October 15th, 2019

Wind Wisdom from Experts 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.

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

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, News, Shooting Skills No Comments »
October 12th, 2019

Oklahoma CMP Games Are Underway This Weekend

CMP Oklahoma Games

The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Oklahoma Games are happening this weekend at the Oklahoma City Gun Club. Events started on October 7th and run through Sunday the 13th with the final event — the popular Vintage Sniper Team Match. If you’re anywhere near OK City you might want to check out the action. There are Vintage Military Matches today, along with Rimfire Sporter competition and EIC pistol matches. The CMP’s Oklahoma Games are not just for seasoned competitors. There will be a Small Arms Firing School plus a New Shooter Clinic for those who have never fired in a CMP Games match.

CMP Games - Oklahoma

Oklahoma CMP Games Resources

Previously held in April, the CMP Oklahoma Games will feature the popular M1 Garand, M1 Carbine, Springfield, Vintage/Modern Military, Rimfire Sporter, and Vintage Sniper Rifle matches. Pistol matches, such as the As-Issued 1911, Military & Police Service Pistol and .22 Rimfire Pistol will also be held throughout the week. The CMP Cup Matches will again be held at this Travel Games event. This include two days of invididual competition, followed by a 4-Man Team Match, and EIC Service Rifle Match.

Electronic Targets Allow Faster Relays and No Pit Duty!
High Power competitions will be fired on CMP Targets, an electronic target system that plots shot placement in real time, and eliminates the need for pit duty — allowing quicker matches with less physical labor. Shot locations/scores appear on remote monitors placed at each shooting location.

CMP Oklahoma Games

Along with competitive matches, a rifle Small Arms Firing School (SAFS) was held. Both beginning and experienced marksmen were trained in the classroom and on the firing line, with the help of CMP staff and certified instructors. SAFS attendees learned rifle handling, shot technique and safety, followed by firing in an actual M16 EIC match.

CMP Oklahoma Games

VINTAGE SNIPER MATCH — Sunday October 13th
The last event of the 2019 Oklahoma Games is the Vintage Sniper Team Match. Competitors must use Korean War or earlier, as-issued military sniper rifles or replicas of those rifles. Optics must also be original issue or replica scopes from the same period. The CMP Games Rules lists the approved rifles and optics.

Camp Perry Vintage Sniper match Oklahoma

The course of fire is designed to reproduce the conditions under which skilled long-range military riflemen operated. Two riflemen work together as a team. During the match, each team member functions alternately as a shooter or a spotter. After one team member finishes firing, they switch roles and the other team member fires. Firing is done at distances of 300 and 600 yards from the prone position. Shooters may use either a sling or sand bag support, but not both. Wind doping is critical and firing must be done quickly; targets are exposed for each shot for only 20 seconds and then withdrawn for 20 seconds.

About the CMP Travel Games
The CMP Travel Games are regional competitions held in different corners of the country throughout the year, featuring exclusive CMP rifle and pistol outdoor events. A common part of the CMP schedule for the last decade, the Games are centered around recreation-oriented competition and educational activities that are designed to accommodate experienced marksmen as well as those just beginning the sport.

Permalink Competition, News, Shooting Skills No Comments »
October 10th, 2019

How to Succeed at Club Matches — Six Tips

During shooting season, there are probably 400 or more club “fun matches” conducted around the country. One of the good things about these club shoots is that you don’t have to spend a fortune on equipment to have fun. But we’ve seen that many club shooters handicap themselves with a few common equipment oversights or lack of attention to detail while reloading. Here are SIX TIPS that can help you avoid these common mistakes, and build more accurate ammo for your club matches.

Benchrest rear bag1. Align Front Rest and Rear Bags. We see many shooters whose rear bag is angled left or right relative to the bore axis. This can happen when you rush your set-up. But even if you set the gun up carefully, the rear bag can twist due to recoil or the way your arm contacts the bag. After every shot, make sure your rear bag is aligned properly (this is especially important for bag squeezers who may actually pull the bag out of alignment as they squeeze).

Forum member ArtB adds: “To align my front rest and rear bag with the target, I use an old golf club shaft. I run it from my front rest stop through a line that crosses over my speed screw and into the slot between the two ears. I stand behind that set-up and make sure I see a straight line pointing at the target. I also tape a spot on the  golf shaft that indicates how far the back end of the rear bag should be placed from the front rest stop. If you don’t have a golf shaft, use a wood dowel.

2. Avoid Contact Interference. We see three common kinds of contact or mechanical interference that can really hurt accuracy. First, if your stock has front and/or rear sling swivels make sure these do NOT contact the front or rear bags at any point of the gun’s travel. When a sling swivel digs into the front bag that can cause a shot to pop high or low. To avoid this, reposition the rifle so the swivels don’t contact the bags or simply remove the swivels before your match. Second, watch out for the rear of the stock grip area. Make sure this is not resting on the bag as you fire and that it can’t come back to contact the bag during recoil. That lip or edge at the bottom of the grip can cause problems when it contacts the rear bag. Third, watch out for the stud or arm on the front rest that limits forward stock travel. With some rests this is high enough that it can actually contact the barrel. We encountered one shooter recently who was complaining about “vertical flyers” during his match. It turns out his barrel was actually hitting the front stop! With most front rests you can either lower the stop or twist the arm to the left or right so it won’t contact the barrel.

3. Weigh Your Charges — Every One. This may sound obvious, but many folks still rely on a powder measure. Yes we know that most short-range BR shooters throw their charges without weighing, but if you’re going to pre-load for a club match there is no reason NOT to weigh your charges. You may be surprised at how inconsistent your powder measure actually is. One of our testers was recently throwing H4198 charges from a Harrell’s measure for his 30BR. Each charge was then weighed twice with a Denver Instrument lab scale. Our tester found that thrown charges varied by up to 0.7 grains! And that’s with a premium measure.

4. Measure Your Loaded Ammo — After Bullet Seating. Even if you’ve checked your brass and bullets prior to assembling your ammo, we recommend that you weigh your loaded rounds and measure them from base of case to bullet ogive using a comparator. If you find a round that is “way off” in weight or more than .005″ off your intended base to ogive length, set it aside and use that round for a fouler. (Note: if the weight is off by more than 6 or 7 grains you may want to disassemble the round and check your powder charge.) With premium, pre-sorted bullets, we’ve found that we can keep 95% of loaded rounds within a range of .002″, measuring from base (of case) to ogive. Now, with some lots of bullets, you just can’t keep things within .002″, but you should still measure each loaded match round to ensure you don’t have some cases that are way too short or way too long.

Scope Ring5. Check Your Fasteners. Before a match you need to double-check your scope rings or iron sight mounts to ensure everything is tight. Likewise, you should check the tension on the screws/bolts that hold the action in place. Even on a low-recoiling rimfire rifle, action screws or scope rings can come loose during normal firing.

6. Make a Checklist and Pack the Night Before. Ever drive 50 miles to a match then discover you have the wrong ammo or that you forgot your bolt? Well, mistakes like that happen to the best of us. You can avoid these oversights (and reduce stress at matches) by making a checklist of all the stuff you need. Organize your firearms, range kit, ammo box, and shooting accessories the night before the match. And, like a good Boy Scout, “be prepared”. Bring a jacket and hat if it might be cold. If you have windflags, bring them (even if you’re not sure the rules allow them). Bring spare batteries, and it’s wise to bring a spare rifle and ammo for it. If you have just one gun, a simple mechanical breakdown (such as a broken firing pin) can ruin your whole weekend.

