June 28th, 2017

Fun Targets for Summer Shooting Sessions

splatter target Midsouth birchwood casey

When it comes to shooting targets, “Variety is the spice of life”. Shooting the same old target over and over again can get boring. We like to shoot a variety of targets. And we have to admit, the arrival of a new set of colorful targets in the mailbox has been known to motivate us to grab our guns and gear and head to the range.

Midsouth Shooters Supply has slashed prices on Birchwood Casey and Champion targets, both the splatter variety and conventional types. Here are some of our favorite fun-shooting targets. They are all inexpensive to buy. You can even get free shipping if you combine a target purchase with a larger order. Midsouth just announced $9.00 flat-rate shipping with orders of $99.00 or more.

splatter target Midsouth birchwood casey

And here are a couple of FREE fun targets, courtesy the NRA Blog:

Permalink New Product, Shooting Skills No Comments »
June 24th, 2017

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


Forest of Windflags at World Benchrest Championships in France in 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Permalink Shooting Skills, Tech Tip No Comments »
June 23rd, 2017

IBS Report: 31st Annual Boop Memorial Benchrest Match 2017

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover
Al Auman, 2-Gun Second Place finisher, takes aim…

IBS 31st Annual Memorial Match at Union County Sportsmen’s Club, Weikert, PA
Reported by Jeff Stover, IBS President
The “Boop Shoot” is traditionally held on Mother’s Day in May, but this year it was moved to June due to a club conflict. No matter, as 63 shooters showed up on June 10th and 11th, 2017 to compete at one of the best benchrest ranges in the country. “Weikert” is nestled in a narrow valley in pastoral central Pennsylvania and has a wide following since the IBS Nationals have been held there a number of times.

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

The 2-Gun Aggregate represents “all the marbles” — the overall win for a weekend of Short Range Group shooting. Accuracy gunsmith Dave Bruno won the 2-Gun with a .2606 Agg shooting his 6PPC built on a Borden action in a Roy Hunter stock. On Dave’s heels was Al Auman, shooting a Goodling-built 6PPC BAT. In third place was Paul Mitchell with his BAT 3-Lug in a Scarborough stock built by Dwight Scott. The 2-Gun Aggregate is the combined average group size for 20 targets total, 10 each for both the Light Varmint (10.5-lb) and Heavy Varmint (13.5-lb) classes, with shooting at both 100 and 200 yards. Despite the class distinctions based solely on rifle weight, a vast majority of shooters opt for a 10.5-lb rifle for the entire course of fire. You get a lot of shooting at an IBS Registered Group match.

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover
Two-Gun Overall Winner Dave Bruno (center) flanked by second place Al Auman (right) and third place Paul Mitchell (left).

The Tailwind from Hell
The real story of this match was the shooting conditions. For the entire weekend, there was a tail wind. When the wind blows hard, a pure tailwind is favored by many veteran shooters as velocity changes are less apparent on the target compared to a pure crosswind where pickups and letups can be mapped on the record target of a less-than-observant trigger puller. At this match, it was a tailwind from hell. The over-the-shoulder wind veered from red (right to left) to green (left to right) as quickly as it took you to read this sentence. The point of impact in the extremes could cause groups of 1.5 inches at 200 yards. It was one of those shoots where posting a .824” 200-yard group could move you up in the standings. Normally shooting an “eight” would assure a “bottom of the pile” finish.

Sunday morning saw that nefarious tailwind doing its dirty work once again, but it was not quite as bad as the afternoon would turn out to be. The tailwind’s impact, however, could be seen in the fact that the Heavy Varmint 200-yard winner was upstate NY shooter, Jim Miller with a .2817 (200-yard Aggregates are recorded in MOA, so Jim’s average group at 200 yards was .563”). He was the only competitor in the “twos”. Bob White shot well but his .3012 was not enough.

