March 10th, 2014
At the 2013 Western CMP Games, SGT Robert Evans attained what many shooters seek their entire shooting careers — a Distinguished Rifleman’s Badge. Evans earned his DR badge with just one hand, after losing his right hand while serving in Iraq with the U.S. Army.
CLICK HERE to Read Full Story on CMP Website
Report based on story by Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer/Editor
SGT Robert Evans: Defying the Odds, Single-Handedly
AFter joining the Army in 2003, SGT Robert Evans served two tours in Iraq, suffering a spinal injury on the first tour. On his second tour, his life changed forever. On May 31, 2007, Evans was commanding a Bradley Fighting Vehicle in Iraq. As the Bradley drove under an old Fedayeen guard shack, an IED on top of the guard shack detonated while Evans was reaching out of the turret. The blast amputated Robert’s right hand at the wrist.
Even as a young boy, Evans had always enjoyed shooting. He vowed to stay involved with the sport despite his injury: “I couldn’t give up shooting after I lost my hand. It’s always been too important to me,” he said. “No matter what is going on in my life, when the sights are aligned and the hammer is about to fall, nothing in the world matters at that second. It’s my nirvana.”
Evans worked his way back into the sport by starting in F-Class. The position allowed him to hold hard and pull the trigger, while also being able to use his optics. Then he got involved with J.J. O’Shea’s M1 for VETS Project. The project helps transition wounded combat veterans back into the world of shooting, with equipment arrangements, position training and mental preparations.
Working with the M1 for Vets group, Evans started shooting again. But there were challenges: “The first time I shot after my amputation, it was very frustrating,” he said. “I couldn’t hold still, and shooting left-handed was so foreign.” Being extremely right-eye dominant his entire life, the loss of his right hand caused him to relearn many things, including how to shoot. Learning how to reload and adjust for wind while slung up became a pain for Evans….
In 2008, after several months and rigorous hours of dry firing, Evans found himself crossing the threshold of Camp Perry — a dream he had waited to fulfill his entire life. He scored around 50 points standing, out of 100, on his first trip. Though not bad for someone with an amputation, that wasn’t enough for Evans. He wanted to become a Distinguished Rifleman.
SGT Evans during Team Match at 2013 CMP Western Games.
He began to realize his dream as he earned his first 10 points (towards Distinguished) at Camp Perry in 2012. It took him 15 months to LEG out. His next 6 points came at the 2013 Eastern Games in Camp Butner, NC, followed by 10 more points at the 2013 National Matches. There, hoping to “bronze out,” he managed to one-up himself to actually earn a silver medal.
Then came the 2013 Western Games at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, AZ. Never giving up hope and remembering his long journey from the hospital bed to the firing line, he received his final 8 points. SGT Robert Evans had become a Distinguished Rifleman.
“There was a lot of pressure, speculation and competition as to who would be the first Combat Wounded Veteran to ‘go Distinguished’ within M1 for VETS,” he said. “I’m very proud to have earned my badge, but more importantly, I hope that more wounded veterans will realize that it is within their grasp. It’s not an impossibility anymore. I hope it motivates everybody to train a little harder and hold a bit tighter – not just wounded veterans. If I can do it, anybody can.”
Posted Courtesy of the Civilian Marksmanship Program, www.TheCMP.org
Author: Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer/Editor
Commentary by German Salazar
Robert Evans’ inspirational effort is a fresh reminder of the value of marksmanship in creating a focused challenge and reward that can help our wounded warriors regain the confidence and motivation to succeed in all aspects of life.
Robert’s effort is very reminiscent of that of Karoly Takacs, a Hungarian pistol competitor who lost his right hand in a grenade accident in World War II. Determined to overcome the injury, Takacs taught himself to shoot left-handed after the war and earned gold medals in the 1948 and 1952 Olympic Games. Robert brings that Old World grit and determination into the modern day and into the context of our nation’s most historic and cherished award for marksmanship. Robert’s Distinguished badge will shine brightly as a beacon to those who face challenges in their lives and can find a path to renewal in the brotherhood of marksmen. We salute him for his efforts and for the inspiration he brings to us all.
Editor’s Note: Our contributor German Salazar is a Distinguished Rifleman, Distinguished Pistol Shot, Distinguished Smallbore Rifleman (NRA) and a dedicated student of shooting history. You can find many technical and shooting history articles at his RiflemansJournal.com website.