Permalink Competition, Reloading, Shooting Skills 6 Comments »
October 8th, 2019

Kirsten “Carves” Halloween Pumpkin with Volquartsen .22 LR

Halloween Pumpkin Kirsten Joy Weiss carving Volquartsen

October is Halloween month, so we thought we’d share the seasonal spirit with our readers. In this video, our friend Kirsten Joy Weiss shows off her impressive trick-shot skills. To help celebrate the gouls/goblins holiday, Kirsten “carved” a pumpkin using her semi-auto Volquartsen .22 LR rifle. Kirsten had to send a lot of rimfire rounds into her orange friend. It turns out the little .22-caliber bullets worked better on exit than entry — Mr. Pumpkin’s posterior side was more impressive than his front. But overall, the effort turned out very well indeed, as you can see. Nice job, Kirsten.

On inspection, Kirsten found that the most impressive Jack ‘O Lantern face appeared on the reverse side of her pumpkin. The “exit wounds” were better than the entry holes.
Halloween Pumpkin Kirsten Joy Weiss carving Volquartsen

Permalink - Videos, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
September 28th, 2019

National Hunting & Fishing Day Events Around the Country

National Hunting and Fishing Day
Image courtesy North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, NCwildlife.org.

Today, September 28, is National Hunting and Fishing Day. On this day we recommend you take new shooters afield and introduce them to shooting or hunting. National, state and local organizations will run thousands of hunting- and fishing-related events around the country. Events will include Fishing Derbys, Hunting Expos, Wing-shooting tournaments, and much more. Over four million Americans will participate. Get involved today, and help support the shooting sports.

Find Events in Your State

For info on NHF Day, visit www.nhfday.org. To find NHF Day events in your state, click links below:

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina

Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

FREE Printable Deer Hunting Target
To help you prepare for a fall hunt, here is a free, printable Deer Practice target. Hone your skills on a trio of bucks with a red bullseye centered on the animals. You can print the targets in black and white, but they look best in color. Right-click the image below to download a FREE printable PDF file.

hunting NRA Blog Target deer buck turkey hog PDF printable target

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, News, Shooting Skills No Comments »
September 27th, 2019

HAVA — Honored American Veterans Afield

HAVA honored american veterans afield hunting shooting wounded warrior program

Honored American Veterans Afield (HAVA) is a volunteer organization that provides hunting and shooting experiences for American military veterans and injured active military personnel. HAVA has sponsored events in Texas, Georgia, South Dakota, Montana, North Carolina, California, Washington, Florida, and other states. HAVA was conceived and organized in 2007 by shooting sports industry executives to help the healing and re-integration of disabled veterans and injured active military back into normal American life through participation in outdoor events.

HAVA honored american veterans afield hunting shooting wounded warrior program

One of the most recent HAVA events was the 7th Annual HAVA/Rockcastle Family Day at the Park City, KY shooting complex on Saturday, September 14, 2019. Over 300 disabled veterans, family members, and volunteers assembled to share a day of shooting, winning prizes, eating good food, and enjoying fellowship with other military veterans who have bravely protected the American dream.

HAVA honored american veterans afield hunting shooting wounded warrior program

Every year, HAVA conducts a series of hunting and shooting events for groups of disabled veterans and injured active military. Many of these events include instruction by world-class shooting experts, such as Jerry Miculek. The next major HAVA event will be the 12th Annual National Family Day, to be held in San Antonio, Texas on October 19, 2019. EVENT INFO HERE. Admission is FREE, and all disabled veteran participants will receive a backpack full of gifts.

HAVA organizes hunting adventures throughout the United States
HAVA honored american veterans afield hunting shooting wounded warrior program

HAVA states: “These veterans have given their full measure of commitment to the preservation of their country’s values, and deserve America’s contribution to their healing process to whatever degree necessary to accomplish physical, mental and cultural rehabilitation.”

HAVA honored american veterans afield hunting shooting wounded warrior program

HAVA honored american veterans afield hunting shooting wounded warrior program

HAVA, through its Sustaining Sponsors, contributors, and volunteers, provides services to veterans in recognition of their sacrifice and service to a grateful nation. If you would like to support HAVA’s programs, you can make a tax-deductible donation through www.HonoredVeterans.org.

HAVA honored american veterans afield hunting shooting wounded warrior program

About HAVA — Honored American Veterans Afield
HAVA is a 501(c)3 organization formed by companies in the shooting and outdoor industry with the purpose of raising awareness and assisting disabled veterans with their healing process through guided hunts, shooting events, and other outdoor sports activities. Sustaining sponsor companies are: Smith & Wesson, National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), SIG SAUER, Academi, Arnold Defense, Crimson Trace, E3 Training, FMG Publications, GLOCK, Hornady, Leapers/UTG, Leupold & Stevens, Mossberg, National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers (NASGW), Operation Hat Trick, Ruger, Savage, Surefire, Taurus, Vista Outdoor/Federal, XS Sights, and Yamaha Outdoors among numerous contributing companies. To learn more about HAVA, go to: www.HonoredVeterans.org.

Permalink - Articles, News, Shooting Skills No Comments »
September 27th, 2019

CMP High Power Clinics at 2019 National Matches in Ohio

CMP Junior high power highpower clinic Camp Perry

While the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s (CMP) National Rifle Matches are most well-known for the President’s Rifle Match and other prestigious National Trophy Individual Rifle matches, the CMP offers several training programs for shooters of all levels.

In addition to the Small Arms Firing School (SAFS), tailored to new shooters, the CMP offers excellent High Power Clinics. Junior competitors (20 years or younger) can sign up for the USMC Junior High Power Clinic. Experienced adults as well as top juniors can select Team CMP’s Advanced High Power Clinic.

CMP Junior high power highpower clinic Camp Perry
Benjamin D. of New York attended the clinic for the first time, focusing on position shoting with the AR-15.

The United States Marine Corps (USMC) Junior High Power Rifle Clinic offers personalized training, dry-fire and live-fire practice and an opportunity to confirm zeroes. Many juniors attend the USMC clinic year after year, using the opportunity to sharpen their skills before the bigger matches, to reconnect with friends and to meet new juniors and to learn from members of the USMC Shooting Team.

CMP Junior high power highpower clinic Camp Perry
The 2019 USMC Junior Clinic started out with presentation on optics.

CMP Junior high power highpower clinic Camp Perry
CMP 2019 Advanced High Power Clinic participants and instructors.

Team CMP conducts the Advanced High Power Clinic each summer and this year added a live-fire portion for the first time. The Advanced Clinic begins with a classroom Q and A session before dry-fire practice and position work on Petrarca Range. To learn more about the CMP High Power Clinics, CLICK HERE.

CMP Junior high power highpower clinic Camp Perry AiR-15 air rifleThis year Team CMP split the students into rotating groups: mental management, wind reading, and live-fire standing practice. Live-fire practice was conducted in the Gary Anderson Competition Center with AiR-15 air rifles (photo right). This added a new dimension to the clinic that allowed for near immediate application of what students learned earlier in the class.

While most juniors attend the USMC Junior Clinic, some sign up for the Team CMP Advanced High Power Clinic. James Friend, 19, of the Illinois Hard Dogs Junior Team, has been shooting High Power since 2013 and attended Team CMP’s clinic for the second time this year. Friend, who focused on rebuilding his prone position and improving mental skills, says the clinic is a great way to “move to the next level. I’d definitely go again — you can always pick up different tips and tricks from different people.”

