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

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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.

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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 »
July 7th, 2010

Details of Jackie Schmidt’s .1118 100-Yard “Agg for the Ages”

As word spreads of Jackie Schmidt’s historic 0.1118″ 5-target 100-yard Heavy Varmint Aggregate, many readers have inquired about Jackie’s gear and loading procedures. Interestingly, Jackie tells us that he selected the 30 BR “on a whim” for the Heavy Varmint stage of the Midland tournament, after he couldn’t get his 6 PPC Light Varmint gun to shoot up to his standards. With the PPC, he was getting some erratic vertical, with one shot popping up to spoil the group. Jackie turned to his trusty 30 BR, and, as they say, “the rest was history”. Jackie says his 30 BR “held perfect tune all day long”, with “absolutely no vertical”. Here are some other interesting facts about Jackie’s amazing 0.1118″ 5x5x100 Agg and the 30 BR he steered to the pending NBRSA record.

Jackie Free Recoils his 30 BR
Unlike many 30 BR shooters who shoulder their guns, Jackie shoots his 30 BR totally free recoil: “The only thing I touch is the trigger. I try to keep my body out of the equation. Free recoiling a 30 BR isn’t that difficult with a true 13.5-lb rifle.”

30 BR cartridge
30 BR file photo. Jackie Schmidt does not shoot Moly bullets normally.

Jackie Didn’t Clean During Record Agg
Jackie shot his entire 100-yard HV Aggregate (25 rounds plus sighters) without cleaning his 30 BR rifle. Jackie told us: “I never cleaned the rifle until the end of the day. In fact I never took the gun out of the bags.” Jackie tells us that shooting a full Agg without cleaning has become standard practice with 30 BRs: “We’ve all learned that you don’t have to clean them. It’s a phenomenon of the 30 calibers. They shoot just as good on the last shot as the first shot.” When he does clean, Jackie uses patches soaked with Butch’s Bore Shine, followed by 10 strokes with a wet brush, then dry patches. Jackie adds: “For the past few years, I’ve never put any solvent but Butch’s in my bores.”

Hodgdon H4198 powderJackie Used 100% Case Capacity Charge
Jackie loaded a “100% usable case capacity charge” of Hodgdon H4198 (Extreme) in his rounds. His 112gr BIB bullets are “just kissing” the top of the powder column. To achieve that fill level, Jackie uses an 8″ drop tube. “That’s an old PPC-loader’s trick,” Jackie tells us. He added that his lot of H4198 is slower than most. He’s found that “some guys can reach the 3000 fps mark using nearly a full grain less powder than me.” But we wonder if loading at 100% of case capacity helps with accuracy? Folks with a faster lot of H4198 might not be able to reach 100% case capacity.

Jackie Schmidt’s ‘Snubber’ Tuner — The Inside Engineering
Everyone wants to know about Jackie’s “snubber” tuner, shown in the photo below. The Tuner is made from aluminum and brass and weighs 5.5 ounces. The tuner is 2 5/8″ long and extends past the true crown 5/8″. The inner cylinder is aluminum while the outer section is a marine bearing consisting of a brass shell with hard rubber vulcanized to the inside diameter. (These brass/rubber marine bearings are used for propeller shaft seals). The sandwiched brass/rubber bearing is then pressed on to the central aluminum shaft. The hard rubber helps dampen vibration. The tuner screws on and then is “locked” in place with a split clamp (the last 2″ of the barrel is threaded).

30 BR cartridge

Unlike most tuners which have a fixed base and forward, rotating ring, Jackie’s tuner is one integrated unit. To adjust tune, Jackie’s “snubber” tuner is unclamped at the base and the whole assembly is screwed in or out on the threaded barrel. Jackie machined a very tight-pitched barrel thread so a full rotation of the tuner produces only .028″ of fore and aft movement. Jackie tells us that, once the basic position is set for a barrel, it doesn’t take much rotation to set the tune. He can usually optimize the barrel tune with less than 1/2 turn of the tuner. After the tune position is set, the split clamp at the inboard end is tightened. This way the tuner is basically locked in place while shooting.

Despite numerous requests, Jackie does not sell his tuners commercially. But someone with good machine skills could build a clone tuner. Team USA benchrest shooter Gene Bukys crafted a similar snubber-type tuner which he used successfully at the 2009 World Championships in South Africa.

The “25 Shots Heard Round the World”
Even people outside the Benchrest community are excited about Jackie’s 0.1118 Aggregate. Jackie’s achievement was noted by Michael Bane and broadcast on the Downrange TV Weekly Video Podcast.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »