Many of our readers use AR-type rifles for Service Rifle matches, varmint hunting, 3-Gun competition, or defensive use. AR-platform rifles can be configured in a multitude of ways to suit the application. But if you plan to put together your own purpose-built AR rifle, how do you get started?
For AR Do-It-Yourselfers, we suggest reading Glen Zedicker’s book, the Competitive AR-15 Builders Guide. Following on Zedicker’s New AR-15 Competitive Rifle book (2008), the Builders Guide provides step-by-step instructions that will help non-professional “home builders” assemble a competitive match or varmint rifle. This book isn’t for everyone — you need some basic gun assembly experience and an aptitude for tools. But the AR-15 Builders’ Guide provides a complete list of the tools you’ll need for the job, and Zedicker outlines all the procedures to build an AR-15 from start to finish.
One of our Forum members who purchased the AR-15 Builders Guide confirms it is a great resource: “Much like any of the books Mr. Zediker puts out this one is well thought-out and is a no nonsense approach to AR building. I can not stress how helpful this book is from beginner to expert level.”
Along with assembly methods, this book covers parts selection and preparation, not just hammers and pins. Creedmoor Sports explains: “Knowing how to get what you want, and be happy with the result, is truly the focus of this book. Doing it yourself gives you a huge advantage. The build will honestly have been done right, and you’ll know it! Little problems will have been fixed, function and performance enhancements will have been made, and the result is you’ll have a custom-grade rifle without paying custom-builder prices.” Creedmoor Sports sells this Zediker AR-15 book and many other excellent shooting books. Visit www.creedmoorsports.com/category/Books or call 1-800-CREEDMOOR.
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Here’s good news for Precision Rifle Series (PRS) competitors. Tikka will offer a new, modular T3-based Precision Rifle for the PRS Production Rifle Class. This new, sub-$2000 Precision Rifle is a joint project between Beretta U.S.A. and McRees Precision. Tikka’s new, limited edition TSR-1 Precision Rifle combines the barrel and action of the Tikka T3 Compact Tactical Rifle with a modular aluminum chassis from McRees Precision. Tikka TSR-1 production will be limited to 400 pieces and will have a $1995.00 MSRP. Initially, chamberings will be .260 Remington or .308 Winchester.
According to RecoilWeb.com: “The TSR-1 features a McRee’s Precision G10 folding rifle stock with an M-LOK compatible fore end, adjustable LOP and cheek riser, McRee’s M-LEV integrated cant indicator, upper and lower Picatinny rails, QD sling swivel sockets, and a sniper grey Cerakote finish.” The T3 action is fitted with a +20 MOA Mountain Tactical Scope rail, and the barrel comes with a 5/8×24 threaded muzzle. Beretta even includes one of McRee’s Rear Stock Packs.
Phillip Jones, Beretta’s Product Manager for Rifles, says: “Combining the … Tikka T3 Compact Tactical Rifle with McRee’s combat-tested chassis offers the long distance and precision shooting enthusiast an accurate and reliable rifle that is priced aggressively to be eligible for the Production Division of the PRS Series.” Under PRS rules, Production Class rifles may cost no more than $2000.00 (without optic):
PRS Production Class Cost Limits
Production Division combined rifle and scope MSRP as listed on the company’s website shall not exceed $3,000 USD, the rifle shall not exceed $2,000 USD and the optic not exceed $2,000 USD. [Editor: For example, you could have a $2,000 rifle with a $1000.00 scope or vice-versa. The total system cannot exceed $3000. Rifle alone cannot exceed $2000.00 retail sale price.]
Production Division rifles are not permitted to be altered or improved in any way from the original factory configuration”
In developing the Tikka TSR-1, Beretta was no doubt inspired by the huge success of the Ruger Precision Rifle, which sold out its initial production run. Scott McRee, owner of McRees Precision, is enthusiastic about how the market will respond to new Tikka TSR-1: “I am confident that the sport shooting, tactical run and gun competitor, as well as the law enforcement community will enjoy this offering. It’s an honor to be working with Beretta U.S.A. and to be helping them provide another superb product to the American market.”
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Ever wonder what “Maggie’s Drawers” means? Well, in the shooting community it means a complete miss on the target, as originally indicated by a large red flag. In this 1957 photo, the U.S. Army brought the targets to the students at the annual Small Arms Firing School. Wheeled carts with “demo” targets were positioned at the firing line, between shooting stations, so trainees could better see the procedures. Soldiers demonstrated firing a shot, scoring the target and scorecard on the Camp Perry firing line. Targets in use at the time were the “V” type. In this demonstration shot, the pit worker waves a red flag, known as “Maggie’s Drawers”, signifying a miss. This old photo comes from the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Archives.
If you click the gray tab to view the photo full-screen, you can see something extra. Look carefully at the horizon below the muzzle of the M1 Garand held by the shooter in the foreground. If you look carefully, you can see a crane being used to erect the beach tower that now watches over Lake Erie and the ranges when they are “hot”.
Origin of ‘Maggie’s Drawers’ Term
Hap Rocketto, noted shooting historian, has explained the etymology of “Maggie’s Drawers”. This term “refers to the red flag waved vigorously across the face of the target to signify a complete miss of the target during practice”. The term came in use in the early 20th Century (prior to WWI) when flags were used to signal shot locations on long-range rifle targets.
Hap writes: “Since [the early 20th Century] the target has changed to the decimal bull and the marking system has been revised several times. Flags are no longer used, being replaced by value panels and chalk boards. However, one term from the flag days has held on with a tenacity that is indicative of the strong traditions of the high power community. If a shooter had the misfortune of firing a miss a red flag was waved across the front of the target. The flag is commonly known as ‘Maggie’s Drawers’ giving us the term now generally used to refer to a miss. The term ‘Maggie’s Drawers’ seems to be based on, as many things are in the military, a bawdy song. Prior to The Great War there was an old music hall song entitled The Old Red Flannel Drawers That Maggie Wore which [was creatively altered], as things tend to be by the troops, into something less delicate than might have been sung in vaudeville in the United States or in British music halls of the day.”
We know you guys like do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. And we also know that our readers like anything that helps a rifle sit more securely in the bags, and track better on recoil. Here’s a little accessory you can make yourself for pennies that will help rifles with conventional (non-benchrest) stocks ride the rear bag better.
This DIY Bag-Rider is simple in design and easy to make. The invention of Forum member Bill L. (aka “Nomad47″), this is simply a short section of PVC pipe attached to the bottom of a wood stock with a couple of screws. The back half of the PVC tube is cut at an angle to match the lower profile of the stock. Nomad47 painted the PVC Bag-Rider black for sex appeal, but that’s not really necessary.
In the top photo you can see Nomad47’s bagrider attached to a Savage varminter. In the photo below, the PVC bag-rider tube is fitted to an F-TR style rig with a green, laminated thumbhole stock. This rifle also features a Savage action with a custom barrel and “wide-track” bipod. (Note: to be legal in F-Class competition, the muzzle brake would have to be removed.)
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Quadruple Distinguished Marksman
You are looking at a very special human being — the world’s only holder of FOUR Distinguished Marksmanship Badges. While competing in the 2016 National Trophy Pistol Matches at Camp Perry, Team Lapua’s Steve Reiter (Tucson, AZ) became the first Quadruple Distinguished Badge Marksman in history. This past week, 74-year-old Reiter received his most recent Distinguished Badge, the new .22 Rimfire Pistol Badge, which has only been in existence since 2015. Before that, Reiter had earned his Pistol Distinguished Badge in 1972, his International Badge in 1973, and his Rifle Distinguished Badge in 1998. Over his four-decade competitive career, Reiter has competed in free pistol, standard pistol, air pistol, and centerfire events as well as rifle.
Earning FOUR Distinguished Badges is a great achievement — something that has never been done before, much less by a Senior shooter. We offer our congratulations to Steve for achieving this first-ever, shooting milestone.
Practice and Hard Work Were Key Says Reiter
Reiter told us: “It’s a big honor, really. When you’re the first at anything, it’s a big honor. It feels great to be the first.” Steve added: “Most people don’t understand how much work it is. And it being a CMP badge … it means something.”
To be a successful marksman, Steve explained, it takes dedication and lots of practice: “You have to work pretty hard. More or less, you have to do a lot of practicing and a lot of dry-firing, and actually work at it. You can’t come out here and just shoot. You’ve got to really work at it, like anything else, to get to the top of your field.”
A former U.S. Army Reserve Team member, Reiter’s list of shooting honors over his 40-year competition career is truly remarkable:
Member of the 1980 Olympic team in Free Pistol
Five-time National Champion at Camp Perry
34 Overall National Championship Titles
44 National Records
40+ Regional Championships
Two-time President’s 100 Champion in Pistol
Two-time National Trophy Individual Match Champion in Pistol
10-time Winner of the National Match High Senior Pistol Trophy
Five-time Winner of Citizens’ Military Pistol Trophy
Canada International Service Pistol Champion
Two-time Free Pistol National Champion
Standard Pistol National Champion
Seven-time Interservice Championship Team Member
In addition to these titles, Reiter also set other numerical scoring records, including the best .22 Aggregate (899), and the best Three-Gun Aggregate Score (2671).
Team Lapua — Supporting Excellence
Lapua, or more officially Nammo Lapua Oy, is part of the large Nordic Nammo Group. Our main products are small caliber cartridges and components. The Lapua cartridge factory was established in 1923. From a modest and practical beginning, Lapua has grown into one of the most respected brands in the industry. The best shooters in the world choose Lapua cartridges and components. In 2014, Nammo acquired the Vihtavuori smokeless powder factory.
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Now there is a new type of “lead-free” rimfire ammo that can be used in areas where lead is prohibited. CCI’s new .22 LR Copper-22 ammunition features hollow-point bullets made from a compressed copper + polymer matrix. This is a speedy round — Muzzle Velocity (MV) is a blistering 1850 FPS, very fast for a .22 LR round. CCI claims accuracy is excellent. We look forward to testing this new Copper-22 rimfire ammo to confirm CCI’s speed and accuracy claims. Running at 1850 FPS, this looks like it could be a very effective varmint round.
Copper-22 Ammo Features & Benefits:
Non-lead bullet suited for plinking, target-shooting and small game hunting.
21-grain hollow-point bullet, with compressed copper-polymer construction.
Legal to use in California and other zones where lead is prohibited.
1,850 FPS muzzle velocity with excellent accuracy.
The Copper-22 projectile is constructed from a unique mix of copper particles and polymer compressed into a potent, 21-grain bullet. This non-lead bullet is suited for plinking, target-shooting and small game hunting. Shipments of this Copper-22 ammo (CCI part No. 925CC) are now being delivered to dealers. For more info, visit www.cci-ammunition.com.
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You are looking at one of the most impressive examples of precision shooting in history. On each of those five targets is a five-shot group made at 100 yards. This is the best set of five targets ever shot consecutively at 100 yards in the history of firearms competition on this planet. That’s right, nobody has ever drilled a better set of five, five-shot targets. The combined Aggregate for these five targets is a stunning 0.1014″, with the individual groups measuring: 0.102″, 0.168″, 0.123″, 0.053″, and 0.061″. So, two of the five groups were in the Zeros. And the 0.1014″ Agg handily beats existing world records.
