January 5th, 2019

Tack-Drivin’ Wildcat — 6.5 Grendel Necked UP to .30 Caliber

30 Major 6.5 Grendel 30 caliber PPC

Sometimes everything comes together — a great barrel, the right load, good bullets, and, of course, a gifted trigger-puller. Check out this target from Forum member Mike Ezell. That’s five (5) shots at 100 yards from Mike’s 30 Major benchrest rifle. When this group was shot a while back, Mike reported: “I fired a few groups in the great weather. No surprises — it did VERY well! My little wildcat, the 30 Major, has always been a shooter. That target was not a fluke — I shot a few groups today and Agg’d a high One.” Mike is a Kentucky gunsmith who builds his own rifles.

30 Major is Based on 6.5 Grendel
What’s a “30 Major” you ask? This is Mike’s own wildcat, a 6.5 Grendel necked up to .30 caliber. Mike writes: “The 30 Major is essentially a .070″-long 30 PPC. With the great 6.5 Grendel brass available from Lapua, all you need to do is neck-up and turn the necks to prep the brass.” Mike says it is very much like a 30 BR, but you just start with 6.5 Grendel brass instead of 6mmBR brass.

The cartridge has one major benefit — it utilizes a PPC-diameter bolt face. That makes it easy to convert your group-shooting 6 PPC to shoot score with .30-cal bullets. Mike explains: “If you have a PPC, to shoot score, all you have to do is chamber up a [.30 caliber] barrel and screw it on your PPC.”

From 7.62×39 Russian to 30 Major — Full Circle

Arms expert Neil Gibson has an interesting perspective on the lineage of the 30 Major. He reminds us that this wildcat has returned to its roots: “Start off with the 7.62×39 Russian [cartridge]. The Russians then modify it, necking it down to .223 for deer hunting. The U.S. benchrest guys then modify that, necking it up to 6mm and blowing the case out making the 6mm PPC. Someone takes that case, necks it out to 6.5 mm, making the 6.5 PPC. Alexander Arms takes that and makes the 6.5 Grendel. Then finally Mike Ezell takes the Grendel and necks it up to 30 caliber, making the 30 Major. From 30 caliber, back to 30 caliber. OK, the original uses .31 caliber bullets, but the bore is still .300. Talk about almost coming round full circle!”

7.62×39 Russian
v
.220 Russian
v
6mm PPC
v
6.5 PPC
v
6.5 Grendel
v
30 Major

The 7.62×39 Russian was the Grand-Daddy of the 30 Major…
7.62x39 Russian Kalashnikov 30 Major 6.5 Grendel

Great Accuracy Restored after Solving Mystery Problem
To get his 30 Major rig shooting this well, Mike had to solve a mysterious problem that cropped up last year. Mike explains: “Two years running, I have finished in the top 15 in IBS points shooting [the 30 Major], but last year’s benchrest season was tough.” Mike was having some accuracy issues that defied explanation. But he figured it out: “The front action screw was bottoming out against the barrel extension – just barely. A simple fix brought the gun back to life. It’s a Stiller Viper Drop Port. The action is screwed and glued into the stock, so I was a bit surprised … especially after having checked for [that issue] while looking for the problem. I’m just glad to have found the trouble so I can begin to re-instill some confidence in the gun and myself, after last year.”

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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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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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June 30th, 2017

IBS Match Report: Bud Pryor Memorial 100/200/300 Score Shoot

Bud Pryor Memorial Benchrest 30BR Score Shoot Match Thurmont Frederick Sportsman's Club Maryland IBS MD

23rd Annual Bud Pryor Memorial Match, June 10-11, 2017
Match Report by Josh Shrum
For 23 years now, Benchrest Score shooters have flocked to the Thurmont Conservation & Sportsman’s Club outside of Frederick, Maryland for “The Bud”. This year, competitors from as far south as Georgia and as far north as Vermont came to try their hand against the always-challenging conditions of “The Bud”. Traditionally held in mid-June’s tricky conditions, the Bud Pryor Memorial is an event to challenge even the most skilled Benchrest competitor.

Bud Pryor Memorial Benchrest 30BR Score Shoot Match Thurmont Frederick Sportsman's Club Maryland IBS MD

Day One started with the 100-Yard Aggregate, which pretty much set the tone for what was to come all weekend long. Of the 33 shooters competing in the Varmint For Score (VFS) class, thirteen shooters dropped at least one point at 100 yards. “The Bud” had begun.

100-Yard Winner Wayne France
Bud Pryor Memorial Benchrest 30BR Score Shoot Match Thurmont Frederick Sportsman's Club Maryland IBS MD

By the end of the 100-Yard Agg, five competitors finished with top scores of 250-21X, with Wayne France taking the win under Creedmoor tie-breaker rules. Wayne would continue to shoot well for the entire weekend, finishing in the Top 10 at 200 and taking second (by Creedmoor) at 300, shooting his Lederer-barreled BAT in a Dixie stock. Wayne does his own gunsmithing, makes his own bullets, and shoots his own cartridge design. He is truly a “Do-It-Yourselfer”.

200-Yard winner Ronnie Milford checking conditions…
Bud Pryor Memorial Benchrest 30BR Score Shoot Match Thurmont Frederick Sportsman's Club Maryland IBS MD

Ronnie Rocks at 200, with an Impressive X-Count
Georgia shooter Ronnie Milford won the 200-Yard Agg with an impressive 250-13X. Ronnie was one of only six shooters to finish “clean” at 200, as traditional Bud weather was punishing even the smallest errors in judgment by shooters. Built by gunsmith Doyle Anglin, Ronnie’s Lederer-barreled Panda beat the field at 200 yards by three Xs, a significant margin. The next three shooters (places 2-4 at 200 yards) all shot 250-10X. Interestingly, Ronnie was shooting Accurate LT-30 powder, not the more widely used Hodgdon H4198 or Vihtavuori N130.

