In the digital archives of Shooting Sports USA, we’ve found some great features that deserve a second look. A few years back, Shooting Sports USA published Sights, Wind and Mirage, an outstanding article that explains how to judge wind speed/direction and adjust your sights accordingly. Authored by highly respected shooter Ernest (Ernie) Vande Zande, this article is a definite “must-read” for all competitive rifle shooters — even those who shoot with a scope rather than irons. Vande Zande’s discussion of mirage alone makes the article well worth reading. Highly recommended.
Invaluable Insights from a World-Class Shooter
The article covers a wide variety of topics including Wind Reading, Mirage, Effects of Sight Canting, Quadrant Shooting, and Sight Adjustment Sequencing. Vande Zande offers many jewels of insight from his decades of experience shooting and coaching in top level tournaments. U.S. Shooting Team Leader at the 1996 Olympics, Vande Zande has set more than 200 records in National and International competition. He was the Smallbore Rifle Prone Champion at Camp Perry in 1980. An International Distinguished shooter, Ernie has been on nine Dewar teams and he was a member of the USAR Shooting Team from 1982. No matter what your discipline, if you are a competitive rifle shooter, you should CLICK HERE to read Sights, Wind, and Mirage.
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SFC Daniel Horner USAMU file photo (not from 2015 WSC).
For the past three days, the NRA World Shoooting Championship (WSC) has been underway at the Peacemaker Nat’l Training Center in West Virginia. If you’re curious about this event, which offers $250,000 worth of cash and prizes, check out this September 26th video showing SFC Dan Horner (last year’s WSC winner) in the 3-Gun Stage. Horner displays his ability to transition rapidly from one gun to the next while acquiring targets with Robocop-like efficiency. This year, Horner finished second overall, just three points behind newly-crowned 2015 WSC Winner Bruce Piatt (2631 points).
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Benchrest legend Tony Boyer finished fifth overall in the individual standings.
Congratulations to USA Team 2, which won the “battle of the nations” at the World Benchrest Championship. Team 2 members are: Lester Bruno, Wayne Campbell, Larry Costa, and Billy Stevens. Wayne Campbell also won the individual Championship, earning him the title of 2015 World Benchrest Champion. Wayne is now officially the best point-blank benchrester on the planet! We wish to acknowledge all the many competitors, from 24 nations, who attended this prestigious event.
Penalties and DQs
Other USA Teams might have finished in the top five, but there were some major mishaps at this event. USA Team 1 suffered a big penalty because of a 5-shot cross-fire at 200 yards. USA Team 3 was disqualified from the event due to a late shot after the “Cease Fire” command (DQ details below).
Here’s how the Teams Match ended up. USA Team 2 finished first, followed by three Australian squads, with Canada Team 1 finishing fifth:
1. USA Team 2 – 0.2230 MOA
2. Australia Team 1 – 0.2441
3. Australia Team 3 – 0.2463
4. Australia Team 2 – 0.2635
5. Canada Team 1 – 0.2678
Wayne Campbell Wins WBC with 0.1866 Agg
But who is the individual World Benchrest Champion? That would be American Team member Wayne Campbell — a very popular result. Wayne shot a remarkable 0.1866 MOA Agg over the four-day event, combining 100- and 200-yard LV and HV matches. That shows you how accurate today’s Benchrest rifles can be (and the skill of the top shooters). Here are the top five individuals, all of whom Agg’d under 0.2100:
1. Wayne Campbell (USA) – 0.1866 MOA
2. Gene Bukys (USA) – 0.1973
3. Murray Hicks (Australia) – 0.2062
4. Larry Costa (USA) – 0.2087
5. Tony Boyer (USA) – 0.2095
The USA took four out of the Top Five individual spots. Living legend Tony Boyer proved he’s still got his stuff. Tony finished just .0033 off the podium, which saw Boyer protege Wayne Campbell in 1st place, Gene Bukys in second, and Australian Murray Hicks in third. The best of the two Great Britain Teams finished in 13th spot (out of 24 teams) with a 0.2998 MOA Agg. Top individual Brit was Bruce Lenton in 31st place with a very creditable 0.2666 MOA Agg.
Shooters from 24 nations competed at the 2015 World Benchrest Championship. Here Alexander Skuratov from Russia prepares ammo for a match.
DAY Four (Friday) Match Report
The fabulous St Louis weather was with us again for the last day and this is the first World Championship I can remember that didn’t have rain! Facilities at this fabulous Benchrest range are second to none and the event has run like the proverbial clockwork. That is a credit to the Club and its helpers and officials who have worked tirelessly for two weeks, as of course the NBRSA Nationals preceded the 2015 WBC.
Today, on the final day, Heavy Varmint rifles shot at 200 yards. Winds were again light, except for the odd relay but the top shooters again banged in those itty-bitty groups that the rest of us can only dream about. Just one non-American managed to sneak into the top five:
Friday Results, 200-Yard Heavy Varmint
1. Wayne Campbell (USA) – 0.1866 MOA
2. Gene Bukys (USA) – 0.1973
3. Murray Hicks (Australia) 0.2062
4. Larry Costa (USA) – 0.2087
5. Tony Boyer (USA) – 0.2095
Thursday DQ Drama — Disqualification and Penalty for American Teams
On Thursday, we had drama when one of the three USA Teams suffered a ten-inch penalty but such is the strength of American Benchrest that USA Team 1 members fought themselves back into contention. The ten-inch penalty was given when a USA Team 1 shooter fired all five shots on the wrong target at 200 yards. But, just as things were looking possible for an American 1, 2, 3 sweep, yet more drama occurred with the disqualification of USA Team 3! That’s right, the entire team was DQ’d as the result of a safety breach. Apparently, a USA Team 3 shooter fired AFTER the “Cease fire” command. That serious rule violation caused the disqualification.
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As part of the NRA’s Tips & Tactics video series, Kristy Titus explains how to prepare for a hunt. Titus, co-host of the Team Elk TV show, is a certified instructor has hunted around the globe. She grew up in the outdoors, running pack mules in Oregon with her father. In this video, Kristy discusses fitness training and demonstrates field positions that can be employed during a hunt.
Kristy explains: “Hunting can lead you into some steep, rough country. It’s really important that you train both your body and your mind to handle the elements and the rigors of hunting. With no two hunting situations being the same, we must train to be adaptable and make the most of every opportunity. The most important aspect of hunting success, ultimately, is the person behind the rifle. So, if you plan on going on a mountain hunt, get out and train your body. Train with your firearm. Get off the bench and have some fun with this. Do some positional shooting or, if you want to add a stress dynamic… have someone put you under a time parameter.”
Powder Valley Inc. (PVI) is now carrying Shooters World-branded powders produced by the Czech enterprise Explosia A.S., which has produced propellants since 1920. Powder Valley will initially be offering four new Shooters World propellants: Clean Shot, Heavy Pistol, Match Rifle, and Blackout. These are canister-packaged forms of the popular Lovex propellants sold in Europe. These powders are very affordable — they cost just $19.95 per pound at PVI. For other pricing and ordering information go to PowderValleyInc.com. Match Rifle, Blackout, and Clean Shot are all currently in stock at PVI.
Shooters World says: “We have received nothing but praise about the quality of these [Lovex] propellants. Because of this, we are very confident in how our canister propellants will fare in the reloading market. We have had many competitive shooters using our product[.]”
The following descriptions of Shooters World propellants have been provided by the manufacturer. Since AccurateShooter.com has not tested any of these powders yet, we cannot verify any particular claims:
Shooters World Powders — Manufacturer’s Product Descriptions
Match Rifle propellant is our canister form of Lovex D0 73-06 propellant. It is similar in burn speed to Accurate® 2520 and CFE™223. It holds the broadest utility across all moderate rifle propellants. The propellant gas generation rate is appropriate for cartridges of the light to heavy sectional density .223 Remington and .308 Winchester. It can load the 55 grain .223 Rem, as well as the 77 grain .223 Rem. It loads the 150, 168, and 175 grain .308 Winchester, and loads all .30-30 combinations. It works in .30-06, in 7mm-08, and even in the .22-250.
Blackout propellant is our canister form of Lovex D063-02 reloading propellant. It is slightly slower in burn speed than Accurate 1680®. The propellant gas generation rate is superior for subsonic 300 Blackout, 7.62×39, and some straight-walled rifle cartridges, where rapid transformation from powder to gas is desired. You would be hard pressed to find a subsonic 300 Blackout propellant that will give you the cycling reliability of the Shooters World Blackout.
Clean Shot propellant is the canister form of Lovex D0 32-03 propellant. Ballistic results for this propellant show it to be highly versatile, with low residue in a myriad of pistol cartridges. The burn rate is similar to Accurate No. 2®. Additionally, we have tested this propellant in shot shell, and found it to be exceptionally clean and consistent in velocity. This propellant can be used in virtually all pistol cartridges. A spherical propellant, it meters through charge plates extremely consistently and will work with a high-speed loader with very good flow. This propellant contains flash suppressant and is optimized for .45 ACP, 38 SPL, some standard velocity 9mm, some .40 S&W applications, reduced loads in .357 magnum, .44 magnum, and others.
Heavy Pistol propellant is our canister form of Lovex D0 37-02 propellant. It is similar in burn speed to Accurate® No. 9. The gas generation rate is appropriate for cartridges of the magnum pistol family and the .300 AAC Blackout, supersonic with light bullets. It does contain a level of flash suppression, incorporated into the propellant. A spherical propellant, it meters through charge plates consistently and will work with high-speed loaders with very good flow. This propellant is bracketed on the fast side by D0-37-01 (similar to Accurate® No 7), and on the slow side by D0-63-02 (similar in burn speed to Accurate® 1680).
Technical Information — CIP vs. SAAMI
Shooters World is in the process of developing reloading data based on SAAMI/ANSI standards. This data will be published on the Shooters World website, as it is generated and proofed in SAAMI test barrels, and compared against SAAMI reference ammunition. Hand-loaders can also reference information in the Lovex Reloading Guide, which has data tested to CIP (Commission Internationale Permanente) standards.
