February 24th, 2018

Complete NRA National Championships Schedule for 2018

NRA National Championship

Pick your passion — High Power, F-Class, Silhouette, Smallbore, Air Rifle, Pistol, Black Powder. The NRA runs National Championships for all these disciplines and more. Attending a National Championship event is a big commitment, but it’s worth it. You can meet new friends, test your mettle against the nation’s best, and record memories that can last a lifetime.

Mark your calendars boys and girls — here is the complete 2018 NRA National Match schedule. This includes the National High Power Championship, National F-Class Championship, Fullbore (Palma) Championship, and a 15 more major national events. The date and location are included for each listing. Click the link for each championship to go directly to the official NRA championship page for that particular discipline to get more information or to register. To get more information, visit compete.nra.org or send email to: comphelp@nrahq.org.

NRA National High Power Championships

Intercollegiate Pistol Championships
March 17-20 ― Fort Benning, GA

Intercollegiate Rifle Club Championships
March 23-25 ― Fort Benning, GA

NRA World Action Pistol Championship
May 19-20 ― Hallsville, MO

NRA Bianchi Cup Action Pistol Championship
May 23-25 ― Hallsville, MO

National Muzzle Loading Championship
June 9-17 ― Bloomington, IL

National Air Gun Championship
June 14-19 ― Bloomington, IL

National High Power Rifle Championships
July 5-24 ― Edinburgh, IN

NRA Pistol Championship National

National Precision (Bullseye) Pistol Championships
July 9-13 ― Camp Perry, OH

National Silhouette Smallbore Rifle Championships
July 15-17 ― Raton, NM

National Smallbore Rifle Championships
July 19-30 ― Bristol, IN

National Small bore Championship

National Silhouette High Power Championships
July 19-21 ― Raton, NM

National Silhouette Cowboy Lever Action Rifle Championship
July 24-27 ― Raton, NM

National Silhouette Black Powder Cartridge Rifle Championship
July 30-August 3 ― Raton, NM

Fullbore Prone/Spirit of America National Championship
September 8-14 ― Raton, NM

NRA World Shooting Championship
September 13-15 ― Glengary, WV

National F-Class Championship
September 16-23 ― Raton, NM

National Police Shooting Championship
September 24-26 ― Albuquerque, NM

National Black Powder Target Rifle Championship
October 1-7 ― Raton, NM

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February 18th, 2018

Winter Range Cowboy Action Event in Phoenix This Week

winter range ben avery phoenix

Earlier this month the Ben Avery Range in Phoenix hosted America’s top long-range shooters at the Berger SW Nationals. This upcoming week, 1000 cowboys and cowgirls take over Ben Avery during Winter Range, the SASS National Championship for Cowboy Action Shooting. Winter Range, which runs February 19-25, 2018, is the second largest Cowboy Action event of the year, after End of Trail, the annual Single Action Shooting Society World Championship held each year in Edgewood, New Mexico.

winter range ben avery phoenix

This video, produced a few seasons back by the Arizona Fish and Game Commission, covers the full Winter Range experience, including the main shooting competitions, the side matches, the Western costumes, the socializing, and more. Worth watching if you like action shooting or are just a fan of the Wild West.

winter range ben avery phoenix

Hundreds of cowboy action shooters, ages 12-80, will compete in multiple classifications based on age, and type/caliber of firearms. In addition, this year the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association and the SASS Mounted Shooters held the exciting Winter Championship in nearby Queen Creek, Arizona. The 3-day event, held February 14-17, drew more than 100 competitors mounted on horses. You’ll see this kind of action:

winter range ben avery phoenix

Cowboy Action Shooting requires that contestants compete with firearms typical of those used in the taming of the Old West: single-action revolvers, lever-action rifles, and period shotguns. Participants each have a registered cowboy shooting alias (such as “Deadeye Dave”), used in SASS events. Competitors, organized in “Posses”, shoot a series of multi-gun stages. This is a fun shooting sport that draws multiple generations of the same family. In addition to the primary competitions, Winter Range 2018 will feature displays of period militaria, exhibitions of western skills and crafts, a fast-draw contest, and nearly 100 vendors selling vintage-style clothing and “sundries”.

winter range ben avery phoenix

winter range ben avery phoenix

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February 17th, 2018

Load Winning Ammo With Progressive — Whidden Shows How

John Whidden .243 Winchester Win National Championship Long Range Reloading Caliber Barnard Action Anschutz

After the Berger Southwest Nationals, we had a long chat with John Whidden, five-time NRA Long-Range National Champion, and a past SWN Sling Division winner. When the subject turned to reloading techniques, John reminded us that he uses a Dillon progressive presss to load much of his match ammo — with a system for much more precise control over powder charge weight. Yes John loaded his national-championship winning .243 Win ammo on a progressive. That may not work for the benchrest game, but John proved this method works well for his discipline — long range sling shooting.

John full-length sizes his match brass every time using a Whidden click-adjustable sizing die. The powder charge is dispensed with single-kernel precision using an Auto-Trickler and lab-grade force restoration scale. The process is completed on a Dillon XL 650 to produce more ammo in less time.

John Whidden .243 Winchester Win National Championship Long Range Reloading Caliber Barnard Action Anschutz

Whidden’s .243 Win Ammo is Loaded on a Dillon
John Whidden of Whidden Gunworks used the .243 Winchester cartridge to win the 2017 NRA Long Range Championship, his FIFTH LR title. John loaded his .243 Win ammo using a Dillon: “My loading process is different than many people expect. I load my ammo on a Dillon 650 progressive press using our own Whidden Gunworks dies. However powder charges are individually weighed with a stand-alone automated scale/trickler system from AutoTrickler.com (see below). Employing a high-end force restoration scale, this micro-processor controlled system offers single-kernel precision. The weighed charges are then dropped into the cases with a funnel mounted to the Dillon head.”

John Whidden .243 Winchester Win National Championship Long Range Reloading Caliber Barnard Action Anschutz

John Whidden Explains His Ammo-Loading Process

The Lapua .243 Win brass is full-length sized every time, and I run one of our custom-sized expanders in my sizer die. The expander measures .243″ which yields the desired .001″ neck tension. In my experience, the best way to get consistent neck tension is to run an expander in the case neck at some point. When sizing the case neck by a minimal amount such as is the case here, I don’t find any negative points in using an expander in the sizer die.

Championship-Winning Load: Berger Bullets, Lapua Brass, and Vihtavuori N160
For a load, currently I’m shooting Lapua brass, PMC primers (Russian, similar to Wolf), VihtaVuori N160 single-base powder, and Berger 105 grain Hybrid bullets. I switched to the Hybrid bullets at the beginning of the 2015 season. Previously I shot the 105gr Berger hunting VLDs, and in testing I found that the Hybrids were just as accurate without having to seat the bullet into the lands. The velocity of this combination when shot through the excellent Bartlein 5R barrels (32” length) is around 3275 FPS.

For my match ammo, I seat the Berger 105 Hybrids well off the lands — my bullets are “jumping” from .035″-.060″. I only use one seating depth for ammunition for multiple guns (I know some benchrest shooters will stop reading right here!) and the bullets jump further in the worn barrels than in the fresh barrels. The bullets are pointed up in our Bullet Pointing Die System and are moly-coated. The moly (molybdenum disulfide) does extend the cleaning interval a little bit, probably 20% or so. The Lapua .243 Win brass is all neck-turned to .0125″ thickness.

In my experience, the keys to accurate long range ammo are top quality bullets and the most consistent neck tension you can produce. From these starting points, the use of quality components and accurate powder measurement will finish out the magic.

Great Ballistics with 6mm 105s at 3275 FPS
Running at an impressive 3275 FPS, Berger 6mm 105 grain Hybrids deliver ballistics that are hard to beat, according to John Whidden:

“My .243 Win shoots inside a 6.5-284 with 142-grainers. Nothing out there is really ahead of [the .243], in 1000-yard ballistics unless you get into the short magnums or .284s and those carry a very significant recoil penalty. In the past I did shoot the 6.5-284. I went to the .243 Win because it had similar ballistics but had much less recoil. It doesn’t beat me up as much and is not as fatiguing.