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover
Scott Miller ready to pull the trigger on the firing line…

Dave Bruno Dominates Light Varmint 200
Light Varmint 200 was shot after lunch on Sunday. The winds had picked up while the shooters were enjoying burgers and hot dogs from the range house. This last Aggregate was the climax of the entire weekend. Two-gun winner Dave Bruno set the stage for his overall win by shooting as if he were from another planet. He was on fire with a .2388 Aggregate. Next was Bob Brushingham with a .3024. That is a difference of .0636” in average group size, or about 1/16th of an inch. A sixteenth is not much in most things, but in short range benchrest it is a chasm that Evel Knievel would not dare to test. Most Aggregates in benchrest are won and lost by a few thousands, or even ten-thousands of an inch. Dave blew out the field with his singular performance. When asked what condition he shot, Dave said “the tailwind” — go figure.

Yes, 100-yard was also contested. Back in the day, a “Teen Agg” (an aggregate of targets under .200”) was usually shot in perfect, or mild, readable conditions. The level of shooting in recent years, however, has seen Teen Aggs shot in tough conditions. The aforementioned tailwind prevailed on Saturday too, but was just a bit less nasty.

Loading at the range remains important in the Benchrest for Group discipline. In a Special Report below, IBS President Jeff Stover explains how loading methods (and hardware) have evolved over the years.
IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover
Pat Hurley checking his aim (notice bolt is out).

Two Gun Overall
1. Dave Bruno: .2604
2. Al Auman: .2727
3. Paul Mitchell: .2776
4. Bob Brushingham: .2851
5. Kent Harshman: .2969

Heavy Varmint Grand
1. Jim Miller: .2582
2. Bob White: .2622
3. Allen Arnette: .2706

Light Varmint Grand
1. Dave Bruno: .2375
2. Al Auman: .2717
3. Paul Mitchell: .2770

Light Varmint 100 was won by veteran Howie Levy (he started shooting in 1968!) with a .1794. He was not alone below .2, as Dale Boop was close at .1848. He was shooting Norma 201 to boot. This powder was the ticket to small 6PPC groups in the 1980s, but has been little seen for many years.

More Teen Aggs were shot in the Heavy Varmint relays. Benchrest Hall of Fame shooter Allen Arnette recorded a tiny .1686. On the podium with Allen were Howie Levy with a .1808 and Willie Bauer who shot a .1980.

Light Varmint Trophy Winners (L to R): Hensley, Boop, Auman, Brushingham, Francis, and Bruno.
IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

Memorial Shoot Is a Family Affair
The 2017 Annual Boop Memorial Shoot ran like clockwork, as usual, and once again the success of this annual shoot can be attributed to the Trutt and Boop families. Mark Trutt serves as range officer extraordinaire. Dale Boop is match director while his mother, Linda, handles the administrative and scoring chores. Target crew honcho Steve Dodge, once again, ensured a rapid and accurate changing of the target.

NOTE: It has yet to be determined whether 2018 Memorial Match will be on Mother’s Day or in June.

Loading at the Range — Then and Now

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

In benchrest shooting for group, loading at the range has been de rigueur for decades. In the Score discipline, preloading is usually the custom. The main reason is that, in Score competition, only one Aggregate (warm-up match and five record targets) per day is usually shot. That would be less than 50 shots, assuming a few sighter shots. Also, the 30BR, the dominant Score cartridge, is amenable to pre-loading.

By contrast, the Group discipline includes 21 targets (two warm-ups and twenty record targets) over a weekend, usually shot with 6PPC-chambered rifles. Many times, the 6PPC shooters may tweak their loads through the day given changing atmospheric conditions or simply trying to find the correct tune to “dot up”. This term, “Dot up”, means the shots are essentially going through the same hole, or closely so.

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

Loading at the range was a bit different when benchrest competition was in its infancy. The 1951 book, Modern Accuracy by Bob Wallack, is the best of the early benchrest books. Copies can be found, from time to time, on eBay or Alibris. It is a fascinating survey of benchrest as it existed more than six decades ago. There’s even coverage of a controversial target that was argued over at the time. In it, there is a photo of Wallack using the rear bumper of a car at the bench to clamp his reloading tools. Things have come a long way compared to the range loading set-ups of modern shooters. Here you can see Bob Wallack way back in 1950:

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

Modern loading bench set-ups shown in this Boop Memorial Match Report belong to top shooters Howie Levy, Bob Hamister, and Kent Harshman.

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

Permalink Competition, Reloading, Shooting Skills No Comments »
June 16th, 2017

NSSF Programs Promote Firearms Safety

NSSF Safety message Videos

June is National Safety Month. In summer, when children are home from school and more likely to be unattended, it’s especially important to store firearms securely. The No. 1 way to help prevent accidents is to securely store your firearms when they’re not in use. The NSSF says: “Whether you own a gun or not, firearm safety is your responsibility. Take a moment to watch the videos below on how to safely handle and store firearms.” Along with these videos, the NSSF’s Project ChildSafe program offers a host of gun safety materials on its resources webpage.

Firearm Safety: First, Last, Always

There are “10 Commandments” to firearm safety and the first four are the big ones. Remember, while at the shooting range or anywhere you handle a firearm, safety always comes first.

This is a Good Video that Covers the Key Principles of Gun Safety. Worth Watching:

Storing a Gun Safely and Securely

For those who do have a gun in the home, now is also good time to review some gun storage options that fit your lifestyle. For more information on storing your firearms safely and securely, visit ProjectChildSafe.org.


Project ChildSafe’s 3rd Annual Friends and Family Campaign

Share Project ChildSafe resources, messages and gun safety tips for your chance to win prizes from NSSF partners. Enter HERE!

Spread the message of firearm safety with your friends and family

Permalink News, Shooting Skills No Comments »
June 15th, 2017

Free Instructional Videos for Concealed Carry Handgun Owners

Panteo Handgun video concealed carry pistol free

Panteo Productions, producers of firearms training videos, has just released a new series of FREE instructional videos for handgun owners. Co-sponsored by Ruger and Federal, the Handgun 101 video series covers handgun and ammunition nomenclature, handgun functions, basic shooting skills, and the key considerations for concealed carry. The three-part series includes: Intro to Handguns, A Concealed Carry Permit, and Intro to Concealed Carry. Part 1 includes multiple chapters with a ton of information. Combined with Part 2 (20 min) and Part 3 (33 min), this series delivers over two hours of helpful content.

These free videos are available streaming online from the Panteao website, on the Panteao mobile apps for Android and Apple devices, as well as on television from the Panteao Make Ready channel on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV. Click the links below to watch each of the three episodes.

Panteo Handgun video concealed carry pistol free

In part one of Handgun 101, Intro to Handguns, instructor Kyle Harth reviews the firearm safety rules, handgun function (and terminology) for both revolvers and semi-auto pistols. In addition, Harth reviews handgun sizes, ammunition, how to grip a handgun properly, safely storing a handgun, proper training, shooting sports and carrying a handgun. This video is intended to be a handgun owner’s first step in familiarizing himself with handgun operation.

Panteo Handgun video concealed carry pistol free

In Part 1 of Handgun 101, A Concealed Carry Permit, instructors Kyle Harth and Massad Ayoob carrying a handgun for self-defense, and the important issues associated with defensive gun use. This video reviews concealed carry, traveling from state to state, prohibited carry locations, the use of deadly force, protection of persons and property, and interaction with law enforcement. If you are considering obtaining a concealed carry permit or live in a state where you can carry open or concealed without a permit, this video is for you.

Panteo Handgun video concealed carry pistol free

In Part 3 of Handgun 101, Intro to Concealed Carry, instructor Kyle Harth reviews handgun selection, caliber and ammo choices, methods of carry, belts and mag pouches, clothing considerations, and the importance of training. Remember that the Handgun 101 series is not where your education process ends. Take courses from reputable firearms instructors with understanding of self-defense legal matters. Equally important, go to the range and practice!

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June 11th, 2017

Miculek Hits Three 400-Yard Targets in 4.37 Seconds

Jerry Miculek AR15 400 yards

Three Shots Standing at 400 Yards in 4.37 Seconds
Could you hit a silhouette target at 400 yards, shooting offhand? Probably, with a little practice. Now try doing that three times in just 4.37 seconds, including picking up/mounting the rifle! Not possible? Watch the legendary Jerry Miculek do that in this impressive demonstration of rapid-fire rifle shooting.

Jerry Miculek — that name is synonymous with revolvers. But Jerry is also one heck of a rifleman, as he demonstrates in this video. Grabbing his rifle from the top of an oil drum, Miculek proceeds to put shots on three different steel targets at 400 yards — all in under 4.4 seconds. Most of us would be lucky to make one successful shot in that time limit. Miculek hits all 3 targets (and makes it look easy).