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »
September 27th, 2019

Billiard Chalks — Fun, Challenging Reactive Targets

AccurateShooter Billiard Chalks targets

Reactive targets — whether balloons, steel gongs, or clay birds — always add fun to a range session. But precision shooters may want something more challenging (i.e. smaller) than a clay bird when shooting inside 300 yards. For a change of pace, try shooting at inexpensive pool cue chalks. Less than 1″ square, these will test your marksmanship skills. (If you need a bigger target, that also makes a nice puff of “smoke”, try charcoal briquettes).

Pool Cue Chalks — Cheap, Fun, Dramatic

If you’re looking for a small target that makes a nice big cloud of color when hit, try billiard chalks — those little blue cubes you use to dust the end of pool cues. Measuring about 7/8″ per side, billiard chalks make very challenging targets at 100 and 200 yards. When you hit them, if you nail the circular “dimple” in the middle, they disintegrate impressively, tossing blue “smoke” in all directions. Billiard chalks are inexpensive. You can buy a dozen chalks online for about $3.00 — just 25 cents each. And the prices drop with more quantity. One gross of chalks (that’s 144 pieces) costs just $24.95 at ozonebilliards.com. That’s 17 cents each.

To see actual hits on chalk at 100 and 200 yards, watch the video below. (WARNING: Soundtrack is loud and advertisement may play before movie. Flash plug-in required for playback, so you may see a note that a Flash file is loading.) The movie-maker cautions that: “You’ll notice (in the video) that some of the hits are ‘wiffs’ instead of ‘poofs’. If you look at the picture above, you’ll see the 1/2 inch dimple in the cube face. If you don’t put the bullet in that dimple, it’ll ‘wiff’ on you.”

(more…)

Permalink - Videos, Shooting Skills 3 Comments »
September 24th, 2019

Wind Wizardry — How to Use a Kestrel Correctly

Kestrel Wind Meter Direction Vane Applied Ballistics

A lot of folks use a Kestrel Wind Meter every time at the range. That’s a good thing. However, many Kestrel owners may not be employing the Kestrel properly when seeking wind direction.

A Kestrel Wind Meter will record wind speed with its impeller wheel. However, to get the most accurate wind velocity reading, you need to have your Kestrel properly aligned with the wind direction. To find wind direction, first orient the Kestrel so that the impeller runs at minimal speed (or stops), and only then turn the BACK of the Kestrel into the wind direction. Do NOT simply rotate the Kestrel’s back panel looking for the highest wind speed reading — that’s not the correct method for finding wind direction. Rotate the side of the Kestrel into the wind first, aiming for minimal impeller movement. The correct procedure is explained below by the experts at Applied Ballistics.

How to Find the Wind Direction with a Kestrel Wind Meter

Here is the correct way to determine wind direction with a Kestrel wind meter when you have no environmental aids — no other tools than a Kestrel. (NOTE: To determine wind direction, a mounted Wind Vane is the most effective tool, but you can also look at flags, blowing grass, or even the lanyard on your Kestrel).

Step 1: Find the wind’s general direction.

Step 2: Rotate the Wind Meter 90 degrees, so that the wind is impacting the side (and not the back) of the wind meter, while still being able to see the impeller.

Step 3: Fine-tune the direction until the impeller drastically slows, or comes to a complete stop (a complete stop is preferred). If the impeller won’t come to a complete stop, find the direction which has the lowest impact on the impeller.

Step 4: Turn the BACK of the Kestrel towards the direction from which the wind is blowing. Then press the capture button, and record your wind speed.

Do NOT simply point the Kestrel’s back into the wind until you get the highest wind speed — that’s not the correct method.

Permalink Shooting Skills, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
September 22nd, 2019

Sunday GunDay: Joe Hendricks Jr.’s CMP Cup-Winning Tubegun

 alt=
Photography by Meghan Hendricks.

This story is about a great shooter, Joe Hendricks Jr., and his Eliseo RTS Tubegun, chambered in 6mm Competition Match. With this versatile rifle, Joe Hendricks Jr. won the 2019 CMP Cup Aggregate Title for Match Rifles. Joe comes from a long line of talented marksmen. His father AND his grandfather are elite competitive shooters. His dad has been a National Champion, and all three generations have shot together, shoulder to shoulder, on the Remington Rifle Team. Like grandfather, like father, like son.

 alt=

Joe says: “I think it’s pretty cool that there have now been two major Across the Course Championships won by a Hendricks using a Gary Eliseo chassis, one by me this year, and one in 2014 when my father (Joe Hendricks Sr.) won the NRA National Championship.”

 alt=
Photography by Meghan Hendricks.

Joe Hendricks Jr.’s Rifle — Eliseo RTS Chassis, Rem 40X Action, Krieger Barrel
Joe’s rifle is built on a Competition Machine RTS Target Model chassis. This Tubegun features a Remington 40X action with Pacific Tool & Gauge Bolt and Jewell trigger. The scope is a Leupold 6-18x40mm. The barrel is a Krieger chambered in 6mm Competition Match. Joe explains: “The 6mm Competition Match is a cartridge that my dad came up with. It is basically a .243 Winchester with a 31° shoulder.”

If you look carefully in the photo below, you’ll note the silver-toned, adjustable butt-plate. That’s an upgrade Joe added: “I did a small modification to the stock, where I put on an Anschutz buttplate instead of the standard one Gary Eliseo uses. This Anschutz hardware provides a little bit more adjustability.”

 alt=
Here Joe Hendricks Jr. fires at 200 yards from the standing position.

The Standing Position — Why It’s Critical to Match Success
Joe told us: “As far as shooting strategies and training methods go, I shoot a lot of standing practice — at least 50 shots per session. I still train the other positions of course, but I believe if you start your day off with a great standing score, it really makes the rest of the day easy because then you don’t feel like you’re playing catch-up the whole time.”

Joe explains: “When I’m shooting standing, I shoot in a manner very similar to the way that Carl Bernosky does. He’s written a few articles about the standing position. He always talks about making sure the shot goes off inside his hold, and I’m the same way. I don’t try to do too much. I just let the gun do its thing and when/if it stops in the Ten Ring, I shoot the shot. If it doesn’t, I don’t.”

About the CMP Cup Two-Day Course of Fire
The CMP Cup is a two-day match comprised of two, 1000-point Aggregates, for a 2000-point Grand Agg. Each day, the competitors fire 100 shots total from the 200, 300, and 600 yard lines. The match starts with 20 shots slow fire standing at 200 yards. Next are two, 10-shot, rapid fire strings in 60 seconds from the sitting position. Next are two, 10-shot strings in 70 seconds prone at 300 yards (rapid fire prone). Each day’s course of fire concludes with two, 20-shot sequences of slow-fire prone at 600 yards.

Joe Hendricks Jr. CMP Cup Eliseo tubegun RTS 6 Competition High Power

6mm Competition Match Cartridge — Slower Powder Yields Better Barrel Life
My dad was shooting a 6XC for a while and was getting tired of going through almost two barrels a year. So, he came up with the 6mm Competition Match. Like I said, it is a .243 Winchester with a 31-degree shoulder. This delivers the same (if not better) velocity as the other popular 6mm cartridges, but we get almost double the barrel life because we increased the case capacity, so we can shoot a slower burning powder. The barrel I took to Camp Perry that won the CMP Cup had over 3700 rounds on it when I was finished. [EDITOR: Take note readers! Most 6mm barrels are toast after 2500 rounds.] Granted it definitely needed to come off at that point, but it obviously was still shooting well enough to win!

Accurate Load with Peterson Brass, Berger Bullets, and Vihtavuori N165
The two loads I shot all week were Berger 108gr BT behind Vihtavuori N165 in Peterson Cartridge Company brass for 200 and 300 yards, and then Berger 115 VLD behind N165 in Peterson brass for 600 yards. Both loads are easily going over 3000 FPS. I try to only use the best components for reloading, so that’s why I go with Berger, Vihtavuori, and Peterson. Obviously Berger and Vihtavuori quality are pretty known, but I believe Peterson is right up there with Lapua[.] I’ve visited the Petersen factory many times. I’m always blown away by the time and effort Peterson puts into everything.

Winning Marksmanship — the Mental Game
The other big thing I’ve been focusing on lately is my mental game. In order to be at the top of a sport, regardless of the sport, the athlete has to have a solid mental approach. For me, I’ve learned that my key is confidence. A good shooting buddy, who was with me the first day of the CMP Cup, suggested I was arrogant because I kept telling him I was going to win. Then I told him it was confidence not arrogance. If I was confident in my ability, I did not think there was any way I could lose. [Editor: To help build confidence and visualize success, we recommend With Winning in Mind, by Lanny Bassham, an Olympic gold-medal winning marksman.]

All in the Family — Three Generations of Hendricks Marksmen

Joe’s father, Joseph Hendricks Sr., has been a National Champion rifle shooter. Joe’s grandfather, Gary Hendricks, is also a talented marksman. In fact, all three men — grandfather, father, and son — shot together on the Remington Rifle Team. Joe says that the shooting sports have helped build strong family bonds. He and his father enjoy shooting together, and competing against one another: “I learn so much just by watching my dad… shoot. Even though I have been competing for 10 years now, I’m still incredibly new to the shooting sports compared to my dad. My father is always there to help.”

“I feel very privileged to have grown up in the family that I did, with not only my father as a competitive shooter, but my grandfather as well. I definitely would not be the person I am today, let alone the shooter, without either of them. At one point, all three of us were on the Remington Rifle Team. I’ve had the opportunity to shoot team matches with all three of us on one team, as recently as this past summer.”

“Initially when I began shooting competitively, I was putting a lot of pressure on myself. I wanted to be as good a shooter as my dad and grandfather. I was trying so hard that it was really affecting my scores negatively. Then one year, I told myself I was just going to have fun, and not worry about match scores. That year was the year I really started to win things, and shoot some good scores.”

 alt=

“When my father won the NRA National Championship in 2014, I was so proud, but along with being proud, all it did was make me more motivated. Ever since I started shooting, I wanted to win a National Championship, but after he won, it just fueled my fire more. There is a bit of father/son rivalry. It’s a lot of fun if we are shooting right next to each other at the same time. We just give each other crap about shooting a bad a shot, or shooting a lower score by a point or an X.”

“My dad started shooting when he was around 10, so he has a vast amount of knowledge compared to most people, especially me. He is always there to help whenever I have a question on anything firearm or shooting related. To this day, whenever I’m done with a match, I always talk to my dad. He always has time to listen to what I have to say.”

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »
September 21st, 2019

3GN Nationals Coming to Florida October 12-13, 2019

3GN 3-gun nation championship nationals florida
3-Gun competitors must be wicked fast (and accurate) with rifle, pistol, and shotgun.

What’s the most exciting, physically challenging shooting sport? An argument can be made that three-gun shooting (also called “multi-gun”) tops the list. To succeed in the 3-Gun world, competitors must be fast and accurate with rifle, pistol, and shotgun. They must exhibit blazing speed in the short-range stages plus serious accuracy during long-range stages.

3GN 3-gun nation championship nationals florida

America’s top 3-Gun shooters held to Florida next month. The 2019 3-Gun Nation (3GN) Nationals take place October 12-13 at Southern Tactical Range in Holt, Florida. There will be plenty of fast action, plus some long-range accuracy stages. Watch the video below for a preview of the event:

3GN 3-gun nation championship nationals florida

If you’d like to try your hand at 3-Gun shooting, you can still register for the 3GN Nationals, by visiting 3GunNation.com. This match will feature a minimum of 8 stages of fire over a 2-Day Format. Southern Tactical Range offers a mixture of natural terrain and bay stages, featuring a long range area with targets up to 1000 yards.

Blast from the Past — 3-Gun Nation Championship Shoot-Off 2013
In this video 2019 3GN Champion Dan Horner wins a dramatic shoot-off at 2013 3GN Nationals. Horner, after leaving the USAMU, now shoots for Team SIG Sauer.

Hardware for 3-Gun Competition — Guns & Gear

3GN 3-gun nation nationals

In this NSSF video, Top Shot Finalist Chris Cerino reviews the hardware you’ll need for multi-gun matches. Chris talks about carbine configurations — including barrel, handguard, and optics options. Cerino also demonstrates pistol techniques and explains the key features of a belt/holster rig.

Permalink - Videos, Competition, Shooting Skills, Tactical 1 Comment »
September 20th, 2019

Splitting Two Cards at Once with Twin-Barreled 1911

Kirsten Joy Weiss 1911 2011 Arsenal Twin Barrel Playing Card

One Pistol, Two Barrels, Two Playing Cards — here’s a trick shot we just had to share. The talented Kirsten Joy Weiss does something we’ve never seen before, splitting TWO (2) playing cards with a unique, twin-barreled 1911-style pistol. Watch the video to see Kirsten pull off this double-barreled doozy of a trick, firing two bullets at the same time.

It took a few tries, but Kirsten makes the shot at the 3:14 time-mark:

Kirsten Joy Weiss 1911 2011 Arsenal Twin Barrel Playing Card

Kirsten was enthusiastic about this unique trick: “Splitting two cards with two bullets fired at once? The double-barreled 1911 was just begging for a trick shot application. Arsenal Firearm’s 2011 A1 twin-barrel, 1911-style pistol is a heavy monster to wrangle, but a lot of fun to shoot!”

Kirsten Joy Weiss 1911 2011 Arsenal Twin Barrel Playing Card

Permalink - Videos, Handguns, Shooting Skills No Comments »
September 19th, 2019

Why All Shooters Need SERIOUS Hearing Protection

Hearing Protection DB sound level ear plug muff

“Science tells us that exposure to continuous noise of 85 dB for eight hours is enough to cause permanent hearing loss, and worse, spikes of 130 dB and more can result in permanent hearing damage instantly.”
Source: NRA Blog.

The Risk of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be progressive and irreversible. If you are a shooter, this is serious business. As the NRA Blog cautions: “You may not even realize you’re harming your hearing. Hearing loss occurs gradually, and can go effectively unnoticed until symptoms become severe. By then, the damage is done.”

Nobody wants to go deaf. But we often see shooters without effective hearing protection when they are walking around a few yards behind the firing line. That’s bad — even if you are away from the firing line, gunshot noises can damage your hearing. You MUST use effective hearing protection every time you go to the range. Good foam earplugs costs mere pennies but they can prevent deafness in your later years. Many folks also wear muffs over plugs.

Sound Levels for Common Noises:

9mm Luger pistol: 160 dB

Jet aircraft engine (near): 140 dB

.22 LR pistol: 134 dB

Normal human pain threshold: 120 dB

Noisy Nightclub: 110 db

Riding Motorcycle at 65 mph: 103 db

Power Lawnmower: 95 dB

Hearing damage possible: 85 dB (sustained for 8+ hours)

Ringing Telephone: 80 dB

Normal conversation: 60 dB

The Myth of the “Quiet” .22 LR
The NRA Blog notes that “many rimfire shooters, particularly those using the beloved .22 Long Rifle cartridge, argue that the small .22 LR caliber doesn’t produce enough sound to damage your hearing”. So, is that really true … or is it a myth?

