April 18th, 2018

Reading the Wind — Good Guidebook from M.Sgt. Jim Owens

Reading the Wind Jim Owens book CD DVD Creedmoor Sports

Readers often ask for a good, authoritative resource on doping the wind and reading mirage. Many of our Forum members recommended M.Sgt. Jim Owens’ Wind-Reading Book. With 22 sets of wind charts, this 166-page resource is offered for $14.95 in print format or $12.95 in CD format.

Owens’ Reading the Wind and Coaching Techniques clearly explains how to gauge wind speeds and angles. Owens, a well-known High Power coach and creator of Jarheadtop.com, offers a simple system for ascertaining wind value based on speed and angle. The CD also explains how to read mirage — a vital skill for long-range shooters. In many situations, reading the mirage may be just as important as watching the wind flags. Owens’ $12.95 CD provides wind-reading strategies that can be applied by coaches as well as individual shooters.

As a separate product, Owens offers a Reading the Wind DVD for $29.95.

NOTE: The Wind DVD product is completely different than Owens’ $12.95 CD. The DVD is like an interactive class, while the CD is basically an eBook.

Played straight through, the DVD offers about 75 minutes of instruction. M.Sgt. Owens says “You will learn more in an hour and fifteen minutes than the host learned in fifteen years in the Marine Corps shooting program. This is a wind class you can attend again and again. [It provides] a simple system for judging the speed, direction and value of the wind.” The DVD also covers mirage reading, wind strategies, bullet BC and more.

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April 17th, 2018

Hey Rifle Guys — Why Not Try a Pistol Match for a Change?

IDPA Practical Pistol Concealed carry handgun competition

Most of our readers are rifle guys, but it’s fun to shoot a pistol match now and then. You don’t need a lot of equipment, and if you shoot IDPA (Int’l Defensive Pistol Assn.) matches, you can really win with a $400 pistol and $20.00 worth of bulk 9mm ammo. That’s a bargain compared to what you’ll spend on a competitive PRS or F-Class rig and custom hand-loads.

This Editor got his start in competitive shooting with local IDPA matches. I shot a Glock 34, and a SIG Sauer P226, and even did one match with a S&W Snubbie. I eventually settled on the SIG, as it fit my hand better than the Glock, was more accurate, and was every bit as reliable. The P226 also pointed better than the Glock for me — something that helps with target acquisition.

If you want to get into the IDPA game, Shooting Sports USA has a good article that explains the basic rules and classifications. IDPA is not your grandad’s bullseye pistol match. There is movement and action. Stages are timed, and competitors engage targets from cover if available. Singled-handed shooting is sometimes required, as is shooting while moving. You can compete with pretty much any handgun suitable for self-defense — but no $4000 Raceguns with fancy optics. The fact that you can be 100% competitive without spending a ton of money is what makes IDPA so popular.

Shooting Sports USA polled IDPA shooters at the 2016 IDPA Nationals to determine their favorite gun brands and models. The #1 choice was the 9mm Glock 34 for the SSP (Standard Service Pistol) and ESP (Enhanced Service Pistol) Classes. Next most popular was the Smith & Wesson M&P Pro.

IDPA Practical Pistol Concealed carry handgun competition
IDPA Gun Chart from Shooting Sports USA.

IDPA targetAlong with SSP and ESP, there are three other main IDPA classes: Custom Defensive Pistol (CDP) for .45 ACPs (mostly 1911 types), Concealed Carry Pistol (CCP), and Revolver (REV). All classes have a minimum power factor. Scores are based on time and shot placement on the IDPA target.

IDPA Scoring System
The official IDPA Target (right) has multiple scoring zones. If you don’t hit the target’s center mass zone or head zone (both appear green in illustration), you drop one or three points. Here’s the formula: Score (in seconds) = Time + Points Down + Penalties. In IDPA, “points down” (and penalties) are added to your time. If you hit the outer edge of the target, you get 3 points down. Nearer center can be 1 point down. Center hit or head shot is 0 points down. See IDPA Scoring for Dummies.

IDPA Practical Pistol Concealed carry handgun competition

Five Tips for New IDPA Shooters

1. Dry-Fire Practice at Home
You can improve your grip and sight acquisition dramatically with 30 minutes of dry-firing every week. Get some quality snap caps and go to it. One tip — don’t do this in your back-yard if the nosy neighbors can see. We had one friend who was dry-firing in his yard and got an unexpected visit from the local police (with guns drawn). That can turn out badly to say the least…

2. Practice One-Handed Shooting (Both Strong-Hand and Weak-Hand)
Most of the worst misses I saw during IDPA matches were during stages requiring one-handed shooting. A lot of pistol shooters have spent all their time shooting two-handed. That’s the best technique, but in an IDPA match, you may be required to shoot one-handed. If you’re a righty, shooting with the left hand only will feel really weird, and your accuracy will be poor unless you practice. We suggest starting your one-handed training with a rimfire pistol, then transition to your centerfire pistol.

3. For 9mm, Don’t Bother to Hand-load Your Ammo
This may seem like sacrilege, but if you’re only shooting one match a month, it’s probably not worth the time and money to reload 9x19mm. I did reload my 9mm ammo on a progressive for a couple years. After looking at money and time, I just started buying commercial 9mm reloads which worked fine. I was only saving a few cents per round by reloading, and that wasn’t worth the time invested.