This is an amazing accomplishment that beats both the existing NBRSA and IBS records. The NBRSA Record 100-yard Unlimited 5×5 Aggregate is 0.1242 set by Jerry Lahr in 2012. The IBS Record Heavy Benchrest 100-yard Aggregate (for five, 5-shot groups) is 0.134″, set by R. Howell in 2004.
But there’s more…
Lozano Grand Agg of 0.1226 also Breaks IBS and NBRSA World Records
George Lozano also shot a superb five-target Aggregate at 200 yards: 0.1439. This gave him a combined 100 + 200 Grand Aggregate of .1226 which is also a new world record. NOTE: for the 200-yard Agg, the actual group measurements (in inches) are summed, averaged and then divided by two to provide equivalency with the 100-yard results. Lozano’s actual group measurements at 200 yards were: 0.205″, 0.307″, 0.220″, 0.409″, and 0.298″. As averaged and divided by two, that is 0.1439. When combined with George’s 0.1014 100-yard Agg, Lozano’s 100+200 Grand Agg is a stunning 0.1226.
Lozano’s 0.1226 Grand Agg breaks both NBRSA and IBS World Records. The current NBRSA Unlimited Grand Agg Record for five, 5-shot groups at both 100 and 200 yards is a 0.133 by Dave Dowd in 2012. The equivalent 100 + 200 IBS Heavy Benchrest Grand Agg Record is a 0.1575 by Lester Bruno in 2004.
The talented shooter, George Lozano (shown above), was modest about his achievement: “Thanks, guys. I appreciate your very kind compliments. It was a good Father’s Day weekend and a fun match.”
NOTE: These records are pending verification by the NBRSA official records committee. But based on the numbers we’ve seen, it looks like Lozano will soon find his name in the record books.
We don’t know much about George Lozano’s load — either the powder or bullet. We’re told he was shooting a 6PPC cartridge in an Unlimited Benchrest rig, also known as a “railgun”. Here is a photo of a modern benchrest railgun. This is NOT Lozano’s record-breaking rig, but it shows the type of hardware used in the modern Unlimited Class.
Do you shoot a .45 ACP? We love this short, fat cartridge because it is inherently accurate, it makes big, easy-to-see holes in paper, and because it it works so well in the classic 1911 series of pistols. It is hard to beat a good, tuned model 1911 when it comes to trigger pull/reset and natural pointing ability.
Once you get the hang of it, 1911-type pistols are also easy to field strip for cleaning. Here is a video showing how to disassemble and reassemble your model 1911:
Model 1911 Field Stripping and Reassembly
.45 ACP Ammunition Loading Guide
If you “roll your own” .45 ACP cartridges, there are many good powder choices. Our favorites are Vihtavuori N320, AA No. 5, and Hodgdon TiteGroup, but there are many other good choices. You’ll find these three recommended powders (plus seven others) in this .45 ACP Reloading Guide from Nosler:
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With McMillan’s new “Inlet Ready” series of fiberglass stocks, you can get a customized McMillan stock in just two to four weeks. Use the web-based stock selector in McMillan’s online Retail Store.
To get to the Inlet Ready section, from the McMillan Home Page click “Retail Store“, then select “Stocks in Inventory” from the left-hand column. After clicking “Stocks in Inventory” from the left column, select “Inlet Ready” from the sub-menu. This video explains how to order your Inlet Ready stock for delivery in two to four weeks:
Get Free Shipping with Orders Over $400.00
Here’s another way you can save on purchases of McMillan stocks and shooting accessories. Go to McMillan’s online Retail Store. Choose stocks, bipods, gun cases, ammunition, apparel, triggers, and other items offered for sale. Then, during check-out, use Promo CODE mcm16. This will provide FREE Shipping if your total order is $400.00 or more.
NOTE: Free shipping applies to orders over $400, standard ground delivery in the Continental USA. Shipping charges on previous orders will not be reimbursed. This offer cannot be combined with other promotions or offers.
Product and Sale tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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IBS Match Report by Kenneth Frehm
The International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) held its New York State Championships and Annual Pro-Am Group Shoot at the Camillus Sportsmen’s Club on July 9-10, 2016. Forty-nine benchrest competitors vied for glory and trophies. Among these forty-nine, we were fortunate to have two of the fairer sex (such as Donna Sutton, below), as well as youngsters and seniors taking part. The event provided ample opportunities for old friends to reacquaint with each other, as well as time for making new ones. The great camaraderie exhibited by these competitors helps define our sport of Benchrest shooting.
Donna Sutton was “Pretty in Pink” — even down to her pink rifle stock.
As early as the Thursday before, new arrivals tried to learn and master the prevailing conditions at the range. Of course, once the shooting events started, Mother Nature had a few surprises in store for the folks on the line. The surrounding topography at our Camillus Range assures that wind is ever-present, fickle and as changeable as can be! Both days presented the shooters with difficult wind and weather challenges. Saturday was sunny, warm and the winds ranged from two to approximately ten miles per hour. However, twitchy tails on the wind flags made for unpredictable holes appearing in the targets.
Saturday, the wind direction changed constantly making each relay different from the ones before or the ones upcoming. Flags spun along the 100-yard span showing different colors and their streamers indicated the constant changing velocities. Of course, the top shooters managed to correctly analyze these variables and produce Aggs in the “point one+” range — impressive shooting given the conditions.
On Sunday everything changed. We were greeted with what we natives call “Syracuse Sunshine”. This is cold weather, gray skies, with rain showers that came and went all day long. On rare occasions, the sun peeked out along with its partner mirage. However, for most of the day, the 200-yard contestants had to deal with extremely high winds.
Although a left-to-right direction prevailed, wind probes were pegged, their streamers stood straight out, vibrating to gusts that may have topped 25 mph! Those intrepid shooters who didn’t put “dope” on their scopes braved shots that almost went completely off their targets!
Those few opportunities to shoot in a constant condition were rare and only lasted for a few seconds in duration. As in the day prior, the top guns conquered these difficulties. The men were separated from the “boys” as those with the most well-honed skills prevailed.
As for equipment — almost everyone shot 6 PPCs in all classes. This is still very much the cartridge of choice in 100/200 group benchrest competition. There was one .22-caliber rig and Bruce LaChapelle experimented with a new “Wildcat .20 Caliber” rig that he designed and machined himself.
There were many interesting T-Shirts on display at the match:
Pro-Am Competition with Two-Person Teams
One interesting element of this match was the “Pro-Am” competition. The “Pro-Am” features two-person teams with one experienced top-level BR shooter and one amateur shooter. For each two-man team, both shooters’ Two-Gun Aggregates are combined. The Pro-Am winning team is the twosome with the best winning combined, Two-Gun Aggregate. Both shooters receive First Place Pro-Am plaques. The winning amateur, Chris Jeffers (below), also won a barrel blank from Hart Rifle Barrels.
Under Pro-Am rules, an “amateur” is a shooter who has participated in registered BR events for five years or less. The “Pro” level includes shooters who have competed in registered events for six years or more. The Pro-Am was started 18 years ago to encourage new shooters and recognize amateurs in hopes they will continue with the sport. This is a good concept that could be tried at other events.
L to R: Todd Jeffers, Bob Brushingham, Bill Goad, Paul Mitchell, Wyatt Peinhardt, Cody Kurtz, Kevin Donalds Sr.
Our hats are off to the many folks who worked so hard to make this two-day event successful. I didn’t hear any grumbling or nary one complaint. Hal DeBoer, our new club President, ran the line and kept everything running smoothly and safely. Event chairman Bob Hamister had crews of club members working weeks in advance, preparing targets and organizing the many tasks that needed to be accomplished. Colin Hillman and his crew from the Syracuse Police Dept. and Jim Palumbo with the Youth Clay Targets Program were in charge of the target crews. They managed four different target crews, one for each morning and afternoon.
The ladies in the scoring booth (see above) had to analyze each relay, carefully scoring and posting the scores. They did this so efficiently that score sheets were posted immediately after each match. We also were fortunate to have Christopher’s Catering crew who provided breakfast, lunch and dinner during the two days. The food was delicious, plentiful, and affordably-priced.
Match Trophy Winners by Category/Class:
Pro-Am Event Winners: Chris Jeffers (Amateur) and Dale Boop (Pro). Two-Gun: Bob Hamister, Paul Mitchell, Harley Baker. Heavy Varmint: Todd Jeffers, Bob Hamister, Paul Mitchell, Don Francis, Harley Baker. Light Varmint: Todd Jeffers, Bob Brushingham, Bill Goad, Paul Mitchell, Wyatt Peinhardt, Cody Kurtz, Kevin Donalds Sr.
I really enjoyed my job as photographer and roving reporter. I don’t have to worry about reloading, getting to the line on time, or trying to shoot small groups. I had ample opportunities to chat with competitors. I learned a little about them, where they lived, and had a chance to pick their brains about their ongoing quest for accuracy. I saw many different styles of loading at the benches and the many variances in equipment, shooting styles and techniques.
Once again, my most important take-away was that this group of sportsmen and sportswomen are friendly, helpful and genuine. Shooting tips, local knowledge, and advice are shared openly by all and help is there, charitably given to anyone who seeks it. — Kenneth Frehm
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Camp Perry has entered the electronic age — Perry’s first electronic targets “go live” this week. On Thursday, July 21, the CMP hosts a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to celebrate the installation of its new Kongsberg electronic rifle and pistol targets on Camp Perry’s Petrarca Range. During the afternoon, guests can test out the new targets with their own suitable firearms, or use “loaner” AR-15 rifles and M9 pistols provided by the CMP.
The first ten electronic rifle targets, placed at 200 yards, are now ready for action on the Petrarca Range. Reduced target centers will allow shooters to practice for longer distances as well. the smaller pistol/smallbore targets are mounted in portable carriers so they can be stationed at 25 or 50 yards. Three pistol targets are now in place (see photo at right).
This is the beginning of a process to supply many ranges at Camp Perry with state-of-the-art Kongsberg (KTS) electronic targets similar to those installed at the CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park. However, the CMP is NOT planning a whole-scale replacement of all of Camp Perry’s old-fashioned targets.
CMP Offers Free “Test Drives” of Kongsberg Electronic Targets
Petrarca Range will be open throughout the National Matches to allow competitors and visitors to try the KTS targets for FREE. During this time, guests are encouraged to bring their own firearms and ammo to use at the range as no rentals will be available other than the day of the Ribbon Cutting. After the National Matches are over in August, the range will be open several Mondays for Open Public Shooting, with a small fee charged to shoot on the electronic targets.
Video Demonstrates Kongsberg Target System
KTS Electronic Targets use multiple acoustic sensors to “hear” the shot and accurately triangulate its location. Shot placements (and score values) are calculated instantly and transmitted in real time to display screens at the shooting stations. These kind of targets allow matches to run faster, with no pit duties required. All scoring is handled by the KTS central “brain” which can outputs scores to linked electronic scoreboards.
