October 6th, 2017

Mad Minute Marksmanship — The One-Minute Lee-Enfield Drill

Lee Enfield Mad Minute one-minute rifle drill British Army Gary Eliseo Dennis Santiago
British Lee-Enfield Model SHT’22/IV Rifle, courtesy www.iCollector.com.

Our friend Dennis Santiago was a technical advisor for History Channel’s Top SHOT TV show. One of the notable Top Shot episodes involved the “Mad Minute”, a marksmanship drill practiced by the British Army in the decades preceding World War I. Dennis observed that the Top Shot competitors didn’t fare too well in their “Mad Minute” attempts, not scoring many hits in the alloted one-minute time period. That prompted Dennis to give it a try himself — seeing how many hits he could score in one minute with an authentic Lee-Enfield rifle. So, a while back, Dennis ran the drill at a range in California.

Dennis, an active high power rifle competitor and instructor, enjoyed his “Mad Minute” exercise, though he assures us that this takes practice to perfect. Dennis tells us: “Here is a ‘Mad Minute’ drill, done using a period correct Lee-Enfield (SMLE) No.1 Mk III rifle and Mk VII ammo. I got to the Queen’s Regulations (15 hits in one minute) on the second run and put a good group on the target at 200 yards. This is ‘jolly good fun’ to do every once in a while. This is ‘living history’ — experiencing a skill from a time when the sun never set on the British Empire.”

Dennis Does the Mad Minute

Lee Enfield Mad Minute Mark IV
British Lee-Enfield Model SHT’22/IV Rifle, courtesy www.iCollector.com.

Lee Enfield Mad Minute Mark IVLee-Enfield No. 4 Rifle (1943), courtesy Arundel Militaria.

“Mad Minute” was a pre-World War I term used by British Army riflemen during training at the Hythe School of Musketry to describe scoring a minimum of 15 hits onto a 12″ round target at 300 yards within one minute using a bolt-action rifle (usually a Lee-Enfield or Lee-Metford rifle). It was not uncommon during the First World War for riflemen to greatly exceed this score. The record, set in 1914 by Sergeant Instructor Alfred Snoxall, was 38 hits. (From WikiPedia.)

Want to See More “Mad Minute” Action with a Modern Tubegun?
In 2012, Gary Eliseo ran a “Mad Minute” exercise using a modern, .308 Win Eliseo RTM Tubegun of his own making. Gary ended up with 24 hits on a bull target set at 300 yards. (Gary actually had 25 hits in 25 rounds fired, but the last round hit just after the 60-second time period expired.) Note how Gary pulls the trigger with the middle finger of his right hand. This allows him to work the bolt faster, using his thumb and index finger. CLICK HERE for Eliseo Tubegun Mad Minute story.

Watch Gary Elesio Shoot the ‘Mad Minute’ (Starts at 4:47 on Video)

NOTE: In an interesting coincidence, Dennis Santiago was actually in the pits pulling targets for Gary during Eliseo’s 2012 “Mad Minute” exercise.

History of the Mad Minute
Commentary by Laurie Holland
The original military requirement of the “Mad Minute” saw the soldier ready to fire with a round in the chamber, nine in the magazine, safety on. This course of fire is still followed by the GB Historic Breechloading Arms Association and other bodies in their recreated “Mad Minute” competitions.

The first 10 would go quickly, but reloads were critical, this not done by a magazine change as Gary did with the RTM or in a modern tactical or semi-auto rifle, but through slick use of ‘chargers’. It is this aspect which fouls so many of my colleagues up as it is very easy to cause a jam and a large part of 60 seconds can go in sorting it out!

Charger clips were selected for those that just held the rounds firmly enough to stop then falling out, were sand-papered and polished with a stove / fireplace polish called ‘Zebrite’ so that the rimmed rounds would slip through the clips like corn through a goose.

lee enfield 1916 rifle

If you’re unfamiliar with the cock-on-closing Enfield action, it seems clumsy. With intensive practice it is very smooth and can be operated incredibly quickly. The trick is to whip the bolt back onto its stop and initiate a rebound movement that takes it and the cartridge well into the chamber thereby reducing the effort required to close the bolt and chamber the round.

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills, Tactical 2 Comments »
October 3rd, 2017

How to Hold a 1911 Correctly — Tips from Todd Jarrett

Todd Jarrett

Todd Jarrett is one of the world’s best handgun shooters. A multi-time World Champion, Todd knows a thing or two about semi-auto pistols, particularly 1911s and 1911-based raceguns. Jarrett holds four World titles, nine National titles and has won more than 50 Area championships, as well as many other action shooting events. Jarrett is the only USPSA Triple Crown Winner and he holds four USPSA National titles: Open, Limited, Production, and Limited-10. Jarrett revealed in an interview that between 1988 and 2001 he shot about 1.7 million rounds during practice: “I had a gun in my hand for two hours every day for 10 years to develop my skill level”.

In the video below, Todd explains how to get the proper grip on your handgun, and how to employ a proper stance. We’ve watched many videos on pistol shooting. This is one of the best instructional videos we’ve seen. Todd explains, in easy-to-understand terms, the key elements of grip and stance. One very important point he demonstrates is how to align the grip in your hand so that the gun points naturally — something very important when rapid aiming is required. If you watch this video, you’ll learn valuable lessons — whether you shoot competitively or just want to have better control and accuracy when using your handgun defensively.

Related Article: Thumbs-Forward Shooting Grip for 1911s
“Shooting semiautomatic pistols using the thumbs-forward method really becomes useful … where speed and accuracy are both needed. By positioning the thumbs-forward along the slide (or slightly off of the slide) you are in essence creating a second sighting device: wherever your shooting thumb is pointing is where the pistol is pointing. This makes it incredibly fast to draw the pistol, get your proper grip, and press forward to the target without needing to hunt around for the front sight.” — Cheaper Than Dirt Blog, 9/13/2010.

Permalink - Videos, Shooting Skills 3 Comments »
October 1st, 2017

Report from F-Class Nationals in Lodi, Wisconsin

Lodi Wisconsin F-Class National Championship Ian Klemm Robert Mead Jay Christopherson F-TR F-Open Borden Brux
“A big congratulations to Bob Mead (1582-68X), who utterly destroyed the competition in tricky wind conditions to take the Gold.” — Jay Christopherson, F-Open Second Place.

The 2017 F-Class National Championships in Lodi, Wisconsin are now history. Hail the new Champions: Robert Mead, F-Open (1582-68X) and Ian Klemm, F-TR (1557-56X). Hosted by the Winnequah Gun Club, the Nationals drew about 75 F-Open shooters and 45 F-TR competitors, down from last year. In F-Open, Robert Mead shot brilliantly in tough conditions to finish 14 points ahead of his closest competitor, AccurateShooter.com’s System Administrator Jay Christopherson. Erik Cortina was just one point behind Jay, but Erik had the high X-Count for the match at 71X.

Lodi Wisconsin F-Class National Championship Ian Klemm Robert Mead Jay Christopherson F-TR F-Open Borden Brux
Photos of Robert Mead and Ian Klemm courtesy Erik Cortina.

In F-TR, Ian Klemm also won by a margin of 14 points. This was an impressive win by Ian, given the challenging winds and weather. F-TR runner-up Todd Sanders also shot remarkably well, considering he is a relative newcomer to F-Class. Forum member KyBountyHunter observed: “Outstanding shooting this week gentlemen, in some of the most challenging conditions that I’ve seen. Congrats to all the winners. Ian — fantastic job taking First Place (well deserved) [and] special congrats to Todd. For this only being his second year in F-TR, he’s going to be force to be reckoned with for a long time!”.

Lodi Wisconsin F-Class National Championship Ian Klemm Robert Mead Jay Christopherson F-TR F-Open Borden Brux

CLICK HERE for Match Results. Sorry — no equipment list yet.

Final Results for F-Open (TOP 10):
1. Robert Mead: 1582-68X HM
2. Jay Christopherson: 1568-59X HM
3. Erik Cortina: 1567-71X HM
4. John Myers: 1558-64X HM
5. Pat Scully: 1558-50X HM
6. Larry Bartholome: 1554-55X HM
7. Robert Sebold: 1554-41X HM
8. Steve Harp: 1553-58X HM
9. Jeff Hopkins: 1551-49X MA
10. Lou Murdica: 1550-46X MA

Final Results for F-T/R (TOP 10):
1. Ian Klemm: 1557-56X HM
2. Todd Sanders: 1543-43X MA
3. Brad Sauve: 1542-44X MA
4. Laura Perry: 1539-46X EX
5. Daniel Pohlabel: 1534-49X MA
6. Josh Moore: 1529-37X EX
7. Ken Klemm: 1528-38X MA
8. Bob Lorenz: 1525-47X EX
9. Raymond Weaver: 1522-36X HM
10. Alan Barnhart: 1521-31X HM

Strong Performances by Members of Team Lapua-Borden-Brux
Jay Christopherson posted: “A big congratulations to Bob Mead (1582-68X), who utterly destroyed the competition in tricky wind conditions to take the Gold. This was a great end to the 2017 competition season for me as I managed to hang on by the skin of my fingertips to win Silver at the 2017 F-Class US National Championships (F-Open).” For the record, Team Lapua-Borden-Brux ended up with all five present members of the team in the Top 8 of the Grand Aggregate.

Jay Christopherson (2nd, 1568-59X, Silver)
Erik Cortina (3rd, 1567-71X, Bronze)
Pat Scully (5th, 1558-50X)

Bob Sebold (7th, 1554-41X)
Steve Harp (8th, 1553-58X)

In team competition, Team Lapua-Borden Brux won the F-0pen Long Range Championship as well as the Mid-Range Championship. Jay told us: “That was some outstanding shooting by great team members. I’m really looking forward to the 2018 season.” Erik Cortina added: “So proud of our team. We conquered the 2017 LR National Championship as well as the Mid-Range National Championship. We could not have done it without our sponsors: Lapua, Borden Actions, and Brux Barrels.”

Lodi Wisconsin F-Class National Championship Ian Klemm Robert Mead Jay Christopherson F-TR F-Open Borden Brux

In the F-TR Team Competition, mighty Team Sinclair triumphed yet again, winning its 10th Long Range National Championship. Team member Paul Phillips offered this interesting factoid: “This year we won with the original four members we had in 2004 plus Dan Pohlabel. It’s pretty awesome to be shooting with the same guys for 13 years! What a great run since 2004.” And those same four also all hail from Midland, Michigan (Midland County Sportsman’s Club). Team Sinclair still holds the 4-man Team 1000-yard National Record. Shown below, L to R, are team members: Daniel J. Pohlabel, Paul Phillips, Raymond Gross (Coach), Brad Sauve, and John Droelle.

Lodi Wisconsin F-Class National Championship Team Sinclair F-TR
All Team Sinclair members use identical hardware: McMillan XiT stock, Kelbly Panda action, Bartlein barrel, Nightforce scope, and Phoenix Precision bipod. All shoot Berger 200-20X bullets in Lapua brass.

The One that Got Away — Almost Matching F-Open 20-Shot Record
Erik Cortina shot a superb 200-16X during the competition (see electronic target scoring screen below). That was just one X shy of the current 200-17X National Record. Erik observed: “So close, yet so far. Almost matched the National Record of 200-17X but shot a ten on my very last shot. Everything felt good but luck was not on my side.”

Lodi Wisconsin F-Class National Championship Ian Klemm Robert Mead Jay Christopherson F-TR F-Open Borden Brux


File photo from Lodi at past F-Class Nationals.

Permalink Competition, News, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
September 26th, 2017

Rimfire Challenge World Championship — For the Whole Family

NSSF Rimfire Challenge 10/22 M&P .22 LR ruger browning buckmark Alabama

What is the most family-friendly shooting discipline? It just might be the NSSF Rimfire Challenge. NSSF took over the Rimfire Challenge in 2014, replacing Ruger as the sponsoring organization. Now more than 400 Rimfire Challenge events are held across the country each year. The matches are designed to encourage family participation in a friendly atmosphere. Entire families, both oldsters and youngsters, can have fun shooting together in a supervised setting. You don’t need expensive ammo or hardware, and the primary focus is on having fun and enjoying the comraderie.


CLICK HERE to REGISTER | CLICK HERE for Match Results

The NSSF Rimfire Challenge World Championship will be held October 13-15 at the Cavern Cove Range in Woodville, Alabama (near Huntsville). There will be five “tune-up” fun matches on Friday, October 13, followed by the main matches on Saturday and Sunday. This year there will be 14 total stages (7 handgun and 7 rifle).

Demonstration Sessions with Guns and Ammo Provided
During the Championship weekend there will be free demo programs. That gives visitors some trigger time even if they are not an official competitor. At last year’s NSSF Rimfire Challenge Championship in Alabama, Smith & Wesson was on hand with demo rifles and pistols. See the action in the S&W-produced video above. At the October event, attendees were able to try out the Smith & Wesson® SW22 Victory pistol and the M&P 15-22 rifle.

Competitors will be challenged with rimfire pistol and rifle stages at the Cavern Cove Competition Range in Woodville, Alabama (near Huntsville). Like all NSSF Rimfire Challenge events, the sponsors encourage both novice and experienced shooters to participate. In fact, for many shooters the Rimfire Challenge Championship may be their first-ever major competition.

Guns of Choice: S&W M&P 15-22 and Browning Buck Mark

If you want to shoot both Limited and Open class, a very good rifle choice rifle is the Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22. The feel, weight, and controls will be familiar to any AR owner. These 15-22s have been refined over the years and now are very reliable. Shoot it in Limited Class with the standard iron sights. Then fold down the sights and attach a 1-4X optic to shoot Open Class.

Smith Wesson M&P 1-22

Smith & Wesson’s M&P 15-22 Sport MOE SL model (Magpul Original Equipment Slim Line) has been upgraded with a more comfortable handguard, an improved grip, and an adjustable Magpul buttstock. It is offered with Flat Dark Earth (tan) furniture (shown above) or dressed in matte black.

Browning Hunter Buckmark 7.25

For pistol competition, we recommend the Browning Buck Mark Hunter. This has a nice set of iron sights, and you can fit a red-dot or pistol scope on the integral Picatinny Rail. The Hunter model, shown above, has a long, 9 3/4″ sight radius with bright fiber-optic sights. It’s also handsome with matte black finish and real Cocobolo grips. Another good choice is the Buck Mark Contour URX stainless with a 7 1/4″ slab-sided heavy barrel.

The Rimfire Challenge is all about shooting fast, so rapid-fire reliability is critical. The Buckmark is one of the most reliable semi-auto pistols ever made, and the ergonomics are great. You can find Buckmarks starting at $249.99 with the current Browning Bucks Rebate.

Rimfire Challenge Rules and Course of Fire

The NSSF Rimfire Challenge offers Open and Limited (iron sights) Divisions, plus Special Recognition sub-classes (Lady, Senior, Junior, Youth and Cowboy/Cowgirl). To learn more about rules, courses of fire, and the upcoming Rimfire World Championship, visit NSSF.org/Rimfire.

NSSF Rimfire Challenge Basics

The Rimfire Challenge is a two-gun event so you need a rifle and a handgun (which can be either a semi-auto pistol, or revolver).

  • There are two divisions: 1) Open — Any firearm (pistol or revolver in handgun class) with scopes, optical sights, light gathering scopes, battery powered optics or lasers; and 2) Limited — Pistols and rifles with iron sights, adjustable metallic sights, and/or fiber optic.
  • Bolt-action rifles and lever-action rifles are allowed, but self-loading (semi-auto) rifles are most popular because they can shoot quickly.
  • It is suggested that your firearms hold at least ten rounds each, as there is no reloading allowed during the actually stages.
  • It is a good idea to have five (5) magazines per gun (5 each for rifle and pistol). That way you don’t have to reload between stages. If you have a 10-shot revolver, you can reload manually, or use speed loaders.
  • At Rimfire Challenge Matches, each competitor gets five (5) runs through each target stage.
  • Eye and ear protection is required on the range at all times. This is true for spectators as well as competitors.

NSSF Rimfire Challenge Courses of Fire | NSSF Rimfire Challenge Rulebook

Many different stage designs can be employed at Rimfire Challenge matches. Here are two examples from the NSSF Rimfire Challenge Suggested Courses of Fire:

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

Sling Thing: Dennis DeMille Explains How to Set Up Your Sling

Dennis DeMille Creedmoor Sports Rifle Sling video training set-up
Dennis DeMille shows a young competitor at the CMP Western Games how to adjust his leather sling.

Setting-Up a Leather Service Rifle Sling for Competition
So you made the mistake of disassembling your leather service rifle sling, or are intimidated about how to use one? In this Creedmoor Sports InfoZone video, Creedmoor G.M. Dennis DeMille explains how to set up and use a sling. The covers the basics — Dennis starts with a totally disassembled leather service rifle sling and shows you how to set it up properly.

Tip: “Many shooters shy away from using a leather sling because they have never been taught how to use one. That’s unfortunate. In my opinion a leather sling offers more support than a web sling, which is important when competiting with the heavier than normal rifles.”

Configuring the Sling for the Standing (Offhand) Position
In this second in a series of Creedmoor InfoZone videos on the setup and use of the leather service rifle sling, Dennis DeMille details how to configure and best utilize the leather service rifle sling while shooting from the standing position.

Tip: “Putting the Frogs in different hole will change the amount of added elevation a sling provides.”

Looking at Sling Types — Comparing the Features
In this video Dennis showcases a large variety of shooting slings. He explains the strong points of each type so you can choose the sling best suited to your discipline and shooting style.

Dennis DeMille High PowerThe Benefits of Dry-Fire Training
Once you know how to set up your sling properly, you’ll want to practice. Dennis DeMille stresses the importance of dry-fire practice with sling and shooting coat. Dry-Fire training is essential to the sling disciplines. Dennis DeMille, a national Service Rifle Champion, told us that, for every minute he spent in actual competition, he would spend hours practicing without ammunition. While in the USMC, Dennis would practice in the barracks, working on his hold and dry-firing:

“The most important thing is to spend time off the range practicing. Most of what I learned as a High Power shooter I learned without ammunition — just spending time dry firing and doing holding exercises. Holding exercises will really identify the weak parts of your position. The primary purpose of dry firing is to get you used to shooting an empty rifle. If you can shoot a loaded rifle the same way you shoot an empty rifle then eventually you will become a High Master.”

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills, Tech Tip No Comments »
September 16th, 2017

IBS Match Report: Visalia 3-Gun California Championship

IBS International Benchrest Shooters Visalia CA california match Boyd Allen
The Visalia Sportsman’s Association Dale Wimp Shooting Range — a great place to shoot.

Report by Boyd Allen | Photos and video by Pete Kitrinos
The IBS is in the West! The first International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) match at the Visalia, CA range was held over the recent Labor Day Weekend. Despite scorching 106° heat, many of the West’s top short-range benchrest shooters assembled for the first IBS-sanctioned match (after a 30-year history with the NBRSA) at the Visalia range. The mix of shooters included at least one Benchrest Hall of Fame member, as well as NBRSA record holders. Competitors were happy to return to Visalia, which had been closed for seven months while range improvements were made (some parts of the East berm were still under construction). With only two ranges in the entire state holding short range group matches, the temporary loss of Visalia had a significant impact. It was time to get back to business — the business of shooting tiny groups.

This video includes Aerial Drone footage of the range — worth watching!

Surrounded by fields, the Visalia Range is located in California’s Central Valley, a rich agricultural area.
IBS International Benchrest Shooters Visalia CA california match Boyd Allen

For about thirty years the California 3-Gun Benchrest Championship match has been held at the Visalia Sportsman’s Association Dale Wimp Range over Labor Day weekend. For all those years, the matches have been put on by local shooter and current club president Dennis Thornbury. During a good part of that time, he has also managed to keep his name in the NBRSA record book, and pick up four Benchrest Hall of Fame points, as well as having recently done a tour as NBRSA president. This year’s match is sanctioned by the IBS, a first at Visalia.

Don “The Pumpkin” Nielson used an action he fabricated, a “fat bolt” aluminum 3-lug with steel insert.
Visalia IBS Benchrest Rest

Dennis Thornbury has been putting on registered matches at the Visalia range for 30 years. He holds an NBRSA record, and has 4 Hall of Fame points.
IBS International Benchrest Shooters Visalia CA california match Boyd Allen

The format: On Saturday competitors shot 100 yards all day, Sporter in the morning, Light Varmint in the afternoon. The following day the morning competition was Heavy Varmint at 100 and at lunch the targets were moved to 200 yards with Heavy Varmint being shot that afternoon. On Monday, Labor Day, at 200 yards, Light Varmint was shot in the morning and Sporter in the afternoon. All three days consisted of five, 5-shot matches in the morning and five more in the afternoon.

Morning, Day 1 — Very few “daisy wheels”. This has been the trend for many years at this range.
IBS International Benchrest Shooters Visalia CA california match Boyd Allen

Getting down to business. Shown, from right to left: Henry Pinkney, Joe Stanovich, Steve Epstein, Keith Cottrell (face obscured), Jim Nicolas (standing).
IBS International Benchrest Shooters Visalia CA california match Boyd Allen

Sunday Top Shots: Jack Childers, Keith Cottrell, John Pierce, Lester Bruno, Dennis Thornbury, and Don Nielson. (Yes that’s a corn field in the background):
Visalia IBS Benchrest Rest

With the big temp changes between morning and afternoon, competitors were chasing powder loads all weekend. Small groups were hard to find, so only three “screamers” were recorded all weekend, and no teen Aggs. With the oppressive heat, attrition was also a factor: “We started with 30 shooters, and ended with just 21 competitors”.

Temperatures were in the triple digits for Saturday and Sunday, backing off to the high 90s on Monday. High humidity made it feel even hotter — heat stress was a definite issue. Even the rifles seemed to be at less than their best, causing very light wind conditions to produce Aggregates that were larger than the observed wind conditions would lead one to expect. Wind was generally light and switchy. Lighter mornings with wind increasing slightly through the days. Sunday saw more wind than the other two days after ten o’clock or so.

Loading benches with the usual clutter. Note the LabRadar chronograph on a bench at the firing line. Lawrence Weisdorn tracked his velocities during the match to know when a powder charge adjustment was needed.
IBS International Benchrest Shooters Visalia CA california match Boyd Allen

Top Shooters: The Top Five in the 3-Gun (HV, LV, and Sporter) Championship were: Keith Cottrell (.2534), John Pierce (.2695), Dennis Thornbury (.2714), Art Kawai (.2885), and Rich Shaw (.3016). Winners of the Class Grand Aggs were Dennis Thornbury (HV .2424), Lester Bruno (LV .2400), and Keith Cottrell (Sporter .2395). CLICK HERE for full Match Results.

Visalia IBS Benchrest Rest

Equipment List for Top Five Shooters
Visalia IBS Benchrest Rest

You can use a LabRadar during competition. This was Lawrence Weisdorn’s set-up at Visalia.
IBS International Benchrest Shooters Visalia CA california match Boyd Allen

Benchrest Technique — How to Shoot at Visalia
This range is built a bit like a large bathtub, dug into a flat field with the excavated earth thrown up in steep berms on three sides. This configuration and the usual lack of strong winds creates a lot of thermal-generated switchiness with flags changing direction often and very little agreement within any shooter’s set. This places a high premium on visual memory and the ability to judge equivalent conditions, because duplicates are almost never seen. Although the opportunity to run groups can happen, this is mostly a “pickers” range, which places a high premium on visual memory.

Visalia IBS Benchrest Rest

Facilities at Visalia Sportsman’s Association Range
There are 28 monolithic, steel-reinforced, concrete benches (poured in place, base and top all one pour). The reloading area is behind the benches with most of it on the same level as the benches. There are permanent (fixed position) tables that have laminate tops, except for where the range house sits, mid-range, with a “wailing wall” along its east and north sides. The direction of fire is north. The benches are under a slightly pitched metal roof that has recently been extended so that it has a good amount of overhang in front of the benches. Electricity is available in the reloading area and there are a few electrical outlets in the parking lot for RVs. There are both steps and a wheelchair ramp connecting parking lot to the reloading level and the shooting level.

Visalia IBS Benchrest Rest

Field of (Benchrest) Dreams — Precision Shooting Among the California Corn Fields.
Visalia IBS Benchrest Rest

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing, Shooting Skills 4 Comments »
September 11th, 2017

Breath, Relax … and Improve Your Vision

Vision Eye Target Scope Relaxation Oxygen Target

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

eye vision Vince Bottomley

Permalink Optics, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
September 5th, 2017

CMP New England Games Return to Vermont, September 20-24

2017 CMP Games New England Electronic Targets

CMP games new englandOn September 20-24, 2017, the CMP New England Games will take place in a scenic corner of Vermont (check out that photo above — is that nice or what?). Hosted by the Vermont State Rifle and Pistol Association and the Burlington Rifle and Pistol Club, the New England Games will be conducted at the Camp Ethan Allen Training Site, a beautiful facility.

» CLICK HERE to Register for 2017 CMP New England Games

Registration is currently open. Competitors are encouraged to register right away, though interested shooters will also be able to register for additional matches while attending the event. Last year, over 150 competitors shot in the inaugural New England Games. This year the number may top 200. The New England Games have become extremely popular for the breathtaking views and serene environment. Add in the new electronic target system and you have a recipe for success.