In fact, a .22 LR can be much louder than you think — a .22 LR pistol can produce sound levels of 134 dB. That’s well above the normal human pain threshhold.

hearing protection ear muffs NRR earplugs osha deafness

Highest Protection NRR 34dB-Rated Ear Muffs

AccurateShooter Deals of Week NRR 34 muffs ear protection 34dB

For under $15.00 you can buy quality ANSI-approved muffs with a 34dB Noise Reduction Rating — the best you can get. Chose the Bright Yellow TR Industrial Muffs at $13.48, or the dark green Walker EXT Range Muffs for $13.99. Both products have padded head-bands which retract. Another dual-shell design with a 34dB NRR rating is the new FNova Muffs priced at just $12.88.

Many hunters and competitive shooters prefer low-profile ear muffs. As these typically have a lower Noise Reduction Rating, perhaps NRR 22-24, we recommend running earplugs under muffs, particularly when you are at a busy range or shooting a match. If you use low-profile electronic muffs, such as Howard Leight Impact Sport Muffs, you should still be able to hear range commands even with plugs underneath.

Howard Leight MAX NRR33 Earplugs, Just $7.98 for 50 Pairs.

accurateshooter.com review Max-1 Howard Leight ear plugs

20 Pairs
50 Pairs

These Howard Leight NRR33 Max plugs are your Editor’s favorite foam earplugs. Between shooting, motorcycling and mowing lawns, I probably have Max plugs in my ears 3-4 days a week. This is a very good price for a bulk pack of 50 pairs. And if you act soon, you can get free shipping to boot. This Editor just bought a 50-pack myself. And, yep, I got 50 pairs for $7.98 delivered, less than a pint of premium beer costs at my local pub:

Howard Leight ear protection plugs earplugs sale Amazon discount 50 pairs

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
September 16th, 2019

CMP Offers Scholarships to Young Men and Women

CMP Scholarship

CMP ScholarshipThe Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) invites young men and women shooters to apply for CMP scholarships for the 2020-2021 school year. The CMP offers $1,000 one-year scholarships to current high school seniors. Since 2005, CMP has awarded over $1 million in scholarship grants. Last year, the CMP awarded over $160,000 in scholarship money. Winning scholarship recipients, in their senior year of high school, came from JROTC schools, 4-H groups, and other shooting clubs.

CMP Scholarship Application Deadline is March 20, 2020

CMP Scholarships are based on merit. Candidates are high school seniors involved with a team or club participating in rifle or pistol marksmanship competitions. Applicants must provide rifle or pistol competition history, list of awards, and future goals in the shooting sports. Applicants must also provide academic GPA and an official high school transcript (3.0 Minimum GPA Required).

CMP Scholarship

Applications are Being Accepted Now for 2020-2021
The CMP is now taking scholarship applications for the 2020-2021 freshman college year. Scholarships are one-year awards that may be used to fund any accredited, post-secondary education or vocational program. (Note: Students planning to enroll in a military academy are not eligible).

CMP Scholarship Regulations | 2020-2021 Scholarship Application Form.

The deadline for CMP Scholarship Application is March 20, 2020. Learn more about the program at the CMP Website Scholarship Page. If you have any questions, please contact Kathy Williams at 419-635-2141, ext. 709, or email kwilliams [@] thecmp.org.

CMP Scholarship

Permalink News, Shooting Skills No Comments »
September 15th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: Back-to-Back Championship Winning .284 Win

Charles Ballard F-Open National Champion 2008 2009 .284 Win Winchester

With the U.S. F-Class National Championship running this week in Raton, NM, we thought we’d highlight a very important .284 Win rifle. This is the .284 Winchester rig that Charles Ballard used to win back-to-back F-Open titles in 2008 and 2009. Ballard’s huge success with the .284 Winchester cartridge helped make the .284 Win (and .284 Win Improveds) the dominant cartridge in F-Open competition worldwide. Enjoy this trip back in time to when the .284 Win was the “new kid on the block”.

Ballard Wins Back-to-Back F-Open Championships
In a very short span, Ballard and this rifle racked up an impressive string of performances. Ballard won the NRA Long-Range Regional, setting a new National Record in the process — 200-23X at 1000 yards. He also won the North Carolina F-Class Championship with the gun, and then captured the 2008 F-Open National Championship, followed by a second F-Open title in 2009. At the 2008 Nationals in Lodi, Wisconsin, Charles shot a 1337-65X with Berger 180gr bullets. At the 2009 F-Class Nationals, held at Camp Butner, NC, Ballard shot a 1328-62X to win his second straight National title.

Ballard’s “Purple Haze” rifle features superb components, including a BAT MB action, Nightforce 12-42 BR Scope, and a wickedly accurate 32″ Broughton barrel.

Charles Ballard F-Open National Champion 2008 2009 .284 Win Winchester
Charles Ballard always used eye and ear protection. For these photos, he removed safety glasses.

Building a Championship-Winning F-Classer

by Charles Ballard
.284 Win F-Class

This rifle project began several years ago. My purpose was to find a cartridge that would launch the high-BC, 180gr 7mm bullets at competitive velocities for F-Class competition. I also sought barrel life that would be far superior to that of a 7mm WSM or 6.5-284. I read the article on 6mmBR.com about Jerry Tierney’s .284 Winchester and the cogs began to turn. After speaking with Mr. Tierney at the 2006 US F-Class Nationals, I decided the .284 Win would be the chambering for the new gun, despite several shooters telling me I would not be able to obtain the desired velocities. Jerry said “go for it” and, as it turned out, the rifle delivered the velocity I wanted, plus extraordinary accuracy to boot. This gun has more than exceeded my expectations, winning matches and setting a new 1000-yard, single-target F-Class National Record (200-13X).

Rifle Specifications–All the Hardware
My action of choice was a beefy 1.55″-diameter, round BAT MB, Left Bolt, Right Port. I chose this action based on BAT Machine’s impeccable reputation. I also liked the fact that the MB (medium long front) action offered an extended front end. This would provide better support for a very long barrel and give more bedding surface. The action is topped with a stainless BAT tapered (+20 MOA) Picatinny scope rail. Housed in a polished, stainless BAT trigger guard is a Jewel trigger set at 5 ounces.

.284 Win F-Class

The barrel is a 32″ Broughton 5C. The chamber was cut with a reamer made for Lapua 6.5-284 brass necked up to 7mm. It’s throated for the 180gr Bergers. I selected a Broughton 5C because, as my gunsmith says, “They just shoot”. This is a 1:9″ twist, 1.250″ straight contour for 32″. Yes, that’s a long, heavy barrel, but I think the length gives me a velocity advantage. On other guns, a 32″ tube could cause the rifle to be front-heavy and out-of-balance. The stock by Precision Rifle & Tool has a 3″-longer fore-end which solves the problem. The purple .284 balances very well and tracks great.

.284 Win F-Class

Speaking of the stock, there was only one choice, a “Purple Haze” laminated F-class model from Precision Rifle & Tool. This stock features a fully-adjustable buttplate plus a removable cheek-piece with thumb-wheel adjustment. Most importantly, the stock features an extra-long, super-stiff, low profile fore-end. This design rides the bags better than any stock I have ever shot. The action area of this stock has been beefed up to house the large BAT MB action. The final component on this rifle is a 12-42×56 Nightforce BR with DD-1 reticle set in Leupold Quick Release rings.