Monitors Display Score and Shot Location Instantly
Each Kongsberg target connects to a monitor that displays the hit locations to the shooter. Easy push-button controls allow the shooter to cycle through hits and options without having to change positions. The monitors employ non-glare glass protected by an aluminum frame that acts as a shade. This ensures good visibility for the shooter.
These state-of-the-art electronic targets are also used in the CMP’s new Talladega Marksmanship Park, where they have proven to be very popular with shooters. NOTE — the CMP is not planning a whole-scale replacement of all of Camp Perry’s old-fashioned targets. However the CMP hopes to modernize the Camp Perry facility, by installing some electronic targets on all Camp Perry ranges by summer 2018.
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Here is a video every shooter should watch. It reminds us that our sport demands 100% attention. Lose track of individuals down-range and the results could be tragic. This video will give you chills (starting at about the 0:25 mark). We need to remember to follow all the firearms safety rules, and apply them all the time. At the range, all it takes is one brief moment of inattention to create a life-threatening situation. Never assume the downrange area is safe. Use your own eyes and ears.
This video shows a competitor shooting a stage at an action pistol match. He starts when instructed by the Range Safety Officer (RSO). But unbeknownst to both RS0 and competitor, a volunteer is downrange working on targets. Watch carefully. At 0:27 the shooter sweeps left to right, engaging a paper silhouette target to his right. Then, at 0:30, as he begins a mag change, his head turns downrange. A few yards away is a white-shirted range worker! The shooter yells “Hey what’s going on?!”
What’s going on indeed… The RSO should have ensured that nobody was downrange before the shooter even stepped up to the firing line. If other competitors standing to the side had been alert, they might have seen the worker changing targets and called for a halt. And the target-worker himself — even if he was wearing earmuffs, he should have noticed that live fire had commenced just yards away…
We also have to wonder about the stage design. This set-up made it very difficult to see downrange. The white panels (see 0:10-0:20) definitely hid the target worker from view. In hindsight, given the way the stage was laid out, this was truly an “accident waiting to happen”. It’s fortunate that no one got injured in this incident. But this chilling video provides a lesson to all shooters — “Safety First”.
How could this “near-fatality” have been averted? Post your comments below.
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PrecisionRifleBlog.com (PRB) recently published results from a field test PRB conducted to quantify the temperature stability of the popular Hodgdon H4350 and Varget powders and compare those to IMR’s new Enduron line of powders, specifically IMR 4166 and 4451.
Hodgdon Extreme Series powders have attracted quite a fan base, with over 90% of the top shooters in the Precision Rifle Series choosing to run one of those powders. IMR recently released a new line of powders “with Enduron Technology” — which is also marketed to have “extreme temperature stability”. Sounds familiar! These new powders should compete directly with the Hodgdon Extreme Series, which gives shooters more temp-stable powder options to consider.
The top shooters in the PRS and veteran long-range shooters in other disciplines have learned to value a temperature-stable powder. That’s because a change in temperature can affect the trajectory or “flight path” of the bullet in two well-known ways:
1. Assuming all other environmental conditions remain the same, an increase in air temperature will cause a flatter trajectory due to a lower air density (easier for the bullet to cut through the air).
2. The same increase in temperature also causes the nitrocellulose-based powder inside the cartridge to burn at a higher rate, producing approximately four times the Point of Impact (POI) shift than just air temperature alone. (SEE: Temperature Effects On Zero on KestrelMeters.com.)
“The initial heat condition of your powder will affect the burn rate,” Bryan Litz explained at a recent Applied Ballistics Seminar. That means swings in ambient outside temperature can affect your internal ballistics, which will directly affect your muzzle velocity, which will change your bullet’s trajectory. Some powders are more affected by changes in temperature than others. So if your goal is first-shot hits and you may shoot in a variety of conditions — you should care about temperature stable powders.
The folks at PrecisionRifleBlog.com meticulously loaded 6.5×47 Lapua ammo with each powder using some of the best equipment available. This included the top-of-the-line Prometheus Gen II Powder Scale, which is capable of loading to the nearest kernel of powder. This ensured the powder charges were identical for each round of ammo. PRB’s testers explain the full set of equipment and steps in their loading process in the Full Test Report.
Once they had a couple dozen rounds loaded with each powder, they went and shot them with each powder at 25° F, 65° F, and 140° F. The muzzle velocity of each shot was recorded using both a LabRadar Doppler Radar and a MagnetoSpeed Chronograph. The LabRadar is a new type of device that allows you to measure muzzle velocity within at least +/- 0.1% of the reading.
Here are the results from the PRB Powder Temp Stability Tests:
You can see Hodgdon H4350 had the least variance in muzzle velocity, with just 25 fps over the 115° swing in temperature! That is very, very low. Hodgdon Varget was the second least temperature sensitive powder in this test, with 46 fps of variance in muzzle velocity between temperatures of 25° F and 140° F. IMR 4166 performed very similar to Varget, and proved to be fairly insensitive to large swings in temperature. IMR 4451 had the largest swing in muzzle velocity of the powders tested, but keep in mind just 68 fps over 115° F swing is still a good performance.
Most powders aren’t specially formulated to be temperature stable. So they would likely show much larger swings than what these four top-performing powders showed.
PRB’s test team also noticed other interesting trends in the data. For example, variation in velocity does NOT appear to be linear across the full range of temperatures. By that, they mean the change per degree from 20° to 65° might be smaller or larger than the change per degree from 65° to 140°.
