May 21st, 2017

Review Shooting Fundamentals with Ryan Cleckner Video

Still Tac30 action tactical rifle Ryan Cleckner book
Photo by Forum member GAT. Chambered in 6-6.5×47 Lapua, this rifle features a Stiller TAC30 action, Krieger barrel, Harrells brake, Konohawk Stock, and Sightron SIII 6-24x50mm scope.

Ryan Cleckner has created many good shooting videos for the NSSF, such as his excellent Understanding MOA Video. Ryan is noted for his ability to explain complex topics in an easy-to-comprehend manner. This video, covering the fundamentals of shooting, has been viewed over 1.6 million times. It’s worth watching, particularly for guys getting started in PRS/practical competitions.

In this video, Ryan Cleckner reviews proper technique for rifle shooters. A stable platform, sight alignment, sight picture, and trigger control are key fundamentals to shooting properly. This is basic stuff, but Cleckner presents it in a clear, logical fashion. This is a good video for novice shooters.

Tip on Viewing Your Reticle:
Cleckner: “Sometimes it can be difficult to focus between the target and the reticle, even with the parallax adjusted properly. I recommend you focus only on the reticle. Just like the front sight on a rifle or a handgun, that reticle is what you can control, and it’s what matters. Focus on a crisp, clear reticle, in a stable platform, and all that’s left is trigger control.”

Tip on Trigger Control:
Cleckner: “Trigger control is pretty straightforward, as long as you think about it as a continuous process, and not just one thing that happens. I like to think about it as drawing a line in the dirt. I like to think about this constant pressure that I’m adding as I draw this line straight back, and then… continuing to draw that line even as the rifle goes off. That’s the good follow-through you’ll need.”

Long Range Shooting Handbook — A Good Resource
Cleckner has authored a book, the Long Range Shooting Handbook, which expands on the topics covered in the above video. You can view Sample Chapters from Ryan’s Book on Amazon.com.

Ryan Cleckner’s new book is designed as an intro to important fundamental concepts such as MOA vs. Mils, External Ballistics, and Environmental Effects. Included are personal tips and advice based on Cleckner’s years of experience as a sniper instructor and special operations sniper.

The Long Range Shooting Handbook is divided into three main categories: What It Is/How It Works, Fundamentals, and How to Use It. “What It Is/How It Works” covers equipment, terminology, and basic principles. “Fundamentals” covers the theory of long range shooting. “How to Use It” gives practical advice on implementing what you’ve learned, so you can progress as a skilled, long range shooter.

As a long-range shooting expert, Ryan Cleckner has impressive credentials. Cleckner was a special operations sniper (1/75 RGR) with multiple combat deployments, and he has served a U.S. Army sniper instructor. Currently he works as a firearms industry executive and attorney.

Permalink - Videos, Shooting Skills, Tactical No Comments »
May 20th, 2017

Field Skills: Reading the Wind When Hunting

On LongRangeHunting.com, you’ll find a good article by Shawn Carlock about wind reading. Shawn is a veteran law enforcement marksman and a past USPSA national precision rifle champion. Shawn offers good advice on how to estimate wind speeds and directions using a multitude of available indicators — not just your wind gauge: “Use anything at your disposal to accurately estimate the wind’s velocity. I keep and use a Kestrel for reading conditions….The Kestrel is very accurate but will only tell you what the conditions are where you are standing. I practice by looking at grass, brush, trees, dust, wind flags, mirage, rain, fog and anything else that will give me info on velocity and then estimate the speed.”

Shawn also explains how terrain features can cause vertical wind effects. A hunter on a hilltop must account for bullet rise if there is a headwind blowing up the slope. Many shooters consider wind in only one plane — the horizontal. In fact wind has vertical components, both up and down. If you have piloted a small aircraft you know how important vertical wind vectors can be. Match shooters will also experience vertical rise when there is a strong tailwind blowing over an up-sloping berm ahead of the target emplacements. Overall, Shawn concludes: “The more time you spend studying the wind and its effect over varying terrain the more successful you will be as a long-range shooter and hunter.”

Permalink - Articles, Hunting/Varminting, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
May 17th, 2017

PRS 101: Practical Shooter’s Guide by Marcus Blanchard

Marcus Blanchard Practical Shooter's Guide

Thinking of getting started in the Practical/Tactical shooting game? Looking for ways to be more stable when shooting from unconventional positions? Then you may want to read Marcus Blanchard’s Practical Shooter’s Guide (A How-To Approach for Unconventional Firing Positions and Training). Unlike almost every “how to shoot” book on the market, Blanchard’s work focuses on the shooting skills and positions you need to succeed in PRS matches and similar tactical competitions. Blanchard provides clear advice on shooting from barricades, from roof-tops, from steep angles. Blanchard says you need to train for these types of challenges: “I believe the largest factor in the improvement of the average shooter isn’t necessarily the gear; it’s the way the shooter approaches obstacles and how they properly train for them.”

Marcus Blanchard Practical Shooter's Guide

Blanchard also offers good tips on shooting fundamentals. Here’s an example:

Blanchard on Trigger Control
“There will always be some amount of wobble when shooting in positions other than prone, and timing the shot to go off when the reticle is within the target is difficult to accomplish when poor trigger techniques are employed. The most common [mistake] I have seen is ‘slapping’ the trigger. The finger is usually hovering off the trigger, and when the shooter determines that NOW is the time to fire, they quickly pull their finger to the rear and ‘slap’ the trigger. The finger never pulls the trigger in the same place and often provokes a sympathetic contraction of the rest of the muscles in the hand, which results in unwanted movement before the bullet exits the muzzle.”

Author Marcus Blanchard has the credentials. A Marine Corps veteran, Blanchard is a regular Top 10 finisher in Precision Rifle Series events. In 2015 Blanchard was ranked 8th overall (nationwide) in the PRS series at year’s end. In 2016 Blanchard won the New Mexico Precision Rifleman’s Championship.

Check out the Table of Contents to see the Topics Covered:

Practical Shooter's Guide Tactical training book
Click image above to view larger Table of Contents.

6.5 Guys Recommend Practical Shooter’s Guide
The 6.5 Guys have reviewed Blanchard’s book and they recommend it highly: “What’s a good book for the beginning shooter who wants to get into long range precision rifle or the intermediate shooter who wants to improve his scores? [The Practical Shooter’s Guide] is particularly useful because it explores firing from various positions and props that are encountered in long range precision rifle [events]. This knowledge is completely missing from more traditional books where the shooter is usually slung up and shooting at a paper target. Marcus… goes into considerable detail about shooting from rooftops, reverse rooftops, side slopes, tank traps, barricades etc. This is the type of information that is very difficult to find. We consider ourselves reasonably knowledgeable shooters and this book provided us with new and useful information.” CLICK HERE for 6.5 Guys REVIEW.

6.5 Guys Review Marcus Blanchard’s Practical Shooter’s Guide

Permalink Shooting Skills, Tactical No Comments »
May 10th, 2017

Multi-Gun Mastery — Report from 3-Gun Fantasy Camp

3-Gun Fantasy Camp Duncan Johnson

On Ammoland.com, there’s an interesting article about the NSSF’s recent 3-Gun Fantasy Camp in Las Vegas. Author Duncan Johnson attended the Camp last month and wrote an “after action report”. He said the Camp was a great experience, and his shooting improved greatly with the expert tutoring from top pros: “If you have ever wanted to try a 3-Gun competition, just go do it, you will quickly find out why this is the fastest-growing shooting sport today. If you are new to shooting and or just getting started in 3-Gun, I 100% recommend you attend the NSSF Fantasy Camp.”

Here are Four Tips/Observations Duncan learned during the 3-Gun Fantasy Camp:

1. Use a Zoom Rifle Optic – “The LWRC 3-Gun ready rifle [provided for the Camp] was topped with a Leupold Mark 6 1-6x20mm riflescope, which made distance shooting much easier than the AimPoint optic [on my own AR]. 3-Gun competitions have rifle stages that can involve distance shooting out to ranges of 500 yards or more. For that reason, most shooters in the 3-Gun TacOps and Practical divisions use magnified riflescopes like the Leupold Mark 6 or the Vortex Strike Eagle.”

3-Gun Fantasy Camp Duncan Johnson

2. Use Your Quads and Core Muscles — “There are also a lot of little things that the pros teach you… For instance, some shooters instinctively bend their knees to enter their stance, but once they start firing they tend to follow the recoil with their shoulders and end up leaning back. In order to avoid that, use your quad muscles in your legs to get a solid stance that will absorb more recoil. Also use your core muscles to maintain a strong stance, especially in shotgun stages. The combination of strong quad and core muscles will contribute to controlling muzzle flip and moving onto your next target more easily.”



Read Full “Shooting Like a Pro” Story Here »

3. Vision-Based Target Transitions — “Another pro tip from Randi Rodgers on transitioning from target to target with a pistol was using your eyes rather than your sights to switch targets. So imagine it as pull the trigger, the slide starts to come back, using your eyes find the next target, then point with the front sight, find the sight picture, fire, and repeat.”

Editor’s Note: A few seasons back, I attended an action shooting seminar taught by Randi, and she explained the “move your eyes” technique. For multi-target stages, this really works. Move your eyes from target to target, and you’ll find your arms automatically “pull” the handgun into position. You still need to get the sights on target, but this method yields create smoother, faster stage runs.

4. Trigger Control and Use of Support Hand — If you don’t have good trigger control and pull straight back, you can move your sights during the shot. This is a common problem with novice pistol shooters. The solution is lots of dry fire training. Duncan found out he needed work: “In my case, the biggest area where I need improvement was shooting my pistol. There were two different things I was doing that will guarantee a missed shot every time with a handgun. When I pull/squeeze/depress my trigger I have a tendency to also pull the gun off target, resulting in a miss to the low left of a target. I [also] over-apply pressure with my shooting hand. According to the pros, pistol grip should be 40% shooting hand, and 60% supporting hand.”

3-Gun Fantasy Camp Duncan Johnson

This article originally appears on Ammoland.com, reprinted here under Creative Commons License.
Permalink Competition, Handguns, Shooting Skills No Comments »
May 5th, 2017

NSSF Offers Grants to Boy Scouts of America Councils

BSA Boy Scouts Council Rifle Shooting Grants NSSFThe National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) is pleased to announce the launch of its annual grants partnership with the Boy Scouts of America Councils. Through this partnership, BSA Councils can receive a portion of $100,000 in NSSF-provided grant funds to develop or expand their troop activities in target shooting and marksmanship. Target shooting programs continue to rank among Scouting’s most popular activities, teaching firearms and range safety, teamwork building and fundraising skills.

“This seventh year of supporting the BSA Council Grant Program … brings with it a new level of excitement,” said Zach Snow, NSSF Director, Range Services. “Safety and marksmanship training through the Boy Scouts is a time-honored introduction to the shooting sports. We’re looking forward to increased participation from Scouts pursuing [merit] badges in these activities and then taking those new skills afield for a lifetime of enjoyment.”

How Scouting Groups Can Apply for Grants
BSA Councils wishing to apply for grants should visit the grant guidelines and application procedures at nssf.org/bsagrant. Councils awarded funds through NSSF’s BSA Grant Program must use those grants to purchase of equipment and supplies for their shooting sports activities from an NSSF Member Retailer. The full list of these retailers is available at nssf.org/retailers/find. Examples of qualifying purchases are: ammunition, eye and ear protection, firearms, targets and shooting vests. For more information on this special program and qualifications, contact NSSF’s Zach Snow at zsnow@nssf.org or 203-426-1320 ext. 224.