In this video, Jerry hits not one but THREE c-zone targets at 400 yards. And — get this — he does this in under 4.4 seconds starting with his rifle laying on a support (plywood on top of a barrel). It took Jerry two tries (on his first run he hit 2 out of 3 in 4.65 seconds). On the second attempt (see video starting at 2:19), it takes Jerry just 4.37 seconds to shoulder his rifle, aim, and fire three shots, each hitting a separate steel target. Wow. That’s truly remarkable. Most of us would need ten seconds (or more) just to get the scope on the first target.

Jerry Miculek AR15 400 yards

Trust us folks, this ain’t easy. It takes remarkable marksmanship skills to shoot with this kind of precision at this kind of pace. As Jerry would say himself, “Not bad for an old guy who needs glasses”.

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June 6th, 2017

Extreme Long Range Training — Rockin’ Two Miles at Raton

ELR Raton 2 miles KO2M 375 Lethal Magnum
Shooter behind the .375 Lethal Magnum. Check out the size of that suppressor!

Two-Mile ELR Training
ELR Raton 2 miles KO2M 375 Lethal MagnumThe Applied Ballistics ELR Team spent the weekend at the NRA Whittington Center in New Mexico training for the upcoming King of 2 Miles event. Former USAMU coach Emil Praslick III was on hand to help with wind calls. The results were impressive — all team members had confirmed hits at 2.05 miles on a 36″x36″ steel target. Bryan Litz even had a 3-shot group that measured 17.5″ x 22″. That’s under 0.6 MOA!

Most guys would be happy with 0.6 MOA at 300 yards. Bryan did it at 3611 yards, shooting Paul Phillips’s .375 Lethal Magnum. When you consider all the variables involved (bullet BC variance, shot velocity variance, wind changes during flight, Coriolis effect etc.), that’s phenomenal.

ELR Raton 2 miles KO2M 375 Lethal Magnum

Report by Paul Phillips
Just got done shooting two days in New Mexico with Recoil Magazine and the Applied Ballistics ELR team. We learned a lot and had great success. Every team member made impacts on target at 2 miles. The best 3-shot group at 3611 yards (2.05 miles) was shot by Bryan Litz with my 375 Lethal Mag. The group measured 17.5 inches tall by 22 inches wide with Cutting Edge bullets. We also had Recoil’s David Merrill shoot at two miles and was laying them in there like a true pro. We had three team members make impacts on the 36-inch plate at two miles within just three attempts in a mock competition. I also increased my personal longest shot by hitting only 15 inches right of center at 3611 yards. 2.05 miles. I did it with a GSL Technology Copperhead Silencer.

ELR Raton 2 miles KO2M 375 Lethal Magnum

ELR Raton 2 miles KO2M 375 Lethal Magnum

Report by Emil Praslick
I participated in the Extreme Long Range training with the Applied Ballistics team at the Whittington Center in Raton, NM. All team members had confirmed hits at 2.1 miles. Components and hardware suppliers included: Berger Bullets, Cutting Edge Bullets, Nightforce Optics, Kestrel, FLIR Systems.

Q: At that distance (2.1 miles), how much do spin drift and the Coriolis effect impact bullet trajectories?

Praslick: At 3613 yards we had to adjust about 1.5 MOA/56″ of Coriolis (up), and 5 MOA/~190″ of right spin drift adjustment. You’d have to come down if facing East. The planet rotates counter-clockwise (from above), so your target would be falling away from you.

Here is a 3-round group at 1898 yards (1.08 Miles) shot with factory ABM Ammo .338 Lapua Magnum loaded with 300 grain Berger Bullets Hybrids. That’s sub-MOA elevation. (The guy calling wind didn’t do too bad, either.)

ELR Raton 2 miles KO2M 375 Lethal Magnum

Report by Bryan Litz
Learning is my favorite part of new ventures and we learned a LOT this weekend shooting extreme range in New Mexico. I connected on a second round hit on a 3-foot square target at 2 miles in simulated match conditions under coaches Emil Praslick and Paul Phillips. In fact all five of our team shooters got on at 2 miles. The Applied Ballistics Extreme Long Range team is in good shape for the King of 2 Miles match later this month, and there is still so much to LEARN!

ELR Raton 2 miles KO2M 375 Lethal Magnum

You need serious equipment for shooting beyond two miles. Who can identify this high-tech hardware?
ELR Raton 2 miles KO2M 375 Lethal Magnum

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Shooting Skills 11 Comments »
June 3rd, 2017

Interview with F-Class Ace Dan Pohlabel

Team Sinclair F-TR interview F-Class Reloading Load Development Training dry-fire
Team Sinclair F-Class

In response to many requests from Forum members who shoot F-Class, we are republishing this informative interview, which first appeared last summer. You’ll find many “solid good” tips that can help any long-range rifle competitor.

Dan Pohlabel is a member of the all-conquering Team Sinclair F-TR squad. This talented group of shooters hasn’t lost a team match in years. What’s the secret of Team Sinclair’s success? Well there is not one single factor. These guys have very accurate rifles, they work hard on load development, and they practice in all conditions. In this interview, Dan Pohlabel talks about F-TR competition, reviewing the hardware (and skill set) it takes to win. He offers some great tips on developing loads. You’ll find a longer version of this interview on the Sinclair Int’l website. CLICK HERE to Read Full Interview.

Q: What do you find most challenging in F-TR Shooting?
It has to be keeping up with the competition, our sport has grown so quickly with new talented shooters. Staying at the top requires having a laser of a rifle, perfect loads, near perfect wind reading, and, of course, breaking good shots.

Q: How can novice shooters improve their game?
Seek out the local F-TR shooters and go to matches with them, listen and learn. Attend team matches and offer to score for one of the teams. As a scorer, you will sit close enough to hear the coach make wind calls and see the results on the target. Through the spotting scope you will see changes in mirage and it’s the quickest way to learn the basics of wind reading. Choosing and buying equipment is relatively easy, learning to read the wind is a journey.

Q: What’s in your range bag for match days?
Rear bag, towel, shooting glasses, canned air, ear protection, data book, pen, rifle rain cover, hat, rifle tools, timer, ammo, and bug spray.

Q: What specialized gear can you not live without?

1. A good set of elbow pads. It’s hard to keep concentrating on shooting when your elbows are rubbed raw from days of competing on them.

2. Good bug spray. We shoot from the ground but our shooting mats aren’t that big. It’s hard to concentrate with bugs crawling or chewing on you.

Q: Load Development — How do you work up a load?
First, I call Derek Rodgers and get his load data, he is the best load development shooter I know! Otherwise, here is the procedure I recommend. Measure throat length with bullet of your choice, to determine how much room is left in the case. The above measurement determines what powders you can use. We use only Hodgdon Extreme powders. Shoot a ladder test, five rounds each in 0.2 grain increments, to find the accuracy node for that bullet/powder combination. Take the best two loads and do a jump test with five rounds each, test at .005″, .025″, .060″ jump. One of these groups will be significantly better than the rest, now you can tweak that measurement +/- .002” or .005” to get the best accuracy.

Test at least three different primers to determine which offers a little better ignition for your load, a 5-shot test will usually tell you which is the best. Go back and test the two best combinations in a 10-shot test at least twice, pick a cool overcast day and also a hot sunny day and compare results. Take your final “best load” back and do a “simulated match”, 20 shots, waiting at least 20 seconds between shots. If you like those results it’s probably a reliable and accurate load.

Q: What rear bag do you use?
I use a two-bag system, large bag on bottom with a smaller bag on top. I had the bags made of marine canvas, zippered and filled with plastic beads. I can adjust the amount of fill to make them a perfect height for my shooting position. Teammate Jeff Rorer uses a similar system and mine is nearly a copy of his rear bags.

Q: How often do you practice and how many rounds do you shoot per year?
In good weather I practice a couple times a week at the local range, a couple more dry-firing practices/week at home. I typically shoot between 2,000-2,500 rounds per year.

Q: How do you prepare mentally before a match?
[I do] lots of visualization — run the video in my head of what I expect to see and of my performance. I think about the correct strategy for the conditions, staying disciplined to the strategy.

Q: What do you avoid before a shoot?
No late nights or excessive alcohol. Very little caffeine in the morning. Leave your cell turned off. Avoid emotional people.

