeMille High PowerThe Benefits of Dry-Fire Training
Once you know how to set up your sling properly, you’ll want to practice. Dennis DeMille stresses the importance of dry-fire practice with sling and shooting coat. Dry-Fire training is essential to the sling disciplines. Dennis DeMille, a national Service Rifle Champion, told us that, for every minute he spent in actual competition, he would spend hours practicing without ammunition. While in the USMC, Dennis would practice in the barracks, working on his hold and dry-firing:

“The most important thing is to spend time off the range practicing. Most of what I learned as a High Power shooter I learned without ammunition — just spending time dry firing and doing holding exercises. Holding exercises will really identify the weak parts of your position. The primary purpose of dry firing is to get you used to shooting an empty rifle. If you can shoot a loaded rifle the same way you shoot an empty rifle then eventually you will become a High Master.”

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August 19th, 2021

Long Range Matches at Camp Atterbury This Week

Camp Atterbury Palma Long Range Matches Wimbledon 2021

The 2021 NRA Long Range Target Rifle Championships, and Palma Matches, have been taking place this week at Camp Atterbury in Indiana. May of America’s top sling shooters have been competing, employing their skills on targets at 800 to 1000 yards. The Palma Team and individual matches were held August 15-16, with other matches running through Friday, August 19.

Camp Atterbury Palma Long Range Matches Wimbledon 2021

15 August — Palma Team Match
16 August — Palma Individual Match
17 August — Leech Cup/Porter/Andrus/Roumanian Team Matches
18 August — Wimbledon Cup/Farr/Doc Aiken/Herrick Team Matches
19 August — Mustin/Remington (and Shoot-offs)/Award Ceremonies*

Camp Atterbury Palma Long Range Matches Wimbledon 2021

Last day of the 2021 NRA National Long-Range Championships at Camp Atterbury:

Thomas Colyer Wins Leech Cup Shoot-Off
Forum member Corbin Shell reported: “I was fortunate to score for Thomas Colyer who shoots on the Oak Ridge Sportsmen’s Association (ORSA) long range rifle team. His Shoot-Off score was a 100-5X — not dropping a point. Michelle Gallagher was also in the Leech Shoot off and shot 99-3X.” A talented marksman, Thomas Colyer also won the Wimbledon Cup several years ago.

Camp Atterbury Palma Long Range Matches Wimbledon 2021
Camp Atterbury Palma Long Range Matches Wimbledon 2021

Phillip Crowe Wins Mustin Match
FYI, Phillip Crowe, also from Oak Ridge Sportsmen’s Association (ORSA) long range team, won the Mustin match with a Shoot-Off score of 99-3X. Here is a photo of Phillip at the beginning of the Mustin Shoot-Off.

Camp Atterbury Palma Long Range Matches Wimbledon 2021

Palma Competition — by John Parker, Shooting Sports USA

According to the NRA High Power Rules 3.3.1 (a), a Palma rifle is “a rifle with metallic sights chambered for the .308/7.62 or .223/5.56 NATO cartridge case”.

When talking about Palma rifle competition, the traditional course of fire is at three yardages, 800, 900 and 1000 yards. The first Palma match was conducted by the NRA in 1875 at New York’s Creedmoor Range. The original Palma trophy, now lost to the ages, was commissioned by none other than Tiffanys. SEE 2018 SSUSA Camp Atterbury Long Range Gallery HERE.

Camp Atterbury Palma Long Range Matches Wimbledon 2021


* This is the schedule as published on the NRA Camp Atterbury National Matches Official Calendar. However it appears the Mustin Shoot-Off was completed on Thursday, August 18.

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August 18th, 2021

2021 Bianchi Cup on Shooting USA Today

NRA Bianchi Cup Missouri Hallsville Green Valley Dough Koenig Jesse Harrison Duff
Photo from DougKoenig.com.