Of special note, Mrs. Carol Grosbier came on Saturday to visit during the match. Nearly every single shooter there stopped by to visit and offer their condolences on the passing of her husband Dick Grosbier, former IBS Vice President and Webmaster. It was great to see Carol and everyone’s actions showed just how great of a community of shooters the sport of Benchrest has.

The longest challenge, the 300-Yard Agg, was shot on Day Two. While conditions were not quite as “tough” as the previous day, they were anything but forgiving. High heat and gusting winds kept shooters on their toes as they strove for victory at 300 yards. A mere seven shooters would manage to stay clean through the first match, and only Maryland shooter Dewey Hancock managed to stay clean through Match Two. Dewey would go on to win the 300-Yard Agg shooting a 248-3X, beating 100-Yard winner Wayne France by Creedmoor and edging out Joey Whittington’s score of 248-2X. Dewey’s Goodling-built rifle uses a BAT action, Krieger barrel, and sits in a beautiful Roy Hunter stock.

Bud Pryor Memorial Benchrest 30BR Score Shoot Match Thurmont Frederick Sportsman's Club Maryland IBS MD

Dewey Hancock Wins with Strong Performances at 100, 200, and 300
Dewey Hancock’s excellent performance at 300, coupled with his second-place finish at 200 and his Top Ten finish at 100 put him on the throne. Hancock won the Grand Aggregate for the 23rd Annual Bud Pryor with a score of 748-31X. Just one point behind, Wayne France took second with a score of 747-31X. Joey Whittington took third with 746-35X.

Hunter Class was contested by both K.L Miller and Brian Fitch (Brian competed in both VFS and Hunter) with K.L Miller taking the Grand Aggregate in Hunter with a 723-11X while Brian posted a 717-11X. Mark Ukishima shot the events only Factory Class gun. It was great to have so many different classes contested at this year’s Bud Pryor.

Bud Pryor Memorial Benchrest Score Shoot Match Thurmont Maryland IBS MD

TOP 10 EQUIPMENT LIST:
Bud Pryor Memorial Benchrest 30BR Score Shoot Match Thurmont Frederick Sportsman's Club Maryland IBS MD

Bud Pryor Memorial Benchrest 30BR Score Shoot Match Thurmont Frederick Sportsman's Club Maryland IBS MD

Bud Pryor Memorial Benchrest 30BR Score Shoot Match Thurmont Frederick Sportsman's Club Maryland IBS MD

About the Bud Pryor Memorial Match
Bud Pryor Memorial Maryland Score Benchrest MatchBud 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 the three-yardage 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. Over the years, most records have stayed at this scenic range. There are a total of four IBS ranges now holding 100/200/300 yard matches.

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January 13th, 2017

Perfection at the Core — Bullet Making Tips from BIB Bullets

Randy Robinett, founder of BIB Bullets, is a highly respected custom bullet-maker. In recent years, Randy’s 30-caliber projectiles have won countless benchrest-for-score matches, and captured many National titles. If you want to “run with the big dogs” in score competition, campaigning a 30BR with BIB bullets is a very smart way to go. In this article, Randy talks about the process of creating highly uniform cores for benchrest bullets.

This article originally started as an exchange of posts in Stan Ware’s Bench-Talk Forum. Stan, a gifted gunsmith, converted the Forum posts into an article, which first appeared on Stan’s Bench-Talk.com Website.

How to Make Benchrest-Quality Bullet Cores
by Randy Robinett, BIB Bullets

OK, Stan “made me do it”! A while back, Stan Ware asked if I’d submit a ditty on bullet-making. Here is the “picture is worth a few words” version. Below is a photo of a spool of lead wire. This is the first step in making benchrest-quality bullets. This spool of .250″ diameter lead wire will be cut into approximately 130 pieces, each about thirty inches long.

Robinett benchrest bullet spool lead BIB score 30 caliber

The Core Cutter
Here’s a really neat machine built by my Uncle and BIG MIKE. This is the core cutter. We made it using scrap steel and borrowed the crank shaft out of a 1966 Yamaha motorcycle to get the desired reciprocating-motion slide. When properly “juiced”, this machine can cut more than 3000 cores per hour.

As you doubtless deduced, the “sticks” are inserted, then fed via gravity — straightness is a virtue here! The crank, for now, is powered by the human hand. The bucket contents are the result of loading the cutter and turning the crank wheel. This photo shows cores for 112 grain, .30-caliber bullets. There are about 2500 cores to the bucket.

Robinett benchrest bullet spool lead BIB score 30 caliber

Here’s a close-up of the business end of the core cutter. Using recorded micrometer settings, this clever design allows us to get very repeatable length when changing through the length/weight cycle.

Robinett benchrest bullet spool lead BIB score 30 caliber

The photo below provides a closer look at the just-cut cores. Note the relatively clean shanks and square, unflared ends. This bucket contains roughly 2500 cores. By contrast, a tour of the Hornady plant will reveal cores being cut and squirted via a single operation, and deposited into 50-100 gallon livestock watering tanks!

Robinett benchrest bullet spool lead BIB score 30 caliber

Upon my first tour of a commercial plant, I lost all feelings of guilt about the cost of custom, hand-made bullets. When one totals the amount of labor, “feel” and “culling” that goes into them, custom hand-made bullets represent one of the best bargains on the planet!

At Hornady, each press produces 50-55,000 finished bullets per 10-hour shift. By contrast, a maker of hand-crafted bullets, at best, may make 3% of that number during a 10-hour span! Yep, hand-made benchrest-quality bullets are a labor of love and should be purchased with these criteria in mind: 1) QUALITY; 2) availability; 3) price. There is no reason for a maker of hand-made benchrest-quality bullets to negotiate on price. His time is worth what one receives from the bargain!

Core-Making Q & A
Randy’s original Bench-Talk Forum posts inspired some questions by Forum members. Here are Randy’s answers to spedific questions about core-making.

Question by Stan Ware: Randy, a post or two back you said the cores were cut into 30″ lengths first and straightened. Why do you cut to 30″ lengths? What is the reason for this?

Answer by Randy: Stan, the wire is cut into 30″ lengths (sticks) and then straightened, following which it is fed into the core cutter and cut into the individual individual “cores”. If you look at the core cutter photo above, you’ll see a stick of lead wire sticking up -it’s toward the right hand end of the contraption. The cut cores are also “ejected” by gravity — the white “tickler” brushes the cores as the slide moves forward and dislodges the core from the cutter bushing.

Q by GregP: Randy, How do you straighten the 30″ sticks? Roll them between metal plates?

Answer by Randy: Greg, BIG MIKE may kill me for letting out the secret. WE “roll” the wire between an aluminum plate, which is equipped with handles, and the “plate” which you can see in the pic of cutting the wire. The straightening is really a drag. Eventually, we will have the new cutter hooked up to a “feeder/straightener” and the wire will be cut into core slugs right off the roll! Well, that’s the Dream….

Question by Jim Saubier: How much of a nub do you use at the end of the 30″ section? I imagine that every section you will lose a little from the feed end. Your cutter looks real slick, we are using the manual deal and it isn’t quick by any means.

Answer by Randy: Jim, Since I cut all of the sticks using diagonal-cutting pliers, the ends are, indeed, waste. However, only about 1/8th inch on the beginning end — the final core may be too short. I have attached a pic of my old reliable CH cutter. I still use this cutter for .22-cal and 6mm cores and, occasionally, an odd lot of thirties. The CH cuts very square ends which are free of bulges and/or flaring.

Robinett benchrest bullet spool lead BIB score 30 caliber

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December 13th, 2016

TECH TIP: Rebate Larger Case Rims to Shoot with PPC Actions

30BR 6 PPC rim rebated Butch Lambert

Many short-range Benchresters have thought about converting their 6 PPC to shoot a 30BR for score matches, or a Dasher for mid-range (or even 1000-yard) games. That way you have a rifle that does double duty, giving you the most bang for your buck. Though an action with a PPC bolt won’t normally work with 30BR/6BR/Dasher cases with their larger .308-class rim (0.4728″ diameter), there is a pretty easy solution that allows you to cycle these bigger cartridges with a 6PPC-style bolt (designed to fit .220 Russian rims).

“Rebating case rims … lets you shoot a 30BR in score matches using your PPC action. All you need is a new barrel. This saves buying another bolt, receiver, or rifle.” — Butch Lambert

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 30BR, 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.

30Br Butch Lambers 6 PPC

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 30BR 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.” Below is the lathe form tool Butch uses to rebate the case rims.


Cutting Head for Rebating Rims

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June 24th, 2016

Benchrest Perfection: New Awards for IBS Score Shooters

IBS Score Shooting Record 750 250 patch

For the International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) by Frank Danisienka
The IBS Executive Board has voted to create two new awards. These awards recognize the significant performance of a select number of shooters. Patches for Score shooting a perfect score of 750, and a perfect target of 250-25X, were designed by the board. To score 250, you need to shoot five (5) tens on each of the five record targets at a particular yardage. To score 750 you need to do that at all THREE yardages — 100, 200, and 300 yards. Certificates accompanying the patches document the commitment to excellence and dedication by these shooters to our sport.

Perfect 750 Multi-Yardage Score — A Rare Occurrence
In the long history of IBS competition only 16 members have shot a perfect score of 750 in one match! That’s 250 at 100 yards, 200 yards, and 300 yards. This very select group of shooters includes: Al Weaver, Rod Morton, Dave Short, Dennis Collins, Ken Livengood, Wayne Shaw, Dick Spencer, Hal Drake, Kim Llewellyn, Shaun Shank, Roy Hunter (2), Dean Breeden, John Bosley, Wayne France, Ricky Read and John Cascarino.

Dean Breeden is one of only 16 Shooters to have recorded a 750 total score in a match.
IBS Score Shooting Record 750 250 patch

All Xs — the Perfect Target, 250-25X
The remarkable feat of shooting a perfect 250-25X target has been accomplished 37 times by 26 members. They are: Dennis Collins (2), Ted Parreco, Jeff Buchannan, Carl Baker, James Goody, Joe Enterkin, Rich Whiteash, Dean Breeden (2), David Apple, Al Weaver, Rod Morton, Mike Bigelow, Ken Livengood (3), Roger Avery (2), Joe Pellegrene, Mark Ludinsky (3). Herb Llewellyn (2), Jackie Stogsdill, Hal Drake (2), Johnny Lorick, Ron Collins, Wayne France (2), Shaun Shank, Steve Jaynes, Kevin Donalds Jr., Randy Jarvais (2).

Our sport continues to evolve toward perfection both in the quality of the equipment and the skill of our members and these awards recognize them for their accomplishments.

IBS Score Shooting Record 750 250 patch

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June 21st, 2016

IBS Report: 22nd Annual Bud Pryor Memorial Score Match

Bud Pryor Memorial Maryland Score Benchrest Match

22nd Bud Pryor Memorial Match by Dick Grosbier
Saturday June 11th was the 148th running of the Belmont Stakes in New York, and the 22nd running of the Bud Pryor Memorial Match at Thurmont, Maryland. Since this is a shooting website, I will be writing about the “Bud”. This year’s offering was a two-day match with 100-yard and 200-yard relays on Saturday followed by the 300-yard match on Sunday. This was a return to the format used from 1994 until we started having to turn shooters away in 2004.

