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February 26th, 2019

Big Bullets — Applied Ballistics Tests 379gr .375 Cal Berger Solids

Berger 379 grain 379gr solid bullet .375 caliber enabler

Berger Bullets has created some impressive solid bullets for Extreme Long Range (ELR) shooting. These ultra-long, lathe-turned solids were unveiled at SHOT Show 2019, and they should reach Berger dealers by Mid-April this year. To test their consistency and develop refined BC numbers, the Applied Ballistics test team has braved cold winter weather to test Berger’s new 379 grain solids. The results have been impressive.

Berger 379 grain 379gr solid bullet .375 caliber enabler
Bryan Litz, Applied Ballistics founder, tests 379gr Bergers in .375 EnABLER rounds.

The Applied Ballistics testers have loaded the new Berger solids in an innovative .375-Caliber cartridge called the .375 EnABELR. This is slightly shorter than a .375 CheyTac so it allows the round to mag-feed. The brass is made by Peterson. The testers report: “We’ve been loading and shooting a pile of .375 EnABELR this month. The Berger 379gr Solids are proving to be incredibly consistent. Here’s a 10-shot string for one of our guns, shots number 931-940.”

Berger 379 grain 379gr solid bullet .375 caliber enabler

The .375 EnABELR is achieving impressive velocities — 2990 FPS — with the 379-grainers from a 30″ barrel. The test team states: “We’ve been shooting [a 30″-long] 1:7″ twist which works good, but are going to try some 1:8″ and 1:9″ also”.

Berger 379 grain 379gr solid bullet .375 caliber enabler

The .375 EnABELR Cartridge — Big and Fast
The .375 EnABELR cartridge was designed to offer .375 CheyTac performance in a slightly shorter package: “The problem with the .375 CheyTac is that, when loaded with the highest performance .375 caliber bullets (379-407 gr Berger Solids, and the 400-425 grain Cutting Edge Lazers) the round is not magazine feed-able in any action that’s sized for CheyTac cartridges.

Berger 379 grain 379gr solid bullet .375 caliber enabler

“Knowing the .375 CheyTac produced substantial performance, and that it was just too long for magazine feeding, made it easy to converge on a design for the .375 EnABELR. We just had to make the case short enough to achieve magazine length with the desired bullets, while adding a little more diameter to keep the case capacity similar to the .375 CheyTac. The resulting basic shape is quite similar in proportions to the successful .338 Norma Magnum Cartridge which, interestingly, was selected as the cartridge for General Dynamics Lightweight Medium Machine Gun (LWMMG).”

Brass Source — Purchase the Peterson-made .338 EnABELR and .375 EnABELR brass through the Applied Ballistics WebStore. Price for both .338 EnABELR and .375 EnABELR is $125.00 for 50 cases.

Berger 379 grain 379gr solid bullet .375 caliber enabler

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, New Product, Tactical 2 Comments »
February 20th, 2019

Berger 2019 Southwest Nationals Report

2019 Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona Lapua Capstone F-Class

The 2019 Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN) are history. It was a great event, with challenging conditions. Forum member Matt Peetz reports: “This year was one of the best — the toughest competitors battling for position in some tough conditions. You never knew how the day was going to end up.” For detailed results and more photos, visit the Desert Sharpshooters Facebook Page.

2019 Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona Lapua Capstone F-Class

This Berger SWN brings together sling shooters and F-Class competitors in one of the most popular rifle matches of the year, and definitely the biggest match West of the Mississippi. We congratulate the three divisional champions: Curtis Gordon (Sling), John Myers (F-Open), and Keith Trapp (F-TR)

2019 Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona Lapua Capstone F-Class

Keith Trapp won the F-TR division at the Berger SWN with the best overall Aggregate for the week. Keith’s name will be placed on the SWN Nightforce Perpetual Trophy overall. Fellow F-TR Shooter Luke Ramsey won the Berger Trophy for the 600-yard Individual Agg. Phil Kelley said: “It was pretty cool to see good friend Keith Trapp win it all. Our little Butner Club matches just make me smile. That’s 3 SWN champions riding in the same car many days.”

F-TR Top Three
Keith Trapp, 1227-44X; Peter Johns, 1224-40X; Ian Klemm, 1222-51X
(Special Mention: Fritz Braun, 1220-58X, High Senior)

F-Open Top Three
John Myers, 1244-71X; Stephen Potter, 1241-69X; Cody Richardson, 1241-62X
(Special Mention: Sixth Overall and F-Open Palma Match Winner, AccurateShooter System Admin Jay Christopherson, 1239-61X)

Sling (Palma) Top Three
Curtis Gordon, 1241-67X; Kent Reeve, 1241-52X; Oliver Milanovic, 1240-68X
(Special Mention: Tom Whitaker, 1232-55X, High Grand Senior)

2019 Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona Lapua Capstone F-Class

F-Open Team Results
Winner: Team Lapua-Brux-Borden, 2375-137X
Alphabetical Order: Jay Christopherson, Erik Cortina (Shooter/Captain), Tod Hendricks, Pat Scully, Bob Sebold (Coach); David Christian (Alt), Steve Harp (Alt)

Second Place: Team Grizzly, 2374-109X
Shiraz Balolia (Shooter/Captain), David Mann, John Meyers, Emil Kovan, Emil Praslick III (Coach)

Berger SW Nationals

F-TR Team Results
Winner: Team Texas, 2359-111X
Otis Riffey, Jason Peel, David Parck, Greg Barkley, Randy Littleton, Skip Barkley (Captain), Peter Johns (Coach)

Second Place: Team USA Freedom, 2345-108X
Ian Klemm, Wade Fillingame, Alan Barnhart, Fritz Braun, Kent Reeve (Captain); James Crofts (Coach)

Sling Team Results
Winner: Blazing Saddles, 2347-108X
Thomas Thompson, Andrew Wilde, Mike Kelley (Shooter/Captain), Oliver Milanovic (Shooter/Coach)

2019 Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona Lapua Capstone F-Class Sling Team Texas Blazing Saddles

Gary Eliseo said: “Congratulations to team Blazing Saddles — Mike Kelley, Tom Thompson, Andrew Wilde, and Oliver Milanovic winners of the gold medal in the team event of the 2019 BSWN matches. Well done!”

Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery

Second Place: Team U.S. National Black, 2346-107X
Steffen Bunde, Tony Miller, Yvonne Roberts, Jerry Iliff (Shooter/Captain), Yvonne Roberts (Shooter/Coach)

Friends in Life and on the Podium

2019 Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona Lapua Capstone F-Class

Congratulations to Allen Thomas and Gary Eliseo who both shot great in the “Any Rifle” class, a subdivision of the sling division. Both men were shooting Eliseo Chassis Rifles with Pierce Engineering’s new Gen 2 short-cycle Ultra slick actions. Gary noted: “I’m honored to share the podium with my friend and teammate Allen Thomas (first place ‘Any Rifle’) and me (second place ‘Any Rifle’) winners at the 2019 BSWN matches.

Berger SWN southwest nationals

Permalink Competition, News, Shooting Skills No Comments »
February 12th, 2019

How to Avoid a Train Wreck at the Berger SW Nationals

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballistics

Today is Day One of the Berger Southwest Nationals, at the Ben Avery Range outside Phoenix, AZ. There will be a 600-yard mid-range match. Many of the nation’s most talented F-Class and sling shooters will be there. But no matter what your skill level, it is still possible to make major mistakes, that can spoil the day and/or put you out of the running for the entire match.

Berger SW Nationals mid-range match
Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.

Berger SW Nationals mid-range match

In any shooting competition, you must try to avoid major screw-ups that can ruin your day (or your match). In this article, past F-TR National Mid-Range and Long Range Champion Bryan Litz talks about “Train Wrecks”, i.e. those big disasters (such as equipment failures) that can ruin a whole match. Bryan illustrates the types of “train wrecks” that commonly befall competitors, and he explains how to avoid these “unmitigated disasters”.

Urban Dictionary “Train Wreck” Definition: “A total @#$&! disaster … the kind that makes you want to shake your head.”

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballisticsTrain Wrecks (and How to Avoid Them)
by Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics LLC.

Success in long range competition depends on many things. Those who aspire to be competitive are usually detail-oriented, and focused on all the small things that might give them an edge. Unfortunately it’s common for shooters lose sight of the big picture — missing the forest for the trees, so to speak.

Consistency is one of the universal principles of successful shooting. The tournament champion is the shooter with the highest average performance over several days, often times not winning a single match. While you can win tournaments without an isolated stellar performance, you cannot win tournaments if you have a single train wreck performance. And this is why it’s important for the detail-oriented shooter to keep an eye out for potential “big picture” problems that can derail the train of success!

Train wrecks can be defined differently by shooters of various skill levels and categories. Anything from problems causing a miss, to problems causing a 3/4-MOA shift in wind zero can manifest as a train wreck, depending on the kind of shooting you’re doing.

Berger SW Nationals
Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.

Below is a list of common Shooting Match Train Wrecks, and suggestions for avoiding them.

1. Cross-Firing. The fastest and most common way to destroy your score (and any hopes of winning a tournament) is to cross-fire. The cure is obviously basic awareness of your target number on each shot, but you can stack the odds in your favor if you’re smart. For sling shooters, establish your Natural Point of Aim (NPA) and monitor that it doesn’t shift during your course of fire. If you’re doing this right, you’ll always come back on your target naturally, without deliberately checking each time. You should be doing this anyway, but avoiding cross-fires is another incentive for monitoring this important fundamental. In F-Class shooting, pay attention to how the rifle recoils, and where the crosshairs settle. If the crosshairs always settle to the right, either make an adjustment to your bipod, hold, or simply make sure to move back each shot. Also consider your scope. Running super high magnification can leave the number board out of the scope’s field view. That can really increase the risk of cross-firing.

