This article first appeared in 2014. We are reprising it at the request of many readers who are fans of the .30-06 cartridge.
The “Old Warhorse” .30-06 Springfield cartridge is not dead. That’s the conclusion of Forum member Rick M., who has compared the 1000-yard performance of his .30-06 rifle with that of a rig chambered for the more modern, mid-sized 6.4×47 Lapua cartridge. In 12-16 mph full-value winds, the “inefficient and antiquated” .30-06 ruled. Rick reports:
“I was shooting my .30-06 this past Sunday afternoon from 1000 yards. The wind was hitting 12-16 mph with a steady 9 O’clock (full value) wind direction. My shooting buddy Jeff was shooting his 6.5×47 Lapua with 123gr Scenar bullets pushed by Varget. Jeff needed 13 MOA left windage to keep his 6.5x47L rounds inside the Palma 10 Ring. By contrast I only needed 11.5 MOA left windage with my .30-06. I was shooting my ’06 using the 185gr Berger VLD target bullet with H4350. I managed the same POI yet the .30-caliber bullet only needed 11.5 MOA windage. That’s significant. From this experience I’ve concluded that the Old Warhorse ain’t quite dead yet!”
Rick likes his “outdated” .30-06 rifle. He says it can deliver surprisingly good performance at long range:
“To many of the younger generation, the Old Warhorse .30-06 is ‘outdated’ but I can guarantee that the .30-06 Springfield is a VERY ACCURATE cartridge for 1000-yard shooting (and even out further if need be). With some of the advanced powders that we have today, the .30-06 will surprise many shooters with what it’s capable of doing in a good rifle with the right rate of twist. My rifle has a 1:10″ twist rate and I had it short-throated so that, as the throat erodes with time, I could just seat the bullets out further and keep right on shooting. My recent load is Berger 185gr Target VLDs pushed by IMR 4350. This is a very accurate load that moves this bullet along at 2825 fps.”
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IBS Report by Randy Jarvais
The 2015 IBS 100/200 Score Nationals were held August 22-24 in Augusta, Maine at the Capitol City Rifle and Pistol Club. By all accounts, the 2015 Score Nationals event was another success. Fifty-three guns participated in this year’s Score Nationals, with 38 Varmint for Score (VFS) and 15 Hunter rifles registered. Nine shooters competed for the 2-Gun award. Mike Niblett shot great to win the Varmint for Score (VFS) Grand Agg, while finishing first at 200 yards and second at 100 yards. Mike’s impressive 500-39X Grand Agg total was just one point shy of the current IBS record. Kudos to Mr. Niblett! Dean Breeden won Hunter Class with Randy Jarvais in second — and that was also the result for the 2-Gun Grand Agg (Breeden first, Jarvais second).
Among the Top 10 VFS shooters, nine shot a 30 BR, while the 10th campaigned an unidentified 30-caliber cartridge. Six of the Top 10 VFS shooters used Hodgdon H4198 powder, three used Vihtavuori N130, and one loaded with Hodgdon H322. Krieger barrels were used by five of the Top 10, with two Bruxes, two Liljas, and one Rock Creek. There were a wide variety of bullet choices. VFS Winner Mike Niblett used a Hillbilly 118-grainer while 2-Gun winner Dean Breeden used 115gr “10X” bullets in both his rifles (VFS and Hunter).
Southerners Shine in Augusta
From a Maine perspective, every USA destination is south, but the true South was well represented in both number and quality of shooters. To illustrate, in the 100-yard leg of VFS class only one person north of the Mason/Dixon line was able to crack the top seven positions, and he had the home field advantage. For match One, five shooters shot 5X targets, but from then on it was the Jerry Powers show. Powers, from North Carolina, put together a string of three 5X targets before faltering with a 3X during match four. Undaunted, Powers finished strong with another 5X. He needed to, as his 23Xs were but one better than both Mike Niblett of Kentucky and Jim Cline of South Carolina.
Eight VFS Shooters Post 500-Point 100/200 Grand Aggregates
At the Capitol City Range, the 100-yard targets are downhill, while the 200-yard targets are near level with the benches. While the benches are covered there is little covered area aft for equipment in waiting. With the prospect of showers for the entire weekend, Club members rigged tarps, hoping to provide a dry haven if needed. For the most part, ‘Tarp City’ worked sufficiently well. Fortunately, after Friday’s rain, the remainder of the weekend was mostly free of any heavy precipitation.
Score Nationals competitors line up for the Rifle Weigh-In process. The blue tarps provided a little extra protection from the elements.
Thunder and Lightning, then Drizzle on Sunday
Although the weather was very nice while shooting the 100, shortly thereafter the sky opened up with an impressive display of thunder and lightning. Although that front passed, Sunday’s weather started as overcast with drizzle and showers, but no lightning. Winds started mild but as the day unfolded and the sun was able to break through, so did the wind — it became down right gnarly during some relays. The wind was gusty, and constant switching from 11:30 to 12:30 was problematic, creating vertical issues. Even so, nine shooters were able to shoot 250s at 200 yards on Sunday, all from the VFS class.