John Whidden .243 Winchester Win National Championship Long Range Reloading Caliber Barnard Action Anshutz

With the .243 Win, there’s no tensing-up, no anticipating. With the reduced recoil (compared to a 7mm or big .308), I can break and shoot very good quality shots. I find I just shoot better shots with the .243 than I ever did with the 6.5-284.”

John Whidden National Long Range Championship Camp Perry 2016 Wind Reading

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February 14th, 2018

Multi-Gun Fun — NRA Outdoors 3-Gun Training School

3-Gun tools ar shotgun pistol holster belt

This story appears courtesy NRABlog.com.
Looking to get started in Multi-Gun competition? The NRA Outdoors 3-Gun School is a two-day course covering all the skills you’ll need to compete in the 3-Gun game. The course, hosted at Peacemaker National Training Center in West Virginia, provides hands-on training for pistol, rifle, and shotgun. Participants experience a fast-paced mix of lessons and firing drills, including actual 3-Gun stages. For 2018, two sessions are scheduled: April 21-22, and June 16-17, 2018.

NRA Outdoors 3-gun School Class WV Peacemaker

Video Shows Highlights from NRA Outdoors 3-Gun School Training Sessions:

You don’t even have to bring guns or load your own ammo. The NRA Outdoors 3-Gun School includes everything you need with the $1600.00 price of admission. You don’t need to bring any guns, ammunition or gear! The NRA Outdoors 3-Gun School provides all firearms, ammo and equipment used for the course, including Armalite AR-pattern rifles, Benelli shotguns customized by Hayes Custom Guns, SIG Sauer pistols, and Vortex Optics.

3-Gun Comps — What the Multi-Gun Game is All About
Most 3-Gun matches consist of 8 to 12 stages, with shooters engaging as many as 35 targets per stage. You’ll shoot at paper silhouettes as close as 10 feet away, and steel targets as far out as 600 yards. Time is of the essence — all stages are “on the clock”. You’re racing from station to station, your synapses firing as your transition from shotgun to rifle to pistol, close to long range, around corners, and over barriers.

3-Gun Match

You’ll encounter spinner wheels, swinging bowling pins and zooming clay pigeons, all while rushing through and around a bevy of walls, barrels, windows and even vehicles. Some 3-Gun matches are shot at night (see above), where the artificial illumination creates an entirely different set of challenges.

How to Participate
You can register now for the NRA Outdoors 3-Gun School. The first class of the year is scheduled for April 21-22, 2018, with another session later in mid-June. If you’re interested, register soon — these programs fill quickly.

NRA Outdoors 3-gun School Class WV Peacemaker

CLICK HERE for more information about the NRA Outdoors 3-Gun School. Learn about other training courses by visiting the NRA Outdoors website or call (844) 672-6883.

NRA Outdoors 3-gun School Class WV Peacemaker

Hardware for 3-Gun Competition — Guns & Gear
In this NSSF video, Top Shot Finalist Chris Cerino reviews the hardware you’ll need for multi-gun matches. Chris talks about carbine configurations — including barrel, handguard, and optics options. Cerino also demonstrates pistol techniques and explains the key features of a belt/holster rig.

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February 13th, 2018

National Records Now Recognized for CMP’s Travel Games Events

CMP Civilian Marksmanship Program Travel Match Record

The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) will now be recognizing National Records attained at CMP Travel Games events. Now, outstanding scores will be recorded in the record book for all CMP Travel Games matches. The current listed National Record scores were established after compiling top scores from the following Games events and years:

CMP Civilian Marksmanship Program Travel Match RecordOklahoma: 2012-2017
Eastern Games: 2007-2017
Talladega D-Day: 2015-2017
New England: 2016-2017
Western Games: 2005-2017
Talladega 600: 2015-2017

To view the new Travel Games National Records standards, click this link:

CMP Games Competition Rules

Special Travel Games National Record Certificates will be sent to the competitors that currently hold the Overall Travel Games National Records, with additional certificates awarded to those who break records in the future.

National Record scores for each individual match are listed under the match’s results in CMP’s Competitor Tracker – used to display result scores for Travel Games events. A full list of Overall National Records can be found by visiting the CMP Travel Games Homepage.

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February 12th, 2018

Berger SW Nationals 2018 — Looking Back at a Great Event

Berger Southwest Nationals Bill Gravatt Capstone
Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher

The 2018 Berger SW Nationals are now history. The fun, action, challenges, and rewards now pass into memories. Once again, the Berger SWN was a great shooting match — a great way to advance your shooting skills, reconnect with old friends, and enjoy warm weather. If you are a serious long-range shooter, this is definitely one of the best-managed, most rewarding matches on the planet. In 2018 the match “sold out” in a matter of hours. If you plan to go next year, watch for the registration notices. You don’t want to be left out.

Berger Southwest Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Capstone

2018 Berger Southwest Nationals Long Range Results

The SWN has three new individual champions. Congratulations to the three divisional Match Winners: Bob Sebold (F-Open), Phillip Kelley Jr. (F-TR), and Allen Thomas (Sling).

Top Five Overall – F-Open
Bob Sebold, 843-49X
Keith Glasscock, 843-38X
Jay Christopherson, 841-45X
Stephen Potter, 841-37X
James Crofts, 841-34X
Top Five Overall – F-TR
Phillip Kelley Jr., 838-35X
Ellis Berry, 837-42X
Niklas Montin, 836-35X
Peter Johns, 835-36X
Edward Shelley, 832-33X
Top Five Overall – Sling
Allen Thomas, 844-37X
Oliver Milanovic, 843-45X
Trudie Fay, 842-32X
Nancy Tompkins, 840-43X
Angus McLeod, 840-43X

View Complete SWN Match Results on McMillan Facebook Page »

Berger Southwest Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Capstone

The Berger SW Nationals are made possible through the principal support of Berger Bullets and Lapua, both part of the Capstone Precision Group, which also distributes Vihtavuori powder and SK Ammunition in the USA. Berger and Lapua both generously donated product prizes for 2018 SWN competitors.

Berger Southwest Nationals Berger Lapua Capstone

Today’s Champions… And Tomorrow’s New Talent

Here is the Sling Winner, Allen Thomas, with Bill Gravatt, President of Capstone Precision Group. (Bill was formerly the President of Sinclair International).

Berger Southwest Nationals Bill Gravatt Capstone

Bob Sebold, of Team Lapua/Brux/Borden also won the individual F-Class SWN Title. He’s definitely one of the nation’s top F-Open pilots.

Berger Southwest Nationals Bill Gravatt Capstone

There were a dozen or so talented juniors competing at the Berger SW Nationals. Some of the youngsters posted scores that would put the “old guys” to shame. We definitely expect to see some of these young shooters standing on the podium at future Berger SWN events. We asked them to strike a “cool pose” and the Harris boys delivered…

Berger Southwest Nationals Bill Gravatt Capstone

Berger SW Nationals Gallery — Parting Shots

Does this competitor know something we don’t know. Perhaps he is testing a new “Stealth” rifle stock from McMillan. Or maybe this is some kind of Zen body/mind melding practice. We do advocate “dry firing”, but that normally involves holding a real rifle…

Berger Southwest Nationals Bill Gravatt Capstone

Look carefully and you’ll see quite a lot reflected in this SWN competitor’s shooting eyewear. Can you identify the type of rifle?

Berger Southwest Nationals Bill Gravatt Capstone

Michelle Gallagher — She’s probably smiling at an ‘X’ — or maybe she just nailed a tough wind call. The SW Nationals is a great event because of the hard work and dedication of talented folks like Michelle.

Berger Southwest Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Capstone

Can you name all the pieces of hardware in this image? We see at least a dozen. Don’t forget the little items like the bubble level and mirage shield.