2017 CMP Games New England Electronic Targets

The 2017 New England Games will feature the CMP’s electronic High Power targets. Thus far in 2017, this mobile target system was used during the Oklahoma Games in April, the Eastern Games in May, and at Camp Perry in June. The electronic target system is now well-sorted and provides accurate scoring. Shooters have monitors right at their shooting stations, providing instant scoring info — no more waiting for the targets to be marked manually. And with the elimination of pit duty allowed by the target system, matches are completed in a shorter amount of time.

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

The 2017 New England CMP Games will include a GSM New Shooter Clinic and a Small Arms Firing School (SAFS), led by certified instructors. No previous firearm experience is required for SAFS. Students participating in the clinic will learn gun safety, target shooting skills, positioning, and basic rifle mechanics. Then they will participate in a true M16 EIC match. The CMP provides ammunition and a rifle during the Rifle SAFS.

new england cmp games 2017 camp ethan Allen

Similar to the Eastern, Western, and Oklahoma CMP Travel games, the New England Games features a variety of competitive shooting matches including: Garand/Springfield/Vintage andModern Military Match, As-Issued 1911 Pistol Match, EIC Pistol Match, .22 Rimfire Pistol Match, Rimfire Sporter Match, M1 Carbine Match, and Vintage Sniper Match, along with the regular High Power competitions.

Competitors Praise Venue and Match
Competitors at last year’s inaugural CMP New England Game were mightily impressed by Camp Ethan Allen, a beautiful venue. “I was blown away by the facilities at Camp Ethan Allen,” said Steve Cooper, CMP North general manger. “The grounds were neatly manicured, our offices for registration and sales were very convenient and the classrooms were perfect for our clinics.”

He went on to say, “As beautiful as the surroundings were, the people were even better. They truly wanted us there and they enjoyed the matches, clinics, and other activities. It will be a pleasure to return next year for an even bigger and better event.” Photos from the 2016 event are posted on the CMP’s Zenfolio website.

Many awards will be earned at the 2017 New England Games…
New England Games CMP CEATS SAFS

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

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

Learn More about the CMP New England Games
For registration, travel, and housing information, visit the New England Games Page on the CMP website. If you have questions, Contact Christina Roguski at 419-635-2141 ext. 714, or email competitions [at] thecmp.org.

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September 4th, 2017

Atomic Green Target Spots — Super-Bright Color Aids Aiming

Birchwood Casey Atomic Green Target Spots Circles day-glo

Birchwood Casey Atomic Green orange Target Spots Circles day-gloWe like to use the Birchwood Casey 2″ and 3″ orange “Target Spots” stick-on circles (with diamond centers) for shooting at 300 yards and beyond (photo right). These give you a very precise aiming point if you align your cross-hairs with the corners of the diamond. However, we know that some guys, particularly those whose scopes have “target-dot” reticles, prefer to have a small box for an aim point. In addition, the orange Target Spots are not a true “Day-Glo” color, so they may seem a little dull (low-contrast) when the target is in shadow.

For guys who want an ultra-high contrast target with a square box in the center, Birchwood Casey offers a series of neon green targets with box centers and spike-style extended vertical and horizontal lines (like on a compass). The manufacturer explains: “These newly-designed adhesive Target Spots come in highly-visible Atomic Green. The crosshair design fulfills the needs of open-sight shooters along with scope users. Easily line up your open sights on the center square or lay the crosshairs along the vertical and horizontal diminishing lines.” You can also rotate the Atomic Green Target Spots 45° to create a diamond center with the crosshairs in an “X” pattern.

We’ve sampled these targets. The Atomic Green background is a true “Day-Glo” color (like safety signs) so these circles appear very bright on a target backer. These work well in low light. We won’t throw away our orange Target Spots, but these Atomic Green circles are a nice option. NOTE: Atomic Green spots are NOT “splatter” targets — a contrasting bright color does NOT appear around your bullet holes.

Multiple Sizes Offered
Birchwood Casey sells the new Atomic green circles in various sizes. You can order a Combo Pack with sixty 1″-diameter spots, thirty 2″-diameter spots, and twenty 3″-diameter circles.

Or purchase the 3″-diameter green spots in a separate pack of forty (40) circles. Birchwood Casey also sells 6″-diameter Atomic Green Target Spots, 10 per pack.

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September 2nd, 2017

Fore and Aft Rifle, Rest, and Bag Positioning for Accuracy

Benchrest stock

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

Here’s some benchrest advice that can help you reduce vertical and shoot tighter groups… without spending another penny. Many benchrest shooters spend a fortune on equipment and devote countless hours to meticulous handloading, but they never experiment with their rifle’s position/balance on the bags. This article explains why you should test your rifle in various positions. What you learn may surprise you (and improve your scores).

Next time you go to the range, experiment with the position of your rifle on the front rest, and try a couple different positions for the rear bag. You may find that the rifle handles much better after you’ve made a small change in the placement of your gun on the bags. Recoil can be tamed a bit, and tracking can improve significantly, if you optimize the front rest and rear bag positioning.

front rest Sally benchrest IBS
This competitor has the front rest positioned fairly far forward but not all the way out. Note the stop on the front rest — this limits forward stock travel.

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

Joel Kendrick

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

stock position benchrest forearm sandbag front rest
Fore/aft stock position is important even with very wide fore-ends.

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

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

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

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September 1st, 2017

Marksmanship Programs for the Next Generation of Shooters

4H National Shooting Sports Youth Program
The Camp Josepho Boy Scouts facility in California offers outstanding marksmanship programs.

Editor’s Comment: Young people are the future of the shooting sports. If we don’t get young boys and girls involved in target/recreational shooting, the shooting sports will decline dramatically as our population ages. That can eventually lead to range closures, gun/accessory makers going out of business, and our heritage as a nation being lost. Therefore it is in the interest of every shooter to encourage young people to enjoy the shooting sports. Here are some of the best programs dedicated to getting the next generation of shooters started.

Article based on report in NRABlog.com.
Want to get young people involved in the shooting sports? Through organized training programs youngsters learn safe firearms handling, improve marksmanship skills, and meet other kids with similar interests. They also learn important life skills such as teamwork and goal attainment. There are several youth marksmanship programs available. All these programs let you share your joy of shooting with the younger generation. Remember today’s juniors are the future of our sport.

NRA National Junior Shooting Camps

NRA Junior Shooting Championships
File photo from NRA Smallbore Rifle Championship

The NRA’s National Junior Shooting Camps provide high-quality training opportunities in rifle, pistol and shotgun disciplines. Instruction is directed by highly qualified, top-level coaches. NRA offers camps for advanced and intermediate juniors. There are also Junior Olympic Shooting Camps, hosted by USA Shooting and supported by the NRA and the Civilian Marksmanship Program.