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March 8th, 2014
The nation’s top junior air-rifle shooters recently competed at the 2014 U.S. Army National Junior Air Rifle Championship hosted by the USAMU at the Pool Range Complex in Fort Benning, GA. Juniors (ages 14-18) competed for national titles in two divisions–Sporter and Precision — under the watchful eye of the USAMU’s shooter/instructors. More than $31,000 in endowment money was awarded to teams and individuals from the Georgia Youth Sport Shooting Foundation.
Ashley Durham and her JROTC teammates from Dalton McMichael High School in North Carolina, brought home the Sporter Division title. Durham led the way, adding the Sporter Division individual championship to her collection of trophies. David Sink, from Columbia, Md., took home top honors in the Precision Division while he and his teammates from Queen Anne’s 4-H won the Precision national team championship.
Taking time out from training for the upcoming competition season, USAMU soldiers from the International Rifle section provided instruction and mentorship for the competitors. “I shot this very competition when I was a junior,” said Sgt. 1st Class Hank Gray. “It was hosted by the [National] Guard back then. It’s rewarding to go from a competitor to host and do the same thing for the future generation of shooters.”
Competitors and USAMU instructors
Attendees said that the professionalism of the USAMU is what stood out the most at this year’s event. “Being here has been very uplifting,” said retired Air Force Master Sgt. Scott Davis, who brought the McMichael High team to the match. “The USAMU made it more than just a fun match — they provided a learning environment. They were the first to step in and show the kids how to do something[.]“
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March 6th, 2014
Here’s a handy training option for F-Class shooters. Forum member SleepyGator is an F-Class competitor, but it’s not convenient for him to shoot at long ranges close to home. Accordingly, he wanted some “reduced-distance” targets he could use at 300 yards for practice. There is an official reduced-distanced standard for 300-yard F-Class matches. This utilizes the NRA No. MR-63FC – F-Class Target Center which is pasted over the MR-63 target. It provides a 1.42″ X-Ring, 2.85″ 10-Ring, and 5.85″ Nine-Ring. (The dimensions of F-Class targets are found in the NRA High Power Rules, Sec. 22, part 4, page 70 — see sample below.)
CLICK HERE to Download F-Class 300-yard Target Centers (.Zip archive with three targets)
To duplicate the 300-yard target, SleepyGator has prepared a printable version of the MR-63FC Target Center, along with a pair of training targets with two bulls and five bulls. The two-bull and five-bull targets mirror the scoring rings on the MR-63FC, but they display only the innermost three rings and two rings respectively. All three targets are Adobe Acrobat files that can be easily printed. You may need to adjust the scale (sizing) on your printer to get the dimensions exactly correct. As noted above, when printed, the 10-Ring on all three targets should measure 2.85″. This should provide some handy practice targets you can use between matches. Thanks to SleepyGator for providing these targets. You can download all three as a .Zip archive. After downloading the .Zip file, just click on the .Zip archive to extract the individual targets.
CLICK HERE to Download NRA High Power Rules with F-Class Target Dimensions
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February 24th, 2014
In the digital archives of Shooting Sports USA, we’ve found some great features that deserve a second look. A few years back, Shooting Sports USA published Sights, Wind and Mirage, an outstanding article that explains how to judge wind speed/direction and adjust your sights accordingly. Authored by highly respected shooter Ernest (Ernie) Vande Zande, this article is a definite “must-read” for all competitive rifle shooters — even those who shoot with a scope rather than irons. Vande Zande’s discussion of mirage alone makes the article well worth reading. Highly recommended.
CLICK HERE to Read “Sights, Wind and Mirage”
by Ernie Vande Zande
Invaluable Insights from a World-Class Shooter
The article covers a wide variety of topics including Wind Reading, Mirage, Effects of Sight Canting, Quadrant Shooting, and Sight Adjustment Sequencing. Vande Zande offers many jewels of insight from his decades of experience shooting and coaching in top level tournaments. U.S. Shooting Team Leader at the 1996 Olympics, Vande Zande has set more than 200 records in National and International competition. He was the Smallbore Rifle Prone Champion at Camp Perry in 1980. An International Distinguished shooter, Ernie has been on nine Dewar teams and he was a member of the USAR Shooting Team from 1982. No matter what your discipline, if you are a competitive rifle shooter, you should CLICK HERE to read Sights, Wind, and Mirage.
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February 23rd, 2014
Larry Bartholome (aka “LBart” on our Forum) is the current F-Open USA National Champion. He also won the F-Open division at the recent Berger Southwest Nationals. A “Senior Citizen” now, Larry is still at the top of the F-Class game. If you were to pick the top ten F-Open shooters on the planet, Larry would be on the short list, that’s for sure.