Tough Competition in Hunter Division
In IBS, Maine is the last stronghold of hunter classification shooters, thus it was no surprise that the Hunter class was the National’s largest in recent memory. At 100 yards, five Hunter shooters shot perfect 250s on Saturday. Dean Breeden nailed a 250-19X followed by Randy Jarvais with 250-18X. Third place went to K.L. Miller who out-dueled Peter Hills and Tim O’Mara who were the other two 6-power shooters to shoot the coveted 250.
In the 6-power Hunter class, the battle between Breeden and Jarvais continued on Sunday. Breeden started better and maintained a 2X lead through match three. Skip Plummer, a long-time 6-power shooter (with a very “stock”-locking rig), shot three straight 50-point targets (on targets 2, 3, and 4) to threaten the two leaders.
Breeden shot a 50-1X on his fifth and final 200-yard target and watched through his spotter, while Jarvais dropped one point on his very last shot for record at 200. The order of finish for the five-target, 200-yard leg was Breeden (249-6X), Jarvais (248-5X) and Plummer (247-8X). Sweeping both the 100- and 200-yard legs gave Breeden (499-25X) the Hunter Grand Agg with Jarvais (498-23X) placing second.
Breedan Wins 2-Gun Aggregate… Again
The 2-Gun is a recent award and as yet has been contested but a few times. That doesn’t diminish the feat that there has been but one winner of the award, Dean Breeden. Prior to match 5 on Sunday, Jarvais had the Xs to dethrone Breeden from the 2-gun award, but this is a score game. Match 5 is now a nightmare memory for Jarvais, losing the last shot with each gun. So close yet so far! Breeden on the other hand proved again why he is the competitor to beat. With all the chips on the table, Dean did what he needed to do — dropping just a single point in the entire match. Breedan finished with 999-50X (for both guns) to secure another 2-Gun title, followed by Randy Jarvais (997-55X) two points back. That was tough for Randy, but as Orland Bunker observed: “All the Xs in the world means nothing if you don’t have the points.”
Every Shooter Was a Winner
The Capitol City Rifle and Pistol Club offered a rich prize table. Thirty Benchrest vendors donated nearly $9000.00 worth of hardware and shooting supplies. That generosity allowed each shooter to receive a door prize. In addition, a Nightforce Competition scope was raffled off, with the proceeds earmarked for new concrete benches. Wyatt Fox of New Hampshire was the lucky winner of the Nightforce.
All shooters received a door prize. Lucky Wyatt Fox (above right) received a Nightforce scope.
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2015 WSC Champion Bruce Piatt with $25,000 check. At right is Diana Muller, WSC women’s champion.
Bruce Piatt out-gunned 218 competitors to win the 2015 NRA World Shooting Championship (WSC), a 12-stage event that required mastery of all types of firearms. How did Piatt manage the win? Versatility. Unlike many top competitors who shoot one or two disciplines, over the past 30 years Piatt has shot anything (and everything) he could fit into his schedule. Piatt told reporters: “If it goes bang, you can count me in — whether it’s Sportsman’s Team Challenge, SOF Tactical, Precision Long Range, and Bianchi Cup — I’ll shoot anything.”
Piatt’s WSC performance earned him a $25,000 check from the NRA. Piatt has been noted for his ability to “break down” stages, creating a “plan of attack” that caters to his strengths. That ability gave Piatt a “winning edge” in the complex WSC match. Piatt out-shot many of the best action shooters in the world, including 2014 WSC champion SFC Daniel Horner of the USAMU, who finished second this year. Here are the Top 20 final standings. Note that Nightforce Optics Marketing Manager Sean Murphy finished eighth overall, pretty impressive for a fellow with a full-time job in the business world.
Bruce Piatt has won multiple world and national shooting titles. He is a 5-time Bianchi Cup National Champion and 5-time winner of the SOF World Tactical 3-Gun Championship. A former law enforcement officer, Piatt has won the USPSA Law Enforcement Division National Championship 20 times. Piatt is the founder of Bruce Piatt Training Concepts LLC, which offers Police, Military, and Civilian shooting instruction and pistol-smithing classes. For more information, visit www.BrucePiatt.com.
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For 2015, the Nationals will include both Mid-Range and Long-Range competitions. The NRA F-Class Mid Range National Championship will be held 23-27 October 2015. The F-Class Long Range National Championship then runs from October 27 through 31. The competition consists of two different Divisions: F- Open and F-TR (Target Rifle). Each Division is made up of five different Categories: High Master, Master, Expert, Sharpshooter and Marksman. There will also be a series of four-person team matches. The event is limited to 320 competitors maximum. All matches will be held at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility outside Phoenix.
You’ll see some serious hardware on the firing line at Ben Avery. Here’s a modern F-Open rig with a handsome maple stock. The gun, belonging to David Mann of Texas, shoots as good as it looks.
Under Two Inches at 500 Yards
To be competitive at the Nationals, one needs a tack-driving rifle and an ultra-accurate load. Shown below is one of Paul Phillips’s F-TR load development targets at 500 yards. The total 5-shot group size is under two inches. Impressive. That’s with 200gr Bergers, Varget powder, and large primer Lapua brass. Paul tell us: “The X-Ring is 5 inches at 1000 yards (equivalent to 2.5 inches at 500). We strive to be all in the X-Ring. However, wind is the big obstacle. A gust of wind can move you 1-2 feet away.”
F-Class National Championship Registration and Deadlines
Competitors must submit the official Registration & Entry Form (include NRA Membership ID#). Entries MUST be accompanied by check, money order or NRA Points. Make Check payable to Desert Sharpshooters Rifle Club.
Fees are $375.00 for both Mid-Range and Long-Range matches (combined), or $200 for just one match only (either Mid-Range or Long-Range). Team Matches cost $60 per entry.
Mail Entry Forms and checks to:
P.O. Box 11684
Prescott, AZ 86304.
Phone: (928) 776-8576.
Entry Deadline: The deadline for entries is 6:00 PM Monday, 12 October 2015. Entries after this time are considered late entries and may be accepted to fill vacancies on existing relays only. An additional $20.00 will be charged for late entries, on top of the basic fees.
2014 F-Class Nationals Photos copyright Nightforce Optics, used with permission.
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Why are there 7000 records? Start with the fact that there are a host of different NRA disciplines: Air Pistol, Action Pistol, High Power Rifle, Smallbore Rifle, Fullbore, just to name a few. Within each discipline there may be records for metallic sight, any sight, rapid fire, slow fire, prone, standing, and other variations. And then there may be separate records for indoor, outdoor, distance, and number of shots fired. Then add team records on top of the individual records. Finally, there are separate records for all the NRA classifications: Open, Civilian, Service, Woman, Junior, Senior, Police, and so on….
The task of validating and registering so many different records is daunting. And the work never stops. Consider this — the NRA sanctions 11,000 tournaments each year. This means that new record claims are being submitted throughout the year.
How well does the reigning National High Power Rifle Champion handle a Ruger 10/22 in rapid fire? Very well indeed it turns out. Here’s footage of SFC Brandon Green at the 2015 NRA World Shooting Championship (WSC) in West Virginia this past weekend. Brandon shows some serious speed with the little semi-auto. Brandon’s comment was: “10/22s are just too much fun!”.
Watch SFC Brandon Green speed through a steel plates stage with a Ruger 10/22:
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Report by Clint Johnson, ACWLC
The 2015 IBS 200/300 Yard National Championships were held September 12-13 at the Ashe County Wildlife Club (ACWLC) outside Jefferson, North Carolina. Fifty shooters from 13 states attended. Nightforce was the major event sponsor, donating a $2,400 rifle scope. While rain threatened to mar the 200-yard match on Saturday, none fell. By Sunday, the day of the 300-yard shoot, the first cold front of the fall had passed, leaving mostly sunny conditions.
Conditions Keep Scores Low At 200/300 Yard Nationals
The rain that fell on Friday night started drying Saturday morning when the sun rose. That slow evaporation created mirage that plagued shooters looking northeast down the two-year-old, 300-yard range with a 50-foot high backstop. The wind that came in with the cold front also hampered shooters on both days.
Mean Conditions at Ashe County
“Shooters told me the conditions were as bad as they have ever shot”, said Steve Eller, the IBS chair for the Wildlife Club. “We all had a hard time seeing the rings through the mirage blur. No one shot clean, and no records were set.”
Shooters came from as far away as Maine, Indiana and Florida to Ashe County, “the coolest corner of North Carolina”. The ACWLC range is located in the mountainous northwest point of the state with Virginia to the north and Tennessee to the west. Some of those shooters have made every one of the four IBS-sanctioned matches held at the club this year and last year. The Club hosted the 100 and 200 Yard National Championship in 2014, the first full year since the opening of the club house in 2013 with its 30 benches protected by an overhang.
“I love coming here. It is my favorite place to shoot,” said Hillary Martinez of Damascus, Maryland. Hillary, shown below, was one of the four women shooters this year.
Danny Hensley of Jonesville, Virgina, won the Grand Aggregate Varmint for Score (VFS) with a score of 493 (10X), followed by David Richardson with 492 (11X) and Randy Jarvais with 491 (12X). Danny talks about his victory in the audio clip linked below. To listen, click on the black arrow in the white circle.
AUDIO FILE: Danny Hensley Talks about the Conditions at the 200/300 Nationals.
Here are all the Class Winners at the IBS 200/300 Yard Nationals:
Wayne France of Burke, Va. won the 200-Yard VFS with a score of 250 (11X), followed by rookie Ken Habedank with score of 250 (8X), and David Richardson with a score of 250 (8X).Morris Williams of Eden, Maryland, won the 300-Yard VFS with a score of 244 (3X), followed by Danny Hensley with a score of 243 (4X), and David Richardson with a score of 242 (3X).
There were just five (5) shooters in the Hunter Class. Dean Breeden topped the small field to win the Hunter Grand Aggregate with a score of 483 (10X), followed by Randy Jarvais with a sore of 480 (7X), and K.L. Miller with a score of 478 (12X). Randy Jarvais won the 200-Yard Hunter with a score of 248 (6X), followed by K.L. Miller with a score of 246( 8X), and Dean Breeden with a score of 246 (7X). Orland Bunker of Damariscotta, Maine, won the 300-Yard Hunter with a score of 238 (2X), followed by Dean Breeden with a score of 237 (3X), and K.L. Miller with a score of 232 (4X).
Dean Breeden (Frederick, Maryland) had a beautifully-figured wood composite rifle.
Barbecue North Carolina Style
Some shooters remarked that they drove to Ashe County not only to shoot, but to eat as well. A 300-pound hog was slow-cooked all Friday night by Club members. Corn was also roasted on the grill. The cost of this distinctive North Carolina pork barbecue was included in the registration fee.
Ashe County Wildlife Club maintains a website, www.acwlc.org and a public Facebook page. The Club hosts rifle, pistol, and shotgun sports (skeet, trap, sporting clays) events at its range facility located about 15 miles east of West Jefferson at 3220 Big Peek Creek Road, Laurel Springs, NC (turn north off NC Highway 88). Visit www.acwlc.org to learn more about the club or obtain Membership applications.
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In the digital archives of Shooting Sports USA, we’ve found some great features that deserve a second look. A few years back, Shooting Sports USA published Sights, Wind and Mirage, an outstanding article that explains how to judge wind speed/direction and adjust your sights accordingly. Authored by highly respected shooter Ernest (Ernie) Vande Zande, this article is a definite “must-read” for all competitive rifle shooters — even those who shoot with a scope rather than irons. Vande Zande’s discussion of mirage alone makes the article well worth reading. Highly recommended.
Invaluable Insights from a World-Class Shooter
The article covers a wide variety of topics including Wind Reading, Mirage, Effects of Sight Canting, Quadrant Shooting, and Sight Adjustment Sequencing. Vande Zande offers many jewels of insight from his decades of experience shooting and coaching in top level tournaments. U.S. Shooting Team Leader at the 1996 Olympics, Vande Zande has set more than 200 records in National and International competition. He was the Smallbore Rifle Prone Champion at Camp Perry in 1980. An International Distinguished shooter, Ernie has been on nine Dewar teams and he was a member of the USAR Shooting Team from 1982. No matter what your discipline, if you are a competitive rifle shooter, you should CLICK HERE to read Sights, Wind, and Mirage.
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SFC Daniel Horner USAMU file photo (not from 2015 WSC).
For the past three days, the NRA World Shoooting Championship (WSC) has been underway at the Peacemaker Nat’l Training Center in West Virginia. If you’re curious about this event, which offers $250,000 worth of cash and prizes, check out this September 26th video showing SFC Dan Horner (last year’s WSC winner) in the 3-Gun Stage. Horner displays his ability to transition rapidly from one gun to the next while acquiring targets with Robocop-like efficiency. This year, Horner finished second overall, just three points behind newly-crowned 2015 WSC Winner Bruce Piatt (2631 points).
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Benchrest legend Tony Boyer finished fifth overall in the individual standings.
Congratulations to USA Team 2, which won the “battle of the nations” at the World Benchrest Championship. Team 2 members are: Lester Bruno, Wayne Campbell, Larry Costa, and Billy Stevens. Wayne Campbell also won the individual Championship, earning him the title of 2015 World Benchrest Champion. Wayne is now officially the best point-blank benchrester on the planet! We wish to acknowledge all the many competitors, from 24 nations, who attended this prestigious event.
Penalties and DQs
Other USA Teams might have finished in the top five, but there were some major mishaps at this event. USA Team 1 suffered a big penalty because of a 5-shot cross-fire at 200 yards. USA Team 3 was disqualified from the event due to a late shot after the “Cease Fire” command (DQ details below).
Here’s how the Teams Match ended up. USA Team 2 finished first, followed by three Australian squads, with Canada Team 1 finishing fifth:
1. USA Team 2 – 0.2230 MOA
2. Australia Team 1 – 0.2441
3. Australia Team 3 – 0.2463
4. Australia Team 2 – 0.2635
5. Canada Team 1 – 0.2678
Wayne Campbell Wins WBC with 0.1866 Agg
But who is the individual World Benchrest Champion? That would be American Team member Wayne Campbell — a very popular result. Wayne shot a remarkable 0.1866 MOA Agg over the four-day event, combining 100- and 200-yard LV and HV matches. That shows you how accurate today’s Benchrest rifles can be (and the skill of the top shooters). Here are the top five individuals, all of whom Agg’d under 0.2100:
1. Wayne Campbell (USA) – 0.1866 MOA
2. Gene Bukys (USA) – 0.1973
3. Murray Hicks (Australia) – 0.2062
4. Larry Costa (USA) – 0.2087
5. Tony Boyer (USA) – 0.2095
The USA took four out of the Top Five individual spots. Living legend Tony Boyer proved he’s still got his stuff. Tony finished just .0033 off the podium, which saw Boyer protege Wayne Campbell in 1st place, Gene Bukys in second, and Australian Murray Hicks in third. The best of the two Great Britain Teams finished in 13th spot (out of 24 teams) with a 0.2998 MOA Agg. Top individual Brit was Bruce Lenton in 31st place with a very creditable 0.2666 MOA Agg.
Shooters from 24 nations competed at the 2015 World Benchrest Championship. Here Alexander Skuratov from Russia prepares ammo for a match.
DAY Four (Friday) Match Report
The fabulous St Louis weather was with us again for the last day and this is the first World Championship I can remember that didn’t have rain! Facilities at this fabulous Benchrest range are second to none and the event has run like the proverbial clockwork. That is a credit to the Club and its helpers and officials who have worked tirelessly for two weeks, as of course the NBRSA Nationals preceded the 2015 WBC.
