September 7th, 2013

Best Group Ever: Michael Stinnett’s .0077″ Five-Shot Group

All target shooters strive for perfect shot placement. Well one man has come closer to perfection than any other shooter who ever lived. You are looking at Michael Stinnett’s .0077″ NBRSA world-record group, the smallest 100-yard 5-shot group ever shot in the history of rifle competition. (We’re told the group was certified at .0077″ though labeled .008″ on this photo. A moving backer verified that this was FIVE shots.)

Call it stunning, call it humbling, call it amazing. It is, quite simply the apotheosis (“perfect example”) of accuracy. This is what we all hope to achieve. It’s staggering to see that a rifle can drill FIVE perfectly-overlapped holes — the last virtually indistinguishable from the first — at a target a football field (100 yards) away. Yes the stars aligned for Mike, but it’s great to see a benchmark like this, if only to remind us what is possible in our sport of precision shooting. (Sighters appear below record target.)

world record Michael stinnett group .0077

Below is a larger-than-life-size view. Using this photo we measured the group with target-calculating software, and it came out .006″ (the software only goes to three digits). We recognize that it would be much better to work from the real target rather than a photo, so we are not challenging the official measurement in the least. But this does confirm that this is a phenomenally small five-shot group.

world record Michael stinnett group .0077

Many folks have asked about the gun and ammo that produced the .0077″ group. The Light Varmint-class Benchrest rifle was chambered as a .30-caliber wildcat, the 30 Stewart, which is based on the 6.5 Grendel case necked up. Mike was using Hodgdon H4198 powder behind BIB 114gr, 10-ogive bullets. Notably, the record-setting ammo was pre-loaded before the match. Here is Mike’s tuner-equipped rifle. CLICK HERE for more information on the rifle and cartridge.

Record .008 .0077 group rifle

Best Group Ever Record Rifle Equipment Report
Action: Kelby Panda “Speedy Shorty” with solid bolt and PPC-diameter bolt face. Kelby was asked to build several actions which were identical with the intent to eliminate any variance in head space between the two new rifles. This helped me use a single set-up on sizing dies for both rifles and ammo is interchangeable. Both actions were sent to Thomas ‘Speedy’ Gonzalez to be blue-printed and have Jewell triggers installed.

Reamer: 30 STEWART (I just call it a 30 PPC as that is what everyone expects, but it is in fact a custom design and Ralph deserves about 99% of the credit).

Barrels: Krieger was selected for the barrels. After discussions with Randy Robinett of BIB Bullets, a 1:17″ twist was identified as the correct, safe solution. Ralph Stewart has cut all my chambers using a custom-designed reamer. [Our goal] was consistent headspace and Ralph has been able to keep my barrels within .0002 variance. The barrel tuner also comes from Ralph Stewart.

  • Stock: Larson (including action bedding)
  • Scope: Leupold 45X Competition in Kelby Single Screw Tall Rings
  • Brass: Lapua (Base case is 6.5 Grendel)
  • Bullets: Randy Robinett (BIB) 30 Cal. 114gr, 10 Ogive (secondary bullet; primary is 112gr BIB)
  • Powder: H4198 – Stout Load with 2980 FPS Velocity
  • Front Rest: Farley Coaxial
  • Bags: Micro Fiber
  • Flags: Graham Wind Flags (large)
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August 15th, 2013

Inside Look at World Record .0077″ Group — The Gun and Ammo

We reported two weeks ago that Texas shooter Mike Stinnett nailed a .0077″ group in competition — the smallest 5-shot group ever shot at 100 yards. This has now been officially recognized as a new NBRSA record, eclipsing the .009″ record group shot 40 years ago by Mac McMillan. Congrats to Mike for breaking the “unbreakable record”. As Glenn C. posted on Benchrest Central: “They said it couldn’t be done. Hats off to Mike for an awesome personal achievement in a Sport/Hobby where getting your name in the record books is a rarity.”

kelbly speedy shorty panda action

Stinnett Sets .0077″ Record with a .30-Caliber Modified Grendel Cartridge, Pre-Loaded
Many folks have asked about the gun and ammo that produced the .0077″ group. The rifle was chambered as a .30-caliber wildcat, the 30 Stewart, which is based on the 6.5 Grendel case necked up. Mike was using Hodgdon H4198 powder behind BIB 114gr, 10-ogive bullets. Notably, the record-setting ammo was pre-loaded before the match. Unfortunately, we don’t have a photo of the target yet — it is still in the hands of the official NBRSA certification committee. However, Mike has been kind enough to tell us about his rifle and his load.

Mike Stinnett .0077″ Record Group Equipment Report

Mike reports: “Several guys have asked so here is my equipment listing. The hardware build actually started in 2008 with the goal of building two identical Benchrest rifles which could be used for both group and score. The idea was to shoot 6PPC and a 30 Cal without a base rifle change.”

Action: Kelby Panda “Speedy Shorty” with solid bolt and PPC-diameter bolt face. Kelby was asked to build several actions which were identical with the intent to eliminate any variance in head space between the two new rifles. This helped me use a single set-up on sizing dies for both rifles and ammo is interchangeable. Both actions were sent to Thomas ‘Speedy’ Gonzalez to be blue-printed and have Jewell triggers installed.

Reamer: 30 STEWART (I just call it a 30 PPC as that is what everyone expects, but it is in fact a custom design and Ralph deserves about 99% of the credit).

Barrels: Krieger was selected for the barrels. After discussions with Randy Robinett of BIB Bullets, a 1:17″ twist was identified as the correct, safe solution. Ralph Stewart has cut all my chambers using a custom-designed reamer. [Our goal] was consistent headspace and Ralph has been able to keep my barrels within .0002 variance. The barrel tuner also comes from Ralph Stewart.

  • Stock: Larson (including action bedding)
  • Scope: Leupold 45X Competition in Kelby Single Screw Tall Rings
  • Brass: Lapua (Base case is 6.5 Grendel)
  • Bullets: Randy Robinett (BIB) 30 Cal. 114gr, 10 Ogive (secondary bullet; primary is 112gr BIB)
  • Powder: H4198 – Stout Load with 2980 FPS Velocity
  • Front Rest: Farley Coaxial
  • Bags: Micro Fiber
  • Flags: Graham Wind Flags (large)

About the Cartridge — 30 Stewart (Based on Lapua 6.5 Grendel Parent Brass)
Mike explains: “Our goal was to shoot H4198 as the optimal powder for stability. There were several versions of the reamer before we settled on the current configuration. I am optimized for the 10 Ogive BIB bullet, powder to the base of the bullet. I found in testing the small 30-cal case did not like compression at all. The bullet is seated only 0.12″ into the case with zero freebore.

Cases were initially created with the .220 Russian (like a PPC) but I later decided it was better to build from the 6.5 Grendel. I size the brass and bump the shoulder back until it will fit into the chamber, fill to shoulder with International Clays, cotton wad packed on top. I have a fire-forming barrel. (I would not recommend this Clays and cotton wad method in a good barrel.) After initial fire-forming, I then mandrel the neck up the rest of the way to .30 caliber, turn the necks and trim.

It takes at least 8 firings to fully form a case! If you fire only three loads I find the brass does not have a sharp shoulder or any pressure on the bolt so any die selection is incorrect. Brass continues to harden well past 25 firings. I have match brass with well over 500 rounds fired, and I have never blown a case or neck yet (using my forming method).

For loading I use a Hornady Custom Shop Sizing Die and a Ralph Stewart Custom Seating Die. For those who are curious, yes the small group was fired with pre-loaded rounds. I do this now and then with local matches or may load 50 in a batch for one match.”

Mike wanted to thank his smiths, Randy Robinett, and all the folks involved in running the matches: “A big THANKS — as these are the guys that make our matches possible and without question maintain the integrity of the targets and record system. I was very fortunate to have all the right people in the right places for this match and my record. As for measurement – I only saw the target for about 10 seconds up close and can say I’m very happy I did not have to measure that group! Thanks again to everyone!” — Mike Stinnett

kelbly speedy shorty panda action

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