Bud Pryor Memorial Maryland Score Benchrest Match

It was typical “Bud” weather — hot well into the mid-90s on Saturday. Sunday was considerably cooler and with extremely challenging wind conditions all day long. There was no rain on Saturday but a big threat of a thunderstorm on Sunday. Luckily the thunderstorm held off as the shooters had their hands full just dealing with the high winds.

CLICK HERE for Spreadsheet with 2016 Bud Pryor Match Results

Wayne Lewis from South Carolina took the early lead in Varmint For Score (VFS) class, by winning the 100-yard stage with a fine 250-23X score. Wayne France, Dave Short, and Jim Cline were right behind him with 21X each. K.L. Miller won the 100-yard event in Hunter class with a 250-16X Score. Millers’s score with his 6X power-scoped rifle would have put him in the top half of VFS class. That’s impressive shooting with a low-power optic.

Bud Pryor Memorial Maryland Score Benchrest Match

Pennsylvania shooter Dave Short won the 200-yard VFS with a 250-8X. Paul Bielec took second place honors with a 249-4X. Unfortunately Paul had a misstep at 100 yards on the final match. Cross-firing onto the target of the empty bench to his right and incurring a 5-point penalty marred his otherwise excellent performance for the weekend. Paul’s situation left Dave Short as the only shooter who was not at least two points down going into the 300-yard section on Sunday. Meanwhile in Hunter Class, K.L. Miller trudged along, beating second-place Orland Bunker with a 243-0X to Orland’s 241-6X.

Bud Pryor Memorial Maryland Score Benchrest Match
Here are some of the top shooters. Left to Right: Richard Sissel (300-yard VFS Winner), K.L. Miller (Hunter 1st Grand Agg), Hillary Martinez (3rd VFS Grand Agg), Dan Breedan (2nd VFS Grand Agg).

EQUIPMENT Report:
Notably, the top three shooters all used Vihtavuori N130 powder, not Hodgdon H4198, the “go-to” choice for the 30BR for many years. Could this start a trend? Federal 205m primers were used by nearly all, and BAT actions were favored by the majority of competitors. Most of the Top 20 barrels were Kriegers, but Brux barrels took the number two and three spots overall. There were mostly high-end March and Nightforce scopes on the line, but overall winner Dave Short ran a 36X Weaver, proving you don’t need to spend two grand on a scope to win a big match.

Bud Pryor Memorial Shoot Equipment List (Listed in Order of Grand Agg Score)
Bud Pryor Memorial Maryland Score Benchrest Match
Click Chart to View larger, easier-to-read complete Equipment List

Sunday was the 300-yard stage, this is always the big equalizer in a 100/200/300 match. As previously mentioned, conditions were unusually challenging Sunday. This was demonstrated by the fact that Richard Sissel won the Aggregate with a 243-3X. Dave Short was a close 2nd with a 243-2X. Dean Breeden & Michael Clayton also turned in 243s; after that the scores fell off fairly fast. Back in Hunter Class once again K.L. Miller finished on top with a 238-1X. Scott Garman from Maine turned in a nice performance with a 236-3X.

Bud Pryor Memorial Maryland Score Benchrest Match

Grand Aggregate Results — Dave Short Wins Over Runner-Up Breeden
When all the scores were totaled, Dave Short easily won the VFS Grand Aggregate with a 743-31X, Dean Breeden was 2nd with 741-27X, Hillary Martinez 3rd with 739-31X, and 100-yard winner Wayne Lewis was 4th with 739-29X. It looked like Wayne had a second-place finish in he grand until the last target of the day when instead of dropping 1 point per target as he had been doing all day, he dropped 5 points moving him to sixth place. In the Hunter Class, K.L. Miller led the entire weekend. Miller’s 731-17X Grand Agg Score put a substantial distance between himself and second-place Orland Bunker.

Bud Pryor Memorial Maryland Score Benchrest Match
File photo from 2014 Bud Pryor match.

All in all I think everybody had a good time (some better than others) and I believe most will be seen back in Maryland the second weekend in June 2017 for the 23rd Annual Bud Pryor Memorial. Unless perhaps they go to New York for a horse race.

About the Bud Pryor Memorial Match
Bud Pryor Memorial Maryland Score Benchrest MatchBud 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. Over the years most records have stayed at this scenic range. There are a total of four IBS ranges now holding 100/200/300 yard matches in 2014.

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March 14th, 2016

New Equalizer Scoring Reticle for Score Matches

VFS Scoring Reticle

No doubt you’ve heard the term “reticle” before, but it probably brings to mind the cross-hair you see through a rifle-scope. This term “reticle” can also describe an optical aid used to score targets. This story discusses a new scoring reticle with precisely-defined circles etched on clear plexiglass. This scoring reticle (as attached to a magnifying crystal) is used to determine whether bullet holes fall inside or outside the scoring circles on targets. This unique new scoring reticle allows match scorers to “equalize” the shot placements of all popular calibers from .204 up to .308. This way, there’s a “level playing field” for all calibers, and any caliber rifle can compete on an equal basis with the 30s.

New ‘Equalizer’ VFS Scoring Reticle

by Ron Goodger
The ubiquitous controversy over the advantage of larger caliber bullets in VFS (Varmint for Score) matches still rages, but there is a simple solution that is being embraced by all to whom I have shown it. The concept is simple, and it accomplishes the same thing the UBR (Ultimate Benchrest) targets do with the advantage that it can be used on any target a club happens to have on hand.