National 4-H Shooting Sports

4H National Shooting Sports Youth Program

The National 4-H Shooting Sports Program was created to teach marksmanship, the safe and responsible use of firearms, the principles of hunting and archery, and much more. State level 4-H clubs offer programs for individual training as well as team competitive shooting. There is also a National 4-H Shooting Sports Championship each summer which hosts Shotgun, Air Rifle, Air Pistol, Smallbore Rifle, Smallbore Pistol, Compound Archery, Recurve Archery, Muzzleloading Rifle and Hunting Skills events.

Boy Scouts of America

Youth Education BSA Shooting Sports Boy Scouts

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) offers several marksmanship opportunities for new and intermediate shooters. Programs provide training for marksmanship badges and there are a variety of other competitive and recreational programs. Check with your local Boy Scout organization to learn about the range offerings for scouts in your region.

American Legion Junior Program

American Legion Junior Program

Thousands of male and female junior shooters have participated in the American Legion Junior Shooting Sports Program, which has a perfect safety record. The Junior Program includes a Basic Marksmanship Course, Qualification Awards and Air Rifle Competition. To learn more, visit www.legion.org/shooting.

Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC)

The NRA’s Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) program helps kids 18 and under to learn hunting, marksmanship, and safety skills. From rifle, bow, and muzzleloader shooting, to wildlife identification, map & compass orienteering and more, YHEC participants get hands-on training in eight skill areas. This is a great program for parents and kids who want to go on family hunts together.

Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program

From a young shooter’s first BB gun to sophisticated air rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, pistols, and rifles, the year-round Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program offers a pathway to excellence for young shooters. Qualification shooting provides incentive awards for developing and improving marksmanship skills. Progression is self-paced and scores are challenging but attainable. Performance is measured against established par scores and any shooter who meets or exceeds those scores is entitled recognition awards for that rating.

Brownells / NRA Day

Brownells NRA Day

Brownells / NRA Day events provide adults, youth, families, hunters, sportsmen, competitors – literally everyone – the opportunity to come together under a formal program to learn, experience, share, and grow in appreciation of the shooting sports. The event themes offered in the program are designed for discovery. They provide exposure to the many different activities available in shooting sports and offer participants the opportunity to explore them in a safe, controlled environment.

Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation

Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation

The Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation (SSSF) offers a variety of fun, team-based shooting tournaments in both the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) and Scholastic Action Shooting Program (SASP). These programs are open to student athletes aged elementary through college.

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August 30th, 2017

Shooting Tips from Top Lady Competitive Shooters

Lady Shooter advice NRABlog.com Tiffany Piper Julie Golob
Photo courtesy NRAFamily.org.

The NRABlog has interviewed seven prominent lady shooters, asking them for tips for other lady shooting sports enthusiasts, particulary new shooters. Top female competitors such as 2016 Bianchi Cup Winner Tiffany Piper and Team S&W Co-Captain Julie Golob offer good advice on competitive shooting as well as using firearms for self-defense. Read the full article here.

Here Are Some of the Top Tips from Leading Ladies:

Tiffany Piper (Action Pistol): The best piece of advice I would give is practice makes perfect. In New Zealand, we barely get enough range time with our noise restrictions so muscle memory and technique are key.muscle memory and technique are key. Study up on shooting techniques, watch YouTube videos of other professional women shooters, and try out what you see. Don’t get intimidated thinking it’s a male’s sport[.]”

Lady Shooter advice NRABlog.com Tiffany Piper Julie Golob

Julie Golob (Team S&W, 3-Gun and Pistol): “If something isn’t clear, just ask about it! Shooters are some of the best people you’ll ever meet, but we can be confusing and use a lot of shooter slang and lingo. When in doubt, ask!”

Tori Nonaka (Team Glock): “I always recommend to new shooters to first concentrate on the basics of gun safety. That way they will be more comfortable when they next learn about the particular gun…. Their confidence will grow as they familiarize themselves with their specific weapon. Then, it’s all about practice at the range.”

Corey Cogdell (Olympic Trap Shooter): “It’s empowering for women to know how to use a firearm in a sporting atmosphere as well as for self-defense. So if you are new to firearms, check out your local gun club and take a lesson! There you’ll find instructors and other shooting sports enthusiasts who will be more than willing to help you.”

Lady Shooter advice NRABlog.com Tiffany Piper Julie Golob

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
August 29th, 2017

NSSF Safety Video: “How to Talk to Your Kids”

Gun Safety Julie Golob NSSF Video

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has produced a very useful educational resource, a video explaining “How to Talk to Your Kids about Firearm Safety”. The video, starring champion shooter Julie Golob, encourages parents to have “the talk” about firearm safety with their kids sooner rather than later, and provides tips for how to have a helpful discussion.

“As a mother, I know full well how challenging this conversation can be,” Golob said. “It’s crucial that parents set an example and teach their kids about firearm safety so children don’t learn about guns solely from what their friends say or what they see on video games and TV.”

“Too often, children don’t know what to do if they find a gun,” said Steve Sanetti, President and CEO of NSSF, which developed and sponsors the Project ChildSafe firearm safety education program. “This video opens a door for honest conversation and empowers parents to be the authority on gun safety for their kids, whether they have guns in their homes or not.”

The “How to Talk to Your Kids about Firearm Safety” video was created as a resource to start positive and constructive conversations by encouraging discussion rather than lecture, and helps parents responsibly demystify the subject of guns. For more information, visit Projectchildsafe.org.

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August 22nd, 2017

Handguns 101: Shoot with Both Eyes Open

Doug Koenig Pistol shooting training video
Photo courtesy DougKoenig.com and Leupold.

One eye or two? That’s the question that confounds some pistol shooters, particularly during slow fire. When shooting one-handed, some bullseye pistol shooters use a piece of tape or paper on one lens of their shooting glasses to obscure their non-dominant eye. That way they can get a more precise sight picture. However, when shooting two-handed, it’s almost always better to shoot with both eyes open. And if you are doing a “move and shoot” session/match, you’ll surely want to have both eyes open.

Champion pistol shooter Doug Koenig says he always shoots handguns with both eyes open: “To me it’s very simple — I wouldn’t drive my car with one eye closed. I wouldn’t walk around the house with one eye closed. To me, it’s all about your vision, your depth perception.” Doug adds that you definitely need both eyes open to transition quickly from target to target.

With both eyes open you’ll have better depth perception and peripheral vision. You will also be able to transition from target to target more quickly. In a timed, multi-target stage, you’ll want to move your head/eyes to the next target right after you break a shot. You’ll find that you will then reflexively move the handgun on to the new target when you swing your vision on to it. Don’t linger on the target you just shot — move to the next.