In the Olympics (and other top-level shooting events with electronic scoring), a 10.9 is the highest possible single shot value. A 10.9 is the best of the best — the numerical equivalent of a perfect shot. Olympian Brenda Silva says “shooting a 10.9 is like a hole in one[.]” The 2016 Olympic Games are coming up soon, so many of the world’s best shooters are focusing on producing 10.9s in Rio next month. Here are some comments from top shooters on what a 10.9 means to them:
“A 10.9 is more than a shot value — it’s an idea, a goal, something that pushes us…” — Lauren Phillips
“Shooting 10.9s is not an accident, it’s what you’re supposed to do.” — Tom Csenge
Excellence is shooting a 10.9 “When it Counts — When a Medal … is on the line.” — Sarah Scherer
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Today, July 19th, as of 10:00 am Central Time, Powder Valley has one-pound containers of Hodgdon Varget powder in stock. Price is $23.75 per pound (not including haz-mat fees or shipping).
NOTE: Powder Valley’s current Varget inventory consists of one-pounders only. No 8-pound jugs are available. To order, go to powdervalleyinc.com, then click the Powders link (near the top of page), and then select the Hodgdon link in the row that appears. Scroll down until you see:
“HODVARG-01 *, HODGDON VARGET – 1LB.”
Given the high demand for the most popular Hodgdon Extreme powders, Powder Valley’s inventory of Varget could sell out. If you are in dire need of this powder, act quickly.
More Hodgdon Extreme Powders in Stock:
Powder Valley does not have any H4350 at this time but it DOES have ALL these other Hodgdon Extreme powders in both 1-pound and 8-pound containers:
H4198 (YES 1-lb and 8-lb)
H322 (YES 1-lb and 8-lb)
Benchmark (YES 1-lb and 8-lb)
H4895 (YES 1-lb and 8-lb)
H4831 (YES 1-lb and 8-lb)
H4831SC (YES 1-lb and 8-lb)
H1000 (YES 1-lb and 8-lb)
Retumbo (YES 1-lb and 8-lb)
H50BMG (YES 1-lb and 8-lb)
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At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
Vortex’s Precision Shooting Tactical (PST) line of riflescopes offers features that are normally only available in high-priced optics. This 4-16x50mm EBR-1 Scope offers an illuminated second focal plane EBR-1 reticle, side-focus parallax adjustment, tactical turrets, and an objective lens that will allow you to see well into twilight. This scope also offers Milradian adjustments, a 30mm main tube, and a weight of only 22 ounces — making it an ideal optic for a tactical or precision rifle, varmint blaster, or hunting rifle. For current stock only at EuroOptic.com, save $200 off this already competitively-priced scope for an out-the-door price of only $499.99. No doubt about it — this is a great deal.
2. Powder Valley — $10 Off Berger 6mm and 6.5mm Hybrids
Here’s a special deal for AccurateShooter.com readers. Our friends at Powder Valley have just put two of the most popular Berger match projectiles on sale. Right now you can get $10.00 off all 500-count boxes of Berger 6mm 105gr Hybrid and 6.5mm 140gr Hybrid bullets. This special sale runs from now until July 31 or when stock runs out (subject to quantity on hand). We recommend you act quickly — these are popular bullets. To get this deal, visit PowderValleyInc.com then click on the “Specials” link.
The LabRadar is the most advanced chronograph on the market. When it was first released, you had to wait months to get one of these Doppler Radar units. Now they are in-stock and ready to ship at Bruno Shooters Supply for $559.95. Once you learn how to position and adjust the LabRadar, you should find the machine reliable and versatile. We do recommend getting a separate battery pack. If you are considering purchasing a LabRadar Chronograph, we strongly suggest you read the very thorough and informative LabRadar Review by Ray Gross, Captain of the USA F-TR team. NOTE: If the LabRadar sells out at Bruno’s, you should be able to get it from MidwayUSA, for the same $559.95 price.
3. Natchez — Special 5 Reloading Press Kit, $199.99
This is an excellent entry-level reloading kit, which is on sale for $199.99 at Natchez Shooters Supply. We like the relatively compact Special 5 press for most reloading duties. Eventually you many want to add an additional large heavy press, but this will get the job done. This kit includes an RCBS Powder Measure, Digital Scale, Powder Trickler, Hand Priming Tool, Load Manual, Loading Tray, and more. It’s hard to beat this combination of tools for under $200.00.
If you shoot long range, you need a scope level. This Discovery scope level is fully CNC-machined to close tolerances for a good fit. It is available with three inner diameters to fit scopes with 1″, 30mm, or 34mm main tubes. The 1″ version is just $11.99 while the 30mm model is $13.95 and the large 34mm version is $15.95. You could easily pay $35.00 or more for a 30mm scope level. Purchasers have praised this product: 89% of verified buyers rated this five stars.
If you have brass or small parts to clean an ultrasonic cleaning machine really comes in handy. This Lyman machine was a good deal at $69.99 before. Now it is an awesome deal at $49.99 from Cabela’s. Plus you may even be able to get it for less. One buyer said you can get this item for $44.99 including shipping if you use code “16CAVE” at check-out. Worth a try.
6. NRA & MidwayUSA — NRA Life Membership, $500.00
Here’s the best deal going right now on an NRA Life Membership. This normally costs $1500.00, but if you CLICK HERE, you can get a life membership for just $500.00, thanks to an NRA/MidwayUSA promotion. This deal is good through July 31, 2016. You can also save on 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year NRA memberships.
7. Midsouth — Ammo Crates: Medium $12.97, Large $14.94
These stackable, lockable “Ammo Crates” hold up to 85 pounds of shooting supplies. Choose from two different OD green versions on sale now at Midsouth. The $12.97 Medium (4.5″-deep) Ammo Crate is good for smaller boxes of bullets, factory ammo, or shotshells, while the $14.94 Large (7.25″-deep) Ammo Crate is ideal for packing the plastic 50-count and 100-count plastic ammo boxes. We like the Large-size, deeper crate for the added capacity since we typical carry our cartridges in the large 100-count MTM boxes with carry handles. Purchasers like these big Ammo Crates. Verified purchaser B-Lo states: “This thing is sweet and fully-loaded doesn’t flex and has good, tight locking lid/handles. A must have for anyone looking to store or transport larger quantities of ammo”.