Permalink News, Shooting Skills No Comments »
May 2nd, 2017

Interview with Bryan Litz — Insight into a Champion

Bryan Litz Interview Applied Ballistics Mia Lee Rhode Shooters wife

There’s a great interview with Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics on Mia Rhode’s Life Of A Shooter’s Wife Blog. We recommend you read the full interview. Bryan offers many important insights that can benefit any precision shooter. It’s fascinating to learn about Bryan’s background and how he progressed in competitive shooting, starting with very basic equipment. As a “broke high school kid”, he got started on the cheap, paying for gear with wages from McDonald’s. Now he’s a globally-recognized expert in Ballistics and Long Range precision. You’ll enjoy reading the Full Interview. Here are some highlights…

» Read Full Interview with Bryan Litz

Bryan Litz Interview Applied Ballistics Mia Lee Rhode Shooters wifeLOASW: When did you first become interested in shooting?

Bryan: My first memories of shooting were at the age of about 9 or 10. Pellet rifle in the back yard. My Dad taught me to shoot, stressing the importance of accuracy. I was driven to hit targets, mostly small targets at long distance. My grandfather was on the All-Army shooting team back in the ‘50s, and was distinguished in both rifle and pistol. Shooting is part of my family’s DNA and I benefited from that from a young age.

LOASW: What sparked your interest in Competitive Shooting and how old were you when you started competing?

Bryan: Hunting groundhogs in the farm-fields of Pennsylvania through high school is where I truly connected with long-range shooting. My Dad heard of a competition range (The Original Pennsylvania 1000 Yard Benchrest Club in Williamsport, PA). So we visited there one summer and I immediately found my trusty 22-250 inadequate for the job of 1000-yard benchrest shooting. So I saved my McDonald’s wages until I could afford a 7mm Remington Magnum and began competing in my first matches at the age of 15.

Learning with Limited Resources…
… It was a huge mis-match to my situation because benchrest is a highly gear-driven sport, and the winners typically have many $1000s of dollars wrapped up in equipment. I was a broke high school kid who needed my parents to drive me to the range my first year, and my second year, I had to rely on fellow competitors to jump start my old pick-up truck that was always breaking down. Nevertheless I enjoyed the hell out of shooting 1000 yards. I can honestly say that I don’t have any more FUN shooting these days with all the best equipment as compared to those bad ‘ol days when I had maybe $900 total wrapped up in all my gear. Those who remember me from those early days might recall the home-made shooting rest and McDonalds French fry box that I carried all my gear in. Later when I picked up prone/sling shooting, my shooting mat was a piece of carpet (pink, no less), and my shooting coat was a military field jacket with belts sewn in it.

Money was probably my biggest challenge when I started out. I had plenty of fun with my budget kit, but was certainly constrained by lack of access to quality gear. I overcame this with hard work and making the most of what I had. Learning how to mitigate the deficiencies of my equipment was an important stepping stone which has been highly valuable even now when I’ve got better stuff. It’s a good skill to have, to be able to spot something about to come unraveled.

Bryan Litz Interview Applied Ballistics Mia Lee Rhode Shooters wife

LOASW: What advice would you give to someone new to competitive shooting?

Bryan: Find a mentor, someone who lives near you who has experience and is willing to share it. You will cut years off your learning curve if you can get someone to share their experience with you who’s “been there done that”.

» CLICK HERE for REST of Interview with Bryan Litz

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April 30th, 2017

Wind Wizardry for Varminters — Keep the Wind at Your Back

Varmint Hunting varmint safari wind war wagon trailer longmeadow game resort
This impressive war wagon hauls varmint hunters around the Longmeadow Game Resort in Colorado.

When you’re on a varmint expedition in the Western states you can bet, sooner or later, you’ll encounter serious winds. Here’s some advice on how to minimize the effects of cross-winds on your shooting, and easily improve your percentage of hits. In essence, you want to use your ability to change shooting positions and angles to put the wind behind you.

A benchrest or High Power shooter must operate from a designated shooting position. He must stay put and deal with the wind as it moves across the course, from whatever direction it blows. By contrast, a varmint hunter can move around and choose the spot that provides the most favorable wind direction. In most cases you’ll get the best results by moving your shooting position so the wind is at your back. This will minimize horizontal wind drift. Once you’re in position, use wind flags to direct your fire in line with the prevailing winds. A varminter who calls himself “Catshooter” explains:

The String of Death
I remember the first time I was on a dog town in the Conata Basin, in the Badlands area of southwestern South Dakota. Along with two other guys, I drove out for 21 days of shooting, and I never saw wind like that before. If all four tires of our vehicle were on the ground, the weather man said these were “mild wind conditions”.

After the first four or five days, we got smart. We would park the truck on the up-wind side of the town so the wind was at our back. Then we took a piece of string on a 3-foot stick, and set it in front of the shooters, and let the string point at the mounds that we were going to shoot.

For the rest of the trip, we didn’t have to deal with wind drift at all. We just shot the dogs that the string pointed to. We started calling our simple wind pointer the “String of Death”.

We were hitting dogs at distances that I would not repeat here (with benchrest grade rifles). After the first time out, I always took a wind rig like that.

Photos by Chris Long, taken during Chris’s Wyoming Varmint Hunt with Trophy Ridge Outfitters.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Shooting Skills 3 Comments »
April 28th, 2017

NRA Offers New Carry Guard Legal Insurance Program

carryguard NRA insurance program

Do you carry a firearm for self-protection, or perhaps keep a handgun in a vehicle during trips? Then you should consider signing up for a new insurance/training program offered by the NRA. Launched this week, the NRA’s Carry Guard program offers up to $1,000,000 in insurance/legal protection. This is combined with a comprehensive training program.