Doug Koenig Pistol shooting training video

Here are two other helpful videos from Doug Koenig and the NSSF:

Sight Alignment and Sight Picture

Trigger Press and Trigger Control

Doug Koenig’s List of Championships:
10-time World Champion
18-time Bianchi Cup winner
2016 NRA World Shooting Champion
More than 70 National Championships
6-time World Action Pistol Championship Winner
3-time World Speed Shooting Champion/Steel Challenge

Watch Doug Koenig’s Championship Season TV show on the Pursuit Channel: Wednesday 5:30 pm (Eastern); Friday 9:00 pm (Eastern); Saturday 1:30 am (Eastern) West Coast prime-time.

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August 14th, 2017

Gary Ocock Shoots Amazing 0.0840 Aggregate with Railgun

Gary Ocock Rail Gun Unlimited Target Visalia CA 6 PPC IBS NBRSA
Want to see the details? CLICK HERE to view full-screen photo.

Check out those five targets. The Aggregate (average) of all five targets is a tiny 0.0840 inches! These were shot by Gary Ocock at 100 yards in a California benchrest match on August 6, 2017. Though Gary’s 0.0840 Agg beats existing records, this was not a “sanctioned” match, so Gary’s killer Agg will NOT be submitted for IBS or NBRSA records. So, sadly, the Agg won’t appear in the record books, but this remains a spectacular, verified feat of rifle accuracy, accomplished in competition.

The argument can be made that this is the Most Accurate Gun Ever Built. As far as we can determine, no one has ever shot a smaller 5-target Agg anywhere, at any time.

The Unlimited Benchrest Record That Will Never Be (Official)

Report by Boyd Allen
Gary Ocock’s stunning unlimited Aggregate is beyond amazing. That’s an average of five, 5-shot groups of .0840. Shot under sanctioned match rules, but at an unsanctioned 100-yard fun match, this Aggregate is well under the current 100-yard official records of the IBS (.1386), and the NBRSA (.1242). The fourth of the five groups measured a minuscule .018, less than half the size of the existing NBRSA Unlimited record of .049 (also shot by Gary). Check it out:

Gary Ocock Rail Gun Unlimited Target Visalia CA 6 PPC IBS NBRSA

Gary Ocock Rail Gun Unlimited Target Visalia CA 6 PPC IBS NBRSA
When the top 15 shooters all post teen Aggs, conditions must be pretty favorable. However there were some light switchy winds — Gary said that he shot better in the left to right condition.

GUN SPECIFICATIONS
Ocock’s red Jay Young Unlimited Railgun features one major difference from Young’s typical Railgun designs. The bottom of the barrel block is integral with the top (moving part), of the gun. The barrel is Ocock’s usual 1:13.5″-twist Krieger chambered for the 6 PPC. The BAT Neuvo action* is unusual in that its lugs are horizontal at lock-up instead of the usual vertical. With horizontal lugs, both lugs maintain contact with their abutments when the action is cocked. In the more normal configuration when cocked the top lug is forced off of its seat by a combination of the angle of the trigger cocking piece interface, the pressure of the striker spring, and bolt clearance at the rear of the action.

LOAD SPECIFICATIONS
Gary shot this remarkable Agg with well-used brass, Vihtavuori N133 powder, and self-made 66gr BT bullets** seated at “jam”. This amazing Agg was shot on the second day of a 2-day Unlimited Benchrest match. On Day 1 Gary had experimented with various loads using both surplus IMR 8208 and Vihtavuori N133, but was not satisfied with the results. For his first group on Day 2, Gary tried a light load of N133. After seeing the result, however, he decided to go to the other extreme — a super stout N133 load — with the same powder. As you can see, Gary’s willingness to experiment paid off.

Gary Ocock Rail Gun Unlimited Target Visalia CA 6 PPC IBS NBRSA

Notably, Gary used light neck tension. Ocock found that for these bullets and this barrel, light neck tension worked best (contrary to “normal” N133 benchrest practice). Ocock used a bushing that only produces .001″ difference between the diameters of sized and loaded case necks.

Comment on Ocock’s Achievement
Congratulations to Gary Ocock for superb shooting (and smart loading). Even though the match was not sanctioned (so the Agg will never be a record), Ocock has raised the bar very high, and given us a new standard of ultimate accuracy.

Though this 0.0840 Aggregate and 0.018 group will never go into the record group, they are still noteworthy. There’s virtually no doubt that they would have survived inspection by any record committee. Except for the lack of fixed backers, an IBS requirement (for detecting cross-fires), all other conditions were met for an officially-sanctioned match.

*The new BAT Neuvo actions are the result of a collaboration between Dwight Scott, and Bruce Thom, featuring Dwight’s ideas and BAT’s proven manufacturing expertise.

** Ocock shot his own, boat-tail match bullets, made with George Ulrich-crafted dies using Hood cores. Although he said that it had been a while since he had weighed any, his best guess was that they weigh something around 66.5 grains.

Permalink Competition, Reloading, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
August 9th, 2017

Talented Yank Shines at Canadian Silhouette Championship

Erich Mietenkorte Silhouette Rifle Canada Canadian Championships

American Silhouette shooter Eric Mietenkorte delivered a superb performance at the recent Canadian National Silhouette Championships in Fort Steel, British Columbia. Eric recorded a 1-2-3 Trifecta with 1st Place in Master Standard Rifle, 2nd Place in Master Hunter Rifle, and 3rd place in Master Smallbore Hunter. Eric is coming home with quite the trophy harvest. Other top shooters included Team Lapua members Mark Pharr and Cathy Winstead-Severin.

Erich called this a “target rich environment”…
Erich Mietenkorte Silhouette Rifle Canada Canadian Championships
Erich Mietenkorte Silhouette Rifle Canada Canadian Championships

Eric tells us: “The Canadian National Championships are all wrapped up. Thanks to the Bull River Shooters Association (B.R.S.A.) for hosting an incredible event! What a great [week] of shooting! Such a beautiful range with the nicest people! It was great seeing old friends and making new ones. [There were] definitely some challenging wind and mirage conditions, but lots of great shooting, and I even took home some hardware.” Erich has posted these photos from the event.

Erich Mietenkorte Silhouette Rifle Canada Canadian Championships

Erich was quick on the trigger shooting pigs at 300 meters. He says “I love hearing that clang from hitting the steel.” Click speaker icon to hear audio.