Note that Shooters World has maintained the nomenclature of the Lovex propellants on its reloading canister bottles. Shooters World did this to ensure that reloaders would have maximum access to reloading data — both from European and American standards. Shooters World says: “The charge weights and pressures reported in the Lovex Reloading Guide have been found very reliable”.
The main difference between CIP data and SAAMI standardization has to do with barrel length. CIP barrel length standards and SAAMI barrel length standards do not necessarily correspond. Therefore, the velocities reported in the Lovex Reloading Guide may not directly relate to USA standards. As is always the case, any reloader should start the load development process at a safe “starting charge”, and slowly increase charge weights to desired performance levels. Never exceed a maximum published load.
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Here’s a cool video from the University of Mississippi Womens’ Shooting Team. The gals from Ole Miss challenge their marksmanship skills with a variety of tiny targets — grapes, pencil erasers, and playing cards on edge. The results are filmed with ultra-high-speed cameras so you can watch the moment of impact. This is a fun, feel-good video. Enjoy.
These young ladies will be competing at the Ole Miss Invitational Tournament in Oxford, Mississsippi on October 3, 2015. For more information, visit OldMissSports.com.
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A new cable television show, History of the Gun, debuts in October. The first episode, previewed in the videos below, features Ruger firearms. The show’s producers visit Ruger’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and show how Ruger handguns and rifles are crafted using “lean manufacturing” techniques and legions of CNC machines.
History of the Gun Episode One, Part ONE — Series Introduction.
Product casting at Ruger’s Foundry in Newport, New Hampshire.
History of the Gun Episode One, Part TWO — Inside the Ruger Factory.
Rifle readied for hydro-dipping process that applies camouflage finish.
The History of the Gun will be produced by Bill Rogers, the award-winning host/producer of the popular American Outdoors TV show. Every week History of the Gun will examine the firearms of yesterday and today, and take a peek at what’s on the drawing board for tomorrow. Factory tours will be regular highlights of the show.
History of the Gun airs on the Hunt Channel (Dish Network), Time Warner Cable, and is syndicated on a number of TV stations across America. History of the Gun also airs in Canada and Europe on WILD-TV.
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In this video Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics offers tips on Big Bore shooting (i.e. .338 caliber and above). Bryan offers advice on bullet selection and he explains the challenge of handling the blast, noise, concussion, and recoil of big boomers such as the .416 Barrett and .50 BMG.
Bryan goes big … very big, shooting a monster .50 BMG bullpup.
Watch the recoil pulse shove Bryan backwards at 1:40 time-mark:
Big Bore Basics — Tips for Shooting Big Boomersby Bryan Litz
There are some unique things to consider with big-bore shooting. One is bullet design. For long-range shooting you want high-BC bullets. You get high BC from heavy bullets and bullets that have low drag. The interesting trade-off in big calibers is that there are a lot more lathe-turned solid bullets in copper and brass available than there are in the smaller calibers. You’ve got bullets that have slightly lower drag profiles but they are made of materials that are slightly less dense (than lead) so they are relatively light for their caliber. With that trade-off, the BCs might not be as high as you think for big calibers, although the bullets are heavy enough that they carry a lot of energy.
Energy really has a lot to do with shooting these big-caliber rifles. As with any kind of shooting, the fundamentals of marksmanship are the most important thing. However, it can be hard to maintain good fundamentals (e.g. trigger control and sight alignment) when you’re burning 100 grains of powder. There’s a lot of concussion (you want a muzzle brake no matter what your cartridge is above .338). It certainly can be challenging with all the muzzle blast and all the energy coming out of the barrel.
For long-range shooting with big bore rifles, you are still looking for the same things that you want with smaller-caliber rigs. You want a high-performance bullet, you want consistent ammunition, and you want a good fire solution to be able to center your group at long range. Basically you’re just dealing with the challenges that the high energy brings, and being smart about your bullet selection.
In the video above, Bryan is shooting the DesertTech HTI bullpup. This rifle can shoot four (4) big bore chamberings, with barrel conversion kits for: .375 CheyTac, .408 CheyTac, .416 Barrett, and .50 BMG. These can be quickly swapped in the HTI chassis, which employs an internal barrel-clamp system.
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This is a cautionary tale of what can happen when municipal governments are allowed to enact radical, restrictive gun laws…
San Francisco, California has over 850,000 residents*. But thanks to SF’s gun-phobic elected officials, you soon won’t be able to find a single store that sells guns and ammo within city limits. High Bridge Arms, San Francisco’s last remaining gun shop, announced it will be closing its doors in October. The reason is the threat of a new SF law requiring gun retailers to video-tape sales transactions and turn over private customer data to the city. This proposed city ordinance goes way beyond existing state and Federal background check requirements.
“Big Brother” is alive and well in the “city by the Bay”. According to Guns.com, San Francisco Supervisor Ken Farrell introduced a municipal ordinance requiring gun vendors to video-tape gun/ammo sales transactions and deliver buyer/firearms data to police every week. Gun shop owners would be required to “hand over personal information to include names, addresses and birth dates to city officials in conjunction with gun and ammo sales.”