Today Shooting USA TV features the 2021 Bianchi Cup, hosted May 24-28, 2021 at the Green Valley Rifle & Pistol Club in Hallsville, Missouri (near Columbia). Last year’s Bianchi Cup was cancelled due to COVID. In 2021 the four stages of fire are back, but without international competitors, who were locked out due to pandemic travel restrictions. But there was still plenty of superb marksmanship.

NRA Bianchi Cup Missouri Hallsville Green Valley Dough Koenig Jesse Harrison Duff

This episode of Shooting USA airs Wednesday, August 18, 2021, 9:00 PM Eastern and Pacific, 8:00 PM Central on the Outdoor Channel. Shooting USA is also available On Demand via Vimeo.com.

Officially, the annual competition is known as the National Championship of NRA Action Pistol. But its is generally called the Bianchi Cup — from the trophy named for one of the founders, John Bianchi. In the past 30 years the match has become the richest handgun tournament in the world, with cash and prizes for the best scores on four stages of fire. Today’s Shooting USA episode will spotlight top male and female Bianchi Cup competitors.

NRA Bianchi Cup Missouri Hallsville Green Valley Dough Koenig Jesse Harrison Duff

The Bianchi Cup has been called the most prestigious pistol tournament in the world. After the cancellation of the 2020 Bianchi Cup due to COVID-19 restrictions, bringing the match back for 2021 involved challenges given health and safety protocols. In 2021 the NRA turned the organization and management of the match over to a new group from the Green Valley Rifle and Pistol Club. And the International Competitors, who have previously made up much of field of competitors, are not able to shoot with the continuing travel restrictions for COVID-19.

NRA Bianchi Cup Missouri Hallsville Green Valley Dough Koenig Jesse Harrison Duff

Due to the high accuracy required in each stage of the Bianchi Cup, the tournament is considered one of the most difficult handgun championships on the planet. To finish on top, you have to be near-perfect. Ace shooter Carl Bernosky (shown above) explains: “To win a Bianchi Cup you’ve got to be consistent. You’ve got to shoot good ALL the time… you can’t make any mistakes.”

Bianchi Cup — the Richest Handgun Match on the Planet

Over the past 30+ years the Bianchi Cup has become the richest handgun event in the world, with cash and prizes for the best scores on four stages of fire for both revolver and semi-auto pistol divisions.

Bianchi Cup — Classic Course of Fire
The Bianchi Cup is a combination of Speed and Accuracy. Competitors shoot from both standing and prone positions and are also required to shoot with both strong and weak hands at various stages. Stages may combine stationary and moving targets. As conceived by former police officer and holster-maker John Bianchi, the Bianchi Cup originated in 1979 as a Law Enforcement Training match. The Course of Fire consists of four separate matches:

Event I: Practical
Rounds: 48
Target: NRA AP-1
Distances: 10, 15, 25 and 50 yards

Event II: Clive Whelan Barricade
Rounds: 48
Target: NRA AP-1
Distances: 10, 15, 25 and 35 yards

Event III: Moving Target (Modified)
Rounds: 48
Target: NRA AP-1
Distances: 10, 15, 20 and 25 yards

Event IV: Olin “Oli” C. Barjenbruch Falling Plates
Rounds: 48
Target: 8-inch round plate
Distances: 10, 15, 20 and 25 yards

The Bianchi Cup is scored on the Aggregate of the four (4) fired events: Practical, Barricade, and Moving Target, and Falling Plates. Each of the four events requires 48 shots to complete. 480 points possible on each event. Three of the four are scored on the NRA tombstone P1 target. You must hit in the 10-ring or inner X-Ring on EVERY shot to shoot a “clean” 1920.