Today, on the final day, Heavy Varmint rifles shot at 200 yards. Winds were again light, except for the odd relay but the top shooters again banged in those itty-bitty groups that the rest of us can only dream about. Just one non-American managed to sneak into the top five:
Friday Results, 200-Yard Heavy Varmint
1. Wayne Campbell (USA) – 0.1866 MOA
2. Gene Bukys (USA) – 0.1973
3. Murray Hicks (Australia) 0.2062
4. Larry Costa (USA) – 0.2087
5. Tony Boyer (USA) – 0.2095
Thursday DQ Drama — Disqualification and Penalty for American Teams
On Thursday, we had drama when one of the three USA Teams suffered a ten-inch penalty but such is the strength of American Benchrest that USA Team 1 members fought themselves back into contention. The ten-inch penalty was given when a USA Team 1 shooter fired all five shots on the wrong target at 200 yards. But, just as things were looking possible for an American 1, 2, 3 sweep, yet more drama occurred with the disqualification of USA Team 3! That’s right, the entire team was DQ’d as the result of a safety breach. Apparently, a USA Team 3 shooter fired AFTER the “Cease fire” command. That serious rule violation caused the disqualification.
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Here’s a cool video from the University of Mississippi Womens’ Shooting Team. The gals from Ole Miss challenge their marksmanship skills with a variety of tiny targets — grapes, pencil erasers, and playing cards on edge. The results are filmed with ultra-high-speed cameras so you can watch the moment of impact. This is a fun, feel-good video. Enjoy.
These young ladies will be competing at the Ole Miss Invitational Tournament in Oxford, Mississsippi on October 3, 2015. For more information, visit OldMissSports.com.
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Report by Vince Bottomley,Target Shooter Magazine
The 2015 World Benchrest Championships (WBC) kicked off yesterday at the St. Louis Benchrest Club Range (located in Wright City, northwest of St. Louis). The World Benchrest Championships, the premier event in the short-range Benchrest universe, is held every two years on a different continent. This is the third time that the USA has hosted the event.
Competitors from 24 Countries Vie for Benchrest Honors
This is a true “World Championship” — teams from 24 nations are competing at the WBC this week. Although America can claim to have invented the sport of Benchrest shooting it is perhaps the most ‘worldly’ of centerfire shooting disciplines with 30 countries now affiliated to the World Benchrest Shooting Federation.
Countries may enter more than one Team and the ‘big’ Benchrest nations such the USA and Australia will send three teams (of four shooters). Although a team event, there is no wind coaching and members shoot as individuals. As well as team medals there are individual awards — the World Benchrest Shooting Champion will be crowned.
Light Varmint and Heavy Varmint Rifles
The WBC is a group-shooting competition contested over two yardages: 100 and 200 yards and with two weights of rifle – the Light Varmint weighing 10.5 pounds and the Heavy Varmint at 13.5 pounds. Years ago, the heavy guns were the more accurate but now there is little if any difference and many competitors will just use a Light Gun for both Classes, though some will switch to a heavy barrel.
Day One Results — An Aussie Leads with 0.1597 Agg
The St Louis range is impressive to say the least but two days of practice have confirmed that wind and mirage are waiting to catch the unwary.
After an 8:00 am start on Day One for the 100-yard Light Varmint (LV) class, veteran Aussie shooter Paul Sullivan took the individual win with a fantastic 0.1597 Aggregate (the average of five, 5-shot groups). Nipping at Sullivan’s heels were two American Hall-of-Famers, Tony Boyer and Gene Bukys. Here are the Top Five so far:
Next up, on September 23, the Heavy Varmint guns come out – still at 100 yards. The WBC continues through Saturday, September 26, with team events Wednesday through Friday and the Individual World Championship on Saturday, followed by award presentations.
With so many competitors, the Loading Room was crowded…
Map to St. Louis Benchrest Club Range in Wright City, MO.
Bench Rest Rifle Club of St. Louis
2280 Kohn Rd.
Wright City, MO 63390
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On its YouTube Channel, the USAMU offers “Pro Tips” videos providing expert instruction on rifle marksmanship. One helpful video covers up/down angle shooting. In the video, SFC Emil Praslick III, one of America’s best long-range shooting coaches, explains how to determine up/down angle, and how to compensate for the angle using scope clicks. Praslick explains how gravity always works as a constant relative to the flat-ground distance to the target (which is distinct from the actual straight-line distance to target.)
The flat-ground distance is the actual distance over which the bullet will be affected by gravity. Use this as the basis for your elevation corrections. As Praslick explains, “this [flat-ground] distance will get less and less as the angle to the target increases [either up or down].” Once you know the straight-line distance to the target AND the exact angle of your shot, simple math lets you calculate the flat-ground distance to the target. Basically, to determine your flat-ground distance to target, you multiply the cosine of the shot angle by the measured straight-line distance to the target.
Application to Long-Range Hunting
Since the effects of angles increase with distance, Praslick explains that: “Unless the angle is extremely severe, [a hunter] really won’t notice these effects at ranges of 200 yards or less.” However, for long shots, hunters definitely need to compensate when taking angled shots. Praslick recommends that hunters print out a small chart with the cosines of common angles (20°, 25°, 30° etc.). In addition, hunters need an accurate ballistic table for their rifle and particular ammo. This should show the elevation corrections (in MOA or clicks), for 200 yards to the maximum range at which you may take a shot.