Given the threat of this draconian new city law, High Bridge Arms, San Francisco’s last remaining gun store, announced it would cease operations next month. Posting on Facebook, High Bridge’s owner declared: “We are closing our shop. For many reasons I cannot get into at this moment, it appears our final days will be through to the end of October of 2015.” It is not known whether High Bridge Arms will re-locate to a different location outside San Francisco city limits.
San Francisco-based Top Shot Champion Chris Cheng says the closure of High Bridge Arms will only encourage the anti-gun politicians who run the city: “With High Bridge moving out, it will be interesting to see what will happen to legislation the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is considering which would require video-taping gun and ammunition sales, and sharing ammo sales data with SFPD. My guess is that even with High Bridge closing by the time they vote on this, they will pass it in the hopes to keep any future gun shops from trying to open in the future.”
High Bridge Arms has a long history in San Francisco. Serving sport shooters as well as city law enforcement personnel, High Bridge has operated in the same Mission Street location since the mid-1950s when Olympic shooter and gunsmith Bob Chow opened the shop. In 1988, Andy Takahashi bought the business from Mr. Chow.
*The U.S. Census Bureau estimates San Francisco’s population at 852,469 as of July 1, 2014. San Francisco photo by Creative Commons License, attribution Bernard Gagnon.
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We’re not much into computer or video games, but here is an interesting App for shooters that might actually help develop your visual skills and concentration. The new ShootingWorldCup-SWC interactive game simulates an Olympic-class air rifle competition. The soon-to-be released App for smart-phones and mobile devices is highly realistic. You can select a variety of high-end air rifles, adjust your sights, choose your shooting gear, and complete a World-Cup style match. As players “shoot” at regulation World Cup targets, the App plots shot impacts and records scores. You can even engage in multi-player tournaments, competing against other shooters around the world.
Video Previews Features of SWC Interactive Shooting App:
App lets you select a variety of premium Olympic-grade air rifles.
Sorry, this App has not yet been released, but you can go to www.shootingworld.com and request to be notified when the App is finalized.
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Tech Tip by Doc Beech, Applied Ballistics Support Team
I am going to hit on some key points when it comes to bullet pointing. How much pointing and trimming needed is going to depend on the bullet itself. Specifically how bad the bullets are to begin with. Starting out with better-quality projectiles such as Bergers is going to mean two things. First that you don’t need to do as much correction to the meplat, but also that the improvement is going to be less. NOTE: We recommend you DO NOT POINT hunting bullets. Pointing can affect terminal performance in a bad way.
NOTE the change in the bullet tip shape and hollowpoint size after pointing:
Don’t Over-Point Your Bullets
What is important here is that you never want to over-point. It is far better to be safe, and under-point, rather than over-point and crush the tips even the slightest bit. To quote Bryan Litz exactly: “Best practice is to leave a tiny air gap in the tip so you’re sure not to compress the metal together which will result in crushing. Most of the gain in pointing is taking the bullet tip down to this point. Going a little further doesn’t show on target”. So in essence you are only bringing the tip down a small amount… and you want to make sure you leave an air gap at the tip.
Also keep in mind, bullet pointing is one of those procedures with variable returns. If you only shoot at 100-200 yards, bullet pointing will likely not benefit you. To see the benefits, which can run from 2 to 10% (possibly more with poorly designed bullets), you need be shooting at long range. Bryan says: “Typically, with pointing, you’ll see 3-4% increase in BC on average. If the nose is long and pointy (VLD shape) with a large meplat, that’s where pointing has the biggest effect; up to 8% or 10%. If the meplat is tight on a short tangent nose, the increase can be as small as 1 or 2%.” For example, If you point a Berger .308-caliber 185gr Juggernaut expect to only get a 2% increase in BC.
Should You Trim after Pointing?
Sometimes you can see tiny imperfections after pointing, but to say you “need” to trim after pointing is to say that the small imperfections make a difference. Bryan Litz advises: “If your goal is to make bullets that fly uniformly at the highest levels, it may not be necessary to trim them.” In fact Bryan states: “I’ve never trimmed a bullet tip, before or after pointing”. So in the end it is up to you to decide.
Pointing is Easy with the Right Tools
The process of pointing in itself is very simple. It takes about as much effort to point bullets as it does to seat bullets. We are simply making the air gap on the tip of the bullet ever-so smaller. Don’t rush the job — go slow. Use smooth and steady pressure on the press when pointing bullets. You don’t want to trap air in the die and damage the bullet tip. You can use most any press, with a caliber-specific sleeve and correct die insert. The Whidden pointing die has a micrometer top so making adjustments is very easy.