Bianchi Cup pistol target tombstone silhouette doug koenig

Four Divisions in 2021 Bianchi Cup
There are now FOUR divisions at the Bianchi Cup, three traditional, and one new this year. First, the Open Division includes the guns specifically built for this competition with every enhancement possible to improve accuracy. Second, the Metallic Division includes purpose-built guns but without red dot optics, compensators and barrel shrouds. Third is the Production Division for minimally-enhanced factory guns, typically with polymer frames.

leupold deltapoint red dot optic new

New for the 2021 Cup is the fourth category, the Production Optics Division. This includes minimally-enhanced production guns with a slide-mounted red dot optic. It was interesting to see the action with this new Production Optics class. Shown above are Glock and S&W production pistols fitted with Leupold’s new, low profile Delta-Point Red Dot Optic.

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August 17th, 2021

IBS 2021 1000-Yd Benchrest National Championship in Montana

IBS 1000 yard championship long range deep creek missoula montana mt light gun heavy dasher 6bra
Photo by Forum member Dave Way.

IBS 1000-Yard National Championship
The IBS 1000-Yard Benchrest National Championship took place this past weekend, August 14-15, at the scenic Deep Creek Shooting Range outside Missoula, Montana. The Match was well attended, with 66 shooters in the Light Gun (LG) division, and 62 in Heavy Gun (HG). The venue was beautiful (as always), but conditions were challenging at times. One shooter noted: “The wind was brutal the last relay. Many shooters DQ’d”.*

Despite the tough conditions, there were some very impressive performances. Jason Walker took the Overall title, based on combined LG and HG standings. Shooting well in both classes, Jason (aka “LRPV” in our Shooters’ Forum) finished 3rd in LG and 6th in HG. Jason’s LG group size Agg was an impressive 4.357″. Nick Howlett was second Overall. Steve Simons won the LG division while James Bradley topped the HG field.

IBS 2021 1000-Yard Nat’l Championship Two-Gun Overall Results (LG + HG)
IBS 2021 1000-Yard Nat’l Championship Light Gun Overall Results
IBS 2021 1000-Yard Nat’l Championship Heavy Gun Overall Results**

Top Five Two-Gun Overall

Jason Walker
Nick Howlett
James Bradley
Richard Jette
Dave Way

Top Five LG Overall

Steve Simons
David Torgerson
Jason Walker
Todd Zaun
Richard Jette

Top Five HG Overall

James Bradley
Jason Walker
Nick Howlett
Jason Peterson
Tom Mousel

IBS 1000 yard championship long range deep creek missoula montana mt light gun heavy dasher 6bra
Winners photo courtesy Jason Walker, 2021 IBS 1000-Yard Two-Gun Champion.

IBS 1000 yard championship long range deep creek missoula montana mt light gun heavy dasher 6bra

Gunsmith Alex Wheeler, who built many of the top-finishing rifles, noted: “Congratulations to the winners, you pulled your way to the top in some pretty tricky conditions. It was good to see every one again as well as meeting some in person for the first time.”

Equipment Used by Light Gun and Heavy Gun Competitors

The equipment lists, for both Light Gun and Heavy Gun, were heavily dominated by Krieger barrels. The Overall Winner and both LG and HG class winners used Kriegers. There were also many Bartlein barrels and Lilja barrels. But surprisingly, the equipment lists only showed 5 Brux barrels in Light Gun and 3 Brux barrels in Heavy Gun. BAT actions were the most common in both divisions, followed by Borden actions.

IBS 1000-Yd Light Gun Equipment List | IBS 1000-Yd Heavy Gun Equipment List

The vast majority of the shooters ran a 6mm cartridge in both Light Gun and Heavy Gun divisions. These were overwhelmingly 6mm Dashers and 6 BRAs. The 6 BRA (aka 6mmBR Ackley Improved) has a 40-degree shoulder like the Dasher, but with a longer neck. There were a half-dozen .300 WSMs in Heavy Gun division, and a couple 7mm RSAUMs, but the 6 Dashers and 6 BRAs dominated the field, even in HG.