2. Equipment Failure. There are a wide variety of equipment failures you may encounter at a match, from loose sight fasteners, to broken bipods, to high-round-count barrels that that suddenly “go south” (just to mention a few possibilities). Mechanical components can and do fail. The best policy is to put some thought into what the critical failure points are, monitor wear of these parts, and have spares ready. This is where an ounce of prevention can prevent a ton of train wreck. On this note, if you like running hot loads, consider whether that extra 20 fps is worth blowing up a bullet (10 points), sticking a bolt (DNF), or worse yet, causing injury to yourself or someone nearby.

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballistics

[Editor’s Note: The 2016 F-Class Nationals will employ electronic targets so conventional pit duties won’t be required. However, the following advice does apply for matches with conventional targets.]

3. Scoring/Pit Malfunction. Although not related to your shooting technique, doing things to insure you get at least fair treatment from your scorer and pit puller is a good idea. Try to meet the others on your target so they can associate a face with the shooter for whom they’re pulling. If you learn your scorer is a Democrat, it’s probably best not to tell Obama jokes before you go for record. If your pit puller is elderly, it may be unwise to shoot very rapidly and risk a shot being missed (by the pit worker), or having to call for a mark. Slowing down a second or two between shots might prevent a 5-minute delay and possibly an undeserved miss.

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballistics4. Wind Issues. Tricky winds derail many trains. A lot can be written about wind strategies, but here’s a simple tip about how to take the edge off a worse case scenario. You don’t have to start blazing away on the command of “Commence fire”. If the wind is blowing like a bastard when your time starts, just wait! You’re allotted 30 minutes to fire your string in long range slow fire. With average pit service, it might take you 10 minutes if you hustle, less in F-Class. Point being, you have about three times longer than you need. So let everyone else shoot through the storm and look for a window (or windows) of time which are not so adverse. Of course this is a risk, conditions might get worse if you wait. This is where judgment comes in. Just know you have options for managing time and keep an eye on the clock. Saving rounds in a slow fire match is a costly and embarrassing train wreck.

5. Mind Your Physical Health. While traveling for shooting matches, most shooters break their normal patterns of diet, sleep, alcohol consumption, etc. These disruptions to the norm can have detrimental effects on your body and your ability to shoot and even think clearly. If you’re used to an indoor job and eating salads in air-conditioned break rooms and you travel to a week-long rifle match which keeps you on your feet all day in 90-degree heat and high humidity, while eating greasy restaurant food, drinking beer and getting little sleep, then you might as well plan on daily train wrecks. If the match is four hours away, rather than leaving at 3:00 am and drinking five cups of coffee on the morning drive, arrive the night before and get a good night’s sleep.”

Keep focused on the important stuff. You never want to lose sight of the big picture. Keep the important, common sense things in mind as well as the minutia of meplat trimming, weighing powder to the kernel, and cleaning your barrel ’til it’s squeaky clean. Remember, all the little enhancements can’t make up for one big train wreck!

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February 11th, 2019

2019 Berger Southwest Nationals — This Week in Arizona

The 2019 Berger Southwest Nationals, one of the biggest (and best) rifle competitions of the year, kicks off Wednesday, February 13, 2019 at the Ben Avery Range outside Phoenix, Arizona. The big match continues through Sunday, February 17th. This match attracts the top F-Class and sling shooters in the country, along with many talented foreign competitors.

Talk to the competitors and many will tell your that the SWN is their favorite match of the year. For those in Northern states, the chance to enjoy some Arizona sunshine is a big draw, along with the quality of the competition, and the camaraderie.

berger southwest nationals Berger SWN

The Berger SW Nationals are made possible through the principal support of Berger Bullets and Lapua, both part of the Capstone Precision Group, which also distributes Vihtavuori powder and SK Ammunition in the USA. Berger and Lapua both generously donated product prizes for 2019 SWN competitors.

Berger SW Nationals

Here’s a cool video from the 2016 Berger SW Nationals. This includes drone footage of the range:

Berger SW Nationals 2019

Berger SW Nationals 2019

Berger SW Nationals Southwest Arizona

Event Schedule for 2019 Berger SWN

Wednesday, 13 February 2019, 9:00 AM
Mid-Range Match – Three 20-shot matches at 600 yards. (Divisions – Palma, Any Rifle-Any Sight, F-Open, F-TR)

Thursday, 14 February 2019, 9:00 AM
4-Man Palma Team Match – 15 shots for record at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. (Divisions – Palma, F-Open, F-TR)

Friday, 15 February 2019, 8:30 AM – Start of Grand Agg
Individual Palma Match – 15 shots for record at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. (Divisions – Palma, F-Open, F-TR)
Swap Meet at 1000 Yard Line after conclusion of Day’s Match

Saturday, 16 February 2019, 8:30 AM
Individual 1000 Yard Matches – Two 20-shot matches at 1000 yards. Any Rifle-Iron Sight (Any sight for F-Class shooters). (Divisions – Palma, Any Rifle-Iron Sight, F-Open, F-TR)
4 Man Team Match – 20 shots at 1000 yards. Any Rifle-Iron Sight (Any sight for F-Class shooters). (Divisions – Palma, Any Rifle-Iron Sight, F-Open, F-TR)
Banquet Dinner – Approximately 5:00 pm at Indoor Range.

Sunday, 17 February 2019, 8:30 AM
Individual 1000 Yard Matches – Two 20-shot matches at 1000 yards. Any Rifle-Any Sight (Any sight for F-Class shooters). (Divisions – Palma, Any Rifle-Any Sight, F-Open, F-TR)
Awards Ceremony at the Indoor Range.

Sling Shooters in Palma Division
There will be many Eliseo tubeguns in the hands of the sling shooters. For the Palma division, the cartridge of choice is the .308 Winchester (7.62.x51). This versatile cartridge is still capable of extreme accuracy. Never underestimate a skilled sling shooter with a good Palma rifle.

Berger 2019 SW Nationals SWN

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CLICK HERE for Phoenix Travel and Lodging Information.


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Packing for the Match — Protecting Precious Cargo

Forum member David Christian will be attending the Berger SW Nationals this week. He has an impressive new F-Open rig and a top-flight SEB rest to bring. David’s Open-class rifle features a beautiful laminated stock, with Borden action and Kahles optic. With rest, and spotting scope, you’re looking at $6K easy, so David has packed his gear very carefully:

Berger 2019 SW Nationals SWN
Berger 2019 SW Nationals SWN
Berger 2019 SW Nationals SWN

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January 14th, 2019

Creedmoor Heaven — New Factory Ammo from Berger and Lapua

Berger Bullets Lapua Capstone 6.5 Creedmoor 6mm creedmoor ammo ammunition hunting lead free Naturalis

PRS and NRL shooters, as well as game hunters, now have new ultra-accurate Berger and Lapua factory ammo for the popular 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor chamberings. For shooters who do not have the time or equipment to hand-load, these new factory ammo options promise outstanding performance. We fully expect that these new offerings from Berger and Lapua will set new standards for accuracy and ballistic uniformity among commercial ammunition for the 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor. Lapua’s match ammo for the similar 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge has shown outstanding accuracy with ES/SD numbers rivaling high-quality hand-loads. (SEE 6.5x47L Test Results).

New Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor Target and Lead-Free Hunting Ammunition
Lapua has added the popular 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge to its line of Scenar-L Target ammo and its Naturalis Hunting ammunition offerings. The 6.5m Creedmoor 136 grain Scenar-L offers a high ballistic coefficient (BC) for long-range competitive target shooting, yet maintains SAAMI configuration for flawless function through all factory or custom rifle magazines. Lapua ammo will also be loaded with the excellent 123 grain OTM Scenar. One of our favorite bullets, the 123-grainer offers faster velocities (and less recoil) than its bigger brother, and may be the best choice for many PRS stages.

6.5 Creedmoor ammo loaded with the 140 grain Lapua Naturalis provides hunters a lead-free option for hunting in areas that ban lead bullets. Designed and manufactured from pure copper, Naturalis bullets will reliably retain 90-100% of their original weight. Lapua’s Naturalis projectiles produce consistent, controlled expansion at the widest velocity range on the market.

Related Story: Read Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor Brass Test Results »

Berger Bullets Lapua Capstone 6.5 Creedmoor 6mm creedmoor ammo ammunition hunting lead free Naturalis

New Berger 6mm Creedmoor Target and Hunting Ammo
New 6mm Creedmoor Target Ammunition is loaded with Berger 105 grain Hybrid Target bullets, the “go-to” for PRS shooters and long-range accuracy enthusiasts alike. Built using premium-grade Lapua cartridge cases, Berger’s 6mm Creedmoor Target Ammunition provides the discriminating shooter the highest quality components and sub-MOA accuracy “off-the-shelf”, unequaled by the competition.

New Berger 6mm Creedmoor Hunting Ammunition is loaded with 95 grain Hybrid Classic Hunter bullets in premium Lapua brass. These top-flight components deliver lethal precision and sub-MOA accuracy — impressive for hunting ammo. The hybrid ogive design of the Classic Hunter projectile is the same as Berger Hybrid Target bullets, while allowing for SAAMI length configurations for efficiency in the field and reliable functioning through magazines.

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January 11th, 2019

New .375 Caliber ELR Solid Projectiles from Berger Bullets

Berger bullets elr solid copper .375 caliber vld bullet new

This is BIG news for the Extreme Long Range (ELR) game. Berger Bullets will offer a line of SOLID bullets in .375 caliber. You read that right — these will be the first-ever large diameter Berger projectiles manufactured from a solid copper alloy. Most conventional bullets feature a jacket over a metal core, typically lead alloy. These new Berger solids are lathe-turned from solid copper alloy — shaped with precision into perfect aerodynamic profiles. The new Berger ELR solids boast a long, VLD shape with ultra-high Ballistic Coefficients. The new .375 caliber Berger ELR solids will be offered in two bullet weights: 379 grains and 407 grains.