Bryan Litz actually helped design the Whidden Bullet Pointing Die System, so you can order the Pointing Die and Inserts directly from Applied Ballistics. Just make sure that you pick up the correct caliber sleeve(s) and appropriate insert(s). As sold by Applied Ballistics, the Whidden Bullet Pointing Die System comes with the die, one tipping insert, and one caliber-specific sleeve. To see which insert(s) you need for your bullet type(s), click this link:
Report by Vince Bottomley,Target Shooter Magazine
The 2015 World Benchrest Championships (WBC) kicked off yesterday at the St. Louis Benchrest Club Range (located in Wright City, northwest of St. Louis). The World Benchrest Championships, the premier event in the short-range Benchrest universe, is held every two years on a different continent. This is the third time that the USA has hosted the event.
Competitors from 24 Countries Vie for Benchrest Honors
This is a true “World Championship” — teams from 24 nations are competing at the WBC this week. Although America can claim to have invented the sport of Benchrest shooting it is perhaps the most ‘worldly’ of centerfire shooting disciplines with 30 countries now affiliated to the World Benchrest Shooting Federation.
Countries may enter more than one Team and the ‘big’ Benchrest nations such the USA and Australia will send three teams (of four shooters). Although a team event, there is no wind coaching and members shoot as individuals. As well as team medals there are individual awards — the World Benchrest Shooting Champion will be crowned.
Light Varmint and Heavy Varmint Rifles
The WBC is a group-shooting competition contested over two yardages: 100 and 200 yards and with two weights of rifle – the Light Varmint weighing 10.5 pounds and the Heavy Varmint at 13.5 pounds. Years ago, the heavy guns were the more accurate but now there is little if any difference and many competitors will just use a Light Gun for both Classes, though some will switch to a heavy barrel.
Day One Results — An Aussie Leads with 0.1597 Agg
The St Louis range is impressive to say the least but two days of practice have confirmed that wind and mirage are waiting to catch the unwary.
After an 8:00 am start on Day One for the 100-yard Light Varmint (LV) class, veteran Aussie shooter Paul Sullivan took the individual win with a fantastic 0.1597 Aggregate (the average of five, 5-shot groups). Nipping at Sullivan’s heels were two American Hall-of-Famers, Tony Boyer and Gene Bukys. Here are the Top Five so far:
Next up, on September 23, the Heavy Varmint guns come out – still at 100 yards. The WBC continues through Saturday, September 26, with team events Wednesday through Friday and the Individual World Championship on Saturday, followed by award presentations.
With so many competitors, the Loading Room was crowded…
Map to St. Louis Benchrest Club Range in Wright City, MO.
Bench Rest Rifle Club of St. Louis
2280 Kohn Rd.
Wright City, MO 63390
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National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHF Day) takes place on Saturday, September 26, 2015. The annual celebration serves as a reminder that conservation succeeds because of leadership and funding from hunters, shooters and anglers. National, regional, state and local organizations will run thousands of “open house” hunting- and fishing-related events around the country. Events will include Fishing Derbys, Hunting Expos, Wing-shooting tournaments, and much more. Over four million Americans will participate. For information on NHF Day, visit www.nhfday.org. To find NHF Day events in your state, click the links below.
This photo shows some of the handguns actually found by the TSA in carry-ons last year.
Here’s an important reminder to our readers who have concealed-weapon carry permits — don’t overlook your carry gun when traveling through airports. Many travelers with carry permits are forgetting weapons stashed in carry-on luggage. The TSA is encountering more firearms than ever, and those weapons are normally confiscated with their owners subject to penalties.
In 2014, according to TSA.gov, 2,212 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country (that’s a 22% increase over 2013). Of those, 1,835 (83 percent) were loaded. Firearms were intercepted at a total of 224 airports.
Another problem is that Carry Permit holders may enter an airport with their guns still on their person. Here are actual examples:
A 94-year-old man attempted to enter the checkpoint at LaGuardia Airport with a loaded .38 caliber revolver clipped to his belt.
A loaded .380 caliber firearm was discovered strapped to the ankle of a passenger who walked through a metal detector at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.
A loaded .380 caliber firearm was discovered in the rear pocket of a San Antonio International Airport passenger during advanced imaging technology screening.
If you are traveling by air, make sure you remove all firearms from your person (or carry-on luggage), unload the firearm(s), place any weapon in a locked, hard-sided container, and declare them as checked baggage. Anything else can land you in jail.
Here are the TSA guidelines for transporting firearms as checked baggage:
Comply with regulations on carrying firearms where you are traveling from and to, as laws vary by local, state and international governments.
Declare all firearms, ammunition and parts to the airline during the check-in process. Ask about limitations or fees that may apply.
Firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container and transported as checked baggage only. Firearm parts, including firearms frames and receivers, must also be placed in checked baggage and are prohibited in carry-on baggage.
Replica firearms may be transported in checked baggage only.
Rifle scopes are permitted in carry-on and checked bags.
All firearms, ammunition and firearm parts, including firearm frames, receivers, clips and magazines are prohibited in carry-on baggage.