4. Get a Good Holster That Fits Right
In IDPA matches you normally draw from holster during the match. I saw a lot of people struggle because they had Kydex holsters that would not release easily, or leather holsters that fit too tight or rocked during draw. Try a few different brands at the local store.

5. Be Smooth, Be Calm, and AIM Your Shots
Many folks come into IDPA thinking it’s all about speed. But there are score zones on the official IDPA target, so you need to focus and AIM. Don’t just “run and gun”. If you stay calm, align your sights in the center of the target for EVERY shot, you will end up with a higher score with fewer “points down”. Speed will come with time. It is better to make sure each one of your shots is a hit.

(more…)

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April 17th, 2018

If You’re Not Using Wind Flags You’re Throwing Away Accuracy


Forest of Windflags at World Benchrest Championships in France in 2011

There’s a simple, inexpensive “miracle device” that can cut your groups in half. If you’re not using this device, you’re giving away accuracy. The “miracle device” to which we refer is a simple wind indicator aka “windflag”. Using windflags may actually improve your accuracy on target much more than weighing charges to the kernel, or spending your life savings on the “latest and greatest” hardware.

Remarkably, many shooters who spend $3000.00 or more on a precision rifle never bother to set up windflags, or even simple wood stakes with some ribbon to show the wind. Whether you’re a competitive shooter, a varminter, or someone who just likes to punch small groups, you should always take a set of windflags (or some kind of wind indicators) when you head to the range or the prairie dog fields. And yes, if you pay attention to your windflags, you can easily cut your group sizes in half. Here’s proof…

Miss a 5 mph Shift and You Could DOUBLE Your Group Size

The table below records the effect of a 5 mph crosswind at 100, 200, and 300 yards. You may be thinking, “well, I’d never miss a 5 mph let-off.” Consider this — if a gentle 2.5 mph breeze switches from 3 o’clock (R to L) to 9 o’clock (L to R), you’ve just missed a 5 mph net change. What will that do to your group? Look at the table to find out.

shooting wind flags
Values from Point Blank Ballistics software for 500′ elevation and 70° temperature.

Imagine you have a 6mm rifle that shoots half-MOA consistently in no-wind conditions. What happens if you miss a 5 mph shift (the equivalent of a full reversal of a 2.5 mph crosswind)? Well, if you’re shooting a 68gr flatbase bullet, your shot is going to move about 0.49″ at 100 yards, nearly doubling your group size. With a 105gr VLD, the bullet moves 0.28″ … not as much to be sure, but still enough to ruin a nice small group. What about an AR15, shooting 55-grainers at 3300 fps? Well, if you miss that same 5 mph shift, your low-BC bullet moves 0.68″. That pushes a half-inch group well past an inch. If you had a half-MOA capable AR, now it’s shooting worse than 1 MOA. And, as you might expect, the wind effects at 200 and 300 yards are even more dramatic. If you miss a 5 mph, full-value wind change, your 300-yard group could easily expand by 2.5″ or more.

If you’ve already invested in an accurate rifle with a good barrel, you are “throwing away” accuracy if you shoot without wind flags. You can spend a ton of money on fancy shooting accessories (such as expensive front rests and spotting scopes) but, dollar for dollar, nothing will potentially improve your shooting as much as a good set of windflags, used religiously.

Which Windflag to buy? Click Here for a list of Vendors selling windflags of various types.

Aussie Windflag photo courtesy BenchRestTraining.com (Stuart and Annie Elliot).

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April 16th, 2018

Smalbore Fun Shooting — Tips for Training and Free Fun Targets

.22 LR smallbore bang for buck rimfire tactical cross-training

So many options… How do you select the shooting discipline that’s best for you? Of course, “Fun is number one”. But you also need to consider cost — the “bang for the buck”. Or in more scientific parlance, the “Fun to Cost Ratio”. Yes, shooting a .50 BMG is fun, but you could be spending as much as $5.00 per round for factory loads! By contrast, your cost per shot in a rimfire fun match might be well under ten cents, as decent ammo can be easily found for under $5.00 per 50-count box. Five bucks per box (of fifty) sure beats five bucks per round!

We believe in the benefits of rimfire cross-training. With a rimfire rifle that has the same ergonomics and “feel” as your centerfire rig, you can practice more often and more affordably. You can get decent rimfire ammo now for as little as seven cents per round*. Compare that to centerfire factory ammo at $1.40/round or handloads for about $0.70 (bullet, primer, powder, and brass depreciation). So even your handloads could cost TEN times as much as pretty good rimfire ammo. That’s an order of magnitude boys and girls.

McMillan A5 A5-22 stock rimfire tactical cross-training

For a tactical cross-trainer, you want a rimfire rig that feels like your centerfire rifle. McMillan now offers a stock that fits the bill. McMillan’s new A5-22 stock shares the same look and feel as McMillan’s popular A5 centerfire stock. The A5-22 is able to accommodate 10/22 type actions including KIDD 10-22 models with rear tang attachments. McMillan says: “The A5-22 is dimensionally the same as our standard A5 with some minor changes in the tang and floor plate areas. It is available in a fixed comb configuration or with an adjustable saddle-type cheek piece.”

Anschutz Biathlon rifle model 64
A used Biathlon trainer works great for rimfire practical matches. This is the Anschutz Model 64-R. Note magazine caddy on forearm. This rifle was a dream to shoot.

