January 27th, 2015

Making the Mile Shot — The Stottlemyer Family Quest

Many of us dream about taking (and making) a one-mile shot someday. To accomplish this feat, you need a very accurate rifle, ultra-consistent ammo, good logistics, and, of course, the proper location. In their quest to make the mile shot, Kerry Stottlemyer and his uncle Ron headed to the California desert. There they would attempt to “reach out and touch” a target 1760 yards distant. Here is their story….

Shooting at a Mile with a .300 Win Mag (from Sierra Bullets Blog)
My uncle, Ron Stottlemyer, was serious about this trip and this mile shot. He was sparing no expense and assured me that everything would be ready in December to make this shot, the only thing left to risk was the weather. The area we were planning on has some unpredictable winds, but in December it’s pretty calm so we hoped for the best.

After a year of planing, my uncle arrived at the airport with his Remington Sendero in tow, a .300 Win Mag with a Leupold Mk4 LR scope on it. We went to my place to tear down the rifle, thread the barrel and install the muzzle brake I made for him. We worked hard to bed the scope base and remount and bore sight the scope before the weekend.

Remington Sendero
The rifle: a Remington Sendero in .300 Win Mag with a Leupold Mk4 8.5-24X LR TRM scope, on Talley rings and a badger base. I threaded the barrel and installed the brake that we designed and I made, bedded the action, and bedded the scope base. Bore sighted it, reassembled it and tested everything for function and safety. The powder, primers, brass and bullets (220 gr HPBT Sierra MatchKings #2240) were all purchased online.

With everything packed, we headed out to the California desert to some Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land that would give us enough room to safely stretch the Sendero’s legs (see the photo below). Friday was spent reloading a few rounds at a time to get his scope zeroed, then on to working up loads for the next day’s attempt at 1760 yards (1 mile) (See Photo below).

mile shot sierra bullets
Photo shows the camp from the target, GPS-located 1.00 miles away. That’s 1760 yards.

Saturday morning arrived and it was time to make breakfast and coffee. Mountain man breakfast in a dutch oven cooked over a camp fire. Bacon, sausage, potatoes, green peepers, onions, eggs, and cheese. Better then any breakfast made at home.

I set up my spotting scope get it dialed in and could immediately see that the wind was going to be an issue. My uncle got the rifle up on the bench, got the bags positioned, dialed the magnification all the way up to 25X on the scope and asked me for the come-ups. I told him to come up 150 clicks and give me two mils right windage.

Walking in the Shots at One Mile
He got set while I watched the wind see it settle into a rhythm and say “send it.” He let one fly and it landed about ten feet left and about 100 yards short. I scratched my head, the wind was doing something funny. I said, “Give me two more mil elevation and another mil right windage.” He let another one fly and this time the bullet struck within feet of the target. Ok, we were getting there – a little more windage and 1/4 mil more elevation. He let another one fly but said he pulled that one.

We battled the wind for the next seventeen shots, getting within a few feet of the target each time. Turned out where the bullet was at its highest point of its path is where the worst of the wind was. He let go of the 19th shot and put that one right at the base of the target! Then he said, “I got this one.” (Meaning he needed no more corrections from me.)

The 20th shot (at a range that the .300 Win Mag has one hell of a time hitting) nailed the target just low and left of center! He did it! He nailed it at one mile with loads I built that day!

To say he jumped for joy is an understatement. He pushed that round further then anyone would have any good excuse to do so. Most would not attempt a shot like that without stepping up to the .338 Lapua, but no, he had it in his head he was going to do it, and he did.

Kerry Stottlemyer Reloading
Kerry Stottlemyer loading up the 220 gr boat tail Sierra MatchKings.

Sierra Bullets Blog Mile Shot Stottlemyer

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January 19th, 2015

F-TR Top Guns Share Their Secrets

F-TR Stan Pate SavageOver the past few years, interest in F-Class competition has grown dramatically. SHOT Show opens tomorrow, so we thought we’d reprise an interesting interview captured two years back. At the 2013 SHOT Show we had a chance to talk about F-TR competition with U.S. National F-TR Team members Mike Miller and Stan Pate, two of America’s top F-TR shooters. We are reprising this interview for readers who may have missed it the first time around. If you shoot F-TR (even if you’re a High Master), we think you’ll learn a few things from this interview.

In this interview, Mike and Stan agreed to share their vast store of knowledge about long-range shooting. In a wide-ranging dialog, we discussed many topics of interest to F-Class shooters: position set-up, bipod shooting techniques (and hardware), gun-handling, and bullet selection. In addition, Mike and Stan offer some great advice on wind reading and precision reloading. These general tips will benefit all competitors, no matter what their discipline.

Mike Miller Stan Pate F-TR F-T/R

If you shoot F-TR or you are considering getting involved in this fast-growing shooting sport, definitely watch this 14-minute video interview from start to finish. Mike and Stan are true F-TR gurus whose knowledge of the F-TR game has been gleaned from years of top-level competition. If you shoot a .308 from a bipod, we guarantee you can learn much from Mike and Stan. If you follow their advice, we bet you’ll see your scores improve in future matches.

Watch Video for Tips from U.S. National F-TR Team Members Mike Miller and Stan Pate

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January 11th, 2015

EZ2C Shooting Targets — High-Viz, High Quality

High-contrast targets make aiming (and seeing your bullet impacts) easier. EZ2C Targets, a family business in Pennsylvania, has developed a series of very bright, high-contrast targets printed with eye-popping fluorescent red/orange and Deep Black Inks. These are available from the EZ2C online store. A set of forty (40) 11″x17″ targets printed on quality bright white paper costs $7.50. A wide variety of designs are available: Bulleyes, Grids, Silhouettes, and Diamonds as well as many specialty targets.

EZ2C’s Battleship Target (Style 22) would be great for precision rifles at 100 or 200 yards. The red circles are about 3/4″ in diameter. That’s 0.36 MOA at 200 yards. That’s a good test for an accurate rifle (and for any shooting pals who boast that their guns can shoot “1/4 MOA all day long”.)

EZ2C Target

Here are four other Fun Targets. EZ2C’s lastest design is new Tic-Tac-Toe Target. This would be a great precision rifle target at 100 yards, if you tried to hit the actual printed Xs and Os (not just the boxes). You could shoot this with a buddy — one guy shoots Red-zone Xs while the other shoots White-zone Os. The Dartboard target is also great for a two-man shooting competition. The pistol diagnosis target (lower right) shows how to correct your aim and hold, based on where your errant shots fall.

EZ2C Sample Fun Targets:

EZ2C Target EZ2C Target
EZ2C Target EZ2C Target

Get Customized Targets for Your Club or Business
EZ2C targets can be customized with the name/logo of your gun club or business. This is an excellent way to promote your organization or store. Here’s a suggestion — have your gun club print up customized targets to award as prizes at shooting matches. This video explains the custom printing options.

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January 4th, 2015

How Quick Are You? Take the Reaction-Time Test

Precision rifle shooters don’t have to hit a big-league fastball, or launch a top-fuel dragster in the blink of an eye. Nonetheless, reaction times are important in our sport — both for competitive shooters and hunters. Want to catch that prairie dog before he slips down his hole? You’ll need to be quick. Want to win at short-range benchrest? Then you’ll need to watch your windflags and respond quickly to a change. Miss a major wind-shift and you could ruin your whole weekend.

Here’s a fun test of reaction times from HumanBenchmark.com. The way it works is that, after clicking “Start”, you wait until the background color changes from red to green. The instant you see green, immediately click your mouse. The average (median) reaction time is 215 milliseconds. Hint: If you keep your finger “preloaded” in contact with your mouse button you can shave some milliseconds — but don’t “jump the gun”.

CLICK HERE for Reaction Time Test >>>>>>>>

reaction time test

Tips for Faster Times
Here are three tips to speed up your reaction times:

1) Respond to the color change (by itself), rather than wait to read the word “CLICK!” after the box shifts to green.
2) Try focusing at the corner of the box, rather than the center. This may help you react “without thinking”.
3) Have your index finger “poised and ready” over the left button–you can shave milliseconds by very slightly depressing the button before you actually click.

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January 2nd, 2015

Concentration — Matt Emmons Explains How to Stay Focused

Writing for the ELEY Bulletin, USA Olympic Gold Medalist Matt Emmons provides rock solid advice for anyone involved in competitive shooting. Matt talks about dealing with pressure, and how to maintain concentration and focus. Matt says two keys to maintaining focus are practice and imagination….

Matt Emmons USA Shooting Olympics Eley

Sports Shooting Psychology – Concentration

Concentration – staying focused in stressful competition situations
There are books… totally devoted to concentration, so I what I am about to write is only my opinion and take on the subject matter. There are so many aspects to the game of shooting, whether it be rifle, pistol, or shotgun. At the same time, one of the constants is concentration. Concentration is one of the things that allows you to be your best and keeps you in the “zone” when you are performing extremely well. It’s also a piece of the puzzle that has often disappeared when things go awry.

Matt Emmons Eley OlympicsSo how do you concentrate when the pressure is on? The exact recipe will be slightly different for different people, of course. Two important things for anyone, however, are practice and a great imagination! If you never practice focusing intently on anything, or especially during training, you will never learn to do it when you really want to. You must practice every situation that could occur during an important competition and practice what you will do so that you can continue to be your best. That means imagining and practising what you will do in the biggest match of your life when things are going incredibly well. How will you react? How will you work with it so that you continue to perform beautifully?

What will you do if you are in that same biggest match of your life and something goes wrong? How will you keep your poise, get back on track, and do what you’re capable of to achieve your goal? The answer depends on you. A great shooter needs to have a great imagination and needs to be able to look deep inside themselves to know how they might react in every different situation. If something doesn’t feel comfortable or there is nervousness, that means the athlete needs to work on preparing for it in training so that if the situation happens in a competition, there will be no lapse in concentration. There is a plan and it has be rehearsed so that it flows effortlessly.

I certainly can’t recommend any “quick fixes” to help anyone concentrate better. That doesn’t really exist. A couple things that always help in stressful situations, however, are these:

- Breathe!! Stop and take a few slow, deep breaths to slow the heart down. You’ll be surprised how much this can help.

- Keep your thoughts rational and focused on things you can control. Any worries about “what if’s” or things out of your control are completely useless and will only take your concentration off of what you’re trying to do.

- Stay in the moment! Good or bad, the past is done! You cannot change it. If the past was great, enjoy it for a moment and move on to now. If it was bad, learn what you can from it and move forward. The future is what you create. Every future moment is this current moment. Enjoy and make the best of this current moment and the future moments will come by themselves. Make the current shot the best shot you can possibly make, enjoy it then repeat on the next one.

- Picture what you want to see happen. Imagine a short video of the “your perfect shot” and play it over and over again in your head. Keep it short, keep it simple.

- Lastly, no matter whether it’s your club championship or the Olympic Games, remember why you are shooting. Hopefully you are in that particular moment because you love the game. At the heart, that is why we play any game – because we enjoy it! Never forget that no matter how stressful any competition might be. Aligning the sights and making a great shot is a whole lot of fun to do wherever and whenever you do it.

Good luck and great shooting — Matt Emmons

About ELEY Ammunition
Established in 1828, ELEY now produces some of the most consistently accurate .22 LR rimfire ammunition in the world. Countless championship medals have been earned with ELEY rimfire ammo, and most current smallbore ISSF world records were set with ELEY ammo. ELEY maintains a large production and testing facility in Birmingham, West Midlands, in the UK. ELEY employs a team of specialists (including many Six Sigma qualified engineers) with extensive knowledge of internal and external ballistics, powder dynamics, and advanced production methods. ELEY has always been at the forefront of the ammunition industry, pushing technological boundaries which have resulted in patented new methodologies and techniques.

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January 1st, 2015

Happy New Year — Kirsten Opens Champagne Bottle with a .22 LR

Kirsten Weiss Champagne Trick ShotSharpshooter (and competitive smallbore shooter) Kirsten Joy Weiss tried a special New Year’s trick shot for 2015. In keeping with the festive New Year’s spirit, Kirsten attempted to shoot the cork off a champagne bottle. After a few unsuccessful tries, she managed to hit the cork with at least two shots. But alas the cork did not fly. She actually hit the cork, but it did not release. That was surprising…

Undaunted, Kirsten changed her strategy, aiming for the neck of the bottle. This duplicates the process of “sabering” a champagne bottle — a method of liberating the bubbly by slashing off the end of the neck with a blade. Aiming for the neck of the bottle, Kirsten successfully blew off the top of the bottle. (Apparently, when “sabering” it is actually the pressure within the champagne bottle which does most of the work).

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December 29th, 2014

Understanding Minutes of Angle (MOA) — Intro Video

In this NSSF Video, Ryan Cleckner, a former Sniper Instructor for the 1st Ranger Battalion, defines the term, “Minute of Angle” (MOA) and explains how you can adjust for windage and elevation using 1/4 or 1/8 MOA clicks on your scope. This allows you to sight-in precisely and compensate for bullet drop at various distances.

YouTube Preview Image

one minute of angle

For starters, Ryan explains that, when talking about angular degrees, a “minute” is simply 1/60th. So a “Minute of Angle” is simply 1/60th of one degree of a central angle, measured either up and down (for elevation) or side to side (for windage). At 100 yards, 1 MOA equals 1.047″ on the target. This is often rounded to one inch for simplicity. Say, for example, you click up 1 MOA. That is roughly 1 inch at 100 yards, or roughly 4 inches at 400 yards, since the target area measured by 1 MOA increases in linear fashion with the distance.

Story sourced by Edlongrange.
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December 26th, 2014

NSSF Presents Handgun 101 with Chris Cheng

Chris Cheng NSSF Handgun SafetyDo you have a friend or family member who is just getting started in handgunning? The NSSF has created five Handgun 101 videos that cover the basics of handgun shooting, starting with key principles of firearms safety. Hosted by Top Shot Season 4 Champion Chris Cheng, these videos explain the important fundamentals of pistol shooting. If you will be taking a youngster (or novice adult) to the range for the first time, it would be a good idea to have him or her watch one or both of these videos. CLICK HERE to view all Handgun 101 videos.

Handgun 101: Rules for Safe Firearm Handling

Handgun 101: Single Action vs. Double Action Explained

See MORE Handgun 101 videos.

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December 26th, 2014

Snow on the Ground? No Problem, Let’s Go Shooting!

East Coast buried in a winter whiteout? No problem — grab your snow shovel and go shooting. Here’s how hardy Forum Member Nick (aka “ChevyTruck 83″) coped with winter’s fury back in December 2012. Never underestimate the resourcefulness of a dedicated AccurateShooter Forum member….

snow shooting range snowmanWe admire the fortitude of Forum Member Nick who braved wintry December weather to enjoy a day at the range in his native Pennsylvania. A little snow on the ground couldn’t stop this intrepid shooter, who brought snow shovel and arctic gear to his range session. Folks, here’s a true “hardcore” fan of shooting! Despite the “relentless snow”, Nick reports that “at least it wasn’t windy”. Nick shot a variety of long guns, including his .22LR rimfires, a .223 Rem, and a .308. Not daunted by the cold, Rick said it was fun to “play like a kid once in a while.” That’s the spirit!

Nick reports: “There was no wind to speak of — just relentless snow. I’ll tell you what — it’s awesome to get out and play like a kid once in a while.”

Nick’s foray into the winter wonderland really puts things in perspective for “fair-weather” shooters. After viewing Nick’s Forum thread about his snowy range session, fellow Forum member DennisH observed: “I will never complain about our super hot sugar cane fields in south Louisiana ever again! We can hold matches 12 months a year. I have NEVER had, owned, or used a snow shovel.”

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December 17th, 2014

Man vs. Machine — Comparative Rifle Accuracy at 600 Yards

Man versus machine USAMU AR15 M16 High Power National Record

Can a human being, hand-holding a rifle, out-shoot a mechanical test rest? Who would win in this battle between man and machine? You might just be surprised. At 600 yards, with an AR-platform rifle, the results can be remarkably close, based on targets provided by the USAMU. When clamped in a test rig, a USAMU M16A2 produced a 200-18X group with handloads. The USAMU says this was “one of our better 20-shot groups at 600 yards, testing ammo from a machine rest”. Can a human do better?

Man versus machine USAMU AR15 M16 High Power National Record

Remarkably, a human soldier came very close to matching the group shot from the machine rest. The photo below shows a 20-shot group shot by a USAMU marksman with sling and iron sights, using USAMU-loaded ammunition. The score, 200-16X, was nearly the same. As you can see, the USAMU rifleman didn’t give up much to the machine rest, even at 600 yards!

Man versus machine USAMU AR15 M16 High Power National Record

In fairness, this was no ordinary human performance. The 200-16X score was a new National Record set in December, 1994. This was fired by PFC Coleman in an Interservice Match at Okeechobee, Florida. Nice shootin’ soldier!

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December 16th, 2014

Youngsters Learn Outdoor Skills at Texas Marksmanship Camp

Wondering what to give a niece, nephew, or one of the grand-kids this Christmas? Well how about giving them something special — a 5-day camping experience, hosted by Top Shot’s Dustin Ellermann. Dustin reports that: “Youth Marksmanship Camp 2015 Spring Break Dates have been announced, and folks are grabbing them up as Christmas presents. Visit Marksmancamp.com to learn more….”

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

At Camp His Way in Zavalla, Texas, Ellermann hosts weekend Marksmanship Camps for kids aged 9-13 and teens 14-18. The Christian-oriented camps focus on safety, marksmanship skills, and team building. Campers enjoy a host of fun skill-oriented activities: Airgun Shooting, Archery, Blowguns, Knife Throwing, Paintball Games, Slingshots, Tomahawk Throwing, and of course Rimfire Rifle Marksmanship with a variety of rifles. Spots are now available for three weekends in March 2015:

March 10-11, 2015 – Kids Marksmanship Camp, Ages 9-13
March 13-14, 2015 – Teen Marksmanship Camp, Ages 14-18
March 20-21, 2015 – Kids Marksmanship Camp, Ages 9-13

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

The Camp Weekend cost $270 for kids 9-13 and $300 for teens 14-18. This fee includes all ammo and equipment, meals and lodging, and a team t-shirt. CLICK HERE to reserve a spot this spring.

Dustin Ellerman Camp His Way

Notice the young campers always wear ear and eye protection when shooting firearms. That’s as it should be. We wish adult shooters, including benchrest, smallbore, High Power, and F-Class competitors, followed this important safety practice.

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December 14th, 2014

Benchrest Tip: Optimize Your Rifle Position on the Rests

Here’s some benchrest advice that can help you reduce vertical and shoot tighter groups… without spending another penny. Next time you go to the range, experiment with the position of your rifle on the front rest, and try a couple different positions for the rear bag. You may find that the rifle handles much better after you’ve made a small change in the placement of your gun on the bags. Recoil can be tamed a bit, and tracking can improve significantly, if you optimize the front rest and rear bag positioning.

Balance Your Gun BEFORE You Spend Hours Tuning Loads
In the pursuit of ultimate accuracy, shooters may spend countless hours on brass prep, bullet selection, and load tuning. Yet the same shooters may pay little attention to how their gun is set-up on the bags. When you have acquired a new rifle, you should do some basic experimentation to find the optimal position for the forearm on the front rest, and the best position for the rear bag. Small changes can make a big difference.

Joel Kendrick

Joel Kendrick, past IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year, has observed that by adjusting forearm position on the front rest, he can tune out vertical. He has one carbon-fiber-reinforced stock that is extremely rigid. When it was placed with the front rest right under the very tip of the forearm, the gun tended to hop, creating vertical. By sliding the whole gun forward (with more forearm overhang ahead of the front sandbag), he was able to get the whole rig to settle down. That resulted in less vertical dispersion, and the gun tracked much better.

Likewise, the placement of the rear bag is very important. Many shooters, by default, will simply place the rear bag the same distance from the front rest with all their guns. In fact, different stocks and different calibers will NOT behave the same. By moving the rear bag forward and aft, you can adjust the rifle’s overall balance and this can improve the tracking significantly. One of our shooters had a Savage 6BR F-Class rifle. By default he had his rear bag set almost all the way at the end of the buttstock. When he slid the rear bag a couple inches forward the gun tracked much better. He immediately noticed that the gun returned to point of aim better (crosshairs would stay on target from shot to shot), AND the gun torqued (twisted) less. The difference was quite noticeable.

Benchrest stock

The important point to remember here is that each rig is different. One gun may perform best with the front rest right at the tip of the forearm (Position ‘D’ in photo), while another gun will work best with the rest positioned much further back. This Editor’s own 6BR sits in a laminated stock that is pretty flexy in the front. It shoots best with the front rest’s sandbag located a good 6″ back from the forearm tip (position ‘A’).

A small change in the position of the forearm on the front rest, or in the placement of the rear bag, can make a big difference in how your gun performs. You should experiment with the forearm placement, trying different positions on the front rest. Likewise, you can move the rear bag back and forth a few inches. Once you establish the optimal positions of front rest and rear bag, you should find that your gun tracks better and returns to battery more reliably. You may then discover that the gun shoots smaller groups, with less vertical dispersion. And all these benefits are possible without purchasing any expensive new gear.

Rifle photo courtesy Johnson’s Precision Gunsmithing (Bakersfield, CA).

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