6mm Dasher 6BRA BRA cartridge

Overall Winner Jason Walker was shooting two 6mm Dasher rifles. Both guns had BAT actions, Krieger barrels, and Nightforce scopes. Jason’s Heavy Gun had a Maxi-Tracker stock while his Light Gun had a PR&T LowBoy stock. In both rifles, he ran a 6mm Dasher loaded with Vapor Trail bullets pushed by Hodgdon Varget powder and CCI BR4 primers. Jay Cutright did the barrel work while Gordy Gritters worked on the PR&T stock. (NOTE: Jason changed to the LowBoy stock after the LG equipment list was submitted.)

Light Gun Overall winner Steve Simons was running a 6 BRA in Light Gun. Steve’s LG, smithed by Alex Wheeler, had a BAT action, Krieger barrel, Wheeler LRB stock, and Vortex scope. He loaded his 6 BRA cases with Vapor Trail bullets, Hodgdon H4895 powder, and CCI 450 Primers.

Heavy Gun Overall winner James Bradley was also running a 6 BRA in Heavy Gun. Again this had a BAT Action, Krieger barrel, Wheeler LRB stock, and Vortex scope. The rig was smithed by North Ridge Rifles. James shot Vapor Trail bullets, H4895 powder, and Federal 205M primers.

Krieger barrels

deep creek range missoula MT
Looking back at the firing line from the target berm.

Deep Creek Range
The Deep Creek Range in Missoula, MT is one of the nicest places to shoot in the Intermountain West region. The range is located in the mountains within a few minutes drive of Missoula, and there is camping on-site. When conditions are good at Deep Creek, records get broken. To learn more about shooting at Deep Creek, contact Jamey Williams at jameydan[at]gmail.com.

Here is an aerial view of the Deep Creek Range (Drone video by David Gosnell):

* One shooter at the match reported that: “Our last HV gun relay of the Match produced 11 DQs out of 13 competitors.” We have not confirmed this, but even if there were just a handful of DQs is is unfortunate for those HG competitors.
** This is the Heavy Gun Overall, as designated on the right top. However, the columns are erroneously titled “Light Gun”. If you compare the two linked results pages, you will see that they are NOT the same.

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August 15th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: Winning .300 WSMs at 152nd Imperial Meeting

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

For today’s Sunday GunDay story, we head across the Atlantic to the famed Bisley range in the United Kingdom (UK). There the historic Imperial Meeting took place last month. This shooting competition is steeped in history, first being held 161 years ago in 1860. Today we highlight the .300 WSM rifles shot by F-Open winner (and Forum member) Gary Costello. Gary came home with a huge haul of trophies. He won the F-Open Grand Agg on V-count scoring 665-76V, 19Vs more than second place Lance Vinall’s 665-57V. In the UK the “V” is equivalent to our “X”, and the target has five number rings, with five being the highest numerical shot value.

Gary posted: “Finally cooled down after the Bisley Imperial Meeting. What a week, 8 trophies, 14 gold medals, two silver, two bronze and the big one — the Grand. It was an experience shooting in 86+ F degree heat and at some unusual times. Congratulations to all the medal and comp winners, in particular to second-place Lance Vinall, who shot a great match”.

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

About the Imperial Meeting at Bisley in the UK

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

The Imperial Meeting is a large, multi-discipline rifle shooting match contested annually in the United Kingdom. This article spotlights Gary Costello, who won the 2021 Imperial F-Open division with his pair of handsome .300 WSM rifles.

The first Imperial Meeting event was contested on Wimbledon Common, in southwest London, in 1860 when Queen Victoria fired the first shot and gave a prize of £250 to the best individual marksman. Originally the Meeting was only available to Volunteers (regular and reserve military personnel) using the issued service rifle of the day.

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

Today the UK National Rifle Association holds the Imperial Meeting as an open competition with the aim to promote and encourage marksmanship throughout the Queen’s (or King’s) dominions. The event has grown to include many different disciplines. The largest entry is for Target Rifle, which dominates the final week of the Meeting and culminates with the final of the Queen’s Prize. The Queen’s Prize remains the premier award for the Meeting’s top shot, with the £250 prize still given to the winner.