.284 Win F-Class

.284 Win F-ClassThe Ultimate F-Open Rig
To start this project, I contacted Ray Bowman of Precision Rifle & Tool, PrecisionRifleSales.com. The first order of business was to get the action ordered, knowing how long it would take to get a BAT left bolt, right port action, plus scope rail, and trigger guard. We knew we wanted a Broughton 5C, but what twist rate? Based on the success I had shooting 210s in my 300 WSM with a “slower” 1:11″ twist we opted to go with a 1:9″ twist 7mm to shoot the 180gr Bergers. A dummy round was sent to Pacific Tool and Gauge to have a reamer ground to our specs.

Not shooting free recoil, I needed a stock that would fit me like a prone stock but track like a benchrest stock. Precision Rifle & Tool’s F-Class stock fit this bill to perfection. Ray keeps Jewell triggers in stock so the only piece left to acquire was the scope. On the old F-Class targets I would have been content with a Leupold 8-25 LRT, but on the new target a scope with 1/8-MOA adjustments and high magnification is a must. I considered the Leupold competition scopes but ultimately decided on the Nightforce BR. The variable power and unobstructed DD-1 reticle of the NF were deciding factors.

.284 Win F-ClassNOTE: Charles Ballard always employs eye and ear protection when shooting. For these posed photos, he removed his safety glasses.

Ballard’s Tips for F-Class Competition

In this section, Charles Ballard explains the basics of shooting an F-Class match, from the initial prep period to end of match. He covers sighter strategies and techniques for record fire, and he also explains, in detail, how he dopes the wind and judges hold-offs based on mirage.

.284 Win F-ClassThree-Minute Prep Period
I spend the first part of my 3-minute prep period making sure my front rest and rear bag are in-line. This insures the gun returns to the same spot after recoil. After I am happy with my set-up, I take a position similar to that of a conventional prone shooter. My face rests on the stock and my shoulder is placed firmly into the buttplate. With the Right Bolt, Left Port action, I can shoot the entire match with minimal movement. The last segment of prep time is spent trying to dope the wind.

Sighter Strategies
In a match with only two sighters, I’ll make a wind call and try to hit the center with my first shot. In matches with unlimited sighters, I generally hold dead center with a no-wind zero and use the point of impact as feedback. If I feel there is a constant condition, I will click for the wind. This allows me to use the center as my primary hold. After I get the feedback I need from my sighters it’s time to go for record.

Record Fire
After record fire begins I shoot very fast, holding off for the wind. I’ll make my wind call while the target is in the pits; if my previous shot went where I thought it would I will take my next shot as soon as the target stops. I predominantly shoot and adjust my aim based on mirage. If I have switching conditions, I will remove all wind from the scope, slow down, use the flags and mirage, still holding off. I do this because I have never had success waiting on a condition to come back.

Cleaning Procedures
I do not clean until the match is over. This means I typically shoot 120 to 150 rounds on average between barrel cleanings. I quit cleaning every relay after reading Mr. Tierney’s article, but I would still clean on Saturday night after I got home. After getting in late one Saturday night, I forgot to clean my rifle. I remembered this as I was preparing to shoot the first relay Sunday morning. At the time I was shooting a 300 WSM. Well, guess what… that relay I shot a 200-19x, and the next relay I shot a 200-17x (these scores were on the old, larger F-Class target). I found that the 300 WSM’s vertical really tightened up after about 50 rounds. The same has proven true of my .284 Winchester–vertical improves once 50 rounds are through the bore.

When I do clean, it’s simple. I use Bore Tech Eliminator on three patches, then follow with a wet nylon brush. These steps are repeated until the bore is spotless. I then push one wet patch of Eliminator through the bore and leave it.

Load Development and Accuracy Testing

My philosophy on load development differs from many shooters. I don’t primarily shoot for groups. The only goal I have is to obtain the lowest ES and SD I possibly can. Holding elevation in F-Class is crucial. Uniform velocity gives me more consistent vertical point of impact.

As we commenced load development, Jerry Tierney’s .284 Win load data posted on this 6mmBR.com gave us a good starting point. We loaded 53.0 grains of Hodgdon H4831sc and shot one round, cleaned, shot three rounds, cleaned, then shot 10 rounds and cleaned. From this point we worked up in half-grain increments until pressure signs developed at 2950 fps. Then we backed the powder charge down until the bolt lift was smooth and the primers were nice and round. [Editor’s Note: Jerry Tierney is no longer with us. We mourn his passing.]

Success: 2910 FPS with Ten-Shot ES of 7 and SD of 3
At this point I began working with different primers, neck tension and seating depth. After trying Federal 210m primers, CCI BR-2 primers, light tension, heavy tension, jamming, jumping, we settled on 56.0+ grains of H4831sc with CCI BR-2 primers. We ran about .002 neck tension with the 180s seated just touching the lands. This load gave us 2910 fps velocity with an Extreme Spread (ES) of 7 fps and a Standard Deviation (SD) of 3 fps over ten (10) shots.

NOTE: If you’re skeptical of those single-digit chron readings, click on the Video Playback screen below to view Ballard test-firing a load that delivers an ES of 5 and SD of 2 for five shots. At the end he holds the Oehler Chrono up to the camera so you can view the readout yourself. Seeing is believing!

Houston–We Have a Problem
I thought we had a load dialed-in, so I was fairly confident going to the North Carolina Long-Range State Championships. Let’s just say it didn’t go as planned. I encountered vertical, vertical, and more vertical. Turns out this was my fault. I had committed a big reloading “No-No”. I had used the ball expander in the die to neck the cases up from 6.5 to 7mm. Big Mistake! The cases we had previously used for load development were first necked-up with Ray’s expander mandrel and then run through the Redding bushing dies. Lesson learned: use an expander when necking-up the brass! This step was performed on the cases for the next match and it corrected the problem, as I lost no points to elevation.

.284 Win F-ClassSurprise–Velocities Rise, So Load Must Be Tweaked
After the NC State Champs, the gun went into hibernation for the winter. In February of 2008, NSSC held its annual winter Palma match. On Saturday my .284 was absolutely hammering, but Sunday I started noticing a hard bolt lift. Eventually, at the end of my last string, the gun blew a few primers. Luckily, however, it was still shooting very well. On the following Monday, we went back to the test bench and chrono. To my surprise 57.0 grains of H4831 was now shooting 2975 fps! That’s way too hot. At this point the barrel had 439 rounds through it. I started calling anyone I could thing of to see if they had any idea what could be causing this problem. Nobody I spoke with had ever experienced this problem until I spoke with a very knowledgeable F-Class shooter named Andy Amber.

.284 Win F-ClassAndy informed me that this had happened to him with several rifles. For whatever reason, between 100 to 300 rounds, as the barrel gets broken-in, the velocity climbs significantly.. Andy told me if I loaded back to the previous velocity, in his experience, it would stay there. Andy was spot on. My load came back together with 54.5 grains of H4831sc. The Oehler consistently gave me readings of 2892 fps to 2902 fps with an SD of 4 fps using once-fired brass. New brass gave slightly slower velocity but better numbers: ES of 7 to 9 fps, and SD of 2 to 3 fps. All this data was duplicated on several occasions. This rifle now has 554 rounds through it, but only .003″ throat erosion. The bullet was moved out .003″ to maintain position relative to the lands.

Getting Single-Digit ES: Ballard’s Loading Methods

I’m very exacting in my loading procedures. I think that’s why I’ve been able to build loads that consistently deliver single-digit Extreme Spreads with ultra-low SDs. Here’s my loading method.