Targets for Rimfire Training and Fun Matches

Here’s a rimfire training target with “big to small” target circles. Start with the largest circles, then move to the smaller ones in sequence. This systematic drill provides increasing challenge shot-by-shot. Novices often are quite surprised to see their accuracy improve as they move from bigger to smaller aiming points. That provides positive feedback — always a good thing.

Right Click and “Save as” to download printable PDF versions of target.

Rimfire Practice Targets

SPECIAL BONUS–Rimfire Tactical Precision Targets

These FREE targets by DesertFrog are offered in Adobe Acrobat format for easy printing.
CLICK HERE to download all six targets as a .ZIP archive.

Game Theme Commercial Targets — Fun and Colorful
Here are some colorful commercial fun targets, well-suited for rimfire practice. These game-theme targets from Champion should be very popular with kids. You can blast aerial drones, hunt dinosaurs, play a game of “H-O-R-S-E”, or shoot ducks in a Carnival Shooting Gallery. These targets, which cost $5.45-$5.95 per 12-pack, are ideal for younger shooters in your family (and fun for grown-ups too).

Champion Target Drone Dinosaur game shooting gallery color paper targets


* We recently scored 1500 rounds of Norma Match-22 ammo for $99.99 from MidwayUSA. That’s 6.6 cents per round! That deal is gone, but there are other bargains to be found. Use WikiArms.com to find .22LR rimfire ammo bargains.

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April 13th, 2018

M1 Garand Instructional Resources

M1 Garand match instruction video War Department

Do you own an M1 Garand? Or perhaps you’re thinking of ordering a Garand, now that the CMP recently received 99,000 of these classic battle rifles — returns from Turkey and the Philippines. An M1 Garand is a great addition to anyone’s personal firearms collection. It is a piece of living history — plus it can be used in Vintage Military rifle matchers. Here are some resources for M1 Garand owners. There are marksmanship tips, plus helpful advice on maintaining your M1 Garand.

Rifle Marksmanship with the M1 Garand Rifle

The film was made in 1942/43 for the War Department. It shows shooting positions and holding techniques for the M1 Garand. This informative video will help both novice Garand shooters as well as experts seeking a “refresher course”. The film focuses on the M1 Garand but the techniques can be applied to any rifle. The narration sounds a bit “corny” by today’s standards, but focus on the techniques shown and you’ll learn plenty.

M1 Service and Maintenance
Shooting Sports USA has published an excellent article on Service and Maintenance of M1 Garand Rifles. This covers basic cleaning and servicing and also explains how to upgrade the performance of your Garands. READ Article HERE.

This popular Tips and Tricks Video has been viewed over 500,000 Times on YouTube.

Recommended M1 Garand Manual
Among the many M1 Garand manuals available, we recommend the CMP’s U.S. Rifle, Caliber .30, M1: ‘Read This First’ Manual. This booklet covers take-down, reassembly, cleaning, lubrication, and operation. The manual comes with CMP rifles or can be purchased for $3.50 from the CMP eStore. The author of Garand Tips & Tricks says: “It’s one of the best firearms manuals I’ve seen and I highly recommend it.” The CMP also offers many other M1 Garand print resources including:

M1 Garand Owner’s Guide (125 pages, Scott Duff)
M1 Garand Complete Assembly Guide (155 pages, Walt Kuleck & Scott McKee)
Complete Guide to M1 Garand and M1 Carbine (296 pages, Bruce Canfield)

M1 Garand match instruction video War Department

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April 12th, 2018

Have Fun in Dallas Shooting Air Guns at the NRA Convention

NRA annual meetings exhibits dallas texas shooting gallery Pyramyd Pyramid Air Gun airgun range

For many, the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits is all about the Second Amendment and politics. For others, the main appeal is the Exhibit Hall, with its countless firearm displays and outfitter booths. There will be lots to see this year in Dallas, but just about the most fun you can have at the NRA Convention will be at the Pyramyd Air shooting gallery.

NRA annual meetings exhibits dallas texas shooting gallery Pyramyd Pyramid Air Gun airgun rangePyramyd’s Air Gun Range was a hit last year in Atlanta and is set to be a top destination for the entire family at the 147th NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Dallas, Texas. With 16 stations and more than 200 hundred interactive targets, the range will provide shooters of all ages the chance to try out some of the newest and best airguns available. From entry-level break-barrels to high-end, precision air rifles and target pistols, there will be a full range of options.

One NRA range officer noted: “If you see a long line there [at the Dallas Convention Center], odds are that it’s for the air gun range. We have boys and girls, moms and dads, everyone waiting to plink the day away.”

NRA annual meetings exhibits dallas texas shooting gallery Pyramyd Pyramid Air Gun airgun range

The Air Gun Range is not just for youngsters. Adults can have fun too.
NRA annual meetings exhibits dallas texas shooting gallery Pyramyd Pyramid Air Gun airgun range

The Pyramyd Air Air Gun range will operate in the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. We expect it will operate Thursday (May 3) from 2:00 to 6:00 pm; on Friday and Saturday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm; and on Sunday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. But schedule is subject to change.

NRA annual meetings exhibits dallas texas shooting gallery Pyramyd Pyramid Air Gun airgun range

At the Air Gun Range, you’ll find air rifles and air pistols from: Air Arms, Air Force, Air Venturi, Ataman, Beeman, Browning, BSA, Colt, Crosman, Diana, Kral Arms, SIG Sauer, Umarex USA, and Walther.