The Carry Guard program offers a 24/7 hotline for members. You get immediate response to secure bail bonds, legal retainers, and counseling. Importantly you can choose your own attorney from a nationwide attorney referral network. Members get up to $1,000,000 in insurance-backed protection for legal fees and will receive emergency support services in case of a self-defense incident. Spouses of NRA Carry Guard members are automatically covered, as are family members who live with a Carry Guard member and defend themselves in the home.

carryguard NRA insurance program

Three levels of protection are offered, with affordable monthly payments. When you consider that the cost of defending a civil lawsuit could easily exceed $150,000 just in legal fees, it’s smart to have some kind of legal insurance plan.

carryguard NRA insurance program

Carry Guard Training

Carry Guard members can access a variety of video tutorials. In addition, CarryGuard offers three-day training programs that combine classroom sessions with range training. The focus is on the real-life scenarios you might face. “We apply those [gun-handling] fundamentals to real-life situations, self-defense tactics and techniques, low-light shooting, force-on-force Air Soft scenarios and more. Students are evaluated on a course of fire where only a passing score earns eligibility to move to the next level.”

carry guard NRA insurance program

If you have questions about the Carry Guard Program, consult the Carry Guard FAQ page, call 1-866-NRA-5050, or use the NRA’s Contact Form.

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April 26th, 2017

Impressive F-Class Performance by Young Lady Shooter

U.S. USA Under 25 U-25 F-Class F-TR Team Lynzie Graham championship Canada 2017
All 10s and Xs for record — that’s a very impressive 200-10X score card for young Lynzie Graham.

Here’s a “feel-good” story about a talented young shooter. We like to acknowledge the accomplishments of the “rising stars” in our sport. Lynzie Graham, a member of the U.S. F-Class Under-25 Team recently shot a perfect 200-10X at 600 yards, not dropping a point. That’s particularly impressive when you consider Lynzie shot her 600-yard “clean” using a factory rifle — a Savage Arms .308 Win F-TR rig.

Congratulations Lynzie Graham on your first 600-yard “clean” at the Texas State Qualifier in February 2017. Lynzie was shooting the Sierra 180gr MatchKing® #2220 with her Savage F-TR .308 Win. This August, Lynzie and other U.S. F-Class U-25 Team members will be competing at the F-Class World Championships (FCWC) hosted at the Connaught Ranges near Ottawa, Canada. Click image below for more information about the 2017 FCWC.

U.S. USA Under 25 U-25 F-Class F-TR Team Lynzie Graham championship Canada 2017

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
April 23rd, 2017

Rimfire Reactives — Spinners, Dueling Trees, Plate Racks & More

rimfire reactive steel target spinner dueling tree falling plates Volquartsen
An accurate, self-loading .22 LR rifle, such as this Volquartsen, is our gun of choice for speed shooting with rimfire reactive targets.

Reactive targets offer “instant gratification” — with every hit your target moves, spins, or falls. Shooting reactive targets with a rimfire rifle is fun AND affordable. Times are a-changin’ — rimfire ammo prices have dropped dramatically, so you can now get very good rimfire ammunition for just four bucks a box, such as Norma Tac-22. That works out to a mere eight cents a round. At that price, you can afford to shoot every weekend.

Rimfire Biathlon Target — Tons of Fun
RimfireSteel.com offers the unique Rimfire Steel Biathlon Target, a scaled-down Biathlon target designed for use at 50 feet for training and recreational shooting. This is one of our favorite rimfire targets. You can increase the level of challenge by moving it to 25 yards! Watch the video — it shows how to reset the five plates remotely with a lanyard.

Make Your Own Shooting Gallery with Reactive Rimfire Targets
For .22 LR fans, the folks at Action Target have created a whole series of steel rimfire targets. Much lighter than their centerfire counterparts, these rimfire targets are easier to transport and easier to set up. With this wide selection of reactive targets, you can create your own shooting gallery.


Rimfire Dueling Tree

Rimfire Spinning Jack

Rimfire Plate Rack

Rimfire Buffalo

In this video, Michael Bane reviews Action Target’s line of rimfire targets, which includes plate racks, spinners, dueling trees, and more. As Michael explains: “This line of targets is very well thought out. For example — dueling trees are a lot of fun. But a centerfire dueling tree weighs a lot, it’s hard to cart it around. A rimfire dueling tree is easy to set up, easy to carry around.”

New PT Target “Walks” When Hit
Action Target has just released a new reactive target that doesn’t even need a stand or base. The patent-pending PT Twist rests on the ground, and flops over or “walks” when hit. Constructed from a single piece of 3/16″-thick A514B steel, the PT Twist has no welds or bolts to break or ricochet. Watch the PT Twist in action:

Permalink Gear Review, Shooting Skills No Comments »
April 23rd, 2017

Daisy Will Support Boy Scouts’ Marksmanship Training

Daisy Boy Scouts America BSA portable inflatable BB Gun Range

“Involvement in the shooting sports develops … discipline, patience, self-control, and responsibility.” — Daisy President, Keith Higginbotham

Like many of our readers, your Editor got his first introduction to organized shooting sports through the Boy Scouts. At a Scouting summer camp I participated in competitive target shooting with both airguns and single-shot .22 LR rifles. That experience helped me earn my Rifle Shooting Merit Badge. That marksmanship badge remains one of the most popular non-mandatory Merit Badges. Since 2009, over 350,000 Rifle Shooting Merit Badges have been earned by young scouts.

rifle shooting merit badge

Given the vital role Scouting plays in developing the next generation of shooters, we’re pleased that Daisy has agreed to partner with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). This agreement makes Daisy the official airgun of the Boy Scouts of America.

This partnership makes Daisy’s unique inflatable BB Gun ranges available to the BSA’s 274 local councils as well as BSA camp sites across the country. Instructors emphasize shooting safety rules and teach basic marksmanship, including breath control, trigger pull, sight picture and more.

Daisy President Keith Higginbotham stated: “Teaching the basics of marksmanship and shooting safety… continues to be at the core of our mission. Hundreds of millions of adults have been positively affected by Scouting, learning to become responsible citizens, developing character and becoming self-reliant. Involvement in the shooting sports develops similar traits, such as discipline, patience, self-control, and responsibility.”

Daisy Inflatable BB Gun Range
Daisy’s unique inflatable BB Gun Ranges can be deployed at Scout camps, and as well as hunting and conservation events. These mobile ranges allow instructors to teach young poeple gun safety rules and marksmanship skills. When set-up, the range measures 22′ 5″ long by 9′ 6″ wide by 8′ 6″ tall.