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We like the swivel (“S”) version of the Harris bipod. The swivel (actually tilting) capability of the bipod allows you to tilt (cant) your rifle around the bore axis to level the rifle on a side slope or uneven ground. Unfortunately, the swivel tensioner (friction knob) that comes standard with a Harris swivel bipod leaves much to be desired. The tensioning knob is hard to adjust with your fingers. The small knurled ring doesn’t offer enough leverage. When it’s tight enough to prevent movement it’s hard to release. For this reason, many folks replace the standard knurled ring with a rotating adjustment lever with push-button release. This works great and is easy to install.
While you can buy levers from various sources, Eabco.com has a tried-and-true system that works with both Harris and Caldwell XLA-S swivel bipods: “Our new S-Lever Tension Lever is an economical replacement for the friction tensioning knob to give you much better control and leverage.” For just $12.95, Eabco.com delivers all the parts you need for the upgrade. Shown below are instructions for installing the Eabco S-Lever.
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Derek Rodgers is a member of the 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, work hard on load development, and practice in all conditions. In this interview, Derek Rodgers talks about long range 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.
Derek Rodgers BIOGRAPHY
Derek Rodgers (Albuquerque, NM), is the only shooter to have won BOTH the F-Open and F-TR National Championships. Derek shot his first NRA sanctioned-match in 2007, and just three years later Derek won the 2010 F-Open Nationals. He also won the 2013 F-TR Nationals, making him the only person to win both divisions. He has won other major F-TR matches, including the 2013 Sinclair East Coast Nationals and the 2015 Berger SW Nationals. Derek holds the current 1000-yard, 20-shot, National F-TR Record (200-12X). Derek enjoys spending his time outdoors with his wife and two daughters, ages 12 and 7. He is blessed by his faith and supported by his family. Derek’s goal is to pass on what he has learned to the next generation.
Q: What is your favorite reloading product?
I really like my BenchSource Case Annealer. There is something about watching fire that I find relaxing. I can watch those shells go around the wheel for hours.
Q: What’s your preferred front rest or bipod?
I’m currently using a Duplin bipod. At 17.2 ounces it allows me a solid platform to shoot from and the extra wiggle room to make weight with a heavy barrel and Nightforce NXS scope. Also, I can’t do without my board under the bipod. We shoot off sand at my local range and in most cases the feet will tend to dig holes if not supported. The board is necessary gear for me.
Q: What rear bag do you use?
I have an Edgewood bag that I’ve used for years. Recently, I got a SEB Bigfoot and like how it supports the gun and stays put under recoil.
Q: Explain your load development process. What’s your methodology?
I have two log books that have many combinations that work with 308s. I have tried to keep detailed notes in these books. Now I am reaping the rewards, as I can go back to a particular twist and barrel length and find something very close. I usually start with 3-shot groups and check the chamber behavior. If something looks promising I will go back to the range and load up 6-shot groups. If those shoot well, I take it to a match to verify it in a 20-shot string. If it passes that test it is either good to go or I table it and try another. I tend to pick mild loads that the cartridge shoots well — consistently.
Q: What piece of shooting gear helps your load development?
I use a MagnetoSpeed Chronograph to record velocities. Then I can slow down or speed up my loads to reach an accuracy node. It is amazing that most barrels will shoot very accurately when fired at certain known velocity nodes.
Q: What do you carry in your range bag on Match days?
Multi-piece Brownells tool set, RX Glasses, Sunglasses, Range Rod, Towel, Empty Chamber Indicators, Jacket, Sunscreen, Foam Ear Protection, Ear Muffs, Data Book, Plot Sheets, Pen, Clip Board, iPod with ballistic data, and chewing gum.
Q: How did you get started shooting?
I was raised in New Mexico where outdoor activities are abundant. Once my father introduced me to a Crossman pellet gun, all I wanted to do was shoot and refine my skills. Shooting evolved into hunting and then into perfecting my skills in off-season matches. Shooting local F-Class matches made me better as a marksman. Now I feel like I am competitive with anyone. However, I will never forget that my roots started with hunting and still cherish the opportunity to hunt…
Q: What do you find most challenging? How do you learn from mistakes?
What I find most challenging about precision shooting sports is how great shooters are able to reflect on what was learned — both positively and negatively. It is important to slow down and perform this step. Stopping to reflect and learn from mistakes I’ve made on the firing line is challenging. Not many people enjoy accurately critiquing themselves. Also the wind usually blows here in New Mexico and choosing the right time to shoot and to stop is important. It’s often tempting to try to finish out a string of fire. But sometimes challenging yourself to quit and wait out some wind will pay off[.]
Q: What advice do you have for selecting a gunsmith?
The best recommendation I can give is for a person to get to know a gunsmith. If you can find a local gunsmith that is available — even better! If you run into a snag along the way, it is so nice to be able to work it out without sending things back and forth. Be honest, realistic with your expectations and tell the gunsmith what you want. If he only wants to do things his way, or takes extra or excessive time in meeting the goals, you may want to consider someone else.
Q: Who would you recommend for stock work on your rifle?
Alex Sitman from Master Class Stocks and Doan Trevor can build or fix most anything.
Q: What do you do to mentally prepare before a shooting competition?
