June 13th, 2017

Best F-Class Cartridge Choices For Mid-Range and Long-Range

F-Open F-TR F-class competition cartridge guide comparison Emil Covan

Cartridge Choices for F-Class Competition

By Emil Kovan
Kovan Match Rifles LLC, www.matchrifles.com

There are hundreds of cartridge types capable of winning in F-Open. For F-TR you can shoot either the .223 Rem or .308 Win, but you have many load options. This article will focus on proven choices, currently used by the top F-Class shooters in the world. Our discussion will analyze cartridge selection based on the four different F-Class sub-disciplines: Open Mid-Range, Open Long-Range, F-TR Mid-Range, and F-TR Long Range.

F-Open F-TR F-class competition cartridge guide comparison Emil Kovan
Click image to view full-screen photo.

Mid-Range F-Open Cartridges

For starters, a .300 WSM is certainly capable of winning mid-range matches but it is not ideal. So what is ideal, and why? F-Class Mid-Range matches usually are usually shot at 300, 500, or 600 yards — or all three. At those distances the 6mm and 6.5mm cartridges rule. In moderate conditions, the 6mm Dasher is unbeatable. Its low recoil along with its super grouping ability and good ballistics make it my number one choice for Mid-Range.

Best bullets for the 6mm Dasher are: Vapor Trail 103gr, Berger 105 Hybrid, 108 BT, and 105 VLD (hunting). Best powders are: Varget, H4895, and Reloder 15.

Choices for Mid-Range in Tougher Conditions:
We all know that conditions are not always “moderate” that’s why something a little bit bigger will save you a “Nine” or two. The 6.5X47 Lapua was designed for 300-meter competition, but as soon as it was released, it was adopted by F-Class, benchrest, and tactical shooters. It offers great ballistics with very low recoil and big “accuracy window”. Lapua makes great brass for it (no surprise there) and Berger makes great bullets: 130gr VLD, 140gr VLD, 140gr Hybrids. Best powders in most barrels are Varget and H4350, I don’t use double-based powders such as Reloder 17 and the Vihtavuori N500 series because of their unpredictable performance day to day (greater temp sensitivity).

The 6.5X47 Lapua necked down to 6mm is also a great option for mid range matches. I was able to easily get 3200 fps with 105 hybrids and H4350.

Choice for Long-Range F-Open Competition

In Long-Range F-Open Class (out to 1000 yards), the big, high-BC bullets rule. If I had to pick one cartridge for F-Class (both mid- and long-range) I would pick the .284 Winchester or one of its variants. The .284 Win is currently dominating in F-Open competition. It offers great barrel life, it is super-easy to tune and its recoil is very manageable. The best bullets for it by far (in my opinion), are the Berger 180 Hybrids. But Sierra’s new 183gr MK bullet (with factory-uniformed meplats) seems to perform very well as does the Berger 180 VLD. Best powders for the .284 Win are H4350 and H4831SC.

F-Open F-TR F-class competition cartridge guide comparison Emil Covan

Long-Range Only F-Open Cartridge
As much as I like the .284 Win, for long-range competitions I like the .300 WSM even more. If you look at a .300 WSM and a 6mm Dasher side by side, they appear almost identical in geometry — the .300 WSM looks like an “super-sized” Dasher. Both cartridges are currently the “darlings” of long-range benchrest due to their extraordinary grouping ability and huge “node’’ windows. Big accuracy windows allow loads to perform well in different conditions and geographical locations. That’s obviously very important if you travel to compete. The .300 WSM loaded with Berger 215gr or 230gr Hybrids is very tough to beat at long range, and it is currently my number one choice.

The 7mm RSAUM is another outstanding long-range round. It resembles a 6BR on steroids and it is almost as easy to tune. Best bullets for it are Berger 180gr Hybrids, 195gr EOLs, and Sierra’s 183gr MatchKing. Best powders for the 7mm RSAUM are: H4350, H4831SC, and VV N160.

Top Caliber/Bullet Combos for F-TR

In F-TR competition, the choice is clear — a .308 Win throated for Berger 185gr BTLRs and 200gr Hybrids will win in mid-range AND long-range comps. Many championships have been won, and many records set with those two bullets in the .308 Win. To quote Danny Biggs (a two times FTR National Champion) “The 185 BTLR is the best bullet for .308 Win ever made”.

The Berger 215gr Hybrids have been used to win many competitions including recently the 2015 F-Class Nationals. Bryan Litz won both the Mid-Range and Long-Range 2015 Championships using 215s. Bryan’s rifle is shown below:

Bryan Litz F-TR 2015 National Championship rifle

I recommend chambers throated for the 185/200 grain projectiles over the 215/230 grain bullets. The reason is that if you have your barrel throated out for the 215s or the 230s, you could have a “slow” barrel and max out on pressure before the desired velocity is reached. Optimum freebore for the 230s is too long for the 185/200s, so you would be limited to using only 215/230gr bullets in that barrel.Furthermore, the recoil increase with heavier bullets is substantial, causing the rifle to be more difficult to shoot.

.223 Remington Cartridge Diagram.223 Rem — Not A Competitive Option
I would stay away from the .223 Remington. On paper the 90gr VLD will shoot inside most .308 Win loads even at a 1000 yards. But in reality, on average, the .223 Rem, regardless of what powder/bullet combo is used, cannot compete with the .308 Win. [Editor: The equipment lists at major F-TR matches will confirm Kovan’s conclusion here.]

Conclusion (and Other Options)
This article covers only the (currently) most popular cartridge/bullet combos for F-Class (F-Open and F-TR). As I said in the beginning, many cartridge types are capable of winning but are not listed due to their low popularity, case design, or lack of quality components. All of the above information is based on my personal experience and it is meant to help new shooters choose the right cartridges for F-Class matches. Thanks for reading and good luck — Emil Kovan

Emil Kovan F-Class competition bio photoEmil Kovan Competition History:

– 2014 F-Class Open National Champion

– 2015 F-Class Open National Championship, Silver Medal

– F-Class Open National Championship Teams, 2015, 2014, 2013, Shooting Team Member

– Over 15 wins in Regional and State Championships in Palma, F-TR, F-Open

– 2013 U.S. National Team Member

– 2017 U.S. National Development Team Member

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition 5 Comments »
May 13th, 2017

IBS Match Report: 1000-Yard Magic at Deep Creek in Montana

Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

Report by Kristina Holden
Even with a bit of snow left on the ground, some great long range shooting took place up in Montana recently. March 25th, 2017 was opening day for the first 1000-yard IBS match of the year at Montana’s Deep Creek Shooting Range, just outside of Missoula, Montana. With temperatures during both matches at a consistent low to mid 40s and winds blowing at a slight 2-4 mph from the south, the weekend was sure to produce some excellent results.

Framed by forested hills, the Deep Creek Range is a beautiful place to shoot.
Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

CLICK HERE for Deep Creek IBS Match Results | CLICK HERE for LG and HG Equipment List

Jeff Read takes aim…
Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

Fifteen (15) shooters braved the cool Montana spring weather for what would turn out to be a very competitive match. On Saturday, both Richard Schatz and David Torgerson made the first Light Gun (LG) shoot-off, posting two-inch groups, with Richard taking the win (check out his targets above). David and Richard made it into the Heavy Gun (HG) shoot-off as well, this time with David taking the win. Leo Anderson took the LG score crown with a 47, while Shawn Williams took the HG title with a perfect 100.

Here Scott Stanko sets up his Light Gun. Scott won Sunday’s LG shoot-off.
Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

Sunday’s conditions were even better and the shooters took advantage of them. Once again, some truly excellent groups were shot by Tom Mousel and Scott Stanko, both making the LG shoot-off with 2 inch groups. Scott, shown above, prevailed in the shoot-off. Richard Schatz, once again, made his way into the shoot-offs and took the HG win from Tom Mousel with a 4.889″. Jeff Reed took the HG score win over Leo Anderson with a 96. In the LG Score shoot-off, Jim Williams nailed a real stunner of a group, taking the Score win with a 2.018” – 49. Check out the group below. That sure would have helped his Aggs if it happened in the relay!

Jim Williams with his 2.018″- 49 group. That works out to 0.19 MOA — amazing accuracy at 1000 yards.

Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

New Cartridge Debuts — the 6mmBR Ackley Improved (6mm BRA)
The 2017 season has brought some new gear/cartridge developments and many shooters were able to put them to good use in the first match of the year at Deep Creek. Leo Anderson and Tom Mousel were both shooting the new 6mm BRA (6mmBR AI), a 6mmBR Norma with a reduced body taper and a 40 degree (40°) shoulder. Fire-forming is as simple as turning the necks and shooting, as the factory 6mmBR case will headspace in the AI chamber. Sizing with a 6mm Dasher die with .080″ turned off the bottom is the ticket. Tom Mousel, reigning IBS 1K Champ, “believes this case to have a little wider tune window and far less throat wear”. That means this case might be easier on barrels. For Tom’s 6mm BRA with 28” Krieger barrel, the accuracy node is about 2980-2990 fps, so this gives up only 30-50 fps compared to typical Dasher velocities. Both of Tom’s HG groups held in the 3s for vertical, proving the 6mmBR Ackley’s accuracy potential.

Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

Vapor Trail Bullets and Deep Creek Tracker Stock
Tom Jacobs at Vapor Trail Bullets has been working with a new die for his excellent 6mm 103gr Vapor Trail bullet. Four of the weekend’s competitors were shooting bullets off the new Vapor Trail die. The new die seems to be producing a bullet every bit as good as the old die, maybe even better. Several groups in the 2s (two inch) were shot this weekend. As well as Richard Shatz’s impressive 3.671″ 10-shot group in Heavy Gun (see top of this article).

Finally, the new Deep Creek Tracker 4″-wide stock is becoming a favored option, with half of the competitors at the match shooting these stocks from Wheeler Accuracy. That extra inch in the stock’s fore-end seems to be provide more stability and less rocking on the front rest when opening and closing the bolt. Also, the adjustable tracking rudder makes for perfectly parallel tracking surfaces, an absolute “must have”.

Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

The weekend ended with the sun finally breaking through the clouds. Competitors enjoyed some great grilled Polish dogs with all the fixings prepared by Mark and Angie Candau; who also shot in the match. There were plenty of smiling shooters with awards/prizes for their efforts. It was a great opening match of the season!

Here are the Top Guns at the match: Dave Torgeson, Jim Williams, Jeff Read, Shawn Williams, Richard Schatz, Leo Anderson, Lonnie Anderson, and Tom Mousel.
Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

Deep Creek is one of America’s best 1000-yard shooting centers — many records have been set here.
Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

Missoula Montana MT IBS Deep Creek Hellgate Richard Schatz Tom Mousel 1000 Yard 1K 1000yd benchrest

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, New Product 2 Comments »
March 7th, 2017

Learn Long-Range Skills at Williamsport 1K Benchrest School

Williamsport 1000 yard Benchrest School
Sebastian Reist photo.

There are still some openings left for the June 2017 Williamsport 1000 Yard Benchrest School. “If you have been considering long range competition, come on out and learn from some of the top shooters in the game. This school will take years off of the typical learning curve.”– Eric Wolfgang, Original PA 1000 Yard Benchrest Club Secretary/Statistician.

CLICK HERE for 2017 Williamsport 1K Benchrest School Application Form (MS Word Doc)

Williamsport Shooting School Benchrest 1000 Yard

Praise from a 1K Benchrest School Grad
Here’s a testimonial from a recent graduate: “I can attest to the knowledge that you gain. I went last year and loved it. Have renewed my membership in the Club and would love to go this year. I would love to take the course again. In the photo above I am in the back row, fourth from the right — sunglasses and blue shirt.” — Bob, Class of 2016

Williamsport benchrest schoolThe 10th Annual Williamsport 1000-Yard Benchrest School will be held Saturday June 3 and Sunday June 4, 2017. There are still a few slots available for this year’s session. Classes, taught by top 1K shooters, are held at the Original Pennsylvania 1000-Yard Benchrest Club Range, one of the best 1K ranges in the country. See photos at: www.PA1000yard.com

Participants will learn all aspects of long-range benchrest shooting from some of the most skilled marksmen in the country. Much time is spent at the loading bench and on the firing line. Classes cover load development, precision reloading, bench skills, and target analysis. You don’t even need guns and ammo — all equipment and ammunition will be provided.

School instructors tell us: “This year’s benchrest school will be a 2-day weekend event. (There is also an optional ‘Meet and Greet’ gathering Friday evening). The school is a beginner class designed to teach the fundamental skills needed to be competitive at at 600 and 1000 yards. Saturday will be spent in class covering a range of topics including reloading ‘dos and don’ts’, load development and equipment handling. Sunday we will shoot an actual match to see what you’ve learned.”

Cost for the class is $375.00 including lunches on Sat/Sun and dinner on Saturday. Don’t hesitate if you want to attend the 2017 school. For more INFO email Ray McKinsey, Joe Saltalamachia, or Eric Wolfgang via this Club Contact Page.

Watch Williamsport Benchrest School Slideshow:
Please enable Javascript and Flash to view this VideoPress video.

This slideshow was produced by Sebastian Reist an alumnus of the 2009 Williamsport 1000-yard BR school. SEE: www.sreistphotography.com.
Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
February 25th, 2017

Henry’s Hammer — State-of-the-Art .284 Shehane for 1K BR

Henry Pasquet IBS 1000 yard Nationals champion two gun overall .284 shehane

We’ve been giving a lot of coverage to tactical rigs and gas guns lately, so we though it was time to showcase a purebred, state-of-the-art 1000-Yard Benchrest rig. This article features the impressive .284 Shehane Light Gun used by Henry Pasquet to capture the 2013 IBS 1000-yard Nationals.

With a 5″-wide “hammerhead” front and a special 3″-wide bag-rider plate in the rear, this 17-lb rig is ultra-stable in the bags, and tracks like a dream. In this story, Henry explains his set-up plus his processes for loading super-accurate ammo. Every long-range shooter can benefit from some of tips revealed here. And F-Class guys — if you’re shooting a .284 Win-based case in F-Open you should definitely read Henry’s precision reloading advice.

EDITOR: Guys, there is a ton of solid gold information in this article — take your time and read it carefully.

Henry Pasquet IBS 1000 yard Nationals champion two gun overall .284 shehaneYes old dogs can learn new tricks. Just five years ago Forum member Henry Pasquet (aka “HenryP”) got started in 1000-yard benchrest shooting. He was 66 at the time. Henry worked hard, learned fast, and pursued accuracy with a vengence. That all paid off when Henry won the 2013 IBS 1000-yard Nationals this summer, finishing as the Two-Gun Overall National Champion. Henry was kind enough to talk about his rifle, his reloading methods, and his strategy for success. In fact, Henry was eager to share “everything he knows, so that other guys can fast-track their learning process”. Henry told us: “I want to share every lesson I’ve learned, so that other guys can improve their game and enjoy the sport more.” Henry also wants to encourage other senior shooters: “If you pay attention to details (when reloading), and get a good rifle with a good barrel, age is not a handicap. With a good set-up, older guys can compete with anyone out there. This is one sport where you can be a champion in later life.”

Click on Rifle Photos to View Full-screen Versions

Protektor bag benchrest rifle Light gun IBS 1000 yard Nationals champion two gun overall .284 shehane

Q&A with Henry Pasquet, IBS 1000-Yard National Champion

Q: First, do you have any advice for older shooters getting started in their golden years?

Henry: You’re never too old. In this sport, you can excel even in your 60s, 70s and beyond. At this stage in life, we now have the time and money to get good equipment and rifles. Plus, our years of work experience help us to think, analyze, and thereby make progress. In this game, we older guys can definitely compete on a par with younger shooters.

HARDWARE

Q: Tell us about your Nationals-winning rifle and bench gear. Is there anything unique about your hardware that gave you an edge?

Henry: At the Nationals, I used my 17-lb Light Gun for both Light and Heavy Class. This rifle has a 1.55″, round BAT LP/RE action, fitted with a Bartlein barrel chambered for the .284 Shehane (an improved version of the .284 Winchester). The barrel was near-new; this was the first time I had used it this year. A great barrel and great batch of Berger 180gr VLDs all made a difference. Jay Cutright chambers my barrels. Jay’s metal-work is so precise that I can screw any barrel he’s chambered to any BAT action I own. The laminated stock was modified by Tommy Shurley from a standard 3″-wide fore-end to a 5″-wide True-Trac with an adjustable 3″-wide rear plate. It’s not pretty but it tracks like a Heavy Gun stock. Tommy made my other stocks as well.

