October 6th, 2018

Prize Rifle for IBS Shooters in the Southeast Region

IBS International Benchrest shooters 30 BR prize rifle Kelbly action Brux barrel Nightforce scope
If you’ve never been to a benchrest match, visit the IBS website to find an affiliated club in your area. You’ll find schedules for upcoming events where you can learn about the sport.

This article describes an impressive complete benchrest rifle that will be awarded next month to an IBS competitor in the IBS Southeastern Region. This premium benchrest rig was a collaborative effort, with components and build labor donated by many companies. The rifle and scope prize will be awarded at a Banquet on November 10, 2018. The winner will be chosen from shooters who have accumulated “tickets” (essentially prize credits) over the course of the year. Tickets are earned through match attendance and shooting performance: 1 ticket for each match attended in the SE region ranges listed above (AFTER attending five matches). Shooters get additional tickets for a perfect 2,500 score, plus 10 additional tickets for attending at least one match at each and every participating range.

A Magnificent Prize
by Boyd Allen, IBS Vice President
Coming up with prizes for shooting events is always a challenge, and results can vary considerably from match to match. This rifle is at the apex of the prize pyramid. Few complete rifles are seen on prize tables, because of their cost, and because they are generally built to order from select components, produced by multiple manufacturers. There are no off-the-shelf benchrest rifles, and if there were, the price of one, complete with a quality scope, would be too great to ask of a single source, given the size of the typical businesses that serve this sport.

IBS International Benchrest shooters 30 BR prize rifle Kelbly action Brux barrel Nightforce scope

Any score shooter would be glad to have this rifle and feel quite fortunate to win it. It is a fine example of its type, made of top components, and stocked with a “Indian Blanket” pattern Obeche laminate that will not be seen again once the supply runs out, because the factory that produced it burned down. As you would expect for this type of competition, it is chambered for the 30 BR.

This prize rifle was built to increase interest and participation in centerfire score shooting in the Southeast Region of the International Benchrest Shooters (IBS), as well as to encourage competitors to visit more ranges and attend more IBS matches. Ranges participating in this prize campaign are:

Bluegrass Sportsmen’s League (Wilmore, KY), Buck Creek Gun Club (Somerset, KY), Georgia Mountain Shooting Association (Eastanollee, GA), Mid-Carolina Gun Club (Orangeburg, SC), Piedmont Gun Club (Rutherfordton, NC), and Palmetto Gun Club (Ridgeville, SC).

Good luck to everyone for the remainder of the 2018 season. NOTE: There are more detailed rules than we can reproduce here (for space reasons). If you intend on taking a serious run at this prize, take the time to inquire about all of the specifics.

IBS International Benchrest shooters 30 BR prize rifle Kelbly action Brux barrel Nightforce scope
Left to Right: Jim Cline, Doyle Anglin, and Ronnie Milford.

Background of the IBS Rifle Prize
Ronnie Milford explained: “Near the completion of the Southeastern Regional, I [asked] some of our fellow shooters about increasing participation. One of them suggested that we have one big prize that would be participation-based. I ran the idea of building a complete rifle by my personal gunsmith Doyle Anglin. He warned me that he had seen others try to do the same thing, and that it would be hard to get people to donate products. That lit a fire. First phone call was to Jim Kelbly who offered to donate the action. For the trigger Jim recommended a Bix & Andy from Chris at Bullet Central. I then called Jim Cline, and he got Brux to donate the barrel. Then, I talked to my NightForce contacts, Allen Stillwell and Wayne Dayberry. They donated a competition scope.

My next phone call was back to Doyle Anglin and I told him what had been donated. He then talked about ‘fitting and chambering, pillar bedding, and stock by Dixie Guns’. When Dave Short heard what we were doing, he donated a trigger guard, chamber cleaning kit, and a barrel tuner. Jim called Linwood Harrell who donated our scope rings. We were almost complete, and I told them that I would spray the finish on the stock. When this news got out, it caused a great deal of excitement.”

IBS International Benchrest shooters 30 BR prize rifle Kelbly action Brux barrel Nightforce scope

Prize Rifle Eligibility and Award Procedures
This custom rifle will be given away at the awards banquet on November 10, 2018 in Orangeburg, SC. The winner will be chosen using tickets earned during the season. A shooter will “earn” 1 prize chance ticket for each match attended in the SE region ranges listed above, AFTER attending five (5) matches. (If you attend four matches or less you will receive 0 tickets for attendance.) You can get 5 additional tickets for a perfect 2,500 score and 10 additional tickets for attending one match minimum at each participating range. We will keep track of the tickets earned and they will be passed out at the banquet for you to personally place them in the container.

Prize Rifle Being Constructed at Doyle Anglin and Ronnie Milford shops:

IBS International Benchrest shooters 30 BR prize rifle Kelbly action Brux barrel Nightforce scope

IBS International Benchrest shooters 30 BR prize rifle Kelbly action Brux barrel Nightforce scope

IBS International Benchrest shooters 30 BR prize rifle Kelbly action Brux barrel Nightforce scope

Support the Sponsors — This is a very impressive prize. Keep the generosity of all who donated to the project in mind the next time that you are in the market for products they make or sell. In the future we may offer a follow-up story about the rifle winner and his/her first competition with this 30 BR benchrest rifle. In any case, on November 10, 2018, someone is going to be very happy with their valuable prize.

Built to Shoot — Remember this rifle was created by donations, to grow the sport, and promote shooting, not to sell for monetary gain. If you do not plan on shooting this rifle, please donate it to an upcoming shooter. Ronnie Milford, and Jim Cline worked hard to make this dream become a reality. Let’s not let down the sponsors who continue to support us.

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September 21st, 2018

IBS Match Report: 2018 200/300-Yard Score Nationals

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC

Report by Boyd Allen, IBS Vice President
Photos by Hillary Martinez
Many of the nation’s best Score Benchrest shooters came to Maryland last month for the IBS 200/300-Yard Score Nationals. This is a one-shot-per-bullseye discipline dominated by accurate 30-caliber cartridges such as the 30 BR. Over the weekend of the 4th and 5th of August, 42 shooters participated in the 2018 IBS 200/300-Yard Score Nationals, held at the Thurmont Conservaton & Sportsman’s Club, in Thurmont, Maryland. Forty-one competitors shot Varmint for Score (VFS). Between the two 6X disciplines there were six competitors, equally divided between Hunter (H) and Varmint Hunter (VH). Dewey Hancock was “Top Gun” for the match, winning the VFS 200/300 Grand Agg with 500-23X, a possible new record.

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC

VIEW Complete Match Results on IBS WEBSITE »

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC
There are six bullseyes on an IBS Score target. Competitors take one shot per bull for five scored shots. The sixth (bottom right) bullseye is reserved for sighter shots.

Rising River After Rain
This match had some unique challenges — caused by a river that overflowed after a rain. Thankfully, the match proceeded without major problems once needed equipment was moved. It rained nearly half an inch the Friday night before the match, as it had for several days. Given the flooding, there was a slight delay Saturday morning. The scoring trailer had to be moved because it been parked (before the rain) in a low area adjacent to where Big Hunter Creek empties into the Monocacy River. (In the satellite view, the firing line cover is in the middle, about one-third up from the bottom.)

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC

Hot and Humid in Maryland — The match director described the weather as very hot and humid. On Saturday, the temperature varied from 66 to 81 degrees, the humidity from 62 to 100 %, and the wind speed from 0 to 9 mph. On Sunday, things warmed up a bit, the humidity was reported as a little lower, as was the wind speed.

The Green Fields of Thurmont — With recent rains at Thurmont, lush green grass stretched from firing line to targets. This elicits envy from a shooter who has spent all of his time on ranges that do not have a single blade of green anywhere, except for a few weeks during a short rainy season. To my eyes, this range is beautiful.

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC

Thurmont shooters are blessed with a truly outstanding facility that serves all types of shooting. There are fifteen covered benches of mixed construction under a sturdy cover, with plenty of parking both for vehicles and RVs. Learn more about the Thurmont Club at TCandSC.org.

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC

TOP TEN Match Results, and Equipment List

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC
Can anyone identify that big gold-tone coaxial rest on the right?

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPCThe VFS Grand Aggregate Top Five were: Dewey Hancock (1st Place), John Bosley (2nd), Ronnie Milford (3rd), Brian Fitch (4th), and Jim Cline (5th). VFS winner Dewey Hancock shot a possible new 200/300 yard record with a 500-23X.

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC
Top shooters left to right: Dewey Hancock, Nick Breeden, Brian Fitch, Glen Olenick, Robert Brooks, Steve Cameron, Dean Breeden (arms raised), KL Miller, Jim Cline, Ronnie Milford, John Bosley.

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC
Wayne France — with the “I just won a Nightforce” smile!

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC
Steve Eller smiling — BIB Bullets from Randy Robinette are always a good choice.

Dean Breeden, Match Director and Competitor

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC

Match directors do not get the appreciation they deserve. The match calendar would be blank without them. Score Nationals Match director Dean Breeden ran a great show here. In addition to rescuing a trailer from flood waters, and running the 200/300 Score Nationals, Dean also himself competed at the Nationals, shooting two rifles. He did well, with Top Ten finishes at both distances, in both VFS and Hunter classes (3rd in Hunter at 300 yards).

While Dean may be under-appreciated as a match director, Dean is widely recognized as one of the best IBS score shooters out there. Dean holds six (6) current IBS Score Shooting records.

In his Match Report, Dean acknowledged and thanked the generous match sponsors:

BIB Bullets
Brunos Shooter Supply
Brux Barrels
Dave Short Customs
Eddie Harren
Krieger Barrels
Nightforce
PMA Tool
Redding Reloading
ShadeTree Engineering
Wilson Dies

Parting Shot — Down by the Riverside…

Thurmont Conservation club IBS International Benchrest Score Championship Nationals Maryland VFS 30 BR PPC

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September 5th, 2018

TECH Tip — 30 BR Case-Forming Explained by Experts

30BR 30 BR case forming benchrest randy robinette al nyhus

30BR 30 BR case formingThe 30BR is an amazing little cartridge. However, 30BR shooters do have to neck-up 6mmBR brass and then deal with some issues that can arise from the expansion process. One of our Forum members was concerned about the donut that can form at the new (expanded) neck-shoulder junction. Respected bullet-maker Randy Robinett offers tips on how to deal with the “dreaded donut”.