Here are two of the precision-type air rifle that will be at the AirGun Range. On top is the Air Arms S400 MPR Precision. On the bottom is the bullpup-style Kral Arms Puncher Breaker SideLever PCP:

NRA annual meetings exhibits dallas texas shooting gallery Pyramyd Pyramid Air Gun airgun range

The Pyramyd Air Perspective
A long time partner in this experience, Pyramyd sees the NRA Air Gun Range as more than marketing opportunity. “We’re focused on increasing the number of shooters and involving people of all ages in the shooting sports,” said Pyramyd founder and owner Joshua Ungier. “For Pyramyd Air, it isn’t just a business – it’s a passion.”

NRA annual meetings exhibits dallas texas shooting gallery Pyramyd Pyramid Air Gun airgun range

Event photos courtesy NRABlog.com.

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April 9th, 2018

Shooting Skills: Reading the Wind When Hunting

Norway Hunting Snow

Thomas Haugland, a Shooters’ Forum member from Norway, is a long-range target shooter and hunter. He has created an interesting video showing how to gauge wind velocities by watching trees, grass, and other natural vegetation. The video commentary is in English, but the units of wind speed (and distance) are metric. Haugland explains: “This is not a full tutorial, but rather a short heads-up to make you draw the lines between the dots yourself”. Here are some conversions that will help when watching the video:

.5 m/s = 1.1 mph | 1 m/s = 2.2 mph | 2 m/s = 4.5 mph
3 m/s = 6.7 mph | 4 m/s = 8.9 mph | 5 m/s =11.2 mph

More Interesting Videos from Norway
There are many other interesting videos on Haugland’s YouTube Channel, including Game Stalking, Precision Reloading, Shooting Fundamentals and Tips on how to use a Mildot Reticle on a scope with MOA-based clicks.

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April 8th, 2018

David Tubb Builds ELR Adaptive Target Rifle for Chase Stroud

David Tubb Adaptive Target Trifle ELR World Record Chase Stroud

Shown above is David Tubb, the legendary 11-time National High Power Champion, posing with a very serious rifle used in the Extreme Long Range (ELR) game. David has jumped into the Extreme Long Range discipline in a very big way, producing a .375-caliber, long-barreled ELR version of his famous Tubb rifle, called the Adaptive Target Rifle (ATR). A version of this rifle, piloted by David’s son-in-law Nate Stallter, set the current ELR World Record in January 2018. See video below for a full report.

David Tubb Adaptive Target Trifle ELR World Record Chase Stroud

This video shows Team TUBB setting a new ELR World Record of 2011 Yards using the Tubb Adaptive Target Rifle in .375 CheyTac. Nate Stallter nailed three shots at over one mile — 1768 yards. Then Nate broke his own record, going 3 for 3 at 2011 yards. ELR Central hosted this match, held at the Front Sight gun range, Pahrump, NV on January 21, 2018.

David Tubb will Be Working with Chase Stroud
David has been working with Chase Stroud, a talented young Texan who has competed in tactical rifle competitions and worked with Team Applied Ballistics on ELR projects. Chase has long respected Tubb’s shooting ability as well as his design/engineering talent in developing successful rifle platforms, such as the ground-breaking Tubb 2000.

David Tubb Adaptive Target Trifle ELR World Record Chase Stroud

Recently, Chase had the opportunity to shoot long range with David Tubb. David crafted a left-hand ATR rifle for Chase who will be working with David in the future. Posting on Facebook, Stroud wrote:

“Growing up as a kid I taught myself to shoot long distance from David’s videos. David Tubb was my idol then and still is now. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would share the line with him much less get to represent his product in the long range community. A literal dream come true for me….

David Tubb Adaptive Target Trifle ELR World Record Chase Stroud

Yesterday we shot some video for the new Tubb ATR system. After pressing him for years he made me a [left-hand ATR] and it shot unreal using his absolute ammo. I thank you … David. It’s time to get some practice under my belt and start shooting again…”

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April 3rd, 2018

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

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

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. — GS Arizona

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 3rd, 2018

M14 and M1A — Battle Rifle and Civilian Version Reviewed

M14 rifle Springfield M1A camp perry Shooting Sports USA

“Descended from the M1 Garand, the M14 utilized multiple improvements that made it a far superior firearm for combat and a much better rifle for competition.” — Dick Jones, Shooting Sports USA.

In the April 2018 issue of Shooting Sports USA, you’ll find a good article on the civilian version of the M14, now sold commercially as the Springfield M1A. An evolution of the battle-proven M1 Garand, the M14 was designed to shoot the 7.62×51 (.308 Win) round instead of the larger .30-06 Springfield cartridge used in WWI, WWII and Korea. While the vast majority of today’s M1As are chambered for .308 Win/7.62×51, Springfield Armory also produces a 6.5 Creedmoor version.

Dick Jones reports that accurized M14/M1As could post remarkable scores: “The accuracy potential of the M14/M1A is unquestionable. During their reign as service rifles, they produced multiple perfect 200 scores at 600 and 1000 yards in the hands of top shooters. This is a difficult feat with a modern, scoped, magnum-caliber rifle and remarkable with an iron-sighted battle rifle. Good competition rifles can group 10 shots under one MOA, and the meticulously-massaged rifles used by the top shooters during my career would consistently put up 10 shots under an inch at 200 yards off a test cradle.”

M14 rifle Springfield M1A camp perry Shooting Sports USA


CLICK HERE to REGISTER for 2018 Springfield M1A Match »

For many years, the semi-auto version of the M14 was “top dog” in iron sights Service Rifle competition. Now that discipline is dominated by .223 Rem (5.56×45) AR-type rifles, but the bigger .308-caliber rifle, now sold as the M1A, remains popular. The CMP hosts a major M1A Match every year at Camp Perry, sponsored by Springfield Armory. Significant prizes are awarded. M1A Match competitors took home over $25,000 worth of cash and merchandise in 2016.

M14 rifle Springfield M1A camp perry Shooting Sports USA
Photo courtesy Civilian Marksmanship Program.

In this video, YouTube Reviewer Hickok 45 compares the M1 Garand and the M14/M1A:

See how the modern M1A is built in this Springfield Armory Video:

As racing improves automobiles, competition improves firearms, and the current crop of Springfield M1As, from the Basic to the top-of-the-line Super Match and Loaded models, reflects the years of development. The M14 and its variants are still in service today and it’s still considered by many to be the best battle rifle in the history of the U.S. Military. — Dick Jones, Shooting Sports USA

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April 1st, 2018

California Imposes New Target Tax on Golden State Shooters

Target Tax California Jerry Brown DOJ shot hole

In recent years, the California Legislature has passed a series of laws restricting the rights of California gun owners. The latest example of anti-gun legislation will hit gun owners in their pocketbooks….

If you want to practice your marksmanship in California from now on, get ready to open your wallet and pay the taxman. With the passage of AB 211, recently signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, California shooters who use paper targets at indoor ranges will have to pay a fee for every hole they put in paper — literally. This new law, codified in the California Penal Code, states that commercial gun ranges must collect a charge of $0.38 per shot, as established by holes made in approved paper targets. This fee, the “Target Tax”, can be raised in the future at the discretion of the California Dept. of Justice.

Here’s how it will work, starting June 1, 2018, when the new Target Tax law goes into effect at California indoor ranges. First, all shooters must purchase California DOJ-approved paper targets (you may no longer bring your own). When you purchase a certified target at an indoor range, your name and the number of targets you have purchased will be recorded in a state database. Then, after your shooting session, the targets must be scanned, with the number of shot holes recorded. A charge of $0.38 per scanned hole will be added as a line item for your range session, along with the DOJ target-processing fee of $5.00 per target.

Target Tax California Jerry Brown DOJ shot hole

With 30 holes, the new California target tax on this left target would be 30 x $0.38 or $11.40. Conversely, the tax on the target on the right would be just 38 cents, because there is only one hole, though five shots went through the same hole. Obviously, exceptional marksmanship skills can help reduce your target tax liabilities.

California Targets Must Be Culturally Tolerant and Non-Discriminatory
AB 211 also includes a series of provisions which specify the types of targets which may be purchased. First, as you might expect, all targets must be printed on recycled paper. Second, no target may contain any “hate speech” or “micro-aggressions”. Third, while targets may still show human silhouette-style outlines, any targets which depict a protected minority type or non-binary gender type are forbidden. Likewise, any target that shows discernable culture, religion, or national origin are forbidden. So, a target showing a bearded male wearing a turban would be forbidden. If you had such a target, the range owner would be required, under AB 211, to confiscate it. Shown below are two types of targets that would be illegal in California under AB 211. NOTE: It is unclear whether a zombie target would be allowed, if the Zombie is unknown gender, ethnicity, or culture.

Target Tax California Jerry Brown DOJ shot hole

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March 30th, 2018

Check Out the Legendary .009″ Group By Mac McMillan

Mac McMillan .009 benchrest record group nbrsa

Mac McMillan .009 benchrest record group nbrsa.009″ — The Record That Stood for 40 Years.
In 1973 Mac McMillan shot an amazing 100-yard, .009″ five-shot group in a benchrest match. The .009″ group was measured with a 60x microscope for verification. Mac McMillan shot the group using a handbuilt prototype McMillan rifle with an early McMillan stock.

Mac’s .009″ group was the “Holy Grail” of rifle accuracy. This .009″ record was considered by many to be unbreakable, a record that would “stand for all time”. Well, it took 40 years, but someone finally broke Mac’s record with an even smaller group. In 2013, Mike Stinnett shot a .0077″ five-shot group using a 30 Stewart, a .30 caliber wildcat based on the 6.5 Grendel. Stinnett’s .0077″ group now stands as the smallest 100-yard group ever shot in registered benchrest competition.*
Read About .0077″ group HERE.

Stinnett’s success doesn’t diminish the significance of Mac McMillan’s .009″ group in the history of benchrest competition. For four decades Mac’s group stood as the ultimate standard of rifle accuracy*. For those of you who have never seen Mac McMillan’s .009″ group, here it is, along with the NBRSA World Record certificate. The target now hangs in the McMillan Family Museum.

Mac McMillan .009 benchrest record group nbrsa

*Somebody else might claim a smaller group, but unless moving backers or electronic targets were used, it cannot be verified. Moving target backers are used at registered benchrest matches to ensure that five (5) shots are actually fired in each group. That eliminates any doubt.