In a recent AccurateShooter Forum thread, there was a discussion of caliber/cartridge choice for F-Open shooting — specifically whether 6mm cartridges can be competitive at long-range (as opposed to mid-range).
Larry, who currently shoots a 7mm-270 WSM, offered some wise words. Here’s some sage advice from Larry, a champion who has triumphed at the highest level, against the toughest competition. F-Class competitors will benefit from reading what Larry has to say, and taking it to heart:
Cartridge Choice for F-Class — What Really Matters
Matches are won with what people decide to shoot. The people win matches, not the calibers. A person makes his decision on what he is going to shoot with and [that person] wins or loses based on the decision.
The smaller cases and bore sizes have advantages in less recoil and more inherent accuracy. They are easier to shoot well. Because they shoot smaller groups on average they make the 10 ring seem bigger. With light winds that helps.
When the wind gets to changing and picking up this advantage is negated by the wind drift advantages of the larger calibers. Once the switches and velocity changes get beyond the mind’s ability to stay up with them, the small caliber advantage is minuscule.
My own thought is I need all the help I can get. I know I can’t read the wind. I play the percentages. [My 7mm offers] good grouping, good wind drift, lower recoil than the 30s. My 7mm/270 WSM was shooting very well in Phoenix, just as the other Bartlein barrels shot well in Raton. The points lost were mine, not the rifle’s or the caliber.
When the wind flags and mirage are telling you to hold left and your bullets are going left, no caliber in the world will help you. You are the one steering those bullets.
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February 21st, 2014
Most F-TR rifles are essentially prone rifles adapted for use with bipod and rear bags. They feature prone or tactical-style stocks designed to allow a firm grip on the gun, with cheek, hand, and shoulder contact. This has worked very well. Unquestionably, a skilled F-TR shooter can achieve outstanding scores with such a configuration — it works. However, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat”.
At the Berger Southwest Nationals, Eric Stecker introduced a new type of rifle, and a new type of gun-handling, to the F-TR ranks. Shooting “free-recoil” style* (i.e. with virtually no contact on his rifle) Eric managed to finished second overall in F-TR (with the highest X-count), beating some past national champions in the process. Thinking “outside the box” worked for Stecker in Phoenix. The success of Eric’s benchrest-style rifle and shooting technique definitely drew the attention of other F-TR shooters.
Click photo to zoom
Eric’s F-TR rig was built by John Pierce using a stiff, light Scoville carbon-fiber stock. The stock is so light that Eric’s rifle came in 1.5 pounds under the F-TR maximum weight limit (8.25kg or 18.18 pounds). The gun features a Pierce action, Bartlein barrel, Jewell trigger, and a Gen 1 Nightforce 15-55X52mm Comp scope. From the get-go, Eric’s strategy was to “aim small” and shoot his rig like a bench-gun. He actually focused on shooting really small groups rather that just trying to keep shots within scoring rings and “hold waterline”. With a .308 Win that could shoot bugholes at 100 yards, this strategy paid off.
Rifle builder John Pierce explains the thinking behind this rifle: “The stock choice was mine — I had built two prototype rifles last year based on the premise that the game is Benchrest in the prone position. I still feel very strongly regarding [this concept]. I chose Bob Scoville for obvious reasons — he is an artisan and his stocks have won so much, they just flat work. We built Eric the latest configuration along these lines, and the tool worked for him. Without a doubt, Eric is a shooter, and we were all pleased to watch him perform so well.”
Eric sets up rifle before match. During live fire his hands do not contact the stock.
Eric employed a benchrest-style shooting technique with his F-TR rig — he shot pretty much free recoil, with no cheek pressure, no hand contact, and just a “whisper” of shoulder contact. Eric explains: “I shoot what’s called ‘free recoil’. Now the rifle is butted up against my shoulder very lightly, but no other part of my body touches the rifle except for my finger on the trigger.” Eric has even used this technique when shooting a 7mm cartridge in F-Open at other matches: “Someone suggested that this style wasn’t possible with the larger [7mm] cartridges, but I found it very successful so I continue to do it that way.”
Eric also employed an unconventional strategy — he was focused on shooting small groups (not just holding ring values): “Since I have started shooting F-Class, I treat [the target] like a benchrest target. What I mean by that is that I regard the center as my first shot, and so my objective is to create the smallest group. So, I will hold whatever… is required to end up with the bullet ending up in the center — that’s probably true of any F-Class shooter, but I guess the perspective’s a little different when you have a benchrest background.” Eric explained that “maybe I aim a little smaller than others might”, because in the benchrest game, “the slightest miss ends up costing you quite dearly”.
Click to Zoom Photo (This is not Eric Stecker’s rifle, but a “sistership” built by John Pierce.)
Eric Talks about F-TR Trends
Will other F-TR shooters build rifles suited for free-recoil-style shooting? Eric isn’t sure: “I don’t know if this type of rifle is the future of F-TR. I shoot a lot of benchrest, so putting those kinds of components into an F-TR gun made a lot of sense to me. One thing I like about F-TR is that there are a lot of different types of approaches being tried and some of them are successful. So I think it’s still pretty wide-open[.] But I think the really great part of what we found at the Southwest Nationals is that shooting [with] a benchrest-style approach certainly doesn’t hurt you. What I mean by that is … aiming small, trying to make the group as tight as possible rather than trying to hit a particular area. I actually tried to shoot tight groups — that was a focus and that worked for me — I had quite a high X-Count.” NOTE: Eric finished with 51 Xs, 14 more than F-TR Grand Agg winner Radoslaw Czupryna (37X). James Crofts had the second highest X-Count with 48 Xs.
Even Berger’s Boss did pit duty at the Berger SW Nationals.
*”Free Recoil” style shooting has its variations. Some would say “pure free recoil” would not even allow shoulder contact. Eric Stecker lightly touches the back of the stock with his shoulder.
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February 21st, 2014
The NRA of Ireland (NRAI) invites shooters to the inaugural F-Class Emerald & Ireland Long Range Challenge, to be held at the Midlands National Shooting Centre of Ireland (MNSCI), May 30 through June 1, 2014. The Long Range Challenge will be shot at 1100 and 1200 yards on May 30, followed by the Emerald match on May 31 – June 1. The Emerald will be shot at 800, 900, and 1000 yards, complete with a shoot-off for the top 10 competitors.
Register Now and Save 20% on Entry Fees
CLICK HERE for Emerald and Ireland Long Range Challenge Match ENTRY PAGE
Send in your entry by February 28, 2014 to receive a 20% discount on your entry fees. Visit the NRAI website for more information. Another great resource is the F-Class Team Ireland Facebook page.
“The Ireland Long Range Challenge will be the first international long range (1200-yard) match ever to be held in Ireland. We’re excited to christen our 1200-yard range,” says John Paul Craven, NRAI President. “The individual format of the match should make it easier for international shooters to compete. We hope to have shooters from all over the world.”
Ireland’s largest range, MNSCI features fully developed firing lines all the way back to 1200 yards. “I first shot at the Midlands range during the Creedmoor match in 2011,” says Michelle Gallagher, one of America’s ace long-range shooters. “It’s become one of my favorite places to shoot. The range is very well-maintained and winds are some of the toughest I’ve shot in. The shooters and match officials are fantastic. Their dedication, passion, and hospitality are second to none.”
Midlands National Shooting Centre of Ireland
In the year 2000, the National Rifle Association of Ireland (NRAI) was formed. One of its primary goals was to promote fullbore target shooting in Ireland. The NRAI needed a home and that home was found on the bog of Derrymore in Blueball just outside Tullamore in County Offaly. In 2000, a 400-yard range was built on the site. Three years later the 600-yard “Windmill” range, the first of its kind in modern Ireland, was also built to allow for mid-range target shooting. The site was christened the Midlands National Shooting Centre of Ireland (MNSCI) and with it the story of Irish F-Class began. No sooner had the 600-yard range been built at the MNSCI, when the NRAI formed a national F-Class league bringing together like-minded shooters from all over Ireland.
for more information. And don’t forget to like the F-Class Team Ireland Facebook page here (https://www.facebook.com/pages/F-Class-Team-Ireland/583844871629505)!
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February 19th, 2014
The 2014 National Matches Program Calendar has just been released. CLICK HERE for Calendar PDF.
The National Matches were first held in 1903, moved to Camp Perry, Ohio, in 1907 and continue to take place every summer at Camp Perry. The National Matches have become a huge, national shooting sports festival with well over 6,000 annual participants.
The National Matches include the CMP National Trophy Rifle and Pistol Matches, the Pistol and Rifle Small Arms Firing Schools, CMP Games rifle events, and the NRA National Pistol Championships, High Power Rifle Championships, Long Range High Power Championships, and Smallbore Championships. NOTE: For the next two (2) years, the Smallbore Championships will be held at the Chief Wa-Ke-De Range in Bristol, Indiana instead of Camp Perry, Ohio.