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

Host to the competition is the National Shooting Center at Bisley, the world-renowned range complex which can host virtually all forms of shooting from air rifle to 1200-yard full-bore matches. Set in 3000 acres of heathland, Bisley is unique in character with a wide variety of ranges.

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello
.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

Report from Imperial Meeting at Bisley by Gary Costello

The recent 2021 Imperial Meeting was the 152nd event of its kind. Last year was my first Meeting and it was a condensed version as the COVID lockdown had just been relaxed (but later revived). This 2021 Imperial was the full version. In F-class we had 15 scheduled matches, held at 300, 500, 600, 900 and 1000 yards. In these matches you get two sighters and the 15 shots for record. This year was my second Imperial Meeting. Lots of shooters were keen to enjoy some shooting freedom now that the UK national lockdowns had ended. However the NRA was still practicing COVID safety protocols.

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

Three very prestigious competitions are qualifiers for the final matches. These three are: the St. Georges, the Donaldson, and the Farquharson (named after George Farquharson, the father of F-Class). The finals add another three matches if you qualify. Also there are three range Aggregates which qualify for medals/trophies.

Twin Winning .300 WSM F-Open Rifles
Gary brought TWO .300 WSM F-Open match rifles to the Imperial Meeting. Gary notes: “I had two .300 WSM rifles ready for the competition. I have managed to tune both rifles to take the same ammo and seating depth allowing me to alternate and use the same lot of ammo. My philosophy was to alternate both rifles as to not cause too much attrition/wear (due to the high round count and multiple matches). One .300 WSM rifle has a Borden BRMDX action, with some Thomas “Speedy” Gonzales mods and the trademark Speedy bolt shroud fluting. This has a 1:9.5″-twist Benchmark 5-groove barrel, actually chambered by Stuart Anselm at GS Precision Engineering Services.”

Gary’s second .300 WSM F-Open rifle features a BAT M RBLP dual port fitted with a 1:10″-twist Bartlein barrel (supplied by Speedy), with action tuned and modified by Speedy. Both rifles are chambered virtually identically. Both rifles have Cerus stocks, blueprinted Jewell triggers, and Ezell PDT tuners.

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello
The rifles are supported with a Lenzi front coaxial rest and a Lenzi rear bag, spec’d to the Cerus stocks.

Match .300 WSM Load — Berger Bullets, Norma Brass, H4350, Fed 210M
I run the .30 Cal Berger 215gr Hybrid bullet exclusively. I have not found a better long range bullet for F-Class. I use neck-turned Norma .300 WSM brass, H4350 powder, and Federal 210gm match primers. Unfortunately H4350 is not available in the UK anymore, but I was lucky to buy up a decent amount before it was banned. I anneal the Norma brass with an AMP 2 annealer every firing. But I do NOT trim and chamfer after every firing — only when the brass gets to the point of requiring it.

Here is the .300 WSM compared to a .284 Shehane (7mm), another popular F-Open cartridge
.300 WSM norma brass win short magnum gary costello
Cartridge comparison image by Kris Wilson, aka “Willow” on our AccurateShooter Forum.

.300 WSM norma brass win short magnum gary costello
The .300 WSM has been described as a “super-sized Dasher”.

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

OPTICS — March 10-60x56mm High Master Scopes
Both .300 WSM rifles have March 10-60x56mm High Master (HM) riflescopes. Gary notes: “In my slightly biased opinion, this scope is simply the best F-Class and long-range scope money can buy. I was using a MTR-3 reticle in one scope and the slightly thinner MTR-1 reticle in the other. The HM temp lens system is astonishingly clear and bright. It’s very easy on the eye, reducing strain and fatigue during long shoots.”