The Forum member was concerned about thinning the brass if he turned his 30BR necks after expansion: “Everything I have found on 30BR case-forming says to simply turn off the bulge at the base of the neck caused by the old 6BR shoulder. I expanded my first case and measured the neck at 0.329″ except on the donut, where it measures 0.335″. Looking inside the case… reveals a groove inside the case under the donut. Now, it is a fact that when I turn that neck and remove the donut, the groove is still going to be there on the inside? That means there is now a thin-spot ring at the base of the neck that is .005 thinner than the rest of the neck. Has anyone experienced a neck cracking on this ring?”

Randy Robinett, who runs BIB Bullet Co., is one of the “founding fathers” of the 30BR who help prove and popularize the 30 BR for benchrest score shooting. Randy offers this advice on 30BR case-forming:

While the thinner neck-base was one of our original concerns, unless one cuts too deeply INTO the shoulder, it is not a problem. For my original 30BR chamber, thirty (30) cases were used to fire 6,400 rounds through the barrel. The cases were never annealed, yet there were ZERO case failures, neck separations, or splits. The case-necks were turned for a loaded-round neck diameter of .328″, and, from the beginning, sized with a .324″ neck-bushing.

The best method for avoiding the ‘bulge’ is to fire-form prior to neck-turning (several methods are successfully employed). Cutting too deeply into the shoulder can result in case-neck separations. I have witnessed this, but, with several barrels and thousands to shots fired, have not [personally] experienced it. The last registered BR event fired using that original barrel produced a 500-27x score and a second-place finish. [That’s] not bad for 6K plus shots, at something over 200 firings per case.

Check out the 30BR Cartridge Guide on AccurateShooter.com
You’ll find more information on 30BR Case-forming in our 30 BR Cartridge Guide. Here’s a short excerpt from that page — some tips provided by benchrest for score and HBR shooter Al Nyhus:

30BR Case-Forming Procedure by Al Nyhus
The 30BR cartridge is formed by necking-up 6BR or 7BR brass. You can do this in multiple stages or in one pass. You can use either an expander mandrel (like Joe Entrekin does), or a tapered button in a regular dies. Personally, I use a Redding tapered expander button, part number 16307. This expands the necks from 6mm to .30 cal in one pass. It works well as long as you lube the mandrel and the inside of the necks. I’ve also used the Sinclair expander body with a succession of larger mandrels, but this is a lot more work and the necks stay straighter with the Redding tapered button. This button can be used in any Redding die that has a large enough inside diameter to accept the BR case without any case-to-die contact.

Don’t be concerned about how straight the necks are before firing them the first time. When you whap them with around 50,000 psi, they will straighten out just fine! I recommend not seating the bullets into the lands for the first firing, provided there is an adequate light crush-fit of the case in the chamber. The Lapua cases will shorten from approx. 1.550″ to around 1.520″ after being necked up to 30-caliber I trim to 1.500″ with the (suggested) 1.520 length chambers. I don’t deburr the flash holes or uniform the primer pockets until after the first firing. I use a Ron Hoehn flash hole deburring tool that indexes on the primer pocket, not through the case mouth. — Al Nyhus

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August 27th, 2018

How to Expand Cartridge Brass in Stages with Progressive Press

Darrell Jones DJ's Brass Service expanding brass 6mmBR 6BR BRX 30BR Hornady press
Photos from DJ’s Brass Service.

Have you ever expanded a .22 or 6mm cartridge all the way up to .30-caliber? If so, you know this can be a difficult procedure that stresses the case necks and neck-shoulder junction. A significant neck-size expansion done in one big jump can increase run-out, cause doughnuts, or worse yet, even split the brass. Therefore you want to proceed in increments, increasing the neck diameter in stages. One smart way to do that is to use a Progressive Press. This article explains how…

The most successful short-range brenchrest-for-score cartridge is the 30 BR. That cartridge, as well as 30 BR variants such as the 30 BRX, all start with the 6mmBR Norma parent cartridge, typically with Lapua 6mmBR brass. To get a nice 30 BR case you want to expand in stages, increasing the inside neck diameter incrementally from .243 to .308.

Darrell Jones of DJ’s Brass Service creates thousands of 30 BR cases each year. He has found a clever way to speed up the process — Darrell uses a Progressive Press. He runs his 6BR brass through four (4) separate Hornady neck-sizing dies with expander mandrels. First there is a .257 die, followed by .264 (6.5mm), .284 (7mm), and then .308. Then a fifth and final K&M die provides one last, slight expansion so the newly-fashioned 30 BR cases perfectly fit the arbor of Darrell’s neck-turning tool.

So to repeat, the case starts as .243 (6mm), then moves in up stages .257, .264, .284, and .308, with a final “finishing” step prior to neck-turning. You can see the expansion in this video, which starts with 6mmBR brass that was first hydro-formed to 6 BRX:

Watch 6mm Cases Expanded to 30-Caliber (6BRX to 30 BRX)

For this demo video, Darrell expands just one case at a time. However, he can also put multiple cases in the progressive — one per station. This takes a little more effort, Darrell says, but the results are still excellent. Darrell tells us: “I do put multiple cases in the progressive to save time. The results are the same — I just wanted to show a single-step process and how it reduces run-out by not stressing the shoulder with one big expansion from 6mm straight to 30 caliber. Doing the operation in multiple stages avoids binds and helps keep the shoulders concentric.”

This same multi-stage procedure can be use to expand other cartridge types. For example you could take .221 Fireball brass in stages up to .308 to create 300 Blackout brass.

Darrell Jones DJ's Brass Service expanding brass 6mmBR 6BR BRX 30BR Hornady press

Darrell uses caliber-specific, Hornady neck-sizing-only dies with elliptical expanders. Darrell tells us: “The Hornady elliptical expander has a reduced bearing surface that puts less strain on the brass when expanding the necks to the next size.” The fitting at the bottom of the die is the Lock-N-Load die bushing that allows fast die changes.

These particular cases used in the video were first hydro-formed to 6BRX then expanded to 30 BRX before neck turning. DJ’s Brass offers hydro-forming for many popular wildcat cartridges such as 6 PPC, 6mm Dasher, and .284 Shehane.

Darrell Jones DJ's Brass Service expanding brass 6mmBR 6BR BRX 30BR Hornady press

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March 3rd, 2018

Thunder for Down-Under — Twin 30 BR Score Benchrest Rigs

30BR Hunter Class Rifle
This story, from our Gun of the Week Archives, offers a good intro to the 30 BR cartridge, which is still the leading chambering for short-range Score Benchrest.

What’s better than one custom-built 30 BR with gorgeous wood and top-shelf components? A matching pair of course. Just ask Australian shooter Greg Roche (“Caduceus” in our Forum). A decade ago, Greg spent two years living and working in the USA. While in America, he commissioned two matched custom rifles to bring back to Australia for Hunter Class BR matches. Though the look-alike rigs are both chambered in 30 BR, one is designed for the Australian “Traditional” centerfire Hunter Class (10-lb limit), while the other is purpose-built for the “Custom” centerfire Hunter Class (14-lb limit). The 10-lb Traditional rifle features a fully-functioning two-round magazine and a 6-power scope. In contrast the Custom Class rifle is a single-shot action, with a 45X Leupold scope. The Custom weighs 13.5 pounds so it can also be used in traditional Heavy Varmint Benchrest matches if desired.

30BR Hunter Class Rifle

Tale of Two Rifles
Story and Photos by Greg Roche (“Caduceus”)

The USA boasts some of the finest precision rifle-builders and Benchrest parts suppliers in the world. Before returning to Australia after two years in the States, I decided to have two special BR rifles built using American components and skilled labor. I wanted a matched pair–twin guns that would be as handsome as they were accurate. The heavier gun of the pair, the 13.5-lb Custom Class rifle, features top-of-the-line (but well-proven) technologies and components. With the 10.5-lb Traditional Class rifle, we had to develop new solutions to allow the 30 BR cartridge to feed from a functional two-round magazine. Here is my saga of how my twin 30 BRs were conceived and built, and how they have performed in competition.

30BR Hunter Class Rifle

BACKGROUND — The 30 BR for Score Competition

The 30 BR is a wildcat cartridge based on a necked-up version of the 6mmBR Norma case. It originated in U.S. Benchrest circles where it found its niche in Varmint For Score (VFS) matches. Unlike traditional Benchrest, where group size determines the winner, VFS matches are shot on a target with multiple, concentric-ringed bullseyes. Point total is based on “best edge” shot location (one shot per bull). In score competition, the 30 BR’s “supersized” .308-diameter hole offers an advantage over the 6mm hole created by a 6 PPC, the dominant group BR chambering.

30 BR cartridge

The starting point for loading the 30 BR wildcat is Lapua 6mmBR brass. These are necked up as a single-step operation using a .30 caliber tapered expander ball (or dedicated expander mandrel). This will leave a bulge in the neck, so the expanded case neck is normally turned to bring the thickness down to the correct dimension for the chamber. I turned these necks down to .010″ wall thickness using a Stiller neck-turning tool. It features an eccentric mandrel similar to the Nielson “Pumpkin”. Loaded rounds measure .328″ neck diameter. This gives minimum clearance in my .330″ neck chamber, so very little neck resizing is needed after firing. Cases are trimmed to 1.500″ prior to turning to ensure consistency since the Stiller tool indexes the length of cut off the case mouth. Other than that, cases are just chamfered, loaded and made ready to shoot. No special fire-forming is required.

17-Twist Barrels for Both Rifles
Texan gunsmith Mike Bryant chambered both barrels. Mike also polished both barrels to a high-gloss to match the receivers. In this game, barrels are consumables, much like powder and primers, so most owners wouldn’t bother to polish their barrels. However a 30 BR barrel can provide up to 5000 rounds of accurate life (unlike a 6PPC barrel which might be tossed after 800-1000 rounds.) So, these barrels are likely to be on the rifles for many seasons. Given the high-gloss finish of the Grizzly actions and the beauty of the Red Cedar stocks, it would have been an injustice to leave a dull finish on the barrels.

The chambers were both cut with the same reamer supplied by Dave Kiff of Pacific Tool and Gauge. Randy Robinett, one of the originators of the 30 BR wildcat, specified the reamer dimensions. Randy’s 118gr, 10-ogive custom BIB bullets and the 30 BR cartridge enjoy a winning track record in the USA. The 30 BR Robinette reamer has zero free-bore and a .330″ neck, and is optimized for the BIB 118s. The bullets perform best when seated far enough out to jam firmly into the rifling as the bolt is closed. The long ogive means the bullet’s bearing surface is very short.

Slow Twists for Maximum Accuracy
You may note the unusually slow twist rate of both barrels. In most .30-caliber chamberings, the barrel twist rate is 1:11 or 1:12 to stabilize 150gr to 200gr bullets. The 30 BR is optimized for 115gr to 118gr flat-base bullets and 1:17 provides sufficient stability at muzzle velocities around 2900-3000 fps. In competitive Benchrest, where every thousandth of an inch counts, over-stabilization of projectiles can hurt accuracy, so “just stable enough” is the goal; hence the 1:17 twist.

Case Forming, Case Prep, and Reloading Methods

Sinclair Neck Micrometer, 30 BR Neck Turning
A Sinclair case neck micrometer indicates neck thickness of 0.010″ after neck turning.

Sinclair Neck Micrometer, 30 BR Neck Turning30 BR dies are readily available from a number of manufacturers. I personally use Wilson neck and seating dies with a Sinclair Arbor press, but Redding and Forster both supply high-quality threaded dies for use in a conventional press. For under $100.00 US, custom full-length dies can be obtained from Hornady and CH Tool & Die by sending them reamer prints or a couple of fired cases. Harrell’s Precision offers “semi-custom” dies. Just send them some fired cases and they select a pre-made CNC-cut die that ideally fits your chamber. You can ask the Harrell brothers for a die that’s tighter at the shoulder or base, or otherwise customized to your preferences.

Load Development and Accuracy Testing
With cases formed and bullets selected, load development is simply a matter of choosing the right primer, powder and charge weight, and loading the most consistent ammunition possible. The Lapua BR cases use a small rifle primer. The choice here was Federal 205 Match primers vs. CCI BR4 Benchrest primers. Some shooters have also had success using CCI 450 Magnum primers but it is very unlikely the small case needs this much spark to light off regular extruded powders. In my case, I selected Federal primers because availability tends to be better in Australia.

The relatively large bore-to-capacity ratio of the 30 BR case means that fast burning powders are the order of the day. Once again, US experience suggests H4198 (the Hodgdon equivalent of ADI AR2207) is the choice of match winners. The fact that H4198/AR2207 is an Australian-made product is an added bonus. So, I loaded up test rounds with AR2207 from 32.5 grains to 35.0 grains in approximately 0.3 grain increments. All bullets were seated to jam +0.010″ into the lands. This places the bullet base about two-thirds of the way down the neck and well short of the neck-shoulder junction.

READ FULL Story on AccurateShooter.com Main Site »

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September 5th, 2017

Thinking Outside the Box — Stan Ware’s Wicked No-Neck Wolfpup

Stan Ware Wolfpup SGR Custom Rifles

Think you need a relatively long case-neck for good accuracy? Think again. Stan Ware broke all the rules with his radical Wolfpup cartridge, proving that a near-no-neck design can deliver match-winning accuracy. Read on to learn how the Wolfpup works…

Stan Ware SGR Custom RiflesRetired gunsmith Stan Ware is a talented shooter who’s not afraid to think “outside the box”. Stan competes in both Hunter Benchrest (HBR) and Varmint for Score (VFS) disciplines. In his quest to build the ultimate Hunter Benchrest cartridge, Stan created the radical “Wolfpup” wildcat, based on a 6mmBR parent case. Noting the dominance of 30 BRs in VFS matches, Stan wondered if a stretched 30 BR could work in HBR competition. The challenge was case capacity. Under HBR rules the cartridge must hold at least 45.0 grains of water, equal to the capacity of the classic 30/30 case.

To get the requisite HBR case capacity, Stan figured he needed to boost the volume of a 30 BR case significantly, so he would have to move the shoulder forward — a lot. He did this by running a 30 BR reamer deeper and deeper, test-firing brass along the way. After three reamer passes, he ended up with the capacity he needed (the Wolfpup holds 45.3 grains of water). But then he looked at the finished product — a case with almost no neck, and he wondered “how could this possibly work?”.

Stan Ware SGR Custom RiflesFrom Trashbin to Winner’s Circle
Ware’s prototype Wolfpup ended up so short-necked, so unlike any “normal” cartridge, that Stan figured it was “dead on arrival”. Stan told us: “I said ‘this ain’t going to work’ and I threw the brass in the trash can. Honest. But later I thought I better shoot it and see what it does.” There was one problem — Stan didn’t have a seating die. He noticed the short neck provided a bit of tension after fire-forming, so he literally seated some bullets, BIB 118s and 125s, with his fingers. For powder he used H4198 and started with 35 grains, one grain more than a 30 BR load. Stan then did a pressure work-up: “I actually went up to 41.0 grains and didn’t have a sticky bolt. I ended up at 37.9 grains of Hodgdon 4198 — that gave 3150 fps, where the sweet spot is.” (Later testing revealed a second accuracy node at about 3020 fps, using 36.4 grains of H4198).

Stan’s radical short-necked Wolfpup shot great from the get-go. Once he found the right velocity node, the gun shot in the ones and zeros with both 7-ogive and 10-ogive bullets, both 118s and 125s. The Wolfpup proved easy to tune — it’s not finicky at all. And it’s a winner. Stan began shooting the Wolfpup in 2006 in both VFS and HBR matches and the ‘Pup’ started winning matches right away. In 2007, Stan won the Wisconsin State VFS Championship shooting the Wolfpup. In June 2010 at a Webster City, Iowa VFS match, Stan won the Grand Agg and posted high X-Count for the match, while placing first at 100 yards and second at 200 yards. How’s that for a cartridge that almost ended up in the trash bin?

Does Stan deserve an award for “most innovative benchrest cartridge design”? Stan chuckles at that notion: “I’m not a hero, not a genius. I really didn’t do anything. The fun part is thinking outside the box — for me anyway. Shooting is an age-old process of experimentation. You never learn it all.”

Stan Ware Wolfpup HBR SGR Custom Rifles

Stan Ware Wolfpup HBR SGR Custom RiflesWhy Does It Work?
How can such a radical case design perform so well? “That’s a good question,” Stan admitted. He then explained: “The 30 BR is inherently accurate, so I figured something based on the 30 BR should be accurate too. My personal belief is that the short neck doesn’t hurt you. Plus if the throat in the barrel is straight, the bullet can self-align. If the chamber is good, the bullet will self-center in the throat. In a regular case there’s not much room to do that, so a bullet can start off-center, and you don’t get the same results every time. A bullet in a conventional case is stopped from self-centering by the stiffer neck, particularly in a tight-clearance BR gun.”

Reloading the .30 Wolfpup
Stan’s Wolfpup chamber has a neck dimension of 0.330″. He turns his necks for a 0.327″ loaded round. Bullets are jammed .020″ forward of first contact with the lands. When he closes the bolt it pushes the bullet back in the case — almost a soft seat. Stan notes: “To start with I normally bump the shoulder .0005-.001″ so they go in easy. Just by doing that I get a little neck tension. I also use a bushing. Right now I’m running a .322, but it’s not particularly sensitive. I’ve tried one-thousandths increments up to a .325 bushing and couldn’t tell a lot of difference.” For bullet seating, Stan uses a Wilson 30 BR seater die into which he ran the chamber reamer. This gives perfect case fit during seating operations.

Stan Ware Wolfpup SGR Custom Rifles

About the Illustrated Gunstock
You’ll notice Stan’s stock contains scenes from Vietnam and a quotation. Here’s the story. A Vietnam combat veteran, Stan served “in-country” with the Army’s 509th Non-Divisional Combat Unit (out of Fort Riley) from 1965-1966. Shortly before he left Vietnam, Stan went to a shop to have a souvenir lighter engraved. He asked the vendor for an appropriate inscription. The shop’s metal-worker engraved: “War is a tragedy. It takes mans’ best to do mans’ worst.” That message, along with the combat scenes, were hand-painted on Stan’s rifle by his wife Susan, a talented artist. She spent more than 20 hours painting the rifle stock.

Photos courtesy Ryan Ware and Stan Ware.
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May 10th, 2017

Tech Tip: Shoot BR Cases with Rebated Rims in PPC Actions

PPC 6mm BR .308 bolt face Cutting Head for Rebating Rims

Butch Lambert of ShadeTree Engineering provided this tip. Butch notes that many 6 PPC benchrest group shooters also enjoy shooting in score matches. But to be really competitive in the BR for score game, that means shooting a 30 BR, which has a wider, .308-class rim (0.4728″ diameter). Likewise, if you want to compete in 600-yard registered BR events or in varmint matches, you probably want to run a bigger case, such as the 6BR, 6mm Dasher, or 6-6.5×47. Those cartridges also have the larger 0.4728″ rims.
PPC 6mm BR .308 bolt face Cutting Head for Rebating Rims
To convert a PPC-boltface action to shoot the bigger cases you can spend a ton of money and buy a new bolt. That can cost hundreds of dollars. The simpler solution is to turn down the diameter of the larger cases on a lathe.

Butch explains: “We’ve seen plenty of interest in rebating case rims. This lets you shoot a 30 BR in score matches using your PPC action. All you need is a new barrel. This saves buying another bolt, receiver, or rifle if you have a PPC boltface. Anyone who has access to a lathe can do this job pretty easily. Yesterday I turned 150 case in about an hour.” At right is the lathe form tool Butch uses to rebate the case rims.

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October 25th, 2016

IBS Match Report: 2016 200/300-Yard Score Nationals

IBS Score Nationals Orangeburg South Carolina 30BR Score Benchrest 200 300 H4198 National championships Paul Hammer

Earlier this month the International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) held its annual 200/300 Yard Score Nationals at the Mid-Carolina Gun Club in Orangeburg, South Carolina. The event was attended by 40 shooters from the Mid-Atlantic states. Despite sometimes tricky conditions the IBS competitors produced impressive results. Wayne France shot a great match to win the Grand Agg with 497-14X as well as take top honors at 300 yards (249-6X). Steve Hill won the 200-yard stage with a 250-10X, not dropping a point even in challenging conditions. Finishing a close second in the Grand Agg was bullet-maker Allie Euber with 497-11X. Third overall was Jim Cline with 496-10X.