I had heard shooters complain about the advantage that larger calibers have many times and wish there was a fair way to score targets that would level the playing field for all calibers. The UBR concept came along and I read up on it. When a match was held close enough that I could enter, I did so and observed first hand what it was all about. The UBR targets essentially make the distance from the bullet hole center to the scoring ring edge the same for each caliber by using different-sized rings on the caliber-specific targets. After seeing the accompanying disadvantages of using this method (the chief one being the large number of targets required by UBR rules and the resulting increased time required to hold a match), I began searching for a simpler way to accomplish the same thing. I was aware of a number of mid-West clubs wanting to make scoring fair but unwilling to use the UBR method because of the disadvantages.

VFS Scoring Reticle

I came up with an idea late in 2015 and designed a scoring reticle that would do the job. The following diagrams graphically explain how UBR and my scoring reticle accomplish the same thing. The illustration above shows how different caliber bullets hitting the same center point of impact will each just score the 10 ring edge on the different-sized, caliber-specific UBR 10 Rings . It is clear that it is the distance from the center of the bullet to the scoring ring that is made uniform by the different 10 Ring sizes.

VFS Scoring Reticle

The illustration below shows how my VFS scoring reticle accomplishes the same thing by scoring every shot with an .308-equivalent ring that circumscribes the inner caliber-specific ring. The dotted line shows that the center of each bullet hits the same distance from the edge of the scoring ring. It is clear that, using current VFS scoring techniques, the .224, .243, and .257 bullets would score misses. However, scoring each bullet with the .308 ring around the hole illustrates that all calibers would be scored the same.

Scoring Reticle Converts Any Caliber Shot to a .308-Equivalent Hole
VFS Scoring Reticle

The above photo of an IBS 100-yard target has a 6mm hole that is clearly a nine (9), using current scoring methods. But consider that, if a .308 bullet from a 30 BR hit in the very same location, that .30-caliber shot would score in the Ten Ring. Why should the 6mm bullet, whose center was just as close to the middle of the target, be penalized because of the bullet diameter? The image on the right shows the scoring reticle with the 6mm scoring ring centered on this hole. With this scoring reticle, the .308 ring around the 6mm hole clearly scores the 10 Ring, just as a 30-caliber bullet centered in the same spot would do. That is as fair as it can get.

VFS Scoring Reticle

The above image (two shots per frame) from a Hillsdale Michigan varmint target has two 6mm holes that scored a 16. Score values are 10 points for a shot in the white, 5 points for a shot in the orange, and 1 point for hitting the center dot. This was a match that had 30BRs shooting in it. The next photo shows how scoring this frame with the VFS reticle would have resulted in a 21 because the left side of the reticle’s .308 circle just extends into the 10-point white bulls-eye region. So, in effect, there were two (2) shots in the white for 2×10 points (based on the .308 equalizer effect of the reticle). This shows how the reticle will level the VFS playing field regardless of what target is being used.

VFS Scoring Reticle Features and Specifications
The 6mm circles have been placed in the center of the reticle because it is expected to be the most commonly-used caliber, and that makes it easier to see in the crystal. Any of the ring sets can be used for a .308. The sizes of the circles are guaranteed accurate to within .001″ on the outside edge of the circle by the reticle’s manufacturer. I have found the best magnifier crystal to use is a genuine Badash crystal that measures 3.25″ in diameter. They are available from several eBay sellers and are easily attached using a piece of packing tape about 3/4-inch wide around the edge of the reticle (visible on the crystal in the lower part of the photo). That makes the Plexiglas reticles easy to replace in the event they become scratched up from frequent use.

A number of Midwest rifle clubs have already purchased these scoring reticles. The Plexiglas reticles are available for $15.00 each plus $2.04 shipping from the author (does not include the crystal). Email him at LRGoodger [at] gmail dot com for more information.

Permalink Competition, New Product, Optics 7 Comments »
December 17th, 2015

Shoot BR Cases from Your PPC Action with Rebated 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 30BR, 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.

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 30BR 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.” Below are photos of a rebated 6BR case, along with the lathe form tool Butch uses to rebate the case rims.

Cutting Head for Rebating Rims

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 7 Comments »
October 2nd, 2015

IBS Match Report: 100/200 Score Nationals in Maine

IBS 100/200 yard Nationals Maine Augusta Benchrest Score VFS Hunter Randy Jervais

IBS Report by Randy Jarvais
The 2015 IBS 100/200 Score Nationals were held August 22-24 in Augusta, Maine at the Capitol City Rifle and Pistol Club. By all accounts, the 2015 Score Nationals event was another success. Fifty-three guns participated in this year’s Score Nationals, with 38 Varmint for Score (VFS) and 15 Hunter rifles registered. Nine shooters competed for the 2-Gun award. Mike Niblett shot great to win the Varmint for Score (VFS) Grand Agg, while finishing first at 200 yards and second at 100 yards. Mike’s impressive 500-39X Grand Agg total was just one point shy of the current IBS record. Kudos to Mr. Niblett! Dean Breeden won Hunter Class with Randy Jarvais in second — and that was also the result for the 2-Gun Grand Agg (Breeden first, Jarvais second).

IBS 100/200 yard Nationals Maine Augusta Randy Jervais

Equipment Report
Among the Top 10 VFS shooters, nine shot a 30 BR, while the 10th campaigned an unidentified 30-caliber cartridge. Six of the Top 10 VFS shooters used Hodgdon H4198 powder, three used Vihtavuori N130, and one loaded with Hodgdon H322. Krieger barrels were used by five of the Top 10, with two Bruxes, two Liljas, and one Rock Creek. There were a wide variety of bullet choices. VFS Winner Mike Niblett used a Hillbilly 118-grainer while 2-Gun winner Dean Breeden used 115gr “10X” bullets in both his rifles (VFS and Hunter).