Berger Southwest Nationals Bill Gravatt Capstone

How do you anchor a SEB MINI coaxial rest in under ten seconds? With MAXI feet of course! These over-size hooves belong to shooter Mark Fairbairn, a very tall, MAXI-sized Australian. Who needs to pound those F-Class feet into the ground with a mallet when you can simply “stand and deliver”.

Berger Southwest Nationals Bill Gravatt Capstone

We think some competitors came to Ben Avery just for the great Barbecue lunches — well that plus the great weather and the amazing prize table. Everyone goes home a winner in one way or another.

Berger Southwest Nationals food barbecue BBQ

Texas gunsmith Richard King showed us the biggest rifle action we’ve ever seen. This 13-lb monster is the BAT .50 BMG Action. Honestly it was HUGE — with the bolt fully extended it was the size of your forearm (to the finger tips). Richard joked “This weighs almost as much as an F-TR rifle (before optic) all by itself”.

Berger Southwest Nationals Bill Gravatt Capstone

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February 11th, 2018

Berger SW Nationals 2018 — Hail the Champions

Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Wind

Today was the final day of the Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN). Two 1000-yard individual matches were scheduled. But the weather gods did not cooperate. Sunday matches were cancelled due to high, gusty winds from the North-Northeast that made it very difficult to handle the large, wood target frames. With concern for the safety of pit workers, match organizers waited until 10:00 am, then canceled the matches. It was a disappointment for some, but all the competitors still enjoyed a great week at Ben Avery.

With the cancellation of Sunday matches, the three individual champions — Sling Division, F-TR, and F-Open have been decided based on the Friday and Saturday results. We congratulate the three new Champions: Bob Sebold (F-Open), Phillip Kelley Jr. (F-TR), and Allen Thomas (Sling).

Top Five Overall – F-Open
Bob Sebold, 843-49X
Keith Glasscock, 843-38X
Jay Christopherson, 841-45X
Stephen Potter, 841-37X
James Crofts, 841-34X
Top Five Overall – F-TR
Phillip Kelley Jr., 838-35X
Ellis Berry, 837-42X
Niklas Montin, 836-35X
Peter Johns, 835-36X
Edward Shelley, 832-33X
Top Five Overall – Sling
Allen Thomas, 844-37X
Oliver Milanovic, 843-45X
Trudie Fay, 842-32X
Nancy Tompkins, 840-43X
Angus McLeod, 840-43X

Team matches concluded yesterday, Saturday. In team competition, Team Lapua/Brux/Borden won the F-Open Division, while Team McMillan finished first in F-TR Division. In the Sling Division, Team USA National Hayes topped the field. Congratulations to the winning teams.

View Complete SWN Match Results on McMillan Facebook Page »

Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Wind

Berger SW Nationals

Wicked Winds on Saturday Challenged Competitors
Saturday’s weather was not kind to shooters. Along with cloudy skies came wind — lots of it. The wind was veering, and gusty — with significant changes in velocity. It was hard to predict the cycles — if they could be called that. Erratic was more like it. Many shots were out in the 7 and 8 rings. One champion-level shooter told us: “That was ugly — I got my clock cleaned”. Another shooter said “I ran out of paper to hold off”. At one point, Team Lapua/Brux/Borden (LBB) waited over 30 minutes to take a shot, hoping to get into a steady condition. The patience paid off. Team LBB shooter Jay Christopherson’s final shot (after the long wait) was a 10.

Berger SW Nationals Team Lapua Brux Borden

Above is a view from a spotting scope during the 1000-Yard Team Match on Saturday. During the course of the day, there were many 7s and 8s showing on the targets. One competitor said “the wind was so bad, I was holding off the frame”.

Berger SW Nationals Team Lapua Brux Borden

Team Lapua/Brux/Berger shot great in tough conditions on Saturday to win the F-Open Team competition. Second from left is Jay Chistopherson, AccurateShooter.com’s System Administrator. When he’s not shooting, Jay works hard to keep our Shooter’s Forum and content sites running smoothly.

The team announced: “Team Lapua-Brux-Borden pulled off a major win today at Berger SW Natinols. Conditions were very challenging but our wind coach was able to keep up with the conditions. Our rifles shot very flat which allowed us to rack up points and Xs. We have a great team and amazing sponsors: Lapua, Brux Barrels, Borden Actions, Cerus Rifleworks. Team members: Jay Christopherson, Eric Cortina, Steve Harp, Tod Hendricks, Pat Scully, and Bob Sebold. Notably, Bob Sebold also won the 2018 Berger SWN Individual F-Open title, making him a double champion.

Eliseo Tubegun with Nightforce Competition scope. These versatile rifle chassis systems are produced by Competition Machine in Cottonwood, Arizona.
2016 Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Arizona AZ

Berger SW Nationals Team Lapua Brux Borden
Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.

There couldn’t be a match without the dedication of the folks who work the pits. At the Berger SWN, competitors did pit duty, ferried by trailers, and there were also some volunteers.

Berger SW Nationals Team Lapua Brux Borden
Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.

They say behind every successful man is a good woman. Derek Rodgers, current F-TR World Champion, is no exception. His wife Hope Rodgers was on hand throughout the SWN to cheer on her husband.

Berger SW Nationals Team Lapua Brux Borden

For many sling shooters, the Berger SWN is the second most important event of the year, right after the NRA Championships, held at Camp Perry (OH) and (now) Camp Atterbury (IN). Check out those patches.

Berger SW Nationals Team Lapua Brux Borden

Industry Report — Berger, Lapua and Capstone Precision Group

Last year Berger Bullets was acquired by the Nammo Lapua Group. Berger Bullets, along with Lapua Products, SK Ammo, and Vihtavuori Powder, are now distributed in the USA by the Capstone Precision Group. Berger will continue to offer its full line of bullets, plus Berger-branded Ammunition (formerly ABM Ammo). Likewise Lapua will continue to offer its superb caftridge brass, plus Lapua’s full line of bullets and loaded Ammunition. In this video, Capstone’s Director Bill Gravatt explains how Capstone is working to expand the availability of Lapua and Berger products. In addition, Eric Stecker explains how Berger Bullets can increase production significantly, now that Berger is operating in the large Nammo/Lapua facility in Mesa, Arizona.

Today is the last day of the Berger Southwest Nationals. After the cancellation of Sunday’s 1000-yard matches due to high winds, this year’s 2018 SWN concluded with the Award Presentations. We watched as scores of medals — along with heaps of cash and Berger bullets — were handed out. AccurateShooter.com also awarded prestigious Corinthian awards to Nancy Tompkins (Sling) and Rick Jensen (F-Class).

Berger SW Nationals Team Lapua Brux Borden
Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.

Team McMillan was the top-performing F-TR squad at the Berger SW Nationals. The team includes many former members of the all-conquering Team Sinclair.

Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Wind

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February 10th, 2018

Berger SWN 2018 — Friday Match and Gear Highlights

Berger SW Nationals John Whidden Palma F-TR
Reigning NRA National Long-Range Champion John Whidden in action on the 1000-yard line. John’s rifle features a centerfire action in an aluminum Anschutz small-bore stock.

There are now two more days left for the 2018 Berger SW Nationals, with the competition heating up. From this point on, all shooting will be at 1000 yards. Friday was challenging, with increasing wind velocities over the day. Shifts were harder to figure out, and some talented shooters dropped 8-10 points. Competition was fierce. In the sling division, our friend Gary Eliseo of Competition Machine came out on top via tie-breaker. Gary and Stuart Mackey shot identical scores on Friday at each distance: 150-8X, 150-7X, and 149-8X, both finishing with 449-23X. That’s as close as it gets.

One shot left… will that last bullet end up in the X-ring? We hope so…

Saturday Shooting — Team and Individual Competition at 1000
Today, Saturday 2/10/18, all shooting will be at 1000 yards, with both Individual and 4-person Team competition. The format calls for two, 20-shot matches for both individuals and teams. Good luck to all!

MATCH RESULTS: Complete Daily Scores and On-Going Match Standings are posted on the McMillan Fiberglass Stocks Facebook Page. Here are Top Five in each Division, at day’s end on Friday, 2/9/2018:

Top Five F-Open
Bob Sebold — 449-30X
Danny J. Biggs — 449-26X
Jay Christopherson — 448-28X
Stephen Potter — 448-23X
Ubaldino De Arellano — 448-23X
Top Five F-TR
Ellis Berry — 448-26X
Peter Johns — 448-25X
Philip Kelley Jr. — 448-21X
Doug Boyer — 447-27X
Greg Barkley — 447-23X
Top Five Sling
Gary Eliseo — 449-23X
Stuart Mackey — 449-23X
Bill Vaughn — 448-28X
Curtis Gordon — 448-23X
Nancy Tompkins — 447-30X

No Worries Mate — Mark Swaps Stocks in Mid-Match

Berger SW Nationals Mark Fairburn Australia  Palma F-TR

Australian Mark Fairbairn performed a “Quick Fix” during Thursday’s match. His F-Open rifle, in a conventional fiberglass stock, was giving him random vertical during one yardage: “I had a bit of a problem with elevation — the stock was hitting somewhere [causing vertical]. I was X-X-X then a shot popped up in the 9 ring with no good reason. So I figured I better put a new stock on it. I got my old aluminium stock I brought from Australia and quickly adjusted it to fit on the Stolle.” Right on the berm he swapped his barreled action into the metal stock of his own design. The clock was ticking… but the story had a happy ending. For the next yardage Mark shot a brilliant 150-7X, not dropping a point. So the “Quick Fix” did the trick. As they say Down Under — “Good on Ya, Mate!”

Patriotic Pair of Stars and Stripes F-Open Rigs

Berger Stars Stripes rifles SWN F-TR

There were two very patriotic F-Open rifles side-by-side on the firing line yesterday. These Stars and Stripes rigs were squadded right next to each other just by chance — but it made for a great show.

Like Father, Like Daughter — The Cortinas

Berger SW Nationals Erik Amber Cortina F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

Erik Cortina, member of Team Lapua/Brux/Borden, is one of the nation’s top F-Class shooters. But on Friday he was only the second-best Cortina at 1000 yards. Erik’s daughter, Amberleeana, posted a 147-7X to edge her Dad by 3 Xs (Erik scored 147-4X) from the 1000-yard line.

F-Class is for Everyone – All Ages, Guys AND Gals

Berger SW Nationals female shooter F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

F-Class is not just a man’s game. There were many lady shooters on the firing line, in both F-Open and F-TR Divisions. Some shooting instructors says females learn faster than their male counterparts, so they can excel quickly in the shooting sports.

Cool Gadget (Literally) — The BarrelCool Device

Barrel Cool F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

The clever BarrelCool is a dual-purpose device that serves as an Empty Chamber Indicator (ECI) while cooling your barrel with a battery-powered fan. This is American ingenuity at its best.

Spotting Scope Support Arm Attached to Front Rest

Berger SW Nationals Richard King F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

Texas gunsmith Richard King of King’s Armory had a very clever set-up for his spotting scope. He has fabricated a support arm that holds the spotter very close to his rifle. With this configuration, Richard can view through the spotting scope without shifting his position on the rifle. This puts the spotting scope’s eyepiece just a few inches from his riflescope eyepiece so he can move easily from one optic to the other. This set-up also reduces the amount of gear Richard carries to the line. No separate spotting scope base, stand, or tripod is needed. This is a simple, elegant solution. We bet, with a little tinkering and design work, a similar system could be mounted to a SEB or Bald Eagle front rest

Labor of Love — Do-It-Yourself F-TR Stock Milled from Aluminum

Berger SW Nationals Erik Cortina F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

We saw many interesting F-TR rigs. Here’s an one-of-a-kind stock, machined from aluminum billet by shooter/owner Mark Roberts of Lone Star Tumblers. There are a ton of man-hours in this unique stock.

Bird’s Eye Ben Avery — A Look at the Range

If you’ve never visited the Ben Avery Facility north of Phoenix, Arizona, here is a video shot in 2016 that shows the 1000-yard range (including drone footage). The desert range at Ben Avery is something special — check out this “birds-eye view”. This video also includes an interview with Derek Rodgers, the current F-TR World Champion, King of 2 Miles, and the only man who who has earned both F-Open AND F-TR National titles.

Ben Avery by Air — We are repeating this 2016 video here because it has a great aerial view of the Mid Tompkins 1000-yard Range at Ben Avery

Erik Stecker of Berger Bullets visited the match Friday. Here he talks with members of Team Berger Bullets. Eric now oversees operations of Berger, as part of the Capstone Precision Group (Berger, Lapua, SK, Vihtavuori). That’s Walt Berger in the background in the red shirt.

Berger SW Nationals Capstone Precision Berger Bullets F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

There were plenty of smiles on the firing line — the Berger SW Nationals event offers great weather, great competition, great camaraderie, and a great prize table.

Berger SW Nationals Erik Cortina F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

Swap-Meet at Ben Avery
After the matches concluded on Friday, a Swap Meet was held in the Club House. There were some great bargains to be found. Can you name the past National Champions in the background of this photo?

Berger SW Nationals Swap Meet Nancy Tompkins James Crofts F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

Parting Shot: Glamtactical by Cerus Rifleworks

Berger SW Nationals Capstone Precision Berger Bullets F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

We spotted a stunning “Glamtactical” rig from Cerus Rifleworks in the Nightforce booth. Believe it or not, Cerus owner Will McCloskey found this stunning wood buried in a “bargain bin”, and snagged the highly-figured walnut blank for under $10. Steal of the year! This rifle features a carbon-wrapped barrel with muzzle brake.

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February 9th, 2018

Berger Southwest Nationals 2018 — Report from Ben Avery

Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open
Thursday was Team Day at the Berger SWN. The rules called for four shooters. But one Aussie Team had a special mascot shooter to add team spirit.

Today, Friday, marks the third day of competition at the Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN), with individual matches on the schedule. Today’s match will have a Palma format, with shooters competing individually at three yardages: 800, 900, and 1000. This is when it really gets tough — no wind coaches. Each shooter is on his or her own. Yesterday, Thursday, was a Team Day at Ben Avery, with four-person teams shooting at 800, 900, and 1000. We saw some familiar squads on the firing line, such as Team Berger Bullets, The X-Men, and Da Bulls, as well as new squads.

Individual Long-Range Competition starts today, Friday, at the Berger Southwest Nationals. The firing line is full — this match “sold out” early. Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.
Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open

Click Image to see full-screen Panorama of 1000-yard firing line at Ben Avery.
Berger SW Nationals panorama Mid Tompkins range match

Full interim results for Thursday’s Team match are posted on the McMillan Fiberglass Stocks Facebook Page.

Thursday’s conditions were much calmer than the Wednesday (when winds were howling in the afternoon). It was very calm in the early morning but then the wind increased gradually during the day, becoming switchy. Many shooters told us the mirage was difficult to read. The sling division was tightly fought, with Scottish HPS Team and U.S. National Mrnak Team tied on points at 1779 at day’s end. The Scots finished first by X-count, 92 to 85. Finishing third was U.S.A. National Hayes Team, 1776-114X.

Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open

In F-Open, the “Old Gentlemen” of Team Berger lead the way on Thursday, with a score of 1784-92X, followed by Team Lapua/Brux/Borden in second with 1782-101X. Tied on points in third place, but with fewer Xs, was Team Defiance at 1782-82X. This was a bit of a family affair as Scott Harris coached wife Christine and son Adrian, along with shooters John Moreali and Ben Steinsholdt. Larry Bartholome had top individual score, not dropping a point to finish “clean” at 450-21X. Next best was AccurateShooter’s own Jay Christopherson, with 449-31X.

Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open

In F-TR, Team “Da Bulls” topped the field with 1762-66X, barely edging second-place Team McMillan which scored 1762-64X. The McMillan team was a powerhouse including current F-TR World Champion Derek Rodgers, and, as coach, former USA F-TR Team Captain Ray Gross.

Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open
The powerhouse Team McMillan F-TR squads featured serious talent. Left to right here, in their red jerseys, are Captain Paul Phillips, Derek Rodgers, and Coach Ray Gross.

One team featured a Father-Daughter Duo, with father Scott coaching Morgan, his talented daughter. Morgan tells us that competitive shooting has unlocked a new world for her. She has traveled to South Africa with her father to shoot in international matches. Shooting at the SWN is a highlight of her year: “I love the warm weather here — It’s snowing back home in New York”.

SWN VIDEO: Father coaches daughter in Thursday’s Team Match:

Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open

View from the pits at the Mid Tompkins Range at Ben Avery. Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.
Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open

Kelly McMillan showed us a new F-Open competition stock, the Kestros with “Z-Rail”. This features a box-section aluminum extension on the fore-end. This allows a longer “wheelbase” on the stock, as well as a lower center of gravity. Kelly says his company is working may adapting this extension to include an bipod attachment rail. That way you could shoot the same stock in both F-TR and F-Open divisions.

Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open

SWN VIDEO: Kelly McMillan talks about new McMillan and MCubed (M3) stocks in this video. Kelly plans to host his Taking Stock Radio Show on Friday, February 9, live from the Berger SWN. CLICK HERE for Kelly McMillan’s SWN Radio Show.

Listen to Kelly McMillan’s Taking Stock Radio Show from Berger Southwest Nationals

Rekindle Old Friendships and Meet New Friends
Some shooters come to to the SW Nationals for the swag (the prize table is amazing). Others come for the sunshine (think warm 80-85° weather). And even more folks come to try out their shiny new toys and to test their skills against the nation’s best shooters.

But we’d say the number one reason most folks make the pilgrimage to Ben Avery every year is the camaraderie — the chance to connect with friends, rekindling connections that may go back decades. Fundamentally, then, the Berger SWN is about the people. For many of us, this is the only time of the year when we get a chance to meet fellow shooters from distant corners of the USA (and other nations).

Team Berger
Old Guys Rule — Team Berger topped the F-Open field in Thursday Team competition. NOTE: this photo shows 2017 team members.

Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open

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February 8th, 2018

Berger Southwest Nationals 2018 — Bigger and Better Than Ever

2018 Berger Southwest Nationals

The Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN) is the biggest and best long-range shooting event west of the Mississippi, and the best mid-winter event by far. And because it includes both F-Class and Sling (Palma) disciplines, the SWN attracts more top shooters than even the F-Class Nationals. You will find multiple National and even World Champions on the firing line. Combine the level of competition with warm Arizona weather and a massive prize table and you have a stellar event that is the highlight of any long-range shooter’s season.

Berger Southwest Nationals bullets ben avery phoenix arizona

This year’s Berger SWN is even more notable because Berger Bullets has relocated to Mesa, Arizona, so this is truly Berger’s “home match”. Berger moved to Arizona after the company was acquired by the Nammo Lapua group. Berger bullets are now distributed in the USA by the Missouri-based Capstone Precision Group, which also markets Lapua brass, bullets and ammo, SK Rimfire ammunition, and Vihtavuori powder.

Sling Shooters and F-Classers compete on the same firing line at the Berger SW Nationals. Sling competitors are on the left with F-TR and F-Open shooters on the right.

Berger SW Nationals

Berger SW Nationals F-Open

The Berger SWN has amazing awards. Here is one of the Native American-themed perpetual trophies.
Berger SW Nationals trophy Ghost Dancer

This year, as usual, the Berger SWN started off with a Shooters’ Clinic on Monday and Tuesday. Experts provided instruction on wind reading, match strategies, shooting technique and more. This initial clinic also affords SWN participants a chance to check out the Mid Tompkins Range at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility north of Phoenix, Arizona. This range can be challenging, no doubt, but the typical calm morning conditions have allowed records to be set here.

Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Ben Avery Arizona

Yesterday, Wednesday, February 7, the 2018 SW Nationals competition phase began with the Mid-Range Match. F-Classers and sling shooters set-up on the firing line with targets 600 yards away. Wednesday turned out to be very tough, with very strong, gusty winds. Still there were some impressive performances. Mastering the tough conditions, Christine Harris shot 598-31X to win the F-Open division, beating all the male shooters, including many past National Champions. You Go Girl!

Here is the firing line for Wednesday’s 600-yard Match. Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.
SWN Sherri Jo Barrels 600 yard match

Full Results for Wednesday’s Mid-Range Match are published on the McMillan Facebook Page.

Berger SW Nationals 600-yard mid-range

Berger Southwest Nationals Wednesday

From here on it gets even tougher. Today, Thursday, there’s a four-man Team match with with 15 shots for record each at 800, 900 and 1000 yards. There will be three classes: Palma, F-Open (shot from rest), and F-TR (.223 Rem and .308 Win shot from bipod)

Here is AccurateShooter.com’s System Admin, who shot F-Open with Team Lapua/Brux/Borden on Thursday.
Jay Christopherson SWN Berger team Lapua

Berger Southwest Nationals bullets ben avery phoenix arizona

Warm Arizona Weather
Wonder warm weather is predicted for the whole week, It was 79° on Wednesday and temps in the low 80s are predicted for the rest of the week. We didn’t hear any complaints from the Canadians who fled ice and snow to shoot the match. It was sunny and warm in Arizona as promised. This is a great location for a shooting holiday, and you can even book a “dawn patrol” balloon ride near the Ben Avery range.

Berger SW Nationals

2018 Berger SWN Schedule of Events

Monday and Tueday, 5 and 6 February, 2018, 9:00 AM
Shooting Clinic: Clinic will include instruction in both classroom and live fire settings. Check in starts by 7:00 AM and instruction will start at 9:00 AM.

Wednesday, 7 February, 2018, 9:00 AM
Mid-Range Match – Three 20 shot matches at 600 yards. (Divisions: Palma, Any Rifle-Any Sight, F-Open, F-TR)

Thursday, 8 February 2018, 9:00 AM
4-Man Palma Team Match – 15 shots for record at each of 800, 900 and 1000 yards. (Divisions: Palma, F-Open, F-TR). NOTE: Practice available to those not shooting with a team.

Friday, 9 February 2018, 8:30 AM – Start of Grand Agg
Individual Palma Match – 15 shots for record at each of 800, 900 and 1000 yards. (Divisions: Palma, F-Open, F-TR). BONUS: Swap Meet – after conclusion of fire at 1000 yard line.

Saturday, 10 February 2018, 8:30 AM
Individual 1000 Yard Matches – Two 20 shots matches at 1000 yards. Any Rifle-Iron Sight (Any sight for F-Class shooters). (Divisions: Palma, Any Rifle-Iron Sight, F-Open, F-TR)
4 Man Team Match – 20 shots at 1000 yards. Any Rifle-Iron Sight (Any sight for F-Class shooters). (Divisions – Palma, Any Rifle-Iron Sight, F-Open, F-TR)
— Banquet Dinner – Approximately 5:00 pm at Indoor Range.

Sunday, 11 February 2018, 8:30 AM
Individual 1000 Yard Matches – Two 20 shots matches at 1000 yards. Any Rifle-Any Sight (Any sight for F-Class shooters). (Divisions – Palma, Any Rifle-Any Sight, F-Open, F-TR)
— Awards Ceremony at the Indoor Range.


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Competition Tips from Bryan Litz

To help competitors at the Berger SW Nationals, here are some smart tips from Bryan Litz. Bryan knows the Ben Avery range well. He won the Mid-Range and Long-Range F-TR National Championships there in 2015. And twice he has won the sling division at the Southwest Nationals. Here are wise words from Bryan:

Competition TIP ONE. Improving your scores in long range competition is a constant process of self-assessment. After each match, carefully analyze how you lost points and make a plan to improve. Beginning shooters will lose a lot of points to fundamental things like sight alignment and trigger control. Veteran shooters will lose far fewer points to a smaller list of mistakes. At every step along the way, always ask yourself why you’re losing points and address the issues. Sometimes the weak links that you need to work on aren’t your favorite thing to do, and success will take work in these areas as well.

Competition TIP TWO. Select your wind shooting strategy carefully. For beginners and veterans, most points are typically lost to wind. Successful shooters put a lot of thought into their approach to wind shooting. Sometimes it’s best to shoot fast and minimize the changes you’ll have to navigate. Other times it’s best to wait out a condition which may take several minutes. Develop a comfortable rest position so you have an easier time waiting when you should be waiting.

Competition TIP THREE. Actively avoid major train wrecks. Sounds obvious but it happens a lot. Select equipment that is reliable, get comfortable with it and have back-ups for important things. Don’t load on the verge of max pressure, don’t go to an important match with a barrel that’s near shot out, physically check tightness of all important screws prior to shooting each string. Observe what train wrecks you and others experience, and put measures in place to avoid them.

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February 6th, 2018

Weakside Bolt Placement — The Competitive Advantages

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, the reigning King of 2 Miles, and the only person to have won BOTH F-Open and F-TR U.S. National Championships, 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.

Current King of 2 Miles (and F-TR World Champion) 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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February 6th, 2018

Teaching New Shooters — CMP Training Resources

The CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program) offers a wide variety of resources for novice shooters and juniors. These materials help novices learn basic marksmanship skills and get started in competition. Some resources can be downloaded from the CMP website, while others are available for purchase from the CMP E-Store. In addition, The CMP maintains a Coaching Resources webpage with dozens of informative articles. Here are some of the CMP articles you can find online:

teaching shooting positions youth junior

Videos

These short marksmanship trainging videos cover the basics of the Kneeling, Standing, and Prone postions. (NOTE: these are live links — videos will launch when you click.)

(more…)

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February 4th, 2018

Forum Faves — Pride and Joy Rifles for February

AccurateShooter.com Pride Joy F-Open KW Precision wood stock
Here is beautiful F-Open rig crafted by Forum member CigarCop of KW Precision LLC. It features a laminated wood stock with stunning figured walnut on the outside.

One of the most popular items in our Shooters’ Forum is the ongoing “Pride and Joy” thread. Since 2009, Forum members have posted photos and descriptions of their most prized rifles. Here are some of the most recent “Pride and Joy” rifles showcased in our Forum. Do you have a gun you’d like to see featured there? Just Register for the Forum and you can add your favorite gun to the list.

New 600/1000 Benchrest Light Gun for Richard Schatz in 6 BRA

Alex Wheeler Pride Joy Richard Schatz Benchrest IBS

This blue benchrest rig was crafted by Alex Wheeler for ace benchrest competitor Richard Schatz, a past 600-yard IBS Shooter of the Year. Richard’s new 600/1000-yard Light Gun features a Krieger barrel chambered in 6 BRA (40° Ackley version of 6mmBR Norma). That Krieger is mated to a 1.550″ BAT B action, ignition-timed for smooth bolt close and increased accuracy. The trigger is the sophisticated Bix’n Andy. Schatz’s BAT is glued and screwed into a Wheeler LRB stock, with aluminum rails and adjustable metal “tracking rudder” on the toe of the stock. The rudder can be adjusted side to side to ensure optimal tracking, while the rudder’s vertical angle can be adjusted slightly with shims.

Hand-Crafted Thumbhole-Stocked Rifle Chambered in 6 PPC

Grimstod 6mm 6 PPC thumbhole wood stock Kelbly Panda

Forum Member Grimstod offered this handsome 6 PCC custom with a beautiful, hand-made thumbhole stock: “This was fully accurized with Premier Accuracy recoil lug installed. Really makes these shoot a lot better. It features a Kelbly Panda action with Hart barrel and glass bedding. Trigger fall was perfect to start and we have to give Ian Kelbly big thumbs up for making every action perfectly timed.” On top is a March competition scope. See more photos at www.premieraccuracy.com.

A Wicked Accurate Big Dawg in 28 Nosler

28 Nosler Benchrest Big Dawg

This 28 Nosler Benchrest rifle looks good and shoots even better — check out that 20-shot target shot at 200 yards! You can’t argue with that…

Alex Wheeler Pride Joy Richard Schatz Benchrest IBS

Belonging to Forum member LA50Shooter, this rig is chambered in 28 Nosler, with metal work by Gre-Tan Rifles. The action is a BAT Model “L” 1.650 Octagon with a 30 MOA scope rail, running a Jewell BR Trigger. The stock, from D&B Supply, is a Shehane Big Dawg Tracker with 5″ fore-end. Color scheme is “Field & Stream” Rutland laminate. This big rig boasts FOUR 34″ Benchmark barrels (1.5″ for seven inches tapering to 1.225″ at muzzle).

A Pair of Score Benchrest Beauties

benchrest for score 30 BR Kriger Nightforce March

Forum member JimPag showcased two new Benchrest-for-Score rifles. The rig on the left, smithed by Dwight Scott, features a Farley Black Widow RBLPRE (with Bix’n Andy trigger). It features Pistachio and Carbon Terry Leonard stock glued and screwed by Sid Goodling. The barrel is a Krieger 23.5″ chambered in 30BR with a Mike Ezell tuner. It’s topped with a Goodling-built 1-piece Davidson base and a Nightforce 42X Comp scope. The rifle on the right, smithed by Sid Goodling, features a Marsh Saguaro RBLPRE Action with Bix’n Andy trigger, and March 36-55X scope. This rifle boasts a rare Screwbean Mesquite and carbon stock by Terry Leonard. The 23″ Lilja bbl is chambered in 30 Thrasher with a Goodling tuner. (30 Thrasher is longer 30 BR case developed by Joe Entrekin). Jim also has two other barrels for this action in 30 BR and 6 BRAI. On top is a Sid Goodling-built one-piece Davidson base with a March 36-55X scope.

Rem 700 in Manners Stock — .284 Winchester for Hunting

Remington 700 Tom Manners STOCK U.S. Optics hunting rifle .284 Win Winchester

Here’s a Rem 700 enhanced with a Manners Elite TA stock and other upgrades. Forum Member NickB1075 says: “Here is a rifle I finished for hunting this year. It’s a bit heavy for New York woods carry but it just shoots great. Maybe I will have to get one of those fancy Proof Research barrels to lighten it up a bit.” Nick is running a Benchmark 1:8.5″-twist barrel chambered in .284 Win with 0.315 neck for shooting 150gr Barnes bullets. Nick added a Jewell trigger and on top is a U.S. Optics B10 Scope.

When Only the Biggest and Boldest Will Do — .50 BMG

.50 Fifty BMG Barnard Action Ordnance barrel muzzle brake

No “Pride and Joy” feature would be complete without a Big Boomer. This impressive .50 BMG, “61 inches of big bore goodness”, weighs a whopping 49 pounds (95 lbs. complete with case and accessories). This rifle’s proud owner, forum member 6MT, says everything on this black beast is jumbo-sized: “Yes, I can stick my finger clear through the ports in the muzzle brake!” The rifle boasts a U.S. Ordnance 31″ heavy-contour barrel fitted to Barnard GP action. The stock is a “Big Mac” from McMillan. No optics yet — 6MT says he is “looking at an ATACR 7-35x56mm with a Spuhr mount… As soon as my wallet recovers!”

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February 2nd, 2018

F-TR TIP — Make a More Stable, Lower-Friction Front Bipod Pad

F-Class F-TR bipod front support pad platform

The Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN) is coming up next week at Ben Avery in Phoenix. Many of the nation’s top F-Class shooters will be there. Here are some tips that can help F-TR shooters competing at the SWN. These suggestions will also benefit any F-TR shooter who is looking for a more stable set-up under his bipod, and easier adjustment of the vertical when using a Phoenix-style (non-joystick) bipod.

How to Set up a Stable Front Pad for Your F-TR Bipod

To get peak performance from your F-TR rig, you need good support under the bipod. You want the base to be firm, but you also want a smooth, low-friction surface so the bipod feet can slide properly. Some guys just shoot off a carpet or a slab of wood with some rubber on top. There is a better way.

Forum member PBike shows how a three-element front set-up offers the best of both worlds — a firm platform with low-friction top. PBike’s set-up has three elements. Layer 1 is a thick rubber mat. Layer 2 is a steel plate with thin neoprene glued top and bottom. Layer 3, on which the bipod feet rest, is a thin neoprene door-mat with a low-friction surface, like the top of a MousePad. The video below shows how the three layers are arranged.

Pbike explains that, under F-TR rules, “You can use any series of pads or plates, so long as they are flat and do not include [tracking channels/slots] for the bipod feet”. The plate can be 12″ fore and aft, and the overall width may not extend more than 2″ beyond the bipod feet on either side.

F-Class F-TR bipod front support pad platform

F-Class F-TR bipod front support pad platform

F-TR Bipod Support Components (Bottom to Top)
LAYER ONE (bottom): Thick Rubber Pad, such as a heavy doormat
LAYER TWO (middle) Steel Plate, approximately 12″ x 24″, with attached neoprene
LAYER THREE (top): Neoprene Upper pad (slick upper surface like a MousePad)

NOTE, if the surface is not level, you can use wood shims to level the surface both left to right and front to back. The shims slide under the lowest pad. With a small saw, these can be trimmed so they don’t extend past the pad’s dimensions, maintaining compliance with F-Class rules.

The Phoenix bipod is an excellent product, but some folks like to run their rifles lower for better tracking and less hop. This can be accomplished with the PBike Aetkinz Engineering Lowering Kit. That Kit lowers the entire assembly 1.7 inches. For more information contact Pbike257 [at] gmail.com.

Phoenix Bipod “Rear Drive” and Steering Kit

F-TR rifle stock fore-ends are getting longer, allowing competitors to mount their bipods further forward. This longer “wheelbase” can deliver more stability, less hop, and better tracking. There’s a problem, however — if the bipod is attached way out front, it can be difficult to reach the bipod’s elevation controls. Some shooters grab the back end of the ski foot to adjust the rifle’s lateral position, but that doesn’t help with vertical.

F-Class F-TR bipod front support pad platform

PBike has developed a new accessory that lets you adjust the Bipod’s Mariner wheel easily and precisely. Basically this is a rotating, anodized aluminum tube that extends rearward. It has a 90° gear drive that replaces the Mariner wheel, allowing vertical adjustment by rotating the tube clockwise or counter-clockwise. See how it works in this video, starting at 1:40:

Pbike explains: “This is a really comfortable way to shoot. With this handle I can adjust for elevation and I can also steer the rifle fore and aft, left/right — anywhere I need to. I can make minute adjustments up and down, as needed, with the knurled handle.”

Video Suggestion by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions
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January 28th, 2018

Stunning New F-TR Rifle for James Crofts

James Crofts CigarCop KW Precision Cerus Walnut Laminated Stock Borden Brux fluted fluting Phoenix bipod

A past F-TR National Champion, James “Jimmy” Crofts is one of America’s top F-Class competitors. And now this F-TR ace has a stunning new rifle in his arsenal. AccurateShooter Forum member CigarCop, head honcho of KW Precision LLC, recently completed a new F-TR rig for Crofts. This handsome, state-of-the-art rifle features top-tier components: Borden action, twin Brux barrels, Cerus RifleWorks F-TR Stock, and Jewell trigger, all resting on a wide-base Phoenix Bipod.

James Crofts CigarCop KW Precision Cerus Walnut Laminated Stock Borden Brux fluted fluting Phoenix bipod

James Jim Crofts f-class f-tr rifle brux borden cerus
James Crofts photo by Kent Reeve.

Have a good look at these photos below. Yes, envy is the appropriate reaction. With the smooth operation of the Borden action and the predictable accuracy of Brux barrels, we bet James’s new rig will shoot as good as it looks.

James Crofts CigarCop KW Precision Cerus Walnut Laminated Stock Borden Brux fluted fluting Phoenix bipod

CigarCop actually chambered two barrels for James, with different fluting patterns — conventional linear flutes for one tube, and lines of staggered ovals for the other. Finished length for both barrels is 30″. Yes it looks cool, but the fluting was done mainly to save weight with the 30″-long lengths. CigarCop tells us the complete rifle, without scope and rings, weighs just under 15 pounds. Max allowed weight for an F-TR rifle, with scope, is 18.18 pounds (8.25 kg).

James Crofts CigarCop KW Precision Cerus Walnut Laminated Stock Borden Brux fluted fluting Phoenix bipod

To learn more about this impressive F-TR rifle build by CigarCop, visit our AccurateShooter Forum and read KW Precision’s F-TR Gun-Building Thread. The stock was created on an automated CNC milling machine by Cerus Rifleworks.

James Crofts CigarCop KW Precision Cerus Walnut Laminated Stock Borden Brux fluted fluting Phoenix bipod

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing 5 Comments »
January 27th, 2018

How to Shoot Standing — HP Champion Carl Bernosky Explains

Some folks say you haven’t really mastered marksmanship unless you can hit a target when standing tall ‘on your own hind legs’. Of all the shooting positions, standing can be the most challenging because you have no horizontally-solid resting point for your forward arm/elbow. Here 10-time National High Power Champ Carl Bernosky explains how to make the standing shot.

Carl Bernosky is one of the greatest marksmen in history. A multi-time National High Power Champion, Carl has won ten (10) National High Power Championships in his storied shooting career, most recently in 2012. In this article, Carl provides step-by-step strategies to help High Power shooters improve their standing scores. When Carl talks about standing techniques, shooters should listen. Among his peers, Carl is regard as one of the best, if not the best standing shooter in the game today. Carl rarely puts pen to paper, but he was kind enough to share his techniques with AccurateShooter.com’s readers.

If you are position shooter, or aspire to be one some day, read this article word for word, and then read it again. We guarantee you’ll learn some techniques (and strategies) that can improve your shooting and boost your scores. This stuff is gold folks, read and learn…


Carl Bernosky High PowerHow to Shoot Standing
by Carl Bernosky

Shooting consistently good standing stages is a matter of getting rounds down range, with thoughtfully-executed goals. But first, your hold will determine the success you will have.

1. Your hold has to be 10 Ring to shoot 10s. This means that there should be a reasonable amount of time (enough to get a shot off) that your sights are within your best hold. No attention should be paid to the sights when they are not in the middle — that’s wasted energy. My best hold is within 5 seconds after I first look though my sights. I’m ready to shoot the shot at that time. If the gun doesn’t stop, I don’t shoot. I start over.

2. The shot has to be executed with the gun sitting still within your hold. If the gun is moving, it’s most likely moving out, and you’ve missed the best part of your hold.

3. Recognizing that the gun is sitting still and within your hold will initiate you firing the shot. Lots of dry fire or live fire training will help you acquire awareness of the gun sitting still. It’s not subconscious to me, but it’s close.

4. Don’t disturb the gun when you shoot the shot. That being said, I don’t believe in using ball or dummy rounds with the object of being surprised when the shot goes off. I consciously shoot every shot. Sometimes there is a mistake and I over-hold. But the more I train the less of these I get. If I get a dud round my gun will dip.* I don’t believe you can learn to ignore recoil. You must be consistent in your reaction to it.

Carl Bernosky High Power5. Know your hold and shoot within it. The best part of my hold is about 4 inches. When I get things rolling, I recognize a still gun within my hold and execute the shot. I train to do this every shot. Close 10s are acceptable. Mid-ring 10s are not. If my hold was 8 inches I would train the same way. Shoot the shot when it is still within the hold, and accept the occasional 9. But don’t accept the shots out of the hold.

6. Practice makes perfect. The number of rounds you put down range matter. I shudder to think the amount of rounds I’ve fired standing in my life, and it still takes a month of shooting standing before Perry to be in my comfort zone. That month before Perry I shoot about 2000 rounds standing, 22 shots at a time. It peaks me at just about the right time.