Q: What’s your procedure on a Match day?
I arrive early, get squadding card, move gear, watch wind speed/direction, check over rifle and gear, sit and relax, visualize and focus on the most important goal of the day. Most days we shoot three relays of 20 shots. It’s important to eat and hydrate continually all day. My focus and concentration are better when I snack all day with fruit and energy bars, and lots of water. While taking my turn in the pits, I try to relax and only focus on what is ahead of me and [not] what’s already happened.

Q: What is your favorite reloading product?
My favorite reloading product is the Sinclair Premium Neck Turning Tool with Handle, I also use the expander mandrels provided by Sinclair for sizing the brass in preparation for the turning process. Correct and repeatable neck tension begins with turning necks to a uniform thickness. Sinclair also has mandrels to size the necks after neck turning that accurately size the necks for a specific neck tension.

Q: What is your preferred scope?
The scope I find the most useful is the Nightforce Competition Scope. This scope is very light-weight, has 15-55X magnification, world-class quality glass, 10 MOA per revolution on the turrets, 1/8 moa adjustments. It’s perfect for F-Class competition.

Q: What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into the sport?
Find a local club with some F-TR shooters and ask for their help. Most shooters will be happy to take you with them to a match, listen and learn while you’re there. You may find out it’s not what you thought, or you may be hooked. If you decide to jump in, start with an inexpensive rifle. This sport is expensive and you don’t need a $5000 rifle to learn good wind-reading skills. Start with a used Savage F-TR rifle and learn the basics, shoot for a year at least before making a larger investment. The money you saved buying a used Savage rifle will help pay for your divorce lawyer, LOL.

Q: What training drills do you use?
Dry-firing the rifle at home is a good way to practice when you can’t get to the range and shoot. It allows me to practice set-up, rifle handling, and position. When I can practice at a local range, I also dry-fire between shots to increase the amount of repetitions and increase the time spent in position.

Q: Who has been your biggest influence in shooting?
Eric Bair, 2006 F-Open National Champion helped me get started and gave me great advice. Most of the shooters on Team USA and Team Sinclair help each other, nobody knows all the answers but we share what we have learned. Danny Biggs, 2008 and 2009 F-TR National Champion also helped me when I was struggling to learn some of the ranges. I learned a lot from Danny.

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »
June 1st, 2017

Long Range Shooting: Video Series with Bryan Litz

Bryan Litz Video Long Range large caliber rifles

Getting started in long-range shooting? Need some pointers on gun set-up and hardware options? Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics has created a helpful series of videos for the NSSF covering long range shooting. Bryan, a past F-TR Long-Range National Champion and Chief Ballistician for Berger Bullets, knows his stuff. His Applied Ballistics squad was the winning team at the 2016 King of 2 Miles event. Here are four (4) videos, each covering a topic of interest for long-range shooters. Running 3-4 minutes each, these videos can help you get started, and invest wisely when acquiring your next long-range rifle, scope, and accessories.

Long Range Precision — The Keys to Success

TIP for Plotting Long Range Trajectories: You want to know the true, actual ballistic coefficients of your loads. The BCs listed by manufacturers for their projectiles may be somewhat unreliable — the real BC could be higher or lower (and BC can change with velocity). That can result in problems at longer distances. Using sophisticated equipment, Applied Ballistics has measured true BCs for hundreds of projectiles. Plugging these verified numbers into your Ballistics App can improve your hit percentage at long range.

Tools of Choice — Purpose-Built Long Range Rifles

TIP for Choosing a Rifle: When you’re selecting a rifle for long range shooting, it’s important to understand your application and objectives. The applications for long-range shooting can be very refined. You have to select all the details of your application to select the correct rifle. Here are two examples — a semi-auto AR-platform rifle with scope and a bolt-action Fullbore (Palma) rifle with aperture sights. There are many other long range disciplines — F-TR for example. The F-TR rig uses a bipod and rear bag and a scope. To be competitive, a modern F-TR rig should shoot well under half-MOA.