CLICK HERE to download Full Equipment List (XLS Spreadsheet)

Southerners Shine in Augusta
From a Maine perspective, every USA destination is south, but the true South was well represented in both number and quality of shooters. To illustrate, in the 100-yard leg of VFS class only one person north of the Mason/Dixon line was able to crack the top seven positions, and he had the home field advantage. For match One, five shooters shot 5X targets, but from then on it was the Jerry Powers show. Powers, from North Carolina, put together a string of three 5X targets before faltering with a 3X during match four. Undaunted, Powers finished strong with another 5X. He needed to, as his 23Xs were but one better than both Mike Niblett of Kentucky and Jim Cline of South Carolina.

Eight VFS Shooters Post 500-Point 100/200 Grand Aggregates

CLICK HERE for full Results (XLS Spreadsheet)

IBS 100/200 yard Nationals Maine Augusta Randy Jervais
accurateshooter.com

IBS 100/200 yard Nationals Maine Augusta Benchrest Score VFS Hunter Randy Jervais

At the Capitol City Range, the 100-yard targets are downhill, while the 200-yard targets are near level with the benches. While the benches are covered there is little covered area aft for equipment in waiting. With the prospect of showers for the entire weekend, Club members rigged tarps, hoping to provide a dry haven if needed. For the most part, ‘Tarp City’ worked sufficiently well. Fortunately, after Friday’s rain, the remainder of the weekend was mostly free of any heavy precipitation.

Score Nationals competitors line up for the Rifle Weigh-In process. The blue tarps provided a little extra protection from the elements.

IBS 100/200 yard Nationals Maine Augusta Benchrest Score VFS Hunter Randy Jervais

Thunder and Lightning, then Drizzle on Sunday
Although the weather was very nice while shooting the 100, shortly thereafter the sky opened up with an impressive display of thunder and lightning. Although that front passed, Sunday’s weather started as overcast with drizzle and showers, but no lightning. Winds started mild but as the day unfolded and the sun was able to break through, so did the wind — it became down right gnarly during some relays. The wind was gusty, and constant switching from 11:30 to 12:30 was problematic, creating vertical issues. Even so, nine shooters were able to shoot 250s at 200 yards on Sunday, all from the VFS class.

Tough Competition in Hunter Division
In IBS, Maine is the last stronghold of hunter classification shooters, thus it was no surprise that the Hunter class was the National’s largest in recent memory. At 100 yards, five Hunter shooters shot perfect 250s on Saturday. Dean Breeden nailed a 250-19X followed by Randy Jarvais with 250-18X. Third place went to K.L. Miller who out-dueled Peter Hills and Tim O’Mara who were the other two 6-power shooters to shoot the coveted 250.

In the 6-power Hunter class, the battle between Breeden and Jarvais continued on Sunday. Breeden started better and maintained a 2X lead through match three. Skip Plummer, a long-time 6-power shooter (with a very “stock”-locking rig), shot three straight 50-point targets (on targets 2, 3, and 4) to threaten the two leaders.

IBS 100/200 yard Nationals Maine Augusta Benchrest Score VFS Hunter Randy Jervais

Breeden shot a 50-1X on his fifth and final 200-yard target and watched through his spotter, while Jarvais dropped one point on his very last shot for record at 200. The order of finish for the five-target, 200-yard leg was Breeden (249-6X), Jarvais (248-5X) and Plummer (247-8X). Sweeping both the 100- and 200-yard legs gave Breeden (499-25X) the Hunter Grand Agg with Jarvais (498-23X) placing second.

Breedan Wins 2-Gun Aggregate… Again
The 2-Gun is a recent award and as yet has been contested but a few times. That doesn’t diminish the feat that there has been but one winner of the award, Dean Breeden. Prior to match 5 on Sunday, Jarvais had the Xs to dethrone Breeden from the 2-gun award, but this is a score game. Match 5 is now a nightmare memory for Jarvais, losing the last shot with each gun. So close yet so far! Breeden on the other hand proved again why he is the competitor to beat. With all the chips on the table, Dean did what he needed to do — dropping just a single point in the entire match. Breedan finished with 999-50X (for both guns) to secure another 2-Gun title, followed by Randy Jarvais (997-55X) two points back. That was tough for Randy, but as Orland Bunker observed: “All the Xs in the world means nothing if you don’t have the points.”


Every Shooter Was a Winner
The Capitol City Rifle and Pistol Club offered a rich prize table. Thirty Benchrest vendors donated nearly $9000.00 worth of hardware and shooting supplies. That generosity allowed each shooter to receive a door prize. In addition, a Nightforce Competition scope was raffled off, with the proceeds earmarked for new concrete benches. Wyatt Fox of New Hampshire was the lucky winner of the Nightforce.

IBS benchrest August Maine Nightforce

All shooters received a door prize. Lucky Wyatt Fox (above right) received a Nightforce scope.

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September 19th, 2014

Tech Tip: Try Rotating Cartridge During Bullet Seating Process — This Might Reduce Bullet Run-Out

Redding Competition DieHere is a simple technique that can potentially help you load straighter ammo, with less run-out. It costs nothing and adds only a few seconds to the time needed to load a cartridge. Next time you’re loading ammo with a threaded (screw-in) seating die, try seating the bullet in two stages. Run the cartridge up in the seating die just enough to seat the bullet half way. Then lower the cartridge and rotate it 180° in the shell-holder. Now raise the cartridge up into the die again and finish seating the bullet.