I relax and try to remember I do this for fun. I anticipate what game plan I want to go to the line with. I also try to take small snapshots of the conditions. I do not like getting overloaded with staring down a spotting scope for long periods of time. I try not to get overwhelmed with the match and just shoot my game. My approach is “One shot at a time — good or bad”. I will usually tell my scorer what I’m going to do so he or she is ready as well.
Q: What advice would you give to novice competitors?
Partner up with an experienced shooter that is ranked nationally. Mentoring under a veteran shooter would be the best way to help save time learning instead of experimenting. Chances are an experienced shooter has already tried what you are considering. As a new shooter, do not get sucked into reading all of the opinionated blogs on the internet. Stick to good information. AccurateShooter.com | 6mmBR.com is a great resource with a wealth of information from knowledgeable writers. That site has articles that are based from facts and/or industry news and information.
Q: What is something you would NOT recommend before a shoot?
I do not recommend coming unprepared. If you are late, scrambling around, or do not have your gear in order, you will not perform at your best.
Q: How many rounds do you shoot in a year and how often do you practice?
I shoot 3000+ rounds a year. I try to shoot 1 x a week if I can get away in the evening or on the weekend. If I am close to finding a load I may try to get out more until I exhaust that load as an option. So there may be occasions that I will try to shoot three times a week. Fortunately, the winters are mild in New Mexico and it allows me to shoot year round. I actually shoot more when it is colder. The summer sun here can create mirage that makes it nearly impossible to learn anything.
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Jonathan Ocab, a High Power shooter from California, had gunsmith Doan Trevor install a Sako-style extractor in the Rem 700 bolt in Ocab’s 6mmBR Eliseo R5 tubegun. Jonathan produced an excellent video showing how the Sako extractor improves the ejection of the short, fat 6mmBR cartridges in his rifle. Jonathan’s video demonstrates 6mmBR case ejection with an unmodified Rem 700 factory bolt versus a factory bolt fitted with a Sako-style extractor.
Johnathan explains: “Note how even when slowly operating the bolt, the bolt with the Sako extractor easily ‘kicks’ out the brass on ejection with minimal chance of operator error resulting in a failure to extract. While the unmodified bolt has issues ejecting brass on slow operation, it will eject if the operator pulls the bolt back quickly (fast and with some force).
While a Sako-style extractor isn’t an absolute necessity, this video shows the definite improvement this modification provides. For short cartridges like the 6mmBR, this is very useful. This modification is highly recommended for competition shooters, especially High Power competitors who seek improved function in rapid-fire stages. This modification is fairly inexpensive and any competent gunsmith should be able to perform the work (usually under $100 with parts and labor).”
EDITOR’s NOTE: In his video, Jonathan deliberately worked the unmodified Remington bolt slowly to show how the standard Rem extractor can struggle with short fat cases like the 6mmBR. In fact, when you work a standard, unmodified bolt more quickly, the extraction can be much more positive. Cycling the bolt with more “snap” provides more energy to eject the cases. We have run an R5 Tubegun chambered in 6mmBR with an unmodified Rem 700 bolt (no SAKO extractor), and the extraction was reliable, provided the bolt was worked quickly.
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At the request of our readers, we are starting a Monday “Deals of the Week” feature. If this proves popular, we’ll try to run this every week. Here are some of the best deals on hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change. If you snooze, you lose.
1. Grafs.com — CCI Primers on Sale
Here’s a very good deal on CCI 400 (small rifle) and CCI 450 (small rifle magnum) primers. These primers have strong cups so they work well with stout loads. The CCI 450s are a favorite for 6mmBR and Dasher shooters. (The prices include shipping, with a $7.95 flat fee, but not hazmat charges).
2. Midsouth Shooters Supply — Norma .22 LR Ammo on Sale
This is good ammo for the price — plenty good enough for practice and tactical rimfire competitions. We’ve used this ammo in a variety of rimfire rifles and it worked well. SEE Video Ammo Review. Midsouth also has the Norma .22LR Match-22 ammo at $7.95 per box.
3. Bullets.com — Bags and Rifle Cases on Sale
Bullets.com has slashed prices on its Bald Eagle Brand shooting bags and soft rifle cases. The shooting bags, now 50% off, are very well made and hold a lot of gear. The Long Rifle Cases, also 50% off, are designed for match rifle with barrels up to 32″ long. This Editor uses a Bald Eagle bag to carry his spotting scope and compact tripod. SEE Video Bag Review.
4. Bruno Shooters Supply — FREE Shipping on 500+ Bullets
Bruno Shooters Supply offers competitive pricing on Berger and Sierra bullets. And now you can save even more with FREE Shipping on orders of 500 or more Berger or Sierra Bullets. This FREE Shipping offer is limited to one order per customer per day.
5. Natchez Shooters Supply — Nikon Scope Close-Out Sale
Natchez is running a big sale on Nikon optics. Prices have been reduced as much as 43%. If you’re looking for an inexpensive, name-brand optic for your hunting or varmint rifle, check out these Nikon bargains. The M-223 3-12x42mm has nice turrets and constant eye relief. It’s a steal at $279.95.
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The Lee Classic Cast “O”-style press has always been an excellent value — it works as well as some other presses costing twice as much. And now Lee has improved on its Classic Cast Press design by adding a breech-lock fitting in the top. This allows you to swap dies in and out in seconds, once your dies are equipped with breech-lock quick-change bushings. The Lee Classic Cast Breech Lock press is available for under $120.00. That makes it a bargain compared to other heavy-duty single-stage presses. Midsouth Shooters Supply offers this press (item #006-90999) for $112.95, while Natchez Shooters Supplies sells the press (item #LEE90999) for $112.99.
Breech-Lock System Allows Fast Die Exchanges
With the Lee Breech-Lock Press system, the die drops straight in from the top. Then, with a quick 1/6th (60°) turn, the die locks firmly in place (like the breech on an artillery canon). The interrupted three-start thread assures dies return and lock into the exact same position each time. Bushings cost $7.43 each at Midsouth. If you prefer, you can leave a bushing in the press, and screw your dies in normally. But consider that it normally takes a dozen or more turns to screw in a normally threaded die. The Breech-lock system is way faster.
The Lee Classic Cast press features a strong, cast-iron frame and all-steel linkage. The large 1 1/8″-diameter ram is guided by over twelve square inches of ram bearing surface. We like the fact that you can mount the handle on either side, and adjust handle angle and length. As Lee explains: “The start and stop position is adjustable with a 48-tooth, ratchet-type handle clamp. In addition, the handle length is completely adjustable. Shorten [it] when you’re loading handgun and short rifle cases.”
Lock-Ring Eliminator Quick-Change Bushings
With Lee’s basic quick-lock bushings, you control vertical die position with the normal locking ring that seats against the top of the bushing. That works fine, but Lee also offers a handy Lock-Ring Eliminator Bushing (Lee SKU 90063). This clever design combines bushing and lock-ring into a single part. The Eliminator is turned from a solid piece of steel and the lock ring is integrated into the design of the part. With the Eliminator you’ll get the most repeatable and precise die positioning because lock ring and bushing are all one piece. Moreover, some guys say the Eliminator Bushings are easier to grab and remove than the standard Lee Breech-Lock Bushings.
Reports from Classic Cast Press Owners
Press owners have praised their Lee Classic Cast Breech-Lock units. Here are reports from two MidwayUSA customers:
Five Stars: Perfect single stage press. Loads accurately 6mm BR and 308 Win for competition. Large clearance is also great for my 460 Wby and 30-378 Wby. Pistol rounds in 44 mag and 45 ACP also load easy. The press has a lot of leverage for full-length rifle case sizing. Nice primer disposal system. Lowest price for its class. This unit beats my Lyman press by several miles…. ”
— J. Davidson, California
Five Stars: I waited until Lee would bring out their breech-lock system in classic cast design. This thing is outstanding and better than my old RCBS partner press. Once you get the sweet setting of the die, lock it in place and next time you load, you need not fumble to find the best setting. Breech lock is the key. I choose this press over Hornady, due to all-steel construction. I load a lot of .308 Win and .223 Rem for my ARs and this requires full-length sizing. Lee meets the challenge with no flex and excellent ram/die fit and alignment. [T]he spent primer disposal is perfect vs. RCBS where primers can miss the primer catcher. The handle can also be placed left or right as needed and shortened for small cases or pistol to reduce the handle travel.”
— E. Stanley, Rockford, IL
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On its YouTube Channel, the USAMU offers “Pro Tips” videos providing expert instruction on rifle marksmanship. One helpful video covers up/down angle shooting. In the video, SFC Emil Praslick III, one of America’s best long-range shooting coaches, explains how to determine up/down angle, and how to compensate for the angle using scope clicks. Praslick explains how gravity always works as a constant relative to the flat-ground distance to the target (which is distinct from the actual straight-line distance to target.)
The flat-ground distance is the actual distance over which the bullet will be affected by gravity. Use this as the basis for your elevation corrections. As Praslick explains, “this [flat-ground] distance will get less and less as the angle to the target increases [either up or down].” Once you know the straight-line distance to the target AND the exact angle of your shot, simple math lets you calculate the flat-ground distance to the target. Basically, to determine your flat-ground distance to target, you multiply the cosine of the shot angle by the measured straight-line distance to the target.
Application to Long-Range Hunting
Since the effects of angles increase with distance, Praslick explains that: “Unless the angle is extremely severe, [a hunter] really won’t notice these effects at ranges of 200 yards or less.” However, for long shots, hunters definitely need to compensate when taking angled shots. Praslick recommends that hunters print out a small chart with the cosines of common angles (20°, 25°, 30° etc.). In addition, hunters need an accurate ballistic table for their rifle and particular ammo. This should show the elevation corrections (in MOA or clicks), for 200 yards to the maximum range at which you may take a shot.
SFC Emil Praslick III is an instructor/coach with the USAMU. He also has served as a coach and “wind guru” with numerous U.S. Teams in international competition, including the U.S. Palma Team, which recently participated in the World Long-Range Fullbore Rifle Championship in Australia. Praslick has also coached the U.S. F-Open Class Team.
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