December 4th, 2013
The “Top Guns” of the tactical shooting world will be heading to the PRS Finale this upcoming weekend. This event, the culmination of the 2013 Precision Rifle Series, runs December 6-8, 2013 at the K&M Precision Rifle Training facility in Florida. The PRS Finale is a unique championship-style match for the nation’s best tactical shooters, competing with bolt-guns in four divisions: Pro, Semi-pro, Military, and Law Enforcement. To learn more about the PRS, visit PrecisionRifleSeries.com. You’ll find a good article on the ModernServiceWeapons.com (MSW) website, that outlines PRS rules, spotlights PRS match venues, and lists recommended gear. READ MSW PRS Article.
Below is a great video covering the 2012 PRS Finale from start to finish. Held at the Rifles Only range in Texas last December, the 2012 event drew 55 of the nation’s top tactical shooters, who competed for glory… and thousands of dollars worth of cash and prizes. If you like the tactical game, you’ll love this professionally-edited video. Because this video is over 29 minutes long, we’ve provided a timeline so you can quickly find the highlights:
Watch PRS 2012 Championship (Click arrows icon to view full-screen version.)
Chrono Work: 2:25
Night Briefing: 3:10
Day One: 4:00+
Running Wire: 5:15
Prone Mover: 6:48
Tower Challenge: 7:12
Net Challenge: 8:43
|Tri-Level Barricade: 11:28
1/4-Miler Berzerker: 11:52
Mound Shot: 12:57
Platform Mover: 13:42
5-Target Speed Dot: 14:26
The Rat Trap: 15:00
End of Day One Brief: 16:42
|Day Two Start: 17:22
Ace Challenge: 17:30
Know Your Limits: 18:54
Non-Supported Engage: 19:25
Culverts Only: 20:25
Awards Ceremony: 23:15
Sponsor Credits: 26:50
Interviews with Competitors: 27:24
How did the PRS get started? Rich Emmons, PRS President, explains that the concept was to “accumulate ten or so matches and create a point series” that would determine “who was the best [tactical] rifle shooter in the country”. Rich says that: “It’s a points race, but it’s also a big Finale that brings the ‘best of the best’ all together in one ‘monster’ match.” The winner of the 2012 PRS Series was Wade Stuteville, who also took first in the 2012 Finale. Runner-up in the 2012 Series (with a third-place Finale finish) was Team GAP’s Chase Stroud. Jeff Badley of Team GAP finished third in the PRS 2012 Series (and second in the Finale). SEE 2012 PRS Pro Shooters Equipment List.
How to Get Started in Tactical Matches
If this fun and challenging tactical discipline appeals to you, head out to the range and get involved. Begin with local matches and develop your skill set. You don’t have to invest in $6000.00+ worth of rifle and optics. GAP’s George Gardner says you don’t need ultra-expensive gear: “The most important piece of gear is yourself. A one-minute rifle [can] win these matches every time… so you’ve got to bring it. You don’t get good overnight, so for someone trying to get into this, just shoot — you’ve got to get out there and shoot. My advice would be to get out and shoot one of these matches. It doesn’t matter how you place — just do it. You have to have a starting point. If you don’t start, you’ll never finish.”
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December 1st, 2013
Are you thinking, “Snow’s on the ground, winter’s here, I won’t be competing until spring.” Well think again — there are opportunities to compete indoors during these cold months.
The 2014 NRA National Indoor Rifle & Pistol Championships start January 1, 2014. There will be indoor matches around the country with a variety of disciplines including Air Pistol, Rimfire Pistol, Air Rifle, and Rimfire Rifles. There is even a BB gun class for Juniors. The Indoor Championships involve multiple sectional tournaments, held in a variety of states from January through mid-April. This is like a super-duper postal match. Your results are sent to the NRA where they’re compared to other shooters. Winners are determined in late May. It’s a fun way to compete with many other shooters and it’s easy to get involved. There will be nearly 300 sectionals in 2014, so you’ll probably find an event close to home. Here are dates for 2013:
Open Sectionals: 1/1 – 3/18 | Collegiate Sectionals: 1/1 – 2/12 | Junior Sectionals: 1/1 – 4/15
For more information contact these NRA staffers: Dian Bullock, (703) 267-1482 (Rifle); Ann Boyd, (703) 267-1452 (Pistol); Tori Croft, (703) 267-1473 (Collegiate).
