Our friend Vince Bottomley has reviewed the Leupold VX-6 7-42x56mm scope for Target Shooter Magazine, a UK-based webzine. Vince put Leupold’s new 7-42X through its paces, testing its suitability for F-Class competition. Vince liked the scope. The glass was bright and the clicks were repeatable. Point of impact did not change after zooming from 7X all the way out to 42X. Finding the view “crystal-clear and sharp” at 42X, Vince concluded that “the Leupold would be very shootable at max power.”
Interestingly, the vertical elevation clicks are 1/8 MOA while the horizontal clicks are 1/4 MOA.* Vince found that a bit confusing, but “all other controls — the side-focus [parallax], zoom-ring, and European-style ocular focus-ring are spot-on and moved with a reassuringly precise feel.”
Here are some highlights from Vince Bottomley’s review:
Initial reaction? It looks right – not as chunky as a Schmidt, not long and slim like the new Nightforce, just right in fact – like the March and the new SV 10-50 Sightron. In line with the new breed of high-end optics, it sports a 34mm body-tube but, weight-wise it’s bang on the money at 26.5 oz – the same as my 8-32 Sightron and lighter than the 28 oz. Nightforce Competition 15-55.
Are odd ounces that important? Yes they are – to weight-conscious F-TR shooters, who may be attracted by this scope as an alternative to the March 10-60X – which is even lighter at a tad under 25 ounces. Putting together an effective F-TR gun is all about making compromises – pick a 10-60 March over the 15-55 Nightforce and you can add an inch to your barrel!
With just 55 MOA of elevation adjustment, the VX-6 isn’t over-generous but of course, tapered scope-rails are now readily available for most rifles if you need more MOA. Windage is adequate at 45 MOA.
In conclusion, this is a very fine long-range target scope, which should definitely appeal to serious F-Class shooters and must be considered alongside the 10-60 March and 15-55 Nightforce Competition scopes. Also, the Leupold lifetime ‘no quibble’ guarantee is the best in the business – if you can’t make up your mind, this could be the deal-maker.
*Actually, the true click values are closer to 1/8 inch and 1/4 inch (rather than 1/8 MOA and 1/4 MOA). To calibrate the true click values, Vince took a baseline shot then wound on 20 MOA “up” vertical. His second shot impacted 19.875″ higher. One MOA is 1.047 inches, so 20 MOA should have measured 20.94″ inches. So his 20 MOA was off by about 1 inch, or 5%. This variance is not unusual, and it demonstrates why you should always verify your true scope values before shooting a match.
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You can quickly access loads for Alliant powders via Alliant’s Online Reloader’s Guide. There you’ll find hundreds of recipes for rifle loads, pistol loads, and shotshell loads. While it’s handy to use the Alliant website when you have a live connection, you can also download the Alliant Reloaders’ Guide in PDF format for off-line viewing. That way you can archive the Guide on your computer, or keep the file on a mobile device for use in the field or workshop.
Alliant’s 116-page PDF Reloader’s Guide includes recipes for shotgun, pistol, and rifle. This guide includes important safety instructions, plus reloading data for most popular cartridges. The guide includes Alliant’s new Reloder 23, 26 and Power Pro powders. Most of the listed rifle loads are for Speer bullets, but there are also loads with Barnes, Berger, Hornady, Nosler and Sierra bullets.
Get FREE Print (Paper) Alliant Reloader’s Guide
You can also get a FREE PRINT VERSION of the 2015 Alliant Powder Reloader’s Guide. Just CLICK HERE and fill out your name and address. Allow 3-4 weeks for delivery.
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Not many folks are familiar with the .300 Lapua Magnum, but this big boomer is an official CIP-certified cartridge for which Vihtavuori offers load data. This necked-down version of the .338 Lapua Magnum makes one heck of a hunting cartridge. In our article on the .300 Lapua Magnum (aka 30-338 LM), you’ll find expert advice on forming the cases from .338 Lapua Magnum brass plus tips on selecting powder and bullets. The story also features some great photos of a 30-338 custom Richard Franklin built for a California client. That rifle is designed as an Elk Gun, shooting the 190gr Berger VLDs with Reloder 22 powder. The laminated stock is made from exhibition-grade Claro Crotch Walnut and Dennis Smith (aka the Stock Doctor) provided beautiful checkering and a hand-rubbed oil finish.