Protektor bag benchrest rifle Light gun IBS 1000 yard Nationals champion two gun overall .284 shehane

Protektor sand bag 3M material IBS 1000 yard Nationals champion two gun overall .284 shehaneOn top is a Nightforce 12-42x52mm Benchrest scope with CH-3 reticle. I used a Fulghum (Randolph Machine) front rest with an Edgewood bag made with the low-friction 3M material. In the rear I use a special-order Protekor rear “Doctor” bag with ears spaced 3 inches apart. The rear bag also has the new 3M material on contact surfaces (photo at right).

Q: During the Nationals, at the last minute you switched guns. Why did you go from a 6mm Dasher to a 7mm Shehane?

Henry: I had planned to use my Light and Heavy Dashers, but after placing the Dasher on the ready line, decided to switch to the .284 Shehane. It was still early in the morning and I felt that the heavier bullets would be easier to see against the berm. The Dasher had actually been giving tighter groups under perfect conditions, but seeing the impact is important.

Q: Tell us about the combined tuner/muzzle brake on some of your barrels. How does this improve rifle performance and how do you set the “tune”? Do you tune the barrel to the load?

Henry: I use a tuner or tuner/brake on every barrel. I started with Time Precision tuners. Art Cocchia advised getting a load with a good known accuracy node with minimum extreme spread, which controls vertical. Do not go for the hottest loads, which just reduces brass life. Then use the tuner and tune the barrel to the load. The .284 Light Gun needed a muzzle brake and tuner. I had a local gunsmith cut a thread on the muzzle brake for a tuner I got from Sid Goodling. (Eric Bostrom developed an almost identical unit at the same time. I use Eric’s tuner/brakes on all my new barrels.) Just before Nationals, I tried going up and down one marker. Down one mark cut the group in half! Think how much range time (and barrel life) that saved me. Using a tuner is easier than messing around changing loads and tweaking seating depths. Tuners definitely can work. Last year I shot a 3.348″ 10-shot group at 1000 with my .284 Win Heavy Gun fitted with a Time Precision Tuner.

IBS 1000 yard Nationals champion two gun overall muzzle brake tuner .284 shehane

Q: What are the advantages of your stock’s 5″-wide fore-end and 3″-wide rear plate? Is there a big difference in tracking and/or stability? Does the extra width make the rifle easier to shoot?

Henry: I had true Heavy Guns with 5-inch fronts and 3-inch rears. They tracked well. I felt the same result could be had with a Light Gun. I talked two stock makers into making them. I initially had the standard rear stock until Tommy Shurley and Mike Hearn came out with an adjustable rear plate. The stocks track perfectly. You can see your scope’s crosshairs stay on the target the whole time and push the rifle back for the next shot. There is no torquing (gun wobbling) when cycling the bolt. Us old guys need all the help we can get. I am getting rid of my 45-pound Heavy Guns and replacing them with Light Guns with heavy barrels.

Protektor bag benchrest rifle Light gun IBS 1000 yard Nationals champion two gun overall .284 shehane

Q: Some people say the .284 Shehane is not as accurate as the straight .284 Winchester. You’ve proved them wrong. Why do you like the .284 Shehane? More speed, less pressure?

Henry: The reason I rechambered my 7mm barrels to .284 Shehane was not velocity, pressure, or brass life. It was all about bolt lift. My straight .284 almost required me to stand up to eject brass. I damaged an extractor and had to send the bolt back to BAT. With the .284 Shehane, my bolt cycles like there is no case to eject.

Reloading Methods

Q: People want to know about your load and your loading methods. What can you reveal?

Henry: For my .284 Shehane at the Nationals, I loaded 52.5 grains of Hodgdon H4350 and Federal BR-2 primers behind Berger 180gr VLDs. I usually anneal the brass each winter. I have used the same brass for years. I use Redding bushing dies, apply Imperial sizing wax, resize, wipe off wax, clean and uniform the primers pockets using the RCBS Trim Mate Case prep center, then apply Imperial dry neck lube with a bore mop.

K & M arbor seating force dial gaugeTo dispense powder, I use a RCBS ChargeMaster set 0.1 grain below my desired load and then weigh them on a Sartorius GD-503 magnetic force restoration scale to get identical charges. I use a K&M Arbor Press with seating force gauge when seating the bullets with a Wilson inline die. My “target” seating force on the K&M dial is 20-23 units for Dashers and 35-40 units for the .284 Shehane. I put any variables aside for sighters. I do not weigh brass, bullets, or primers. My bullets were so consistent that I did not sort by bearing surface. I did trim the Berger VLDs to the shortest bullet length with a Hoover Trimmer, and then pointed the meplats just enough to close them with a Whidden pointer. I sort my bullets to 0.005″ overall length, rejecting about five percent.

Q: What kind of precision are you looking for in your reloads? Do you trickle to the kernel? Does this really help reduce extreme spread?

Henry: I try to keep my charge weights consistent to one kernel of powder. I use the Omega powder trickler with a Sartorius GD-503 lab-grade balance to achieve that. For accurate dispensing, put very little powder into the Omega so you can drop one kernel at a time. Single digit ES (Extreme Spread) is the goal. This does make a difference at 1000 yards. If you get the same push on the same bullet with the same neck tension, good things are going to happen.

Q: You believe consistent neck tension (i.e. grip on the bullet) is really important. What methods are you using to ensure consistent bullet release?

Henry: I apply Imperial dry neck lube to the inside of my case-necks with a bore mop. The K&M arbor with seating force gauge shows the need to do this. If you put a bullet into a clean case, it will be jerky when seating the bullet. You may see 40 units (on the K&M dial) dropping to 20, then slowly increasing pressure. I explained to a friend that not lubing the neck is like overhauling an engine without lubing the cylinders. Smooth entry gives the bullets a smooth release.

Barrel Cleaning

Henry Pasquet IBS 1000 yard Nationals champion Carb out Carb-out WipeOut .284 shehaneQ: You go 60-80 rounds between cleaning and the results speak for themselves. What is your barrel cleaning procedure? Do you think some guys clean too often or too aggressively?

Henry: I cringe when I see people wearing out their barrels with bronze brushes between relays. I clean my barrels at the end of each day when I get home. I shot my best-ever 1K Heavy Gun group (3.348″) at day’s end after 60 to 80 rounds. After trying other solvents, I have gone back to Wipe-out’s Carb-Out and Patch-Out products. I use about four patches of Carb-Out, let it sit a few minutes, then use one stroke of a nylon brush followed by Patch-Out until the barrel is clean. I use a bore mop to clean inside the chamber, then some Break Free LP on the bolt followed by bolt grease on the lugs and cocking part. I use a bore guide when anything goes down the barrel.

Shooting Skills and the Learning Process

Q: Henry, you can shoot long-distance on your own property in Missouri. How important is practice, and what do you do during a typical practice session?

Henry: I can shoot 1000 yards on my farm. I have a concrete bench using a slab from a yard furniture place on concrete blocks. Two 4 x 8 sheets of plywood hold four IBS targets. I never practice. I only test, keeping a notebook with all the info. I do most of my testing at 300 to 500 yards, shooting off my deck so I can see my shots immediately.

Protektor bag benchrest rifle Light gun IBS 1000 yard Nationals champion two gun overall .284 shehane

Q: How much of your success do you credit to really accurate rifles, versus superior shooting skills?

Henry: I do not consider myself another Carlos Hathcock or some master marksman. I am an average 1000-yard shooter, but I do work hard getting the most out of my rifles. Four other people have shot their first 1000-yard matches with my rifles, including my wife, and all of them won relays! I loaned my Dasher to another shooter two years ago and he got second at the 600-yard Nationals. Others will tell you that the rifle must be “on” to win. If your barrel or bullets are average, don’t expect to perform above average in competition.

Q: What you do enjoy most about long-range benchrest shooting? What are the attractions of this sport?

Henry: The sport offers good people and a real challenge. 1000-yard shooting keeps us all humble, but we still keep trying to see how good we can do. I am thankful for Robert Ross providing the only match location that I can shoot regularly.

Q: Henry, you have been a Forum member for many years. Have you learned important techniques from other Forum members and other shooters?

Henry: I have followed the AccurateShooter Forum since 2008. At my age I am not good at computers. I copied and analyzed many articles, especially on the .284 and the Dashers. Without AccurateShooter.com, I would probably still be shooting double-digit (10″+) groups at 1000 yards, and I sure wouldn’t have my name on a National Championship trophy.

Q: You are in your 70s now and have only been shooting competitively for a few years. How did you get so good so fast? How did you manage to beat shooters who are decades younger?