6.5mm Chamberings Favored for Centerfire (High Power) Silhouette
The 6.5mm caliber seems to be the “sweet spot” for High Power Silhouette shooters. Erich says: “I use the .260 Bobcat (6.5×250) wildcat. Most still use the .260 Remington and 6.5×47 Lapua.” Other popular chamberings for High Power Silhouette include the 6.5 Creedmoor, 6mmBR, 6mm Dasher, 6×47 Lapua, and 7mm-08.

One wicked cool paint job — the Fighter Plane graphics on Erich’s smallbore rifle drew admiring glances.

Erich Mietenkorte Silhouette Rifle Canada Canadian Championships

Here Erich spots for fellow American shooters Mark Pharr and Cathy Winstead-Severin of Team Lapua.

Erich Mietenkorte Silhouette Rifle Canada Canadian Championships

The Cranbrook Daily Townsman News did a nice story on the Championships, complete with this informative video.

Fort Steel in British Columbia is a beautiful venue. Stunning scenery all around…

Erich Mietenkorte Silhouette Rifle Canada Canadian Championships

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August 9th, 2017

Range Etiquette — Proper Practices to Follow at Gun Ranges

Gun Range Safety etiquette NRA Blog Eye Ear Protection Rules

There are important safety and behavior rules you need to follow at a gun range. Sometimes bad range etiquette is simply annoying. Other times poor gun-handling practices can be downright dangerous. The NRA Blog has published a useful article about range safety and “range etiquette”. While these tips were formulated with indoor ranges in mind, most of the points apply equally well to outdoor ranges. You may want to print out this article to provide to novice shooters at your local range or club.

8 Tips for Gun Range Etiquette

Story by Kyle Jillson for NRABlog
Here are eight tips on range etiquette to keep yourself and others safe while enjoying your day out [at the range]. Special thanks to NRA Headquarters Range General Manager Michael Johns who assisted with this article.

1. Follow the Three Fundamental Rules for Safe Gun Handling
ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

This NSSF Video Covers Basic Gun Range Safety Rules:

2. Bring Safety Gear (Eye and Ear Protection)
Eye and Ear protection are MANDATORY for proper safety and health, no matter if “required” by range rules or not. It is the shooter’s responsibility to ensure proper protection is secured and used prior to entering/using any range. Hearing loss can be instantaneous and permanent in some cases. Eyesight can be ruined in an instant with a catastrophic firearm failure.

Gun Range Safety etiquette NRA Blog Eye Ear Protection Rules

3. Carry a Gun Bag or Case
Common courtesy and general good behavior dictates that you bring all firearms to a range unloaded and cased and/or covered. No range staff appreciates a stranger walking into a range with a “naked” firearm whose loaded/unloaded condition is not known. You can buy a long gun sock or pistol case for less than $10.

4. Know Your Range’s Rules
Review and understand any and all “range specific” rules/requirements/expectations set forth by your range. What’s the range’s maximum rate of fire? Are you allowed to collect your brass? Are you required to take a test before you can shoot? Don’t be afraid to ask the staff questions or tell them it’s your first time. They’re there to help.

5. Follow ALL Range Officer instructions
ROs are the first and final authority on any range and their decisions are generally final. Arguing/debating with a Range Officer is both in poor taste and may just get you thrown out depending on circumstances.

6. Don’t Bother Others or Touch Their Guns
Respect other shooters’ privacy unless a safety issue arises. Do NOT engage other shooters to correct a perceived safety violation unless absolutely necessary – inform the RO instead. Shooters have the right and responsibility to call for a cease fire should a SERIOUS safety event occur. Handling/touching another shooter’s firearm without their permission is a major breech of protocol. Offering unsolicited “training” or other instructional suggestions to other shooters is also impolite.

7. Know What To Do During a Cease Fire
IMMEDIATELY set down your firearm, pointed downrange, and STEP AWAY from the shooting booth (or bench). The Range Officer(s) on duty will give instructions from that point and/or secure all firearms prior to going downrange if needed. ROs do not want shooters trying to “secure/unload” their firearms in a cease fire situation, possibly in a stressful event; they want the shooters separated from their guns instantly so that they can then control the situation as they see fit.

8. Clean Up After Yourself
Remember to take down your old targets, police your shooting booth, throw away your trash, and return any equipment/chairs, etc. Other people use the range too; no one wants to walk up to a dirty lane.

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August 5th, 2017

How to Aim True at the F-Class World Championships

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…

The The F-Class World Championships (FCWC) in Canada are just one week away. This August 11-17, the world’s top F-Class shooters will gather at the Connaught Ranges outside Ottawa, Ontario. 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

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August 4th, 2017

Silhouette Star — The Amazing Cathy Winstead-Severin

Team Lapua Cathy Winstead-Severin Silhouette Champion Championships Ridgway PA USA Canada
Photos courtesy Lapua and Adam Braverman

2017 USA Smallbore Silhouette Champion | 2017 USA High Power Silhouette Champion
2017 Canada Smallbore Silhouette Champion

We don’t know if there is an official “Lady Rifle Shooter of the Year”, but we would nominate Silhouette shooter Cathy Winstead-Severin, based on her amazing shooting so far this summer. Cathy has delivered some truly dominant performances recently. In mid-July, competing at the Ridgway Rifle Club in PA, Team Lapua’s Cathy Winstead-Severin won the 2017 Hunter Rifle NRA Smallbore Silhouette Championship. Cathy scored 110/120 to win her 20th NRA National Silhouette title. Then Cathy went on to win both the Standard and Hunter High Power Rifle Silhouette National Championships.

With those victories, Cathy completed a clean sweep of Smallbore (Rimfire) AND High Power (Centerfire) awards — a stunning achievement. Cathy was using Lapua cases, VihtaVuori powder, and a combination of Lapua and Berger bullets to win her 21st and 22nd National Silhouette Titles.

Team Lapua Cathy Winstead-Severin Silhouette Champion Championships Ridgway PA USA Canada

More Glory Across the Border — Cathy Wins in Canada Too!
Less than three weeks after her wins at the USA National Silhouette Championships, Team Lapua’s Cathy Winstead-Severin ventured north and won the Canadian NFA National Smallbore Silhouette Championship. After the match she also hosted a very informative clinic for other shooters. Congratulations Cathy Winstead-Severin. You have our vote for Lady Shooter of the Year. We also thank Team Lapua for providing support for major Silhouette Championship events.

Team Lapua Cathy Winstead-Severin Silhouette Champion Championships Ridgway PA USA Canada

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July 29th, 2017

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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