Ultimate Varmint Cartridge?
Franklin has also pioneered an ultra-high-velocity varmint version of the 30-338 LM. This cartidge achieves amazing 30-Cal velocities using long, very slow-twist barrels. Richard tells us: “I use 15- to 17-twist barrels with both the 300 WSM Varminter and the 30-338 Lapua Varminter. The 300 WSM easily gets 3900 fps with the Nosler 125gr Ballistic Tip and the 30-338 Lapua will do 4150 fps easily with the same 125gr B-Tip. In the 30-338 LM, the 130gr Barnes, a “ringed” bullet with grooves to reduce bearing surface, will get another 150 fps, topping out at 4300 fps. I find the 17-twist does a good job with the light bullets in the 30-338 but I’m going to try an 18-twist and a 19-twist to see if high velocity is a little more easier to obtain. I believe the 19-twist will beat any thing I’ve built to date for velocity and I also believe it’s going to be very accurate.”
The “Official” .300 Lapua Magnum
While nearly every 30-338 you see in the USA is a wildcat, manually formed by necking-down the .338 Lapua brass, there was an “official” version, the “.300 Lapua Magnum”. This was a factory 30-caliber cartridge based on the .338 Lapua Magnum parent case. Lapua produced enough factory ammo to get the .300 Lapua Magnum sanctioned as an official CIP-certified cartridge. QuickLOAD includes the .300 Lapua Magnum in its load database, and QuickDESIGN has complete CIP cartridge specifications. Unfortunately, the .300 Lapua Magnum is no longer in production. For you cartridge collectors, we’re not even sure if Lapua ever produced brass with a distinctive “300 Lapua Magnum” headstamp. However Vihtavuori does include .300 Lapua Magnum load data in the current Vihtavuori Load Manual. That reloading guide shows the .300 Lapua Magnum can drive a 220gr HPBT Sierra MatchKing at 3044 fps with a max charge of VV 24N41 powder. The .300 Lapua Magnum can push the 30-caliber 155gr Lapua Scenar at nearly 3500 fps with VV N170 powder. That’s impressive performance indeed!
Want to go big…on a budget? Then check out the new Savage Model 112 in .338 Lapua Magnum. MSRP for this new rifle is just $1177 and “street price” should be considerably lower. That’s tempting. Most factory target rifles chambered for the .338 Lapua Magnum are quite expensive (and you could easily spend four grand or more on a full custom .338 LM). The new single-shot Model 112 Magnum Target from Savage Arms provides a much more affordable platform for the powerful cartridge. (In the photo below at the bottom of this story, you can see the .338 LM compared to .308 Win and 6mmBR. The .338 LM is definitely a brute of a cartridge.)
The new rifle features a single-shot Magnum Target Action coupled to a 26″ heavy barrel fitted with a big muzzle brake. The Target AccuTrigger adjusts to a minimum pull-weight of 6 ounces. Rifle weight, without scope, is 12 pounds. The gray/brown laminated stock features a near-vertical grip with a moderate amount of drop in the buttstock. We’ve used this same-type stock on other Savages. It is comfortable and works well with a bipod. However, you may want to add a “bag-rider” in the rear for better tracking.
More .338 Lapua Options from Savage
The new Model 112 Magnum in .338 Lapua Magnum is currently offered in a right-hand, single-shot version only. If you prefer a .338 LM rifle with a magazine, Savage offers three other rifles chambered for the .338 Lapua Magnum which all feature 5-round detachable box magazines:
1. Model 110 BA, Law Enforcement Series, $2638 MSRP.
2. Model 10/110 FCP HS Precision Stock, $1726 MSRP.
3. Model 11/111 Long Range Hunter, $1380 MSRP.
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As an American firearms owner, you’re in good company. A new Columbia University Study indicates that nearly 30% of American adults own at least one gun. As you might expect, state gun ownership rates varied greatly. States with low population density showed a higher percentage of gun owners. The Top Five gun-owning states were: Alaska (61.9%), Arkansas (57.9%), Idaho (56.9%), West Virginia (54.2%), and Wyoming (53.8%). As you’d expect Montana (52.3%) and New Mexico (49.9%) were in the Top Ten, but to our surprise Texas, at 35.5%, was not. Must be those Yuppies in Austin …
Two East Coast micro-states were at the bottom of the scale, with gun ownership rates under 6%. Delaware, at 5.2%, had the lowest percentage of gun owners, followed by Rhode Island (5.8%).