IBS Score Nationals Orangeburg South Carolina 30BR Score Benchrest 200 300 H4198 National championships Paul Hammer

TOP TEN Grand Aggregate Results
IBS Score Nationals Orangeburg South Carolina 30BR Score Benchrest 200 300 H4198 National championships Paul Hammer

IBS 200/300 Yard Score Nationals, South Carolina, Oct. 14-16, 2016

Report by Paul Hammer, IBS Editor
I attended the 200-300 Yard IBS Score Nationals this year, being held for the first time at the Mid-Carolina Gun Club in Orangeburg, South Carolina. The Mid-Carolina Club is a well-established, multi-discipline shooting facility that offers Benchrest matches, as well as other types of rifle, pistol, skeet, and trap shooting. The well-designed Benchrest facility at the club is fairly new.

The Mid-Carolina Gun Club Benchrest range featured 20 benches, with a new and very nice covered area. There is plenty of room for the competitors to “set up shop” for reloading and do gun maintenance between relays. The Benchrest area even has its own office for weighing in the guns etc., and its own restrooms. The Benchrest area also has a modern PA system that permits the range officers to run the match safely and efficiently.

The Mid-Carolina Gun Club offered 20 concrete benches, sheltered from the sun.
IBS Score Nationals Orangeburg South Carolina 30BR Score Benchrest 200 300 H4198 National championships Paul Hammer

Mother Nature provided extra nice southern weather for everyone for the entire weekend, except for some persistent and tricky winds to keep the shooters on their toes. Friday was the first day of this exacting Benchrest shoot that gave the competitors time for practice and to set up the wind flags before the Saturday 200-yard event. And Saturday’s conditions proved that the wind flags would be necessary!

Shifting Conditions on Saturday Challenged Shooters
Saturday morning started out with lots of erratic shifting winds which tested the competitors’ wind-reading skills. The winds did subside later in the day, but not much, and after each relay shooters were talking about the one or two that “got away” from them.

Benchrest Score shooting is all about trying to “hit the dot” on 25 separate bullseye targets over five relays. The center “dot” is only about 1/16th of an inch in diameter, and if you hit it, the hits score an “X” for you. Perfect scores of 250 are the goal of top competitors in this exacting rifle competition. Hits on the Xs are what break the ties.

IBS Score Benchrest shooting is fun for young and old alike….
IBS Score Nationals Orangeburg South Carolina 30BR Score Benchrest 200 300 H4198 National championships Paul Hammer

Most score rifle shooters usually use a co-axial (Joystick-type) front rest that enables them to rapidly position their rifle for each shot, moving from target to target quickly and precisely.

“Blonde on Blonde” — Here’s a lovely blonde maple stock resting in a custom light-colored wood cleaning cradle box. Handsome gun, nice workmanship on the cleaning box.
IBS Score Nationals Orangeburg South Carolina 30BR Score Benchrest 200 300 H4198 National championships Paul Hammer

Rifles for Score Benchrest are usually built especially for the sport. The 30 BR is by far the most popular cartridge for this discipline. The 30 BR’s larger-diameter bullet hole gives the shooter a scoring edge over a 6mm or smaller caliber. Though the 6PPC is “King of the Hill” in group matches, the larger-caliber 30 BR rules the roost in Score competition.

Mr. Ronnie Long is one of the leading developers of the 30 BR and also an excellent riflesmith. Ronnie showed up Saturday morning for the match to see many of his friends. It was good to see him at the match! It is not surprising that many of the competitors use his rifles. I would also mention that the 30 BRs that Ronnie crafts are really works of art. Ronnie’s custom-built rifles display precision metal and beautiful stock work (many have exotic paint jobs), and of course they are very accurate!

Sunday’s 300-Yard match concluded the tournament. The competitors really seemed to enjoy this match, which gave them the opportunity to pursue perfection in shooting, and to learn from others. Many thanks to the Mid-Carolina Gun Club, whose members assisted with the targets and cooked some great meals. The Mid-Carolina Club proved an excellent host facility, delivering a well-run match and excellent meals for the competitors.

The Mid-South Club in South Carolina hosted this year’s 200/300 Score Nationals.
IBS Score Nationals Orangeburg South Carolina 30BR Score Benchrest 200 300 H4198 National championships Paul Hammer

If you’d like to try out the sport of Benchrest shooting then you’ll be welcome to join us at any of our matches. The IBS offers a variety of rifle-shooting disciplines: Group BR Matches, Score BR Matches, Mid-Range Matches, and Long-Range Matches. It’s a great way to learn a lot about rifle shooting and meet some nice folks too!

For complete match results from the 200/300 Nationals, visit the IBS Website. You’ll find full individual results, plus a full equipment list. Shown below is the the Top TEN equipment list (click to enlarge).

TOP TEN Equipment List — CLICK to VIEW Full-Screen:
Benchrest IBS Equipment list

While some competitors shoot, others reload — that’s the nature of the short-range Benchrest game.
IBS Score Nationals Orangeburg South Carolina 30BR Score Benchrest 200 300 H4198 National championships Paul Hammer

IBS Score Nationals Orangeburg South Carolina 30BR Score Benchrest 200 300 H4198 National championships Paul Hammer

IBS Score Nationals Orangeburg South Carolina 30BR Score Benchrest 200 300 H4198 National championships Paul Hammer

Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
August 7th, 2016

30 BRX Wildcat — a 30 BR Improved That Runs Significantly Faster

30 BR 6mmBR 30 BRX wildcat Al Nyhus

We first ran this story a few years back. But it’s still a very interesting subject for benchrest shooters. Shown above, the 30 BR (a 6mmBR necked up to .30 Caliber) currently rules the benchrest-for-score game. However, a 30 BR Improved offers some potential advantages, particularly when the winds are strong or tricky. In this article Al Nyhus explains his 30 BRX wildcat. Running Hodgdon H4198, Al says he gets an easy 150 -200 FPS more than the conventional 30 BR. That can translate to less drift in the wind. It also lets you pursue a higher speed node, which can lead to improved accuracy with some barrels.

30 BRX wildcat cartridge VFSForum member Al Nyhus is a top-level score shooter who has competed successfully with the 30 BR cartridge in VFS (Varmint for Score) matches. Al has been working on an “improved” 30 BR cartridge that delivers extra velocity. Al’s 30 BRX cartridge is inspired by the 6mm BRX cartridge, popular in 600-yard benchrest and across-the-course competition. The 6mm BRX cartridge maintains the same sidewall profile and shoulder angle as the parent 6mmBR case. Likewise, the 30 BRX retains the 30° shoulder used on the popular 30 BR cartridge.

Al reports: “Thought you might like to see what I’ll be working with in my VFS gun this season. It’s a true 30 BRX — a 30 BR with the shoulder moved forward 0.100″ with the standard BR shoulder angle. Stan Ware of SGR Custom Rifles built one last season for Steve Grosvenor and I was really impressed by the performance of Steve’s gun. The 30 BR barrel on my VFS gun needed replacing, so the new 30 BRX got the nod.”

30 BRX Delivers 150-200 FPS More Velocity than 30 BR
Al says his 30 BRX gives a solid 150-200 fps speed gain over the 30 BR at the top, while needing just 2.5-3.0 more grains of Hodgdon H4198 to do so. A 30 BR case holds on average 40.8 grains of water, while the 30 BRX holds 42.3 grains (roughly 4% more). So the 30 BRX delivers a 7% increase in velocity with a mere 4% increase in H20 capacity. That’s pretty good efficiency. [Editor’s Note: Assuming 34 grains of H4198 is a typical 30 BR match load, Al’s increase of 2.5-3.0 grains for the 30 BRX represents roughly a 7.5-8.5% increase in actual powder burned. That explains the higher velocities.]

Why did Nyhus decide to try an “improved” 30 BR?

Al explains: “The 30 BRX was created to operate at a [higher] velocity level than can be achieved with the standard 30 BR case, while at the same time keeping the easy-tuning characteristics of the standard 30 BR case. We also wanted to use the same powders currently used with the 30 BR and maintain similar operating pressures.” Is the 30BRX harder to shoot because of the increased velocity? Al doesn’t think so: “In a 13.5-lb HV gun, the 30 BRX case is a pleasure to shoot with just a flea bite of recoil.”

Will the 30 BRX Replace the 30 BR in Score Competition?
The 30 BR is already an exceptionally accurate cartridge that dominates short-range Benchrest for Score competition. Will the 30 BRX make the standard 30 BR obsolete? Nyhus doesn’t think so. However, Al believes the 30 BRX offers a small but important edge in some situations: “On any given day, it’s the shooter that hits the flags best and makes the fewest mistakes that ends up on top. No amount of velocity will save you when you press the trigger at the wrong time. Missing a switch or angle change at 200 yards that results in 3/4″ of bullet displacement on the target can’t be compensated for with another 200 fps. That’s the hard fact of benchrest shooting. But on those days when, as Randy Robinett says, ‘our brains are working’, the BRX may offer enough of an advantage to turn a close-but-no-cigar 10 into an ‘X’ at 200 yards. Or turn a just-over-the-line 9 into a beggar 10.” Given the fierce competition in Score matches, an extra 10 or another X can make the difference between a podium finish and also-ran status.

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December 8th, 2015

Point-Blank Powders in Stock — PVI Has Jugs of the Good Stuff

Vihtavuori N133 powder valley

Here’s good news for short-range benchrest shooters. The two most popular powders for the 6PPC, Vihtavuori N133 and Accurate LT-32, are now in-stock at Powder Valley Inc. (PVI). In fact, Powder Valley even has the hard-to-find 8-lb jugs of N133 and LT-32.

For you 30BR score shooters, PVI has both Hodgdon H4198 and Accurate LT-30 in stock, the two most popular powders for the 30BR. A slightly faster-burning version of LT-32, LT-30 is a very promising powder for the 30 BR, while H4198 has traditionally been the “go-to” choice for the 100/200-yard score shooting game. PVI has 1-lb and 8-lb containers of both these ultra-accurate powders in stock now. Visit PowderValleyinc.com, and click on the “Powders” link in the Menu.