Henry: I had 20/10 vision when I was young, but am down to only 20/20. I have been interested in long range shooting for a long time including ground hog hunting. I went to some VHA jamborees also. In 2008, I went to the Williamsport Benchrest School with a friend from Pennsylvania, John Haas. We would compare notes frequently. I bought a BAT three lug from Tom Mousel in Montana. We also compared notes and made each other better. At IBS matches I studied other shooters’ equipment and techniques. I tried some, accepting some and rejecting some.

Here’s my advice:
Always be ready to learn something new. If it makes sense, try it. I would also encourage other older shooters not to quit. Stick to it. You can make enormous progress in a few seasons.

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
August 3rd, 2016

Amazing 2.856″ 10-Shot Group at 1000 Yards — Potential Record

IBS 1000 yard record heavy benchrest Harry Jones Range West Virginia 6.5x47 Lapua Mike Gaizauskas
Yes, there are ten (10) shots. In the lower left (7 o’clock) of the group, two shots overlap!

Stunning 1000-Yard 10-Shot Group
IBS 1000 yard record heavy benchrest Harry Jones Range West Virginia 6.5x47 Lapua Mike GaizauskasYou’re looking at a stunning feat of rifle accuracy. That’s a sub-3″, ten-shot group shot at 1000 yards, all 10s or Xs. Measured at 2.856 inches, this group by shooter Mike Gaizauskas works out to 0.2727 MOA. Nearly quarter-MOA for ten shots at 1K! And the vertical for 7 of 10 shots is under an inch. Now that’s impressive. This was done with an IBS Heavy Class Benchrest gun, chambered for the 6.5×47 Lapua, a mid-sized cartridge originally designed for 300m competition.

Gun Specs: 6.5×47 Lapua chambering, Krieger 30″, 1:8″-twist barrel, Lapua 139 grain Scenars, Hodgdon H4350, CCI BR4 primers, Nightforce NSX scope. Smithed by Mark King, stock by Mike Gaizaukaus.

This amazing group, which establishes new IBS world records, was shot at the Harry Jones Memorial 1000-Yard Gun Club range in Fairview, West Virginia. Set in wooded, rolling hills, this range is shielded on all sides by thick stands of trees. It’s a beautiful facility, and you can see why, when conditions are right, the Harry Jones range can be about as close to shooting in a “tunnel” as you’ll ever get at 1000 yards. The Harry Jones Club in WV hosted the 2014 IBS Long-Range Nationals.

IBS 1000 yard record heavy benchrest Harry Jones Range West Virginia 6.5x47 Lapua Mike Gaizauskas

IBS 1000 yard record heavy benchrest Harry Jones Range West Virginia 6.5x47 Lapua Mike Gaizauskas

Mike’s remarkable 10-shot performance may be a Score Record as well as a group record, because all ten shots were in the 10-Ring and, under IBS rules, group size is the tie-breaker, rather than X-Count. Mike’s target was scored 100-3X, with two of the three Xs just clipping the outside of the X-Ring. Match directors reported: “On 7/24/2016, two new pending IBS 1000-yard world records were shot by Mike Gaizauskas with a 6.5X47 Lapua: 1) Heavy Gun Group (2.856″) and 2) Heavy Gun Score (100-3X). Congratulations Mike!” Here are the listed IBS records that will be broken, when this target is certified:

► Current IBS 1000-Yard Heavy Gun 10-Shot Single Group Record: 3.044″, Joel Pendergraft, 4/18/2009.

► Current IBS 1000-Yard Heavy Gun 10-Shot Single Group Score Record: 100 points, with 3.353″ group size tie-breaker, Gary Nicholson, 7/27/13.

Best 1000-Yard 10-Shot Groups Ever
This jaw-dropping 2.856″ group by Mike Gaizauskas also handily breaks the current NBRSA 1000-Yard, ten-shot Heavy Gun Record, which was 3.9912″ set by Bill Johnston on November 17, 2015. FYI: IBS and NBRSA Light Guns only shoot five-shot groups, so there is no equivalent IBS or NBRSA Light Gun 1K ten-shot record.

Only one other 10-shot, 100-score 1000-yard group was better than this in the history of rifle competition on this planet. Back in 2010, at a Williamsport match, Matt Kline shot a 2.815″ 100-4X. Depending on how Mike’s 2016 2.856″ group is finally measured, it could end up smaller than Matt’s. The difference (before final IBS verification) is only 0.041″, a mere four hundredths of an inch.

In 2014, Jim Richards fired a 10-shot Light Gun group at 1000 yards initially measured at 2.6872″. Shot under Williamsport Rules at the Deep Creek Range in Montana, that 10-shot group may be the smallest ever at 1K. However, the whole group was out in the 8 Ring, for a score of 80, not 100.

About the 6.5×57 Lapua Cartridge

To learn more about the record-setting 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge, including bullet and powder options and reloading tips, visit our comprehensive 6.5×47 Lapua Cartridge Guide.

6.5x47 Lapua Cartridge

The 6.5x47mm Lapua was developed in 2005 as a precision cartridge for 300m CISM rifle matches. Lapua (of Finland) and Swiss rifle-maker Grünig & Elmiger created this new cartridge to match the “pure accuracy” of the 6mmBR, but with even better ballistics. Following its debut as a 300m match cartridge, the 6.5×47 has proven to be a popular “jack of all trades”. Shooters have adopted this efficient, mid-sized cartridge because it offers excellent accuracy, mild recoil, good ballistics, and ample barrel life (plus it feeds well from a magazine). The 6.5×47 Lapua has won two NBRSA 600-yard Nationals. Now that this modern, mid-sized cartridge has set an all-time record for grouping precision at 1000 yards, we expect more shooters to experiment with this cartridge in the mid- and long-range benchrest disciplines.

Story Tip by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions
Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 11 Comments »
April 20th, 2016

Gongzilla — Giant 72″x72″ Triple-Element Steel Gong

1000 yard steel bullseye target

Rick Mulhern GongzillaForum member Rick from Louisiana (aka RMulhern) has rigged up a fantastic target for long-range shooting. Rick, a long-time competitive Palma shooter, had a large 72″x72″ steel target fabricated with two separate center rings that are equivalent to the official paper Palma/Creedmoor target. He says he’s “shot a lot of Palma on that target, as well as lots of Black Powder Cartridge (BPCR) rounds”. The big steel target works great when Rick shoots his Sharps 45/110 BPCR at 800 to 1000 yards. The large steel background (painted white) helps Rick see and hear his hits. If you understand the high-arching trajectory of 500+ grain projectiles shot from a 45/110, you know it can take a few rounds to get Point of Impact dialed in.

Rick reports: “These are two of my favorite rifles to shoot: a M1874 Shiloh Sharps in caliber 45/110 (2 7/8) made in Big Timber, Montana by Kirk Bryan and family. The other is a 6.5×47 Lapua on a blue-printed M700 action with 1:8.5″-twist Krieger barrel and F5 McMillan Tactical stock. Many of the shooters that take up BPCR have a tendency to get away from their smokeless powder rifles in favor of the blackpowder game. Frankly I have the best of both worlds as I enjoy shooting both (smokeless and BPCR), although I must admit that I probably spend the majority of my time on the range with the Sharps rifles these days.” (Rick’s pretty good with his Sharps by the way — he recently shot a 95, 96, and 100 (clean) for 3×10 shots at 800 yards.)

Gongzilla: $1000 Worth of Steel with Three Plate Layers
Rick tells us: “Here’s the deal — everything is steel! The large plate is 72″x72″ and the black bull is 44″ diameter. The 20″-diameter central white bull is made from 1/2″-thick AR400 bull-dozer plating. That’s the same size as the regulation Palma/Creedmoor paper target. The white square and black bull are 3/8″-thick mild steel. Plates are off-set 2″ from each other. I welded a 2″ length of square tubing to the back of both plates and the bolt slides through and is attached to the large plate. I used 2 3/8″ upset tubing (oil field pipe) for the holder framing.” Rick says he invested about $1000.00 in metal for the target, but that was 15 years ago. Today the steel would be much more expensive.