The gun ownership study, published on the Injury Prevention website, showed that 29.1% of Americans over age 18 own firearms. Results were based on a web survey of a representative sample of 4000 persons from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. CLICK HERE to Read Full Study.
Gun Culture Supports Firearm Ownership
The study also tried to assess the impact of “gun culture” on gun ownership rates. Not surprisingly, where family and social group attitudes favored gun ownership, more people owned guns: “Gun ownership was 2.25 times greater among those reporting social gun culture. Exposure to social gun culture was robustly associated with gun ownership and to our knowledge, this is the first study to establish empirical evidence of the relation between social gun culture and gun ownership.” However, “we cannot infer whether exposure to social gun culture predisposes one to gun ownership or whether the latter increases likelihood of participation in the former.”
The study summarized its findings as follows: “A strong association between gun ownership and being a part of a social gun culture was observed, even after adjusting for significant covariates. The other individual covariates independently associated with gun ownership were age > 55 years, not black, male, income > $25 K, ever married/partnered and medium/high violence exposure.” Worthy of note is that the lead statistician for this project, Dr. Bindu Valesan, is a Vice-President of the Gun Violence Survivors Foundation (GVSP). She works as an Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University.
Because of Valesan’s association with the GVSP, some have challenged this study’s conclusions regarding “gun culture” and the reasons Americans own firearms. Nonetheless the findings regarding the percentage of Americans who own guns are noteworthy. These numbers show the importance of firearms to a huge segment of our society. If anything, the Columbia University Study numbers support the NRA’s claims that nearly half of American households own guns. In 2010, 39% of Americans surveyed by the Gallup Poll said they had a gun in their home. Infoplease.com states that the percentage of U.S. households with firearms: “has been fluctuating between 38% and 42% in polls taken since 2000, and has ranged between 36% and 51% since polling began in 1959.”
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Way to go Team USA! The American F-Class squad won the prestigious Creedmoor Cup competition held June 28-29 at the Midlands National Shooting Centre in Tullamore, Ireland. This is a competition with a rich history, going back to the original Challenge Match in 1874 between American and Irish Teams in Creedmoor, New York. (Read Match History)
Photo by Matthew Schwartzkopf.
Phil Kelley wrote: “I never knew when planning for this trip the wonderful history that is the Creedmoor Cup, Ireland and U.S. rifle competition, and the hunger of the Irish for freedom. It is one of many things that has made this trip so enjoyable. J.P. Craven [opened] the Creedmoor competition with John Sigler, previous President of the NRA. John had the honor of the first shot with a rifle used to help gain Irish independence. The Irish, like Americans, have a rich history that ties the rifle and independence together. It has been an honor to be part of this event, with each and every individual that is part of it.”
One episode features target shooting with an Eliseo Tube Gun.
Season 4 of the NRA All Access television series kicks off July 1st, on the Outdoor Channel. This season the popular show will feature many competitive disciplines, including 3-Gun, High Power, Vintage Rifle, Action Pistol, and Trap/Skeet. The show also includes many hunting segments. In addition, NRA All Access will feature inspirational profiles on shooters who have overcome handicaps. Watch the Season 4 Premiere Wednesday, July 1 at 7:00 pm ET on the Outdoor Channel.
If you’re hunting in California, you better start using lead-free ammo. Starting July 1, 2015, “certified” non-lead ammunition will be required when hunting on all California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) lands and for all Nelson bighorn sheep hunts anywhere in the state.
CDFW reminds hunters who plan to hunt bighorn sheep or at any CDFW wildlife area or ecological reserve to acquire nonlead ammunition. California’s bureaucrats also state: “Hunters are also encouraged to practice shooting nonlead ammunition to make sure firearms are sighted-in properly and shoot accurately with nonlead ammunition. Nonlead ammunition for some firearm calibers may be in short supply so hunters should plan accordingly.”
Why is lead-free ammo now required? Thank the California Legislature. In October 2013, Assembly Bill 711 was signed into law requiring the phase-out of lead ammunition for hunting anywhere in the state by July 1, 2019. This is the 2015 phase, which applies to CDFW lands and Bighorn sheep hunts. The restrictions will become tougher each year, with a complete ban going into effect in four years.
Photo shows Bryan Litz (on right) and tester Mitchell Fitzpatrick. Bryan said: “Only 2,445 rounds to go! We’re testing over 50 ammo types in five different twist barrels… science can be exhausting!”
Do you know the actual BC (Ballistic Coefficient) of your rimfire ammunition? Well Applied Ballisitics will soon have answers for you. Bryan Litz and his team of testers have been working on a Herculean project. They’ve been testing over fifty types of .22 LR ammo, using five different twist-rate barrels.
Do you know what the inside of a rifle chamber (and throat zone) really looks like? Do you understand the concept of headspace and why it’s important? If not, you should read the Brownells GunTech article Gauging Success – Minimum Headspace and Maximum COL. This article explains the basics of headspace and shows how to measure headspace (and length to lands) in your barrels with precision. The article also explains how to adjust your full-length sizing dies to “bump the shoulder” as needed.
Why is headspace important? The article explains: “Controlling headspace and setting proper C.O.L. also represent improved safety and reduced cost of handloading. Excessive headspace can cause case head separation and gases in excess of 60,000 PSI escaping from a rifle’s chamber. Too little headspace can result in a chamber forced bullet crimp and a bullet that becomes an obstruction more than a properly secured projectile. Excessive C.O.L. can result in a rifling-bound bullet, a condition that could result in spikes of excessive pressure.” [Editor’s NOTE: It is common for competitive benchrest shooters to seat bullets into the rifling. This can be done safely if you reduce your loads accordingly. With some bullets we often see best accuracy .010″ (or more) into the lands. However, this can generate more pressure than the same bullet seated .010″ away from initial lands contact. As with all reloading, start low and work up gradually.]
How is headspace specified? Most cartridges used within the United States are defined within ANSI/SAAMI Z299.3-4. Brownells explains: “In the case of the .243 Winchester, as an example, there are pressure specifications, cartridge drawings and, as pictured above, chamber drawings. Armed with a chamber drawing, each manufacturer producing a firearm for the .243 Winchester knows the proper standard dimension to cut chambers and set headspace. Notice there are two headspace reference dimensions for the chamber. The upper is a place in the chamber where the shoulder is .400″ in diameter; the “datum” or “basic” line. The lower is the 1.630″~1.640″ minimum – maximum dimension from the breech face (bolt face) to that point in the chamber that measures .400″.”
The actual headspace of any firearm is the distance from the breech face to the point in the chamber that is intended to prevent forward motion of a cartridge.
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The NSSF has posted a video featuring Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics. Bryan also serves as Chief Ballistician for Berger Bullets and ABM Ammo. In this short video, Bryan explains the importance of ballistics for precision shooting at long range. Bryan covers key elements — drop, wind drift, angle correction and more. And Bryan also explains the key difference between Accuracy and Precision.
Applied Ballistics has just released a fully upgraded version of its popular Tactical App for Android devices. Bryan Litz tells us: “AB Tactical has received a major overhaul (including a new Bullet Library with over 420 options). The upgrade will require that you uninstall the previous version that you have of the application and then install this new version. This is due to the complete re-write of the internal database handling.” NOTE: You need to record your gun-specific data before you install the new version. Details of the updated AB Tactical App are featured in the new 19-page USER Manual.
NOTE: This upgrade is for the Applied Ballistics Tactical Version only. There is no iPhone version of this App, and this is not the standard app that can be purchased from Google Play, or iTunes.
The new version of AB Tactical has a host of important enhancements:
Nightforce’s Sean Murphy is a member of the American F-Class Squad in Ireland for the Emerald Matches and Creedmoor Cup. This event (which kicked off with a 1100/1200-yard Long Range Match today) is being held at the Midlands National Shooting Centre in Tullamore, west of Dublin. Sean says conditions have been great so far: “[We] spent a great day practicing at the Midlands National Shooting Centre. Got rounds on target from 800 yards to 1200 yards. The weather was exceptionally nice, and quite the heatwave at 70 degrees! Thank you to James E Crofts for the .308 hammer that I’m using.”