This summarizes what I believe it takes to shoot good standing stages. I hope it provides some insight, understanding, and a roadmap to your own success shooting standing.

Good Shooting, Carl


* This is very noticeable to me when shooting pistol. I can shoot bullet holes at 25 yards, but if I’ve miscounted the rounds I’ve fired out of my magazine, my pistol will dip noticeably. So do the pistols of the best pistol shooters I’ve watched and shot with. One might call this a “jerk”, I call it “controlled aggressive execution”, executed consistently.

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January 26th, 2018

Shooters Who Drive You Nuts — The Seven Insufferables

EDITOR: Given the flood of SHOT Show product reporting this week, we thought a little comic relief was in order this Friday, the last day of SHOT Show 2018. This clever video pokes fun of some of the oddballs you’ll find at shooting ranges. Crack open a cold one and have a laugh…

This very funny video that should put a smile on your face — especially if you’ve ever competed in action shooting events. This tongue-in-cheek video from the SuperSetCA team identifies seven (7) annoying/insufferable types of shooters you’ll find at shooting matches. You can’t help but chuckle watching this video. The satire is “dead on” — we’ve all met these kind of clowns at one time or another.

Seven Types Shooters Comedy spoof lampoon

Among the personality types lampooned by the video are the “way too serious” type, the completely unprepared type, the “Hollywood” show-off, the “always an excuse” type, and of course the “I’m too old for this” competitor. As a shooter past age sixty, this Editor might even fall into that category — at least when it comes to “run and gun” games. When I’m asked to gallop around a range carrying heavy gear, yes I’ve been known to mutter: “I’m too [insert swear word] old for this….”

Seven Types Shooters Comedy spoof lampoon

Here’s an extra challenge for you. According to the video’s producers, there are several TV and/or Movie references sprinkled throughout. Can you name them all (with run-times)? (Hint, look for Lethal Weapon and Matrix spoofs).

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January 23rd, 2018

Lyman Releases Long Range Precision Rifle Reloading Handbook

Lyman Precision Reloading Manual 6.5 Creemoor PRS Long Range

Lyman Products is offering a new reloading resource, the Lyman “Long Range Precision Rifle Reloading Handbook”. With the growing interest in Precision Rifle Series (PRS) events and Extended Long Range matches, Lyman saw the need for an up-to-date, reliable print resource for precision long range competitors. Lyman says this is “The first-ever reloading manual specifically written for the growing sport of precision long range shooting.”

Lyman’s new book covers the most popular cartridge types, and the premium components used by top shooters. The book covers the vast majority of popular cartridge types used in long range precision shooting. You’ll find .223 Rem, 6mm Dasher, 6×47 Lapua, 6XC, 6mm Creedmoor, .243 Win, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Rem., 6.5-284 Norma, .308 Win, .300 Win Mag, .300 Norma Mag, .338 Lapua Mag and more. The data section includes Berger and Lapua target bullets, as well as Sierra MatchKings and Hornady ELDs. A wide range of propellants from Accurate, Alliant, Hodgdon, IMR, Norma, VihtaVuori, Ramshot, and Winchester are reviewed.

Lyman Handbook Includes Articles by Leading Experts and Top PRS Shooters
The new handbook also includes articles by top PRS shooters and industry experts. Articles such as “PRS How-To” and “Rifle Systems for PRS” by Matt Gervais provide expert info and tips and techniques to start competing. An authoritative article by Hornady’s Dave Emary, “The History and Design of the 6.5 and 6mm Creedmoor” explains why these cartridges have become so popular for PRS and other applications. Emary’s “Reloading Considerations for Long Range Ammunition” is also highly recommended for both novice and experienced hand-loaders.

“As the leader in reloading data, we saw a need for an accurate and reliable source of reloading data for these precision, long-range loads,” said Trevor Mullen, Lyman’s Global Marketing VP. “Our process of compiling a new reloading handbook … is to work with the best in their field — reloaders, the manufacturers of ammunition and rifles, participants in the PRS sport, and our own staff of highly-skilled, highly knowledgeable test shooters. This new handbook [will help] those looking for that edge in PRS competitions.”

The “Long Range Precision Rifle Reloading Handbook”, priced at $16.98, will be available soon from online retailers. Within a short time you can also purchase the book from the Lyman web store. (It is not yet in stock).

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January 22nd, 2018

First ELR Central Long Range Record Match in Nevada

ELR Long Range Record Match Pahrump Nevada Front Sight

On 1/21/18, new World Records were set under ELR Central rules for verified, consecutive three-shot string without sighters. Competitors started from cold bore, no sighters or ranging shots allowed. That’s a tough standard. In fact the first 12 shooters failed to put three shots on target at 1500 yards before Paul Phillips took his turn. Paul, Lucky number 13, placed all three of his shots on the 36″ x 36″ plate, claiming a first-ever record. Later that afternoon, John Armstrong duplicated that feat, also putting three shots on target at 1500 with no sighters.

Nate .375 CheyTac Tubb Rifle Stallter ELR record

But the best performances of all came later. Nate Stallter, shooting a .375 CheyTac, nailed his three shots at over one mile — 1768 yards. But it gets better — Nate broke his own record later in the afternoon, going 3 for 3 at 2011 yards.

David Tubb posted: “Congratulations to my son-in-law, Nate. Today he won the ELR Central World Record competition. This competition allows two separate attempts (spaced four hours apart) and consists of three cold bore shots each time. He took 3 shots and had 3 hits at 1768 yards in the morning and then beat his own record in the afternoon with 3 shots and 3 hits at 2011 yards after the wind had become trickier.”

Stallter used the new Tubb Adaptive Target Rifle (Tubb Gun) with a Dynamic Targeting Reticle and Tubb T7T two-stage trigger. He was shooting the .375 Cheytac with a 364gr Warner flatline bullet that has a patent pending Nose Ring modification in a Schneider 1:7″ twist barrel. Three of the Tubb Rifles are shown below. Note the long barrels.

ELR World Record Nate Statler 2011 yards 1768 yards one mile Tubb Gun Warner Bullet .375 CheyTac

As we explained, this was a tough challenge. Competitors started with a cold bore, with no sighters alowed — that makes it especially tough.

Watch this video to hear the record-setting shooters describe their equipment — chambering, action, stock, barrel, bipod, and optics. No the video is not sideways! Nearly all this video is correct, horizontal orientation. Click triangle to start correct format.

None of the competitors had shot these kind of distances at this facility, the Front Sight Firearms Training Center in Pahrump, Nevada. And the “no sighters” rule really added to the difficulty — witness the fact that the first 12 shooters failed to put three consecutive hits on a square yard of steel at 1500. Here are the three record-setting shooters:

1. Paul Phillips, 1500 yards (first record) | 2. John Armstrong, 1500 yards (tied record)

3. Nate Stallter, 1768 yards (new record) | 4. Nate Stallter, 2011 Yards (World Record)

Those who understand the challenge were impressed …

Andy McNeill observed: “I’ve shot targets further too, but I didn’t go 3 for 3 with no sighters. These hit cold bore and then two consecutive follow-up shots at specific target sizes. This is what a record should be. Not I hit a target at X distance once after slinging lead at it all day.”

Jacob Scobell liked the match format: “Love that this is intentional, consecutive impacts with a fixed size target and not just a statistical probability of hitting the broad side of a barn with unlimited shots. Excellent to see a standard being set.

Now will all of these other supposed ‘world record holders’ step up and enter this competition? Sure some guy who can impact upon demand beyond 4000 yards would cake walk this right? A registered event with multiple shooters means put up or shut up.”

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January 22nd, 2018

Eye Dominance — Experts Explain How Dominance Affects Vision

6.5 Creedmoor Annealing

6.5 Creedmoor AnnealingThe digital archives of Shooting Sports USA contain many interesting articles. A few seasons 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 Duff, and Phil Hemphill.

EDITOR: We highly recommend you read this article, particularly if you think you may be cross-dominant — meaning your dominant eye is on the opposite side as your dominant hand. For example, this Editor is right-handed, but my left eye is dominant.

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