Daisy Boy Scouts America BSA portable inflatable BB Gun Range

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April 21st, 2017

SCATT MX-02 Electro-Optical Training System for Shooters

Kirsten Joy Weiss SCATT MX-02 Video Trainer demo electronic trace target live fire dry firing

“SCATT” — if you’re an Olympic Class air rifle or smallbore competitor you know what SCATT means. The Russian-made SCATT is a marksmanship training system with an electro-optical sensor that fits on the end of a barrel. The sensor “sees” the target and then tracks your muzzle movement relative to the center of the target, recording a “trace” that can be displayed on a computer. The latest SCATT MX-02 unit works for live-fire training as well as dry-fire training. To learn more about the SCATT electronic trainers, visit SCATTUSA.com.

Pro shooter Kirsten Joy Weiss demonstrates the SCATT MX-02 electronic training system:

The system traces and records valuable information such as hold pattern, shot hold duration, follow-through, recoil pattern, and much more. The latest SCATT MX-02 systems can be used both indoors and outdoors up to 300 meters (and possibly more). READ FULL SCATT MX-02 TEST HERE.

SCATT traces reveal muzzle movements during the aiming process.
Kirsten Joy Weiss SCATT MX-02 Review Video Electronic Trainging system test

Kirsten Joy Weiss, a top-level competitive position shooter, has tested the latest SCATT MX-02 training systtem. She put the MX-02 through its paces, and then produced an informative video that shows how it works. Click on the video above to see Kirsten use the MX-02 with her Anschütz rifle and other guns.

Kirsten Joy Weiss SCATT MX-02 Video Trainer demo electronic trace target live fire dry firing

Kirsten was impressed with the SCATT MX-02 she tested:

“We live with tech woven into our every day, so if you had the chance to work with a computer to make you a better shooter — would you? Can a computer train you as well as your favorite coach or, dare to say, better than a human?”

Weiss says it’s like having a little coach with you recording your every move. “If R2D2 had a cousin who knew how to shoot,” Weiss quips, “his name would be the MX-02″.

The SCATT MX-02 can also be used with target pistols.
Kirsten Joy Weiss SCATT MX-02 Video Trainer demo electronic trace target live fire dry firing

Permalink - Videos, Optics, Shooting Skills No Comments »
April 19th, 2017

Time Waits for No Man… Use Your Remaining Days Wisely

Mortality life expectancy carpe diem
This photo is one of Nightforce’s series of picturesque “Gunscapes”. SEE MORE HERE.

This story is not (directly) about firearms, or reloading gear, or any of the little details of our sport. It, instead, is about life… and, sadly, about death. The recent passing of a friend (and fellow shooter) got me to thinking, “I’m sixty — what if I only had ten more years to live — how would I want to live my life? What really counts the most? What things would I do differently? What dreams would I pursue?”

From the demographics of this website, I know we have thousands of readers in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. Hopefully we will all live long, happy, and fruitful lives. But it’s not a bad idea to consider that we are all mortal, and the clock is ticking. Consider this — in the United States, the average male life expectancy is 77 years*. Using that number as a benchmark, I personally may have just 17 more years to enjoy life and to do the things I love — shooting, traveling, sailing, camping, listening to music, being with friends and family. Breaking that down into months, I have 204 more months to do fun and rewarding stuff. Just 204 months — that’s a real number my brain can comprehend all too well. If I live an average lifespan, that means I also only have 935 more weekends to do all that I want to do. With less than 1000 weekends remaining, I don’t want to waste a single one.

Living a Life with More Good Times, and Fewer Regrets

Recently, a group of men, very near the end of their lives, were surveyed. They were asked if they would do things differently if they could live their lives over again. The vast majority of these men gave surprisingly similar responses, which fit into five “Life Lessons”. These “Top 5 Regrets of the Dying” were reported in a story by Bronnie Ware, writing for the AARP online magazine. Ware writes: “When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced.” Here are the five regrets most often mentioned by older men:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
“This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. ”

Lesson: Don’t wait to follow your dreams. Be true to yourself.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
“This came from every male patient [surveyed]. All of the men… deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

Lesson: Don’t let your work crowd out other important aspects of life.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming.”

Lesson: Express yourself truthfully. Don’t suppress your feelings for decades.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
“There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort they deserved. Many [were] so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years.”

Lesson: Take an interest your friends’ lives; keep bonds of friendship strong.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
“This is a surprisingly common [regret]. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice.”

Lesson: Affirmatively pursue the things that bring you happiness. Don’t just stick to old habits.

Turn Off the Computer, and Do Something Memorable with Your Friends Today
How does this all apply to our shooting hobby? Well, if (like me) you are middle-aged (or older), go have some fun this weekend! Load up your rifle and get to the range. Don’t put off doing the things that make you happy. Call those old buddies you may not have seen in a long time. Renew friendships. Get out into nature. And start figuring out how you can live your dreams. As the saying goes, “Time waits for no man”.


*One of our readers pointed out that the numbers actually work out better than this, because once a man survives to later life, men of his surviving age cohort enjoy a projected lifespan longer than the average projected lifespan from birth. For example, using actuarial tables, a man born exactly 60 years ago (still alive today), has a calculated life expectancy of 23.4 years… meaning he would live to age 83.4 years, on average. CLICK HERE to see actuarial-predicted longevity based on your birthdate.

lifespan life expectancy weekends months years


Practicing What I Preach…
As you read this, your Editor will NOT be sitting in front of a computer. Instead he will be on a boat, taking him 30 miles offshore to this beautiful spot. Three days with no internet, no TV, no Schedule Cs, and no traffic. Just good friends and unspoiled nature. Living like a kid again.

island time gone fishing Editor on holiday

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April 19th, 2017

Tiny Twenty Punches P-Dog at 1032 Yards — Voldoc’s Story

Voldoc Savage 20BR 1000 yard Prairie Dog

The “Holy Grail” of prairie dog shooting is dispatching a dog at ultra-long-range — the farther the better. Here we recount the quest of Forum member VolDoc to nail a Prairie Dog at 1000+ yards with a Savage .20-caliber rifle. If you’re a fan of the “Terrific 20s”, or have an interest in ultra-long-range varminting, you’ll enjoy this story. VolDoc, a dentist by trade, is a seasoned Prairie Dog Hunter who has made many trips to the P-Dog fields in Colorado with his hunting buddies. But until recently he had never managed to nail a P-Dog at 1000 yards with a .20-caliber rifle. Nor, as far as we can determine, had any one else. But VolDoc did it — accomplishing a verified Prairie Dog kill at 1032 yards, possibly the longest recorded with a .20-Caliber rifle.