SFC Emil Praslick III is an instructor/coach with the USAMU. He also has served as a coach and “wind guru” with numerous U.S. Teams in international competition, including the U.S. Palma Team, which recently participated in the World Long-Range Fullbore Rifle Championship in Australia. Praslick has also coached the U.S. F-Open Class Team.
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Our friends, Ed Mobley and Steve Lawrence, aka the “6.5 Guys”, have written an excellent article on getting started in practical/tactical competition. If you are new to the game, these tips can help you save money, progress faster, and have more fun. Here are article highlights, but we recommend you read the full story,5 Tips for Attending Your First Precision Rifle Match, onwww.65guys.com.
We often meet people who are new to long range precision shooting, and want to improve their knowledge and skill level. However, they aren’t sure if they are ready to sign up to compete in a match. They often ask, “What knowledge or skills are necessary to compete in a match?” Others may state, “I need to purchase this gear or that gear before I can attend a match”. For those guys who have a strong interest in precision rifle shooting, and who wish to chec out a precision rifle match, below are Five Tips to make it a positive experience.
TIP ONE: Make Plans and Commit to Go
First you need to start by finding a match to attend. This may entail a little bit of research and investigative work on your part to find what matches are scheduled in the next few months. We recommend starting with any match that may be within a reasonable driving distance. This may likely be a local “club” match, many of which are held on a regular basis. These make great venues because it will provide an opportunity to meet some of the regular attendees as well as shooters that are from your geographic area. Additionally, most of the smaller matches are a little more relaxed in terms of level of competitiveness.
Once you decide on the match you want to attend, do your homework. This means finding out if you need to pre-register or pre-pay the match fee. Commit to going by registering for the match and putting it on your schedule. Be sure to find other useful information for questions such as:
— What time should I arrive?
— Is there a mandatory safety briefing for new shooters at that venue?
— What is the travel time required to get to the match site?
— How many stages will there be?
— Is there a description of the stages available before the match?
— How many rounds should you bring?
— Are there special equipment requirements? (E.g. do you need chamber flags, is there a pistol stage?)
TIP TWO: Bring What You Have
(Don’t Spend a Fortune at the Start)
Some new shooters often assume they need a custom match rifle or all of the miscellaneous shooting gear associated with long range precision shooting to compete in match. While having a Kestrel weather meter and a high quality laser range finder and other shooting accoutrements are invaluable kit, you will find other shooters at your first match that will provide you with the information and coaching you need to get on target.
In fact, the only gear you really need to bring is a scoped rifle with a bipod and ammo capable of consistently shooting within one MOA. Also, be sure to know the ballistic drops or have a ballistic drop table prepared for your rifle/ammo to dial the correct DOPE on your scope for different target ranges. Many of the other participants at the match will be willing to let you borrow a support bag, bipod, tripod or other gear if you need one — just ask. Don’t use the excuse of not having the right gear to delay getting out to a match!
One reason not to make a big initial investment in a new rifle and assorted gear before competing, is we’ve seen a number of people come into the sport and try it for a year and then make the decision to move on to something else.
TIP THREE: Be Prepared to Learn
As a new shooter at a match, there is no better opportunity to learn. We often look to our local club matches as a group ‘training’ session to prepare for the bigger matches. You will find competitors at all levels of skill and many of your fellow shooters will enthusiastically provide helpful advice once they learn you are new to the sport. Take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions if you would like ideas for how to engage a stage, but also be sure to do more listening than talking as you receive guidance and tips from more experienced competitors.
Watch and observe other shooters and how they approach and ‘game’ a specific stage or course of fire. You’ll begin to recognize which shooting positions work best for different scenarios, and maybe even come up with some new ones that no one has thought of before.
Seeing what the better shooters do is an invaluable instructional tool. You can use your smart phone’s video camera to record other shooters (with their permission). When you’re ready to shoot, ask another shooter to record your performance. Watching yourself will point out needed areas of improvement.
After each match conduct an informal after action review and summarize for yourself the things that went well and what you should continue to do. You should also identify the specific shooting skills you should develop and make a plan to integrate the appropriate practice drills into your practice sessions. Finally, if you maintain a shooter’s data book or journal you’ll want to note things such as:
After Action Review – How you did, what went well, things you need to work on in practice. Stage Observations – Successful methods used for specific courses of fire. Note barricades, positions used, specific gear used for stages. Gear Observations – How your rifle/gear performed, what new items you should add to your “buy list”.
TIP FOUR: Be Safe and Have Fun
You’ve all heard a parent or teacher say, “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.” The same can be said of the shooting sports. Safe handling of firearms is the number one rule at any match, and comes before the FUN part in terms of importance.
Before all matches start there will always be some form of a mandatory safety briefing. Make sure you know, understand, and follow any unique safety protocols for the match you attend. Some matches require all rifles have chamber flags inserted and are stowed in bags/cases while not on the firing line — other matches may not. If you run afoul of any safety rules, you risk the chance of being disqualified from a stage or worse, the entire match.
The second rule is simply have fun. This starts with having a good attitude throughout the day. Keep in mind that as a new competitor you should think of a match as a solid day of practice and training. If you blow a stage, use it as an opportunity to diagnose what you could have done differently or what you need to improve on — then smile and drive on.
