September 17th, 2021

New NSSF Firearms Information Share Center

NSSF shooting sports infographic media share center

The NSSF has a new Share Center webpage, with key information and graphics that gun owners can easily share through social media. Second Amendment advocates now have access to a growing library of shareable facts with infographics. These can be shared directly to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as well as blogs, forums, and websites. In addition, the graphics can easily be attached to emails.

Topics include hunting, gun safety, modern sporting rifles, background checks, conservation and more. The NSSF plans to regularly add more shareable materials to the NSSF Share Center.

The NSSF states: “The firearm industry needs your help to correct misinformation and misconceptions about the firearm industry and gun owners to ensure that our freedoms remain protected. The new NSSF Share Center makes it easy for anyone to lead discussions on social media and beyond.”

Here are some of the available infographics. To see all Share Center materials, go to NSSF.org/share.

NSSF shooting sports infographic media share center

NSSF shooting sports infographic media share center

NSSF shooting sports infographic media share center

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September 15th, 2021

Watch and Learn — Five Great Shooting USA Videos

Shooting USA video parallax wind reading Sherri Gallagher scope mounting AR cleaning field-stripping

For decades, ShootingUSA has been a leading video resource for the shooting sports and hunting. This popular cable TV show covers shooting matches, and provides expert information on precision shooting, gun maintenance, optics, and defensive firearms use. Here are five interesting videos all worth watching. Learn about wind-reading, gun maintenance, and optics.

1. Reading the Wind — SGT Sherri Jo Gallagher of USAMU

Sergeant Sherri Jo Gallagher of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) shows us how to read the wind in given conditions, and how to apply your wind assessment when aiming down-range. During her time with the USAMU, Sherri won the National High Power Championship, and was the first woman in history to earn the U.S. Army “Soldier of the Year” honors. Sherri comes from a legendary family of shooters — she was raised by Ace Marksman Mid Tompkins and mother Nancy Tompkins, the first female to win the NRA National High Power Championship.

2. Field-Stripping and Cleaning AR-Platform Rifles

Let’s face it — Black Rifles run dirty. On AR-platform rifles, the gas system blows carbon and powder residues back into the action and bolt carrier group. Accordingly, you need to clean ARs early and often, and you should fully disassemble the bolt carrier to access parts and recesses which accumulate greasy lube and hard carbon. This helpful video shows how to field-strip and clean AR-platform rifles. If you own an AR, this is definitely worth viewing. With over 1.9 million views, this is the #1 most-watched video on Shooting USA’s YouTube Channel.

2. MOA Defined — Jim Scoutten Explains Minute of Angle

Minute of Angle (MOA) — this is the most common measurement of group size, and hence rifle accuracy. You hear about shooters hoping to shoot 1 MOA or “half-MOA”, but many folks could not give you a precise definition. In fact MOA is an angular measurement that equates to one-sixtieth of one degree of Arc. In this video, host John Scoutten defines MOA. He then demonstrates how MOA translates to accuracy on target. He demonstrates one-half-MOA accuracy with a Les Baer Custom rifle. This company offers a three-shot, half-MOA guarantee for its rifles.

4. How to Adjust for Parallax

Most precision rifle scopes have parallax adjustment, typically a knob on the left side of the scope. but what exactly is “Parallax” and why do you need to adjust optics to ensure the parallax setting is optimal? In this Shooting USA video, John Paul of JP Rifles defines parallax and explains why you need to set parallax correctly for the distance to your target. The video then shows how to adjust parallax correctly, a process which should start with the scope’s ocular focus.

5. How to Mount a Riflescope

When mounting a scope you want to use quality rings, and ensure that the scope is leveled properly. In addition, you need to adjust the fore/aft position of the scope so that eye relief is correct. Ideal scope position may be different when shooting from the bench vs. shooting prone. In this Shooting USA video John Paul of JP Rifles reviews scope mounting basics.

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September 13th, 2021

NRA Releases 2022 Nat’l Matches Schedule for Camp Atterbury

NRA National Matches Calendar schedule 2022 summer Camp Atterbury Indiana

The 2022 NRA National Rifle and Pistol Championships will be held July 15 through August 22, 2022 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. A provisional calendar for next summer has been released, which we publish below so our readers can start their planning.

NRA National Matches Calendar schedule 2022 summer Camp Atterbury Indiana

The 2022 NRA Rifle and Pistol Championships at Camp Atterbury will start with OTC (Over the Course) High Power Rifle competition. This is unlike 2021 when the Nationals at Atterbury started with Smallbore events. In 2022 the Smallbore cycle runs from July 28 through August 10. Some competitors have lamented that this overlaps with the Long Range Championship (July 20 – August 4), so shooters will have to choose one or the other. The 1-Mile ELR Match returns to the National Matches Calendar after being dropped in 2021.

OTC Events and Championship: 15-21 July, 2022
Precision Pistol Championship: 17-24 July, 2022
Mid-Range Championship: 23-28 July, 2022
Long Range Championship: 30 July – 4 August, 2022
Smallbore Nationals: 28 July – 10 August, 2022
Extreme Long Range 1-Mile Shoot: 5-7 August, 2022

The 2022 NRA High Power Across the Course, Mid-Range, and Long Range Championships will be fired on the ranges of Camp Atterbury. Matches will begin on July 15 and run through August 4. This year the NRA revives the Extreme Long Range Challenge, which will run August 5-7. All registrations are through the NRA Competition Portal.

NRA National Matches Calendar schedule 2022 summer Camp Atterbury Indiana


CLICK HERE to View Full Screen Calendar PDF »

NOTE: The F-Class Nationals, to our knowledge, will NOT be held at Camp Atterbury in 2022. We’ve been informed that the probable venue will be the Ben Avery Range in Arizona, with probable dates in late October 2022.

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September 12th, 2021

The Rifle Patriarch — 48 Years of Service to Youth Shooting

Norris Diefenderfer shooting coach maryland retires Chambersburg

CMP Report submitted by George Kuhne, Everett Junior Rifle Club
Norris Diefenderfer, a long-time coach with the Antietam Junior Rifle Club from Hagerstown, Maryland, is retiring after coaching junior athletes for nearly 50 years. Diefenderfer, now 85 years of age, started his coaching career in May of 1973 when the leader of the Washington County, Maryland, 4-H rifle club became ill and was unable to find a replacement. Norris stepped in to fill the role. Now, 48 years later, after coaching hundreds of talented young shooters, Norris is retiring.