Equipment Advice — Upgrading Your Hardware

TIP for Upgrading Your Rifle: At some point factory rifle owners will recognize weak links in the equipment chain. You can run that factory rifle for quite some time, but the barrel is eventually what’s going to hold you back. The twist-rate may not be high enough to stabilize the high-BC bullets. So the first thing you’re going to want to upgrade is the barrel. You want to get a fast twist-rate barrel with a chamber that is optimized for the bullet you’ll be shooting. A good-quality, custom barrel will be easier to clean, and it will improve the overall accuracy and precision of your shooting.

Big Boomers — Large-Caliber Rifles for Long Range

TIP for Shooting Hard-Recoiling Rifles: Bryan Litz defines “Large Caliber” as .338 caliber and bigger. These rifles can shoot heavy bullets with high BCs. However there are some trade-offs. It can be hard to maintain good fundamentals of marksmanship (trigger control, sight alignment) when you’re fighting heavy recoil and burning 100+ grains of powder. You’re dealing with the challenges that high energy brings. You want a muzzle brake with any cartridge .338 or above. Also, when considering lathe-turned solid bullets, remember that these typically have less sectional density compared to lead-cored bullets with similar profiles. This affects ballistics as well as recoil energy.

Permalink - Videos, Shooting Skills, Tactical No Comments »
May 31st, 2017

Women and Firearms — Growing Numbers of Female Shooters

Women NRA Gun Firearms statistics infographic 2016

Did you know that American women are the fastest-growing segment of gun owners? Whether it’s for self-protection, hunting, or target shooting, women are showing more interest than ever in owning firearms. Moreover, women are taking steps to train and educate themselves, and to get involved in hunting, recreational shooting, and firearms competition. This is now a significant trend — women are becoming an important and vital part of the shooting community. Nearly one-quarter (23%) of American women now own at least one firearm.

The numbers of women participating in the shooting sports has grown dramatically in recent years. in fact, in the decade from 2001 to 2010, the number of female target shooters has risen 43.5%:

Women NRA Gun Firearms statistics infographic 2016

Women and Firearms Infographic (CLICK HERE):

Women NRA Gun Firearms statistics infographic 2016

Story and images courtesy NRABlog.com.

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May 27th, 2017

LaserLyte Allows You to Train with Pistol at Home

.22 LR 22LR Laser Trainer

Is it a hassle to drive to a range for training sessions with your .22 LR rimfire pistol? Well here’s a cool system that lets you practice your pistol marksmanship without ammo. You can transform that rimfire handgun into a high-tech laser pistol, thanks to a smart gadget from LaserLyte. The .22 Caliber Laser Trainer works with nearly all .22 LR pistols (but not revolvers) with a striker or conventional firing pin. The battery-powered device emits a laser beam when you pull the trigger. This is sound-activated so there is no firing pin contact. Snap caps are recommended. SEE VIDEO:

Watch LaserLyte .22 LR Trainer in Action

We have to admit we liked the idea of this device so much, we ordered one from Amazon.com. The $86 retail price seems a little steep, but think of all the money you can save on .22 LR ammo. We just wish there was a version for .22 LR revolvers as well.

.22 LR 22LR Laser Trainer

Word to the Wise — Don’t Annoy the Neighbors: While you can safely use this pistol (in LASER MODE without ammo) in your backyard we recommend that you be discrete. In urban areas people WILL freak out if they see a “man with a gun”. Your silent, laser practice session may be interrupted by the men in black with drawn guns, and things could go very badly. Accordingly, we recommend that urban gun-owners practice indoors when laser-training at home.


.22 LR 22LR Laser TrainerWARNING: Before you use the LaserLyte .22 Caliber Trainer, check and double-check to ensure your pistol is UNLOADED!! That means NO ROUND IN THE CHAMBER! Pulling the trigger with the training device in the barrel (and a loaded round) could cause serious injury or death to yourself or someone downrange. As with any firearm, always make sure to follow all basic firearm safety rules! Additionally, never point the laser beam at another person — as the laser can cause eye injury.

Product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Handguns, Shooting Skills No Comments »
May 26th, 2017

Novice Shooters Deserve Accurate Rifles Too…

6-6.5x47 Benchrest

On some internet shooting forums, self-declared “experts” advise new rifle shooters to stick to low-end factory rifles. These “experts” (many of whom don’t own a single really accurate rifle), claim that it will take years for a new shooter to learn how to shoot a rifle accurately. So, the argument goes, the accuracy offered by a precision-chambered rifle, with a custom barrel, is “wasted” on a new shooter.