Case Prep: I start with Lapua 6.5×284 brass necked up to .284 with an expander mandrel. Next I sort the cases into one-grain lots, for example 194.0 to 194.9 grains, then 195.0 to 195.9 grains, and so on. After the brass is sorted, I chamfer the case mouths with an RCBS VLD tool. Any residual lube from case expansion is then cleaned out of the case mouth with alcohol on a bronze brush. Finally all the cases are run through a Redding Type ‘S’ FL sizing die with .312″ neck bushing.

Loading Procedure: My CCI BR-2 primers are seated with a RCBS hand priming tool. Powder charges are dispensed and weighed with an RCBS ChargeMaster Electronic Dispenser, which is regularly calibrated with check-weights to assure accuracy. Then the 180gr bullets are seated using a Redding Competition Seating Die.

Processing Fired Cases: My fired cases are tumbled in walnut shell media, then cleaned off. Cases are full-length resized, but I bump the shoulders only .0005″ (one-half thousandth). After sizing, the case mouths are cleaned with a spinning bronze brush.

IMPORTANT TIP: After 3 firings I will uniform the primer pockets and anneal the case necks. I found this very important in holding good elevation (minimal vertical dispersion).

RCBS Redding Reloading

CALIBER CHOICE: The Case for the .284 Win

Comparison: 6.5-284, .284 Win, and 300 WSM
For shooters who are not sold on the .284 Winchester, I give you a real-world ballistics shoot-off. We comparison-tested a 6.5-284 rifle launching 142 SMKs at 2975 fps, a 300 WSM rifle firing 210 Bergers at 2850 fps, and my .284 Winchester shooting 180 Bergers at 2900 fps. We had three shooters and each rifle was fired simultaneously with no-wind zeros on three separate targets set at 1000 yards. The shooters then exchanged rifles and we repeated the test a couple times. The 6.5 and 300 stayed consistently within an inch of each other. But my .284, with its high-BC Berger 180s, shot inside both the 6.5 and 300 by at least 3″ every time. BC rules in the wind. I was sold!

.284 Win F-Class

Cost Comparison: .284 Win vs. 6.5-284
The cost of reloading the .284 Win is roughly $.07 more per round than that of the 6.5-284. The .284 uses a grain or two more powder than the 6.5-284, and 7mm bullets cost about $6.00 more per 100-count box. However, to truly compare the cost of shooting the two calibers you must figure in barrel life. My 6.5-284 barrel went south at 900 rounds. My .284 barrel now has 1,036 rounds, and by all indications it will shoot well to 3,000+ rounds. For cost comparisons sake, let’s use 1,200 rounds for the 6.5-284 and 3,000 rounds for the .284 Win. The average cost of a barrel, chambered and fitted, is $500.00. Using these figures, the barrel cost of a .284 Win is $.17 per round vs. $.42 per round for the 6.5-284. That’s a $.25 per round difference, equivalent to a 60% savings for the .284.

OK, if we now net the barrel cost savings (-$.25) for the .284 with the higher cost of 7mm reloading components (+$.07), I figure the .284 Win costs $.18 per round LESS to shoot than the 6.5-284. Over the span of 3,000 rounds, that’s a $540.00 savings.

Editor’s NOTE: These numbers are 10 years old. But the key fact is the extended barrel life of the .284 Win overcomes the increased bullet cost.

Gun Handling and Recoil
If there is a down-side to the .284 it would be recoil. Now don’t get me wrong, at 22 pounds with a decelerator recoil pad, the .284 is comfortable to shoot. The recoil difference between the 6.5-284 and the .284 is about the same as the difference between a 6x250AI and a 6.5-284. In the versatility section I will elaborate more on this subject.

Ease of Load Tuning
Despite the issues I explained in the load development section with low initial velocities on new barrels, I would say the .284 is fairly easy to tune. The barrel with which I shot my record was removed after that match so I don’t put too many rounds on it before the Nationals. The new barrel on this rifle was tested using the same load. As with the first barrel, the second barrel yielded 2775 fps with a “starter load” of 53.0 grains of H4831sc. With only 11 rounds through the new tube, I shot a 600-yard match on June 22, 2008. I loaded 44 rounds using 55.0 grains of H4831sc. This load ran at 2825 fps. After my first string this load started hammering. I shot a 200-7X with no elevation change on my last string.

Multi-Discipline Versatility
The .284 is my hands-down choice for shooting F-Class. I recently shot my first 600-yard benchrest match. I shot the .284 Win in heavy gun. In this match I found the first weakness in my beloved .284. On a bench you do notice the recoil. The 6mmBR pilots could run off five shots before I could shoot two. My groups were respectable: a four-group, 3.055″ Agg. But, the added recoil of the .284, even with front and rear rests aligned, took me off target. All this being said, if a man wanted just one caliber for F-Class, long-range benchrest, and hunting, I would still suggest the .284 Win.

WARNING: The loads stated in this article may be TOO HOT for many .284 Win rifles. Always START LOW and work up gradually in small increments, looking for pressure signs. With 7mm Sierra 175s, Hodgdon’s starting load is 52.0 grains of H4831sc.
Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Reloading, Shooting Skills No Comments »
September 13th, 2019

Optimize Your Aiming — Tips for F-Class Shooters

F-Class Aiming Long Range Score Shooting
The movie “The Patriot” gave us the phrase “Aim small, miss small”. While that’s a good mantra, aiming strategies for long-range competition are a bit more complicated, as this article explains…

U.S. F-Class Nationals Start Sunday, September 15th!
The U.S. Mid-Range and Long Range Nationals kick off September 15th at the NRA Whittington Center near Raton, New Mexico. Here are some tips that can help F-TR and F-Open shooters aim more precisely, and achieve higher scores. F-Class ace Monte Milanuk reviews reticle choices and strategies for holding off.

In our Shooters Forum, one newcomer wanted some advice on selecting a reticle for F-Class optics. He wondered about the advantage of Front (first) Focal Plane (FFP) vs. Second Focal Plane scopes and also wondered if one type of reticle was better for “holding off” than others.

In responding to this question, Forum regular Monte Milanuk provided an excellent summary of aiming methods used in F-Class. For anyone shooting score targets, Monte’s post is worth reading:

Aiming Methods for F-Class (and Long-Range) Shootingby Monte Milanuk

600-yard F-Class TargetF-Class is a known-distance event, with targets of known dimensions that have markings (rings) of known sizes. Any ‘holding off’ can be done using the target face itself. Most ‘benefits’ of Front (first) focal plain (FFP) optics are null and void here — they work great on two-way ranges where ‘minute of man’ is the defining criteria — but how many FFP scopes do you know of in the 30-40X magnification range? Very, very few, because what people who buy high-magnification scopes want is something that allows them to hold finer on the target, and see more detail of the target, not something where the reticle covers the same amount of real estate and appears ‘coarser’ in view against the target, while getting almost too fine to see at lower powers.

Whether a person clicks or holds off is largely personal preference. Some people might decline to adjust their scope as long as they can hold off somewhere on the target. Some of that may stem from the unfortunate effect of scopes being mechanical objects which sometimes don’t work entirely as advertised (i.e. one or two clicks being more or less than anticipated). Me personally, if I get outside 1-1.5 MOA from center, I usually correct accordingly. I also shoot on a range where wind corrections are often in revolutions, not clicks or minutes, between shots.