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March 28th, 2018

Kelly McMillan Video PodCast Features David Tubb and Others

Kelly McMillan video podcast David Tubb PRS ELR Regina Milkovich

Kelly McMillan recently released a Video Podcast featuring some very talented shooters including the legendary David Tubb. While Kelly has broadcast scores of audio interviews on his Taking Stock Radio Show, this is something even better — you can see Kelly’s guests on camera during the 68-minute-long Video Podcast:

David Tubb Talks Cartridge Design, ELR, and Much More
Kelly McMillan video podcast David Tubb PRS ELR Regina Milkovich

The show starts off with legendary marksman, David Tubb, winner of 11 NRA National High Power Rifle Championships as well as multiple National Long Range championships. Kelly notes: “Our first guest, David Tubb, is arguably the … winningest, competitive rifleman in history. Trophies aside, though, David’s biggest contribution to our shooting sports is his innovative mind. The underlying essence behind his company, Superior Shooting Systems, is the continued advancement of the ‘human factor’ in the shooting sports.” During this segment David addresses many topics, including cartridge design (6XC and 6.5 Creedmoor), ballistics, Extreme Long Range (ELR) shooting, optics, stocks and more.

Regina Milkovich — Top PRS and Tactical Competitor
Kelly McMillan video podcast David Tubb PRS ELR Regina Milkovich
Facebook Photo and courtesy WellArmedWomen.

Kelly’s next guest is Regina Milkovich, the first woman in history to win a major practical/tactical precision rifle match outright. (Regina was the overall winner of the 2016 NorCal Tactical Bolt Rifle Challenge.) Regina has been successful in many disciplines, and is now active in the Precision Rifle Series (PRS). Starting at the 44:50 time-mark in the video, Regina shows off her current PRS rifle, chambered for the 6XC cartridge. It features a McMillan stock, Defiance Action, Vortex Razor Gen 2 scope, and Timney trigger. Tactical shooters will want to watch this segment. Regina reviews the many accessories she uses both on and off the rifle. She shows the support bags she favors and discusses how the right choice of equipment can help improve your scores.

Kelly McMillan video podcast David Tubb PRS ELR Regina Milkovich
“[This is] one of my all-time favorite pictures” Regina told us. “It was taken in Vegas at a Sin City Precision match a couple of years ago.” Facebook photo.

Kelly also chats with Buzz Miller, an industry product development specialist who has worked with large gun-makers including FN USA, and Taurus. Buzz talks about how new gun designs are conceived, proto-typed, tested, and introduced into the marketplace. Buzz also discusses customer service among other topics. The main Buzz Miller segment begins at the 41:20 time-mark.

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March 27th, 2018

How to Tame Vertical Stringing — Tips from Speedy

Speedy Vertical Stringing Tech tip

One of our Shooter’s Forum members recently built a new benchrest rifle. He was concerned because his groups were stringing vertically. This is a common problem that all precision shooters will face sooner or later. In addition to ammo inconsistencies, many other factors can cause vertical stringing. Accordingly, it’s important that you analyze your gun handling and bench set-up systematically.

Hall of Fame benchrest Shooter Speedy Gonzalez has written a helpful article that explains how to eliminate mechanical and gun-handling problems that cause vertical spread in your groups. Speedy’s article addresses both the human and the hardware factors that cause vertical. CLICK HERE to read the full article. Here are a few of Speedy’s tips:

Front Bag Tension — Vertical can happen if the front sand bag grips the fore-arm too tightly. If…the fore-arm feels like it is stuck in the bag, then the front bag’s grip is too tight. Your rifle should move in evenly and smoothly in the sand bags, not jerk or chatter when you pull the gun back by hand.

Sandbag Fill — A front sandbag that is too hard can induce vertical. Personally, I’ve have never had a rifle that will shoot consistently with a rock-hard front sandbag. It always causes vertical or other unexplained shots.

Stock Recoil — Free-recoil-style shooters should be sure their rifle hits their shoulder squarely on recoil, not on the edge of their shoulder or the side of their arm. If you shoulder your gun, you need to be consistent. You can get vertical if your bench technique is not the same every shot. One common problem is putting your shoulder against the stock for one shot and not the next.

Front Rest Wobble — You will get vertical if the top section of the front rest is loose. Unfortunately, a lot of rests have movement even when you tighten them as much as you can. This can cause unexplained shots.

Stock Flex — Some stocks are very flexible. This can cause vertical. There are ways to stiffen stocks, but sometimes replacement is the best answer.

Rifle Angle — If the gun is not level, but rather angles down at muzzle end, the rifle will recoil up at butt-end, causing vertical. You may need to try different rear bags to get the set-up right.

Last Shot Laziness — If the 5th shot is a regular problem, you may be guilty of what I call “wishing the last shot in”. This is a very common mistake. We just aim, pull the trigger, and do not worry about the wind flags. Note that in the photo below, the 5th shot was the highest in the group–probably because of fatigue or lack of concentration.

CLICK HERE for Speedy’s full article with more tips and advice.

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March 25th, 2018

How to Avoid ‘Scope Bite’ (Scope Placement Tips)

Kirsten Weiss Video YouTube Scope Eye Relief

This helpful video from our friend Kirsten Joy Weiss explains how to avoid “scope bite”. This can occur when the scope, on recoil, moves back to contact your forehead, brow, or eye socket area. That’s not fun. While common sense tells us to avoid “scope bite” — sooner or later this happens to most shooters. One viewer noted: “I have come close. I had a Win Model 70 in .375 H & H Mag and I was shooting over a large rock in a strange position. The scope hit my eye glasses hard enough to bend the wire frames and cause a little pain on the bridge of the nose from the nose piece. [That] made a believer out of me.”