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

March optics have a clever system which enables shooters to use their scopes like a FFP scope on specific zoom power. The MTR1 and MTR3 reticles are subtended with hash marks at 1 MOA on 40X and 2 MOA at 20X, this allows the shooter to calibrate the necessary hold from a sighting shot without even looking at a plotting sheet, it also makes very precise hold over and follow up shots, (which proved invaluable during the week with the very switching and changing conditions) it also gives you the choice to turn down the power if mirage and conditions call for it.

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

March 10-60×56 HM scopes feature a Temp anti-drift lens system. This has really proved its worth in searing temps. The clarity and image quality helped me achieve three personal bests and wins. (TIP: Use the MD disk supplied with your scope if you have one. Mine never left the rifle all week.) In fact I actually stopped using my spotting scope on some of the shoots as I could see mirage better through the March than anything else.

March Optics 10-50x56mm scope costello

Mental Preparation — Be Confident and Consistent
I went into the Imperial after having a very good season so far. I was unbeaten in three National 2-day matches. So my confidence was high and I was feeling good about the competition. This confidence proved a massive advantage — you have to believe in your abilities.

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

My main focus was to be consistent. At the Imperial it’s almost impossible to win every single competition, as there are 18 in total. However one must not to make too many mistakes and be consistent. As Brian Litz says, a “train wreck” will finish your comp. However if you stay consistent and only drop a few points here and there, you will be all right, as most other competitors will drop a few points as well. The key is not to make BIG mistakes.

Here’s an example of avoiding the “train wreck” disaster when conditions are tough:

Final Final — the Farquharson. It was super hot, the wind was up and conditions were very tricky, I knew this was going to be a survival match and it was. I saw many 3s going in, however I did have a pretty good hold on the conditions losing a few 4s but nothing major until a big fat 3 came out of nowhere. But I persevered and did not let this upset me as I could see lots of points being lost around me. When the dust had settled I won by 2 points in this match and 4 points overall in the Aggregate.

Physical Fitness — Training Is Important
I have been working hard on my physical fitness for the past two years (after a pretty serious condition). Fitness really helps in a long competition and especially in the heat, with the stress it can cause. During the Imperial match, vehicles are only allowed in certain areas so you have to be able to hand-carry your shooting kit all over the range, a very large area. In recent months, I’ve dropped 25 pounds in weight. That helped — I found myself very physically able to cope with the exertions.

Reloading Advice from Gary Costello

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello

Check and Double-Check Everything! Often I have found errors and mistakes which would not bode well for accuracy.

Label Everything! This is especially important when preparing for a long competition, and when shooting different rifles.

Choose a Temp-Stable Powder. Make sure you select a powder that is not sensitive to temp variations. Hodgdon, and Alliant would be my choice, and of course some Vihtavuori powders.

Load to the MIDDLE of your Accuracy Node. This way you can allow for warmer or cooler temps and conditions. I see lots of guys just pick the fastest speed and/or smallest group. But that can get you in trouble on hot days.

Use Quality Tools and Dies. Buy the best reloading gear your budget allows. Quality kit will last forever and stand you in good stead.

Thanks to Speedy, Cerus, and March Scopes
A big mention has to go to my good friend and master gunsmith Thomas (“Speedy”) Gonzales. This man is a legend and has taught me more about the dark arts than anybody. I think he produces the finest rifles known to man. Give credit also to Cerus Rifleworks. All my rifles have Cerus stocks and they are just awesome. Final mention is to March Optics. I have the honor to work with this company since 2010. I believe they make the finest optics in the world.

.300 WSM imperial meeting bisley win short magnum gary costello
Gary also shot with the winning White Horse Lodge F-TR Team coached by Stuart Anselm.

Photos courtesy NRA of the UK’s Facebook Page.