Some shooters do a modified form of ‘chase the spotter’ — i.e. Take a swag at the wind, dial it on, aim center and shoot. Spotter comes up mid-ring 10 at 4 o’clock… so for the next shot aim mid-ring 10 at 10 o’clock and shoot. This should come up a center X (in theory). Adjust process as necessary to take into account for varying wind speeds and direction.

John Sigler F-Class

600-yard F-Class TargetOthers use a plot sheet that is a scaled representation of the target face, complete with a grid overlaid on it that matches the increments of their optics — usually in MOA. Take your Swag at the wind, dial it on, hold center and shoot. Shot comes up a 10 o’clock ‘8’… plot the shot on the sheet, look at the grid and take your corrections from that and dial the scope accordingly. This process should put you in the center (or pretty close), assuming that you didn’t completely ignore the wind in the mean time. Once in the center, hold off and shoot and plot, and if you see a ‘group’ forming (say low right in the 10 ring) either continue to hold high and left or apply the needed corrections to bring your group into the x-ring.

Just holding is generally faster, and allows the shooter to shoot fast and (hopefully) stay ahead of the wind. Plotting is more methodical and may save your bacon if the wind completely changes on you… plotting provides a good reference for dialing back the other way while staying in the middle of the target. — YMMV, Monte

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Optics, Shooting Skills No Comments »
September 11th, 2019

Grow the Shooting Sports Through Youth Air Rifle Programs

air rifle cmp youth training programs jrotc Civilian marksmanship

To thrive, the shooting sports need more young competitors. Let’s face it, for some disciplines the average age of competitors is getting older. To reverse this trend, we need to get young people involved at an early age. One of the best ways to train young marksmen is with air rifles. Air-powered rifles fire low-cost ammo, training can be done indoors, and air rifle programs have a great safety record.

Air rifle shooting is practiced as a sport in more than 150 countries. Target shooting helps young people develop fine motor control, coordination, and mental discipline. In the USA air rifle shooting is a popular high school and youth club sport as well as an NCAA Championship sport.

air rifle cmp youth training programs jrotc Civilian marksmanship

The largest and fastest-growing segment of junior shooting today uses a class of target air rifles called “sporter air rifles”. Sporter air rifles are characterized by their light weight (5-7 lbs.), low cost (typically $180 to $600), basic target features (adjustable sights, adjustable length stocks, adjustable sling attachments), and suitable accuracy (good sporter rifles should be capable of consistently shooting tens on standard competition targets).

air rifle cmp youth training programs jrotc Civilian marksmanship

Resources for Youth Air Rifle Programs
If you would like to start an air rifle program for your school, club, or organization, the Civilian Marksmanship Program is a good place to start. The CMP provides a variety of helpful resources, including a free Air Rifle Marksmanship For Youth Brochure (shown below):

air rifle cmp yout training programs jrotc Civilian marksmanship

Precision Air Rifles for NCAA, World Cup, and Olympic Competition

Olympic Air Rifles

While sporter air rifles are most commonly used in youth programs, elite young competitors may “graduate” to expensive precision rifles used in top-level championship programs. Air rifle shooting is an Olympic sport, with separate air rifle events for men and women. Air rifle target shooting participants fire 4.5 mm (.177 cal.) air rifles in three different shooting positions at targets 10 meters away. These precision air rifles are also used in top-level NCAA and World Cup competitions.

Air Rifle Shooting Is Very Safe
Air rifle marksmanship is one of the safest of all youth sports. The injury rate for air rifle shooting is 0.0017 per a/e (athlete exposure) per year. This ranks far below injury rates for all other youth sports for which statistics are kept. The CMP currently enrolls over 2,000 high school rifle teams and over 1,000 junior rifle clubs. More than 250,000 young people participate in these programs. Every year more than 1,500 junior air rifle competitions are conducted in the USA. In the last 10 years, these organizations and competitions reported only six minor injuries resulting from the improper handling of air rifles.

Air Rifle Ranges Can Be Created Indoors at Relatively Low Cost
Air rifle ranges are easy to build and low in cost. Air rifles used for target shooting fire small pellets at velocities of 400-600 FPS that generate just 5 ft-lbs of energy. This means a target backstop made of 1/8” sheet steel or even a box filled with several layers of cardboard or newspaper can easily capture air rifle pellets. A room that is at least 40 feet long and 20 feet or more wide, covered with ordinary wallboard or wood with no exposed windows, can serve as a range. The additional protective measures required for firearms ranges are not required for air rifle ranges.

Olympic Air Rifles

WEB RESOURCES: To learn more about air rifle marksmanship, visit these web sites:

Civilian Marksmanship Program | Nat’l Three-Position Air Rifle Council | USA Shooting

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »
September 10th, 2019

Great Day at White Horse — Mike Shoots 600-Yard Personal Best

600 yard benchrest white horse firearms range IBS West Virginia

We like to acknowledge excellence in marksmanship, particularly when a competitor manages to shoot a personal best, dropping five shots right in the middle of the target at 600 yards in windy conditions. That’s worth celebrating.

600 yard benchrest white horse firearms range IBS West Virginia

Recently Michael Bencivengo was competing in a 600-yard match at the White Horse Firearm & Outdoor Education Center in Philippi, West Virginia. Even with windy conditions during the match, Mike drilled an impressive 1.227″ group, all centered for a 50 score. And four of the five shots are clustered in about one-half-inch of vertical!

No this is not an IBS record, but it is a mighty fine group and a personal best for Mike. We think that’s worth acknowledging. As all of us get older, it is great to experience a personal best.

600 yard benchrest white horse firearms range IBS West Virginia

Posting on the USA Benchrest Facebook Group, Mike notes: “[I shot] my personal best and smallest group on a very windy day at the GBA 600-yard match 50-0X with a 1.227 inch group.”

600 yard benchrest white horse firearms range IBS West Virginia

We’d all be smiling after shooting a target like this at 600 yards…

600 yard benchrest white horse firearms range IBS West Virginia

The scenic White Horse Firearm & Outdoor Education Center is located at 127 White Horse Lane, Philippi, WV 26416. (Mailing address is White Horse Center, P.O. Box 2091, Buckhannon, WV 26201.) The White Horse range is close to many large East Coast cities:

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
September 10th, 2019

Teaching New Shooters — CMP Training Resources

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

teaching shooting positions youth junior

Videos

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

Power Point Presentations

Right-click and “save as” the links below to download these Powerpoint presentations to your computer. These can be used in a classroom/seminar setting, or can be reviewed by shooters on their own. NOTE: Clinking a link will initiate the download to your default download folder!

CMP PRINT RESOURCES

Coaching Young Rifle Shooters
Gary Anderson, DCME, has authored a great book on instructing junior shooters. This full-color, 200-page treatise is probably the most comprehensive marksmanship coaching guide in print. The author, Gary Anderson, knows something about high-level competition — over his illustrious career he captured two Olympic gold medals, won seven World Championships, set six world records, and held 16 national titles. In this book, Gary provides coaches with all the tools and techniques needed to help young shooters (and novices) improve their skills. Packed with useful illustrations, this 200-page book sells for $19.95 plus S&H through the CMP E-Store.

USAMU Service Rifle Marksmanship Guide
and USAMU Advanced Pistol Guide

These illustrated books, written by U.S. Army Marksmanship Team personnel, provide detailed instructions on the basic and advanced skills of High Power service rifle shooting and service pistol and bullseye pistol target shooting. The books cost $6.95 each through the CMP E-Store.

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »
September 9th, 2019

Movie Monday — 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.

Permalink - Videos, Shooting Skills, Tech Tip 1 Comment »