READ .20-Cal 1000-Yard Prairie Dog Quest FULL STORY

Modified Hart-Barreled 20BR Savage Does the Job
Shooting Prairie Dogs at extreme long range takes highly specialized equipment. To make his 1032-yard kill shot, VolDoc used a modified Dual-Port Savage chambered in 20 BR. The stock was geometrically-uniformed and pillar-bedded by smith Kevin Rayhill, who fitted a 28″ Hart barrel with a Rayhill muzzle brake. VolDoc loaded his 20BR with 55gr Berger BT LR Varmint bullets (0.381 G1 BC) pushed by a stout charge of Hodgdon Varget.

Voldoc 20BR Savage Rayhill

It took good conditions, and patience to make the successful 1000+ yard shot. Voldoc explains:

“We were out on the Colorado prairie at daylight and the conditions were perfect. The sunrise was at my back and we had about a 10 mph tailwind. I looked through my Leica Geovid Rangefinder Binos and the Prairie Dogs were out for breakfast. I quickly ranged the targets and found a group at about 1,050 yards.

My first shot was very, very close. I added about four clicks up and a couple of clicks left for windage and let another go. That shot threw dirt all over, but the dog didn’t even flinch. On the fourth shot, I saw the dog go belly up and kick its final throws. My quest for the 20-Caliber 1,000-yard Prairie Dog had become a reality. We confirmed the distance with our lasers at 1,032 yards.”

Voldoc Savage 20BR 1000 yard Prairie Dog

Voldoc’s Accurate Arsenal
In our report on VolDoc’s successful 1K Prairie Dog quest, we spotlighted two of VolDoc’s other accurate varmint guns. First, fans of fine wood will love VolDoc’s switch-barrel, drop-port Stiller Diamondback rifle. The wood on this gun is stunning. The custom stock was crafted from 40-year-old English Walnut to match the profile of a Shehane ST-1000. The rifle has three barrels with three different chamberings: 6BR Brux 1:8″-twist HV; 6BRX Krieger 1:8″-twist HV, and 6mm Dasher Krieger 1:8.5″-twist fluted straight contour (no taper). The scope is a Nightforce 12-42x56mm, with 2DD reticle.

Voldoc Diamondback Dasher Drop-Port

VolDoc’s “Go-To” Prairie Dog Rifle — Big Orange Crush Dasher
Next, check out VolDoc’s “Big Orange Crush” rifle. This features a stainless Nesika ‘J’ action in a painted fiberglass Shehane ST-1000 stock. Originally a 6BR, the gun is now chambered as a 6mm Dasher with a .271″ no-turn neck. The barrel is a 1:12″-twist Krieger fited with Vais muzzle brake. Big Orange Crush shoots 87gr V-Maxs into bugholes at 3,400 fps, according to VolDoc. He tells us that “The barrel now has more than 3,000 rounds down the tube and exhibits little throat fire-cracking and no loss of accuracy. I can’t explain why, it just hasn’t deteriorated yet. This rifle is my best-ever ‘go-to’ Prairie Dog rifle.”

Voldoc 6mm Dasher Nesika Varmint Rifle 12-twist

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April 18th, 2017

Teaching New Shooters — CMP Training Resources

The CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program) offers a wide variety of resources for novice shooters and juniors. These materials help novices learn basic marksmanship skills and get started in competition. Some resources can be downloaded from the CMP website, while others are available for purchase from the CMP E-Store. In addition, The CMP maintains a Coaching Resources webpage with dozens of informative articles. Here are some of the CMP articles you can find online:

teaching shooting positions youth junior

Videos

These short marksmanship trainging videos cover the basics of the Kneeling, Standing, and Prone postions. (NOTE: these are live links — videos will launch when you click.)

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April 17th, 2017

CMP “As-Issued” Four-Gun Aggregate — Fun and Challenging

CMP 4-Gun As-Issued Santiago

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.

CMP 4-Gun As-Issued SantiagoThe 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.

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April 13th, 2017

2016 600 Yard IBS National Championship

Big Piney 600 yard ibs nationals Missouri 600yd

This story involves a match held last fall, but we know many of our readers compete in the Mid-Range (600-Yard) Benchrest discipline and follow developments in this sport. Accordingly we’re offering this report on the 2016 IBS Nationals held at the Big Piney Sportsman’s Club in Houston, Missouri.

The 600-Yard Nationals at Big Piney last September was a great event that drew 82 shooters from 14 different states. Competitors traveled from as far away as Florida, Idaho, and North Dakota to compete in the 2016 600-Yard International Benchrest Shooters National Championship. The weather was great and so was the food. A good time was had by all, and shooters praised the facility and the efficient way the match was run. The IBS offers a big “thank you” to everyone involved in running this excellent match. Their hard work and dedication deserves recognition.

On the forearm of this Heavy Gun was painted: “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”
Big Piney 600 yard ibs nationals Missouri 600yd

Two Gun Group Results | Heavy Gun Group Results | Light Gun Group Results

Here are the Class Winners at the 2016 IBS 600-yard Nationals in Missouri
Big Piney 600 yard ibs nationals Missouri 600yd

The opening morning for Light Gun class proved to be challenging, as the start time was pushed back one hour due to the fog settling in the firing line. By the second half of the eight targets to be shot, shooters began to settle in and take control of the conditions. The Missouri shooters stayed on top with Ben Peters winning light gun score with a 385. Jason Walker took the group win with a 2.008” through 8 targets. With Tom Jacobs, Darrel Dacus, Jim Bauer, and Carrol Lance rounding out the top 5 in Light Gun overall it was going to be a hard fight to the finish.

Click Image to View Larger Equipment List
Big Piney 600 yard ibs nationals Missouri 600yd
Look at the Caliber Column — Every Top 10 shooter in Light Gun Class shot either a 6mm BR Norma or a 6mm Dasher, an “Improved” version of the 6mm BR. In Heavy Gun it was 9 of 10 (with one unidentified 6.5mm). Hard to beat the 6mm BR and the Dasher for pure accuracy at 600 yards.

This competitor shot the match with a Labradar chronograph on his bench.
Big Piney 600 yard ibs nationals Missouri 600yd

On Sunday the Heavy Gun class started right on time with the clouds keeping Saturday’s fog in check. Relay 3 started the day off strong, putting it on top shelf for everyone to follow. The conditions seemed to stay pretty steady and helped create opportunities for competitors to shoot some amazing groups. Tom Jacobs came through with a 1.685 Heavy Gun group Aggregate. Rookie shooters Jim Kowske and TJ Stroop put on great Heavy Gun performances. Jim was second in Heavy gun group with 1.996” and TJ shot his way to second in score with a 384. Jason Walker hung on winning Heavy Gun score with a 389. This set up Jason as the Heavy Gun overall winner.

The Big Piney Range is a pretty facility surrounded by trees.
Big Piney 600 yard ibs nationals Missouri 600yd

Jason dominated the weekend landing himself a 2-Gun Overall Championship. The top Rookie honors went to T.J. Stroop. Sally Bauer won the Overall top female. Rory Jacobs was able to seal the top Junior spot. The Big Piney crew would like to thank everyone for being great friends and great competitors! We could not have done it without everyone!

The match organizers provided tasty BBQ banquets for hungry shooters.
Big Piney 600 yard ibs nationals Missouri 600yd

Here competitors relax between relays at the Big Piney facility.
Big Piney 600 yard ibs nationals Missouri 600yd

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
April 9th, 2017

Don’t Kill the Chrono! Setting up Chronos to Avoid Stray Shots

chronograph placement, shooting chrony, chrono, advisory, tech tip

Each year we repeat this story as a caution to readers using conventional chronographs set up on tripods downrange. There is nothing more frustrating (or embarassing) than sending a live round into your expensive new chronograph. As the photo below demonstrates, with most types of chronographs (other than the barrel-hung Magnetospeed), you can fatally injure your expensive chrono if it is not positioned precisely.

When setting up a chrono, we always unload the rifle, remove the bolt and bore-sight to ensure that the path of the bullet is not too low. When bore-sighting visually, set up the rifle securely on the sandbags and look through the bore, breech to muzzle, lining up the barrel with your aim point on the target. Then (during an appropriate cease-fire), walk behind the chronograph. Looking straight back through the “V” formed by the sky-screens, you should be able to see light at the end of the barrel if the gun is positioned correctly. You can also use an in-chamber, laser bore-sighter to confirm the visual boresighting (see photo).

Laser boresighter chronograph

Adjust the height, angle and horizontal position of the chronograph so the bullet will pass through the middle of the “V” below the plastic diffusers, no less than 5″ above the light sensors. We put tape on the front sky-screen supports to make it easier to determine the right height over the light sensors.

Use a Test Backer to Confirm Your Bullet Trajectory
You can put tape on the support rods about 6″ up from the unit. This helps you judge the correct vertical height when setting up your rifle on the bags. Another trick is to hang a sheet of paper from the rear skyscreen and then use a laser boresighter to shine a dot on the paper (with the gun planted steady front and rear). This should give you a good idea (within an inch or so) of the bullet’s actual flight path through the “V” over the light sensors. Of course, when using a laser, never look directly at the laser! Instead shine the laser away from you and see where it appears on the paper.

chronograph set-up

Alignment of Chronograph Housing
Make sure the chrono housing is parallel to the path of the bullet. Don’t worry if the unit is not parallel to the ground surface. What you want is the bullet to pass over both front and rear sensors at the same height. Don’t try to set the chrono height in reference to the lens of your scope–as it sits 1″ to 2″ above your bore axis. To avoid muzzle blast interference, set your chronograph at least 10 feet from the end of the muzzle (or the distance recommended by the manufacturer).

chronograph laser sky screens

Rifles with Elevated Iron Sights
All too often rookie AR15 shooters forget that AR sights are positioned roughly 2.4″ above the bore axis (at the top of the front sight blade). If you set your bullet pass-through point using your AR’s front sight, the bullet will actually be traveling 2.4″ lower as it goes through the chrono. That’s why we recommend bore-sighting and setting the bullet travel point about 5-8″ above the base of the sky-screen support shafts. (Or the vertical distance the chronograph maker otherwise recommends). NOTE: You can make the same mistake on a scoped rifle if the scope is set on very tall rings, so the center of the cross-hairs is much higher than the bore axis line.

Laser boresighter chronograph

TARGET AIM POINT: When doing chrono work, we suggest you shoot at a single aiming point no more than 2″ in diameter (on your target paper). Use that aiming point when aligning your chrono with your rifle’s bore. If you use a 2″ bright orange dot, you should be able to see that through the bore at 100 yards. Using a single 2″ target reduces the chance of a screen hit as you shift points of aim. If you shoot at multiple target dots, place them in a vertical line, and bore sight on the lowest dot. Always set your chron height to set safe clearance for the LOWEST target dot, and then work upwards only.