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August 13th, 2021

Determine Your Dominant Eye with This Simple Test

6.5 Creedmoor Annealing

Shooting Sports USA Eye dominanceDo you know which one of your eyes is dominant? It’s easy to determine eye dominance with a simple exercise. Pick an object about 6-10 feet away (a light switch or door knob works well). Make an “OK” sign with your right hand (see photo) and hold that about 18″ from your face. Now, with both eyes open, look through the circle formed by your thumb and index finger. Center the circle on the object, so you can see the object in the middle.

Now, here’s the important part — while still holding your hand up, centered on the object, first close your right eye. If you don’t see the object anymore, then your right eye is dominant. If you still see the object, then repeat the procedure with the left eye shut and right eye open. If you don’t see the object when your left eye (only) is closed, then you are left-eye dominant.

6.5 Creedmoor AnnealingThe digital archives of Shooting Sports USA contain many interesting articles. A while back, Shooting Sports USA featured a “must-read” expert Symposium on Eye Dominance, as it affects both rifle and pistol shooting. No matter whether you have normal dominance (i.e. your dominant eye is on the same side as your dominant hand), or if you have cross-dominance, you’ll benefit by reading this excellent article. The physiology and science of eye dominance is explained by Dr. Norman Wong, a noted optometrist. In addition, expert advice is provided by champion shooters such as David Tubb, Lones Wigger, Dennis DeMille, Julie Golob, Jessie Harrison, and Phil Hemphill.

Top Rifle Champions Talk About Eye Dominance:

David Tubb — 11-Time National High Power Champion
I keep both eyes open, always. Some use an opaque blinder in rifle or shotgun shooting. If you close your non-dominant eye, you will not get as good a sight picture. If your aiming eye is not your dominant eye, you have even more of a problem to overcome.

Lones Wigger — World, National and Olympic Champion Rifleman
Shooters should try to use the dominant eye unless the vision is impaired and the non-dominant eye has better vision. You should always shoot with both eyes open since this will allow the shooting eye to function properly.

Dennis DeMille — National Service Rifle Champion
I close my non-shooting eye initially. Once I pick up my sight picture, it’s not something I focus on. For those that use a patch, I recommend that they use something white to block their view, rather than cover the eye.

Bruce Piatt — 2015 World Shooting Championship Winner
Some shooters, especially those with nearly equal or cross-dominance, will naturally find themselves squinting one eye. When anyone does this, you are also closing your dominant eye to some extent and adding stress to your face.

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August 11th, 2021

Silhouette Championship in Pennsylvania — and a Piece of History

Ridgway PA NRA smallbore silhouette championship Erich Mietenkorte SK Lapua

Silhouette Championship in Pennsylvania
Ridgway PA NRA smallbore silhouette championship Erich Mietenkorte SK LapuaFor the past few days, the Ridgway Rifle Club in Ridgway, PA has hosted the 2021 NRA Smallbore Rifle Silhouette Championship. Many of the nation’s top silhouette shooters attended this event. After a warm-up match on the 7th, the Championship match began on Sunday, August 8th and concluded on Tuesday, August 10th. Each match day featured a 40-round match with Standard Rifle and a 40-round match with Hunter Rifle. The High Power (centerfire) Silhouette Matches will continue later this week.

Ridgway PA NRA smallbore silhouette championship Erich Mietenkorte SK Lapua

Original 1950s Metal Silhouette from Mexico Donated to Ridgeway Club
There was a special dedication at the match. Ace silhouette shooter Erich Mietenkorte explained: “Most people will see this picture and just see the two of us kneeling next to a piece of steel that roughly resembles an ewe. However, in reality it represents the origin of [a sport] that has enriched my life immensely. Rifle silhouette … has added to my life an extended family of some of the nicest, most humble, and selfless people I have had the privilege to get to know[.]