The prototype 400gr version of this solid bullet was extensively tested at 2400 yards (above). It remained supersonic at that distance, a remarkable 1.36 miles. Berger will now offer two production versions, 379gr and 407gr, based on this successful prototype, further optimized. Here is Berger’s official release:

Berger Bullets proudly announces the New Extreme Long Range (ELR) Match Solid Projectile line, beginning with .375 caliber 379 grain and 407 grain offerings.

Extreme Long-Range shooting to distances of two miles and beyond has taken the firearms community by storm. With much of its roots developed from elite military sniper and Special Forces rifle training, ELR enthusiasts are utilizing highly innovative rifle and ammunition technology to engage targets at distances previously unheard of. Berger has taken the lead pioneering ELR, similar to how it’s dominated all other long-range rifle disciplines.

Berger Bullets chief ballistician Bryan Litz states: “Our new ELR Solid Match Bullets provide both competition shooters and Mil/LE forces a long-range solid projectile like no other. Its highly-optimized VLD ogive design and lathe-turned solid copper construction provide a ballistic advantage that is unmatched by any conventional-style bullet.”

Berger .375 Caliber Bullet is a Winner
Berger’s .375 caliber solid bullet design has already been proven in competition. At the 2018 World Longest Shot Challenge (WLSC), Team Applied Ballistics used the prototype .375 Cal ELR solid with great results. The new .375 caliber monolithic Berger bullet designed by Bryan Litz was used by the first and second place finishers in the “above .338 caliber” class. The prototype .375 Cal solid performed great, and the ultra-high BC was confirmed. READ WLSC Story HERE.

Advanced Doppler Radar was used to confirm Ballistics Data for the new Berger .375-Caliber Solids:
Berger monolithic solid bullet .375 caliber VLD copper lathe-turned projectile

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, News 8 Comments »
June 27th, 2018

New 7mm 184gr F-Open Hybrid Target Bullet from Berger

Berger F-Open Hybrid Target Bullet Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics

There is a new, ultra-high performance 7mm projectile for F-Open and long-range competitors. Berger has introduced a new 184gr F-Open Hybrid Target bullet, which will be the official 7mm bullet of the U.S. F-Open Rifle Team. The new 184-grainer is an advancement over previous 7mm match bullets. As you can see above, the new bullet is longer and sleeker than Berger’s existing 180gr Hybrid Target bullet. The new design gives the 184gr F-Open Hybrid impressive 0.695 G1 and 0.356 G7 Ballistic Coefficients. Compare that to 0.680 G1 and 0.349 G7 for Berger’s 180gr Target Hybrid bullet.

Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics designed the new 184gr F-Open Hybrid to be slightly heavier, slightly longer, and have a more aggressive ogive shape. This gives the new 184-grainer a ballistic advantage over Berger’s existing 7mm 180gr Hybrid and VLD Target bullet designs. This bullet complements the .30 Cal 200.20X Hybrid Target bullet that was released last year in collaboration with the U.S. F-TR Rifle Team. As with that 200.20X bullet, for the new 184gr F-Open Hybrid, Berger took a successful, existing design and optimized the ballistic profile to make it even better. Along with .284 Win and 7mm SAUM used by F-Open shooters, this bullet should work well in a variety of 7mm cartridges.

New 184gr Hybrid Bullet Tested Extensively by U.S. F-Open Rifle Team
The U.S. F-Open Rifle Team tested the 184gr F-Open Hybrids thoroughly to ensure that they performed as well on target as they did in theory. The results were very positive, and this bullet has been adopted as the official 7mm bullet for the U.S. F-Open team. “The United States Rifle Team 2021 F-Open is extremely excited about the release of the new Berger 184gr F-Open Hybrid. Many members have tested the prototype bullets with outstanding success,” says Dan Bramley, Team Captain.

Berger F-Open Hybrid Target Bullet Bryan Litz Applied BallisticsNote: On the Berger website, Berger lists a recommended 1:8″-twist rate for this new bullet. However, in its June 25, 2018 product announcement, Berger states the Minimum Twist Rate is 1:9″. MSRP is $61.99 per 100-ct box, Berger Part #28408. Grafs.com price is $54.99/box.

Berger says the bullet, which should be available very soon, will work in a variety of 7mm cartridges including: 7mm-08 Rem, .284 Win (and .284 IMP), 7mm SAUM, 7mm RUM, and 7mm Rem Mag.

Berger Supports U.S. F-Open Team — $1.00 Per Box
Berger states: “F-Class is one of the fastest growing precision rifle shooting disciplines, requiring the very best precision and accuracy to compete at the top levels. Berger has always been dedicated to making the very best bullets for our shooters. To help support the U.S. F-Open Team, Berger Bullets will donate $1.00 for every box of 7mm 184gr F-Open Hybrid bullets sold towards U.S. Team expenses for the upcoming 2021 F-Class World Championships in South Africa.”

Berger F-Open Hybrid Target Bullet Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, News 5 Comments »
February 12th, 2018

Berger SW Nationals 2018 — Looking Back at a Great Event

Berger Southwest Nationals Bill Gravatt Capstone
Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher

The 2018 Berger SW Nationals are now history. The fun, action, challenges, and rewards now pass into memories. Once again, the Berger SWN was a great shooting match — a great way to advance your shooting skills, reconnect with old friends, and enjoy warm weather. If you are a serious long-range shooter, this is definitely one of the best-managed, most rewarding matches on the planet. In 2018 the match “sold out” in a matter of hours. If you plan to go next year, watch for the registration notices. You don’t want to be left out.

Berger Southwest Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Capstone

2018 Berger Southwest Nationals Long Range Results

The SWN has three new individual champions. Congratulations to the three divisional Match Winners: Bob Sebold (F-Open), Phillip Kelley Jr. (F-TR), and Allen Thomas (Sling).

Top Five Overall – F-Open
Bob Sebold, 843-49X
Keith Glasscock, 843-38X
Jay Christopherson, 841-45X
Stephen Potter, 841-37X
James Crofts, 841-34X
Top Five Overall – F-TR
Phillip Kelley Jr., 838-35X
Ellis Berry, 837-42X
Niklas Montin, 836-35X
Peter Johns, 835-36X
Edward Shelley, 832-33X
Top Five Overall – Sling
Allen Thomas, 844-37X
Oliver Milanovic, 843-45X
Trudie Fay, 842-32X
Nancy Tompkins, 840-43X
Angus McLeod, 840-43X

View Complete SWN Match Results on McMillan Facebook Page »

Berger Southwest Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Capstone

The Berger SW Nationals are made possible through the principal support of Berger Bullets and Lapua, both part of the Capstone Precision Group, which also distributes Vihtavuori powder and SK Ammunition in the USA. Berger and Lapua both generously donated product prizes for 2018 SWN competitors.

Berger Southwest Nationals Berger Lapua Capstone

Today’s Champions… And Tomorrow’s New Talent

Here is the Sling Winner, Allen Thomas, with Bill Gravatt, President of Capstone Precision Group. (Bill was formerly the President of Sinclair International).

Berger Southwest Nationals Bill Gravatt Capstone

Bob Sebold, of Team Lapua/Brux/Borden also won the individual F-Class SWN Title. He’s definitely one of the nation’s top F-Open pilots.

Berger Southwest Nationals Bill Gravatt Capstone

There were a dozen or so talented juniors competing at the Berger SW Nationals. Some of the youngsters posted scores that would put the “old guys” to shame. We definitely expect to see some of these young shooters standing on the podium at future Berger SWN events. We asked them to strike a “cool pose” and the Harris boys delivered…

Berger Southwest Nationals Bill Gravatt Capstone

Berger SW Nationals Gallery — Parting Shots

Does this competitor know something we don’t know. Perhaps he is testing a new “Stealth” rifle stock from McMillan. Or maybe this is some kind of Zen body/mind melding practice. We do advocate “dry firing”, but that normally involves holding a real rifle…

Berger Southwest Nationals Bill Gravatt Capstone

Look carefully and you’ll see quite a lot reflected in this SWN competitor’s shooting eyewear. Can you identify the type of rifle?

Berger Southwest Nationals Bill Gravatt Capstone

Michelle Gallagher — She’s probably smiling at an ‘X’ — or maybe she just nailed a tough wind call. The SW Nationals is a great event because of the hard work and dedication of talented folks like Michelle.

Berger Southwest Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Capstone

Can you name all the pieces of hardware in this image? We see at least a dozen. Don’t forget the little items like the bubble level and mirage shield.

Berger Southwest Nationals Bill Gravatt Capstone

How do you anchor a SEB MINI coaxial rest in under ten seconds? With MAXI feet of course! These over-size hooves belong to shooter Mark Fairbairn, a very tall, MAXI-sized Australian. Who needs to pound those F-Class feet into the ground with a mallet when you can simply “stand and deliver”.

Berger Southwest Nationals Bill Gravatt Capstone

We think some competitors came to Ben Avery just for the great Barbecue lunches — well that plus the great weather and the amazing prize table. Everyone goes home a winner in one way or another.

Berger Southwest Nationals food barbecue BBQ

Texas gunsmith Richard King showed us the biggest rifle action we’ve ever seen. This 13-lb monster is the BAT .50 BMG Action. Honestly it was HUGE — with the bolt fully extended it was the size of your forearm (to the finger tips). Richard joked “This weighs almost as much as an F-TR rifle (before optic) all by itself”.

Berger Southwest Nationals Bill Gravatt Capstone

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February 11th, 2018

Berger SW Nationals 2018 — Hail the Champions

Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Wind

Today was the final day of the Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN). Two 1000-yard individual matches were scheduled. But the weather gods did not cooperate. Sunday matches were cancelled due to high, gusty winds from the North-Northeast that made it very difficult to handle the large, wood target frames. With concern for the safety of pit workers, match organizers waited until 10:00 am, then canceled the matches. It was a disappointment for some, but all the competitors still enjoyed a great week at Ben Avery.

With the cancellation of Sunday matches, the three individual champions — Sling Division, F-TR, and F-Open have been decided based on the Friday and Saturday results. We congratulate the three new Champions: Bob Sebold (F-Open), Phillip Kelley Jr. (F-TR), and Allen Thomas (Sling).

Top Five Overall – F-Open
Bob Sebold, 843-49X
Keith Glasscock, 843-38X
Jay Christopherson, 841-45X
Stephen Potter, 841-37X
James Crofts, 841-34X
Top Five Overall – F-TR
Phillip Kelley Jr., 838-35X
Ellis Berry, 837-42X
Niklas Montin, 836-35X
Peter Johns, 835-36X
Edward Shelley, 832-33X
Top Five Overall – Sling
Allen Thomas, 844-37X
Oliver Milanovic, 843-45X
Trudie Fay, 842-32X
Nancy Tompkins, 840-43X
Angus McLeod, 840-43X

Team matches concluded yesterday, Saturday. In team competition, Team Lapua/Brux/Borden won the F-Open Division, while Team McMillan finished first in F-TR Division. In the Sling Division, Team USA National Hayes topped the field. Congratulations to the winning teams.

View Complete SWN Match Results on McMillan Facebook Page »

Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Wind

Berger SW Nationals

Wicked Winds on Saturday Challenged Competitors
Saturday’s weather was not kind to shooters. Along with cloudy skies came wind — lots of it. The wind was veering, and gusty — with significant changes in velocity. It was hard to predict the cycles — if they could be called that. Erratic was more like it. Many shots were out in the 7 and 8 rings. One champion-level shooter told us: “That was ugly — I got my clock cleaned”. Another shooter said “I ran out of paper to hold off”. At one point, Team Lapua/Brux/Borden (LBB) waited over 30 minutes to take a shot, hoping to get into a steady condition. The patience paid off. Team LBB shooter Jay Christopherson’s final shot (after the long wait) was a 10.

Berger SW Nationals Team Lapua Brux Borden

Above is a view from a spotting scope during the 1000-Yard Team Match on Saturday. During the course of the day, there were many 7s and 8s showing on the targets. One competitor said “the wind was so bad, I was holding off the frame”.

Berger SW Nationals Team Lapua Brux Borden

Team Lapua/Brux/Berger shot great in tough conditions on Saturday to win the F-Open Team competition. Second from left is Jay Chistopherson, AccurateShooter.com’s System Administrator. When he’s not shooting, Jay works hard to keep our Shooter’s Forum and content sites running smoothly.

The team announced: “Team Lapua-Brux-Borden pulled off a major win today at Berger SW Natinols. Conditions were very challenging but our wind coach was able to keep up with the conditions. Our rifles shot very flat which allowed us to rack up points and Xs. We have a great team and amazing sponsors: Lapua, Brux Barrels, Borden Actions, Cerus Rifleworks. Team members: Jay Christopherson, Eric Cortina, Steve Harp, Tod Hendricks, Pat Scully, and Bob Sebold. Notably, Bob Sebold also won the 2018 Berger SWN Individual F-Open title, making him a double champion.

Eliseo Tubegun with Nightforce Competition scope. These versatile rifle chassis systems are produced by Competition Machine in Cottonwood, Arizona.
2016 Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Arizona AZ

Berger SW Nationals Team Lapua Brux Borden
Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.

There couldn’t be a match without the dedication of the folks who work the pits. At the Berger SWN, competitors did pit duty, ferried by trailers, and there were also some volunteers.

Berger SW Nationals Team Lapua Brux Borden
Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.

They say behind every successful man is a good woman. Derek Rodgers, current F-TR World Champion, is no exception. His wife Hope Rodgers was on hand throughout the SWN to cheer on her husband.

Berger SW Nationals Team Lapua Brux Borden

For many sling shooters, the Berger SWN is the second most important event of the year, right after the NRA Championships, held at Camp Perry (OH) and (now) Camp Atterbury (IN). Check out those patches.

Berger SW Nationals Team Lapua Brux Borden

Industry Report — Berger, Lapua and Capstone Precision Group

Last year Berger Bullets was acquired by the Nammo Lapua Group. Berger Bullets, along with Lapua Products, SK Ammo, and Vihtavuori Powder, are now distributed in the USA by the Capstone Precision Group. Berger will continue to offer its full line of bullets, plus Berger-branded Ammunition (formerly ABM Ammo). Likewise Lapua will continue to offer its superb caftridge brass, plus Lapua’s full line of bullets and loaded Ammunition. In this video, Capstone’s Director Bill Gravatt explains how Capstone is working to expand the availability of Lapua and Berger products. In addition, Eric Stecker explains how Berger Bullets can increase production significantly, now that Berger is operating in the large Nammo/Lapua facility in Mesa, Arizona.

Today is the last day of the Berger Southwest Nationals. After the cancellation of Sunday’s 1000-yard matches due to high winds, this year’s 2018 SWN concluded with the Award Presentations. We watched as scores of medals — along with heaps of cash and Berger bullets — were handed out. AccurateShooter.com also awarded prestigious Corinthian awards to Nancy Tompkins (Sling) and Rick Jensen (F-Class).

Berger SW Nationals Team Lapua Brux Borden
Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.

Team McMillan was the top-performing F-TR squad at the Berger SW Nationals. The team includes many former members of the all-conquering Team Sinclair.

Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Wind

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February 10th, 2018

Berger SWN 2018 — Friday Match and Gear Highlights

Berger SW Nationals John Whidden Palma F-TR
Reigning NRA National Long-Range Champion John Whidden in action on the 1000-yard line. John’s rifle features a centerfire action in an aluminum Anschutz small-bore stock.

There are now two more days left for the 2018 Berger SW Nationals, with the competition heating up. From this point on, all shooting will be at 1000 yards. Friday was challenging, with increasing wind velocities over the day. Shifts were harder to figure out, and some talented shooters dropped 8-10 points. Competition was fierce. In the sling division, our friend Gary Eliseo of Competition Machine came out on top via tie-breaker. Gary and Stuart Mackey shot identical scores on Friday at each distance: 150-8X, 150-7X, and 149-8X, both finishing with 449-23X. That’s as close as it gets.

One shot left… will that last bullet end up in the X-ring? We hope so…

Saturday Shooting — Team and Individual Competition at 1000
Today, Saturday 2/10/18, all shooting will be at 1000 yards, with both Individual and 4-person Team competition. The format calls for two, 20-shot matches for both individuals and teams. Good luck to all!

MATCH RESULTS: Complete Daily Scores and On-Going Match Standings are posted on the McMillan Fiberglass Stocks Facebook Page. Here are Top Five in each Division, at day’s end on Friday, 2/9/2018:

Top Five F-Open
Bob Sebold — 449-30X
Danny J. Biggs — 449-26X
Jay Christopherson — 448-28X
Stephen Potter — 448-23X
Ubaldino De Arellano — 448-23X
Top Five F-TR
Ellis Berry — 448-26X
Peter Johns — 448-25X
Philip Kelley Jr. — 448-21X
Doug Boyer — 447-27X
Greg Barkley — 447-23X
Top Five Sling
Gary Eliseo — 449-23X
Stuart Mackey — 449-23X
Bill Vaughn — 448-28X
Curtis Gordon — 448-23X
Nancy Tompkins — 447-30X

No Worries Mate — Mark Swaps Stocks in Mid-Match

Berger SW Nationals Mark Fairburn Australia  Palma F-TR

Australian Mark Fairbairn performed a “Quick Fix” during Thursday’s match. His F-Open rifle, in a conventional fiberglass stock, was giving him random vertical during one yardage: “I had a bit of a problem with elevation — the stock was hitting somewhere [causing vertical]. I was X-X-X then a shot popped up in the 9 ring with no good reason. So I figured I better put a new stock on it. I got my old aluminium stock I brought from Australia and quickly adjusted it to fit on the Stolle.” Right on the berm he swapped his barreled action into the metal stock of his own design. The clock was ticking… but the story had a happy ending. For the next yardage Mark shot a brilliant 150-7X, not dropping a point. So the “Quick Fix” did the trick. As they say Down Under — “Good on Ya, Mate!”

Patriotic Pair of Stars and Stripes F-Open Rigs

Berger Stars Stripes rifles SWN F-TR

There were two very patriotic F-Open rifles side-by-side on the firing line yesterday. These Stars and Stripes rigs were squadded right next to each other just by chance — but it made for a great show.

Like Father, Like Daughter — The Cortinas

Berger SW Nationals Erik Amber Cortina F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

Erik Cortina, member of Team Lapua/Brux/Borden, is one of the nation’s top F-Class shooters. But on Friday he was only the second-best Cortina at 1000 yards. Erik’s daughter, Amberleeana, posted a 147-7X to edge her Dad by 3 Xs (Erik scored 147-4X) from the 1000-yard line.

F-Class is for Everyone – All Ages, Guys AND Gals

Berger SW Nationals female shooter F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

F-Class is not just a man’s game. There were many lady shooters on the firing line, in both F-Open and F-TR Divisions. Some shooting instructors says females learn faster than their male counterparts, so they can excel quickly in the shooting sports.

Cool Gadget (Literally) — The BarrelCool Device

Barrel Cool F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

The clever BarrelCool is a dual-purpose device that serves as an Empty Chamber Indicator (ECI) while cooling your barrel with a battery-powered fan. This is American ingenuity at its best.

Spotting Scope Support Arm Attached to Front Rest

Berger SW Nationals Richard King F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

Texas gunsmith Richard King of King’s Armory had a very clever set-up for his spotting scope. He has fabricated a support arm that holds the spotter very close to his rifle. With this configuration, Richard can view through the spotting scope without shifting his position on the rifle. This puts the spotting scope’s eyepiece just a few inches from his riflescope eyepiece so he can move easily from one optic to the other. This set-up also reduces the amount of gear Richard carries to the line. No separate spotting scope base, stand, or tripod is needed. This is a simple, elegant solution. We bet, with a little tinkering and design work, a similar system could be mounted to a SEB or Bald Eagle front rest

Labor of Love — Do-It-Yourself F-TR Stock Milled from Aluminum

Berger SW Nationals Erik Cortina F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

We saw many interesting F-TR rigs. Here’s an one-of-a-kind stock, machined from aluminum billet by shooter/owner Mark Roberts of Lone Star Tumblers. There are a ton of man-hours in this unique stock.

Bird’s Eye Ben Avery — A Look at the Range

If you’ve never visited the Ben Avery Facility north of Phoenix, Arizona, here is a video shot in 2016 that shows the 1000-yard range (including drone footage). The desert range at Ben Avery is something special — check out this “birds-eye view”. This video also includes an interview with Derek Rodgers, the current F-TR World Champion, King of 2 Miles, and the only man who who has earned both F-Open AND F-TR National titles.

Ben Avery by Air — We are repeating this 2016 video here because it has a great aerial view of the Mid Tompkins 1000-yard Range at Ben Avery

Erik Stecker of Berger Bullets visited the match Friday. Here he talks with members of Team Berger Bullets. Eric now oversees operations of Berger, as part of the Capstone Precision Group (Berger, Lapua, SK, Vihtavuori). That’s Walt Berger in the background in the red shirt.

Berger SW Nationals Capstone Precision Berger Bullets F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

There were plenty of smiles on the firing line — the Berger SW Nationals event offers great weather, great competition, great camaraderie, and a great prize table.

Berger SW Nationals Erik Cortina F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

Swap-Meet at Ben Avery
After the matches concluded on Friday, a Swap Meet was held in the Club House. There were some great bargains to be found. Can you name the past National Champions in the background of this photo?

Berger SW Nationals Swap Meet Nancy Tompkins James Crofts F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

Parting Shot: Glamtactical by Cerus Rifleworks

Berger SW Nationals Capstone Precision Berger Bullets F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

We spotted a stunning “Glamtactical” rig from Cerus Rifleworks in the Nightforce booth. Believe it or not, Cerus owner Will McCloskey found this stunning wood buried in a “bargain bin”, and snagged the highly-figured walnut blank for under $10. Steal of the year! This rifle features a carbon-wrapped barrel with muzzle brake.

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February 9th, 2018

Berger Southwest Nationals 2018 — Report from Ben Avery

Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open
Thursday was Team Day at the Berger SWN. The rules called for four shooters. But one Aussie Team had a special mascot shooter to add team spirit.

Today, Friday, marks the third day of competition at the Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN), with individual matches on the schedule. Today’s match will have a Palma format, with shooters competing individually at three yardages: 800, 900, and 1000. This is when it really gets tough — no wind coaches. Each shooter is on his or her own. Yesterday, Thursday, was a Team Day at Ben Avery, with four-person teams shooting at 800, 900, and 1000. We saw some familiar squads on the firing line, such as Team Berger Bullets, The X-Men, and Da Bulls, as well as new squads.

Individual Long-Range Competition starts today, Friday, at the Berger Southwest Nationals. The firing line is full — this match “sold out” early. Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.
Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open

Click Image to see full-screen Panorama of 1000-yard firing line at Ben Avery.
Berger SW Nationals panorama Mid Tompkins range match

Full interim results for Thursday’s Team match are posted on the McMillan Fiberglass Stocks Facebook Page.

Thursday’s conditions were much calmer than the Wednesday (when winds were howling in the afternoon). It was very calm in the early morning but then the wind increased gradually during the day, becoming switchy. Many shooters told us the mirage was difficult to read. The sling division was tightly fought, with Scottish HPS Team and U.S. National Mrnak Team tied on points at 1779 at day’s end. The Scots finished first by X-count, 92 to 85. Finishing third was U.S.A. National Hayes Team, 1776-114X.

Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open

In F-Open, the “Old Gentlemen” of Team Berger lead the way on Thursday, with a score of 1784-92X, followed by Team Lapua/Brux/Borden in second with 1782-101X. Tied on points in third place, but with fewer Xs, was Team Defiance at 1782-82X. This was a bit of a family affair as Scott Harris coached wife Christine and son Adrian, along with shooters John Moreali and Ben Steinsholdt. Larry Bartholome had top individual score, not dropping a point to finish “clean” at 450-21X. Next best was AccurateShooter’s own Jay Christopherson, with 449-31X.

Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open

In F-TR, Team “Da Bulls” topped the field with 1762-66X, barely edging second-place Team McMillan which scored 1762-64X. The McMillan team was a powerhouse including current F-TR World Champion Derek Rodgers, and, as coach, former USA F-TR Team Captain Ray Gross.

Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open
The powerhouse Team McMillan F-TR squads featured serious talent. Left to right here, in their red jerseys, are Captain Paul Phillips, Derek Rodgers, and Coach Ray Gross.

One team featured a Father-Daughter Duo, with father Scott coaching Morgan, his talented daughter. Morgan tells us that competitive shooting has unlocked a new world for her. She has traveled to South Africa with her father to shoot in international matches. Shooting at the SWN is a highlight of her year: “I love the warm weather here — It’s snowing back home in New York”.

SWN VIDEO: Father coaches daughter in Thursday’s Team Match:

Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open

View from the pits at the Mid Tompkins Range at Ben Avery. Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.
Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open

Kelly McMillan showed us a new F-Open competition stock, the Kestros with “Z-Rail”. This features a box-section aluminum extension on the fore-end. This allows a longer “wheelbase” on the stock, as well as a lower center of gravity. Kelly says his company is working may adapting this extension to include an bipod attachment rail. That way you could shoot the same stock in both F-TR and F-Open divisions.

Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open

SWN VIDEO: Kelly McMillan talks about new McMillan and MCubed (M3) stocks in this video. Kelly plans to host his Taking Stock Radio Show on Friday, February 9, live from the Berger SWN. CLICK HERE for Kelly McMillan’s SWN Radio Show.

Listen to Kelly McMillan’s Taking Stock Radio Show from Berger Southwest Nationals

Rekindle Old Friendships and Meet New Friends
Some shooters come to to the SW Nationals for the swag (the prize table is amazing). Others come for the sunshine (think warm 80-85° weather). And even more folks come to try out their shiny new toys and to test their skills against the nation’s best shooters.

But we’d say the number one reason most folks make the pilgrimage to Ben Avery every year is the camaraderie — the chance to connect with friends, rekindling connections that may go back decades. Fundamentally, then, the Berger SWN is about the people. For many of us, this is the only time of the year when we get a chance to meet fellow shooters from distant corners of the USA (and other nations).

Team Berger
Old Guys Rule — Team Berger topped the F-Open field in Thursday Team competition. NOTE: this photo shows 2017 team members.

Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open

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February 8th, 2018

Berger Southwest Nationals 2018 — Bigger and Better Than Ever

2018 Berger Southwest Nationals

The Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN) is the biggest and best long-range shooting event west of the Mississippi, and the best mid-winter event by far. And because it includes both F-Class and Sling (Palma) disciplines, the SWN attracts more top shooters than even the F-Class Nationals. You will find multiple National and even World Champions on the firing line. Combine the level of competition with warm Arizona weather and a massive prize table and you have a stellar event that is the highlight of any long-range shooter’s season.

Berger Southwest Nationals bullets ben avery phoenix arizona

This year’s Berger SWN is even more notable because Berger Bullets has relocated to Mesa, Arizona, so this is truly Berger’s “home match”. Berger moved to Arizona after the company was acquired by the Nammo Lapua group. Berger bullets are now distributed in the USA by the Missouri-based Capstone Precision Group, which also markets Lapua brass, bullets and ammo, SK Rimfire ammunition, and Vihtavuori powder.

Sling Shooters and F-Classers compete on the same firing line at the Berger SW Nationals. Sling competitors are on the left with F-TR and F-Open shooters on the right.

Berger SW Nationals

Berger SW Nationals F-Open

The Berger SWN has amazing awards. Here is one of the Native American-themed perpetual trophies.
Berger SW Nationals trophy Ghost Dancer

This year, as usual, the Berger SWN started off with a Shooters’ Clinic on Monday and Tuesday. Experts provided instruction on wind reading, match strategies, shooting technique and more. This initial clinic also affords SWN participants a chance to check out the Mid Tompkins Range at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility north of Phoenix, Arizona. This range can be challenging, no doubt, but the typical calm morning conditions have allowed records to be set here.

Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Ben Avery Arizona

Yesterday, Wednesday, February 7, the 2018 SW Nationals competition phase began with the Mid-Range Match. F-Classers and sling shooters set-up on the firing line with targets 600 yards away. Wednesday turned out to be very tough, with very strong, gusty winds. Still there were some impressive performances. Mastering the tough conditions, Christine Harris shot 598-31X to win the F-Open division, beating all the male shooters, including many past National Champions. You Go Girl!

Here is the firing line for Wednesday’s 600-yard Match. Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.
SWN Sherri Jo Barrels 600 yard match

Full Results for Wednesday’s Mid-Range Match are published on the McMillan Facebook Page.

Berger SW Nationals 600-yard mid-range

Berger Southwest Nationals Wednesday

From here on it gets even tougher. Today, Thursday, there’s a four-man Team match with with 15 shots for record each at 800, 900 and 1000 yards. There will be three classes: Palma, F-Open (shot from rest), and F-TR (.223 Rem and .308 Win shot from bipod)

Here is AccurateShooter.com’s System Admin, who shot F-Open with Team Lapua/Brux/Borden on Thursday.
Jay Christopherson SWN Berger team Lapua

Berger Southwest Nationals bullets ben avery phoenix arizona

Warm Arizona Weather
Wonder warm weather is predicted for the whole week, It was 79° on Wednesday and temps in the low 80s are predicted for the rest of the week. We didn’t hear any complaints from the Canadians who fled ice and snow to shoot the match. It was sunny and warm in Arizona as promised. This is a great location for a shooting holiday, and you can even book a “dawn patrol” balloon ride near the Ben Avery range.

Berger SW Nationals

2018 Berger SWN Schedule of Events

Monday and Tueday, 5 and 6 February, 2018, 9:00 AM
Shooting Clinic: Clinic will include instruction in both classroom and live fire settings. Check in starts by 7:00 AM and instruction will start at 9:00 AM.

Wednesday, 7 February, 2018, 9:00 AM
Mid-Range Match – Three 20 shot matches at 600 yards. (Divisions: Palma, Any Rifle-Any Sight, F-Open, F-TR)

Thursday, 8 February 2018, 9:00 AM
4-Man Palma Team Match – 15 shots for record at each of 800, 900 and 1000 yards. (Divisions: Palma, F-Open, F-TR). NOTE: Practice available to those not shooting with a team.

Friday, 9 February 2018, 8:30 AM – Start of Grand Agg
Individual Palma Match – 15 shots for record at each of 800, 900 and 1000 yards. (Divisions: Palma, F-Open, F-TR). BONUS: Swap Meet – after conclusion of fire at 1000 yard line.

Saturday, 10 February 2018, 8:30 AM
Individual 1000 Yard Matches – Two 20 shots matches at 1000 yards. Any Rifle-Iron Sight (Any sight for F-Class shooters). (Divisions: Palma, Any Rifle-Iron Sight, F-Open, F-TR)
4 Man Team Match – 20 shots at 1000 yards. Any Rifle-Iron Sight (Any sight for F-Class shooters). (Divisions – Palma, Any Rifle-Iron Sight, F-Open, F-TR)
— Banquet Dinner – Approximately 5:00 pm at Indoor Range.

Sunday, 11 February 2018, 8:30 AM
Individual 1000 Yard Matches – Two 20 shots matches at 1000 yards. Any Rifle-Any Sight (Any sight for F-Class shooters). (Divisions – Palma, Any Rifle-Any Sight, F-Open, F-TR)
— Awards Ceremony at the Indoor Range.


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Competition Tips from Bryan Litz

To help competitors at the Berger SW Nationals, here are some smart tips from Bryan Litz. Bryan knows the Ben Avery range well. He won the Mid-Range and Long-Range F-TR National Championships there in 2015. And twice he has won the sling division at the Southwest Nationals. Here are wise words from Bryan:

Competition TIP ONE. Improving your scores in long range competition is a constant process of self-assessment. After each match, carefully analyze how you lost points and make a plan to improve. Beginning shooters will lose a lot of points to fundamental things like sight alignment and trigger control. Veteran shooters will lose far fewer points to a smaller list of mistakes. At every step along the way, always ask yourself why you’re losing points and address the issues. Sometimes the weak links that you need to work on aren’t your favorite thing to do, and success will take work in these areas as well.

Competition TIP TWO. Select your wind shooting strategy carefully. For beginners and veterans, most points are typically lost to wind. Successful shooters put a lot of thought into their approach to wind shooting. Sometimes it’s best to shoot fast and minimize the changes you’ll have to navigate. Other times it’s best to wait out a condition which may take several minutes. Develop a comfortable rest position so you have an easier time waiting when you should be waiting.

Competition TIP THREE. Actively avoid major train wrecks. Sounds obvious but it happens a lot. Select equipment that is reliable, get comfortable with it and have back-ups for important things. Don’t load on the verge of max pressure, don’t go to an important match with a barrel that’s near shot out, physically check tightness of all important screws prior to shooting each string. Observe what train wrecks you and others experience, and put measures in place to avoid them.

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September 1st, 2017

Berger Bullets on Sale at Midsouth

Berger Bullets Sale Midsouth VLD Hybrid

Got Bullets? Right now Midsouth Shooters Supply is running a big sale on Berger Bullets, including many Hybrid and VLD match projectiles in all the popular calibers. You can save $3-$5 on a 100-count box. CLICK HERE for BERGER BULLETS SALE.

Here are some of the best deals we found on some of the most popular Berger Bullets, caliber by caliber. Berger’s 7mm 180gr Hybrid is the bullet-to-beat in F-Open competition, and the new 200.20X is favored by many top F-TR shooters, including members of the world-championship-winning F-TR Team USA. The Berger 6mm 105gr Hybrid Target has long been a favorite of Benchrest, High Power, and PRS shooters, as loaded up in match rifles chambered for 6mmBR, 6mm Dasher, 6XC, or 6mm Creedmoor.

.20 Caliber 35gr Match Varmint HP, $24.43 marked down from $27.18
.22 Caliber 80gr Match Target VLD, $29.13 marked down from $32.40
.243 Caliber (6mm) 105gr Match Hybrid Target, $34.46 marked down from $38.32
.264 Caliber (6.5mm) 130gr Match Target VLD, $42.44 marked down from $47.21
.284 Caliber (7mm) 180gr Match Hybrid Target, $47.61 marked down from $52.96
.30 Caliber 200gr 200.20X Match Hybrid Target, $49.65 marked down from $55.22

Berger Bullets sale VLD Hybrid Match Bullets Midsouth Shooters

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August 27th, 2017

Berger Southwest Nationals 2018 — Registration Opens

Berger Bullets SWN SW Nationals Southwest Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona

Registration has opened for the 2018 Berger Southwest Nationals at the Ben Avery Range in Phoenix, Arizona. This is a GREAT match, the best in the West by far. The match runs February 5-11, 2018. By all means, attend if you can. The Grand Agg filled up last year, so we recommend you register soon.

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

Berger’s SWN team reports: “Registrations for the 2018 Southwest Nationals open on Sunday, August 27th, at 6:00 am (PST). CLICK HERE for the Match Program (it is also available on the Desert Sharpshooters website and Berger Bullets website). We are also moving to an online registration this year, and entry fees will be paid online. Please note that due to our capacity limitations, each stage of the match is listed as a separate event. Please be sure to enter each of the stages you plan to participate in. This will allow us to include as many people as possible. If you have any questions, send email to michelle.gallagher [at] bergerbullets.com.”


2018 SWN Match Program PDF | 2018 SWN Online Registration

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

Rekindle Old Friendships and Meet New Friends
Some shooters come to to the SW Nationals for the swag (the prize table is amazing). Others come for the sunshine (think warm 75-85° weather). And even more folks come to try out their shiny new toys and to test their skills against the nation’s best shooters.

But we’d say the number one reason most folks make the pilgrimage to Ben Avery every year is the camaraderie — the chance to connect with friends, rekindling connections that may go back decades. Fundamentally, then, the Berger SWN is about the people. For many of us, this is the only time of the year when we get a chance to meet fellow shooters from distant corners of the USA (and other nations).

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

Compete Against the Best
If you want to test your mettle against some of the best shooters in the world, get yourself to Ben Avery in February. Here you can compete, shoulder to shoulder, against the best Sling and F-Class shooters on the planet. Guys like Derek Rodgers (newly-crowned F-TR World Champion), John Whidden (reigning Long Range National Champion), Nancy Tompkins (the first women to win the National High Power Championship), and Kenny Adams (past World F-Open Class Champion). If you want to play in the Big Leagues, Ben Avery is the place. Having said that, novice shooters will enjoy the experience as well, because you’ll find that these top shooters are (almost universally) happy to share their knowledge.

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

Just to whet your appetite, here are videos from recent Berger SW Nationals. Yes, this match is as much fun as it looks!

Berger SW Nationals 2017

The North-by-Southwest team set new National Records in winning the 2017 F-TR team event.
Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

Berger SW Nationals 2016

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

Berger SW Nationals 2015

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

The Brain Trust — Experts Galore
The best minds of the shooting world come to Ben Avery every year. Got a question about ballistics? Well, Ballistics Guru Bryan Litz (photo below) will be happy to answer your questions between relays. Want some expert advice about wind reading? Seek out Mid Tompkins (usually found hanging around the club-house) or Emil Praslick, one of the most knowledgeable wind coaches on the planet. And if you have a gunsmithing question, you’ll find some of the top barrel-fitters and stock makers, including Doan Trevor and Gary Eliseo.

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

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May 28th, 2017

New Berger 200.20X 30-Cal Bullet with 0.640 G1 BC Available

Berger 200.20X Hybrid Target Bullet Team F-TR F-Class competition

Berger Bullets’ much-awaited 200.20X bullet is now available at Midsouth Shooters Supply for $54.65 per 100*. That’s not inexpensive, but this new design could well prove to be the “bullet to beat” for F-TR competition with the .308 Win cartridge. With a high Ballistic Coefficient (0.640 G1, 0.328 G7), the new 200.20X Hybrid Target projectile (Part #30417) should have less wind drift than other .30-caliber bullets in its weight range. The new 200.20X is even more slippery than Berger’s own older 200gr Hybrid (Part #30427), which has a 0.316 G7 BC. The 200.20X bullet has a shorter bearing surface than Berger’s 200gr Hybrid, which should allow higher velocities, and (perhaps) enhanced barrel life. The shorter bearing surface also makes this bullet easy to load and shoot in standard chambers, which means you don’t need a special long-throated reamer to make it work.

Berger 200.20X Bullet
The new 200.20X has a 0.328 G7 BC compared to 0.316 G7 for the older 200 grain .30 caliber Hybrid. That’s a significant, 4% reduction in drag. Recommended twist for the new bullet is 1:10″, same as with the earlier 200-grainer.

Tested and Endorsed by U.S. Rifle Team (F-TR)
Developed with extensive testing by U.S. Rifle Team members, Berger’s new 200.20X bullet is optimized for F-TR competition with the .308 Win cartridge. Compared to the standard 200 grain Hybrid Target, the 200.20X has a longer boat tail, longer nose, and a shorter bearing surface. The longer nose and tail of the 200.20X allow the bullet to fly with less drag and a higher BC, which means fewer points lost to wind. Like other Berger Hybrid designs, this bullet is more “forgiving” about seating depths that pure VLD designs. Shooters should find that the 200.20X works well at various OALs, both “jumped” and seated into the lands. Bryan Litz recommends starting with this bullet .020 or more off the lands. When the bullet is jumped a bit, the accuracy should hold pretty well even as the throat moves out.

Berger 200.20X Hybrid Target Bullet Team F-TR F-Class competition

After extensive field testing at 600-1000 yards, the U.S. Rifle Team (F-TR) has named the Berger 200.20X as the Team’s official bullet of choice. Shown above are Dan Pohlabel and Bill Litz (shooter).


*Grafs.com ($52.99/100) and PrecisionReloading.com ($53.99/100) will also sell this new bullet, but both these vendors are currently awaiting delivery. We’re told that supplies should arrive soon.

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May 26th, 2017

NEW Federal Factory Ammo Loaded with Berger Bullets

Berger Bullets Gold Medal Berger Federal ammo ammunition 6.5 Grendel 6.5 Creedmoor PRS tactical .223 Rem .308 Win

This is a very interesting development. Federal will produce a line of Federal Gold Medal ammunition loaded with Berger Bullets match projectiles and GM Match primers. The new Gold Medal Berger ammo will initially be offered for: .223 Remington, 6.5 Grendel, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Winchester. We expect this ammo to attract the attention of tactical and PRS shooters — Berger projectiles are currently favored by top PRS competitors. Depending on caliber, three different high-BC bullet types will be used: BT Target, Hybrid OTM, or Juggernaut OTM. These all feature a boat-tail design with a high BC for bullet weight. The 6.5 calibers will use Berger’s popular 130gr Berger Hybrid OTM bullet while the .308 Win uses the 185gr Juggernaut.

This new Gold Medal Berger ammo uses Federal Gold Medal match primers, Federal brass, and specially-formulated propellants. All the ammo is well under SAAMI-spec max OALs to function 100% in magazines. Federal says this ammo will “adhere to Federal Premium’s strictest specifications for accuracy, pressure and velocity”. This new GM Berger ammo line could be a match-worthy alternative for guys who don’t want to hand-load. We’re going to try some in 6.5 Creedmoor and see how it performs in terms of accuracy, ES/SD, ballistics, and temp stability. Should be an interesting test…

FEATURES of Gold Medal Berger Ammo:
• Most popular bullets at Precision Rifle Series events
• High ballistic coefficient
• Less wind drift and drop (than typical factory ammo)
• Excellent long-range accuracy
• Gold Medal match primer

Berger Bullets Gold Medal Berger Federal ammo ammunition 6.5 Grendel 6.5 Creedmoor PRS tactical .223 Rem .308 Win

Berger Bullets Gold Medal Berger Federal ammo ammunition 6.5 Grendel 6.5 Creedmoor PRS tactical .223 Rem .308 Win

Part No. / Description / MSRP
GM223BH73 / .223 Rem. 73-grain Berger BT Target / $32.95
GM65GDLBH130 / 6.5 Grendel 130-grain Berger Hybrid OTM / $34.95
GM65CRDBH130 / 6.5 Creedmoor 130-grain Berger Hybrid OTM / $34.95
GM308BH185 / .308 Win 185-grain Berger Juggernaut OTM / $34.95

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Tactical No Comments »
February 28th, 2017

Talented Texas Teen at the Berger SW Nationals

David Claudette F-Class
Like father, like daughter. This smiling twosome hails from the Lone Star State.

At the 2017 Berger Southwest Nationals we met a talented father/daughter team from Texas. David and his daughter Claudette were enjoying the match, her first national-level F-Class competition. Father David, an Accurateshooter Forum member, tolds us: “Claudette turned 15 on the day we drove out, Tuesday, and this was her first Berger SWN match. She and my son Royse (17) have won Texas junior championships, but this match was the largest we’ve attended.” Here is Claudette’s story…

Claudette F-Class Texas

Texas Teen Enjoys Many Activities, including the Shooting Sports
As a Texan finishing her freshman year of high school, young Claudette has grown up with the shooting sports — thrown into the mix of a typical small town teen’s activities, such as year-round school sports and fall cheer-leading. Claudette and her brother Royse enjoy a leg up when it comes to target practice, though. In 2002 the family moved to far South Texas to build a new home on the clan’s fifth-generation cattle ranch, a spread renowned as the original importer of Charolais-breed cattle. Now for the family of four, shooting and even hunting can literally start outside the back door.

Claudette bypassed air guns and began shooting as a rimfire plinker in the backyard. Skipping ahead a decade, monthly .22 LR precision rifle matches are now an interest, while high power prone shooting is now quite a few notches above a shared family interest, and with Dad at least, maybe a necessity of life. In 2007 an outdoor kitchen was added in the backyard that doubled as a nice covered shooting station. 615 yards away (at the end of the red line) Dad constructed a stout bunker/backstop from old railroad ties. This allows convenient shooting practice and load development sessions between family road trips to state mid-range matches and other competitions.

Home, Home on the Range … here’s the Texas cattle ranch where Claudette hones her shooting skills.
Claudette F-Class Texas

Claudette’s first-ever group shot at her home range was on a full-value windy day with a .223 Savage Precision Varmint and 80 grain bullets. Most of a whole poster board was needed to plot those shots, in a region known for its windmills.

Claudette F-Class TexasBig Gun for Little Lady
Now Claudette shoots F-Open’s mainstay, the .284 Winchester. Claudette recently competed at the Berger Southwest Nationals match. The .284 Win with heavy bullets definitely delivers a serious kick, but Claudette’s weight barely breaks into triple digits. That’s why she has those doubled-up bath towels — to soften the recoil impact on her shoulder. At the SWN, Claudette shot next to Team Lapua ace F-Classer Erik Cortina one day. Impressed with her shooting skills, Erik put in a good word for her. That led to Claudette joining the USA Under 25 Team for the 2017 F-Class World Championships to be held at the Connaught Ranges in Ottawa, Canada this upcoming August. Claudette is now the newest member of America’s Under 25 squad. Congrats young lady!

Learning Rifle Skills for Life
Father David says that marksmanship training serves another important purpose for his son and daughter: “These matches that hone the rifleman’s traditional skills do have a second purpose, especially for kids growing up so far from the practical response abilities of law enforcement. Self-defense is a major part of the self-reliance embodied as a core value in the still-large number of rural Americans. And that means that rifles, albeit lighter ones, are never far from reach, a right that complements the shared quest to improve proficiency and pass on the desire to do so.”

Permalink Competition, News, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
February 23rd, 2017

Figuring Optimal RPM with Berger Twist-Rate Stability Calculator

Berger twist rate calculator
Erik Dahlberg illustration courtesy FireArmsID.com.

Berger twist rate calculatorBerger Twist-Rate Stability Calculator
On the updated Berger Bullets website you’ll find a handy Twist-Rate Stability Calculator that predicts your gyroscopic stability factor (SG) based on mulitiple variables: velocity, bullet length, bullet weight, barrel twist rate, ambient temperature, and altitude. This very cool tool tells you if your chosen bullet will really stabilize in your barrel.

LIVE DEMO BELOW — Just enter values in the data boxes and click “Calculate SG”.

How to Use Berger’s Twist Rate Calculator
Using the Twist Rate Calculater is simple. Just enter the bullet DIAMETER (e.g. .264), bullet WEIGHT (in grains), and bullet overall LENGTH (in inches). On its website, Berger conveniently provides this info for all its bullet types. For other brands, we suggest you weigh three examples of your chosen bullet, and also measure the length on three samples. Then use the average weight and length of the three. To calculate bullet stability, simply enter your bullet data (along with observed Muzzle Velocity, outside Temperature, and Altitude) and click “Calculate SG”. Try different twist rate numbers (and recalculate) until you get an SG value of 1.4 (or higher).

Gyroscopic Stability (SG) and Twist Rate
Berger’s Twist Rate Calculator provides a predicted stability value called “SG” (for “Gyroscopic Stability”). This indicates the Gyroscopic Stability applied to the bullet by spin. This number is derived from the basic equation: SG = (rigidity of the spinning mass)/(overturning aerodynamic torque).

(more…)

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February 13th, 2017

Berger Southwest Nationals — 2017 Match Wrap-Up

Berger SW Nationals Final Report Match Results

The 2017 Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN) are now history. This was a great match, with extremely close competition, and record-setting scores. For the first few days, conditions were very mild. That allowed the “top guns” to shoot “cleans” and even set a few new National records. In individual competition, there were familiar faces among the Top Ten, but also some rising stars. In the F-Open and Sling team events, two new squads topped some of the experienced “all-star” teams. Overall it was a great match — one of the most tightly contested ever. Even with 400 competitors, everything ran smoothly. For those who attended the 2017 Berger SW Nationals, this has been a truly memorable week at Ben Avery. F-Open and F-TR Final Results Posted HERE.


This is our final Berger SW Nationals video for 2017, with interviews with the three class winners: John Whidden (Sling), David Gosnell (F-Open), Donald Erpenbach (F-TR).

Top Five Competitors in Each Class
SLING
John Whidden, 1248-84X
Adrian Harris, 1243-74X
Allen Thomas, 1242-65X
Justin Skaret, 1242-59X
Erik Rhode, 1241-59X
F-OPEN
David Gosnell, 1247-84X
Jay Christopherson, 1246-74X
Keith Glasscock, 1245-79X
Pat Scully, 1243-71X
Dan Bramley, 1243-70X
F-TR
Donald Erpenbach, 1230-53X
James Crofts, 1225-43X
Alan Barnhart, 1224-32X
Ian Klemm, 1222-55X
Bryan Litz, 1222-49X

Bryan Litz congratulates Sling winner John Whidden. John is reigning National Long Range Rifle Champion.
North by Southwest

Below are SWN F-Open Champion David Gosnell (left) and F-TR Winner Donald Erpenbach (right).
North by Southwest

Record-Setting Performances in 2017
This year Ben Avery conditions were very good — calm mornings, and little wind in the afternoons for the first three days. With the very calm Day 1-3 conditions, we witnessed some spectacular individual and team performances. Lester Bruno shot a brilliant 200-23X at 600 Yards, setting a new National record. Ian Klemm set a new 60-shot, 600-yard National record of 599-38X. The Cluster Ducks set a new National F-Open Team Record for 800/900/1000 yards with their 1789-100X Score. And the talented North-by-Southwest F-TR squad set both a National Record and an overall SWN match record.

The North-by-Southwest team won the 2017 SWN F-TR team event in fine fashion, setting new National and range records in the process.

North by Southwest

And here is Team Longshots, winner of the F-Open Team Title. Individual F-Open Champ David Gosnell is at far right. The winning Sling Team was Scotland Thistle.

North by Southwest

Forum Admin Finishes a Very Close Second in F-Open
Hats off to AccurateShooter.com’s very own Systems Admin, Jay Christopherson. A talented tech expert, Jay runs our web servers and manages our Forum software. His skills and dedication keep the Forum running smoothly, even as we approach 35,000 members. Jay shot a brilliant match at Ben Avery this week, finishing second in F-Open, just one point behind F-Open winner David Gosnell. We’re proud of Jay, and we want to recognize his achievement. It’s interesting to note that Jay shot the entire match with the new SEB Mini rest, and he was using a Vortex 15-60x52mm Golden Eagle scope. Here’s a short video of Jay shooting his .284 Win rifle on Saturday.

Berger SW Nationals Final Report Match Results

The show’s over — it’s time to pack up the gear and head on home. We’re already looking forward to the 2018 Berger SWN. See you next year!

Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery

Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery

Big News for Berger Bullets

Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery

Big news in the Industry is that Berger Bullets is becoming part of the Nammo Group, parent of Lapua, Vihtavuori, SK and other companies. This major acquisition will combine Nammo’s resources and advanced engineering with Berger’s match-winning bullet designs and strong focus on competition. Yes, you can expect to see factory-loaded ammunition with Berger projectiles and premium Lapua brass. To learn more about the big Berger/Nammo deal, watch this interview with Berger President Erik Stecker.

Eric Stecker, Berger’s President, says the exact timing of the move has not yet been set, nor has the location been chosen. Arizona is high on the list of potential sites, but Berger is considering other states as well. Once the new factory location is determined, Eric says he expects the move to be completed “by December 2018 at the latest”.

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February 12th, 2017

Berger SW Nationals — Day 4 Report from Saturday

Arizona Berger SW Nationals Southwest Nationals F-Class Palma F-TR Phoenix travel

We saw a change in weather on Saturday. It dawned warm and relatively calm, but the winds picked up in the afternoon as clouds rolled in. There wasn’t any rain though, and for shooters who were sunburned after many days in the Arizona sunshine, the overcast was a bit of a relief. On Saturday, Ben Avery hosted both individual and team matches. All three classes (Sling, F-Open, F-TR) shot two 1000-yard individual matches. This was followed by 4-person Team Matches at 1K. Here are the top five performers in Saturday’s individual matches:

Top Five Competitors in Each Class
SLING
Kevan Hoffarth (P), 400-19X
Jerry Iliff (A), 400-18X
John Whidden (A), 399-23X
Peter Church (A), 399-22X
Gary Rasmussen (A), 399-16X
F-OPEN
Dan Bramley, 399-28X
Robert Hoppe, 399-27X
Pat Scully, 399-24X
Erik Cortina, 399-22X
John Meyers, 399-20X
F-TR
Ian Klemm, 394-16X
Bryan Litz, 393-16X
Nancy Tompkins, 392-19X
Peter Ricci 392-13X
Alan Barnhart, 392-9X

In a great individual performance, Kevan Hoffarth, shooting a Palma Rifle, shot clean to beat ALL sling shooters, including those in the “Any Rifle” sub-class. In fact, “Any” shooters took the next four sling places. In the F-Open Division, it was a very tight race, decided by X-Count for the top five places, with Dan Bramley edging Robert Hoppe for the win by one X.

Berger SW Nationals Sling

Watch Highlights of Day 4 at the Berger SW Nationals:

What the Berger SW Nationals is All About

When folks usually talk about shooting matches they focus on the obvious — scores and hardware. But the Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN) is about much more than putting holes in paper with bangsticks. We’d say this match has become so popular (with 400 entrants) because it offers the whole experience — fun, challenge, a warm-weather escape, and above all, camaraderie.

Berger SW Nationals Sling

Some shooters come to Ben Avery for the swag (the prize table is amazing). Others come for the sunshine (think warm 75-85° weather). And even more folks come to try out their shiny new toys and to test their skills against the nation’s best shooters.

But we’d say the number one reason most folks make the pilgrimage to Ben Avery every year is the camaraderie — the chance to connect with friends, rekindling connections that may go back decades. Fundamentally, then, the Berger SWN is about the people. For this Editor, the chance to meet good friends such as John Whidden, Gary Eliseo, Doan Trevor, Nancy Tompkins, Anette Wachter, Shiraz Balolia, Adam Braverman, Jay Christopherson, Erik Cortina, Scott Harris, and so many others, gives me plenty of motivation to make the 7-hour drive from California.

For many of us, this is the only time of the year when we get a chance to meet fellow shooters from distant corners of the USA. And where else will you find a past NRA President (John Sigler) on the firing line, and have a chance to chat with him during a lunch break. The SWN is very special.

Berger SW Nationals Competition

The Brain Trust — Experts Galore
The best minds of the shooting world come to Ben Avery every year. Got a question about ballistics? Well, Ballistics Guru Bryan Litz will be happy to answer your questions between relays. Want some expert advice about wind reading? Seek out Mid Tompkins (usually found hanging around the club-house) or Emil Praslick, one of the most knowledgeable wind coaches on the planet (Emil was shooting and coaching this year). And if you have a gunsmithing question, you’ll find some of the top barrel-fitters and stock makers, including Doan Trevor and Gary Eliseo.

Emil Praslick III heading out to the firing line…
Berger SW Nationals Emil Praslick

Tubegun Chassis-Maker Gary Eliseo was at the match
Berger SW Nationals Gary Eliseo

Berger SW Nationals

Compete against the Best
If you want to test your mettle against some of the best shooters in the world, get yourself to Ben Avery in February. Here you can compete, shoulder to shoulder, against the best Sling and F-Class shooters on the planet. Guys like John Whidden (reigning Long Range National Champion) and Kenny Adams (reigning World F-Open Class Champion). If you want to play with the “Big Boys”, Ben Avery is the place. Having said that, novice shooters will enjoy the experience as well, because you’ll find that these top shooters are (almost universally) happy to share their knowledge.

Berger SW Nationals through lens

Learn from Top Talents
If you want to improve your game, this is the place. Walk down the firing line and you’ll stand shoulder to shoulder with many national champions. There is no question that you can improve your techniques by watching top shooters, and you can get ideas about hardware by looking at the rigs campaigned by the best. Where else will you find a half-dozen national F-Class champs seated around a table. Or an 11-time National High Power Champion (David Tubb), hanging out at the Lapua trailer in the parking lot.

2015 F-TR National Mid-Range and Long-Range Champion Bryan Litz helps a Junior shooter
Berger SW Nationals Bryan Litz

Mid Tompkins at Shooters’ Clinic
Berger SW Nationals Mid Tompkins

Gun Gear Candy Store
If you are thinking about upgrading your match rifle, you’ll find plenty of inspiration at Ben Avery. On the firing line you’ll fine the newest actions from Barnard, BAT, and Borden, the latest/greatest optics (see Vortex Golden Eagle below), and the newest most advanced stocks. F-TR guys will find a wide variety of exotic bipods plus the latest generation of sandwich-construction bipod “mats”. (NOTE: These are becoming rigid, elevated platforms with low-friction tops — will the rules be tightened?).

Arizona Vortex Seb Rest Borden Action SW Nationals Phoenix travel

Arizona Vortex Seb Rest Borden Action SW Nationals Phoenix travel

Warm Arizona Weather
When we arrived in Phoenix on Tuesday it was a relatively mild 76°. By Friday it had warmed to a balmy 84°. We didn’t hear any complaints from the Canadians who fled ice and snow to shoot the match. Even while California was getting soaked with rain it was sunny and warm in Arizona. And you can even have a balloon ride right over the Ben Avery range.

Arizona Sedona SW Nationals Phoenix travel

Enjoy a Desert Escape
The Ben Avery Shooting Facility is located in a scenic corner of Arizona, north of Phoenix. Get here early in the morning and watch the balloons take off. Head northwest and you can visit the historic town of Prescott. Two hours north is Sedona, famed for its stunning Red Rock scenery. A few hours south you can visit Tombstone and the OK Corral. There’s a lot to see and do in the Phoenix area that makes the trip worthwhile in addition to the gun fun at the range.

Arizona Sedona SW Nationals Phoenix travel

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