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February 17th, 2014
Online registration is officially open for the 2014 NRA National Matches. Each summer, at the NRA National Rifle & Pistol Championships, the nation’s finest civilian and military marksmen and women square off for weeks of rifle and handgun competition. From pistol, to smallbore rifle, high power rifle, and long range high power rifle (including F-Class), the national matches have something for just about every serious shooter.
As usual, the pistol, High Power, and High Power Long Range Championships will be held at Camp Perry, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie. However, for 2014 and 2015, the NRA National Smallbore Position Championships and Smallbore Prone Championships will be held at the Chief Wa-Ke-De Range in Bristol, Indiana, this year and next. The smallbore championship venue is being shifted to accommodate the 2015 World Palma Rifle Championships at Camp Perry. (The World Palma teams will arrive this summer to do a practice run for next year.)
Head on over to the Camp Perry Sign-up Page and get started on this year’s application.
NRA Also Seeks Target Pullers for Nat’l Matches — $75/day plus housing
The NRA is seeking experienced persons to pull targets during the 2014 National Fullbore Championships, August 4 – 10, 2014, at Camp Perry, Ohio. Accepted applicants will receive a $75 per day pay rate and free housing. Candidates must have 2+ years of target pulling of high-power scoring experience to apply. Interested parties should apply before the May 1, 2014 deadline using the form linked below. For more information, email comphelp @ nrahq.org.
CLICK HERE for Target Puller Job Application (PDF).
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February 17th, 2014
Gene F. (aka “TenRing” in our Forum), provides this basic intro to Groundhog matches, East-Coast style.
Groundhog Matches Are Growing in Popularity
Though Groundhog matches are very popular in many parts of the country, particularly on the east coast, I’ve found that many otherwise knowledgeable “gun guys” don’t know much about this form of competition. A few weeks ago, I ordered custom bullets from a small Midwest bullet-maker. He asked what type of competition the bullets would be used for, and I told him “groundhog shoots”. He had not heard of these. It occurs to me that perhaps many others are unfamiliar with this discipline.
Groundhog matches have grown rapidly in popularity. There are numerous clubs hosting them in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware, as well as other venues. They are usually open to the public. Most Eastern clubs have five to twenty cement benches, and overhead roofs. At this time, there is no central source for match schedules. If you’re interested in going to a groundhog match, post a query in the AccurateShooter Forum Competition Section, and you should get some info on nearby opportunities.
How Matches Are Run — Course of Fire and Scoring
Unlike NRA High Power Matches, there is no nationwide set of standard rules for Groundhog matches. Each club has their own rules, but the basics are pretty similar from club to club. Paper groundhog targets are set at multiple distances. There are normally three yardages in the match. Some clubs place targets at 100, 200, and 300 yards. Other clubs set them at 200, 300, or 400 yards. At my club in Shippensburg, PA, our targets are placed at 200, 300 and 500 meters.
The goal is to score the highest total. The paper targets have concentric scoring rings. The smallest ring is normally worth ten points while the large ring is worth five points. The course of fire varies among the various clubs. Most clubs allow unlimited sighters and five shots on the record target in a given time period. Only those five shots on the scoring rings are counted, so that with three yardages, a perfect score would be 150 points. Tie breakers may be determined by total number of dead center or “X” strikes; or, by smallest group at the farthest distance.
Types of Rifles Used at Groundhog Matches
The same benchrest rigs found at IBS and NBRSA matches can be utilized (though these will typically be put in a ‘custom’ class). Though equipment classes vary from club to club, it is common to separate the hardware into four or five classes. Typical firearm classes can include: factory rifle; deer hunter; light varmint custom (usually a limit of 17 lbs.with scope); and heavy varmint custom (weight unlimited). Some clubs allow barrel tuners, others do not. Scope selection is usually unlimited; however, some restrict hunter class rifle scopes to 20 power. Factory rifles usually cannot be altered in any way.
Good, Simple Fun Shooting — Why Groundhog Shoots Are Popular
Forum member Danny Reever explains the appeal of groundhog matches: “We don’t have a governing organization, or have to pay $50 a year membership just to compete in matches. Sure the rules vary from club to club, but you adapt. If you don’t like one club’s rules, you just don’t shoot there. It’s no big deal.
There are no National records, or Hall of Fame points — just individual range records. If you want to shoot in BIG matches (with big prizes), there is the Hickory Ground Hog Shoot among others. If competition isn’t your bag, many clubs offer mid-week fun matches that you can shoot just for fun. You shoot the same targets but with a more relaxed atmosphere with no time limits.
The best part is you don’t have to shoot perfect at every yardage. You always have a chance because in this sport it really isn’t over until the last shot is fired. Typically ALL the entry money goes to the host club, with much of the cash returned back to the shooters via prizes. Junior shooters often shoot for free, or at a reduced rate. The low entry cost also encourages young guys to get involved who don’t have $4000 custom rifles or the money to buy them.
There isn’t a sea of wind flags to shoot over or to put up and take down. If the range has a couple of flags so much the better, but after all it is a varmint match. No pits to spot shots and slow things down either. If you can’t see your hits through your rifle scope or spotting scope well you are in the same boat as everybody else. That’s what makes it interesting/ sometimes frustrating!
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February 16th, 2014
If you want to learn how to shoot accurately at very long range, one of the very best places to learn is the Williamsport 1000-Yard Benchrest School. The 7th Annual Benchrest School will be held Friday June 6 through Sunday June 8, 2014. Classes, taught by top 1K shooters, are held at the Original Pennsylvania 1000-Yard Benchrest Club Range, one of the best 1K ranges in the country. View the range on the Williamsport website, PA1000yard.com.
Prospective students will be taught all aspects of long-range benchrest shooting by highly skilled instructors. All areas are covered: load development, precision reloading, bench skills, and target analysis. Much time is spent at the loading bench and on the firing line. And you don’t even need guns and ammo — all equipment and ammunition will be provided. For $300 students will enjoy 1 night and 2 days of intensive training under the guidance of some of our top 1000-yard shooters. The sign-up deadline is June 1st. To reserve a spot or get more info, email School Director/Vice President Ryan Miller: ryanmiller @ htva.net.
School Schedule, Friday Through Sunday
On Friday night (June 6th), students will meet their mentors. Saturday (June 7th), the class moves to the range for a full day of hands-on technical training. Topics will include precision reloading, load development, gun handling, use of chronograph, analysis of shooting results, gun cleaning, and target analysis. The club will provide the rifles and all reloading components. Saturday’s training sessions are followed by a steak dinner which is included in the $300 seminar price.
On Sunday (June 8th), after an early training session covering bench set-up and match strategies, students will participate in a 1000-yard match, spending time both behind the trigger and in the pits. Instructors will explain how to read conditions, and will demonstrate target measuring and analysis after the relays. The program wraps up by 4:00 pm on Sunday.
To see what the 1K Benchrest school is like, watch the slide show/video below, produced by Sebastian Reist, an alumnus of the 2009 Williamsport 1000-yard BR school. Sebastian, a talented professional photographer, captured the highlights of his Williamsport 1K training weekend:
Story Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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February 14th, 2014
If you’ve been following the Winter Olympics in Sochi, no doubt you’ve been watching Biathlon events. This combination of Nordic-style skiing and precision shooting is hugely popular in Europe. Biathlon requires great physical fitness levels, superior marksmanship skills, and of course, a very accurate .22 LR rifle.
This video shows biathletes at previous winter Olympics. Note how the straight-pull actions allow competitors to shoot rapidly without breaking their position (at the 1:00″ mark, the shooter takes five shots in ten seconds). Target racks are located 50m from the firing line. The targets, which flip from black to white when hit, are 45mm (1.8″) in diameter for prone, and 115mm (4.5″) in diameter for standing.
Watch Olympic Biathlon Competition (Archive Footage)
Biathlon rifles are sophisticated. The top competitors use rigs with slick, straight-pull actions, integrated magazine carriers, and ergonomic stock designs that work well for both prone and standing positions. The advanced slings use “bungee cords” to allow rapid deployment from on-the-back carry position (while skiing) to the shooting position.
One of the most popular Biathlon rifles is the Anschütz model 1827F Fortner. This features a straight-pull action with a two-stage trigger typically adjusted to 550 grams (19 ounces). The sprint version of the model 1827F weighs just 3.7 kg (8.16 pounds). Remarkably, even the magazines are optimized for “high-speed, low-drag” performance: “Shortened 5-shot magazines were laterally incorporated into the stock to reduce the surface on which the wind can act. Non-slip magazine bottoms make the handling of the loading process easier. An additional magazine release lever on the side makes an even faster exchange of the magazines possible.” (Anschütz brochure).
Credit Chris Cheng, Top Shot Season 4 Champion, for finding these photos of the model 1827F Fortner on the Anschütz website.
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