6PPC Powders 30 BR Powders

– PVI has 1-pound LT-32 for $27.10
— PVI has 8-pound LT-32 for $204.30
— PVI has 1-pound N133 for $31.25
— PVI has 8-pound N133 for $202.00

– PVI has 1-lb LT-30 for $27.10
— PVI has 8-pound LT-32 for $204.30
— PVI has 1-pound H4198 for $23.25
— PVI has 8-pound H4198 for $165.00

Lapua Vihtavuori burn rate charts

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 2 Comments »
November 25th, 2015

Wildcat with Almost No Neck — Stan Ware’s Wicked Wolfpup

Stan Ware Wolfpup SGR Custom Rifles

Think you need a relatively long case-neck for good accuracy? Think again. Stan Ware broke all the “rules” with his radical Wolfpup cartridge, proving that a near-no-neck design can deliver super accuracy. Read on to learn how the Wolfpup works…

Stan Ware SGR Custom RiflesRetired gunsmith Stan Ware is a talented shooter who’s not afraid to think “outside the box”. Stan competes in both Hunter Benchrest (HBR) and Varmint for Score (VFS) disciplines. In his quest to build the ultimate Hunter Benchrest cartridge, Stan created the radical “Wolfpup” wildcat, based on a 6mmBR parent case. Noting the dominance of 30 BRs in VFS matches, Stan wondered if a stretched 30 BR could work in HBR competition. The challenge was case capacity. Under HBR rules the cartridge must hold at least 45.0 grains of water, equal to the capacity of the classic 30/30 case.

To get the requisite HBR case capacity, Stan figured he needed to boost the volume of a 30 BR case significantly, so he would have to move the shoulder forward — a lot. He did this by running a 30 BR reamer deeper and deeper, test-firing brass along the way. After three reamer passes, he ended up with the capacity he needed (the Wolfpup holds 45.3 grains of water). But then he looked at the finished product — a case with almost no neck, and he wondered “how could this possibly work?”.

Stan Ware SGR Custom RiflesFrom Trashbin to Winner’s Circle
Ware’s prototype Wolfpup ended up so short-necked, so unlike any “normal” cartridge, that Stan figured it was “dead on arrival”. Stan told us: “I said ‘this ain’t going to work’ and I threw the brass in the trash can. Honest. But later I thought I better shoot it and see what it does.” There was one problem — Stan didn’t have a seating die. He noticed the short neck provided a bit of tension after fire-forming, so he literally seated some bullets, BIB 118s and 125s, with his fingers. For powder he used H4198 and started with 35 grains, one grain more than a 30 BR load. Stan then did a pressure work-up: “I actually went up to 41.0 grains and didn’t have a sticky bolt. I ended up at 37.9 grains of Hodgdon 4198 — that gave 3150 fps, where the sweet spot is.” (Later testing revealed a second accuracy node at about 3020 fps, using 36.4 grains of H4198).

Stan’s radical short-necked Wolfpup shot great from the get-go. Once he found the right velocity node, the gun shot in the ones and zeros with both 7-ogive and 10-ogive bullets, both 118s and 125s. The Wolfpup proved easy to tune — it’s not finicky at all. And it’s a winner. Stan began shooting the Wolfpup in 2006 in both VFS and HBR matches and the ‘Pup’ started winning matches right away. In 2007, Stan won the Wisconsin State VFS Championship shooting the Wolfpup. In June 2010 at a Webster City, Iowa VFS match, Stan won the Grand Agg and posted high X-Count for the match, while placing first at 100 yards and second at 200 yards. How’s that for a cartridge that almost ended up in the trash bin?

Does Stan deserve an award for “most innovative benchrest cartridge design”? Stan chuckles at that notion: “I’m not a hero, not a genius. I really didn’t do anything. The fun part is thinking outside the box — for me anyway. Shooting is an age-old process of experimentation. You never learn it all.”

Stan Ware Wolfpup HBR SGR Custom Rifles

Stan Ware Wolfpup HBR SGR Custom RiflesWhy Does It Work?
How can such a radical case design perform so well? “That’s a good question,” Stan admitted. He then explained: “The 30 BR is inherently accurate, so I figured something based on the 30 BR should be accurate too. My personal belief is that the short neck doesn’t hurt you. Plus if the throat in the barrel is straight, the bullet can self-align. If the chamber is good, the bullet will self-center in the throat. In a regular case there’s not much room to do that, so a bullet can start off-center, and you don’t get the same results every time. A bullet in a conventional case is stopped from self-centering by the stiffer neck, particularly in a tight-clearance BR gun.”

Reloading the .30 Wolfpup
Stan’s Wolfpup chamber has a neck dimension of 0.330″. He turns his necks for a 0.327″ loaded round. Bullets are jammed .020″ forward of first contact with the lands. When he closes the bolt it pushes the bullet back in the case — almost a soft seat. Stan notes: “To start with I normally bump the shoulder .0005-.001″ so they go in easy. Just by doing that I get a little neck tension. I also use a bushing. Right now I’m running a .322, but it’s not particularly sensitive. I’ve tried one-thousandths increments up to a .325 bushing and couldn’t tell a lot of difference.” For bullet seating, Stan uses a Wilson 30 BR seater die into which he ran the chamber reamer. This gives perfect case fit during seating operations.

Stan Ware Wolfpup SGR Custom Rifles

About the Illustrated Gunstock
You’ll notice Stan’s stock contains scenes from Vietnam and a quotation. Here’s the story. A Vietnam combat veteran, Stan served “in-country” with the Army’s 509th Non-Divisional Combat Unit (out of Fort Riley) from 1965-1966. Shortly before he left Vietnam, Stan went to a shop to have a souvenir lighter engraved. He asked the vendor for an appropriate inscription. The shop’s metal-worker engraved: “War is a tragedy. It takes mans’ best to do mans’ worst.” That message, along with the combat scenes, were hand-painted on Stan’s rifle by his wife Susan, a talented artist. She spent more than 20 hours painting the rifle stock.

Photos courtesy Ryan Ware and Stan Ware.
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September 27th, 2015

Match Report: IBS 200/300 Yard Score Nationals in NC

IBS ashe County 200 300 Nationals Score Shooting

Report by Clint Johnson, ACWLC
The 2015 IBS 200/300 Yard National Championships were held September 12-13 at the Ashe County Wildlife Club (ACWLC) outside Jefferson, North Carolina. Fifty shooters from 13 states attended. Nightforce was the major event sponsor, donating a $2,400 rifle scope. While rain threatened to mar the 200-yard match on Saturday, none fell. By Sunday, the day of the 300-yard shoot, the first cold front of the fall had passed, leaving mostly sunny conditions.

Conditions Keep Scores Low At 200/300 Yard Nationals
The rain that fell on Friday night started drying Saturday morning when the sun rose. That slow evaporation created mirage that plagued shooters looking northeast down the two-year-old, 300-yard range with a 50-foot high backstop. The wind that came in with the cold front also hampered shooters on both days.

IBS ashe County 200 300 Nationals Score Shooting

IBS 200/300 Nationals Match Results (XLS) | IBS 200/300 Nationals Equipment List (XLS)

Mean Conditions at Ashe County
“Shooters told me the conditions were as bad as they have ever shot”, said Steve Eller, the IBS chair for the Wildlife Club. “We all had a hard time seeing the rings through the mirage blur. No one shot clean, and no records were set.”

IBS ashe County 200 300 Nationals Score Shooting

IBS ashe County 200 300 Nationals Score Shooting

Shooters came from as far away as Maine, Indiana and Florida to Ashe County, “the coolest corner of North Carolina”. The ACWLC range is located in the mountainous northwest point of the state with Virginia to the north and Tennessee to the west. Some of those shooters have made every one of the four IBS-sanctioned matches held at the club this year and last year. The Club hosted the 100 and 200 Yard National Championship in 2014, the first full year since the opening of the club house in 2013 with its 30 benches protected by an overhang.

IBS ashe County 200 300 Nationals Score Shooting

“I love coming here. It is my favorite place to shoot,” said Hillary Martinez of Damascus, Maryland. Hillary, shown below, was one of the four women shooters this year.

IBS ashe County 200 300 Nationals Score Shooting

Danny Hensley of Jonesville, Virgina, won the Grand Aggregate Varmint for Score (VFS) with a score of 493 (10X), followed by David Richardson with 492 (11X) and Randy Jarvais with 491 (12X). Danny talks about his victory in the audio clip linked below. To listen, click on the black arrow in the white circle.

AUDIO FILE: Danny Hensley Talks about the Conditions at the 200/300 Nationals.

IBS ashe County 200 300 Nationals Score Shooting

Here are all the Class Winners at the IBS 200/300 Yard Nationals:

IBS ashe County 200 300 Nationals Score Shooting

Wayne France of Burke, Va. won the 200-Yard VFS with a score of 250 (11X), followed by rookie Ken Habedank with score of 250 (8X), and David Richardson with a score of 250 (8X).Morris Williams of Eden, Maryland, won the 300-Yard VFS with a score of 244 (3X), followed by Danny Hensley with a score of 243 (4X), and David Richardson with a score of 242 (3X).

There were just five (5) shooters in the Hunter Class. Dean Breeden topped the small field to win the Hunter Grand Aggregate with a score of 483 (10X), followed by Randy Jarvais with a sore of 480 (7X), and K.L. Miller with a score of 478 (12X). Randy Jarvais won the 200-Yard Hunter with a score of 248 (6X), followed by K.L. Miller with a score of 246( 8X), and Dean Breeden with a score of 246 (7X). Orland Bunker of Damariscotta, Maine, won the 300-Yard Hunter with a score of 238 (2X), followed by Dean Breeden with a score of 237 (3X), and K.L. Miller with a score of 232 (4X).

Dean Breeden (Frederick, Maryland) had a beautifully-figured wood composite rifle.
IBS ashe County 200 300 Nationals Score Shooting

Barbecue North Carolina Style
Some shooters remarked that they drove to Ashe County not only to shoot, but to eat as well. A 300-pound hog was slow-cooked all Friday night by Club members. Corn was also roasted on the grill. The cost of this distinctive North Carolina pork barbecue was included in the registration fee.