Any day at the range or shooting is a good day. A match is an opportunity to hang out with like-minded people who are passionate about shooting and impacting targets far-far away. Life is great when you are doing what you enjoy!
TIP FIVE: Make Friends
There is no better way to meet lots of precision rifle shooters and make friends than at a match. The people that attend the tactical precision matches on a regular basis are those that have ‘fallen into the deep end of the pool’ and are really into the sport. As a result, they have become part of the local precision shooting community. As you strike up conversations at the match, find out if your new-found friends visit specific forum boards or social media outlets, or if there are other matches they attend.
Precision shooters tend to congregate and share information in different corners of the Internet. It will serve you well to meet some of the guys in person at matches and be able to connect a face to a screen name. As you develop your friendships and develop a level of trust, you will find opportunities become available to shoot with others in your local area, or get ‘read-in’ on a secret honey-hole of a spot to shoot long distance. Additionally, the local shooting community will often find it more convenient to sell or trade gear and equipment locally than deal with buyers/sellers that are out of state.
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. 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.
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 and, as the first to do that in 1955, 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 MAO 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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The Starlight 3-Gun Championship, a unique night-time match, takes place September 24-25 at the Peacemaker National Training Center in Glengary, West Virginia. The match is being held in conjunction with the NRA World Shooting Championship (WSC). As the sun comes down on Thursday, September 24, the world’s best 3-Gun shooters will add lights and lasers to their comp guns and compete for $100,000 in cash and prizes.
Starlight 3-Gun competitors will shoot six stages over two nights, using laser sights and firearm-mounted lights. The inaugural Starlight 3-Gun Championship promises spectator-friendly pyrotechnics and special effects. Match Director Chuck Anderson says “our goal isn’t just to create a challenging course of fire. We wanted to create a course of fire [with] lights, lasers, strobes, smoke and sound that would absolutely wow spectators, too.”
The Starlight 3-Gun Championship is the result of a collaboration between industry leaders and Jim Shepherd, founder of the Outdoor Wire Digital Network. After Crimson Trace decided to “retire” its popular Midnight 3-Gun Invitational (M3GI) match in Oregon, Shepherd proposed taking the M3GI concept and growing it into a series of exciting night-time 3-gun events. Jim’s idea was to showcase the competition in a spectator-friendly format with eye-catching lighting effects.
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Report by David and Donna Matthews
The 2015 IBS 1000-Yard National Championships were held September 4-5 at the Hawks Ridge Gun Club in Ferguson, North Carolina. Attendance was great, with 103 Registered Light Gun shooters and 89 Heavy Gun competitors. After a practice day, the competitors tried on Friday and Saturday to master the unpredictable conditions at Hawks Ridge. The 1000-Yard National Match for 2015 featured a three-target Aggregate for each Division (i.e. six targets total for both classes).
The Hawks Ridge range is quite unique — it’s a very wide-open, over-the-hills range. Conditions constantly change (and change very quickly according to several competitors). The management and membership of this range put on a great event this year. Several shooters said this was one of the best-run National-level matches they had ever attended.
Jim Bauer Won the IBS 2015 Nationals shooting a 6mm Dasher in both Light Gun and Heavy Gun Classes. Here’s his match-winning Heavy Gun. Smithed by Gordy Gritters, Bauer’s Heavy Gun featured a BAT action, Kreiger barrel (in barrel block), Shehane stock, and Nightforce scope.
Bauer Drives Dashers to Victory
The Two-Gun Champion and Overall winner was Jim Bauer with 24 rank points. In second place was Robert McMichael with 36 rank points. Bauer shot great in both Light Gun (LG) and Heavy Gun (HG) matches, posting Top 10 finishes in both classes. Bauer ran 6mm Dashers in both Divisions (LG and HG) with Vapor Trail bullets. By contrast, McMichael shot big cartridges — a .284 Shehane in LG and a .300 WSM in HG, using Berger Bullets for both calibers. Top lady shooter was Donna Matthews while Amber Brewer won the Junior Division. John Stecik won a BenchSource Annealing machine for shooting the Best Light Gun Target (50 score with a 3.758″ group). Steve Knight shot the Best Heavy Gun Target (100 with 4.407″ group), to win a Douglas barrel.
PDF File — scroll to bottom of document for EQUIPMENT LIST.
The Hawks Ridge Gun Club Range and Facility
The 1000-yard shooting facility is a covered pavilion that has 15 shooting benches located in the rolling hills of Wilkes County North Carolina. The Club has a great Barbeque grill on site, which the McNeil family employed to perfection, delivering an outstanding Barbeque chicken meal on Friday night.
One veteran shooter commented that when you can take 103 of the best shooters in the country and hold a event that had very little to any issues you have accomplished something. Range officials were quick to point out that it took a lot of hard work from Hawks Ridge Club members as well as support from the IBS, the sponsors, and the competitors.
Outstanding Prize Table
Over $20,000 worth of prizes were awarded at this year’s IBS 1000-Yard Nationals. Prizes included: Nightforce scopes, Sightron Scopes, BAT Action, Defiance Action, Baity Action, Shehane stocks, rests, reloading tools, Sierra and Berger bullets, and more. Many thanks should go to Stanley Taylor from Douglas Barrels for his time and energy in acquiring prizes for the match.