Lyman’s new Bleacher Block stepped cartridge holders are great. Use the different levels for sorting brass. Or, migrate the brass from top to bottom as you proceed through case prep stages. Made of durable polymer, Bleacher Blocks are molded in three sizes. The smallest size (with 0.388″-diam holes) fits .223 Rem-size case heads. The middle size (with 0.485″-diam holes) fits .308 Win-size case heads. The biggest Bleacher Block has 0.565″-diameter recesses for magnum-size cases. All three cartridge block sizes hold fifty (50) rounds. Purchase any size for just $5.90 per Block at Midsouth.
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Derek Rodgers, the only shooter to win both the F-Open and F-TR National Championships, has done it again. While shooting the Santa Fe Trail LR Regional match in Raton, New Mexico, it looks like Derek set a new 1000-yard record. Derek nailed his 1000-yard target, recording a 200-14X score — that’s twenty (20) shots for record, all tens with 14 in the X-Ring. Derek told us: “Yesterday at Raton New Mexico’s Whittington Center, I shot a 200-14X, which should be a new pending F-TR National Record at 1000 yards.” Derek took special pride in this accomplishment, as he held the F-TR record before: “I’m happy to have the record back. I have had three of the last four records”. Well done Derek!
Derek Rodgers .308 Win F-TR Rifle Equipment List:
McMillan Xit stock, Kelbly Panda LBLP action, Bartlein .308 Win barrel (32″, 1:11.25″ twist), Nightforce NXS 8-32x56mm scope. Note that Derek shoots right-handed, but with a LEFT BOLT. This allows him to stay in position better while cycling the bolt with his LEFT hand.
This impressive performance by Derek shows that the best F-TR rifles can rival the big F-Open rigs for pure accuracy, even though the favored F-Open chamberings, such as .284 Win and .300 WSM, are still ballistically superior to the venerable .308 Winchester used by nearly all F-TR competitors. For his record-breaking load, Derek used Berger 200gr Hybrid Target bullets in Lapua .308 Win (small primer pocket) brass, pushed by Hodgdon Varget powder.
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The nation’s top bullseye pistol shooters were at Camp Perry last week for the NRA National Trophy Pistol Championships. If you’ve every wondered what it takes to win a pistol match using the classic, one-handed hold, here are some tips from one of the best ever, Brian “Gunny” Zins, 12-Time NRA National Pistol Champion.
Trigger Movement: If trigger control is ever interrupted in slow fire the shot needs to be aborted and the shot started over.
Relationship between Sight Alignment and Trigger Control: Often when the fundamentals are explained these two are explained as two different acts. Well, truth be told it’s really kind of hard to accomplish one without the other. They have a symbiotic relationship. In order to truly settle the movement in the dot or sights you need a smooth, steady trigger squeeze.
Trigger Finger Placement: Where should the trigger make contact on the finger? The trigger should be centered in the first crease of the trigger finger. Remember this is an article on Bullseye shooting. If this were an article on free pistol or air pistol it would be different.
Proper Grip: A proper grip is a grip that will NATURALLY align the gun’s sights to the eye of the shooter without having to tilt your head or move your or move your wrists around to do that. Also a proper grip, and most importantly, is a grip that allows the gun to return to the same position [with sights aligned] after each and every shot. The best and easiest way to get the proper grip, at least a good starting position… is with a holster. Put your 1911 in a holster on the side of your body[.] Allow your shooting hand to come down naturally to the gun.
Have you been bitten by the PRS Bug? Our friends, Ed Mobley and Steve Lawrence, aka the “6.5 Guys”, have written an excellent article on getting started in practical/tactical competition. If you are new to the game, these tips can help you save money, progress faster, and have more fun. Here are article highlights, but we recommend you read the full story,5 Tips for Attending Your First Precision Rifle Match, onwww.65guys.com.
We often meet people who are new to long range precision shooting, and want to improve their knowledge and skill level. However, they aren’t sure if they are ready to sign up to compete in a match. They often ask, “What knowledge or skills are necessary to compete in a match?” Others may state, “I need to purchase this gear or that gear before I can attend a match”. For those guys who have a strong interest in precision rifle shooting, and who wish to chec out a precision rifle match, below are Five Tips to make it a positive experience.
TIP ONE: Make Plans and Commit to Go
First you need to start by finding a match to attend. This may entail a little bit of research and investigative work on your part to find what matches are scheduled in the next few months. We recommend starting with any match that may be within a reasonable driving distance. This may likely be a local “club” match, many of which are held on a regular basis. These make great venues because it will provide an opportunity to meet some of the regular attendees as well as shooters that are from your geographic area. Additionally, most of the smaller matches are a little more relaxed in terms of level of competitiveness.
Once you decide on the match you want to attend, do your homework. This means finding out if you need to pre-register or pre-pay the match fee. Commit to going by registering for the match and putting it on your schedule. Be sure to find other useful information for questions such as:
— What time should I arrive?
— Is there a mandatory safety briefing for new shooters at that venue?
— What is the travel time required to get to the match site?
— How many stages will there be?
— Is there a description of the stages available before the match?
— How many rounds should you bring?
— Are there special equipment requirements? (E.g. do you need chamber flags, is there a pistol stage?)
TIP TWO: Bring What You Have
(Don’t Spend a Fortune at the Start)
Some new shooters often assume they need a custom match rifle or all of the miscellaneous shooting gear associated with long range precision shooting to compete in match. While having a Kestrel weather meter and a high quality laser range finder and other shooting accoutrements are invaluable kit, you will find other shooters at your first match that will provide you with the information and coaching you need to get on target.
In fact, the only gear you really need to bring is a scoped rifle with a bipod and ammo capable of consistently shooting within one MOA. Also, be sure to know the ballistic drops or have a ballistic drop table prepared for your rifle/ammo to dial the correct DOPE on your scope for different target ranges. Many of the other participants at the match will be willing to let you borrow a support bag, bipod, tripod or other gear if you need one — just ask. Don’t use the excuse of not having the right gear to delay getting out to a match!
One reason not to make a big initial investment in a new rifle and assorted gear before competing, is we’ve seen a number of people come into the sport and try it for a year and then make the decision to move on to something else.
TIP THREE: Be Prepared to Learn
As a new shooter at a match, there is no better opportunity to learn. We often look to our local club matches as a group ‘training’ session to prepare for the bigger matches. You will find competitors at all levels of skill and many of your fellow shooters will enthusiastically provide helpful advice once they learn you are new to the sport. Take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions if you would like ideas for how to engage a stage, but also be sure to do more listening than talking as you receive guidance and tips from more experienced competitors.
Watch and observe other shooters and how they approach and ‘game’ a specific stage or course of fire. You’ll begin to recognize which shooting positions work best for different scenarios, and maybe even come up with some new ones that no one has thought of before.
Seeing what the better shooters do is an invaluable instructional tool. You can use your smart phone’s video camera to record other shooters (with their permission). When you’re ready to shoot, ask another shooter to record your performance. Watching yourself will point out needed areas of improvement.
After each match conduct an informal after action review and summarize for yourself the things that went well and what you should continue to do. You should also identify the specific shooting skills you should develop and make a plan to integrate the appropriate practice drills into your practice sessions. Finally, if you maintain a shooter’s data book or journal you’ll want to note things such as:
After Action Review – How you did, what went well, things you need to work on in practice. Stage Observations – Successful methods used for specific courses of fire. Note barricades, positions used, specific gear used for stages. Gear Observations – How your rifle/gear performed, what new items you should add to your “buy list”.
TIP FOUR: Be Safe and Have Fun
You’ve all heard a parent or teacher say, “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.” The same can be said of the shooting sports. Safe handling of firearms is the number one rule at any match, and comes before the FUN part in terms of importance.
Before all matches start there will always be some form of a mandatory safety briefing. Make sure you know, understand, and follow any unique safety protocols for the match you attend. Some matches require all rifles have chamber flags inserted and are stowed in bags/cases while not on the firing line — other matches may not. If you run afoul of any safety rules, you risk the chance of being disqualified from a stage or worse, the entire match.
The second rule is simply have fun. This starts with having a good attitude throughout the day. Keep in mind that as a new competitor you should think of a match as a solid day of practice and training. If you blow a stage, use it as an opportunity to diagnose what you could have done differently or what you need to improve on — then smile and drive on.
Any day at the range or shooting is a good day. A match is an opportunity to hang out with like-minded people who are passionate about shooting and impacting targets far-far away. Life is great when you are doing what you enjoy!
TIP FIVE: Make Friends
There is no better way to meet lots of precision rifle shooters and make friends than at a match. The people that attend the tactical precision matches on a regular basis are those that have ‘fallen into the deep end of the pool’ and are really into the sport. As a result, they have become part of the local precision shooting community. As you strike up conversations at the match, find out if your new-found friends visit specific forum boards or social media outlets, or if there are other matches they attend.
Precision shooters tend to congregate and share information in different corners of the Internet. It will serve you well to meet some of the guys in person at matches and be able to connect a face to a screen name. As you develop your friendships and develop a level of trust, you will find opportunities become available to shoot with others in your local area, or get ‘read-in’ on a secret honey-hole of a spot to shoot long distance. Additionally, the local shooting community will often find it more convenient to sell or trade gear and equipment locally than deal with buyers/sellers that are out of state.
DCM Emeritus Gary Anderson has authored a good book, Coaching Young Rifle Shooters, that fills an important need. Anderson, one of the most successful American marksmen in history, has created a new fully-illustrated guide to help parents and coaches train young shooters. This 187-page, full-color book is the most comprehensive instructional guide of its kind currently in print. In his training guidebook, Gary provides coaches with the tools needed to develop young shooters and improve their skills. In his 11 years of international competition, Gary won two Olympic gold medals, seven World Championships, and 16 national titles.
Coaching Young Rifle Shooters
By Gary Anderson
Instructional and teaching guide for coaches and parents who work with beginning and intermediate junior rifle shooters.
187 pages, full color.
$19.95 plus S&H
About Gary Anderson
Gary Anderson served as the Director of the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) from 1999-2009, and is now DCM Emeritus. At the 1962 World Shooting Championships in Egypt, Anderson won four individual titles and set three new world records. At the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Gary won the 300m free-rifle Gold Medal, setting a new world record in the process. At the 1966 World Shooting Championships in Germany, Anderson won three additional world titles. At the 1968 Olympics, Gary won a second gold medal in the 300m free-rifle event.
Gary retired from active international competition after the 1969 World Championships in Spain, where he set a 50m, three-position world record. After his “retirement” from international competition, Gary competed in the National High Power Championships, winning the President’s National Trophy in 1973, 1975 and 1976. Over his competitive career, Anderson won two Olympic Gold Medals, seven World Championships, and sixteen National Championships. No American has ever won more major shooting titles.
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