Shooting over a peat bog… (Click to Zoom)
The 2015 Creedmoor Team Match takes place June 28th and 29th (Sunday and Monday). The USA and Ireland National Teams will compete for glory and bragging rights. The Course of Fire consists of two sighters and 15 shots for record at 800, 900 and 1000 yards each day.
The original Creedmoor Match pitted an American team vs. an Irish squad on the range at Creedmoor, New York. The match went down to the wire, with the Yanks earning a narrow victory (read more below). The next year, 1875, the Irish team challenged the American team for a repeat match, to be shot in Ireland. The contest took place at Dollymount Beach, near Dublin. According to newspaper accounts at the time, more than 40,000 people turned out to watch the 1875 match. Below are 2015 Irish and American Creedmoor competitors at Dollymount.
V-Bulls not X-Rings
In Ireland, targets have a V-Bull, instead of an X-Ring. Sean reports: “Here’s the target we are using. To put things in perspective, the center V-Bull is not much larger than a man’s fist!”
Blueball in Offaly?
The official address of the Midlands National Shooting Centre is “Derrymore, Blueball, Tullamore, County Offaly, Ireland”. Hmm, Blueball sounds kind of painful. We’ll just call it the Tullamore Range. That has a much nicer ring to it…
The Original Creedmoor Cup in 1874 — How the Americans Won
American Team Captain Gen. George Wingate recounted how the host nation’s team won the very first Creedmoor Match: “Col. Bodine was the last to shoot. He had been selected with special reference to his steadiness under excitement and nobly did he justify the confidence that had been placed in him. The Irish score was 931, the American 930. If he struck his target his team would win by one point. If he missed the match was lost. The crowd had pressed inside the ropes, and formed a long V extending for several hundred yards on each side of the firing point and leaving scarcely room enough to make it safe to shoot. All held their breath and fastened their eyes on Col. Bodine. He had been kept in ignorance of the exact condition of the scores, but he knew perfectly well that everything depended upon his shot.
Calm and imperturbable, as if engaged in ordinary practice, with blood dripping from a handkerchief in which he had tied up a cut on his hand received from a broken ginger-ale bottle a few minutes before, Col. Bodine stretched his long form out into his familiar position and taking a long, steady aim fired. Every one of the thousand pairs of eyes present were shifted from the man to the target, a little point half a mile off. Breathless silence prevailed. Then came the spat of the bullet accompanied by a roar from the crowd, ‘He’s on,’ and then came slowly into sight a large white disc which showed that a bullseye had been made and the match had been won. The disc lingered apparently lovingly upon the center of the bullseye, the most charming and welcome sight I think I ever witnessed. America had won by three points!
When the result appeared pandemonium broke loose. The sky was darkened with the hats which were thrown into the air. Men danced and thumped each other on the back and whooped and yelled and acted like crazy people. I remember I found myself standing on a chair behind Bodine waving my hat (which, however, I had sense enough to hold on to) and leading the cheering. But to this day I have not the remotest idea of how I got there from the place where I had been standing behind him watching the wind flag[.]”
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“Shoot Like a Champion”. Bryan Litz, author of Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting, says he often sees notes like this tucked in shooter’s gear (or taped to an ammo box) at matches. What “marksmanship mantras” do you use? Do you have a favorite quote that you keep in mind during competition?
On the Applied Ballistics Facebook Page, Bryan invited other shooters to post the motivating words (and little reminders) they use in competition. Here are some of the best responses:
“Shoot 10s and No One Can Catch You…” — James Crofts
“You Can’t Miss Fast Enough to Win.” — G. Smith
“Forget the last shot. Shoot what you see!” — P. Kelley
Nick Till in 2009 M1A Match. Nick was the 2007 Service Rifle Nat’l Champion. Photo courtesy NRA Blog.
The 2015 NRA National Rifle & Pistol Championships at Camp Perry, Ohio are just a couple weeks away. You can still register for one or more of the matches. Just click the orange “Register” button (below) to register online.
Many of the finest civilian and military marksmen in the United States will square off for weeks of rifle and handgun competition while vying for the NRA’s historic and prestigious trophies. From pistol, to smallbore rifle, high power rifle, and long-range high power rifle, the National Matches have something for just about everybody.