Norris Diefenderfer shooting coach maryland retires Chambersburg
Norris delivering instruction to his shooters on the standing position. Norris was adamant about teaching a standing shooting position that does not put unnecessary stress on the spine.

Norris Diefenderfer shooting coach maryland retires Chambersburg
Norris (left, seated) with his team members at the 2021 National Matches at Camp Perry. Norris brought his first group of juniors to the National Matches at Camp Perry in 1982, starting a tradition that has continued since.

77 of Diefenderfer’s Shooters Have Received Division 1 College Scholarships
This summer, at the 2021 National Matches at Camp Perry, Norris decided to retire after 48 years of coaching. He leaves a legacy of dedication to hundreds of young athletes, including 77 who have gone on to receive Division 1 college shooting scholarships. These scholarships total in the millions of dollars and have made education possible for a number of individuals who may not have attended college without them. Several of his athletes have also gone on to All-American honors at the collegiate level.

Initially, the 4-H rifle club only met through the summer months, with their season culminating at the annual 4-H rifle match. As time passed, Norris became interested in getting his juniors involved in additional matches. He acquired the ability to use the nearby Chambersburg Rod and Gun Club range in Pennsylvania and held weekly practices, alternating between smallbore and air rifle. Once a month, the young athletes would shoot a college-format match consisting of a course of fire of 60-shot 3P (three position) smallbore along with 60-shot standing air rifle.

During the summer months Norris moved his practices to the North American Rod & Gun Club in Hagerstown, Maryland, for outdoor shooting at 50 yards — maintaining a personal philosophy that shooting outdoors helped make for better indoor results. Norris also directed week-long smallbore summer camps at the Hagerstown Club.

Norris Diefenderfer shooting coach maryland retires Chambersburg
This photo is from a report on 2013 Antietam summer smallbore camp lead by Norris Diefenderfer and rifle Coach Kelley of the U.S. Naval Academy. CLICK HERE for a full report with more photos.

Upon his retirement from employment in 1996, Norris renamed the club the Antietam Junior Rifle Club. His junior athletes began traveling to several matches outside of their club like the state Junior Olympic Rifle Competition (JORC), the National Rifle Association (NRA) sectionals, the Palmyra Invitational and some open collegiate matches.

Diefenderfer’s successful teaching methods have been shared with coaches for many other training programs. He stresses shooting positions that are fundamentally sound and safe for the juniors, avoiding the all-too-often occurring back and spine issues that can occur from poor training. His sense of humor and warm, encouraging demeanor with his athletes will be greatly missed.

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September 11th, 2021

Pyramyd Air Backyard Brawl 2021 Contest — Free Targets

Pyramyd Air Backyard Brawl video silhouette airgun contest video

Pyramyd Air is running a great contest right now — the Backyard Brawl. There will be $7,000 in CASH PRIZES. Four Grand Prize winners will each get $1000.00. But act soon — the entry deadline is September 15, 2019, just a few days away.

Backyard Brawl Information | Backyard Brawl Official Rules

Pyramyd Air Backyard Brawl video silhouette airgun contest video

This Backyard Brawl contest is a bit unusual. To enter you need to shoot a set of mini silhouettes and then make a video. The silhouette targets are free with code BRAWL21 (you just pay for shipping). Once you receive the targets, knock ‘em down with your airgun, and upload a video to YouTube or Vimeo. You MUST upload a video to be entered in the contest. Make sure the title includes “Pyramyd Air Backyard Brawl” and put this link in the description: https://www.pyramydair.com/bb.

Pyramyd Air Backyard Brawl video silhouette airgun contest video

How to Enter Backyard Brawl Contest
Order Air Venturi Airgun Slynger Metal Silhouette Targets, FREE with promo code BRAWL21 (just pay shipping). Then upload a video of you shooting the targets with an air rifle or air pistol. Limit one entry per person. Contest ends September 15, 2021. Winners will be announced on/around the week of October 1st, 2021.

Backyard Brawl Contestant Videos
Here are two videos uploaded by past Backyard Brawl contest entrants. You’ll see some pretty good shooting with interesting airguns. Can you make a more entertaining video?


Here Matt Coulter shoots a .22 Caliber Royale with JSP Express Jumbo pellets at about 580 fps.


In this video, UpNorthAirGunner shoots a Benjamin Marauder .177 Field & Target, a Broom-Handle Mauser clone full-auto BB Pistol, and a Seneca “Dragon Claw” .50 caliber air rifle.

How to Enter Backyard Brawl and How to Get Your Four FREE Mini Silhouette Targets

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September 11th, 2021

Do You REALLY Know MilliRadians? Intro to Mils and Mildots

mildot ranging milliradian Milrad

We first ran this article in 2012, and it was very well received. Since then, many Forum members have requested an explanation of MILS and mildots, so we decided to run this feature again…

1 Milliradian (Milrad or ‘Mil’) = 1/1000th of a radian | 1 Milliradian = 0.0573 degrees.

Mildot scope reticleIn this NSSF Video, Ryan Cleckner, a former Sniper Instructor for the 1st Ranger Battalion, defines the term “MilliRadian” (Milrad) and explains how you can use a mildot-type scope to range the distance to your target. It’s pretty simple, once you understand the angular subtension for the reticle stadia dots/lines. Cleckner also explains how you can use the milrad-based reticle markings in your scope for elevation hold-overs and windage hold-offs.

Even if you normally shoot at known distances, the hold-off capability of milrad-reticle scopes can help you shoot more accurately in rapidly-changing wind conditions. And, when you must engage multiple targets quickly, you can use the reticle’s mil markings to move quickly from one target distance to another without having to spin your elevation turrets up and down.

WEB RESOURCES: If you want to learn more about using Milliradians and Mildot scopes, we suggest the excellent Mil-dot.com User Guide. This covers the basics you need to know, with clear illustrations. Also informative is The Truth about Mil Dots by Michael Haugen. Mr. Haugen begins with basic definitions: 360 degrees = 2 x Pi (symbol π) Radians. That means 1 Radian is about 57.3 degrees. 1 Milliradian (Milrad or ‘Mil’) = 1/1000th of a radian. Thus 1 Milliradian = .0573 degrees.

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September 10th, 2021

3.2 Million New Gun Owners in 2021 — NSSF Survey Estimates

NSSF new gun owners survey 2021 first half

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) recently surveyed firearm retailers nationwide. Based on this survey, the NSSF estimates that over 3.2 million people purchased a firearm for the first time during the first half of 2021. The survey was conducted to learn the buying habits of firearm purchasers during the first six months of 2021. Respondents indicated that 33.2% of customers, or 3,247,351, purchased a firearm for the first time, based on June’s total of nearly 9.8 million background checks for a gun sale.

New Gun Owners Create Massive Demand for Ammo Production
The fact that we have millions of new gun owners is a major cause of the continuing ammo shortage. Consider this — if those 3.2 million new gun owners each purchase just two, 50rd boxes of ammunition, that is 320,000,000 rounds that must be produced to meet the new demand.

“This survey shows that there is a continuing demand signal for firearms from the American public,” said Joe Bartozzi, NSSF President and CEO. “We witnessed each month background check figures associated with a gun sale that are second only to those we saw in last year’s record-breaking totals. These survey results show not only is there a strong and healthy appetite from first-time gun buyers but that there is still room to grow. We are encouraged by the sustained interest in lawful and responsible gun ownership as well as by the manufacturing base which has been challenged to meet this remarkable demand.”

NSSF new gun owners survey 2021 first half

More Women and More Diversity Among Gun Owners
Survey results showed that in the first six months of 2021 there was a significant increase in the percentage of buyers who were female, compared to the period before the Pandemic. In addition, the percentage of gun buyers who were African-American, Hispanic-American, and Asian-American increased significantly. So the ranks of USA gun owners are becoming significantly more diverse, and women are making up an ever-growing share of gun owners.

Training Resources for New Gun Owners

NRA Online firearms gun safety training program

In response to the record number of first-time gun buyers in 2020-21, the NRA’s Education & Training Division is offering five Online Gun Safety Courses that can be completely online at home. The five NRA Online Gun Safety Courses ARE:

1. Gun Safety Seminar
2. NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Course — Distance Learning
3. NRA Basic Rifle Shooting Course — Distance Learning
4. NRA Basic Shotgun Shooting Course — Distance Learning
5. NRA Basic Personal Protection In The Home Course — Distance Learning

Each course, lasting from one to eight hours, is available online at NRAInstructors.org. To Access the 0nline training options, first CLICK HERE. Then under the Heading “DISTANCE LEARNING”, you will see options. CLICK the small gray box at the left of the title to select the course. IMPORTANT — Next you MUST SCROLL to the bottom of the NRA webpage to SEARCH. Select your state or Zip code, then you will get a list of the moderated online courses in your area.

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September 9th, 2021

Mental Preparation for Shooting Competitions

randi rogers mental preparation

Randi Rogers is one of best female action shooters in the world. Randi has captured over 60 World and National Titles in seven different shooting disciplines for pistol, shotgun, and rifle. From her early wins in the world of Cowboy Action Shooting, to bringing home a Gold Medal from the 2011 IPSC World Shot in Greece, Randi is a winner. Competing as ‘Holy Terror’, Randi has won the ladies’ division at the SASS Cowboy Action World Championships so many times, they might as well retire the Ladies’ Trophy with her name on it. Randi, who started shooting at age 11, now competes in several disciplines including Cowboy Action Shooting, USPSA, Steel Challenge, IDPA, IPSC, and NRA Action Pistol. When Randi is not on the road or in the office (where she serves as Comp-Tac’s Marketing/Sales Manager), there’s a good chance you’ll find Randi on the range preparing for the next match. In this article from RandiRogersShooting.com, Randi talks about the “mental game” and how she gets ready for a big match.

randi rogers mental preparation


Preparing Mentally for a Shooting Competition by Randi Rogers

As I head to [a major match] I have a lot of tasks to complete. One of the most important [tasks] is preparing mentally. For an experienced shooter, the mental part of shooting is more important than knowing how to pull a trigger. The mind is an amazing thing and if you/it believes something, your mind will override all the skills you have. Example: if you think that you are bad at throwing a ball you will throw the ball badly.

Over the years I have formed a few techniques to help myself with my mental game:

1. Make Peace with your Current Skills. When I get on the plane is when my mental preperation really starts. This is when I decide that I am ready to shoot, confident in my skills and can achive the goals I set for myself. From this point forward I make peace with my shooting and tell myself that if I follow my plan I will achive my goals. There is no longer any time for me to become a better shooter.

2. Set a Goal and a Plan. When I attend a shooting competition I have a goal in mind and a plan for how I want to get there. This varies on what shooting sport it is. I may have the goal that I want to place in the top half of the shooters in my division. In order to achieve that goal I may have decided that I need to concentrate on accuracy. When you set goals and plans they need to reflect all of the work you have been doing. For instance, it does not make sense to say “I will win everything” if you haven’t practiced in four years. It is important to set achievable but still challenging goals.

3. Stay Positive! Whenever you set goals or “talk” to yourself mentally it is important to stay away from negative commands and negative words. I don’t tell myself “Don’t Miss,” because this is a negative command. It is like telling a child “Don’t spill the milk.” What are they going to do? Spill the milk.

4. Stick to the Plan. As I get ready and start competing in the match sometimes my mental voice goes haywire saying things like, “that wasn’t fast enough,” “that was a huge mistake,” “look how fast they are,” “they are going to beat you” and so on. It is hard but you have to banish these thoughts. You can’t change your plan now, there is nothing that you can do to suddenly become a better shooter. Instead think of your goal and plan and repeat it to yourself over and over again. For instance, “I am going to finish in the top half of my division and I am going to shoot accurately.”

As I head into a major competition my mental plan is to [remember] “Sights” and “Stay Aggressive.” I want to make sure I am remembering to look at my sights and shoot accurately, but I also want to make sure that I am not getting lazy. I need to move and shoot as fast as possible while still making my hits. As for my goal, I will keep that a secret for now.

5. Work on your Weak Points On her Facebook Page, Randi posted: “Fun fact — when I first started shooting, my left hand was so weak that the gun would jam up every single shot. So my grandfather made me shoot for a week straight with nothing but support hand. To this day I never sweat support hand stages even if they are limited!”

Have a great next match and remember Rise to the Challenge! — Randi Rogers, Team Ruger

Watch Randi Speed Through a Cowboy Action Competition Stage

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September 8th, 2021

CMP New England Games in Vermont September 19-26, 2021

2021 CMP Games New England Electronic Targets

CMP games new englandOn September 19-26, the CMP 2021 New England Games will take place in Jericho, Vermont. Hosted by the Vermont State Rifle and Pistol Association and the Burlington Rifle and Pistol Club, the New England Games will be conducted at the Camp Ethan Allen Training Site, a beautiful facility.

» CLICK HERE to Register for 2021 CMP New England Games

New England Games Registration is currently open. Competitors are encouraged to register right away, though interested shooters will also be able to register for additional matches while attending the event. The CMP expects over 150 competitors this year. The New England Games have become extremely popular for the breathtaking views and serene environment. Add in the new electronic target system and you have a recipe for success.

IMPORTANT — New Magazine Restrictions. To comply with a new Vermont law, competitors may NOT bring 20-round magazines into Vermont. Competitors may use 10-round magazines during the New England Games to be compliant with the new Vermont State Law. Note, however, you may BORROW a 20-round magazine from a member of the Vermont State Rifle and Pistol Association after your arrival to Camp Ethan Allen. Contact a CMP associate during check-out process for magazine loans.

2017 CMP Games New England Electronic Targets

The 2021 New England Games will feature the CMP’s electronic High Power targets. The electronic target system is now well-sorted and provides accurate scoring. Shooters have monitors right at their shooting stations, providing instant scoring info — no more waiting for the targets to be marked manually. And with the elimination of pit duty allowed by the target system, matches are completed more quickly.

Here’s the view from the berm, looking back to the firing line…
new england cmp games 2017 camp ethan Allen

new england cmp games 2017 camp ethan Allen

Similar to the Eastern, Western, and Oklahoma CMP Travel games, the New England Games features a variety of competitive shooting matches. The CMP Highpower Rifle Matches include a 4-Man Team Match, two CMP 800 Aggregate Matches followed by an EIC Service Rifle Match. Following the CMP HP Matches will be the CMP Games Matches. The CMP Games Matches include Rifle Marksmanship 101 & M16 Match (formerly SAFS), Garand/Springfield/Vintage/Modern Military Matches, Carbine Match, Rimfire Sporter Match and Vintage Sniper Team Match. There are also several pistol matches for competitors to fire including CMP As-Issued 1911 Pistol Match, EIC Service Pistol Match, and .22 Rimfire Pistol EIC Match.

There will also be a GSM New Shooter Clinic and an M1 Maintenance Clinic during the event. CMP Sales will be at NE Games with a limited supply of rifles. They will also have ammo available for purchase.

High Praise for Venue and Match
Competitors at past CMP New England Games were mightily impressed by Camp Ethan Allen, a beautiful venue. “I was blown away by the facilities at Camp Ethan Allen,” said Steve Cooper, CMP North general manager. “The grounds were neatly manicured, our offices for registration and sales were very convenient and the classrooms were perfect for our clinics.” Photos from past events are posted on the CMP’s Zenfolio website.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a true CMP Games event without a Rimfire Sporter Match.
New England Games CMP CEATS SAFS

The CEATS Pistol Range hosted both centerfire and rimfire matches in a lovely, tree-lined setting.
New England Games CMP CEATS SAFS

Learn More about the CMP New England Games
For registration, travel, and housing information, visit the New England Games Page on the CMP website. If you have questions, Contact Vera Snyder at vsnyder@thecmp.org or call 888-267-0796, ext. 782. Competitors can also find more housing information here at Vermont.org/places-to-stay.

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September 7th, 2021

Prepare for Hunting Season with Leupold Podcasts

Leupold Stevens Core Insider Podcast audio hunting shooting radio show
onX free hunting app GPS mapping service Leupold Stevens Core Insider Podcast audio hunting shooting radio show
Leupold is offering a FREE 3-month subscription to the excellent onX Hunting App with the purchase of any Leupold scope between 8/23/21 and 12/26/21.

Hunting season is coming soon around the country. If you want to get hunting tips from experts, here is a great audio “infotainment” resource. Leupold offers podcasts, 40-75 minutes in length, on a variety of topics of interest to hunters and precision shooters. A podcast is like a radio show that is available 24/7, at your convenience. When you want to “tune in”, via your home computer or mobile devices, just visit the Leupold Podcast Page.

CLICK HERE for All Leupold Core Insider Podcasts »

Oregon-based optics-maker Leupold & Stevens (“Leupold) offers the “Core Insider” podcast series. These podcasts deliver hunting advice and recount successful hunting trips — such as Caribou hunting in Alaska. Other Leupold podcasts provide optics info, industry intel, and tech tips. Leupold’s Core Insider podcasts can also be accessed directly from Leupold.com. From the Leupold Podcast Home Page, you can stream the podcasts live or download for later listening.

You can also stream these podcasts via iTunes, Google Podcasts and Spotify.

The Leupold Core Insider Podcasts cover a wide variety of shooting and hunting topics. Recent Episode 90 provides useful tips for novice hunters. The informative Episode 55 explains how Binoculars and Rangefinders function. Early Episode number 2 features Leupold team members Kyle Lamb and Buck Doyle discussing long-range shooting. There are now 93 Leupold Podcasts available online for FREE.

Episode 90: Randy Newberg’s Tips for New Hunters Click to launch Leupold Ep. 90 Podcast Page:

Leupold Stevens Core Insider Podcast audio hunting shooting radio show

Episode 55, How Binoculars and Rangefinders Work. Click to launch Leupold Ep. 55 Podcast Page:

Leupold Stevens Core Insider Podcast audio hunting shooting radio show

Episode 2, Long-Range Shooting. Click to launch Leupold Ep. 2 Podcast Page:

Leupold Stevens Core Insider Podcast audio hunting shooting radio show

There are now ninety-three (93) Leupold Core Insider Podcasts. Here are ten of our favorite episodes. Click links below to access:

Leupold Stevens Core Insider Podcast audio hunting shooting radio showEpisode 83: Rifle Hunting Mistakes and How to Fix Them
Episode 78: Anyone’s Hunt — Montana Antelope
Episode 56: Hunting Elk in Utah with Wild Country Outfitters
Episode 54: How to Select a Riflescope for Your Budget
Episode 52: Randy Newberg’s Top 5 Glassing Tips
Episode 44: Understanding Rangefinder Technology, Myths, and More
Episode 37: Q&A with Leupold Technical Service
Episode 36: The Art of Wild Game Cooking
Episode 7: Predator Hunting with Jeff Thomason
Episode 6: Trendsetters — Women Who Hunt

Access Leupold Core Insider podcasts from iTunes or Spotify. You can also get Core Insider podcasts on Leupold.com. Core Insider videos can be found at YouTube.com/LeupoldOptics.

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September 3rd, 2021

Weakside Bolt Placement — When and Why It Works

left port McMillan Rifle

Most bolt-action rifle shooters work the bolt with their trigger-pulling hand. This is because most rifles sold to right-handed shooters come with right-side bolts, while “lefty” rifles come with left-side bolts. This “standard” configuration requires the shooter to take his dominant, trigger-pulling hand off the stock to cycle the bolt, then re-position his hand on the stock, and “re-claim” the trigger. Often the shooter must lift or move his head to work the bolt, and that also requires him to re-establish his cheek weld after each and every shot. Not good.

This really doesn’t make much sense for precision shooting with fore-end support*. There is a better way. If you leave your trigger hand in position and work the bolt (and feed rounds) with the opposite hand, then you don’t need to shift grip and head position with each shot. All this requires is a weakside-placed bolt, i.e. a left bolt for a right-handed shooter or a right bolt for a left-handed shooter. The video below shows a “Lefty” working a right bolt. Note how efficient this is:

As our friend Boyd Allen explains: “If you think about it, if you are going to work with a factory action where your options are left bolt and left port or right bolt and right port, and you are building a rifle that will only be shot from a rest, using the left/left for a RH shooter or using a right/right for a LH shooter works better than the conventional configuration”.

Shoot Like a Champ and Work the Bolt with Your Weakside Hand
Derek Rodgers, the current F-TR World Champion and the only person to have won BOTH F-Open and F-TR U.S. National Championships plus the King of 2 Miles Match, runs this kind of “opposite” bolt set-up. Yep, Derek shoots right-handed with a left bolt. Though Derek is a right-hander, he shoots with a Left Bolt/Left Port (LBLP) action. He pulls the trigger with his right index finger, while working the left-side bolt with his left (weakside) hand. This allows him to stay in position, and maintain his cheekweld. He places his right hand on the grip, while manipulating the bolt (and feeding rounds) with his non-trigger-pulling hand.

Recent F-TR World Champion and King of 2 Miles Derek Rodgers
left port McMillan Rifle Derek Rodgers

This is the rifle with which Derek won the 2013 F-TR National Championship.
left port McMillan Rifle Derek Rodgers

*For true standing, off-hand shooting (whether in competition or on a hunt), a conventional strongside bolt placement makes sense, since the non-dominant arm must support the front of the rifle all the time. When shooting from bipod or rest, it’s a different story.

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September 3rd, 2021

FREE NRA Experienced Hunter Education Courses

Experiencd Hunter education course NRA

Hunting season is starting soon in most areas of the country. Here’s a way you can improve your hunting skills/knowledge. The NRA is offering a FREE online Experienced Hunter Education Course for those preparing to take advantage of the 2020 hunting season.

“Our Experienced Hunter Education Course provides those who might have taken a season or two off a convenient way to sharpen their skills before heading back into the field.”said Peter Churchbourne, director of NRA’s Hunters Leadership Forum.

NRA’s free 2-hour course is a firearm and hunting safety-training refresher in a convenient and engaging platform available through desktop, tablet, or smartphone. The course is available to everyone at www.NRAEHE.org. NOTE: The course is NOT a substitute for state-mandated hunter safety requirements and does not offer any certifications.

Experiencd Hunter education course NRA

The NRA’s NRA Experienced Hunter Education Course, is an online training program designed to help hunters brush up their skills. Free to all, this comprehensive hunting refresher course will help hunters become safer and more confident before heading out into the field. CLICK HERE for more information.

Experiencd Hunter education course NRA

“If you’ve taken a break from the shooting sports or haven’t hunted in a season or two, our Experienced Hunter Education Course is the perfect refresher for firearms safety and safe hunting practices,” explained Elizabeth Bush, managing director of NRA Community Engagement. “Best of all, we’re offering this service completely free of charge.”

Course Description
This online training course is specifically designed for individuals who have not hunted in the past year or more and are looking for a safety refresher before they head back out in the field. In this course, hunters will have the opportunity to refresh their skills by taking a look at safe hunting practices and firearms safety. Once completed, you will be a safer hunter in the field.

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September 1st, 2021

Measure Groups Precisely with Ballistic-X App for Android & iOS

Ballistic-X group measure measuring plot software Android Apple iOS

Here’s something all shooters need — a smartphone App that calculates bullet-hole group sizes from your own photos. The Ballistic-X App is simple to use. Take a photo of your target, set some values (such as bullet diameter and distance to target), then use the touchscreen to place circles around each hole. The App will calculate group size (in MOA or Mils), distance to point of aim, and provide all the info in an overlay. Then click “save” to record your group for posterity!

Ballistic-X group measure measuring plot software Android Apple iOS
Ballistic-X Apple (iOS) version shown. There is also a Ballistic-X Android App.

This App works well, is relatively easy to set-up, and costs just $7.99. It is available for both Android devices and iOS (Apple) devices. There are other ways to measure group sizes from target images, such as the excellent On-Target program, which we have used for years. However On-Target requires a software installation on a Windows platform desktop or laptop. Ballistic-X is a simple, easy-to-install App with versions for both Android and iOS (Apple) Mobile devices.

Google Play app store source
Download Android App
Apple store Ios app store source
Download Apple App

The Ballistic-X App has a relatively easy-to-use interface. Of course you can choose either MOA or Milrad group values, and Inch or Metric dimensions. There are various labeling options that provide useful info for Load Development. There is even an ATZ (Adjustment To Zero) feature for adjusting your turrets.

How to Use Ballistic-X App

1. Select Photo Source — Choose Camera to take new photo or get image from Photo Library.

Ballistic-X group measure measuring plot software Android Apple iOS

2. Set Reference Values — Select Bullet Diameter and enter Distance to Target.

3. Establish Scale on Image — Mark two points on target photo to set scale.
For example, if the target has a 1″-square grid lines, mark two points on grid for 1″ distance.

4. Mark Point Of Aim — Put the central X on the aim point.

5. Designate Shot Locations — Place the green circles around each shot.

Ballistic-X group measure measuring plot software Android Apple iOS

6. Finalize Data Display — Position Overlay, select size/color options, and export file.

Ballistic-X group measure measuring plot software Android Apple iOS

Android Options — Range Buddy FREE App
Along with Ballistic-X, there is another Mobile App, Range Buddy, that also measures shot groups. Range Buddy is currently offered for Android devices only. It is FREE, but has adverts. Range Buddy isn’t bad, but users complained about the program crashing, and there are compatibility issues with newer phones. We recommend you pay $7.99 and stick with Ballistic-X.

Ballistic-X group measure measuring plot software Android Apple iOS

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August 30th, 2021

SSG Amanda Elsenboss Wins National High Power Championship

Amanda Elsenboss 2021 High Power Champion championship Camp atterbury service rifle National Guard USAMU

Hail the new Champion — SSG Amanda Elsenboss is the 2021 NRA High Power Rifle National Champion. Amanda secured the High Power title with a Grand Aggregate score of 2386-133X. This is a major achievement for Amanda. In winning the coveted High Power title, Amanda is now just the third female to earn this honor, along with Nancy Tompkins and Nancy’s daughter Sherri Gallagher. And we believe this is the first time a woman won the High Power title shooting a Service Rifle in all matches.

Amanda Elsenboss 2021 High Power Champion championship Camp atterbury service rifle National Guard USAMU

Elsenboss, formerly with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, now competes with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard Team. She is classified as a High Master in NRA High Power. Finishing second overall was SSG John Coggshall of the Army National Guard with a score of 2380-125X. Coggshall, like Amanda, shot a Service Rifle. Kenneth Lankford, shooting a Match Rifle, finished third with 2379-104X.


CLICK HERE for Full High Power Championships Results »

The match was held August 22–28 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. On her Facebook Page, Amanda posted:

“Today was a great day. After four long, hot days on the range I won the 2021 NRA [High Power] Rifle Championships. Thank you to everyone for the support and encouragement along the way. Congratulations to John Coggshall for coming in second overall and second Service Rifle, and to Kirk Freeman for being third Service Rifle. It was some great shooting by the Guard… and everyone really making the last day count.”

Amanda Elsenboss 2021 High Power Champion championship Camp atterbury service rifle National Guard USAMU

Amanda added: “I have to thank my biggest supporter — Perry Sabertooth X Mayfly” (shown above in Amanda’s shooting cart at Camp Atterbury).

Before Her High Power Victory, Amanda Took 2nd in Long Range

Amanda Elsenboss 2021 High Power Champion championship Camp atterbury service rifle National Guard USAMU
Before winning the 2021 High Power National Championship, Amanda took second in the 2021 NRA Long Range National Championship, also held at Camp Atterbury.

This has been a great summer for Amanda at Camp Atterbury. She finished second overall at the 2021 NRA Long-Range Nationals, behind Oliver Milanovic, and she also won the Canadian Cup at Atterbury. Prior to that, competing at Camp Perry with the National Guard All Guard Marksmanship Team, Amanda shot perfect individual scores in both the National Trophy and Hearst Doubles team events. Her 500-34X in the National Trophy Team (NTT) event set a National Record.

Amanda, then shooting with the USAMU team, previously won the NRA Long Range National Championship in 2019. Now that she has won BOTH High Power and Long Range National Championships, Amanda can truly be ranked among the most notable shooters in U.S. history.

Amanda Elsenboss — America’s New Leading Lady of Shooting

SSG Amanda Elsenboss 2021 NRA High Power Championship

Before his retirement from the U.S. Army, Emil Praslick III coached Amanda as a shooter with the U.S. Army Markmanship (USAMU) team. Emil, considered one of the greatest shooting coaches in the nation, was impressed with Amanda’s skill and dedication. Emil posted: “[Amanda is] by far the easiest shooter to coach I’ve ever worked with. A machine.”

SSG Amanda Elsenboss high power championship NRA Camp Atterbury

Video Interview with SSG Amanda Elsenboss
This video, featuring SSG Amanda Elsenboss, was created by the USAMU to mark Women’s History Month. Amanda talks about her career in the military, and her love of competitive shooting. This is a great video, well worth watching. There are images from many shooting ranges around the nation.

SSG Amanda Elsenboss. CLICK Speaker Icon to Hear Sound!

When serving with the USAMU, Amanda shot the sling division at the Berger SW Nationals:
SSG Amanda Elsenboss

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
August 29th, 2021

Work on Your Breathing to SEE Better and SHOOT Better

Vision Eye Target Scope Relaxation Oxygen Target

Do you find that the crosshairs in your scope get blurry after a while, or that you experience eye strain during a match? This is normal, particularly as you get older. Focusing intensely on your target (through the scope or over iron sights) for an extended period of time can cause eye strain. Thankfully, there are things you can do to reduce eye fatigue. For one — breathe deeper to take in more oxygen. Secondly, give your eyes a break between shots, looking away from the scope or sights.

In our Forum there is an interesting thread about vision and eye fatigue. One Forum member observed: “I have noticed recently that if I linger on the target for too long the crosshairs begin to blur and the whole image gradually darkens as if a cloud passed over the sun. I do wear contacts and wonder if that’s the problem. Anyone else experienced this? — Tommy”

Forum members advised Tommy to relax and breath deep. Increase oxygen intake and also move the eyes off the target for a bit. Closing the eyes briefly between shots can also relieve eye strain. Tommy found this improved the situation.

Vision Eye Target Scope Relaxation Oxygen Target

Phil H. explained: “Tom — Our eyes are tremendous oxygen hogs. What you are witnessing is caused by lack of oxygen. When this happens, get off the sights, stare at the grass (most people’s eyes find the color green relaxing), breath, then get back on the rifle. Working on your cardio can help immensely. Worked for me when I shot Palma. Those aperture sights were a bear! The better my cardio got the better and longer I could see. Same thing with scopes. Try it!”

Keith G. noted: “Make sure you are still breathing… [your condition] sounds similar to the symptoms of holding one’s breath.”

Watercam concurred: “+1 on breathing. Take a long slow deep breath, exhale and break shot. Also make sure you take a moment to look at the horizon without looking through rifle or spotting scope once in a while to fight fatigue. Same thing happens when using iron sights.”

Arizona shooter Scott Harris offered this advice: “To some extent, [blurring vision] happens to anyone staring at something for a long time. I try to keep vision crisp by getting the shot off in a timely fashion or close the eyes briefly to refresh them. Also keep moisturized and protect against wind with wrap-around glasses”.

Breathing Better and Relaxing the Eyes Really Worked…
Tommy, the shooter with the eye problem, said his vision improved after he worked on his breathing and gave his eyes a rest between shots: “Thanks guys. These techniques shrunk my group just a bit and every little bit helps.”

Read more tips on reducing eye fatigue in our Forum Thread: That Vision Thing.

To avoid eye fatigue, take your eyes away from the scope between shots, and look at something nearby (or even close your eyes briefly). Also work on your breathing and don’t hold your breath too long — that robs your system of oxygen.

eye vision Vince Bottomley

Permalink Shooting Skills, Tech Tip No Comments »
August 28th, 2021

Prepare for Hunting Season with FREE Printable Game Targets

gun.deals deer buck bullseye sight-in target

Hunting season is coming soon. It’s time to sight-in those deer rifles, check the optics, and make sure you’re ready to go. We know some hunters might enjoy shooting game profile targets when at the range for the sight-in process. To that end, here are six animal profile targets from Gun.Deals. Right-click any target to download the printable PDF file, designed to print to standard 8.5″ x 11″ paper. All these targets include entry boxes for Shooter Name, Score, Range (distance), and Date.

Deer Targets with Center Hit Zones
Gun.Deals offers two different deer targets, both free to download. We prefer the standing buck with target ring in center mass (left below). Hit the red “10” for maximum points. You can also use this target for rimfire fun practice.

gun.deals deer buck bullseye sight-in target gun.deals deer buck leaper sight-in target

Bear Targets with Center Bulls
Few of us have actually encountered large bears in the wild. But if you do… it can be scary. Work on your bear recognition skills with these two targets, a standing bear, and a bear horizontal profile.

gun.deals bear sight-in target gun.deals bear sight-in target

Sight-In Target and Bullseye Target
Courtesy of Gun.Deals, we’ve also included a conventional bullseye and a sight-in target. You can augment that sight-in sheet with neon orange Birchwood-Casey Target Spots if you want multiple aim points. A target pack with 160 1.5″ Target Dots is just $4.49 at Amazon.

gun.deals sight-in target gun.deals bullseye target
Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
August 28th, 2021

Prone Shooting Technique — Mastering the Prone Position

prone shooting position smallbore highpower lones wigger nra sports usa

Shooting Sports USA (SSUSA) offers a wide selection of informative articles on marksmanship techniques. If you shoot prone, “hard-holding”, you know how important proper positioning and technique can be. There is a SSUSA article that every prone shooter should read — whether you shoot air rifle, smallbore, or High Power. Compiled wtih the help of some of the country’s best prone marksmen, this article, How to Master Prone Shooting, provides a step-by-step guide to perfecting your prone position technique.

READ Full Article on Shooting Sports USA »

How to Master Prone Shooting — SSUSA by NRA Staff
The prone position is the most precise of the rifle shooting positions. It is used in many different shooting events at distances as close as 5 meters and as far away as 1,000 yards, and beyond that in long-range disciplines such as PRS and NRL. Prone shooting is very popular among shooters whose training time is limited, because it does not require as much practice. Age has little effect on a shooter’s ability to do well in prone; many older shooters are able to continue competing successfully in prone matches.

Here is a sample, listing STEP ONE, the basics of the prone position:

Step One: Study the Position
The prone position is steady because it is low, which gives a wide base of support to help keep the rifle still. Below are the key features of the prone position.

1. Straight line form left hand through left arm, side and leg.
2. Head tipped down comfortably.
3. Right hand grips rifle lightly.
4. Body lies behind rifle. Angle to rifle is 10 to 20 degrees.
5. Right knee bent slightly, toe pointing out.
6. Rifle lies on heel of left hand, fingers relaxed.
7. Left elbow rests to left of rifle.
8. Sling (if present) supports weight of rifle. Left arm relaxed.
9. Body rests slightly more on left side.
10. Left leg straight, toe pointing inward or straight back.

There are FIVE MORE STEPS described in detail with specific actions to perform, in the FULL Article. For example, in STEP FOUR (Sling Adjustment), the article explains: “Put the sling high on the arm and tighten the sling keeper. Wrap the arm around the sling so that the sling comes across the left hand and forearm.”

prone shooting position smallbore highpower lones wigger nra sports usa

prone shooting position smallbore highpower lones wigger nra sports usa

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August 27th, 2021

Major Winchester Online Resource for New Shooters

Winchester new shooters training website videos

To help serve America’s many millions of new gun owners, Winchester has created a new online information site for first-time ammunition and firearms buyers as well as those just getting started in the shooting sports and hunting. Winchester’s New Shooters Site has many helpful articles plus a series of videos.

Winchester new shooters training website videos

Winchester Videos (click links to watch)

Getting Started as a Gun Owner
Four Main Gun Safety Rules
What to Look for in a Gun Range
Your First Time at a Gun Range
Safe Gun Training at Home — Dry Firing
How to Safely Store Guns at Home
How to Safely Store Ammo at Home
Best Guns for Beginners

Where-To-Shoot Nationwide Listings

Winchester’s New Shooters Site also incorporates the NSSF’s WHERE-To-SHOOT Resource, the internet’s most comprehensive listing of gun ranges. The Where-to-Shoot section makes finding a local range easy. Simply input your location and max desired distance, and the site will generate a list of nearby indoor and outdoor ranges with a Google map.

Winchester new shooters training website videos

Access Content on Social Media Platforms Also

Winchester’s information for new shooters will be featured on Winchester.com/NewShooters as well as on Winchester’s Facebook Page, Instagram Site, and YouTube Channel.

“More than 12 million people since the beginning of 2020 purchased a firearm for the first time, and that is in addition to the more than 56 million people in the U.S. who currently target shoot,” said Matt Campbell, vice president of sales and marketing for Winchester Ammunition. “As an industry leader, we are committed to helping educate people about the many topics surrounding firearms, ammunition, safety and more. More and more people want to participate in the shooting sports and hunting. Our audience is diverse and growing, and this platform will be an excellent resource.”

Features and content included on Winchester’s new digital platform are:

— Skill-level filtering, allowing new shooters to find the most relevant content
— New video series and blog posts with entry-level topics
— Product recommendations for firearms and ammunition
— Tips and training (shooting fundamentals)
— Safety and storage

About Winchester Ammunition
Winchester was founded in 1866, 155 years ago. Winchester is now the largest small caliber ammunition enterprise in the world providing a huge variety of pistol, rifle, and shotgun ammunition. Learn more about Winchester by visiting Winchester.com or Winchester’s Facebook Page.

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August 23rd, 2021

Wind Reading Tips from Bryan Litz and Emil Praslick III

Wind reading coaching bryan litz Ben Avery Phoenix wind video

Wind effects are complex. In trying to access wind speeds and angles, you’ll want to watch multiple indicators — mirage, dust, wind-flags, grass movement, and more. You’ll also need to be concerned about wind cycles. In the video below, Bryan Litz talks about variable wind speed along a bullet’s flight path. A respected ballistics guru, Bryan is the founder of Applied Ballistics and a designer of Berger’s Hybrid Match projectiles. He is also a past F-TR National Champion and a High Master Palma ace.

In this video, Bryan discusses how wind effects can vary in intensity at different points along the bullet’s flight path to the target. Sometimes the firing line is sheltered, and the strongest winds come into effect in the middle of the trajectory. Bryan concludes: “Wind matters everywhere … but the best thing you can do is try to get a handle on the wind [velocity and angle] where you are. That may or may not represent the wind down-range — that’s when you have to look downrange and make a judgment[.]”

Litz Competition Tip: Select your wind shooting strategy carefully. For beginners and veterans, most points are typically lost to wind. Successful shooters put a lot of thought into their approach to wind shooting. Sometimes it’s best to shoot fast and minimize the changes you’ll have to navigate. Other times it’s best to wait out a condition which may take several minutes. Develop a comfortable rest position so you have an easier time waiting when you should be waiting.

More Wind Tips from Wind Wizard Emil Praslick
In these two short videos, Emil Praslick III, former coach of the USAMU and USA National long range teams, explains how to find the wind direction and how to confirm your no-wind zero. Praslick is widely considered to be one of the best wind coaches in the USA.

When Winds Are EXTREME — Near Gale Force at Ben Avery

This video shows INSANE winds at NBRSA 100/200 Benchrest Nationals. This was filmed at the Ben Avery Range in Phoenix, AZ during the recent NBRSA 100/200 yard National Championships. Extreme to say the least. Based on what we’re seeing here, there are 20-25 mph crosswinds, with gusts to 35 mph — near Gale Force. Video by Hall-of-Fame Benchrest competitor Gene Bukys, whom we sadly lost to COVID last year. RIP Gene.

Texas gunsmith Mike Bryant reports: “This video shows the Unlimited Class 200 at the Nationals in Phoenix. I had three 10-shot groups in the low 2″ range with a 2.228″ being my big group and was glad they weren’t bigger. Thursday and Friday were the worst of the windy days. Unfortunately those were the days for the UL 200 and it was about as windy through most all of the Sporter 200.”

Excellent Wind Reading Resource

The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters covers techniques and tactics used by expert wind-readers. The authors provide a wind-reading “toolbox” for calculating wind speed, direction, deflection and drift. They explain how to read flags and mirage, record and interpret your observations, and time your shots to compensate for wind. Here are two reviews:

This is a must-have book if you are a long-range sport shooter. I compete in F-Class Open and when read it from cover to cover, it helped me understand wind reading and making accurate scope corrections. Buy this book, read it, put into practice what it tells you, you will not be disappointed. — P. Janzso

If you have one book for wind reading, this should be it. It covers how to get wind speed/direction from flags, mirage, and natural phenomenon. This is the best book for learning to read wind speed and direction. — Muddler

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August 21st, 2021

Oliver Milanovic Wins NRA Long Range National Championship

NRA High Power long range national championship palma oliver milanovic Eliseo tubegun
Top Guns at LR Nat’l Championship: SSG Amanda Elsenbuss (2nd place), Oliver Milanovic (Champion), Jeffrey Miles (3rd place). Photo courtesy Shooting Sports USA.

NRA High Power long range national championship palma oliver milanovic Eliseo tubegunMilanovic Wins LR National Championship
We have a new Long-Range National Champion. Competing at Camp Atterbury in Indiana, Oliver Milanovic took the 2021 NRA National Long Range Championship with a score of 1245-73X. Oliver was shooting an Eliseo Chassis + Borden Action Palma Rifle with 155gr bullets. Finishing second, tied on points but with four fewer Xs, was 2019 National Long Range Champion SSG Amanda Elsenbuss, with 1245-69X. In third place was Jeffrey Miles, just one point back, with 1244-73X.

As you can see, with the top three shooters all separated by just one point, it was a very close competition. But Milanovic, a popular marksman from Arizona, put on an impressive performance to take the win and the Thompkins Trophy. No stranger to the podium, Oliver has been on the winning Sling Division Team at the Berger SW Nationals in the past.

For all the relays, Milanovic shot his trusty .308 Winchester Competition Machine (Eliseo) chassis rifle with a Borden action, loading Palma-spec 155-gr bullets. In the Long Range Championship, other chamberings are allowed for some stages, but we’re told Oliver ran his 155gr Palma load throughout. Milanovic also won the Palma Individual Trophy Match with an impressive 450-30X score, not dropping a single point.

CLICK HERE for Full Long Range Nat’l Championship Results »

NRA High Power long range national championship palma oliver milanovic Eliseo tubegun

NRA High Power long range national championship palma oliver milanovic Eliseo tubegun

A full report on the 2021 NRA High Power Long Range Championship will appear in a future digital edition of Shooting Sports USA.

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