We disagree with that viewpoint, at least when it comes to rifles shot from a rest. We’ve seen relatively new shooters, with help from a skilled mentor, do remarkably well with precision rifles right from the start. With a good bench gun, many new shooters can shoot well under 1 MOA on the first day. Certainly it takes time for a complete novice to learn how to handle the gun and to work the trigger smoothly. However, this editor has personally seen some inexperienced shooters try their hand at benchrest shooting, and within few month they are doing very well indeed at club shoots.

Accurate Rifles Reward Progress As Novices Build Skills

For bench shooting, we think a highly accurate rifle is a much better training device for a new shooter than a typical, cheap factory sporter. With a gun capable of 1.5-2.0 MOA at best, you can never really determine if a “flyer” is you or the gun. Conversely, when a novice shoots a gun that can put 5 shots through one ragged hole, if a shot goes way high or low, the shooter knows his aim, trigger control, or gun-handling is to blame. He (or she) can then correct the problem. And when the shooter does everything right, he or she will see a nice tight group on the target. The accurate rifle provides more meaningful feedback and it rewards progress. That helps the novice become a better shooter in a shorter period of time.

6-6.5x47 Benchrest

A while back, Forum Member Preacher and his “bunny hugger” niece from California proved this point. The young lady, with almost no shooting experience, took Preacher’s 6-6.5×47 and shot a sub-quarter-MOA, 3-shot group at 350 yards. Don’t tell her she needs to stick to a cheap factory rifle. Preacher reports: “My niece flew in from the west coast and came up to visit. When she saw a few of my full-blown varmint rifles, she wanted to shoot one. She did a super job even if she IS a ‘bunny hugger’. She pulled the 1.5 ounce Jewell on a few fired cases to check out the trigger pull and then got in behind the gun and put three shots into a 350-yard target with a one-inch circle.” We measured her group at 0.822″ (0.224 MOA). Don’t tell Preacher that accuracy is “wasted” on novices. He joked: “I sure don’t want her shooting at me ….”

Rifle Features BAT Action, Krieger Barrel, and Russo Laminated Stock:

6-6.5x47 Benchrest

For those who are interested, Preacher’s rifle features a BAT 3-lug action, 30″ Krieger 7.5-twist heavy contour barrel, and Russo stock (with clear coat by Preacher). Chambered in 6-6.5×47 Lapua, this gun “shoots the 108gr Bergers very well” according to Preacher. Yep, we agree with that — even when a novice “bunny-hugger” does the trigger-pulling.

Permalink - Articles, Shooting Skills, Tech Tip 6 Comments »
May 21st, 2017

Review Shooting Fundamentals with Ryan Cleckner Video

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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May 20th, 2017

Field Skills: Reading the Wind When Hunting

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

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

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

PRS 101: Practical Shooter’s Guide by Marcus Blanchard

Marcus Blanchard Practical Shooter's Guide

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

Marcus Blanchard Practical Shooter's Guide

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3-Gun Fantasy Camp Duncan Johnson

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

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

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

3-Gun Fantasy Camp Duncan Johnson

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



Read Full “Shooting Like a Pro” Story Here »

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

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

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

3-Gun Fantasy Camp Duncan Johnson

This article originally appears on Ammoland.com, reprinted here under Creative Commons License.
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May 5th, 2017

NSSF Offers Grants to Boy Scouts of America Councils

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

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

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

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May 2nd, 2017

Interview with Bryan Litz — Insight into a Champion

Bryan Litz Interview Applied Ballistics Mia Lee Rhode Shooters wife

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

» Read Full Interview with Bryan Litz

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bryan Litz Interview Applied Ballistics Mia Lee Rhode Shooters wife

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

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

» CLICK HERE for REST of Interview with Bryan Litz

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April 30th, 2017

Wind Wizardry for Varminters — Keep the Wind at Your Back

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NRA Offers New Carry Guard Legal Insurance Program

carryguard NRA insurance program

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

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

carryguard NRA insurance program

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

carryguard NRA insurance program

Carry Guard Training

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

carry guard NRA insurance program

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

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