The MOA Long Range Handgun Match was held June 18-20, 2015 near Sundance, Wyoming. This three-day event features handgun shooting at 500, 750, and 1000 yards. Shooters start at 500 on the first day, and then move to 750 on Day 2, and 1000 on Day 3. Sierra Bullets Media Relations Manager Carroll Pilant joined the action this year (as he has every year since the event’s inception). Here is his report…
This year’s Solstice, considered the official start of summer, was celebrated around the world at 12:38 pm on June 21, 2015. We hope you have fun this summer with your friends and family. To help ensure those summer adventures remain safe and trouble-free, the CTD Shooters’ Log has prepared a helpful Essential Summer Survival Guide. This is worth reading before you venture away from civilization.
Here are some highlights of the article with links for MORE INFO:
First Aid Kits for Campers
You should never venture outside without a first aid kit close at hand. While exploring the outdoors, all types of accidents can occur—from cuts, scrapes, and burns to broken limbs and severe allergic reactions.
Basic Survival Skills
Basic survival skills are a necessity if you plan to spend any amount of time outdoors. These five tips, plus a how-to on what to pack in a lightweight, basic survival kit will help if you are ever stuck, lost, stranded or injured in the field.
How to Treat Burns
Fireworks, barbeques and campfires — in the summer we are frequently around fire, which increases our chance of getting burned. A first-degree burn is most likely home treatable, while a third degree burn requires immediate medical attention. Learn how to spot the differences between minor and severe burns.
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Camp Perry is coming up very soon. If your shooting jacket has seen better days… consider getting a new Monard coat. Here’s a report from our friend Shawn McKenna, a talented High Power competitor. A few years back Shawn ordered a Monard custom-fitted shooting coat. He liked Monard coats so much he decided to sell them.
By Shawn McKenna, McKenna Shooting Sports
For years and years, like most High Power shooters, I used an “off the rack” shooting jacket and thought I was happy with it. There may have been one or two adjustments the supplier would accommodate during ordering, but by and large it was like wearing a suit that you bought without the benefit of having it tailored.
I’m always looking to improve my scores, and in 2008 I set out to find a better shooting jacket. I happened across Monard during a web search and was surprised to learn that they took an astounding 19 different measurements during the fitting process. I thought, “This has to be much better than an off the rack coat.”
Left-Hand version of Savage Arms Law Enforcement 10 FCP SR Rifle
Savage likes lefties. In fact, Savage Arms now makes left-handed versions of 18 of its most popular rifles. On the Ammoland.com website, Savage Arms Marketing Director Bill Dermody talks about Savage’s commitment to left-handed shooters. Dermody says: “Whether it’s a bigger gun, faster gun or one that fulfills a specific customer need, we strive be the leader in specialty guns”. Here are highlights from the interview:
Why Southpaws Should Shoot Left-Handed Guns
Dermody: Research reports more than 10 percent of Americans are left-handed. For lefties, having a left-handed bolt gun is extremely important because it allows a fast follow-up shot. A shooter’s support hand never has to leave the forend, or their cheek leave the stock, while their trigger hand operates the bolt. Also, having the action open on the left side makes for easier loading with your left hand, and hot spent cases never fly across your face.
Savage’s Left-Handed Product Line
Dermody: [We offer] 18 left-handed rifle models. We have left-handed options available throughout our product line including big game, law enforcement, target competition and predator hunting. We also offer left-handed slug shotguns and bolt-action and semi-auto rimfire rifles. To quickly see all our left-handed options, open the Gun Finder tool on our website (savagearms.com) and select “left” in the search function.
Would you like to be a gun-writer and see your work published here on AccurateShooter.com? The International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) is looking for an Editor to assist with match reports, competitor profiles, and gear spotlights.
This person would communicate with the IBS website and AccurateShooter.com. He or she would also do some short write-ups about equipment and personalities. Also, the Editor would oversee (but not necessarily write) the “IBS Featured Matches” on the accurateshooter.com website. Monthly salary is modest and negotiable. The IBS notes: “We would prefer a person involved with benchrest competition who has some related expertise.” If you are interested, please contact Jeff Stover, IBS President, via email: jstover33 [at] comcast.net. (Replace the [at] with the @ symbol).
Here is an example of a short shooter profile story the IBS Editor might prepare:
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