The 50m Free Pistol is one of the events in the NRA National Indoor Championship. It takes skill — the pistol is shot one-handed, with iron sights, and the Ten-Ring is only 50mm (about 1.97″) in diameter. A competitive world-class score is 560 or better out of 600 possible points. Learn more about this challenging discipline in this USA Shooting video:
Story based on report in NRA Blog.
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November 20th, 2013
Tonight’s Episode of Shooting USA TV features the 2013 International Revolver Championship (IRC) from the Hogue Action Shooting Range located near Morro Bay, California. You can see another winning performance by Jerry Miculek. Hosted by the International Confederation of Revolver Enthusiasts (ICORE), this event draws hundreds of the world’s best wheelgunners. John Scoutten and Mike Irvine cover the action. The show airs on the Outdoor Channel at 3:30 pm and 8:30 pm Eastern Time (check local listings for other zones).
World’s Best Wheelgunners
The IRC, held May 31 through June 2, 2013, was the highlight of this year’s revolver shooting season. More than 240 of the world’s top revolver shooters negotiated their way through 12 stages of fire putting more than 70,000 rounds down range. Competition at the IRC is divided into three divisions: Classic, Iron Sights, and Open. Classic Division competitors use six shot revolvers and speed loaders, no moon clips allowed. In the Iron Sight Division, shooters are allowed up to eight rounds in the gun, with moon clips to speed reloads. Traditional iron sights are required. The Open Division includes eight-shot cylinders, moon clips, barrel porting, or compensators, and electronic optics.
VIEW 2013 IRC Results
Along with the adult classifications, the IRC features divisions for Junior shooters. The junior events are always crowd-pleasers. Some of these youngsters are definitely future champions in the making. The video below shows the 2009 IRC Junior Shoot-Off for the overall Junior Title.
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November 17th, 2013
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.
The 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.
The drawback with the Springfield is that the sight adjustments are cruder so you need to know how to favor that last bit of hold off in your sight picture to nail that pinwheel X. It also introduces bolt manipulation skill and stripper clip reloading into the rapid fire stage. Lastly, you are doing your trigger control through what is essentially a Mauser pattern military field trigger.
Next, up the degree of difficulty by removing the ability to adjust windage. This gets you to Vintage Military Rifle with WW II and earlier firearms designed to bombard enemy formations and trenches en masse; a form of warfare that predates the age of gunpowder. You’ll see all manner of as-issued rifles from all over the world here. The big favorites are the M1917 Enfield and the Swedish 6.5×55 Mauser. The British SMLE and greater Mauser families are also present as are the very accurate Russian Mosin-Nagants and Swiss K-31s. One will even see the occasional Krag come to the line.
The yellow tape means the gun was tested and passed minimum trigger pull weight. Triggers are always weighed. The match winner’s gun is inspected one more time. Honor is paramount.
Last of the four is the newcomer. The CMP used to run a 3-gun Aggregate. CMP added the As-Issued Modern Military Rifle to the series. The rule book provides for many models but the gun of guns for this phase is the 1960s Vietnam-era pencil barrel, triangle hand guard, 1:12″ twist, A1 carry handle sights, Eugene Stoner AR-15 pattern rifle. Slick side is even better. Feed it 52gr BTHPs and try your best to shoot cleans. Do not crank on the sling like a modern free-floated, lead weight-laden Service Rifle. It won’t work. You have to be even more careful with most other foreign military rifle models.
Can it shoot? You betcha! See the 97-3X rapid viewed through a spotting scope. Note the happy face from the guys in the pits. My slow prone stage was a 99-4X. Those Mattel specials can hammer.
These regional CMP Games matches are a gathering of the shooting family from far and wide. It’s a level playing field for all using essentially the same stock guns. The winner truly is the marksman who makes the fewest mistakes over the next 72 hours.
But far more important, it’s a learning experience and a connection to the kind of arms training the “well regulated” clause in the Second Amendment really envisions. As in skating, before one competes in freestyle, one must qualify in the compulsories. This is it.