1000 yard steel bullseye target

Rick says the AR400 armor plate in the center bull is very strong: “You can shoot a .338 Lapua Magnum at 200 yards and it won’t damage the center bull”. The mild steel works well for the cast bullets Rick uses with his Sharps 45/110. Also, Rick says the mild steel is rugged enough for 6.5mm and .308 hollowpoint match bullets, if you’re at least 500 yards away. However, Rick told us, “If I would make [the target] again, I would make the black bull AR400 as well. [That way] you would never have to worry about big dents or beating the plate up at any distance. The AR400 is very tough steel. You can shoot a Sierra or Lapua HP bullet and they will just splatter.”

Rick told us: “I built this target with off-set clanger plates. The white clanger is AR400. Bullets just splatter!” Does he worry about hitting the bolt head? Not at all. Rick says: “When I hit the bolt head, I break my arm patting myself on the back!”.

Permalink Gear Review, News 1 Comment »
August 10th, 2015

IBS Range Spotlight: Deep Creek Rifle Range in Montana

Missoula Montana MT NW 1000 Yard Club IBS
Deep Creek 1000-yard line: 46°55’35.03” N 114°14’45.40” W, elevation 3355′.

The International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) welcomes the Montana NW 1000 Yard Benchrest Club as a newly-affiliated club hosting registered IBS matches. The Montana club’s origins go back to 1996 when the Whitefish (Montana) Rifle and Pistol Club affiliated with the Original Pennsylvania 1000-Yard Benchrest Club (Williamsport) to conduct 1000-yard matches. Early in 1998 the Northwest 1000-Yard Benchrest Association was formed to promote 1000-yard benchrest competition in affiliation with Williamsport. The Club now operates at the Deep Creek Range as the Montana NW 1000 Yard Benchrest Club (www.MT1000yd.com), an IBS-affilated organization.

Deep Creek Range Website Deep Creek Range YouTube Channel
Deep Creek Range Facebook Page Destination Missoula Travel Page

2015 Championships at Deep Creek
The 2015 Championships were held this past weekend, August 7-9. The video below features the winners from this year’s championships, Tom Mousel (Two-Gun Overall), Leo Anderson (Heavy Gun Overall), and Bill Johnson (Light Gun Overall). The three winners describe their equipment. Tom shot a pair of 17-lb 6mm Dashers, running Vapor Trail Bullets pushed by CCI 400 primers and Hodgdon H4895 powder. The brass is Lapua 6mmBR hydro-formed to Dasher with lightly-turned necks.

Here is one of Tom Mousel’s match-winning rifles, and an impressive 100-3X, 10-shot target:

Missoula Montana MT NW 1000 Yard Club IBS

The Club holds 12 shoots per year over six weekends that count towards the 6- and 10-shot Aggregates for the year. The Championship Shoot held in August is match number 11 and 12 and does not count for Aggs. More than $20,000 worth of prizes were donated by major sponsors this year. The prize table featured scopes from Nightforce and Vortex, actions from DeFrance, Borden, BAT, Kelbly, and Stiller, plus barrels from Bartlein, Benchmark, Brux, Caliber, Krieger, and McGowen.

Missoula Montana MT NW 1000 Yard Club IBS

The Deep Creek Rifle Range is located near Missoula, Montana. Club members are continually upgrading the 1000-Yard Range, which has become one of the best long-distance benchrest shooting facilities in the country. The Deep Creek Rifle Range invites shooters to visit this scenic shooting facility. Participation in club matches continues to grow, and club members hold several 1000-yard World Records for group, score, and Aggregates of both. For more information on club shoots and joining the club, contact Alex Wheeler: zfast_malibu [at] yahoo.com.

Here’s “Bunker Buster”, a metal-stocked Heavy Gun (HG):
Missoula Montana MT Iron Horse grill

At Deep Creek, competitors shoot three (3) classes: IBS Light Gun (LG), IBS Heavy Gun (HG), and a special 11-pound class. At registered matches, Light Gun shoots five shots per relay, Heavy Gun shoots 10 shots, while the 11-pound class shoots five shots. For more information on classes and courses of fire, visit MT1000yd.com or send email to: northwest1000ydbenchrest [at] gmail.com.

Missoula Montana MT NW 1000 Yard Club IBS

New World Records Set at July 2015 Match:
Important 1K records were set at the Club’s July 9-10 match earlier this summer. Tom Mousel broke the Light Gun 10-match score record and Heavy Gun 10-match group record. Jim Williams broke the HG 10-match score Agg record. In the video below, Tom Mousel talks about his record-breaking performances.

Missoula, Montana Travel Tips
The City of Missoula is nestled in the Northern Rockies of Montana, at the confluence of three rivers. Surrounded by seven wilderness areas, Missoula is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. You can kayak, raft or tube through downtown, or take a relaxing hike in 60,000 acres of wilderness minutes from your hotel. Missoula is known for blue-ribbon trout fishing (made famous by the movie A River Runs Through It) and spectacular natural beauty.

Missoula Montana MT Iron Horse grill
Missoula Sunset, photo courtesy Iron Horse Bar & Grill, IronHorseBrewPub.com.

Missoula is a popular destination for shopping and dining, featuring three shopping districts and an abundance of restaurants, cafes, and brew-pubs with something to fit all budgets and palates. Known for its eclectic culture, Missoula offers a wide variety of entertainment including theater, film festivals, college sports, ballet, and even roller derby.

Permalink - Articles, Competition 2 Comments »
July 31st, 2015

Long Shots — Images from the Long Range Championships

This week, many of the world’s top marksmen have been competing at the National Long Range High Power Rifle Championships, held 29-31 July, 2015 at Camp Perry. The distances are great (1000 yards maximum) as are the challenges — the fickle winds blowing off Lake Erie can be unpredictable.

This year is extra special. The USA hosts the World Fullbore Long Range Championships next week at Camp Perry. The World Championships are held every four years, but any country may only host the event every 25 years. That means the next Fullbore Worlds in the USA could not take place before 2040. This year, teams from 11 countries will compete for national honors (and serious bragging rights). Many top international shooters have already arrived, and they are using the NRA Long Range High Power Championships as a “prelim” for the Fullbore Worlds next week.

Ace ISSF 300m shooter Reya Kempley shoots a hybrid rig with a Stolle Panda Action in an Anschütz smallbore-type metal stock.

Reya Kempley long range high power

Here’s the same rifle, as fitted with hand rest for position shooting. CLICK to Zoom:
Reya Kempley long range high power

British Palma Shooter David Luckman hung tough after suffering a dissappointing 8 (low right) on his first record shot. After serving up that 8 at 4 o’clock, David fought back, shooting all tens and Xs for the rest of his 10-shot string. (Orange stickers show record shots — the yellow dots mark sighters.) David doesn’t crack under pressure — he won the 2012 Long Range Championship at Camp Perry, and he is the reigning ICFRA World Long Range Fullbore (Palma) Rifle Champion.

Palma David Luckman UK Camp Perry long range high power

Those targets are placed a long way off. Now imagine trying to shoot half-MOA with iron sights.

Camp Perry 2015 long range high power

Past Long-Range Champion John Whidden shows good form. John runs a centerfire action in an Anschütz metal smallbore stock. He smithed this rig himself. John favors the ergonomics and adjustability of the Anschütz stock. He also really likes the small-diameter, rounded forearm on this design. “This stock suits me really well”, John told us.

John Whidden Anchutz Camp Perry long range high power

This competitor has an Eliseo (Competition Machine) Tubegun in Patriotic Stars and Stripes Livery.

Gary Eliseo Tubegun Camp Perry long range high power

This U.S. Marine Corps shooter campaigned a classic “Battle Rifle” in the LR Championship, firing a semi-auto version of the M14. It looks like he named the rifle “Lucy”.

Reya Kempley long range high power

Photos from 2015 NRA Long Range High Power Rifle Championships courtesy NRABlog.com.

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
July 12th, 2015

New 1000-Yard Benchrest Range Opens in Scotland

Castle Douglas Scotland UK UKBRA benchrest 1000 yard range AccurateShooter Vince Bottomley

Bench Barrels for Sound Attenuation
There’s something unusual about this range. Competitors are required to shoot through hoops. Vince Bottomley explains: “Competitors have to shoot with the rifle barrel inside a foam-lined plastic barrel, in an attempt to cut down on noise. This was a condition imposed by the local police but in practice, you don’t notice it as you are looking through a scope.” That looks pretty strange to us. Hopefully we won’t see these kind of restrictions imposed in the USA.

Here’s good news to report from the United Kingdom. The UK’s second 1000-yard benchrest facility just opened up in Scotland, near the town of Castle Douglas in the south of Scotland. Until now, Diggle was the only range running 1000-yard benchrest matches in all of the UK. With interest in long-range benchrest competition growing in the UK, it’s good to see a new 1K venue opening for business.

Read Full Report in Target Shooter Magazine

The new Ingleston Range in Castle Douglas is operated by the Galloway Small Arms Club. This club is affiliated with the United Kingdom Bench Rest Association (UKBRA), so any records established will be recognized by the UK governing body for benchrest shooting. Light Gun and Heavy Gun Classes are run according to American IBS rules. And, per UKBRA standards, there is also a third, Factory Rifle Class. Vince Bottomley reports: “The Range is located on a working farm and the GSAC members have worked tremendously hard to create a 1000-yard range from what is basically open countryside.”

Here’s the view looking downrange. What a beautiful place to shoot…
Castle Douglas Scotland UK UKBRA benchrest 1000 yard range AccurateShooter Vince Bottomley

Permalink Competition, News 9 Comments »
February 7th, 2015

Williamsport Taking Applications for Long-Range BR School

Benchrest School WilliamsportThe Original Pennsylvania 1000-Yard Club (Williamsport) is now accepting applications for its 2015 Long-Range Benchrest School. If you want to learn how to shoot accurately at very long range, one of the very best places to learn is the Williamsport 1000-Yard Benchrest School. The 8th Annual Benchrest School will be held Friday, June 5 through Sunday, June 7, 2015. Classes, taught by top 1K shooters, are held at the Williamsport Range, one of the best 1K ranges in the country.

From June 5-7 2015, the club will host a multi-day, long-range Benchrest Academy for novice to intermediate shooters. For $350 students will enjoy 1 night and 2 days of intensive training under the guidance of top 1000-yard shooters. Prospective students will be taught all aspects of long-range benchrest shooting by highly skilled instructors. All areas are covered: load development, precision reloading, bench skills, and target analysis. Much time is spent at the loading bench and on the firing line. And you don’t even need guns and ammo — all equipment and ammunition will be provided. The sign-up deadline is June 1st. To reserve a spot, email School Director/President Ryan Miller: ryanmiller @ htva.net.

Williamsport 1000 yard Benchrest School

School Schedule, Friday Through Sunday
On Friday night (June 5th), students will meet their mentors. Saturday (June 6th), the class moves to the range for a full day of hands-on technical training. Topics will include precision reloading, load development, gun handling, use of chronograph, analysis of shooting results, gun cleaning, and target analysis. The club will provide the rifles and all reloading components. Saturday’s training sessions are followed by a steak dinner which is included in the $350 seminar price.

On Sunday (June 7th), after an early training session covering bench set-up and match strategies, students will participate in a 1000-yard match, spending time both behind the trigger and in the pits. Instructors will explain how to read conditions, and will demonstrate target measuring and analysis after the relays. The program wraps up by 4:00 pm on Sunday.

To see what the 1K Benchrest school is like, watch the slide show/video below, produced by Sebastian Reist, an alumnus of the 2009 Williamsport 1000-yard BR school.

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Story Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »
November 16th, 2014

Chuck’s Dazzling Dasher Duo — A Pair of Beauties

Forum Member Chuck L. (aka “Ridgeway”) has created a handsome duo of 6mm Dashers for competitive benchrest and varmint matches in Pennsylvania. Both guns are built on Kelbly Panda RBLP actions, with Bartlein 8-twist barrels, and Shehane Laminated Tracker Stocks. However, the two rifles are not exact twins, as you can see. One, which we’ll call the Big Dasher, is built on a Shehane ST1000 Tracker stock. The other gun, the Small Dasher, sports Shehane’s “Baby Tracker” stock — a design used with great success by Richard Schatz. The Big Dasher, optimized for 1000-yard competition, also has a slightly longer freebore — 0.136″ vs. 0.104″ for the Small Dasher.

6mm Dasher Shehane duo

6mm Dasher Shehane duo

Chuck tells us: “I don’t get out shooting competition as much as I want due to time and family, but when I do compete, I shoot a Groundhog match at Southfork Rifle Club in Beaverdale, PA. Info on Southfork Club events can be found at Southforkrifleclub.com. The Southfork match is basically a 100-, 300- and 500-yard match with one sighter the entire match and 5 shots at each yardage for score. The Small Dasher, with the shorter ‘Baby Tracker’ stock, was set up for the Southfork Rifle Club’s ‘Light Unlimited’ class which has a 13.5-lb max weight.” (Editor: ‘unlimited’ is a misnomer for a weight-limited category.)

Chuck adds: “The Big Dasher with the heavy ST-1000 stock is set up for 1000-yard benchrest matches in Light Gun class. I hope to shoot a couple 1K matches with it at Reade Range in southwest Pennsylvania. I am still in load development for this rifle since it was just finished in January. One ironic thing is, it shoots the same load I’m shooting out of the lighter gun rather well. The only difference between the two chambers is the freebore is roughly thirty thousandths longer on the 1K gun (Large Dasher). I will also shoot this at Southfork in the ‘Heavy Unlimited’ class.”

6mm Dasher Shehane duo

Specifications for the Dasher Duo:

Small Dasher (13.5-pounder): Chambered for 6mm Dasher with approximately .104 freebore and a .264 NK. (No way of knowing exactly since it freebore was done in a separate operation by Kelbly.) Components are: Shehane Baby Tracker stock, Kelbly Panda RPLB action, Bartlein 1:8″ LV barrel at 26 ¾”, Kelbly Rings, Weaver T36, Jewell trigger. The barrel was chambered by Kelblys and the stock was bedded, glued and balanced by a shooting buddy (Forum Member johara1). I clear-coated the stock with auto urethane. Total weight is 13 lbs., 4 ounces.

Big Dasher (1K Light Gun, 17-pounder): Chambered for 6mm Dasher with a .136 freebore and .264 neck (PTG Reamer). Components are: Shehane ST-1000 stock, Kelbly Panda RPLB action, Bartlein 1:8″ HV 5R barrel at 28″, Shehane +20-MOA rings, Nightforce NXS 12-42x56mm, Jewell trigger. The barrel work, pillar installation, and bedding was done by Dave Bruno. The stock was clear-coated by Chuck with auto urethane. Chuck also made the rear butt plate and balanced the rifle. Total weight: 16 lbs., 13 ounces.

Dasher Case-Forming: Neck-Turn then Fire-form with Bullets Hard in Lands
To fireform, I turn my cases down to fit the chamber and stop where the false shoulder makes snug contact with the chamber. Fire-forming rounds are loaded up with a 29-grain charge of H4895 or Varget and a 108gr Berger bullet seated hard into the lands about 0.020″ past initial contact with the rifling. It takes about three firings to make a nice clean Dasher case with a sharp shoulder. I anneal about every 3-4 firings. I have many cases that have about 10+ firings on them and they are still shooting well. The primer pockets are a little looser, but still hold a primer.

6mm Dasher case fire-forming fireform

Both Dashers Group in the Ones at 100 Yards
My main bullet for both rifles is the 107gr Sierra MK, loaded with Reloder 15 powder, Lapua cases and CCI 450 primers. My main load for the Small Dasher is 33.0 grains of Reloder 15. This load shoots in the ones at 100 yards. For the Big Dasher, I’m still working on a load, although the same 33.0 grain load shoots in the ones in the heavier gun as well. I’m still looking for more velocity and my ‘max’ node. So far, I’ve gone well above 33.0 grains of RL 15 without pressure signs, but that load produces vertical at 100 yards, so I’m going to tinker with the load until I see pressure or it starts to shoot.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting 4 Comments »
July 14th, 2014

Amazing 1K Video: 10 Shots in 4.554″ at 1000 Yards (100-6X)

6mm DasherHow well can the little 6mm Dasher perform at 1000 yards when the conditions are good, and the shooter is riding a hot streak? Well here’s a shot-by-shot record of Scott Nix’s 4.554″ ten-shot group shot at Missoula, Montana at the Northwest 1000-yard Championship a few years back. All 10 shots were centered for a 100-6X score. That’s about as good as it gets. If Scott had stopped after 5 shots, his group would have been under three inches.

Scott Nix Dasher Record

Video Demonstrates Amazing 1000-Yard Accuracy
Watch the video. You can see the group form up, shot by shot. It’s pretty amazing. Scott’s first shot (at the 45-second mark of the video) was right in the X-Ring, and four of Scott’s first five shots were Xs. That’s drilling them! This video was recorded from the pits at the 1000-yard line, during record fire.

Permalink - Videos, Competition 3 Comments »
May 7th, 2014

Radical 6″-Wide Offset Pistol for 1000-yard Benchrest

Forum member Eric has built an innovative specialty pistol for long-range benchrest. The gun is chambered in 6.5-284 and built for IBS 1000-yard shooting. Eric originally built the gun with a 3″-wide fore-end, then decided to go with a 6″-wide offset design since the IBS no longer restricts Light Gun Forearms to three inches. Eric explained: “After building the 3″-wide stock I looked at the IBS 1000-yard benchrest rules and found out that there was not a width limit and rails were allowed for a Light Gun stock. I set out to design a 6″ version. I was thinking it should be offset also to help control torque and track straighter. I had a new 6.5mm, 1:8.5″ twist, 1.250″ HV-contour Krieger barrel. I chambered the barrel for 6.5-284 and bedded the stock.”

6.5-284 1000-yard pistol

6.5-284 1000-yard pistol

Eric feeds his pistol Sierra 142gr MatchKings with a load of 51.0 grains of H4831sc. Estimated muzzle velocity with this load is 2900 fps — respectable speed from the short barrel. The gun tracks remarkably well, with very little torque effect, as you can see in the video below.

After initial testing, Eric added a muzzle brake to the barrel. This tamed the recoil considerably. To learn more about Eric’s long-range 6.5-284 pistol, visit our Shooters Forum and READ this POST. To see more videos of the pistol in action (with muzzle brake), visit Eric’s PhotoBucket Album.

6.5-284 1000-yard pistol

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing, New Product No Comments »
May 4th, 2014

Aussie Sets Southern Hemisphere 1K Record with Borrowed Rifle

We recently wrote about a spectacular 2.6872″ ten-shot group shot at 1000 yards in Montana. Well Australian Peter Varley recently turned in another amazing group at 1000 yards — this time 2.010″ for FIVE shots. And he did it with a borrowed gun! That’s not the smallest 1K group ever shot on the planet*, but it’s still an Australian and (we believe) a Southern Hemisphere record. Varley shot the 2.010″ group with a borrowed 17-lb Light Gun at a Canberra Rifle Club match in March of this year. Congrats to Peter for his outstanding shooting. And “hats off” to fellow Queenslander John McQuire, who loaned Peter the rifle.

Shown below is Peter Varley with his target, plus a close-up. You’ll note that two of the five (5) shots go through a paster. You’ll find pasters all over these targets because the Canberra Club “recycles” these large 1K targets many times.

Peter Varley 1000 Yards Light Gun Record

Peter Varley 1000 Yards Light Gun Record

Peter reports: This was shot at a 1000-yard match on the Canberra Rifle Range on Sunday, March 9, 2014. I traveled 1300 kilometers (807 miles) from Nambour (Sunshine Coast) Queensland to Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory.

I had left my rifle case keys at the motel and resigned myself to target butts duty or a lazy day. A friend, John McQuire from Mackay (Central Queensland Coast) said: “Get my 6.5 x 47 out, clean up, and you’re in the first detail (relay)”. So it was a borrowed gun for the shoot. The match commenced around 9:00 am. Conditions were very good — winds were very light with no mirage to speak of. Everything fell into place.”

Gun Specifications: Lawton 7500 action with Jewell trigger, PacNor barrel chambered for 6.5×47 Lapua, home-made custom stock, March 10-60x scope

6.5x47L Load: Lapua 123gr Scenars, with CCI 450 primers and Varget (ADI 2208) powder.

Peter Varley 1000 Yards Light Gun Record

*The current NBRSA Light Gun 1000 Yard 5-shot group record is 1.473″ by Bill Schrader in 2002. Tom Sarver is credited with an even smaller 5-shot IBS Light Gun record.

Permalink Competition 4 Comments »
March 25th, 2014

1000-Yard Shooting with Surgeon Scalpel .243 Win

Forum member Stan from Northern California (aka BigBamBoo) has produced a cool video showing a 1000-yard shooting session with his Surgeon Rifles .243 Win. As he shot prone from bipod, Stan filmed with two cameras, one aimed at the shooter and the other zoomed way out at the target 1000 yards away. Using frame in frame editing, Stan combined the two camera viewpoints so you can watch his trigger-pulling and simultaneously see what’s happening downrange. Stan hits steel five times in a row.

YouTube Preview Image

Surgeon RiflesIf you listen carefully, you can hear the steel ring about three seconds after each shot (it takes that long for the sound to travel back). On a couple shots you’ll see dust kick up at the side of the target — but that’s not a miss. Remember his bullet is impacting on steel and what you’re seeing is dust kicked up on ricochet by a bullet fragment.

The main purpose of Stan’s shooting session was to evaluate a new Badger FTE muzzle brake. Watch the video and you can see that the big brake dramatically reduces both rearward movement and bipod hop. Stan was very happy with the brake’s effectiveness, as it allows him to keep his scope on target, and cycle quickly for the next shot. Stan reports: “Just keep an eye on the rifle. Watch the recoil — it’s greatly reduced with the muzzle brake. Makes spotting my shots very easy.”

LOAD: Lapua .243 Winchester brass, Sierra 107gr MatchKings, Wolf LR primers, 40.1 grains of H4350 powder.

Stan posts: “I recently sent my Surgeon Scalpel in .243 back to Surgeon to have a Badger FTE muzzle brake installed. Got a chance between rain storms to get to the range and do some shooting. As you can hear in the video…the wind was blowing pretty hard. But that just adds to the fun of shooting at long range. Turn up the volume and you should be able to hear the five hits on steel. If you set the playback resolution to 480p or better and go ‘full screen’, you should be able to see most of the hits.”

Why is the Sound of the Hit Delayed So Long?
The speed of sound at sea level, in dry 59° air, is 1116 fps. With the steel target 3000 feet (1000 yards) away, it takes 3000/1116 or 2.69 seconds for the sound of each hit to reach the shooter.

Permalink - Videos, Shooting Skills 22 Comments »
February 16th, 2014

Williamsport Now Taking Reservations for 2014 Benchrest School

Benchrest School WilliamsportIf you want to learn how to shoot accurately at very long range, one of the very best places to learn is the Williamsport 1000-Yard Benchrest School. The 7th Annual Benchrest School will be held Friday June 6 through Sunday June 8, 2014. Classes, taught by top 1K shooters, are held at the Original Pennsylvania 1000-Yard Benchrest Club Range, one of the best 1K ranges in the country. View the range on the Williamsport website, PA1000yard.com.

Prospective students will be taught all aspects of long-range benchrest shooting by highly skilled instructors. All areas are covered: load development, precision reloading, bench skills, and target analysis. Much time is spent at the loading bench and on the firing line. And you don’t even need guns and ammo — all equipment and ammunition will be provided. For $300 students will enjoy 1 night and 2 days of intensive training under the guidance of some of our top 1000-yard shooters. The sign-up deadline is June 1st. To reserve a spot or get more info, email School Director/Vice President Ryan Miller: ryanmiller @ htva.net.

Williamsport 1000 yard Benchrest School

School Schedule, Friday Through Sunday
On Friday night (June 6th), students will meet their mentors. Saturday (June 7th), the class moves to the range for a full day of hands-on technical training. Topics will include precision reloading, load development, gun handling, use of chronograph, analysis of shooting results, gun cleaning, and target analysis. The club will provide the rifles and all reloading components. Saturday’s training sessions are followed by a steak dinner which is included in the $300 seminar price.

On Sunday (June 8th), after an early training session covering bench set-up and match strategies, students will participate in a 1000-yard match, spending time both behind the trigger and in the pits. Instructors will explain how to read conditions, and will demonstrate target measuring and analysis after the relays. The program wraps up by 4:00 pm on Sunday.

To see what the 1K Benchrest school is like, watch the slide show/video below, produced by Sebastian Reist, an alumnus of the 2009 Williamsport 1000-yard BR school. Sebastian, a talented professional photographer, captured the highlights of his Williamsport 1K training weekend:

Please enable Javascript and Flash to view this VideoPress video.
Story Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
October 14th, 2013

Canadian Shoots Best-Ever 100-16V in 1000-Yard F-Open Match

We like to recognize outstanding shooting accomplishments — this example by one of our Forum members from across the border in Canada. In a regional F-Class match, Gordon Ogg (aka ‘Ont001′) shot a 100-16V, which is believed the highest score shot in a match of this type in Canada. Gord hit all Fives for a perfect 100-point, 20-shot string of fire, with 16 in the V-Ring, the equivalent of the X-Ring in the USA. (A FIVE in Canadian scoring is the equivalent of a TEN in USA scoring.) Here is a photo of the official score card and one of the 3″-diameter Shot Indicators.