Steve, aka “Short Range”, one of our Forum members, recently inquired about run-out apparently caused by his bullet-seating process. Steve’s 30BR cases were coming out of his neck-sizer with good concentricity, but the run-out nearly doubled after he seated the bullets. At the suggestion of other Forum members, Steve tried the process of rotating his cartridge while seating his bullet. Steve then measured run-out on his loaded rounds. To his surprise there was a noticeable reduction in run-out on the cases which had been rotated during seating. Steve explains: “For the rounds that I loaded yesterday, I seated the bullet half-way, and turned the round 180 degrees, and finished seating the bullet. That reduced the bullet runout by almost half on most rounds compared to the measurements from the first test.”

run-out bullet

run-out bullet

Steve recorded run-out measurements on his 30BR brass using both the conventional (one-pass) seating procedure, as well as the two-stage (with 180° rotation) method. Steve’s measurements are collected in the two charts above. As you can see, the run-out was less for the rounds which were rotated during seating. Note, the change is pretty small (less than .001″ on average), but every little bit helps in the accuracy game. If you use a threaded (screw-in) seating die, you might try this two-stage bullet-seating method. Rotating your case in the middle of the seating process won’t cost you a penny, and it just might produce straighter ammo (nothing is guaranteed). If you do NOT see any improvement on the target, you can always go back to seating your bullets in one pass. READ Forum Thread….

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 14 Comments »
September 18th, 2014

IBS Match Report: 100/200 Score Nationals in North Carolina

Report by Dick Grosbier for IBS
Over the weekend of September 13-14, 2014, the Ashe County Wildlife Club of Laurel Springs, North Carolina hosted the 44th annual IBS 100/200 Score Nationals. Sixty-two shooters were on the line for the event, including many record holders and major match winners.

Click Photo for full-screen version
Ashe Country NC IBS Score Nationals

CLICK HERE for Match Results Spreadsheet | CLICK HERE for Competitors’ Equipment List

The shooters traveled from as far away as Florida, Wisconsin, and Maine. Considering the miserable weather forecast for Saturday it was really a pretty nice day. We did have rain but thanks to the way the roof overhangs the firing line (photo below) the competitors stayed dry, only the target crew got wet. In spite of this they did an excellent job — they were fully prepared as the forecast was for a very high percentage chance of rain. Saturday got into the high 70s and actually got a little muggy. Sunday was overcast cooler and little if any rain fell.

Ashe Country NC IBS Score Nationals

This was my third visit to Ashe County this year and I must say it gets better each time. They have a great crew of people and a wonderful facility. There are 30 covered benches located next to a very large (40’x160’) reloading, scoring, dining, and clubhouse facility. The entire range is built on the side of a big hill. They have literally moved thousands of cubic yards of dirt (50,000+) to build this facility.


Breeden Busts Record — 1000-59X Two-Gun Total May Be Best Ever!
This year’s IBS Score Nationals saw a performance for the ages. Dean Breeden put together one of the most impressive feats of score shooting in history. Dean’s Two-Gun total score (for VFS and Hunter) was a stunning 1000-59X. This is a pending new Two-Gun IBS world record. Think about that — this means that Dean did not drop a single point through twenty (20) total matches (i.e. 20 targets), while alternating between two different rifles, one with a puny 6-power scope! That’s 100 “Tens” in a row on 100 Bullseyes, without fail. That’s really a remarkable achievement. As least Dean does not have to console the old record-holder, because the pre-existing record, 1000-52X, was set by (you guessed it), Mr. Dean Breeden. In besting his own record by seven Xs, Breeden won the Two-Gun award at this year’s IBS Score Nationals and earned a new entry in the record books. Congrats to Dean!

Ashe Country NC IBS Score Nationals

Bullet-maker Randy Robinett was amazed at Breeden’s 1000-59X performance. “Some years ago, I held the Two-Gun score record with a 999-52X. What Dean has accomplished with his 1000-59X is truly noteworthy — this really is a BIG deal. Let me tell you, getting 1000 points is really hard to do. You have to switch between two different rifles, and adjust from a high-power scope to a 6X scope, changing rests and equipment all the time. This is very tough.”


Looking at the Equipment List (Editor’s Comment)
The Equipment List from the 2014 IBS Score Nationals is quite revealing. As you’d expect, this match was very much a 30-caliber affair, but we were surprised to see such dominance by cut-rifled barrels, and Hodgdon H4198 powder.

1. All of the Top 15 VFS shooters ran cut-rifled barrels. There were mostly Bartleins and Kriegers, with two Brux barrels and one Rock Creek.

2. Hodgdon H4198 is definitely the powder of choice, used by 14 of the Top 20 VFS shooters. Federal 205M primers were used by at least 13 of the Top 20 shooters.

3. Randy Robinett’s BIB bullets were the most popular, used by four of the Top 10 shooters.

4. Every VFS shooter and every Hunter Class shooter was running a 30-caliber cartridge. Most VFS shooters ran 30BRs, but the 30×47 cartridge was favored by half the Hunter shooters.

5. Two gunsmiths smithed six of the Top 10 rifles. Three were by Mike Niblett and three were by Sid Goodling (who also smithed #11 and #12).

6. BAT Machine actions are still #1. BAT actions were used by 14 of the Top 20 shooters.

Ashe Country NC IBS Score Nationals

Mike Niblett (above) had a typical VFS rig: BAT action, Krieger cut-rifled barrel, with a Nightforce 12-42X scope. Mike used H4198 of course, but he shot Hill bullets in his 30BR, rather than BIBs.