IBS ashe County 200 300 Nationals Score Shooting

Ashe County Wildlife Club maintains a website, www.acwlc.org and a public Facebook page. The Club hosts rifle, pistol, and shotgun sports (skeet, trap, sporting clays) events at its range facility located about 15 miles east of West Jefferson at 3220 Big Peek Creek Road, Laurel Springs, NC (turn north off NC Highway 88). Visit www.acwlc.org to learn more about the club or obtain Membership applications.

IBS ashe County 200 300 Nationals Score Shooting

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June 20th, 2015

IBS Match Report: Bud Pryor Memorial Match, 100-200-300

Bud Pryor Benchrest Match Score Shooting IBS 30BR accurateshooter.com
Here’s the early morning view, looking down-range through Orland Bunker’s 6X Hunter Class scope.

21st Annual Bud Pryor Memorial Match: June 12-14, 2015
Match Report by Richard Grosbier for IBS
It was hot and humid for the 21st Bud Pryor Memorial match. Temperatures were in the high 80s with humidity in the high 90% range all three days. For once we never got rained on. Thunderstorms with high winds were forecast for both Saturday and Sunday. Luckily the storms materialized AFTER the shooting concluded on both days. Wind was not especially strong all weekend but it was tricky and could let off, pick up, or reverse in a heartbeat. Even at 100 yards (on Friday), good shooters lost points.

Thurmont Conservation & Sportsman’s Club, Thurmont, Maryland
Bud Pryor Benchrest Match Score Shooting IBS 30BR accurateshooter.com
Click Photo above to see large image.

Equipment List | Grand Aggregate Results | 100 Yard | 200 Yard | 300 Yard

Three 750s Shot in Varmint for Score Grand Agg
In the Varmint for Score (VFS) 100-200-300 Grand Aggregate John Cascarino was the big winner with a 750-35X. This writer was very happy to see John win a big match. He is a great guy who does an enormous amount of work for all IBS shooters and clubs in his role as IBS Second Vice President. Ricky Read was second with a 750-31X followed closely by Wayne France with 750-28X. It is quite unusual for there to be three 750 scores shot at the “Bud”. I checked the IBS website for 11 years back and found no more than two and frequently there are no 750s shot at the event.

Bud Pryor Benchrest Match Score Shooting IBS 30BR accurateshooter.com
VFS Grand Aggregate Winner John Cascarino.

Top honors in Hunter Class went to Randy Jarvais (below) with a 742-23X. Second went to Gary Long with 742-22X and third to Orland Bunker with 737-25X. Most people had an enjoyable weekend, the threatened thunderstorms never materialized until after the shooting was over.

Bud Pryor Benchrest Match Score Shooting IBS 30BR accurateshooter.com
Hunter Class Winner Randy Jarvais.

Bud Pryor Benchrest Match Score Shooting IBS 30BR accurateshooter.com


Roy Hunter and his “Ugly Stock”
Roy Hunter crafts superb wood-composite, carbon-reinforced stocks. These great-shooting stocks are very popular among benchresters, particularly on the East Coast. Roy complained that every time he built himself a rifle somebody would offer to buy it at a price he could not refuse. That was frustrating so Roy built the odd-looking, calico rifle shown below. He deliberately made it “so ugly nobody that would want it.” At least it does (sort-of) match his multi-color prop-top hat. (Will propeller-top beanies become a hot “must-have” item at Benchrest matches, augmenting downrange wind-flags?)

Click Photo below to see large image:
Bud Pryor Benchrest Match Score Shooting IBS 30BR accurateshooter.com


Day by Day Results:

100 Yards on Friday
A large contingent of Southern shooters were competing at the Bud Pryor for the first time. Initially, it seemed that the southerners might take home all the marbles. At Friday’s 100-yard match, Richard Sissel took first with a nice 250-24X score, followed closely by Ronnie Milford with 250-23X. James Parham, also a Southerner, was third with the first of two 22X scores. Match Director Dean Breeden placed fourth.

In Hunter Class, “Mainiac” Orland Bunker turned in an impressive 250-18X score at 100 yards, shooting with a 6-power scope and 2-1/4″-wide fore-end. To put that in perspective, Orland’s score would have placed him ahead of 60% of the VFS shooters, all of whom benefited from using wider stocks and high-magnification optics.

200 Yards on Saturday
Bud Pryor Benchrest Match Score Shooting IBS 30BR accurateshooter.comSaturday the targets were moved back to 200 yards and the fun continued. Hall-of-Famer Allie Euber from Vermont took top honors in VFS class with a 250-14X score from his LV rifle. In the Points Race for Score Shooter Of the Year (SSOY), it was another sweep for the Southern contingent. Under IBS rules, only the first rifle one shoots may garner SSOY points. Allie did, in fact, win the 200 VFS stage (with his LV). However, as he shot his HV rifle on the second relay and his LV on the third relay, Allie picked up no SSOY points.

Accumulating the most SSOY points was second place Jerry Powers with 250-13X, followed by third place Jim Cline also with 250-13X. In Hunter Class, Orland Bunker was still on a tear, logging a 248-4X score, followed closely by Gary Long with a 247-6X score. Gary’s score included a one-point crossfire penalty. Had he not cross-fired, Gary would have finished first.

300 Yards on Sunday
Sunday’s 300-yard competition is always the big equalizer at this event. Conditions were relatively mild at Thurmont for the 300-yard match but there was enough wind and mirage to keep scores down. Another Hall of Famer, Harley Baker from Pennsylvania, won the yardage with a nice 250-6X score. Dewey Hancock took second (also with a 250-6X score), followed by John Cascarino with the same score. VFS front-runner Richard Sissel shot well but two dropped points moved him down to 13th at 300.

In all there were only five 250s shot of the 44 guns in attendance. Veteran shooter Ricky Read shot 250-4X and Wayne France turned in a 250-2X performance. In Hunter class, the 100/200 front runner Orland Bunker struggled at 300 yards. K.L. Miller, who only shot the 300-yard stage, won Hunter class with a 249-5X. Miller was attempting to break the 300-yard Hunter record and almost did. Randy Jarvais was second with a 247-2X.

Target Cake is a Big Hit
Ready, Aim, Eat. A special hand-decorated cake featured a six-bull target (complete with sighter shots). Beautifully presented, the Bud Pryor bullseye cake was a huge hit with match attendees. Here is Sandy the food lady with the confectionery masterpiece. Sandy also provided wonderful home-cooked food to the shooters at Thurmont.

Bud Pryor Benchrest Match Score Shooting IBS 30BR accurateshooter.com

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January 15th, 2015

Load Data for Accurate LT-30 and LT-32 Powders

Western Powders LT-32 LT-30 accurate powder

Is that target good enough? Yes that’s really five (5) shots. This amazing group was shot, in competition, with 6 PPC cartridges loaded with Accurate LT-32 powder. If you’d like to try out this powder in your rifle, Western Powders has released loading data for the LT series of powders. LT-32 is a good choice if you’re currently using propellants with burn rates similar to Vihtavuori N133 or Hodgdon Benchmark powders. (Caution: NEVER simply substitute loads powder for powder. Always start low and work up when trying a new powder). The other powder in Accurate’s LT series, LT-30, has a burn rate similar to Hodgdon H4198. LT-30 is a superb performer in the 30 BR cartridge. LT-30 also is a good choice for small varmint cartridges such as the 17 Rem Fireball.

Western Powders LT-32 LT-30 accurate powder

benchrest 30 BR rem remington lt-32 powder Western

Download FREE Reloading Guide for Accurate and Ramshot Powders
You can also download the complete Western Powders Reloading Guide in PDF format. This covers Accurate and Ramshot propellants.

Western Powders LT-32 LT-30 accurate powder

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 4 Comments »
November 12th, 2014

New LT-30 Powder — Accuracy Rivals H4198, with More Speed

Accurate Western Powder LT-32 PPC MurdicaOur friend (and ace benchrest shooter) Lou Murdica recently tested some prototype Accurate LT-30 powder from Western Powders. This is a new formulation similar to LT-32, but with a slightly faster burn rate. That makes LT-30 ideal for the 30 BR and other cartridges that presently work well with Hodgdon H4198. Lou tells us: “At a 100/200-yard group benchrest match in Phoenix this weekend, I shot the new LT-30 powder in a 30BR. I used Berger 115gr bullets in a rifle with a Shilen barrel. This powder is just like the LT-32 powder… just a little faster.”

Lou added that, in the 30 BR, this powder delivers accuracy similar to Hodgdon H4198, but 30 BR loads with match bullets can be pushed up to 200 FPS faster without apparent pressure issues. That’s significant. Lou posted some targets which do indicate that LT-30 offers excellent accuracy. Here are 5-shot groups shot with Berger 115s and LT-30 powder:

Accurate Western Powder LT-32 PPC Murdica

Western Powders has not yet announced an “arrival date” for LT-30, so we can’t tell you when you will see LT-30 at retail powder vendors. It appears this new propellant will go into production in the near future, though LT-30 is not yet listed on the Accurate Powders website.

Accurate Western Powder LT-32 PPC MurdicaAccurate’s New LT-30 Powder Is Like LT-32 but a Little Bit Faster…
LT-32 is a fine-grained extruded powder that was developed for 6mm PPC benchrest competitors. Already a proven match winner, LT-32′s excellent shot-to-shot consistency and low standard deviation (SD) make this a very good choice for competitive benchrest shooting. Due to its small grain size, LT-32 flows like a spherical powder and allows for very precise hand-loading. It also offers impressive accuracy in varmint and tactical cartridges, including the .223 Rem, and 20 Tactical. If you haven’t tried LT-32 in your PPC or varmint cartridges yet, you should give it a try. LT-32 is one of the most accurate powders on the market, when used with appropriate bullet/cartridge combos.

Permalink New Product, Reloading 2 Comments »
July 11th, 2014

IBS Report: Bud Pryor Memorial Shoot & Maryland 100/200/300

Report by Dick Grosbier for IBS
June 13th to 15th saw a large contingent of IBS Score shooters gather at the Thurmont, Maryland range for the 20th Annual Bud Pryor Memorial Match and Maryland 100/200/300 Score Championships. Randy Jarvais won the Varmint for Score (VFS) Class with an impressive 749-43X performance, while Gary Long took the Hunter Class with a 733-21X Aggregate.

Bud Pryor Memorial Score Shoot Maryland benchrest championship 100 200 300

CLICK HERE for Complete Aggregate Match Results (XLS format)

100 Yard Match Results | 200 Yard Match Results | 300 Yard Match Results

The view downrange in typical Thurmont conditions.
Bud Pryor Memorial Score Shoot Maryland benchrest championship 100 200 300

Bud Pryor Memorial Score Shoot Maryland benchrest championship 100 200 300About the Bud Pryor Memorial Match
Bud Pryor was a fine gentleman who started shooting IBS matches in 1983. He was a machinest turned gunsmith who made friends and got many people started in shooting IBS registered matches over the next few years. Bud and Dick Grosbier ran the first IBS match at the Thurmont range in April 1983. Click Here to see vintage photos of the 1983 match.

After Bud’s untimely passing a few years later, the club decided to put on a big match and dedicate it to him. As Thurmont is one of the few ranges around with 100/200/300 yard capabilities, we decided to put on a 3-yardage Grand Aggregate match. This was not as simple as it seems, since 100/200/300 was not an IBS-recognized Aggregate. After an agenda item was approved at an IBS winter meeting, 100/200/300 records were set at Thurmont; and, over the years most records have stayed at this range. There are a total of four IBS ranges now holding 100/200/300 yard matches in 2014.

2014 Bud Pryor Day by Day
This year’s match saw generally beautiful weather. For Friday’s 100-yard stage, a 60% chance of rain was forecast and we did have a little rain in the morning but it had minimal effect on the proceedings. Range officer Curtis Nelson wisely delayed the first record match for less than five minutes while a fierce weather front blew through. Other than that, it was a nice day with temps in the mid 80s. Randy Jarvais from Maine started his conquest of the weekend early by taking the lead in the Varmint for Score (VFS) 100-yard stage by turning in a 250-22X score. It should be noted here that well-known competitor Dean Breeden turned in an identical score but Randy’s 5X performance in Match One edged Dean (3X) under Creedmoor rules. Ricky Read was third with 250-20X and Junior Shooter Kevin Donalds Jr. was fourth with 250-19X. There were also some impressive scores in Hunter Class, which is for 10-lb rifles with 2-1/4” forends and max six-power scopes. Last year’s Hunter Class winner Gary Long turned in an excellent 250-15X score followed closely by K.L. Miller with 250-14X and Dean Breeden with 250-13X. It amazes me how these guys shooting 6X scopes turn in scores that will frequently put them in the top half of the VFS class.

On Saturday, the 200-yard matches were held. It was bright and sunny and started out cool in the morning, peaking in the low 80s by mid-afternoon. The wind was extremely challenging and very tricky (I am not just saying this because I personally shot terribly). It was the Randy and Ricky show. By the end of the third match, only four shooters had not dropped points. At the end of the day, only Randy Jarvais and Ricky Read had 250 scores, with 11X and 7X respectively. So in the 100/200 Grand Agg Randy had 500-33X to Ricky’s 500-27X. Both men were well on their way to earning the greatly-coveted IBS 750 stickers. In Hunter class relatively new shooter Charlie Brock took the win with a 245-6X score followed closely by James Lederer with a 244-3X. (James is a new barrel-maker, who currently specializes in 30 caliber barrels for Hunter and VFS classes).

Randy Jarvais, Winner of the VFS Overall Aggregate.
Bud Pryor Memorial Score Shoot Maryland benchrest championship 100 200 300

Sunday dawned bright and beautiful and the targets are moved back another 100 yards to 300. Randy took the lead early with a 4X target on Match One while most of us were struggling to even get 50s. By Match Two Wayne France was chasing at Randy’s heels only one X behind. By the end of Match Three, Roy Hunter was also becoming a threat with a 150-4X score. Roy was shooting his LV 6 PPC with which he won last year’s match. By this point there were only four shooters clean in a field of 32. At the end of Match Four,Tony Seymore, Wayne France, and Randy J. each added 2X to their scores and moved up in the standings. Match Five turned out to be a heart-breaker for Randy. Consider this — if Randy could have shot a 50-1X he would win the 300, win the match, and set two possible new records with a 750-44X total. (Also a 500-22x score in the 200/300 Grand Aggregate would have been a potential record as well.) That could earn Randy 60 Score Shooter of the Year (SSOY) points for winning the match plus 45 points for setting records, giving Randy an unassailable lead in the SSOY race.

But that was not to be. On bull #3 of the final 300-yard target, Randy lost his only shot of the weekend. He suffered what we score shooters call a “Downtown Nine” — a shot that was clearly out of the ten ring even when viewed from the bench. No disputing that one. This moved Randy down to fourth place at 300 yards. Wayne France won the 300-yard VFS with 250-10X. In Hunter class, Orland Bunker, another “Maine-iac”, took top honors with a 240-4X.

But all was not lost for Randy when he dropped the point at 300 yards. Thanks to his consistency and the fact that both Wayne France and Tony Seymore had poor showings at 200 yards, Randy’s 749-43X Grand Agg won the match for him. Ricky Read finished second, with 749-33X. Roy Hunter (6 PPC) was third with 749-27X. In Hunter Class, Gary Long had high score for the weekend, a 733-21X. In second place was Orland Bunker at 733-17X, while Charlie Brock was third with 730-19X.

Match Winners Left to Right: Charlie Brock, Sara Harren, Orland Bunker, Wayne France, Gary Long, Randy Jarvais, Ricky Read, Roy Hunter, Tony Seymore.
Bud Pryor Memorial Score Shoot Maryland benchrest championship 100 200 300

Exhibiting great sportsmanship, Brad Gollner came back Sunday to work with the target crew after shoulder problems forced him to quit shooting Saturday.
Bud Pryor Memorial Score Shoot Maryland benchrest championship 100 200 300

I think everybody had a good time. Event feedback has been very good. I even had one shooter email me and say “My complete drubbing at the Bud Pryor Memorial last weekend notwithstanding, I wish to register for the 200/300 Nationals to be held a Thurmont on July 26 and 27.” As always it was good to see old friends fellow shooters from all over the East. – Dick Grosbier

Great BBQ and Camaraderie
After Saturday’s shooting was complete (and the flags were moved for Sunday’s 300-yard stage), it was time to gather at the clubhouse for the traditional BBQ dinner including pulled Pork sandwiches, cole slaw, potato salad, baked beans and always popular Sara Harren’s cheesy grits. After that we were treated to an amazing assortment of desserts. As usual it was a great time of fellowship and catching up with old friends some not seen since last year’s Bud Pryor Memorial. We had contestants from as far away as Maine, Wisconsin, and South Carolina.

Bud Pryor Memorial Score Shoot Maryland benchrest championship 100 200 300

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January 26th, 2014

PMA Tool Now Offers High-Quality Carbide Expander Mandrels.

Responding to customer requests, PMA Tool is now offering carbide expander mandrels in popular calibers. These carbide mandrels are listed as .22, .24, .26, .28, and .30 calibers, but they are sized for popular chamberings in .223, .243 (6mm), .264 (6.5mm), .284 (7mm), and .308 (7.62mm). PMA’s new carbide expander mandrels will cost $56.95 per item.

PMA’s tool-makers tell us: “Over the past several months we have received many requests to make expanding mandrels from carbide. Due to this popular demand we are now offering expanding mandrels from carbide. Carbide reduces galling and scratching both on the inside of the case neck and the mandrel itself. We still recommend the use of lubricant when expanding case necks to make the operation easier. These mandrels are ground from a 3/8” solid carbide blank and sized properly to expand case necks, preparing them for neck-turning. They can also be used to iron out dings and flat spots on new brass not destined to be neck turned, preparing them for loading and bullet seating.”

PMA Dual Taper Non-Carbide Expanders are Just $8.95
PMA also makes regular steel expander mandrels at a much lower price — $8.95. These regular Expanding Mandrels are designed to fit both the 21st Century Shooting and Sinclair Expander Dies. PMA states: “Our mandrels are longer than other expanding mandrels and feature a special dual taper which expands both on the up and down stroke of the press to more uniformly expand and straighten case necks.” These regular expanders are offered for all popular calibers, from .17 all the way to .338.

PMA Expander Mandrel steel carbide

PMA Specialized Necking-Up Mandrels for 30 BR and 6 PPC
Last but not least, PMA makes specialized “long-taper” expanders designed to expand 6mmBR brass to 30 BR brass, or expand 220 Russian brass to 6mm (for the 6 PPC). Priced at $9.95, these handy, effective tools make it easy to neck-up your brass for 30BR or 6 PPC.

PMA Expander Mandrel steel carbide

PMA explains: “So you want to make 30BR brass quick? Here’s the mandrel for you. A while back, while forming some 30BR brass for a customer’s rifle we noticed that after necking 6mm up to 30cal the neck fit on the turning mandrel was a lot tighter than we wanted. Regardless of how many steps we took to get there we had to run the case necks over the final expander repeatedly to get the fit right. After that experience we decided to set out and make a mandrel with optimum taper and diameter to neck 6mm up to 30 caliber in one step. We think is the best way to expand the necks of 6BR Lapua brass [for the 30 BR]. Remember to always use plenty of lubricant when necking.”

Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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November 2nd, 2013

Wildcat Report: 30 BRX Developed for Score Shooting

By popular request, this story has been reprinted from 2011.

30 BRX wildcat cartridge VFSForum member Al Nyhus is a top-level score shooter who has competed successfully with the 30BR cartridge in VFS (Varmint for Score) matches. Al has been working on an “improved” 30 BR cartridge that delivers extra velocity. Al’s 30 BRX cartridge is inspired by the 6mm BRX cartridge, popular in 600-yard benchrest and across-the-course competition. The 6mm BRX cartridge maintains the same sidewall profile and shoulder angle as the parent 6mmBR case. Likewise, the 30 BRX retains the 30° shoulder used on the popular 30 BR cartridge.

Al reports: “Thought you might like to see what I’ll be working with in my VFS gun this season. It’s a true 30 BRX — a 30 BR with the shoulder moved forward 0.100″ with the standard BR shoulder angle. Stan Ware of SGR Custom Rifles built one last season for Steve Grosvenor and I was really impressed by the performance of Steve’s gun. The 30 BR barrel on my VFS gun needed replacing, so the new 30 BRX got the nod.”

30 BRX Delivers 150-200 FPS More Velocity than 30 BR
Al’s testing shows the 30 BRX gives a solid 150-200 fps speed gain over the 30 BR at the top, while needing just 2.5-3.0 more grains of Hodgdon H4198 to do so. A 30 BR case holds on average 40.8 grains of water, while the 30 BRX holds 42.3 grains (roughly 4% more). So the 30 BRX delivers a 7% increase in velocity with a mere 4% increase in H20 capacity. That’s pretty good efficiency. [Editor’s Note: Assuming 34 grains of H4198 is a typical 30BR match load, Al’s increase of 2.5-3.0 grains for the 30BRX represents roughly a 7.5-8.5% increase in actual powder burned. That explains the higher velocities.]

Why did Nyhus decide to try an “improved” 30 BR? Al explains: “The 30 BRX was created to operate at a [higher] velocity level than can be achieved with the standard 30BR case, while at the same time keeping the easy-tuning characteristics of the standard 30BR case. We also wanted to use the same powders currently used with the 30BR and maintain similar operating pressures.” Is the 30BRX harder to shoot because of the increased velocity? Al doesn’t think so: “In a 13.5-lb HV gun, the 30 BRX case is a pleasure to shoot with just a flea bite of recoil.”

Will the 30 BRX Replace the 30 BR in Score Competition?
The 30 BR is already an exceptionally accurate cartridge that dominates short-range Benchrest for Score competition. Will the 30 BRX make the standard 30 BR obsolete? Nyhus doesn’t think so. However, Al believes the 30 BRX offers a small but important edge in some situations: “On any given day, it’s the shooter that hits the flags best and makes the fewest mistakes that ends up on top. No amount of velocity will save you when you press the trigger at the wrong time. Missing a switch or angle change at 200 yards that results in 3/4″ of bullet displacement on the target can’t be compensated for with another 200 fps. That’s the hard fact of benchrest shooting. But on those days when, as Randy Robinett says, ‘our brains are working’, the BRX may offer enough of an advantage to turn a close-but-no-cigar 10 into an ‘X’ at 200 yards. Or turn a just-over-the-line 9 into a beggar 10.” Given the fierce competition in Score matches, an extra 10 or another X can make the difference between a podium finish and also-ran status.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Reloading 6 Comments »
June 2nd, 2012

Stan Ware’s Radical Short-Necked Wolfpup for Hunter Benchrest

Stan Ware SGR Custom RiflesStan Ware of SGR Custom Rifles, is one of the finest gunsmiths with whom we’ve worked. He’s also a talented shooter and an innovative wildcatter who’s not afraid to think “outside the box”. Stan competes in both Hunter Benchrest (HBR) and Varmint for Score (VFS) disciplines. In his quest to build the ultimate Hunter Benchrest cartridge, Stan created the radical “Wolfpup” wildcat, based on a 6mmBR parent case. Noting the dominance of 30 BRs in VFS matches, Stan wondered if a stretched 30 BR could work in HBR competition. The challenge was case capacity. Under HBR rules the cartridge must hold at least 45.0 grains of water, equal to the capacity of the classic 30/30 case.

To get the requisite HBR case capacity, Stan figured he needed to boost the volume of a 30 BR case significantly, so he would have to move the shoulder forward — a lot. He did this by running a 30 BR reamer deeper and deeper, test-firing brass along the way. After three reamer passes, he ended up with the capacity he needed (the Wolfpup holds 45.3 grains of water). But then he looked at the finished product — a case with almost no neck, and he wondered “how could this possibly work?”.

Stan Ware Wolfpup SGR Custom Rifles

Stan Ware SGR Custom RiflesFrom Trashbin to Winner’s Circle
Ware’s prototype Wolfpup ended up so short-necked, so unlike any “normal” cartridge, that Stan figured it was “dead on arrival”. Stan told us: “I said ‘this ain’t going to work’ and I threw the brass in the trash can. Honest. But later I thought I better shoot it and see what it does.” There was one problem — Stan didn’t have a seating die. He noticed the short neck provided a bit of tension after fire-forming, so he literally seated some bullets, BIB 118s and 125s, with his fingers. For powder he used H4198 and started with 35 grains, one grain more than a 30 BR load. Stan then did a pressure work-up: “I actually went up to 41.0 grains and didn’t have a sticky bolt. I ended up at 37.9 grains of Hodgdon 4198 — that gave 3150 fps, where the sweet spot is.” (Later testing revealed a second accuracy node at about 3020 fps, using 36.4 grains of H4198).

Stan’s radical short-necked Wolfpup shot great from the get-go. Once he found the right velocity node, the gun shot in the ones and zeros with both 7-ogive and 10-ogive bullets, both 118s and 125s. The Wolfpup proved easy to tune — it’s not finicky at all. And it’s a winner. Stan began shooting the Wolfpup in 2006 in both VFS and HBR matches and the ‘Pup’ started winning matches right away. In 2007, Stan won the Wisconsin State VFS Championship shooting the Wolfpup. Most recently, in June 2010 at a Webster City, Iowa VFS match, Stan won the Grand Agg and posted high X-Count for the match, while placing first at 100 yards and second at 200 yards. How’s that for a cartridge that almost ended up in the trash bin?

Does Stan deserve an award for “most innovative benchrest cartridge design”? Stan chuckles at that notion: “I’m not a hero, not a genius. I really didn’t do anything. The fun part is thinking outside the box — for me anyway. Shooting is an age-old process of experimentation. You never learn it all.”

Stan Ware Wolfpup HBR SGR Custom Rifles

Stan Ware Wolfpup HBR SGR Custom RiflesWhy Does It Work?
How can such a radical case design perform so well? “That’s a good question,” Stan admitted. He then explained: “The 30 BR is inherently accurate, so I figured something based on the 30 BR should be accurate too. My personal belief is that the short neck doesn’t hurt you. Plus if the throat in the barrel is straight, the bullet can self-align. If the chamber is good, the bullet will self-center in the throat. In a regular case there’s not much room to do that, so a bullet can start off-center, and you don’t get the same results every time. A bullet in a conventional case is stopped from self-centering by the stiffer neck, particularly in a tight-clearance BR gun.”

Reloading the .30 Wolfpup
Stan’s Wolfpup chamber has a neck dimension of 0.330″. He turns his necks for a 0.327″ loaded round. Bullets are jammed .020″ forward of first contact with the lands. When he closes the bolt it pushes the bullet back in the case — almost a soft seat. Stan notes: “To start with I normally bump the shoulder .0005-.001″ so they go in easy. Just by doing that I get a little neck tension. I also use a bushing. Right now I’m running a .322, but it’s not particularly sensitive. I’ve tried one-thousandths increments up to a .325 bushing and couldn’t tell a lot of difference.”

Currently there are no production sizing dies for the Wolfpup. Stan uses two dies to size his fired brass: “I use a 30 BR bushing full-length die after each firing, but that doesn’t size the bottom half of the case. But I can shoot the brass four or five times with no problems.” After four to five firings Stan hits the bottom of the brass with a modified 6mmBR body die. Stan hogged out the top half of the body die so it doesn’t contact the top of the brass. For bullet seating, Stan uses a Wilson 30 BR seater die into which he ran the chamber reamer. This gives perfect case fit during seating operations.

If You Want a Wolfpup Rifle
Stan has received a number of requests to chamber Wolfpups for Hunter Benchrest shooters, and he will be building some for next season. Stan charges $300.00 for chambering, crowning, and headspacing a barrel. He also sells Wilson micrometer-top seater dies, customized for the Wolfpup, for about $110.00. If there is sufficient demand, he may start producing “one-pass” full-length sizing dies for the cartridge. Stan can also build complete benchrest, hunting, and long-range rifles in your choice of calibers. Visit SGRCustomRifles.com, or call (507) 274-5649.

Stan Ware Wolfpup SGR Custom Rifles

About the Illustrated Gunstock
You’ll notice Stan’s stock contains scenes from Vietnam and a quotation. Here’s the story. A Vietnam combat veteran, Stan served “in-country” with the Army’s 509th Non-Divisional Combat Unit (out of Fort Riley) from 1965-1966. Shortly before he left Vietnam, Stan went to a shop to have a souvenir lighter engraved. He asked the vendor for an appropriate inscription. The shop’s metal-worker engraved: “War is a tragedy. It takes mans’ best to do mans’ worst.” That message, along with the combat scenes, were hand-painted on Stan’s rifle by his wife Susan, a talented artist. She spent more than 20 hours painting the rifle stock.

Photos courtesy Ryan Ware and Stan Ware, SGR Custom Rifles.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing, New Product 4 Comments »
May 27th, 2011

Home-Built Bullets — A Success Story from Al Nyhus

Forum regular Al Nyhus has tried his hand at bullet making, producing custom 30-caliber projectiles for his 30 BR match rifles. With guidance from his “guru”, bullet-smith Randy Robinett of BIB Bullets, Al has produced some very impressive bullets. This demonstrates that with patience, determination, and the right tools and components, amazing results are possible, even for a novice bullet-maker.

Al writes: “Thought I’d post some updated info on my 30 Caliber bullet making adventure. It’s been a lot of fun and a real learning experience. I’d like to thank Randy Robinett for all his patient teaching and guidance. The bullets have been working well in competition, being used to win the Varmint for Score portion of the IBS Wisconsin State Two Gun Championship [in 2007].”

The Targets Don’t Lie — These Are Quality Bullets
Here are two photos from bullet testing. In the 100-yard, 15-round target, the wind velocity was purposely ignored and the group was fired only with the same flag angle, trying to determine how they worked in the wind. Winds were 12-18 mph from 4 o’clock.

Nyhus 30 BR bulletsNyhus 30 BR bullets

This 200-yard group was fired in near perfect test conditions — overcast, early in the morning, with no mirage. We usually have a small window of what I call ‘Happy Hour’ before the winds crank up.”

NOTE: Al’s 30 BR rifle was smithed by Stan Ware of SGR Custom Rifles.

Measuring Group Size
Note how Al measures his groups. Look at the top photo. You’ll see Al starts with the extreme outside edge of the hole, including the gray edge or ring. Then Al subtracts .290″, the TRUE size of one bullet-hole in the paper, as opposed to .308″, the nominal bullet diameter. If you simply subtract a full bullet diameter you will get a smaller number for your group size. That’s good for your ego, but Al’s method is more accurate because a bullet normally cuts a hole that is smaller than the actual bullet diameter.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »