Thursday was a Team Competition day at the Berger Southwest Nationals. Conditions were surprisingly calm for most of the day, with flags hanging straight down through most of the morning. But there were still some “ghost winds” that might affect one flag (and cause some unexplained). Mirage was also tricky for some shooters as the day wore on.
Watch Day 2 Match Highlights including Interview With Team Michigan’s Bill Litz and Bryan Litz
Team Michigan won the F-TR competition, followed by The U.S. F-TR Team in second, and Team X-Men in third. Based on the interim results posted, the Sling Division was one by the UK/Scottish Ethnic Fringe Team led by Captain Angus McLeod. It appears that the top F-Open Squad was Team Berger — those senior guys still know their stuff.
USRT Gold Medal Sponsors Kelly McMillan of McMillan Group International and Sean Murphy of Nightforce Optics came out to observe and shoot with the U.S. Rifle Team. Here’s Kelly with his bionic arm.
It was hot, dry, and sunny in Phoenix. You needed lots of water and plenty of sunscreen…
There was plenty of good food on hand for the competitors…
Here’s an interesting rig that combines a spotting scope (on left) with 15×56 binoculars (on right) This allowed the spotter to watch targets as well as mirage elsewhere on the range. Smart…
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Our friend Vince Bottomley in the UK has written an excellent article for Target Shooter Magazine. Vince offers “solid-gold” advice for new F-TR and F-Open shooters. Vince reviews the cartridge options, and offers suggestions for a shooter’s first (and hopefully affordable) F-Class rifle. Vince also reviews various bipod choices for F-TR and discusses optics options (from $300 to $3000).
DEAR DADDY. We all draw positive motivation from different sources. This competitor at the Berger SW Nationals gets a lift from his child’s hand-written note: “Dear Daddy, I love you very much. I hope you win the competition. You are the best….”
The Berger SWN competition began in earnest yesterday, with hundreds of shooters taking to the line. Today, it’s more of the same, with the nation’s top F-TR, F-Open, and Sling Shooters competing at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility north of Phoenix.
Checking conditions at break of day. This week Phoenix will offer cool nights and warm days, with daytime temps in the mid- to high 80s (F).
The Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN), is the biggest, most prestigious long-range shooting match west of the Mississipi. The SW Nationals, which run February 9-14, 2016, kicked off on Tuesday the 9th with a shooting clinic at the Ben Avery 1000-yard Range. This gave competitors a chance to confirm their zeros, study the conditions at Ben Avery, and prep their “mental game” for the upcoming competition. This will be a huge event, with over 370 shooters from all over the USA and many foreign countries. The SW Nationals attracts top F-Class and Sling shooters, lured by the quality of the competition and a huge prize table. This is truly a “world-class” event.
Tuesday’s shooting clinic started with a class on Exterior Ballistics hosted by Bryan Litz. Following the ballistics class, shooters made their way to the firing line for one-on-one instruction with experienced shooters in each discipline (sling, F-TR and F-Open). During this segment of the clinic, champion shooters worked directly with novice and intermediate shooters. Bryan said: “It was great to see the ‘top guns’ sharing their knowledge.”
File photo from 2015.
Nat’l Mid-Range and Long-Range F-TR Champion Bryan Litz instructs during Tuesday’s Clinic at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility.
Eliseo Tubegun with Nightforce Competition scope. These versatile rifle chassis systems are produced by Competition Machine in Cottonwood, Arizona.
Old is new again. After receiving many suggestions on how best to fill the recently-added week at the end of the National Matches in August, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) has created the “CMP Legacy Series”. To be conducted during the final week of competition at Camp Perry, the Legacy Series will include the following matches:
CMP Heritage Match (Aug. 10) – 800 Aggregate event, 20 shots standing and 20 shots sitting at the 200-yard line, 20 shots rapid fire at the 300-yard line and 20 shots prone slow fire at the 600-yard line.
CMP Viale Memorial Match (Aug. 11) – 50-shot National Match Course of Fire
CMP Critchfield 2-Man Team Match (Aug. 12) – 50-shot National Match Course of Fire.
CMP Modern Military Rifle Match (Aug. 13) – 55-shot match fired at the 200-yard line.
CMP Roosevelt Commemorative Match (Aug. 14) – 30-shot Krag/m1903 match fired at the 200-yard line.
The theme “Legacy Series” was chosen to honor Camp Perry and those individuals who have helped shape the nation’s longest-running series of championship and recreational rifle events in America. The schedule above was chosen by the overwhelming majority of CMP competitors surveyed. Of the 1,595 responses, 1,051 selected the CMP Legacy Series to conclude the 2016 National Matches.
The CMP Heritage Match is typical of the National Match Course service rifle events fired at Camp Perry for more than 100 years. The CMP Viale Memorial Match celebrates the memory of 2nd Lt. Robert M. Viale, KIA, namesake of Camp Perry’s 1,000-yard range. The CMP Critchfield 2-Man Team match is named in honor of Ammon B. Critchfield, Adjutant General of Ohio and founder of Camp Perry, the largest rifle range in the nation.
Critchfield would also be pleased to see those 1903 Springfields in action more than a century later on his range at the CMP Roosevelt Commemorative Match, open only to the Springfield and its predecessor, the Krag-Jorgensen rifle.
The CMP Modern Military Rifle Match showcases modern, semi-automatic military style rifles like the non-accurized M14/M1A, the original lightweight AR15 and many foreign military semi-autos and commercial equivalents.
If you have questions regarding the CMP Legacy Series, contact Christina Roguski at croguski @ thecmp.org, Shannon Hand at shand @ thecmp.org or Kim Filipiak at kfilipiak @ thecmp.org.
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Dry-firing practice can benefit all competitors, particularly sling-shooters. However, for AR15 Service Rifle shooters and High Power competitors using AR-based “spaceguns”, dry-firing is complicated by the charging handle location — pulling back on the handle requires that you move your head placement on the rifle. In addition, extensive AR dry-firing can cause pre-mature wear of an AR’s firing pin. AR shooters take heart — now there are products that allow you to dry-fire your AR more easily, without breaking position, and with no adverse effects on the firing pin.
Creedmoor AR15/M16 Dry-Firing Device Creedmoor Sports offers a Delrin dry-firing device that allows you to reset your AR trigger with a very short pull of the charging handle — plus you don’t have to break position. Machined from solid Delrin, the dry-fire device is inserted into the bolt carrier and limits the swing of the hammer, allowing unlimited dry-firing without the risk of firing pin damage. The trigger pull is unchanged and the shooter can reset the trigger mechanism by cycling the charging handle a mere one-quarter inch or so. The shooter can reset his trigger without breaking position and the lessened impact of the hammer allows the shooter to better evaluate his sight picture and follow-through. Creedmoor’s AR-15/M16 Service Rifle Dry-Fire Device, item #C1051, retails for $18.95
Other AR Dry-Firing Devices MidwayUSA offers a similar Delrin dry-firing device for ARs. Like the Creedmoor unit, this TMA-made device fits in the bolt carrier group and protects the firing pin from damage. The orange unit slips between the buffer and bolt, and permits the trigger reset with only a quarter-inch movement of the charging handle. During storage the device can also provide a safety function by preventing the hammer from hitting the firing pin. But, we caution, don’t leave your gun loaded presuming this device, by itself, will make the gun safe. MidwayUSA’s orange Delrin AR dry-firing device, item #872223, costs $17.29.
Story tip by Boyd Allen. We welcome submissions from our readers.
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Here’s an AR configuration suited to the new AR Mid-Range Prone Discipline: Moderate-length barrel, Harris Bipod, Leupold Mark AR MOD 1 4-12x40mm scope. Photobucket image by Ingo1978.
The NRA has created a new mid-range, target-shooting discipline for AR owners. The provisional rules for the new AR Mid-Range Prone Competition will allow calibers from .22 up to .308. Rifle weight will be limited to 14 pounds. Competitors may use Harris (or similar) compact, “tactical” bipods, and optics up to 12-power will be allowed (but iron sights can also be used). The goal of this new competition is to get the many AR owners to the range to compete.
The NRA’s Information Sheet for the new mid-range discipline explains: “These rifles are of the ‘AR-Platform’ variety, semi-automatic, chambered in any caliber from .223 cal./5.56mm. up to and including .308 cal./7.62mm. The courses of fire will be the same courses of fire currently used for other NRA Mid-Range (Prone) High Power Competition (300, 500, and 600 yards) and are designed to be fired concurrently with other forms of Mid-Range competition. The targets will be the same targets that are used for Service Rifle, Match Rifle, and Palma Rifle Mid-Range Prone competition. Mid-range telescopic sights will be allowed, but not required. Because this is prone competition, shooters may use tactical front rests such as Harris-type bipods and limited rear rests of the type one might find used in military or police tactical situations.”
A very prominent NRA member who works with the Competition Committee recently posted this explanation of the new AR discipline on our Forum:
NRA Mid-Range (Prone) Tactical Rifle (AR)
For those clubs and match directors who have members with ARs who want to shoot Mid-Range Prone but who don’t want (or can’t afford) to shoot traditional “sling” or F-Class, we have a new opportunity to get those ARs out of the closet and onto the range with very little in the way of additional costs:
It’s called Mid-Range Tactical Rifle (AR). A copy of the description and the Rules (Provisional) are attached as a PDF file and should be published by the NRA very soon. CAUTION — these are NOT official — but I think they are accurate:
In brief, here’s how it works:
1. The event will be fired concurrently with any other Mid-Range event, alongside of F-Class and “sling” divisions.
2. The Event will be fired on the “sling targets”.
3. AR Rifle General Standards:
Calibers: 223/5.56 up to and including .308/7.62mm
Weight: Overall weight not more than 14 pounds
Support: Harris-type “tactical bipod” (no large F-Class bipods).
Optics: Scope not more than 12X
Barrel: Not more than 20″
Trigger: Trigger pull not less than 4.5 pounds
4. This is NOT F-Class — this is designed to be closer to “tactical”. F-Class competition gear is generally illegal; competition stocks are generally illegal. [The event] is designed to attract more law enforcement and/or military (maybe local National Guard?) and other “tactical shooters” out to the range shooting for precision. For more info, check out the attached PDF file.
You’ll find a discussion of this new AR Mid-Range discipline in our Shooters’ Forum, HERE: AR Mid-Range Match Forum Thread. Here are some interesting comments from that thread:
“Opening up mid-range matches for ARs is a great idea. I’m not an AR guy myself, but I have lots of shooting friends who are. They tend to have a lot of ideas what their guns are capable of out to 600 yards, but most don’t take many opportunities to shoot them at those ranges, and none of the existing High Power disciplines are very appealing. Until now. I hope it doesn’t become an equipment race. A 185/200 is a respectable score even with a 12″ 10 ring. I hope everyone is supportive — helping get these guys on the paper and providing positive feedback even for scores that seem modest by F-Class standards.” — Comment by Berger.Fan222
“It looks like the recommended targets will be the same as conventional shooters use (i.e. ~1 MOA X-ring). Given the specifications for rifles/bipods/scopes/etc., I think this would be an appropriate level of difficulty to start. It will be challenging, particularly at 600 yards, but by no means impossible. Of course, at 600 yards, anyone shooting an AR15 (.223/5.56) will be at a disadvantage to ballistically-superior calibers unless they come up with a good way to load 80+ grain bullets that will mag-feed. Personally, I’d like to see this limited strictly to .223 ARs. Almost everyone has one and the mag feed requirement would really keep things even across the board. The inclusion of other calibers will allow this to become a ‘caliber race’ in that .223 will have a very hard time keeping up with other, better calibers at 600 yards.” — Comment by gstaylorg
“Looks like a great new addition. The PDF document says rule 7.20 for course of fire which is mid-range slow fire. I believe all slow fire is currently ‘one round loads’. The PDF explicitly states 10-, 20- or 30-round magazines and no sleds. Does anyone know if this new discipline would be fired from magazine or one-round loads? Shooting from magazine would be keeping with the ‘tactical’ aspect and enforcing mag-length loads. But it does not seem to jive with the ‘one round load’ currently stipulated for slow fire?” — Comment by Highpower-FClass
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The 2016 Berger Southwest Nationals event is less than a week away. If you need some last-minute practice before this match and you don’t have the time (or money) to load a couple hundred rounds of centerfire ammo, consider rimfire practice. Past F-TR National Champion James Crofts attributes much of his success to plenty of trigger time with his rimfire training rifle.
Rimfire Training for F-Classers
2014 and 2012 U.S. National F-TR Champion James Crofts is one of America’s top F-Class shooters. A member of the 2013 World Championship-winning F-TR Team USA squad, James knows a thing or two about long-range shooting, that’s for sure. But you may be surprised to learn how James sharpens his shooting skills at relatively short distances. You see, James often practices with a .22 LR rimfire rifle at distances from 50 to 200 yards. James tells us: “Shooting my F-Class rimfire trainer saves me money and improves my shot process and wind-reading abilities.”
Remington rimfire 40X barreled action in PR&T LowBoy stock with PT&G bolt.
Rimfire Training Teaches Wind-Reading Skillsby James Crofts
Training with the rimfire is extremely useful and can be done from 25 yards out to 200 yards. I am lucky and can shoot 50 yards right off my back deck. That is far enough that any miscue on rifle handling will show up on the target. I use a two dry-fire to one actual shot routine for my practices. This gives me much more positive reinforcement without any negative reinforcement.
Wind reading is extremely important with a .22 LR rifle. I use a set of smallbore flags to aid my wind calls. The smallbore flags are a must and force you to look at the flags and mirage on each and every shot. If you think the flags at Camp Butner move a lot, try smallbore flags around tall pine trees.
James Crofts — Photo by Kent Reeve.
Rimfire Training Is Cost-Effective
Rimfire ammunition is much less costly than centerfire ammo. Though .22 LR prices have risen in recent years (and rimfire ammo is harder to find), even now I can get a 500-round brick of .22 LR ammo for less than $75.00. That works out to fifteen cents a round. That’s a fraction of the cost of handloading .308 Win match ammo. Heck, you can pay 40 cents a piece for match-grade .308-cal centerfire bullets. Then you have to figure in brass, primers, and powder.
My CMP 40X Rimfire F-TR LowBoy Clone
My quest into the .22 LLR rimfire field started with an email from the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) announcing Rem 40X stripped barreled actions for sale. I thought, “Hmmm… Could one of those little 40X barreled actions be turned into a F-Class training rifle?” My gunsmith Ray Bowman of Precision Rifle & Tool was brought in at this point.
After conferring with Ray, it was decided that he could indeed turn this into a F-Class training rifle. Ray contacted Dave Kiff of PT&G and ordered a new bolt for the Remington 40X rimfire action. Next was the stock decision. I decided to go with a PR&T Low Boy F-Class stock — this is an exact clone of the stock for my .308 Win F-TR competition rifle. Then a Jewell trigger was acquired to complete the components. Ray built this just like he would any custom rifle, other than using the stock barrel. The project turned out awesome. The rifle was a hammer from the beginning even with the stock barrel.
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If you’re looking for a sturdy yet lightweight, low-profile bipod, the latest Phoenix Precision model is a top choice. This parallel-arm style bipod is light, strong, and can be adjusted very low to the ground to suit the latest low-profile F-TR rifles. In basic configuration the Minnesota-made Phoenix Precision bipod, weighs 2 pounds, 4 ounces. That’s not the lightest bipod available, but even with a pretty long barrel you can “make weight” in F-TR class easily. Under NRA Rules, an F-TR rifle must not weigh more than 8.25 kg (about 18.15 lb.) including scope and bipod.
Our friend Ray Gross, Captain of the U.S.A. F-TR Team, recently received a very special Phoenix Precision product: “My new bipod from Phoenix Precision just showed up! Phoenix did a special run for the team with our team logo. So cool!” We think it’s great to see a gear supplier produce a special version for the National Team.
For many Americans, real incomes have stayed flat in recent years, while the true cost of living has risen. Accordingly, it’s important to save money whenever possible. Prices are going up, but wages aren’t following (for most of us). Here are six ways shooters can save money on gear purchases and other shooting-related expenses.
1. Check Out the Forum Classifieds. There are great deals to be found every day in the AccurateShooter Shooters’ Forum. The latest deals are displayed in the right column of every Forum page. To see all the listings, browse through the Forum MarketPlace section which has four main categories:
Guns, Actions, Stocks, & Barrels
Tools, Dies, Rests, Reloading Components & Misc
Scopes, Optics, Sights, Rings, Bases Etc.
Commercial Sales by Paid Sponsors
2. Use Discount Codes to Save. It’s always smart to check for discount codes before you buy. In the Daily Bulletin, we feature “Deals of the Week” every Monday morning, and we provide discount Coupon Codes when available. These can reduce the price substantially or lower shipping costs. Search codes for Brownells, Sinclair Int’l, Cabela’s, and Amazon.com. Check your email also — some discount codes are only announced in email newsletters. If you can’t find a Coupon Code for your preferred vendor, visit RetailMeNot.com and/or SlickGuns.com. Both those sites list current coupon codes, and RetailMeNot.com covers thousands of vendors.
3. Shop for “Demo” Optics. Modern high-quality optics can easily cost $1500.00 or more, often exceeding the value of the rifle on which they are mounted. However, you can often save 20-30% by purchasing demo optics. These are normally display units used at trade shows. They may have slight ringmarks, but otherwise they are “as new”, having never been carried in the field or used on a rifle that has fired live ammo. When purchasing demo scopes, you should always ask about the warranty before consummating the sale. However, most demo scopes from name-brand manufacturers come with full factory warranties. EuroOptic.com and SWFA.com are two respected vendors that offer a good selection of demo optics.
4. Train with Rimfire Rifles. The true cost of shooting a match-grade centerfire rifle, when you consider barrel wear, approaches $1.00 per round. READ Shooting Cost Article. By contrast, decent .22LR target ammo sells for under $0.19 per round (though it is, admittedly, hard to find right now). Good rimfire barrels last a long, long time, so you don’t have to be concerned about wearing out your barrel quickly. A quality rimfire barrel can retain its accuracy for 7,000 rounds or more. If you run the ballistics, a .22LR round at 100 yards can emulate the wind drift experienced by a centerfire cartridge at long range. This allows for effective cross-training with much less expensive ammo.
5. Take Advantage of Factory Rebates. There are some attractive rebates available right now from quality manufacturers such as Bushnell, Leupold, RCBS, and Zeiss. You have to be a bit wary because rebates are typically used to move less-popular merchandise. But some rebates, such as the RCBS ‘Buy Green, Get Green’ Promo, apply to very wide range of merchandise, so it’s hard to go wrong. Just make sure that, when you buy a product, you retain the sales slip and the original packaging (it’s also wise to print out online orders). To qualify for the rebate, you may need to mail in a product identification code found on the box, along with your original sales receipt.
6. Share a Ride to Matches. Gas prices have fallen dramatically in the past year, but fuel remains a significant part of a shooter’s hobby budget, particularly if you drive long distances to compete at major matches. We’d say 90% of shooters drive solo to matches, often in large, gas-guzzling trucks. If you drive 200 miles round-trip to attend a match in a 20-mpg vehicle, you’ll burn nearly $30.00 worth of gasoline on your trip. That adds up. By simply sharing the ride with one fellow shooter you can cut your fuel expenditures in half. And, if you alternate vehicles from one match to the next, you also save on wear and tear on your own vehicle. At $0.50/mile consider the savings.
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Here are the schedules for some of the major USA rifle matches to be held in 2016. These items, as well as dozens of other regional/sectionals matches, are listed in Shooting Sports USA’s 2016 Competition Calendar. That 2016 Competition Calendar also provides basic information on 15 competitive shooting organizations, including USA Shooting, IDPA, IPSC, NBRSA, FCSA (.50 Cal), and more.
2016 NATIONAL RIFLE AND PISTOL CHAMPIONSHIPS — Camp Perry, Ohio
July 8-9: CMP Rimfire Sporter Clinic and Match
July 11-16: Pistol Matches
July 25-30: CMP High Power Rifle and Games Event
July 31-August 4: NRA High Power Rifle and Mid-Range Championship
August 5-9: NRA Long Range High Power Rifle Championship
August 10-14: CMP Events (TBA)
NOTE: Online registration for National Championship will be available March 2016.
2016 NRA F-CLASS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS — Lodi, Wisconsin
September 23: MR Warm-Up Practice
September 24-27: MR Individual and Team Championships
September 27: LR Warm-Up Practice (PM)
September 28-October 1: LR Individual and Team Championships
Program and registration will be available by mid-April 2016. For information now, contact: Karin Liebetrau, 10890 Cornell Dr., Viola, WI 54664; Telephone: 608-345-7989; email: ekl @ mwt.net.
2016 NATIONAL SMALLBORE RIFLE CHAMPIONSHIP — Bristol, Indiana
July 10-14: Conventional Prone Championship
July 15-16: Conventional 3-Position Championship
July 17-18: Metric Position Smallbore Rifle Championship
The 2016 National Smallbore Rifle Championships (Metric Position and Conventional Prone/Position) will be held July 10-18, 2016. The Chief Wa-Ke’-De Range has 100 covered firing points. The Smallbore Championship Program should be viewable online starting March 1, 2016 and online registration will commence April 1, 2016. For more information contact HQ Moody, hmoody @ nrahq.org or Lois Wenzell at lwenzell @ nrahq.org.
2016 NATIONAL SILHOUETTE CHAMPIONSHIPS and BLACK POWDER TARGET RIFLE CHAMPIONSHIP — Raton, New Mexico
July 3-5: Smallbore
July 7-9: High Power
July 12-15: Cowboy Rifle
July 19-20: Black Powder Cartridge Rifle (Scope)
July 22-23: Black Powder Cartridge Rifle
July 25-30: Black Powder Target Rifle
Program and entry cards will be available April 1, 2016. Contact: NRA Silhouette Dept., 11250 Waples Mill Rd., Fairfax, VA 22030; (703) 267-1474 or silhouette @ nrahq.org.
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The Berger Southwest Nationals event is less than two weeks away… so get your bags packed and ammo loaded boys and girls. The SW Nationals run February 9-14, 2016, kicking off on Tuesday the 9th with a shooting clinic.
Photo by Phil Kelley at Ben Avery Range.
This prestigious rifle competition, hosted at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility, outside Phoenix, Arizona, draws top F-Class and sling shooters from around the country. The Berger SW Nationals event is the premier long-range match of the year in the Western United States. Over 360 shooters have already registered for the SWN. NOTE: there are a few spots left. To register, go to the Berger SWN Entry Page.
To help you prepare for the Berger SW Nationals, here are some competition tips from Bryan Litz. Bryan knows the Ben Avery range well. He won the Mid-Range and Long-Range F-TR National Championships there last year. 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.
Competition TIP FOUR. If your long range ballistic predictions aren’t tracking, always come back and verify your 100-yard zero. Sometimes a simple zero shift can be misconstrued as errors in long range ballistics predictions.
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F-Class shooting (both F-Open and F-TR) is one of the fastest-growing forms of rifle competition. Each season many new shooters hit the line and attendance at the big matches increases every year. But if you’re new to the game, you may ask “Where can I shoot an F-Class match?”. Well, Forum member Rod V. (aka Nodak7mm) has compiled a useful list of 112 ranges throughout the USA where F-Class matches are held. With venues from Alabama to Wyoming — you should find an F-Class program not too far from home. The list, in Excel spreadsheet format, provides range locations and weblinks (where available). Click the link below to download the F-Class Range List (.xls file):
Note — this list, now in its 19th Revision, is augmented regularly, but info is still being gathered. No claim is made that the list is comprehensive. But it still covers the the lion’s share of the important F-Class venues nationwide. If you know of a range that should be added to the list, please post the location on our F-Class Range List Forum thread. Rod will update the list as new range info is received. Rod writes: “Range information is wanted and welcomed. I would like your help on collecting specific info on Clubs/Ranges where known F-Class matches are held.” Here’s a partial sample from Rod’s list:
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Here’s your chance to win $50,000 and become a TV star. The Outdoor Channel’s new television show, American Marksman, showcases a series of shooting competitions leading to a big-money National Championship. American Marksman gives amateur shooters the chance to win cash, gear and fame. The top shooter will win $50,000 and earn the title of “American Marksman”.
The competition begins with local qualifiers starting in March 2016 at locations across the country. There will be three stages: local qualifying matches, regional championships, and a National Championship. The entire process will be filmed for later broadcast on the Outdoor Channel beginning in December 2016. The nine regional championships will be revealed as locations are finalized.
“If you ever wanted to enter a shooting competition and thought it was too intimidating or too expensive – then this is your chance to show the world what you’ve got,” said producer Michael Bane, Outdoor Channel. “For only $20 at the local level, you get the chance to try to qualify with other amateurs in a relaxed, safe environment and the best of you will meet in a … National Championship with TV cameras rolling. The person who earns the title of ‘American Marksman’ walks away with $50,000.”
How to Participate: To get involved in the American Marksman competition, you can Register Now at AmericanMarksman.com. You need to have your own .22 LR gun and 50 rounds of ammo for the local qualifier (you can rent a gun from the local range if needed). American Marksman will provide firearms and ammo for the Regional and National championships, should you advance. NOTE: American Marksman is an amateur-only event series with strict eligibility guidelines.
Where to Compete: The local qualifying rounds begin in March, 2016 at nearly 200 ranges in 47 states. CLICK HERE for a list of Participating Ranges, which can be sorted by state.
“The local qualifying level is designed not only to appeal to more seasoned shooters, but also to attract new people into the shooting sports by offering a low-cost and less intimidating way to get involved in competition,” explained show Producer Michael Bane.
Competition Categories: American Marksman offers four categories of competition: Men’s Open, Women’s Open, Junior (12-16) and Military/Law Enforcement. Pick the category that fits you. At the National Championship, the best shooters from each of the categories will be pitted against each other to compete for $50K and the “American Marksman” title.
Course of Fire: Each round will feature .22 LR rimfire courses of fire. As the competitors progress, they will be challenged with different calibers, targets and courses of fire. Advancing shooters will go to one of nine regional championships, which begin in June and proceed through August with the National Championship taking place in early 2017.
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You may not be aware, but the Civilian Marksmanship Program runs a reliable, reasonably-priced maintenance/repair facility for USGI-issue rifles. Since October 2013, the CMP Custom Shop (Anniston, AL) has provided gunsmithing services for a wide range of U.S. Military rifles, specifically those issued in early eras. As well as repairs and troubleshooting, the CMP Custom Shop can upgrade, accurize, customize, and refinish the types of rifles the CMP sells.
CMP will work on the M1 Garand, M1 Carbine, 1903 and 1903A3 Springfield, the 1917 Enfield and the Krag. Other rifles like the Remington 40X, Mossberg 44, and H&R Model 12 can also be serviced. CMP will NOT work on shotguns, pistols, revolvers, M14/M1A, AR15-style rifles or other commercially-produced modern rifles. For a list of services (with prices) visit the CMP Custom Shop webpage.
NOTE: Before you can send a rifle to the CMP Custom Shop you must be a customer on file in the CMP system. Customers must meet the same eligibility requirements as for CMP rifle purchases. Once qualified, you can purchase a rifle from the CMP and have the CMP Custom Shop make modifications to it prior to shipping.
CMP Custom Shop Can Work on USGI Rifles Purchased from Other Sources
The CMP Custom Shop can work on rifles that may have been purchased elsewhere as long as they were made by a USGI contractor. Some examples include: Springfield Armory (not Springfield Inc.), Harrington & Richardson, Winchester, International Harvester, Remington, Rock Island, Eddystone, Inland, Underwood, Rock-Ola, Quality Hardware, National Postal meter, Standard Products, IBM, Irwin-Pederson and Saginaw. NOTE: There are many NON-USGI copies of the M1 Garand, 1903 Springfield and especially the M1 Carbine that CMP will be unable to work on.
For more information, call (256) 835-8455, x1113, or send email to customshop [at] thecmp.org. Shipping and Correspondence address for the CMP Custom Shop is:
We know some guys who make their own stocks, and others who do their own chambering. But consider this, Robert Carnell of Australia built his own state-of-the-art, water-cooled, tension-barrel Rail Gun, even including the action. That’s right, Robert even made his own action. Wow, this has to be the ultimate home gunsmithing, do-it-yourself project.
Carnell is an accomplished benchrest shooter and past Australian Sporter Class Champion. In 1993 he won a Silver Medal at the World Championships. But Carnell is far more than an ace trigger-puller. Robert is a skilled and creative “home gunsmith” who has crafted his own custom action and built his own railguns from scratch. Robert also runs the Austrialian Benchrest Bulletin website.
Home-Built Rail Gun — Aussie Innovation
Below are photos of one of Rob Carnell’s most amazing builds. This liquid-cooled, tension-barrel rail gun is a great example of self-reliant Aussie engineering. The barrel runs inside a coolent-filled, large-diameter sleeve, much like an old water-cooled machine gun. This is the fourth rail gun that Rob built, and the second fitted with a tensioned barrel.
Robert explains: “My railgun design has a 1.75″ barrel under tension inside an aluminium tube filled with radiator coolant. There is nearly a gallon of coolant, and the barrel stays cool no matter how many shots I seem to fire, or how quickly they are shot. The brass nut on the front rides on a nylon bearing and can be tightened to get the best accuracy. I am a believer in the ‘tuner’ idea and this seems to work for me. The main tube is thick-walled aluminium 600mm (24″) long. There is a flange at both ends. The flange at the back fits onto the barrel before the action is screwed on. The front flange is a press-fit into the tube, then there is a brass nut that fits over the barrel and screws against a nylon washer on the front flange. The Railgun’s base is aluminium and has the standard adjustments — windage, elevation and a sighter cam. In addition, there is a 1/10 thou dial indicator for windage. This allows me to zero the indicator and shoot my group. If I need to add a bit of windage for a condition, I can quickly get back to the original position if my condition comes back.”
Home-Built Action Uses Rem Bolt
Rob’s rail gun uses his own home-made stainless action, which features Panda-spec threads and a modified Remington 700 aftermarket bolt. Not bad for a do-it-yourself project we’d say! CLICK HERE to read how Rob designed and built the action.
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Here’s a photo of the private range where a match was to be held…
“Local Shoot Cancelled, Everything Cancelled….” That was the report from Forum member “Dixie PPC”. He was planning to attend a 600/1000-yard match. Well, there was just a little bit too much of the white stuff this morning. The match was cancelled, and he told us “pretty much everything was cancelled”.
The local Interstate was closed down because of the snow…
Conditions were bleak and cold…
Despite the snow, things weren’t completely cancelled on DixiePPC’s farm: “My Farm was not shut down… Cattle gotta’ eat.”
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SHOT Show, the firearms industry trade show, is a huge event. There are more guns and shooting accessories than you can possibly imagine. On Thursday we saw everything from a giant CADEX .50 BMG with a 24″-long suppressor to a tiny Kahr .380, the thinnest carry gun in production. Here are some highlights from Day Three, a combination of old and very, very new. McMillan has a new, as-yet-unnamed tactical stock, Walther showcased an amazing electronic trigger, and Uberti revived America’s Wild West heritage with a line of single-action revolvers.
CZ 455 Tactical/Varmint Rimfire Rifles
CZ USA still continues to offer some of the best .22 LR rifles for cross-training and tactical rimfire games. The CZ 455 Varmint Tacticool and Varmint Precision Trainer (Camo) feature proper, full-size stocks (with adult-scale ergonomics) so these rimfires look and feel like a centerfire tactical rig. CZ 455s have smooth actions and crisp triggers.
Walther LG400 Air Rifle with Electronic Trigger
Look carefully — this Walther LG400 Alutec air rifle is different than any gun you’ve ever shot. You see it has an ELECTRONIC trigger. This sophisticated, battery-powered trigger offers a super-precise, super-light release (it’s more a “touch” than a “pull”). For top-level international and Olympic shooters, the electronic trigger can offer a competitive advantage. Later this year Walther will offer an electronic trigger in its top-of-the-line smallbore rifle.
“Name This Stock” — New Tactical Stock from McMillan
Kelly McMillan, president of McMillan Fiberglass Stocks is holding the latest tactical stock from McMillan. It features a girder-style open fore-end that fits any barrel contour. At the rear, the stock boasts an adjustable cheekpiece along with a straight toe for riding a sandbag. Interestingly, this stock has no name (as yet). At SHOT Show, McMillan is running a “Name This Stock” contest. The winner will receive a free stock.
Giant Super-Sized Scope at Zeiss Booth
At its booth, Zeiss displayed what must be the world’s largest rifles-scope replica. This giant scope, as big as a totem pole, certainly did draw the attention of anyone who walked by. The big news at Zeiss this year is the Victory V8 line of scopes with 8X zoom ratio.
Uberti Classic Single Action Pistols
We love vintage-style revolvers. This year Uberti offered a beautiful array of single-action pistols in a variety of styles. Along with its line of “Wild West” repro pistols, Uberti makes excellent lever guns based on classic Winchester designs. This editor owns two Uberti lever-action rifles, and they are both beauties.
Anschutz Model 9015 Competition Air Rifle
Our friend Steve Boelter, President of Anschutz North America, showed us the latest and greatest competition rifles from the respected German gun-maker. In this photo, Steve is holding the new Anschutz 9015 air rifle. Above is the new, top-of-the-line Anschutz smallbore target rifle. In a week or so we’ll release a video showing the details of both these rifles.
SHOT Scenery — From Russia with Love
It wouldn’t be SHOT without a few Booth Babes, or should we say Booth Babe-bushkas. These charming young ladies really ARE from Russia. Yuliya, on the right, hails from far-away Vladivostok in Siberia. She said she appreciated the warmer weather in Las Vegas.
Tikka T3 Compact Tactical Rifle for the Canadian Rangers
On display at the SAKO booth was the Tikka T3 Compact Tactical Rifle which has been adopted by the Canadian Rangers. This will replace the Ranger’s beloved, but antiquated Lee-Enfield rifles. The Canadian Rangers, an element of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Reserve, serve as the CAF’s eyes and ears in sparsely-settled northern and coastal areas of Canada. The Rangers have helped secure Canada’s hinterlands since 1947.
Browning “Hell’s Canyon” Gun Vaults
Browning showcased a series of large gun safes with much-enhanced fire-proofing and thicker steel walls. The new “Hell’s Canyon” Series of gun vaults offer 40% thicker steel plus 2 – 3 times the fire protection of typical gun safes. These “Hells Canyon”-series safes are impressive.
Kim Rhode — Olympic Gold Medal Winner
We had a chance to interview shotgun superstar Kim Rhode, who has won Gold Medals at multiple Olympic Games. She told us some very interesting facts. For example, did you know that roughly 70% of females are left-eye dominant? Kim revealed some techniques that right-handed, cross-dominant shooters can use to improve their scores. We’ll reveal that in an upcoming video interview with Kim, shown here at the autograph table with some of her Olympic medals.
Wouldn’t it be interesting if a major manufacturer of tactical rifles turned its attention to the long-range competition game, specifically F-Class? Well, that is happening. Last year Ashbury Precision Ordnance (APO) rolled out a patriotic Stars and Stripes F-TR rifle, and this year APO has created an impressive new F-Open rifle. APO’s new F-Open rifle is based on the SABER Modular Rifle Chassis System (MRCS), as fitted a new front end. APO’s F-Open rifle features a long, aluminum fore-end with a 3 inch-wide bag-rider section. This provides excellent stability on the bags and offers a “long wheelbase” for improved tracking. At the rear, APO provides a metal bag-rider that runs fore-and-aft under the cheekpiece.
CNC-machined from billet aluminum alloy, the fore-end on APO’s F-Open rig features a three-inch wide Catamaran design (with twin “rails” on the underside). This long fore-end can be custom weight-balanced to meet the F-Open class 10kg weight limit. APO’s new F-Open rifle also boasts a rear Bag Rider that replaces the butt hook found on APO’s tactical rigs. The rear buttstock section features adjustable length of pull (via spacer), adjustable cheek piece, and adjustable drop for the Limbsaver®-equipped buttplate.
The SABER F-Open 6.5-284 Competition Rifle is built around APO’s octagonal SABER® LX receiver, which can be supplied with a detachable magazine or single-shot target block. APO’s bolt action receivers take advantage of a unique interlocking design in the Center Chassis Section that provides additional holding strength on both right and left hand models. The trigger is a two-stage, adjustable Tubb T7T trigger set to 1.0-1.5 pounds pull. The barrel is a button-rifled, stainless 4R Heavy Palma contour from MullerWorks. Customers can elect barrel lengths up to 30 inches.
Rifle Available as a Complete Package
The complete 6.5-284 F-Open Competition Rifle package includes a Leupold VX-6 7-42x56mm rifle scope. The base weight of the F-Open MRCS chassis (by itself) is 6.25 pounds and it can be weight-adjusted as desired by the shooter. The SABER F-Open Competition Series MRCS will be available in popular Cerakote finishes as well as hard-anodized colors. “We wanted to build a solid F-Open rifle that a shooter could take right into competition and be competitive”, says Matthew Peterson, Ashbury’s Product Development Coordinator.
Ashbury will showcase its new SABER F-Open competition rifle (chambered in 6.5-284 Winchester) at SHOT Show Booth #31407. To learn more about Ashbury Precision Ordnance’s line of rifle chassis systems, precision rifles, and long range shooting accessories, visit the Ashbury Web Portal.
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As a visual treat for our Daily Bulletin readers, we went back to our Gun of the Week archives to showcase a very special rifle. This humdinger could be the prettiest prone rifle we’ve ever seen. Commissioned for Forum member Corbin S., this is one handsome rifle, built with all-premium components and a stunning Curly Maple thumbhole stock with adjustable cheekpiece. The rifle is chambered in .243 Winchester. It features a custom stainless RBRP action Nesika R action, with keycuts in the bottom instead of recoil lug. A Grünig & Elmiger trigger has been specially modified (milled and pinned) to work with the Nesika action. The barrel is a 30″ Broughton 5R Palma-contour tube, and there is another 30″ Broughton 6BR barrel that Corbin uses at shorter ranges. The trigger guard, fore-arm rail, cheek adjuster, and 4-way adjustable butt assembly are all custom metal, designed by Dan Gleason. The stock is cut from exhibition-grade fiddleback maple (from Cecil Fredi Gunstocks in Las Vegas) with a Gaboon Ebony tip wood and butt-plate spacer.
Very Accurate with Fast-Flyin’ Berger 105s
Corbin tells us the gun will put five shots into the size of a quarter at 300 yards “when he does his part.” Corbin shoots pointed Berger 105gr VLDs and 45.5 grains of H4831SC. That load runs 3180 fps. He can push it faster, but “that’s where the node was and where it shoots best”, according to Corbin.
Forum member Jim Hardy has seen (and shot against) this beautiful rifle. He reports:
“A casual observer might think that the trigger guard, cheek plate and butt plate hardware are Anschutz — as the stock takes on the Anschutz prone pattern. However, this is ALL custom metal. The G&E trigger breaks like a glass rod and will makes my BR triggers feel inferior at best. I had the pleasure of holding, shouldering, and lusting over this gun at Camp Perry last year, and it is even more impressive in person. The killer is that there is yet ANOTHER one in a beautiful, dark figured walnut owned by Corbin’s shooting partner. BTW, both guns will hammer at 1000 yards prone.”
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