Canada 1000 yard F-Class F-Open Gordon Ogg record

In our Shooters’ Forum, Gord Ogg explained how the 100-16V was accomplished:

I was shooting 7mm WSM ammo I had left-over from the U.S. Nationals and F-Class World Championships. The rifle proved it still had life left in it — it continued to make me look good. My first relay went well, with a 99-15V. On the second match, it was working very well and I had not realized ’til after the last shot and Jim, my scorekeeper, gave me the total, did I actually think it could actually be a record. All I can say is… it felt GOOD.

Due to predicted thunderstorms for the afternoon, the match director changed the course of fire from [three matches], to two [20-shot] matches. First match was unlimited sighters and 20 on score and the second was 2 and 20 in string fire. As the weather did continue to deteriorate, it was a wise decision, as we would not have made it through all three matches.

Is This a New Canadian Record?
Though Gord’s fellow shooters believe this was a “best-ever” F-Open performance in Canada, it does not appear to be one for the record-books. Gord tells us: “As the Mons Range Championship was a DCRA/ORA sanctioned match in Canada, and our National body does not have a ‘records’ section to compare for a Canadian F-Open record, at best it can be considered a Mons Championship Match record of sorts.” Still, Gord’s 100-16V (the equivalent of a 200-16X under USA scoring) is an impressive feat. The current United States NRA F-Open Record for 20 shots at 1000 yards is 200-15X which is shared by a number of people but first set by Danny Biggs.

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June 23rd, 2013

Duane Capehart, Noted 1000-Yard Shooter, Has Left the Range

Dawn Patrol Duane Capehart Missoula Deep Creek MontanaWe are sad to announce the passing of Duane Capehart, a leading figure in the long-range shooting community. Duane passed away in early June, and is survived by his wife Pat. Duane was one of the game-changing Montana marksmen who smashed records at the Missoula Deep Creek range.

Duane was always ready to share his knowledge with fellow shooters, and he helped this website with many projects. His friend Tom Mousel tells us: “Duane was among a handful of guys that started 1000-yard benchrest here in Montana. The man was breaking records before most of us knew what ‘MOA’ was, and he remained competitive to the very end. He and his wife Pat were the backbone of our club for many years. I will miss you my friend.”

We are much diminished by Duane’s passing. Those who knew Duane are very saddened by this loss. Here are some remembrances from our Forum members:

Duane Capehart was a truly great Hall of Fame shooter and a noble man. I am grateful for the wisdom he shared with me. He was a great fellow shooter at the range, that he helped build, especially on those frosty mornings. He never hesitated to help a new shooter. He was a good friend and neighbor here in the Bitterroot. He will be long remembered. My condolences, Pat. — Greg R.

Duane and I shot together many times and always had lots of fun before, during, and after the shoots. He will be missed for sure by the 1000-yard community and especially by the Missoula bunch. God bless you Pat, our thoughts and prayers are with you. — Diane & Bill Shehane

I had the honor and privilege to shoot against and converse with Duane on three occasions, and also by phone[.] Duane was funny, witty, sincere, and a friend to everyone. He was one of the best 1000-yard shooters in the business. My heart and prayers go out to Pat, and all his family. — Donovan M.

I met Duane just four years ago. He welcomed me at Deep Creek and he and I spent many a morning before the shoots visiting about shooting, hunting, work and everything in between. People there always seemed to look up to Duane, and once you got to know him you understood why. I will never forget some of the shoots with him, he was an amazing shooter, several times while pulling his targets he would not even be on target with his sighters. But then the record target would go up and he would pull off a 98 or a 99, or even a 100. This did not just happen once either — Duane [was] simply an amazing guy! I helped him and Pat hook up their camper at the end of the August final shoot last year, shook his hand goodbye and he said “I will see ya in the spring young man”. Well that didn’t happen but I will always remember Duane and always be grateful that he was my friend. Happy shooting in Heaven Duane, and God Bless you Pat. — Wayne B.

Duane’s Dawn Patrol
Duane took this photo at the Deep Creek Range in March a few years back during one of his “Dawn Patrol” missions. Temperature? Duane said it was about 17 degrees! Now that’s dedication. Duane truly loved the shooting sports. He will be missed.

Dawn Patrol Duane Capehart Missoula Deep Creek Montana

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May 31st, 2013

50 BMG Barrett M107 — Off-Hand First-Shot-Hit at 1000 Yards

Ryan Cleckner 1000 yards off hand m107 Barrett 50 bmgShooting a 50 BMG, off-hand, at 1000 yards may seem absolutely nuts, but read on — this story should make you smile. At the Texas Triggers Ranch (Sonora, TX), former Army Ranger and Sniper Team Leader Ryan Cleckner, shooting OFF-HAND, hit a torso-sized steel silhouette target at 1000 yards with a 50-caliber Barrett M107. That would be impressive enough, but consider this — Ryan hit the target on his first shot. And yes he was shooting standing (on his hind legs), holding the 37-pound rifle with his arms (no support).

Watch VIDEO of Ryan Cleckner Shooting Barrett M107 Off-Hand at 1000 Yards

Ryan Cleckner 1000 yards off hand m107 Barrett 50 bmg

Jumbo-Sized Ammo, and Jumbo-Sized Recoil
The ammo Ryan used in his 50 BMG Barrett pushes a 661-grain bullet at 2900 fps muzzle velocity. This load (fired from this 37-pound rifle), has 12,357 ft-lbs of energy at the muzzle, and 81.88 ft-lbs of recoil energy. To put things in perspective, an 18-pound, .308 Win F-TR rifle, shooting a 168gr bullet at 2750 fps, has 7.99 ft-lbs of recoil energy. So, Ryan was shouldering a weapon that delivered more than Ten Times the recoil energy of a .308 Win. (Energy numbers calculated with Point Blank software). And he made it look easy. Kudos to Ryan for proving what a properly-trained marksman can do. Rangers Lead the Way….

Ryan Cleckner 1000 yards off hand m107 Barrett 50 bmg

Credit Steve Johnson of The Firearm Blog for finding this video.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Shooting Skills 10 Comments »
May 22nd, 2013

3.505″ 10-Shot 1K Group — Martinez Sets Pending LG Record

Williamsport Benchrest Club

Another long-range benchrest record was set recently — this time at the Williamsport Range in Pennsylvania. On Saturday, May 18, 2013, Paul Martinez shot a fantastic 3.505″ 10-shot group at 1000 yards. It was nicely centered for a 99-6X score as well. Paul’s 3.505″ group should be a new 10-shot record for the 17-lb Light Gun Class under Williamsport Rules. The previous best was a 3.746″ (99-1X) group shot by Scott Weber at Williamsport last summer. Congrats to Paul for some great shooting!

Martinez light gun 1000 yard record Williamsport

Paul’s 17-lb Light Gun was chambered as a .300 WSM and Paul was loading heavy-weight .30-caliber Berger bullets. Paul’s rifle was smithed by Eric Springman of Springman Rifles in Allenwood, PA. Paul’s record-setting rifle featured a Borden action, Krieger barrel, McMillan MBR Tooley stock, and Nightforce Benchrest model scope (we don’t know if this was the old BR scope or the new-for-2013 version). Eric Springman notes: “This was not a fluke — Paul has shot several small groups with this gun and has shot under 4″ at 1000 yards before.”

Under Williamsport Rules, the Light Gun Class shoots 10-shot groups at 1000 yards. Under IBS and NBRSA Rules, Light Guns shoot 5-shot groups at 1000 yards, so there is no comparable IBS or NBRSA 10-shot record for the 17-lb class. However, IBS and NBRSA Heavy Guns DO shoot 10-shot groups at 1000 yards. The current IBS Heavy Gun 10-shot record is 3.044″, shot by Joel Pendergraft in 2009. The NBRSA 10-Shot Heavy Gun record is 4.322″ by Dave Tooley, posted in 2006. Looking at those numbers, Paul Martinez’s 3.505″ beats the existing NBRSA HG record by 0.817″ and Paul’s group is just 0.461″ off the IBS HG record. Any way you look at it, that is great shooting with a 17-lb rifle.

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