The 2013 Haul:
Note: I didn’t get my fourth trinket in four gun in 2013. My SMLE – well its ammo maker (me) – made a mistake, the subject of another blog entry of its own. The fourth medal in the above photo is from a separate CMP M-1 Carbine match.
M-1 Garand – Silver Achievement
Springfield – Bronze Achievement
Vintage – none
Modern – Silver Achievement
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November 14th, 2013
The November 2013 Edition of Target Shooter Magazine is now available. The “cover boy” on this edition is Irish shooter Joe Melia, winner of the 2013 European F-Class Championships held at England’s Bisley Ranges. This month’s Target Shooter Magazine features an in-depth report on the Euro F-Class event, a review of the CZ Sporter rifle by Dick Wright, a feature on Benchrest Shooting by our friend Vince Bottomley, and a variety of other interesting articles.
Download in PDF or iPad Formats
Target Shooter magazine is offered at a reasonable cost of just £0.83 (about $1.33 US) per issue. Target Shooter is currently available in two digital formats: 1) Downloadable PDF file; and 2) Apple iPad eZine available from the App Store.
NOTE: Past editions (prior to July 2013) are available to download for FREE from Target Shooter’s website. GO TO Free Download Page.
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November 11th, 2013
Earlier this month, Forum Member Steven Blair won the California Long-Range Championship (F-Open Class) shooting a .300 WSM. Here Steve explains the advantages of the .300 WSM cartridge in long-range competition. Steve also discusses the learning process required to shoot the stout-recoiling .300 WSM successfully. Steve cautions: “It took me months to learn how to shoot my .300 WSM rifle well”.
The Argument for the .300 WSM as an F-Open Cartridge
by Steven Blair
There has been much interest lately regarding .300 WSM (Winchester Short Magnum) in F-Open competition. The cartridge is already well-established in 1000-yard benchrest and has been used successfully in F-Open, notably by Derek Rodgers to win the 2010 National Championship. Derek used, as do most .300 WSM BR shooters, a 210-grain bullet.
The .300 WSM is a modern design, short and fat with a 35° shoulder. It is a slightly rebated and beltless magnum, capable of approaching .300 Winchester Magnum performance with notably less powder. It has an excellent accuracy reputation and I’ve found it very easy to tune.
Berger introduced the outstanding .30-caliber, 230-grain Hybrid bullet in 2011. This bullet ballistically eclipses all others, caliber .30 and under. Berger rates it as G7 .380 and G1 .743. Trimmed and pointed, the B.C., estimated from elevation adjustments at 300, 600, and 1000 yards, increases to G7 .410. It is also an exceptionally accurate bullet.
The combination of these two items, .300 WSM cases and Berger 230gr Hybrid bullets, and their application to long range F-Class, is what I will discuss in this article.
.300 WSM Brass — Choices are largely limited to Norma, Winchester and Remington (Lapua, are you listening?). Since I have only used Winchester and Norma brass, I won’t discuss Remington brass, which may also be a viable choice. I found Norma brass to be exceptionally good and have seen no evidence of short life that I’ve heard elsewhere. Winchester brass can produce results equal to Norma, if first sorted, culled, and prepped. There is a significant price difference between the two brands. It is worth noting that Norma manufactures both .270 WSM and .300 WSM brass. Either can be used. Winchester makes .270 WSM, 7mm WSM, .300 WSM, and .325 WSM brass. Again, any can be used but 7mm WSM requires pushing the shoulder back. The other three have the same shoulder dimension.
Bullet Selection — My approach is to use the highest B.C. bullet available that is accurate. As mentioned above, the hands-down, .30-caliber winner is Berger’s 230gr Hybrid. My loads using 230gr Hybrids produce approximately 2865 fps from 34″ barrels. In order to equal the 1000-yard, 10 mph wind deflection, 215 Hybrids must be run at 3030 fps, a fairly stiff load. By contrast, 7mm 180gr Hybrids must start at 3100 fps, not reliably achievable in most conditions. Lapua now makes a 220gr Scenar-L that Erik Cortina has shot a fair bit and reports that it is very accurate. It has a similar profile to the Sierra 220gr MatchKing, another possible candidate, albeit with much lower B.C. than Berger’s mighty 230gr Hybrid.
Barrel Life — After 1126 and 936 rounds shot at F-Class cadence in two barrels, my best guess is at least 2000 rounds accurate barrel life. The barrels look better than any of my .284 Shehane barrels at this point.
F-Open Rig with Tuner
Steve’s .300 WSM rifle features a BAT 3-lug action (with integral recoil lug and +20 MOA rail), in a Manners F-Class stock. The barrel is a 34″, 1.25″-straight contour Krieger or Brux fitted with an Erik Cortina 1.25″-diameter tuner (shown at right — note Index Marks). Other hardware includes a Bix ‘n Andy trigger, and Nightforce 12-42x56mm NXS scope (NP-R1 reticle). Some of these components were chosen to aid tracking (given the additional recoil). The rifle weighs 21 pounds, 13.5 ounces — just under the 22-pound F-Open limit.
Accuracy and Tuning Ease — The .300 WSM tunes more easily and is more tolerant than any of the four 6mmBR barrels I’ve shot. It is the most accurate large-caliber cartridge I know. A number of 1000-yard benchrest records were set with the cartridge and my experience reinforces that. During my .300 WSM load development, several 100-yard, five-shot groups were in the “ones”, no mean feat for a rifle pushing 230 grains at nearly 3000 fps. The load tolerance window, the powder charge spread where velocity, ES and accuracy are relatively constant, is 0.8 grains in my loading. That means the same load can be fired confidently in many conditions.
Exterior Ballistics — The extent to which the big bullet reduces wind deflection and vertical movement must be experienced to appreciate. I shoot against 7mm cartridges ranging from .284 Win to 7mm WSM, no slouches among them. When they are blown into the 9 Ring, I stay in the 10 Ring. When range vertical pushes them up or down to lose a point, I see it, too, but don’t drop points. However, there is nothing magic about it. The shooter still must point the gun at the right place. The mistakes just cost less and, since F-Class is an Aggregate game, the point spread will accumulate.
Recoil — This is the big downside of the .300 WSM + 230gr Hybrid combination. My rifle weighs 2½ ounces shy of 22 pounds and still pushes me around. My early testing was done with a load that produced 2950 fps. I still cannot shoot it well. The load is very accurate but I cannot manage the recoil consistently. At 2865 fps, it is manageable but always requires careful attention to body position, shoulder pressure, front rest setup, rear bag characteristics and other ergonomic factors. I have learned that shooting a rig with this much recoil places more emphasis on the factors our sling brothers and sisters have managed for many years. It took me months to learn how to shoot the rifle well. I fired over 1000 rounds before I began to feel comfortable. Persist, the results are worth it.
Summary — If you are willing to put the effort into learning how to shoot the cartridge and have a reasonable recoil tolerance, the investment will pay dividends. My scores have increased and become more consistent. My confidence in the rifle has also increased, no small matter in a game with many mental aspects. Be prepared for what could be a long learning curve. If all that sounds like too much, one of the 7mm cartridges is pretty close and certainly competitive in the right hands. My choice, given all the factors listed above, is .300 WSM.
Left to Right: RCBS Chargemaster, Hoover meplat trimmer, Omega trickler, Sartorius GD-503 scale.
Steven Blair has competed in F-Class competition since December of 2010 and F-Open since November of 2011. He placed fifth in the F-Class National Championship this year and is the two-time winner of both the California Long Range F-Class Championship and Twentynine Palms Long Range Regional. Steve shoots on Team Lapua.
Steve says the .300 WSM may offer an advantage at long range: “The weekend of 2-3 November, I won my second straight California Long Range F-Class Championship. Last year, my .284 Shehane performed well against strong competition. This year, the .300 WSM provided a ballistic edge that certainly gained a few additional points. My final 991-50X was at least partly due to the excellent ballistics and accuracy the big cartridge provided.”
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November 8th, 2013
Credit Des Parr for providing match details found in this report.
The 2013 European F-Class Championships are now history. Congratulations to new F-Open Euro Champion Joe Melia of Ireland, and new F-TR Euro Champion Paul Eggerman of Germany. Held at the Bisley Ranges in England, the European Championships drew top shooters from all over the Continent, plus the U.K. and Ireland. Following the individual competitions, national teams competed, and Great Britain emerged the big winner. British teams won gold in F-Open, F-TR, and the Rutland Cup. Hail Britannia!
On the GB F-Class Association website, Des Parr authored a great day-by-day account of the Euro Championships. Des writes: “The 2013 European Championships had a little of everything to keep everyone happy — some very light winds to please the trigger pullers, some very strong winds to please the wind-readers and only a little rain to please everyone! Friday was notable for having remarkably calm and steady wind. This enabled everyone to really see what their rifles were capable of in near to ideal conditions. The result was predictable; some very high scores.”
In F-Open division, senior Irishman Joe Melia shot 457.39 to capture the title. Des Parr notes: “Joe got a rousing cheer from all his fellow competitors, indicative of his good standing. In second, it was another medal for Ireland, this time the fiercely competitive Anthony Dunne used all his experience to rack up 453.38. In third place was the new GB Captain from Wales, David Lloyd with 452.33.”
In F-TR, the Germany’s Paul Eggemann shot a superb score of 447.35 to win the individual title, ten points ahead of his nearest rival. Ukraine’s Sergei Baranov took second with 437.22, while his countryman Sergei Gorban finished third with 436.26.
Links to Full European F-Class Championship Results
F-Open Championships Results | F-TR Championships Results | Team Championships Results
8-Man Event — Top place went to Team GB with 1084.58. Second place was taken by Italy with 1035.46 and in third was BDMP Germany with 1021.32. In F-TR, first place went to Team GB with 1007.32, with Team Italy second (987.31), and Ukraine third (978.26).
4-Man Rutland — There were ten, 4-man teams in the Rutland Competition. In F-Open, Winning Team GB was steered to victory by captain Peter Hobson with a super 524.19. France Open 1 took second with 522.17, while the Europe Open team was third with 497.22.
Irish Teams won silver and bronze in the 4-man Rutland Match at the European Championships.
In related news, Forum member Gary Costello from the U.K. won the GB/Euro National League title for 2013 with a total of 71 points. This multi-match title is based on the best of four (4) League Championship Competitions throughout the year. Gary explains: “We have eight shoots in total, this championship is open to GB F-Class Association members and includes shooters from France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain, Ukraine and several other countries. Most of these countries have maximum 300 yards to shoot so the UK is the closest place to compete in long-range competitions. That’s a bit amazing considering the size of the UK to Germany for example.”
Photos courtesy F-TR Ireland and Gary Costello.
Gary used a 300 WSM built by Gunsmith Peter Walker, with a Nesika L action, Benchmark barrel, and a March 8-80x56mm scope. Gary told us that it took some time to master the 300 WSM, which has more recoil than a .284 Win, but in the end, Gary’s choice of caliber helped carry him to victory over a long season of hard-fought competition. Finishing second in League standings was Mark Daish with 70 points, while Des Parr took third place with 64 points. (Point totals based on best four matches.) Complete 2013 GB F-Class League Results are available on the GB F-Class Association website.
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November 7th, 2013
The National Rifle Association celebrates its 142nd birthday this month. First chartered in New York state in November, 1871, the NRA was originally created to train citizens in marksmanship. Here’s an interesting account of the history of the NRA in the late 18th and early 20th century:
How the NRA Got Started in the 1870s
Dismayed by the lack of marksmanship shown by their troops, Union veterans Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate formed the National Rifle Association in 1871. The primary goal of the association would be to “promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis,” according to a magazine editorial written by Church.
After being granted a charter by the state of New York on November 17, 1871, the NRA was founded. Civil War Gen. Ambrose Burnside, who was also the former governor of Rhode Island and a U.S. Senator, became the fledgling NRA’s first president.
An important facet of the NRA’s creation was the development of a practice ground. In 1872, with financial help from New York state, a site on Long Island, the Creed Farm, was purchased for the purpose of building a rifle range. Named Creedmoor, the range opened a year later, and it was there that the first annual matches were held.
Political opposition to the promotion of marksmanship in New York forced the NRA to find a new home for its range. In 1892, Creedmoor was deeded back to the state and NRA’s matches moved to Sea Girt, New Jersey.
The NRA’s interest in promoting the shooting sports among America’s youth began in 1903 when NRA Secretary Albert S. Jones urged the establishment of rifle clubs at all major colleges, universities and military academies. In February 1903, an amendment to the War Department Appropriations Bill established the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice (NBPRP). This government advisory board became the predecessor to today’s Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety, Inc. that now governs the CMP. The 1903 legislation also established the National Matches, commissioned the National Trophy and provided funding to support the Matches. By 1906, NRA’s youth program was in full swing with more than 200 boys competing in matches at Sea Girt that summer.
Camp Perry Site Acquired in 1906
Due to the overwhelming growth of NRA’s shooting programs, a new range was needed. Gen. Ammon B. Crichfield, Adjutant General of Ohio, had begun construction of a new shooting facility on the shores of Lake Erie, 45 miles east of Toledo, Ohio. The original land for Camp Perry was purchased in 1906, and the reservation was named after Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, the American naval commander who won the Battle of Put-in-Bay during the War of 1812.
On August 19, 1907, Cpl. L. B. Jarrett fired the first shot at the new Camp Perry Training Site. And that year, 1907, Camp Perry held its first National Pistol and Rifle Championship events. This location has hosted the annual NRA National Matches ever since. Today, over 4,000 competitors attend the National Matches, making it the most popular shooting competition in the western hemisphere.
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November 6th, 2013
With the price of reloading components rising and .22 LR rimfire ammo being difficult to obtain, more shooters are looking at air rifles for training and competition. With air rifles, the propellant is free, and pellets are cheap and readily available from local stores or web vendors such as Pyramyd Air.
UPDATE: The 2013 Extreme Benchrest Event is being held November 8-10 at the Quail Creek Gun Club. Friday the 9th was an open shooting day. The actual competition starts Saturday November 10th. You can still show up and compete if you register before 10 a.m. on Saturday. A variety of matches (benchrest, field target, silhouette, and pistol) will be held over the weekend.
The video below shows a very popular air rifle match — the Extreme Benchrest Event held at the Quail Creek Gun Club, in Green Valley, Arizona (south of Tucson). Many types of shooting took place over a full weekend. A 25m benchrest match was followed by the popular steel silhouette speed match (shot from the bench). Both indoor and outdoor pistol matches were held. There was even a “Extreme” Benchrest match, with bullseye targets placed at 75 yards (that offered plenty of challenge). This is very nicely made video, well worth watching. Enjoy!
GREAT Video of Extreme Benchrest AirGun Event In Arizona
Though you won’t experience the recoil, blast, and noise of centerfire shooting, air rifle shooting still offers the challenge of hitting the target, just like any other shooting sport. With an air rifle you save money and there are fewer regulations (no FFL is required for an air rifle purchase). Modern air rifles can be very accurate. The top-of-the-line air rifles are not kids toys — these are sophisticated, finely-machined systems capable of surprising accuracy. And you won’t lack for competition opportunities. Around the country there are air rifle matches for both position shooters and benchrest competitors.
Video Find by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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November 6th, 2013
Imagine if thousands of junior shooters, from all around the country, could somehow compete in one giant, mega-match hosted at hundreds of different locations, with the scores all tallied together? Juniors in Maine could compete with young marksmen in Montana, or Florida (or any of the other 50 states). Sound like a pipe dream? Well such a program really exists. It’s called the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Postal Match, a 10-meter, three-position air rifle competition.
The CMP Postal Match allows juniors from all 50 states to compete from the convenience of their home ranges. The top shooters later compete shoulder-to-shoulder at regional and national matches. The CMP Postal Match is open to all junior programs, including all JROTC, 4-H, Boy Scouts and junior clubs. Participants must be school age (not yet graduated from high school), and all team participants must be from the same school or club.
Here’s How the CMP Postal Match Works:
- Shooters must register with the CMP before January 24, 2014.
- Registered shooters will receive official CMP targets by mail ($5.00 per shooter).
- Targets must be mailed back to CMP for scoring, to be received no later than 2/4/2013.
- Postal scores can be viewed through CMP’s Competition Tracker system.
- The top Postal Match shooters will qualify for CMP Regional Championships, to be held at Camp Perry (OH), Anniston (AL), and Layton (UT) in 2014.
CMP Postal Match INFO | Postal Match Registration Instructions | National 3-P Air Rifle Rules
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November 5th, 2013
Newly-crowned World Champion Charles Huckeba of Texas was the top individual shooter at the 2013 World Benchrest Championships (WBC) held near Sydney Australia in October. In this video, WBC Two-Gun Overall winner Charles shoots a 1/8th MOA group at 200 yards — “a little bitty dot” as a fellow Team USA shooter observes. That’s impressive. If you can describe Huckeba’s style in a nutshell it would be “smooth, consistent, and rapid but not hurried”.
Charles also employed some unusual hardware. In the video, take a close look at the joystick on the Farley Coaxial front rest. There’s no knob at the end. In its place is a small, wood ammo caddy. Charles removed the standard knob from the handle of his Farley rest and replaced it with a home-made wood block that holds cartridges for the record target. The 10.5-lb Light Varmint rifle is chambered in 6PPC with a BAT Machine Action and a composite wood and carbon-fiber stock.
Watch Charles Huckeba Shoot 1/8 MOA, 200-yard group at World Benchrest Championships
Here is the actual 200-yard, 5-shot group Charles shot in the video. Photo (by Stuart Elliot) taken through the lens of Huckeba’s 50X March scope (reticle has 1/16th MOA Dot).
Analyzing the Fine Points — What Makes Huckeba So Good
Short-range benchrest shooter Boyd Allen saw some interesting things in Huckeba’s WBC performance, as captured on video. Boyd noticed Huckeba’s smooth gun-handling and efficient loading. But Boyd also spied some interesting equipment, including an innovative joystick “handle-caddy”.
1. Low Friction Bags — When Huckeba slid his rifle, there was very little apparent friction. The front bag features the new 3M material (ScotchLite) on the sliding surfaces. The rear Protektor bag has ears of the same low-friction material.
2. Pause Before Chambering — While he was watching the flags and deciding when to start firing, Charles kept his first round in the action, but out of the barrel’s chamber, probably so as not to heat the cartridge and change the round’s point of impact.
3. Ammo Caddy on Joystick Arm – Charles shoots a Right Bolt/Left Port action, so he pulls his rounds with his left hand. Note that Huckeba’s record rounds rest in a small, wood ammo caddy attached to the end of the joystick shaft. Look carefully, you’ll see the wood ammo block in place of the normal black ball at the end of the joystick. That allows Charles to pull shots with the absolute minimum of hand movement. Ingenious! Huckeba is very fast, with a great economy of motion. I believe that because his ammo was literally at hand, Charles was better able to keep his focus on aiming and the flags.
4. Smooth-Cycling BAT Action — Note how smoothly Huckeba’s action operates. When Charles lifts the bolt handle (to extract a round and cock the firing pin), this does not disturb the rifle. Likewise, as he closes the bolt, the gun doesn’t wobble. The smooth action allows Charles to hold point of aim even when shooting relatively quickly. Huckeba’s BAT action is chrome-moly steel. Some shooters believe this metal makes for a smoother action than stainless steel or aluminum.
5. Long-Wheelbase Stock — The wood and carbon fiber stock is light, long, and stiff. Yet, importantly, the stock is also well-damped. The longer-than-average stock length (with extended forearm) seems to help the gun track well without jumping or rocking. The longer forearm allows a longer “wheelbase”, effectively shifting the weight distribution rearward (less weight on the front, more weight on the rear). This places a greater share of the gun’s weight on the rear bag, as compared to a more conventional benchrest stock. Huckeba’s stock, built by Bob Scoville, is at the cutting edge of short-range benchrest design. Its light-weight balsa wood and carbon fiber construction provides a combination of stiffness and vibration damping that allows its relatively long fore-end to be fully utilized to increase the weight on the rear bag (always an issue with 10.5-pound rifles).
Video find by Boyd Allen. Video by Stuart Elliot of BRT Shooters Supply, Brisbane, Australia.
To learn more about this benchrest stock design, read the comments by stock-builder Bob Scoville in our PPC with Pedigree story in our Gun of the Week Archives. Bob observed:
“There is a lot more to the structure of the stocks than meets the eye. The carbon fiber skin with which I cover the stocks creates a light, tough exterior surface. However, this contributes very little to the overall performance of the stocks. The real strength and stiffness is the result of an internal beam utilizing balsa core/carbon fiber technology.
This type construction can be found in aircraft, race cars, powerboats, and sailboats. It is interesting to note, balsa has the highest strength to weight ratio of all woods and carbon fiber is one of the lowest stretch (modulus of elasticity) relative to weight of all materials. The marriage of these two materials is common in the high-performance world. Additionally, balsa is used commercially for vibration dampening and sound reduction.”
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November 2nd, 2013
By popular request, this story has been reprinted from 2011.
Forum member Al Nyhus is a top-level score shooter who has competed successfully with the 30BR cartridge in VFS (Varmint for Score) matches. Al has been working on an “improved” 30 BR cartridge that delivers extra velocity. Al’s 30 BRX cartridge is inspired by the 6mm BRX cartridge, popular in 600-yard benchrest and across-the-course competition. The 6mm BRX cartridge maintains the same sidewall profile and shoulder angle as the parent 6mmBR case. Likewise, the 30 BRX retains the 30° shoulder used on the popular 30 BR cartridge.
Al reports: “Thought you might like to see what I’ll be working with in my VFS gun this season. It’s a true 30 BRX — a 30 BR with the shoulder moved forward 0.100″ with the standard BR shoulder angle. Stan Ware of SGR Custom Rifles built one last season for Steve Grosvenor and I was really impressed by the performance of Steve’s gun. The 30 BR barrel on my VFS gun needed replacing, so the new 30 BRX got the nod.”
30 BRX Delivers 150-200 FPS More Velocity than 30 BR
Al’s testing shows the 30 BRX gives a solid 150-200 fps speed gain over the 30 BR at the top, while needing just 2.5-3.0 more grains of Hodgdon H4198 to do so. A 30 BR case holds on average 40.8 grains of water, while the 30 BRX holds 42.3 grains (roughly 4% more). So the 30 BRX delivers a 7% increase in velocity with a mere 4% increase in H20 capacity. That’s pretty good efficiency. [Editor's Note: Assuming 34 grains of H4198 is a typical 30BR match load, Al's increase of 2.5-3.0 grains for the 30BRX represents roughly a 7.5-8.5% increase in actual powder burned. That explains the higher velocities.]
Why did Nyhus decide to try an “improved” 30 BR? Al explains: “The 30 BRX was created to operate at a [higher] velocity level than can be achieved with the standard 30BR case, while at the same time keeping the easy-tuning characteristics of the standard 30BR case. We also wanted to use the same powders currently used with the 30BR and maintain similar operating pressures.” Is the 30BRX harder to shoot because of the increased velocity? Al doesn’t think so: “In a 13.5-lb HV gun, the 30 BRX case is a pleasure to shoot with just a flea bite of recoil.”
Will the 30 BRX Replace the 30 BR in Score Competition?
The 30 BR is already an exceptionally accurate cartridge that dominates short-range Benchrest for Score competition. Will the 30 BRX make the standard 30 BR obsolete? Nyhus doesn’t think so. However, Al believes the 30 BRX offers a small but important edge in some situations: “On any given day, it’s the shooter that hits the flags best and makes the fewest mistakes that ends up on top. No amount of velocity will save you when you press the trigger at the wrong time. Missing a switch or angle change at 200 yards that results in 3/4″ of bullet displacement on the target can’t be compensated for with another 200 fps. That’s the hard fact of benchrest shooting. But on those days when, as Randy Robinett says, ‘our brains are working’, the BRX may offer enough of an advantage to turn a close-but-no-cigar 10 into an ‘X’ at 200 yards. Or turn a just-over-the-line 9 into a beggar 10.” Given the fierce competition in Score matches, an extra 10 or another X can make the difference between a podium finish and also-ran status.
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