Other Chronograph Tips from Forum Members:

When using a chronograph, I put a strip of masking tape across the far end of the skyscreens about two-thirds of the way up. This gives me a good aiming or bore-sighting reference that’s well away from the pricey bits. I learned that one the hard way. — German Salazar

A very easy and simple tool to help you set up the chronograph is a simple piece of string! Set your gun (unloaded of course) on the rest and sight your target. Tie one end of the string to the rear scope ring or mount, then pull the string along the barrel to simulate the bullet path. With the string showing the bullet’s path, you can then easily set the chronograph’s placement left/right, and up/down. This will also let you set the chrono’s tilt angle and orientation so the sensors are correctly aligned with the bullet path. — Wayne Shaw

If shooting over a chrono from the prone position off a bipod or similar, beware of the muzzle sinking as recoil causes the front of the rifle to drop. I “killed” my first chronograph shooting off a gravel covered firing point where I’d not given enough clearance to start with and an inch or two drop in the muzzle caused a bullet to clip the housing. — Laurie Holland

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April 6th, 2017

Going Big (.338 and Beyond) — Big Bore Basics with Bryan Litz

Big Bore Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics .416 Barrett .376 CheyTac .408 CheyTac .50 BMG BC Solid Bullets

In this video Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics offers tips on Big Bore shooting (i.e. .338 caliber and above). Bryan offers advice on bullet selection and he explains the challenge of handling the blast, noise, concussion, and recoil of big boomers such as the .416 Barrett and .50 BMG.

Bryan goes big … very big, shooting a monster .50 BMG bullpup.
Watch the recoil pulse shove Bryan backwards at 1:40 time-mark:

Big Bore Basics — Tips for Shooting Big Boomers by Bryan Litz
There are some unique things to consider with big-bore shooting. One is bullet design. For long-range shooting you want high-BC bullets. You get high BC from heavy bullets and bullets that have low drag. The interesting trade-off in big calibers is that there are a lot more lathe-turned solid bullets in copper and brass available than there are in the smaller calibers. You’ve got bullets that have slightly lower drag profiles but they are made of materials that are slightly less dense (than lead) so they are relatively light for their caliber. With that trade-off, the BCs might not be as high as you think for big calibers, although the bullets are heavy enough that they carry a lot of energy.

Energy really has a lot to do with shooting these big-caliber rifles. As with any kind of shooting, the fundamentals of marksmanship are the most important thing. However, it can be hard to maintain good fundamentals (e.g. trigger control and sight alignment) when you’re burning 100 grains of powder. There’s a lot of concussion (you want a muzzle brake no matter what your cartridge is above .338). It certainly can be challenging with all the muzzle blast and all the energy coming out of the barrel.

For long-range shooting with big bore rifles, you are still looking for the same things that you want with smaller-caliber rigs. You want a high-performance bullet, you want consistent ammunition, and you want a good fire solution to be able to center your group at long range. Basically you’re just dealing with the challenges that the high energy brings, and being smart about your bullet selection.

Big Bore Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics .416 Barrett .376 CheyTac .408 CheyTac .50 BMG BC Solid Bullets

In the video above, Bryan is shooting the DesertTech HTI bullpup. This rifle can shoot four (4) big bore chamberings, with barrel conversion kits for: .375 CheyTac, .408 CheyTac, .416 Barrett, and .50 BMG. These can be quickly swapped in the HTI chassis, which employs an internal barrel-clamp system.

Big Bore Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics .416 Barrett .376 CheyTac .408 CheyTac .50 BMG BC Solid Bullets

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April 5th, 2017

Shoot Like a Girl — Young Lady Competitors

Young lady competitive shooters NRA Blog

This article comes from the NRA Blog. Read Full Article HERE.

By Jason Brown for NRABlog.com.
The numbers speak for themselves: more females are participating in the shooting sports than ever before. From 2006 to 2015, there has been a 57% increase in the number of American women of all ages engaging in sport shooting, with ladies representing 26% of all target shooters in 2015.

As more women join the ranks of shooting athletes, more young women follow suit, carving out their place in the competition and making an impact. Take a spin around social media, and you’ll likely find any number of young women earning sponsorships, winning matches and spreading the message of the shooting sports.

We’ve identified a group of young female competitive shooters leading the way in their sport, smashing stereotypes and putting the guys on notice.

1. Cheyenne Dalton

Young lady competitive shooters NRA Blog

Cheyenne began shooting competitively in 2013, and has quickly become of competitive shooting’s brightest young stars. Having started by shooting rimfire challenge and USPSA in 2014, she moved into the 3-Gun arena in 2015. Cheyenne has won numerous state rimfire titles, and is a two-time Rimfire World Champion in the Limited Lady category, winning in 2014 and 2016. Outside of shooting, the 16-year-old Missourian loves the outdoors, where she likes to hunt and fish. Her skills don’t stop at shooting – she’s a bluegrass musician in her band, That Dalton Gang, where she plays violin, mandolin, guitar and upright bass.

2. Madalyn Stewart

Young lady competitive shooters NRA Blog

Known for her trademark lime green guns, gear and shooting jersey, Madalyn, known as “3-Gun Maddie,” is a 14-year-old 3-Gun shooter from Wisconsin. Maddie started shooting competitively at age 10, accompanying her dad to Steel Challenge and USPSA matches before discovering 3-Gun. Aside from running through competitions, Maddie is active 4-H Shooting Sports and her local gun club’s NRA-sponsored Junior Rifle Club Marksmanship Program, plays volleyball and soccer, rides horses, and mentors younger students as they transition from elementary to middle school. Talk about well rounded!

3. Katelyn Francis

Young lady competitive shooters NRA Blog

Katelyn, known as “3 Gun Katie”, describes herself as “just a girl with a gun”. Now 19, Katie is a veteran of 3-Gun shooting, having even been profiled by NRA’s America’s 1st Freedom. She first shot a gun — a Ruger .22LR single-action revolver — at age 5, and entered her first 3-Gun match in Kentucky before she was even a teenager. Katie said that in addition to travelling, meeting new friends and keeping her active in the outdoors, competitive shooting has taught her to respect firearms and handle them safely, and made her a more responsible teenager at both home and school.

SEE More Shooter Profiles — Read Full Article HERE.

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