August 2nd, 2015

Nancy Tompkins Wins 2015 NRA Long Range Championship

Michelle Gallagher Mid Tompkins Nancy Tompkins Brandon Green

The matriarch of American Long Range Shooting has done it again. The amazing Nancy Tompkins won the 2015 NRA Long Range Championship with an impressive performance. This year’s LR match went down to the wire after many days of shooting. It all came down to X-Count, with two talented ladies tied for score. Shooting a 1242-58X over the multi-day competition, Nancy finished four Xs ahead of SSG Amanda Elsenboss (1242-54X). Amanda’s USAMU team-mate, SFC Brandon Green, finished third, one point back, at 1241-75X. SFC Green, the newly-crowned 2015 High Power National Champion, had high X-Count by a wide margin.

CLICK HERE for Complete 2015 NRA Long Range High Power Rifle Championships RESULTS.

This year’s Long Range Championships event was hugely popular, with 321 competitors on the match roster. Many familiar faces ranked among the Special Award winners. Our friends David Tubb (1241-69X) and Jim O’Connell (1235-66X) were High Senior and High Grand Senior, respectively. Tubb finished fourth overall, with the second-highest X-Count. There were also talented newcomers, such as High Junior Charlotte Flanagan, a young Kiwi from far-away New Zealand. Firing a 1236-40X, Charlotte is shooting at an extremely high level for someone so young. As Ken Littlefield noted: “It’s pretty impressive to come into Camp Perry for the first time and win the Junior Championship!” Charlotte could be formidable at the World Fullbore LR Championships slated for 3-9 August at Camp Perry.

Here are the overall Top 10 finishers. Note that Michelle Gallager, Nancy Tompkins’s daughter, made the Top 10, making this a “family affair” for the Tompkins/Gallagher clan:

1. NANCY TOMPKINS (1242-58X), HM, Div. B – U.S. Match ‘Any’ Rifle*, Rule 3.2, 3.7(c)
2. SSG AMANDA ELSENBOSS (1242-54X), HM, USA REG W Div. B – U.S. Palma Rifle, Rule 3.3.1(a)
3. SFC BRANDON GREEN (1241-75X), HM, USA REG Div. B – U.S. Palma Rifle, Rule 3.3.1(a)
4. DAVID TUBB (1241-69X), HM, Div. B – U.S. Palma Rifle, Rule 3.3.1(a)
5. DAVID CALVERT (1241-63X), MA, Palma Rifle (NRA Rule 3.3.3 (b))
6. JANE MESSER (1240-60X), HM, Palma Rifle (NRA Rule 3.3.3 (b))
7. DAVID LUCKMAN (1239-68X), MA, Palma Rifle (NRA Rule 3.3.3 (b))
8. SGT DICONZA (1238-59X), HM, USMC REG Div. B – U.S. Palma Rifle, Rule 3.3.1(a)
9. PHILLIP CROWE (1238-54X), HM, Div. B – U.S. Palma Rifle, Rule 3.3.1(a)
10. MICHELLE GALLAGHER (1237-64X), HM, Div. B – U.S. Palma Rifle, Rule 3.3.1(a)
*The NRA Match bulletin lists Palma Rifle, but Nancy said she shot her “Any Rifle”.

In this photo, Michelle Gallagher is missing … but someone had to take the photo.
Michelle Gallagher Mid Tompkins Nancy Tompkins Sherri Jo Gallagher

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July 31st, 2015

Long Shots — Images from the Long Range Championships

This week, many of the world’s top marksmen have been competing at the National Long Range High Power Rifle Championships, held 29-31 July, 2015 at Camp Perry. The distances are great (1000 yards maximum) as are the challenges — the fickle winds blowing off Lake Erie can be unpredictable.

This year is extra special. The USA hosts the World Fullbore Long Range Championships next week at Camp Perry. The World Championships are held every four years, but any country may only host the event every 25 years. That means the next Fullbore Worlds in the USA could not take place before 2040. This year, teams from 11 countries will compete for national honors (and serious bragging rights). Many top international shooters have already arrived, and they are using the NRA Long Range High Power Championships as a “prelim” for the Fullbore Worlds next week.

Ace ISSF 300m shooter Reya Kempley shoots a hybrid rig with a Stolle Panda Action in an Anschütz smallbore-type metal stock.

Reya Kempley long range high power

Here’s the same rifle, as fitted with hand rest for position shooting. CLICK to Zoom:
Reya Kempley long range high power

British Palma Shooter David Luckman hung tough after suffering a dissappointing 8 (low right) on his first record shot. After serving up that 8 at 4 o’clock, David fought back, shooting all tens and Xs for the rest of his 10-shot string. (Orange stickers show record shots — the yellow dots mark sighters.) David doesn’t crack under pressure — he won the 2012 Long Range Championship at Camp Perry, and he is the reigning ICFRA World Long Range Fullbore (Palma) Rifle Champion.

Palma David Luckman UK Camp Perry long range high power

Those targets are placed a long way off. Now imagine trying to shoot half-MOA with iron sights.

Camp Perry 2015 long range high power

Past Long-Range Champion John Whidden shows good form. John runs a centerfire action in an Anschütz metal smallbore stock. He smithed this rig himself. John favors the ergonomics and adjustability of the Anschütz stock. He also really likes the small-diameter, rounded forearm on this design. “This stock suits me really well”, John told us.

John Whidden Anchutz Camp Perry long range high power

This competitor has an Eliseo (Competition Machine) Tubegun in Patriotic Stars and Stripes Livery.

Gary Eliseo Tubegun Camp Perry long range high power

This U.S. Marine Corps shooter campaigned a classic “Battle Rifle” in the LR Championship, firing a semi-auto version of the M14. It looks like he named the rifle “Lucy”.

Reya Kempley long range high power

Photos from 2015 NRA Long Range High Power Rifle Championships courtesy NRABlog.com.

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July 30th, 2015

Long-Range Championships at Camp Perry

Brandon Green SFC long range camp perry 7mm RSAUM USAMU

The NRA High Power Long Range Championships kicked off on the 29th of July. Despite challenging winds there were many impressive performances, including one by newly-crowned NRA High Power Champion SFC Brandon Green. The talented USAMU shooter traded his Across-the-Course Rig for his 7mm RSAUM prone rifle to compete in the series of Long Range matches. Brandon shot very well, finishing with a 100-7X in the final Shoot-Off to win the Mustin Trophy match.

Shown at top is SFC Brandon Green with his long-range rifle. Note: the target in the photo shows the shot position for Brandon’s 10-shot Shoot-Off — all 10s and Xs. However, this is a REDUCED-SIZE target used for shot-marking (display) purposes only. The actual 1000-yard NRA Long-Range Target has a 10″ X-Ring, and a 20″ Ten-Ring. So the group of shots shown is much smaller than Green’s actual shots on the real 1000-yard target. Nonetheless this was a very impressive string for a sling-shooter using iron sights.

If you’re curious about Green’s long-range rifle, it is a 7mm RSAUM with an Anschutz trigger in a Robertson Composites prone-style stock. This rifle features iron sights, but when USAMU shooters participate in scoped “any sights” competitions, they normally use Nightforce NSX scopes, according the USAMU coach SFC Emil Praslick III.

You Call the Wind…

Conditions were far from easy on Day 1 of the Long Range Championships. Here is a shot taken through a 25X spotting scope by Kevin Thomas of Lapua. Take a look at those flags swinging at different angles. Based on what you can see, what’s your wind call?

Brandon Green SFC long range camp perry 7mm RSAUM USAMU

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July 29th, 2015

SFC Brandon Green Wins National High Power Championship

Brandon Green NRA High Power Championship 2015

Congratulations to SFC Brandon Green on winning the 2015 NRA National High Power Championship. Green shot an impressive 2387-140X to earn his second High Power title, finishing ahead of past Champion Norman Houle (2380-126X) and USAMU team-mate SFC Shane Barnhart (2379-127X). Brandon told AccurateShooter.com: “It’s a great honor and privilege to shoot and compete with such great people here at camp Perry. We had a great match this year and I already look forward to seeing everyone next year.”

Over 260 shooters competed in this year’s High Power Championship events. CLICK HERE to view complete match results, with overall rankings, as well as category-specific results.

It was a well-deserved win for Green, who had to over-come the effects of a nasty spider bite on his right arm (see photo). Joe Caley observed: “Our man Brandon Green and his new-found Spiderman powers pulled off another great Championship. Years from now, no one will remember the 2015 Championship [scores], but they will remember Brandon Green’s Spider Bite!”

Brandon Green NRA High Power Championship 2015

SFC Green expressed gratitude to all those who assisted his efforts: “I just want to say thank you to all of my friends and family who support and help us do what we love to do. Thank you for all of the hard work, congratulations, and encouraging words. From the USAMU support team to the friends on the range and back home, I feel blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful people. THANK YOU!”

Here are the Top Ten Finishers, ranked by score for all Classifications:

1. SFC Brandon Green (HM) 2387-140X U.S. Army, Service Match Rifle
2. Norman Houle (HM) 2380-126X Civilian Match Rifle
3. SFC Shane Barnhart (HM) 2379-127X U.S. Army, Service Match Rifle
4. Rodrigo Rosa (HM) 2374-106X Civilian Match Rifle
5. MSG Robert Mango (HM) 2372-104X U.S. Army Reserve, Service Rifle (NRA Rule 3.1)
6. SGT Lee Bahten (HM) 2370-116X U.S. Army, Service Rifle (NRA Rule 3.1)
7. Joseph Hendricks (HM) 2369-82X Civilian Match Rifle
8. Ronald Zerr (HM) 2367-112X Civilian Match Rifle
9. CPT Samuel Freeman (HM) 2367-96X U.S Army Reserve, Service Rifle (NRA Rule 3.1)
10. Kenneth Lankford (HM) 2367-95X Civilian Match Rifle

CLICK HERE for Complete Results from NRA 2015 High Power National Championships.

2015 NRA High Power National Championships

2015 NRA High Power National Championships

Bernosky Forced to Withdraw Due to Medical Issues
Report by NRABlog.com
This is the second championship for SFC Green, whose first win came two years ago in 2013 after a tie with legendary shooter Carl Bernosky at 2384-126X each. Although both possessed the same point total and X-Count, Green was ultimately awarded the championship after a rulebook-mandated comparison of Xs at each distance gave him the advantage.

Bernosky, a ten-time NRA High Power Rifle champion, withdrew from this year’s competition after the first day (while in sole possession of first place) due to medical complications.

“This win is kind of bittersweet because Carl wasn’t able to be out here. We are pretty good friends and we’re both super competitive people so I wanted to shoot against him,” Green said. “Carl is one of the best competitors I’ve ever seen in this sport, Norm too, and it’s nice to be able to shoot with these guys every year.”

Range photos from 2015 HP Nat’l Championships courtesy NRABlog.com.

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July 27th, 2015

Eliseo F1 F-Class Chassis System Enters Production

Gary Eliseo Competition Machine F1 F-Open F-Class F-TR Chassis

The new F1 Chassis System from Competition Machine is now in production. This straight-line, all-metal chassis with ultra-low bore axis is optimized for F-Class competition. Designer/builder Gary Eliseo tell us that Competition Machine is now accepting F1 Chassis orders for fall 2015 delivery. To order or if you have questions, email Gary via his website contact page.

Gary tells us: “The new F1 Chassis System, designed specifically for F-Open class, has already begun to rack up awards. The system has several innovations that make it an excellent choice for your next build.” F1 Chassis has many design features that improve tracking and tame torque effect:

Low COG — Super low rider fore-end keeps the center of gravity as low as possible

Long Wheelbase — The long separation from front of stock to rear bag-rider improves tracking and reduces the tendency to jump or twist (torque).

Adjustable Offset — The bag-rider section of the fore-end can be adjusted left to right. This adjustable horizontal offset allows you to choose if you want the fore-end offset left, right or center.

Adaptable to All Shooters — The F1 Chassis System features adjustable length of pull, buttplate drop, and cheekpiece height.

Gary Eliseo Competition Machine F1 F-Open F-Class F-TR Chassis

Unique Bonded Barrel Block™ System
Stress is the enemy of accuracy. For this reason the F1 Chassis system features a “zero stress” barrel mounting system which uses a barrel block permanently bonded to the barrel. This allows the action to float, relieving all stress from the threaded joint between the barrel and action and all flexing of the action. With this unique “floating action” design, the F1 chassis is compatible with ANY round rifle action! Replacement barrel blocks are available so you can run multiple barreled actions with your F1 chassis. When it’s time to replace the barrel, the barrel block can be “unbonded” and adapted to a new, same-diameter barrel.

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July 25th, 2015

Match Report: 2015 IBS Group Nationals in Pennsylvania

IBS Group Benchrest Nationals Union County Weikert PA Pennsylvania 6PPC 30 Dasher Tony Boyer

IBS Group Nationals — July 13-18, 2015

Report by IBS President Jeff Stover
The ancient benchrest alchemists once predicted a perfect storm for small groups. The recipe is: one part near ideal shooting conditions, 90 of the best benchrest shooters in North America and mix with the shooters’ best barrels and bullets. Place the entire concoction at the shooting benches for seven minutes at time. The result in Heavy Varmint (13.5-lb rifles) at 100 yards, for example, was that the top 17 shooters averaged under .200 for their five targets! Yes, nearly the entire Top 20 in HV100 shot a “teen agg”. Ten or fifteen years ago, that would have been unthinkable. Sure, the winners or top two or three would be in that rarefied air, but not half of an entire relay of 40 shooters. Remarkable.

Bill Sutton of Hart Rifle Barrels
IBS Group Benchrest Nationals Union County Weikert PA Pennsylvania 6PPC 30 Dasher Tony Boyer

IBS Group Nationals Full Results (XLS Spreadsheet) | IBS Group Nationals Equipment List

IBS Group Benchrest Nationals Union County Weikert PA Pennsylvania 6PPC 30 Dasher Tony Boyer Another landmark of the 2015 IBS Nationals was that 17-year-old Wyatt Peinhardt of Quarryville, PA won the 200-yard stage of Heavy Bench. That meant he earned his first point toward the U. S. Benchrest Hall of Fame (HOF). You need ten to get in, but young Wyatt has plenty of time to get the other nine. He is no ‘flash in pan’. The young Mr. Peinhardt has been shooting since 2009 and now runs full speed with the big dogs of the sport. He was in the Top 20 in this year’s Super Shoot 2-gun results. Frequently he battles his dad, Jeff for supremacy at the bench. Strangely enough, here at Weikert in the Sporter Grand Aggregate (average of five targets at both 100 and 200 yards) Wyatt and his father tied right down to four decimal places: 0.2317!

Six Days of Competition with Four Classes
Some say that the Group Nationals are a marathon — six long days of competition at both 100 and 200 yards with four classes of rifles: Light Varmint (10.5 lb); Sporter (10.5 lb – 6mm minimum caliber); Heavy Varmint (13.5 lb) and Heavy Bench (known as ‘Unlimited’ in NBRSA-land). The first three are simply known as the “bag guns”. Most competitors use a 10.5-lb rifle in 6PPC and compete in all three classes. The Heavy Bench (HB) class requires 10-shot groups as opposed to the 5-shot ones for the bag guns. There is no prohibition to shooting your 10.5-pound rifle in HB, but a shooter is simply outclassed by the rail guns, especially for 10-shot groups.

IBS Group Benchrest Nationals Union County Weikert PA Pennsylvania 6PPC 30 Dasher Tony Boyer

As mentioned, the week’s weather was very good. After what seemed like weeks of on and off rain, the central Pennsylvania weather gods smiled on what is considered one of the most beautiful ranges in the USA. The shooters had nice sunshine and instead of the usual Weikert blow, they were treated to light zephyrs. It was a glorious week to be at a rifle match.

IBS Group Benchrest Nationals Union County Weikert PA Pennsylvania 6PPC 30 Dasher Tony Boyer

Course of Fire — First 100, then 200
The sequence of competition groups has 100-yard targets shot the first three days followed by three days at 200 yards. It is done this way to require only one change of wind flags. Nationals competition requires ‘full rotation’. That means that every time a shooter goes to the line for the next match target, he or she must move a requisite number of benches to the right. At the end of the day a shooter will shoot across the full width of the line. Some ranges offer unique properties that render some parts of the range harder or easier to shoot small groups. Bench rotation is important to even out those factors.

IBS Group Benchrest Nationals Union County Weikert PA Pennsylvania 6PPC 30 Dasher Tony Boyer

Monday morning saw the Heavy Bench (HB) shooters hauling the big rail guns to the line. Old pro Jack Neary led the way at 100 yards with .2186 Aggregate. The 200-yard stage for HB would not be held until Saturday morning. The winner there, of course, was Wyatt Peinhardt with his .2993 (MOA conversion for 200-yard scores). On Tuesday the bags guns came out for Light Varmint (LV) and Sporter (SP). Conditions allowed for quite a few very good groups. The top thirteen shooters in Sporter shot ‘teen aggs’ with Bart Sauter leading the way at a .1666. In Light Varmint, Wayne Campbell shot a tiny .1556. Both his warm-up and first record target were in the ‘zeroes’ (.096 and .088)!

Wednesday’s 100-yard Heavy Varmint match enjoyed what were probably the best conditions of the week. You needed to average under .200 for five targets to finish in the Top 20 or nearly so. Harley Baker won with a .1616. The talk in the loading area was Baker’s fourth record target — a tiny 0.050 bughole centered right in the center ring (usually called the ‘mothball’). It was probably the prettiest target most had ever seen. Better yet, the standing IBS HV 100 record is a 0.052 shot way back in 1980. Harley’s target is being submitted to the IBS Measuring Committee as a potential IBS record.

IBS Group Benchrest Nationals Union County Weikert PA Pennsylvania 6PPC 30 Dasher Tony Boyer

Wednesday afternoon saw the moving of flags for the 200-yard stage of the competition. The SP and LV 200-yard targets were Thursday’s course of fire. In LV, Andy Shifflett shot a .1966 Aggregate to pick up a HOF point. At 200 yards, Aggregates are logged in MOA units. Therefore, Andy’s .1966 Aggregate translates to an average 200-yard target measurement of slightly less than .400″. The afternoon was reserved for SP targets. Billy Stevens shot a .2060 to win the afternoon’s contest.

Powderpuff Event at the IBS Group Nationals
For decades IBS has hosted an exhibition shoot on the afternoon of a day when only one Aggregate is contested instead of two. It is called the Powderpuff and is intended to allow family members and others that do not shoot competitively to give benchrest shooting a try. Each shooter is assisted by a coach who instructs the shooter. World-class shooters such as Gene Bukys and Lester Bruno give their time and talents to assist novice shooters. There is no time limit to rattle the inexperienced shooters.

2015 Powderpuff Winners Jaydin Johnson (left) and Pam Campbell (right)
IBS Group Benchrest Nationals Union County Weikert PA Pennsylvania 6PPC 30 Dasher Tony Boyer

IBS benchrest Powderpuff Youth match Weikert PA Group Nationals

Barbara Hottenstein continued as the Powderpuff chair and assembled a large array of awards and prizes. The competition is financially supported by the IBS President’s Fund. This year we had 12 youth and adult competitors. Pam Campbell won the adult category while Jaydin Johnson (shown above with coach Nancy Scarbrough) won the youth division.

On Friday, a single Aggregate of five record targets were shot-for Heavy Varmint (HV) at 200 yards. Harley Baker had his mojo working with a .1896 Aggregate. That performance, coupled with Harley’s .1616 at 100 yards meant that his average in the HV class was a .1756 Grand Aggregate. That is small. Really small.

On Friday afternoon, many of the awards for bag guns were given out. Saturday was reserved for HB 200. Since some of the bag gun shooters do not shoot a rail gun, a number of competitors left Friday afternoon. The rail guns came out to contest 200 yards on the last day of the Nationals. The winner was Wyatt Peindardt. His .2993 was the only Aggregate under .300. Wayne Campbell was second with a .3028. Winning the HB Grand Aggregate was two-time Super Shoot winner, Larry Costa.

IBS Group Benchrest Nationals Union County Weikert PA Pennsylvania 6PPC 30 Dasher Tony Boyer

IBS recognizes Aggregate performances as follows: Grand (100 + 200) Aggregates in each of four classes; Two-Gun (all HV and LV targets in 100 + 200); Three-gun (HV, LV, SP in 100 + 200) and 4-gun (HV, LV, SP and HB in 100 + 200). In the multi-guns, Harley Baker won the Two-Gun. Gene Bukys added more HOF points by winning the Three-Gun. In the Four-Gun, Virginia’s Wayne Campbell who took the overall four-class Agg with an excellent .2326.

CLICK HERE for Full 2015 Group Nationals Results on IBS Website.

Praise for the Range Crew and Sponsors
The IBS Group Nationals requires a ton of work to run smoothly. The Weikert range’s sparkplugs are Mark Trutt and Dale Boop. This shoot does not happen without those two. This year’s registration and general admin fell to Nancy Scarbrough, who ran a flawless operation. She was assisted by Will Baylor in the scoring and by Stacy Hynes. Steve Dodge oversaw the entire target crew while Larry Hertzog alternated with Mark Trutt as Range Officer.

The benchrest cottage industry should be commended for giving back to the shooters. This year’s sponsors included: BAT actions, Black Hills Shooters Supply, Boops Sporting Goods, Bruno Shooters Supply, Hart Rifle Barrels, Jewel Triggers, JDS Bullets, K&M Precision Shooting, Krieger Rifle Barrels, L. E. Wilson, Pacific Tool & Gauge, and Shilen Rifle Barrels.

Parting Shot — Some Competitors tried to keep up with work while reloading …
IBS Group Benchrest Nationals Union County Weikert PA Pennsylvania 6PPC 30 Dasher Tony Boyer

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July 24th, 2015

F-Open Shooter Turns to the “Dark Side”… F-TR Competition

jaychris3

Jay Christopherson, our Forum admin and dedicated F-Open shooter, recently ventured to the “dark side”, crossing disciplines and trying his hand at F-TR, shooting off a bipod. Jay wasn’t using just any old F-TR rig. He used a purpose-built rifle, designed to mimic the handling of his Open rifle. With this rig, Jay won two of the three matches he’s shot in, including the F-TR division at the Washington State Long Range Championships. Jay’s last 600-yard match featured two clean scores with excellent X-Counts, including a 200-13X and a 200-15X (one off the national record) for a total score of 599-36X.

The 2015 Washington State Long Range Championships was held at the infamous “Rattlesnake” range in Richland, WA, which has some of the most challenging wind conditions in the USA. At the LR Championships, shooting his .308 Win F-TR rig, Jay was right up there with the F-Open shooters. Until the final relay, Jay was within three points of the overall F-Open leader, and still finished second overall in X-Count and score. This demonstrates the capability of a state-of-the-art F-TR rig.

In this story, Jay describes his F-TR rifle and set-up. Knowledgeable readers will recognize that Jay’s gun is similar to John Pierce-built rigs successfully fielded by Michigan F-TR Team shooters.

JOINING THE “DARK SIDE”

by Jay Christopherson
I originally decided to build a F-TR rifle to shoot at local mid-range club matches. I keep burning through F-Open barrels (and components) because I shoot a lot more local club matches than “big” matches – maybe 2:1 or 3:1. The end result is that I’d be endlessly tweaking loads and burning up barrels and I just got tired of it. The endless tweaking also caused me some trouble at large matches and I thought shooting a .308 Win would be more “relaxing” from a technical point of view.  It’s a very well understood round at this point.

I’d been kicking around the idea of shooting F-TR for a couple of years, but I didn’t want an F-TR rig that handled completely different than my Open gun. I didn’t want to learn different habits from a different stock or position that would cause issues on race day. I use a Terry Leonard/Speedy Gonzales designed F-Class Open stock that is designed more along benchrest lines than the traditional prone stocks you see most F-Class shooters using. I don’t like to use any hand grip at all and my preferred position is very light pressure into the shoulder and just enough cheek touch to index. So, when I saw Eric Stecker at the 2014 Berger SWN (and later Bryan Litz) shooting an F-TR rig that was designed along the same lines, I decided to get serious about it.

The Stock is the Secret
The stock is a Scoville carbon-fiber-over-balsa model set up for a Panda action (which I had on hand). This stock is extremely stiff and stable. I purpose-built the rifle to shoot 215gr Berger bullets and I knew that I would keep my velocity relatively low-ish – in the 2500+ fps range. If I ran those 215s much faster, the recoil would become an issue for me. I bought and chambered a Benchmark 1:9″-twist barrel, in a heavier-than-normal contour. This was finished at 28″. I custom-throated the chamber with a PTG .30 Cal Uni-Throater to accommodate the longer-than-normal OAL I wanted.

F-TR rifle Jay Christopherson Washington Long-Range Championship

I modified my Phoenix bipod based on some of the pictures I’ve seen of John Pierce’s modifications and after talking to John at the 2015 Berger SWN. I sure do appreciate how open he is with the modifications he’s done. I doubt I would have thought of putting together a rifle like this without his example.

Proofing at Mid-Range
From the get-go, this F-TR rifle has been a shooter. It handles extremely well, and recoil is not a problem at my velocities. The 215s still maintain a significant wind advantage over the more usual 155gr and 185gr bullets at long distances. Ballistics Performance is not quite in the same class as the 7MM 180gr bullets I shoot in my F-Open rifle, but not that far off either.

Below is a 300-yard target shot while proofing my load in preparation for 600-yard matches. I decided to shoot a “match” string (2 “sighters” + 20 “record” shots). Looking at this target, I’m thinking that if I had clicked left one or two clicks, this might have been a 200-20X.

F-TR rifle Jay Christopherson Washington Long-Range Championship

On Race Day
I’ve shot three matches with my F-TR rifle now, two 600-yard club matches and the WA State Long Range Championships at the infamous “Rattlesnake” range in Richland, WA. The LR Championship was the first time I’ve shot the rifle at long range. At the 600-yard club matches, I’ve had several “cleans”, including a 200-13X and a 200-15X (finishing 599-36X at the last one, which is just within my normal Open scoring range). At the WA State Long Range Championship, I managed to win the F-TR division in extremely hot conditions (100+ degrees over two days of shooting) and managed to post the second highest X-count and finish second overall among all F-Class shooters (F-Open and F-TR combined). I was “in the running” for the overall win until the last relay.

Seduced by the “Dark Side” — The Lure of F-TR
I still plan to shoot my Open rifle at “big” matches, but I doubt I’ll be able to leave the F-TR rifle in the safe for all of them. My reference to the “dark side” is an inside joke between myself and another shooter. I kept saying that shooting F-TR was just for fun… that I wasn’t taking it too seriously. However, the more I shoot F-TR, the deeper into the “Dark Side” I seem to fall. F-TR is a different animal than F-Open (I use a Nascar vs. Formula 1 analogy), but it’s addicting. And not having to carry 30 pounds of front rest doesn’t make me sad when I’m traveling!

F-TR rifle Jay Christopherson Washington Long-Range Championship

Top Three F-TR shooters at WA State Championships: Jay Christopherson (Winner), Monte Milanuk (second), and Laton Crawford (third).

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July 23rd, 2015

U.S. Shooters Help South Africans After Match Ammo Seized

Palma Long Rnage World Championships US Customs ATF South Africa Ray Gross

Story Based on Report by NSSF
American shooters, along with Brownells and Redding, are providing help to the South African Palma (Target Rifle) team members, who will be competing at the Long Range World Championships at Camp Perry in early August, 2015. The ability of the South Africans to compete has been jeopardized by the unexpected seizure of their pre-shipped match ammo by U.S. Customs and ATF. We don’t know why the Feds seized the South Africans’ match ammo, but without it, the South African Team’s ability to participate in the Long Range World Championships has been threatened.

To rectify this situation, American F-TR and Palma shooters, backed by Brownells and Redding, have secured reloading equipment (presses, dies) and ammo components (brass, bullets, powder) so that the South Africans can assemble the needed .308 Win ammo on their arrival in the USA at the end of July.

F-TR Palma World Championships US Customs ATF South Africa Ray GrossAccording to industry sources, the shipment of match ammo for the South African Palma team was seized at the U.S. port of entry by U.S. Customs and ATF agents. When Ray Gross, captain of the U.S. F-TR rifle team, learned about this, Ray contacted Geoff Esterline, Product Category Manager at Brownells. Esterline immediately turned to Robin Sharpless, Executive VP of Redding Reloading, for help.

“I won’t go into the full list of presses and accessories we’ve gathered up, but I can say it’s extensive,” Sharpless told NSSF. “A member of the U.S. F-TR team who lives near Camp Perry has agreed to take our shipment and those from Brownells and the other companies providing brass, powder and bullets so that, when the South African team arrives in the U.S. during the last days of July, they can get started immediately on hand-loading. The U.S. team is even building benches for the press setups, so the South African team should be able to knock this out and get to the more important task at hand, and that is shooting at Camp Perry.”

The 2015 Palma Match and Long Range World Championships will be held August 3-15, in conjunction with the annual NRA National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio.

Ray Gross reports: “The folks who deserve credit for this are the members of the U.S. Palma Team, Ryan Henning, Geoff Esterline of Brownells, and the folks at Redding. Members of the Palma team had donated much of the needed equipment within hours of U.S. Palma Team Captain Dennis Flaharty putting the word out.

My contribution was limited to a few emails to Brownells. They coordinated with Redding to provide the remaining equipment. This is a great example of international shooting camaraderie, but my part in it was very small.”

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July 20th, 2015

Rattle Battle at Camp Perry

CMP Camp Perry Rattle Battle NTIT Infantry Trophy Team Match Video

The CMP’s National Trophy Infantry Team Match (NTIT) has been a staple at the National Matches since 1922. Also known as the “Rattle Battle,” the event is one of the most unique in the competitive rifling world — scoring is based on how many hits six-person teams can score on a bank of targets during a series of 50-second firing periods at four yardages. Teams begin the NTIT match with 384 rounds of ammunition, which they fire upon eight silhouette targets from 600, 500, 300 and 200 yards during successive 50-second periods. After each rapid-fire string, team members move forward (to the next-closest distance) carrying all equipment from firing line to firing line. The match emphasizes extremely fast, accurate fire and good communication among teammates. The Rattle Battle is always an exciting competition for spectators to watch. View NTIT match results on the CMP website.

Watch CMP ‘Rattle Battle’ Video — 50 Seconds of Rapid Fire…


The video shows the California Grizzlies, one of the top junior squads. The lead photo shows the U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) Team in action during the NTIT match. See more in USAR “Rattle Battle” Video.

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July 19th, 2015

CMP Armorer Explains Garand Headspacing Procedures

M1 Garand head space

Garand matches are among the most popular and well-attended of the CMP competition disciplines. When obtained directly from the CMP, Garands are fun to shoot and affordable. However, with these classic battle rifles, you need to ensure that the headspace is set properly to ensure safe function and good brass life.

Garand WWII posterIn the archives of The FIRST SHOT, the CMP’s online magazine, CMP Armorer John McLean has written an excellent article entitled: “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Checking M1 Garand Head Space.” We recommend all Garand shooters read the article.

McClean explains: “Excessive headspace will cause the brass to stretch more than it should and increases the likelihood of a case failure. Insufficient headspace may contribute to slam fires, light strikes on primers, misfires and more wear on parts due to the additional force needed to chamber the rounds.”

Garand Head Space Gauges
McClean writes: “Both Forster and Clymer make fine gauges but we have found that there are differences between the two companies’ gauges that make the Clymer gauges best for use with the M1. The headspace that the original manufacturers of the M1 considered correct can be determined by checking new or nearly new rifles that we have here at CMP. With that information we have determined that Springfield Armory and the other manufacturers of the M1 used gauges that were very close to the Clymer dimensions… and therefore we use, and recommend using only the Clymer gauges.”

How to Check for Proper Headspace
In the article, McClean goes on to show how to properly use the “GO”, “NO GO”, and “FIELD” gauges. You’ll want to read the Complete Article. One of the important points McClean makes is that the ejector can affect headspace reading. Accordingly, “the bolt must be disassembled and the ejector removed, or clearance notches must be made on the headspace gauges so there will be no contact between the headspace gauges and the ejector.”

CLICK HERE to read COMPLETE ARTICLE….

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July 18th, 2015

Janna Reeves Explains 3-Gun Competition in Videos

Janna Reeves Brownells 3-Gun multigun video strategie loading

Janna Reeves is one of the nation’s top female 3-gun competitors. In a series of videos produced for Brownells, Janna talks about the 3-Gun game, reviewing the latest trends in 3-Gun firearms and gear. Janna also provides stage-planning tips, offering winning strategies to employ in competition. Though these videos, Janna hopes to help novice shooters. In particular, Jenna hopes to encourage new lady shooters to get involved in 3-gun competition, a very fun and challenge sport.

In this action-oriented video, Janna walks through a 3-Gun course, explaining how to plan shots, movements, and reloads. Janna shares tips, tricks, and strategies that can improve your hit percentage and shave seconds off stage times. Janna offers specific advice on target transitions, loading on the move, and stage planning.

In this hardware-centric video, Janna explains how she set up her guns for competition and why she selects specific components and accessories. If you are just getting started in 3-Gun competition, this will help you choose firearms, holsters, ammo caddies, optics and accessories. Janna’s advice helps you get the most “bang for your buck” when assembling your

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July 18th, 2015

SFC Keith Sanderson Wins 2015 NRA Pistol Championships

SFC Keith Sanderson NRA Pistol Championships

Report by Kyle Jillson from NRABlog.com.
SFC Keith Sanderson NRA Pistol ChampionshipsSergeant First Class (SFC) Keith Sanderson of the U.S. Army Reserve has been crowned the 2015 NRA National Pistol Champion. After six wet days at Camp Perry along the shores of Lake Erie, Sanderson unseated defending champion Brian Zins by 14 points – 2655 to 2641.

Sanderson, who served eight years in the Marine Corps and eight years in the U.S. Army, is a renowned sport shooter who holds an Olympic record and won an unprecedented three medals (gold, silver, and bronze) in three World Cups in 2009.

Wet Conditions at Camp Perry this Year
At Camp Perry, you can always expect a little rain to come off the lake, but the midwest is experiencing torrential storms this summer and parts of the range – especially along the firing line – became flooded ponds. This year some shooters even stuck “No Wake” signs in the larger puddles to keep attitudes light despite the muddy situation.

Some competitors wore rubber boots to help navigate the puddles.
SFC Keith Sanderson NRA Pistol Championships

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July 15th, 2015

From Russia with Love — Kirsten Tests SCATT Training System

Kirsten Joy Weiss SCATT MX-02 Video Trainer demo electronic trace target live fire dry firing

“SCATT” — if you’re an Olympic Class air rifle or smallbore competitor you know what SCATT means. The Russian-made SCATT is a marksmanship training system with an electro-optical sensor that fits on the end of a barrel. The sensor “sees” the target and then tracks your muzzle movement relative to the center of the target, recording a “trace” that can be displayed on a computer. The latest SCATT MX-02 unit works for live-fire training as well as dry-fire training. To learn more about the SCATT electronic trainers, visit SCATTUSA.com.

Pro shooter Kirsten Joy Weiss demonstrates the SCATT MX-02 electronic training system:

The system traces and records valuable information such as hold pattern, shot hold duration, follow-through, recoil pattern, and much more. The latest SCATT MX-02 systems can be used both indoors and outdoors up to 300 meters (and possibly more). READ FULL SCATT MX-02 TEST HERE.

SCATT traces reveal muzzle movements during the aiming process.
Kirsten Joy Weiss SCATT MX-02 Review Video Electronic Trainging system test

Kirsten Joy Weiss, a top-level competitive position shooter, has tested the latest SCATT MX-02 training systtem. She put the MX-02 through its paces, and then produced an informative video that shows how it works. Click on the video above to see Kirsten use the MX-02 with her Anschütz rifle and other guns.

Kirsten Joy Weiss SCATT MX-02 Video Trainer demo electronic trace target live fire dry firing

Kirsten was impressed with the SCATT MX-02 she tested:

“We live with tech woven into our every day, so if you had the chance to work with a computer to make you a better shooter — would you? Can a computer train you as well as your favorite coach or, dare to say, better than a human?”

Weiss says it’s like having a little coach with you recording your every move. “If R2D2 had a cousin who knew how to shoot,” Weiss quips, “his name would be the MX-02″.

The SCATT MX-02 can also be used with target pistols.
Kirsten Joy Weiss SCATT MX-02 Video Trainer demo electronic trace target live fire dry firing

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July 15th, 2015

Vintage Sniper Rifle Match July 17th at Camp Perry

Vintage Sniper Rifle Match

This Friday, July 17th, the CMP hosts the Vintage Sniper Rifle Match at Camp Perry. One of the most popular vintage rifle matches held each summer at Perry, this is a two-man team competition using scoped rifles of WWI and WWII Vintage. Many competitors use some version of the M1903 Springfield, but you’ll also see scoped M1 Garands, K31s, Mausers, and even a Lee-Enfield or two.

Vintage Sniper Rifle Match

Two-person teams will fire 10 rounds in 20-second intervals from scoped vintage military rifles set on sand bags. One team marksman shoots from the prone position at 300 and 600 yards, while the other serves as a spotter to relay shot position. Marksman and spotter switch positions on the firing lines, allowing each teammate to play both roles. Scores are then combined for an Aggregate team total.

Two M1 Garands, fitted with scopes and lace-on cheekpads.
Vintage sniper rifle team match camp perry

Who can identify this rifle, with its unusual scope mount?
Vintage sniper rifle team match camp perry

Our friends at Criterion Barrels have written an interesting article about last year’s Vintage Sniper Rifle Match. It you want an “insider’s perspective” on the 2014 Match, plus Vintage Sniper gunsmithing tips, read this article. Here are some highlights:

About the Match and the Rifles
The Vintage Sniper Match was the brainchild of Hornady’s Dave Emary. The competition was inspired by his father, a World War II scout sniper, who carried a rifle similar to the 1903A4 rifle builds that can be found today on the Camp Perry firing line. Bob Schanen worked alongside Dave and the CMP staff in establishing the various competition rules prior to the first official Vintage Sniper Match in 2011. The match developers made a point to offer some level of flexibility in rifle configuration, allowing specific types of non-issue optics and rifle rebuilds. This helped make the match more inclusive.

Hornady’s Dave Emary and “Gunny” R. Lee Ermey (right):
AccurateShooter.com CMP Vintage Sniper Rifle Match

Bob Shanen has two vintage sniper competition rifles. Both builds are based off of the USMC Model 1941 sniper rifle, a design similar to the M1903A1 National Match rifle. Bob’s rifles both carry 8x Lyman Junior Target Spotter scopes with a thin crosshair reticle. Bob attributes a large part of his rifle’s accuracy to the Criterion M1903 match-grade barrels installed on each rifle by Rick Humphreys, a Milwaukee area gunsmith. These tack-driving barrels are capable of half-MOA accuracy.

Camp Perry — The Venue
The hallowed grounds of Camp Perry have hosted some of the nation’s finest shooters each summer for more than a century. Some of the world’s greatest marksmen have accomplished remarkable feats on the ranges of this lakeside military outpost. Located on the coast of Lake Erie, Camp Perry is positioned just outside of the scenic town of Port Clinton, Ohio. It is our firm belief that every shooter should make the pilgrimage to the Camp Perry at least once in their lifetime. If not participating in an event, visitors should at least make an attempt to meet the competitors, witness the wide selection of firearms used by participants, and pay a visit to the various vendors on base.

Photos from Garand Thumb Blog and NRA Blog.

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July 12th, 2015

New 1000-Yard Benchrest Range Opens in Scotland

Castle Douglas Scotland UK UKBRA benchrest 1000 yard range AccurateShooter Vince Bottomley

Bench Barrels for Sound Attenuation
There’s something unusual about this range. Competitors are required to shoot through hoops. Vince Bottomley explains: “Competitors have to shoot with the rifle barrel inside a foam-lined plastic barrel, in an attempt to cut down on noise. This was a condition imposed by the local police but in practice, you don’t notice it as you are looking through a scope.” That looks pretty strange to us. Hopefully we won’t see these kind of restrictions imposed in the USA.

Here’s good news to report from the United Kingdom. The UK’s second 1000-yard benchrest facility just opened up in Scotland, near the town of Castle Douglas in the south of Scotland. Until now, Diggle was the only range running 1000-yard benchrest matches in all of the UK. With interest in long-range benchrest competition growing in the UK, it’s good to see a new 1K venue opening for business.

Read Full Report in Target Shooter Magazine

The new Ingleston Range in Castle Douglas is operated by the Galloway Small Arms Club. This club is affiliated with the United Kingdom Bench Rest Association (UKBRA), so any records established will be recognized by the UK governing body for benchrest shooting. Light Gun and Heavy Gun Classes are run according to American IBS rules. And, per UKBRA standards, there is also a third, Factory Rifle Class. Vince Bottomley reports: “The Range is located on a working farm and the GSAC members have worked tremendously hard to create a 1000-yard range from what is basically open countryside.”

Here’s the view looking downrange. What a beautiful place to shoot…
Castle Douglas Scotland UK UKBRA benchrest 1000 yard range AccurateShooter Vince Bottomley

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July 12th, 2015

Want a Challenge? Try the CMP’s Four Gun Aggregate

CMP 4-Gun As-Issued Santiago

by Dennis Santiago
Tricked-out match guns are fun but, if you want to prove that you’ve got an eagle eye and steady hands, a true test of skill is the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s As-Issued Four Gun Aggregate.

CMP 4-Gun As-Issued SantiagoThe Four Gun Aggregate encompasses a series of CMP John C. Garand 30-shot matches (200-yard As-Issued Military Rifle Match Course A) on NRA SR targets at one of the CMP Regional Games or the Nationals officiated by the CMP. These are the only places you can earn the coveted neck-ribbon CMP achievement medals.

You will need four as-issued rifles. The first is the M-1 Garand. (The course of fire is named after this rifle’s inventor.) This remarkable battle rifle will test your prowess at slow prone, rapid prone, and offhand. The match winner will put almost all bullets into a saucer.

You do get to hear that classic “ping” when the en bloc clip ejects with this gun. It’s a good idea to write your firing point number on your hand for each match because you will move around over the course of the tournament.

Next comes the hyper-accurate 1903 Springfield. You can use either the WW I M1903 or the later WW II M1903A3 model with peep sights. A Springfield will typically shoot groups half the size of a Garand with the same ammunition. Think potential in terms of tea cups instead of saucers.

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June 29th, 2015

Stangskyting — Amazing Bolt Action Rifle Speed Shooting

How fast can you shoot a bolt-action rifle? We doubt you can out-pace the ace “Stangskyting” shooters from Scandinavia. Some of these guys can run more than two rounds per second, including mag changes! That’s impressive. Bulletin reader C. Lemmermann from Denmark told us: “In Scandinavia we have this competition called ‘Stangskyting’. It’s similar to the ‘Mad Minute’ but we only have 25 seconds to hit the target [at] 200-300m distance with a 6.5×55 [target rifle].” In the Stangskyting video below a shooter named Børklop puts 16 rounds on target in just 25 seconds. (He starts with a round in the chamber and cycles through three, 5-round magazines). Børklop’s performance, with just a sling and iron sights, is impressive. He’s shooting a Sauer 200 STR target rifle with 5-round magazine. Note that Børklop manipulates the Sauer’s bolt with his thumb and index finger, while pulling the trigger with his middle finger. As good as Børklop is, some Stangskyting competitors are even better. Roy Arne Syversrud from Oslo, Norway tells us: “The best shooters in Norway can do 21 shots in 25 seconds, changing the mag three times.”

This Guy Could Break the “Mad Minute” Record
Børklop’s rate of fire, 16 rounds in 25 seconds, is the equivalent of 38.4 rounds in 60 seconds. That’s a notable number because the record for the “Mad Minute”, a British Army marksmanship drill, is 38 rounds in one minute. That record was set in 1914 by Sergeant Instructor Alfred Snoxall, and still stands. So as you watch Børklop, keep in mind that Snoxall shot that fast for a full minute with a Lee-Enfield nearly 100 years ago!

Børklop has an average cycling time of 1.56 seconds per shot, starting with a round in the chamber. To beat the record of 38 rounds, he would need to make seven mag changes in sixty seconds. All those mag swaps could reduce his average time per shot, making it difficult to achieve 38 hits in a minute. But, if Børklop could use 10-round mags with his Sauer STR, this guy has the skills to break the record.

Sauer 200 STR Target Rifle

To emphasize the capabilities of the WWI-era British shooter who set the record, Snoxall shot as fast as Børklop does, but Snoxall reloaded with stripper clips. Snoxall’s SMLE (Lee-Enfield) rifle also had relatively crude open sights and the stock was far less ergonomic than Børklop’s Sauer STR stock.

Here’s another Stanskyting video showing John O. Ågotnes shooting rapidfire with his Sauer 200 STR (Scandinavian Target Rifle) chambered in 6.5×55. By our count, Ågotnes manages 17 shots within the 25-second time period. That rate of fire (17 in 25 seconds) equates to 40.8 rounds in one minute!

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June 27th, 2015

New F-TR Stock from McMillan

McMillan Fiberglass Stock F-Class F/tr F-TR Derek Rodgers Sinclair

McMillan has developed a new stock for F-TR competition. The front half is like a prone stock while the rear section has a straight underside (toe) section for smooth tracking in the rear bag. This stock appears to be designed for hard-holding, with a vertical grip and a fairly tall adjustable cheekpiece. The stock weighs just five pounds complete with adjusting hardware, so F-TR rigs built with this new stock should “make weight” easily. (The F-TR limit is 8.25kg or 18.188 pounds including bipod.)

Paul Phillips of Team Sinclair revealed the new McMillan stock on his Facebook page. Paul reports: “McMillan has been a leader in the industry for 40 years. I can’t thank the McMillan family enough for all they have done for our Military, Law Enforcement and Competitive shooting communities. Kelly McMillan and Team Sinclair worked together on what stock profile and features would be the best for FTR competition and this is what came out of the oven. Kelly also came up with some strong, super-light hardware that put the entire weight of the finished stock after bedding at 5 pounds even.

After Alex Sitman from Masterclass Stocks bedded my new stock, he told me that this new stock design is a true work of art and will fill a huge void in F-TR. Derek Rodgers set the current 1000-Yard F-TR record, 200-12X, with a McMillan prone-style stock. Team Sinclair holds the current 1000-Yard Team Record, 792-38X, and McMillan also contributed to that. McMillan [helps sponsor] the USA F-TR Team and Team Sinclair. Team USA will also be using these stocks in the upcoming 2017 World Championships hosted in Ottawa, Canada.”

Making Weight in F-TR — Every Ounce Counts

One Facebook reader asked why the new F-TR stock was so light. Here is Paul’s response:

Question: Paul, 5 pounds seems a little light. My Anschutz [stock] is heavier. Wouldn’t you want a heavier stock for stability, particularly for long range shooting?

Answer: It’s a fine line making an 18.18-pound weight limit. We need longer barrels to get the velocity to push 185- and 200-grain bullets. We also have a scope and bipod that add weight. It’s a balancing act. As I mentioned before, the current National record is with the same weight McMillan prone stock, just different profile. It works.

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June 23rd, 2015

Prepare for Perry — National Match Action Starts July 5th

Camp Perry National Matches High Power 2015
Nick Till in 2009 M1A Match. Nick was the 2007 Service Rifle Nat’l Champion. Photo courtesy NRA Blog.

Camp Perry National MatchesThe 2015 NRA National Rifle & Pistol Championships at Camp Perry, Ohio are just a couple weeks away. You can still register for one or more of the matches. Just click the orange “Register” button (below) to register online.

Many of the finest civilian and military marksmen in the United States will square off for weeks of rifle and handgun competition while vying for the NRA’s historic and prestigious trophies. From pistol, to smallbore rifle, high power rifle, and long-range high power rifle, the National Matches have something for just about everybody.

Head on over to the Camp Perry sign-up page and get started on this year’s application.

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June 22nd, 2015

Handguns at 500, 750, and 1000 Yards in Wyoming

MOA long-range handgun match

The MOA Long Range Handgun Match was held June 18-20, 2015 near Sundance, Wyoming. This three-day event features handgun shooting at 500, 750, and 1000 yards. Shooters start at 500 on the first day, and then move to 750 on Day 2, and 1000 on Day 3. Sierra Bullets Media Relations Manager Carroll Pilant joined the action this year (as he has every year since the event’s inception). Here is his report…

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