Ridgway PA NRA smallbore silhouette championship Erich Mietenkorte SK Lapua

This silhouette was made in the 1950s for the Club De Tiro Y Caza Cananea in Sonora, Mexico and is one of the original targets that was shot at a distance of 500 meters to give birth to the sport of rifle silhouette. It is only fitting that it was presented to the Ridgway Rifle Club for its ongoing efforts in promoting the sport in the United States. Special thanks to Daniel and Carlos Salazar, and Mark Pharr for honoring our sport with this special gift. READ Letter from Club De Tiro.

Ridgway PA NRA smallbore silhouette championship Erich Mietenkorte SK Lapua
Here are Team Lapua, Team Berger Bullets, and Team SK members with their awards from the match. The staff of the Ridgway Rifle Club put on an outstanding event, with High Power Silhouette to follow. Excitement is growing for the inaugural Lapua Monarch Cup in 2022.

Congratulations to Luke Johnson on winning the 2021 NRA smallbore rifle silhouette championship. Luke won the overall title and also won the hunter gun championship. Luke’s team Lapua teammate Cathy Winstead-Severin won the standard rifle championship. Cathy Winstead-Severin finished 2nd followed closely by Laura Goetsch. Team SK’s Erich Mietenkorte took 4th overall. CLICK HERE for full Match Results.

Silhouette Centerfire high power history formation Mexico Ram Pig Chicken livestock

The NRA Blog ran an feature on Silhouette shooting by NRA Silhouette Program Coordinator Jonathan Leighton. Here are selections from Leighton’s story:

NRA Silhouette Shooting
The loud crack from the bullet exiting the muzzle followed by an even louder ‘clang’ as you watch your target fly off the railing is really a true addiction for most Silhouette shooters. There is nothing better than shooting a game where you actually get to see your target react to the bullet. In my opinion, this is truly what makes this game so much fun.

Metallic Silhouette — A Mexican Import
Silhouette shooting came to this country from Mexico in the 1960s. It is speculated that sport had its origins in shooting contests between Pancho Villa’s men around 1914. After the Mexican Revolution the sport spread quickly throughout Mexico. ‘Siluetas Metalicas’ uses steel silhouettes shaped like game animals. Chickens up front followed by rows of pigs, turkeys, and furthest away, rams. Being that ‘Siluetas Metalicas’ was originally a Mexican sport, it is common to hear the targets referred to by their Spanish names Gallina (chicken), Javelina (pig), Guajalote (turkey) and Borrego (ram). Depending on the discipline one is shooting, these animals are set at different distances from the firing line, but always in the same order.

Before Steel There Was… Barbeque
In the very beginnings of the sport, live farm animals were used as targets, and afterwards, the shooters would have a barbeque with all the livestock and/or game that was shot during the match. The first Silhouette match that used steel targets instead of livestock was conducted in 1948 in Mexico City, Mexico by Don Gonzalo Aguilar.

As the sport spread and gained popularity during the 1950s, shooters from the Southwestern USA started crossing the Mexican border to compete. Silhouette shooting came into the US in 1968 at the Tucson Rifle Club in Arizona. The rules have stayed pretty much the same since the sport has been shot in the US. NRA officially recognized Silhouette as a shooting discipline in 1972, and conducted its first NRA Silhouette Nationals in November of 1972.

Now There Are Multiple Disciplines
The actual sport of Silhouette is broken into several different disciplines. High Power Rifle, Smallbore Rifle, Cowboy Lever Action Rifle, Black Powder Cartridge Rifle, Air Rifle, Air Pistol, and Hunter’s Pistol are the basic disciplines. Black Powder Cartridge Rifle also has a ‘Scope’ class, and Hunter’s Pistol is broken into four sub-categories. Some clubs also offer Military Rifle Silhouette comps.

Where to Shoot Silhouette
NRA-Sanctioned matches are found at gun clubs nation-wide. You can find match listings on the Shooting Sports USA website or contact the NRA Silhouette Department at (703) 267-1465. For more info, visit SteelChickens.com, the #1 website dedicated to Silhouette shooting sports.

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