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The NBRSA short-range Group Benchrest Nationals commenced this week at the St. Louis Benchrest Club Range in Wright City, Missouri. This will be followed, next week, by the World Benchrest Shooting Federation (WBSF) Championships at the same venue. Lapua staffer (and Forum member) Kevin Thomas trekked to Missouri for this combined National/International event. Kevin reports: “The best benchrest shooters [on the planet] will fight it out over the next two weeks to see who can shoot the smallest groups possible. And I’ve got to say, many of these shooters are truly amazing. It doesn’t hurt a bit that virtually all of them are shooting Lapua brass, either.”
The WBSF event has attracted shooters from around the world. Benchrest aces from Australia, Canada, Great Britain, and South Africa are already in St. Louis, with other international competitors set to arrive next week. On Monday, Day One of the NBRSA Nationals, the Unlimited Class rigs showed off their capabilities. As shown below, these heavy rail guns represent the pinnacle of precision in the 100/200-yard benchrest game.
Here’s living legend Walt Berger, founder of Berger Bullets. Now in his late 80s, Walt is still competing at a very high level. Walt is proof that Benchrest shooting is truly a “sport for a lifetime”.
Here’s a beautiful Missouri sunrise captured as Kevin Thomas drove to St. Louis for the 2015 NBRSA Benchrest Championships.
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Can you really make a silk purse from a sow’s ear? Would you believe a winning benchrest rifle could be constructed with a stock fashioned from a cast-off log-splitter? Well it can.
Anyone who has attended an IBS benchrest match knows that this brotherhood of shooters includes some “backyard engineers” who can build amazing things with low-cost components. Consider Steve Jordan. He has built a winning Heavy Gun with a gunstock made out of a wood splitter. Check out the photo. The butt section is in the shape of a “V” like an ax. The “V” sits on an adjustable, flat rear sandbag. The flat shaft of the wood-splitter, running horizontally, serves as the main chassis and fore-end. The barrel block sits on top (with the action floated), while the flat, forward section of the shaft rides the front bag. Not only does this “log-splitter” stock work, but Jordan has won IBS matches with it! Sometimes simple and cheap beats expensive and fancy.
Sam Hall Says the Log-Splitter Has Been “Kicking Our Tails”
Sam Hall (multi-time IBS 600-yard champion) reports: “I was not at the first match where Steve Jordan debuted his barrel-blocked, Heavy Gun stock made out of a wood splitter. From what I heard he cleaned house with it that day. When I first heard about this log-splitter rig, I thought guys were pulling my leg. But the log-splitter Heavy Gun really exists. In fact, over the past two years at Piedmont, Steve’s home-built log-splitter HG has won numerous Heavy Gun matches, out-performing nearly all the other Heavy Guns on the line, even those that cost thousands more to build.
Steve made the rifle as economical as possible. Steve’s entire stock is made from a metal wood splitter. From what I understand, Ray Lowman gave him the barrel block. This rides on the shaft of the wood splitter. With this inexpensive, simple rig Steve has been kicking our tails! By the way, Steve’s Heavy Gun is chambered as a 6mm Dasher.”
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One recent trend in F-TR competition is the use of low-profile, benchrest-type stocks shot with a light hand-hold and little or no face contact. For this method of F-TR shooting to work, you need the right equipment, and practice a “minimalist” shooting technique. One of the pioneers in this style of F-TR shooting is action-maker John Pierce of Pierce Engineering. Above you can see John shooting one of his F-TR rifles at the 2015 Canadian F-Class Championships. Note the straight-line stock and see how the adjustable bipod is set quite low to the ground (in fact the bipod’s arms are almost straight out).
Members of the Michigan F-TR Team, including Bryan Litz, have used similar rigs with success. Bryan said it took a while to adapt his shooting technique to this kind of rig, but there is a pay-off. Armed with a Pierce-built F-TR rifle, Bryan won his first-ever F-TR Match. Bryan explains the technique he uses when shooting this kind of rifle:
“Coming over from sling shooting, I knew there would be unique challenges to F-TR which I wanted to learn prior to (not during) a major tournament. I learned a new shooting position which doesn’t involve drawing the right knee up. For F-TR I get more straight behind the gun rather than at an angle. I found that the rifle shoots best with very light cheek, shoulder and grip pressure, approaching free recoil. This is how Eric Stecker shot his similar rifle into second place in the SW Nationals [with high X-Count by a large margin]. I learned the rifle’s sensitivity to different bipod and rear bag supports, and found the best buttplate position to allow the rifle to track and stay on target after recoil. This set-up shot best with a mostly free-recoil approach, that means ‘hovering’ over the comb, rather than resting your head on the stock. This took some ‘getting used to’ in terms of neck and back muscle tone. These are the kind of details I think it’s important to focus on when entering a new discipline.”
Bryan’s Pierce-built F-TR rig is a tack-driver: “I can certainly vouch for this set-up! In last weekend’s mid-range State Championship in Midland, MI, I shot my Pierce rifle into first place with a 598-44X (20 shots at 300, 500 and 600). Once you get used to the positioning and way of shooting these rifles, they just pour shots through the center of the target.”
Pierce F-TR Rifles with Scoville Stocks
Shown below are three complete Pierce F-TR rifles, along with a barreled action for comparison. The carbon-fiber/composite stocks are built by Bob Scoville. These Scoville stocks are very light, yet very strong and very stiff.
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