Kirsten offers a good basic principle — she suggests that you mount your rifle-scope so that the ocular (eyepiece) of the scope is positioned at least three inches or more from your eyeball when you hold the rifle in your normal shooting position. From a technical standpoint, optical eye relief is a property of the scope, so you want to purchase an optic that offers sufficient optical eye relief (meaning that it allows you to see the full circle of light with your head at least three inches from the eyepiece). Then you need to position the optic optimally for your head/eye position when shooting the rifle — with at least three inches of eyeball-to-scope separation (i.e. physical eye relief).

NOTE: You should mount the scope to provide adequate eyeball-to-scope separation for the actual position(s) you will be shooting most of the time. For an F-TR rig, this will be prone. For a hunting rifle, your most common position could be sitting or standing. Your head position will vary based on the position. You can’t assume the scope placement is correct just because it seems OK when you are testing or zeroing the gun from the bench. When shooting from a prone or kneeling position you may find your eye considerably closer to the eyepiece.

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March 23rd, 2018

Angular Measurement — Mil vs. MOA — What You Need to Know

Mil MOA reticle ranging PRS tactical minute angle precision rifle series
Visit PrecisionRifleBlog.com for a discussion of MIL vs. MOA.

Many guys getting started in long range shooting are confused about what kind of scope they should buy — specifically whether it should have MIL-based clicks or MOA-based clicks. Before you can make that decision, you need to understand the terminology. This article, with a video by Bryan Litz, explains MILS and MOA so you can choose the right type of scope for your intended application.

This March-FX 5-40x56mm Tactical FFP scope features 0.05 MIL Clicks.
Mil MOA reticle ranging PRS tactical minute angle precision rifle series

You probably know that MOA stands for “Minute of Angle” (or more precisely “minute of arc”), but could you define the terms “Milrad” or “MIL”? In his latest video, Bryan Litz of Applied Ballitics explains MOA and MILs (short for “milliradians”). Bryan defines those terms and explains how they are used. One MOA is an angular measurement (1/60th of one degree) that subtends 1.047″ at 100 yards. One MIL (i.e. one milliradian) subtends 1/10th meter at 100 meters; that means that 0.1 Mil is one centimeter (1 cm) at 100 meters. Is one angular measurement system better than another? Not necessarily… Bryan explains that Mildot scopes may be handy for ranging, but scopes with MOA-based clicks work just fine for precision work at known distances. Also because one MOA is almost exactly one inch at 100 yards, the MOA system is convenient for expressing a rifle’s accuracy. By common parlance, a “half-MOA” rifle can shoot groups that are 1/2-inch (or smaller) at 100 yards.

What is a “Minute” of Angle?
When talking about angular degrees, a “minute” is simply 1/60th. So a “Minute of Angle” is simply 1/60th of one degree of a central angle, measured either up and down (for elevation) or side to side (for windage). At 100 yards, 1 MOA equals 1.047″ on the target. This is often rounded to one inch for simplicity. Say, for example, you click up 1 MOA (four clicks on a 1/4-MOA scope). That is roughly 1 inch at 100 yards, or roughly 4 inches at 400 yards, since the target area measured by an MOA subtension increases with the distance.

one MOA minute of angle diagram

MIL vs. MOA for Target Ranging
MIL or MOA — which angular measuring system is better for target ranging (and hold-offs)? In a recent article on his PrecisionRifleBlog.com website, Cal Zant tackles that question. Analyzing the pros and cons of each, Zant concludes that both systems work well, provided you have compatible click values on your scope. Zant does note that a 1/4 MOA division is “slightly more precise” than 1/10th mil, but that’s really not a big deal: “Technically, 1/4 MOA clicks provide a little finer adjustments than 1/10 MIL. This difference is very slight… it only equates to 0.1″ difference in adjustments at 100 yards or 1″ at 1,000 yards[.]” Zant adds that, in practical terms, both 1/4-MOA clicks and 1/10th-MIL clicks work well in the field: “Most shooters agree that 1/4 MOA or 1/10 MIL are both right around that sweet spot.”

READ MIL vs. MOA Cal Zant Article.

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March 21st, 2018

Help Save the World — Become a Range Safety Officer

Range Safety Officer Course Online NRA Training

A few good men (and women) — that’s what the shooting sports need these days. We need skilled, trained personnel to serve as Range Safety Officers (RS0s). Without RSOs, there would be no shooting matches — no F-Class, no High Power, no Smallbore Matches — you get the idea. Thankfully there are now ways to get requisite RSO training without costly travel far from home.

The NRA now offers an online training course for its Range Safety Officer (RSO) program. The online course teaches the skills needs to conduct and supervise safe shooting activities and range operations. Online RSO Course students can access the electronic course materials for 90 days. You can complete the course in multiple sessions. The program will save your progress so you can return later.

NRA RSO Course OnlineThe Online RSO Course consists of SIX LESSONS:

• Introduction to the NRA Basic Range Safety Officer Course
• The Role of the NRA Range Safety Officer and
Range Standard Operating Procedures
• Range Inspection and Range Rules
• Range Safety Briefing
• Emergency Procedures
• Firearm Stoppages and Malfunctions

Who Can Take the Course?: The Online RSO Course is available to anyone who currently possess a valid NRA Firearms Instructor certification or NRA Coach appointment. Course cost is $125.00. Individuals without a trainer rating must attend the in-person Range Safety Officer course consisting of both classroom time and practical exercises on a range.

Range Safety Officer Course Online NRA Training

NRA RSO Course OnlineCertification Procedure: Students must complete all six lessons and a short electronically administered test in order to become a certified Range Safety Officer. Once the test has been passed, newly certified Range Safety Officers will receive an electronic completion certificate that can be printed or saved to a computer.

The NRA RSO program was developed in response to the demand for a nationally-recognized range safety officer certification. More than 54,000 NRA Range Safety Officers are involved in aspects of target shooting, training, and range supervision around the USA.

Berger SW Nationals
Range Safety Officer supervises the line at Berger SW Nationals. Without dedicated RSOs, we could not have matches like these.

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March 17th, 2018

Get Lucky! Download FREE St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Targets

Free downloadable pot of gold Ireland St Patricks day shamrock target NRA

It’s March 17th today — St. Patrick’s Day. To help celebrate this traditional day of Irish pride, parades, and green beer, the NRA has created two (2) fun targets you can download, print, and shoot. Try out these free targets and see if you have the “luck of the Irish”. Click each Irish target photo below to open a high-rez PDF file you can download and print.

The first target features a large four-leaf clover in the middle, with 17 other smaller three-leaf shamrocks around the outside. With five black bulls-eyes in the center graphic, that gives you a total of 22 aiming points for shooting fun. For added challenge we suggest you set this target at 100 yards for rimfire rifle and 200 years for a centerfire gun.

CLICK Below for Big PDF Shamrock Target

Free downloadable pot of gold Ireland St Patricks day shamrock target NRA

The second target offers the legendary Pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow. Along with a big bullseye on the pot, there are 15 shamrocks in gold circles, plus five small gold bars with tiny bullseyes. Those smallest bulls will be a challenge even at 100 yards. You’ll need a half-MOA (or better) rifle to “clean” this target, hitting the smallest red dots.

CLICK Below for Big PDF Pot of Gold Target

Free downloadable pot of gold Ireland St Patricks day shamrock target NRA

Whether you’re Irish or not, these targets will hopefully bring you a bit of luck. Click each image above to open a high-rez PDF file that you can print out. Then, this St. Patty’s day, wear your green, grab your gear, and head to range for some fun shooting.

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March 16th, 2018

Enhance Mental Function to Shoot Better Scores

Shooting Sports USA Brain mental game psychology cerebellum

Looking to improve your competition skills? The Shooting Sports USA website has scores of informative articles that can help your score higher at your next shooting tournament. You’ll find articles on wind reading, position shooting, match strategies, and much more.

One great Shooting Sports USA article, Shooting is 90% Mental, was penned by Chip Lohman (SSUSA’s former Editor). With the help of two very smart Ph.D types, Judy Tant and Mike Keyes, Lohman examines the mental processes involved in the shooting sports. Chip’s co-authors have impressive credentials. Dr. Judy Tant is a Clinical Psychologist and National Bullseye Pistol Champion. Dr. Michael J. Keyes, is a licensed Psychiatrist and former physician for the U.S. Shooting Team.

CLICK HERE to Read Full Article in Shooting Sports USA Online Magazine.

Visualization, Brain Function, and Muscle Memory
If you shoot competitively, this is definitely a “must-read” article. The authors examine how the brain functions under stress, how “visualization” can be used to improved performance, how “brain speed” can be enhanced through proper training, and how the brain stores learned routines into “muscle memory.” And that’s just for starters — the article gives many concrete examples of techniques top shooters have employed to improve their “mental game” and shoot higher scores.

Brain Speed and Trigger Control:
Shooting Sports USA Brain mental game psychology cerebellumResearch: Scientists believe that the newer frontal lobe may not be able to keep up with “deep” brain signals that transmit at nearly 300 mph. This is explained when athletes talk about “letting go,” rather than over-thinking the shot. This conscious signal can take up to 0.3 seconds from recognizing the desired sight picture to moving the trigger finger — too long to capture the opportunity for a perfect shot. However, if the signal is initiated spontaneously in the cerebellum where such procedures are thought to be stored through repetition, the reaction speed is much quicker. Signals are processed by the “deep brain” almost twice as fast as the problem-solving frontal lobes.

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March 15th, 2018

Rifle Shooting 101: Key Skills Explained in USAMU Video Series

USAMU Basic Riflemans Course SFC Brandon Green High Power Shooting Training

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) has produced an excellent series of videos, which collectively cover the Basic Rifleman’s Course. If you are getting started in high power shooting, or want to improve your position shooting skills, this series is well worth watching. And these videos are not just for service rifle shooters — even bench shooters can benefit from these videos, particularly Part 5, which explains how to estimate wind speed and direction. The lead instructor for these videos is SFC Brandon Green, the 2015 National High Power Champion, and Service Rifle Champion at the 2017 CMP Trophy Matches. When SFC Green talks, you should listen. This man is one of the greatest marksmen in the nation’s history.

Part 5 — Wind and Weather Estimation (Very Useful for All Shooters)


Note: This video includes a hit location “target analysis” in the first 6 minutes.

Part 4 — Minute of Angle Explained

Part 3 — Ballistics and Zeroing

Part 2 — Positions, Sight Alignment, and Natural Point of Aim (Very Useful)

USAMU Basic Riflemans Course SFC Brandon Green High Power Shooting Training

Part 1 — Aiming and Sight Picture

SFC Brandon Green 2017 CMP Camp Perry USAMU Service Rifle
SFC Brandon Green (left above) set four new National Records at Camp Perry this year.
Story tip from Precision Shooting Journal on Facebook.

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