Many 250s with 20 or more Xs Shot on Saturday
Saturday, at 100 yards, it was the Kevin and K.L. show. Kevin Donalds Sr. and K.L. Miller took the lead in Varmint For Score, and Hunter classes respectively all day long. Kevin turned in a fine score of 250-22X followed closely by Dean Breeden with 250-21X. Dean was just barely short of the win all weekend in both classes. Mike Niblett was third with 250-20X, ahead of five other 250-20X scores based on tie-breaker. There were four 19X and eight 18X scores. K.L. Miller turned in a fine 250-18x score in Hunter Class followed closely by Peter Hills and Frank McKee (both with 250-16Xs). It was moderately windy and switchy all day and since the Nationals involve shooting each record match from a different bench you essentially faced a new set of conditions each time you came to the line.

‘Top Guns’ at the Score Nationals: Kevin Donald Sr., K.L. Miller, and Dean Breeden.
Ashe Country NC IBS Score Nationals

Sunday it was overcast and cooler but not as rainy. Anthony Isner stepped up and took the lead in VFS class turning in a fine 250-16X score. Second place went to, you guessed it, Dean Breeden. Dean’s 250-15X was followed closely by Kevin Donalds Sr. also with 15X. In Hunter class it was Randy Jarvais’s turn to win an Aggregate. Randy’s 250-9X score beat out Dean’s 250-8X and Miller’s 250-7X scores.

In the VFS Grand Aggregate, Kevin Donalds Sr. topped the field with 500-37X, followed by Dean Breeden with 500-36X, and Anthony Isner with 500-34X. K.L. Miller won the Hunter Grand Agg handily — his 500-25X easily topped Dean’s 500-23X and Randy’s 500-20X totals. The IBS 2-Gun award went to Dean Breeden with a record score of 1000-59X. This is a potential new 2-Gun record as he bested his own record by seven Xs.

Ashe Country NC IBS Score Nationals

Ashe Country NC IBS Score Nationals

Praise for the Match Organizers and Staff
All in all it was a very well run match at a great new facility. This was the first Nationals event to be held there but it will not be the last. Hats off to E.T. Weaver and his helpers. The target crew deserves special mention. They were very good and very fast. A match with full bench rotation can be a nightmare for any target crew but these guys handled it like old pros even though it was their first-ever attempt. Well done guys and gals!

Ashe Country NC IBS Score Nationals

Ashe Country NC IBS Score Nationals

The Ashe County Wildlife Club put on a great event, complete with delicious country Barbecue.
Ashe Country NC IBS Score Nationals

Photos Courtesy Clint Johnson and Dick Grosbier.
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September 5th, 2013

IBS Match Report: 2013 Score Nationals at Weikert, PA

IBS Report and photographs by Dick Grosbier
Over Labor Day weekend the Union County Sportsmans Club (Weikert, PA) hosted the 43rd annual IBS 100/200 Score Nationals. This club has a reputation for hosting fine events, and this match certainly lived up to that reputation. With 63 guns on the line, this year’s Score Nationals was well-attended. All in all this was as good a Score Nationals as I have attended in quite a while. I tip my hat to the Union County crew for running an excellent match. Weather was warm and a little muggy both days. I do not believe we ever had a drop of rain (despite a 30% chance of rain forecast). Mirage was very minimal as it was overcast both days. Winds started out very calm and slowly increased all day long both days.

2013 IBS Score Nationals Results (PDF) | 2013 IBS Score Nationals Results (XLS)

View IBS Score Nationals Full Photo Gallery (100 pictures)

IBS Score Nationals IBS Score 2-Gun Winner Dean Breeden  Varmint For Score grand agg. winner Herb Llewellyn Hunter class Grand aggregate winner Gary Long
Left to Right: IBS Score 2-Gun Winner Dean Breeden, Varmint For Score Grand Agg Winner Herb Llewellyn, Hunter Class Grand Agg Winner Gary Long.

IBS Score Nationals Weikert PA 2013 30BR Hunter Varmint

IBS Score Nationals Weikert PA 2013 30BR Hunter Varmint

On Saturday, Herb Llewellyn started out on a tear in Varmint For Score (VFS) class and stayed hot, finishing the 100-yard event with a 250-25X score. We witnessed some really fine shooting in less-than-perfect conditions. Junior Shooter Kevin Donalds Jr. (photo below) laid down a fine 250-24X to finish second. Kevin, who turns a ripe old 13 years of age in a few days, shot a remarkable 250-25X Aggregate a few months back. To the best of my memory those are the only two 250-25X scores in IBS this year. A.R. Edwards was third with 23X.

IBS Score Nationals Weikert PA 2013 30BR Hunter Varmint

In Hunter Class Dean Breeden shot 250-17X beating more than 50% of the VFS shooters, and for those of you who do not fully understand Hunter Class, the big thing to remember is they shoot 6-power scopes. Peter Hills from Maine also shot a 250 in HTR with 9X.

IBS Score Nationals Hal Drake Weikert PA 2013 30BR Hunter Varmint

Sunday the shooters lined up for the 200-yard event. Shooting his 6 PPC, Hal Drake shot a 250-14X, proving that a PPC can still win in a Score match (at least at the longer ranges). Second place (as at 100 yards) went to a Kevin Donalds, but this time it was Kevin Donalds Senior who was the runner-up, posting a 250-13X. Third place honors went to Dean Breeden also with 250-13X. In Hunter Class, veteran shooter Gary Long shot 248-5X to beat K.L. Miller under Creedmoor tie-breaker rules. Dave Thomas was third with 247-7X.

You may have noticed that nobody in the top three on Saturday was in the top three on Sunday. This led to some interesting results in the VFS Grand Aggregate. Top Man was Herb Llewellyn, with a 500-36X. Herb’s victory at the Nationals pretty much puts the last nail in the coffin of anybody trying to catch Herb in the Score Shooter Of the Year race.

Second in the Grand was Herb’s lovely wife Kim with a 500-34X. Third place went to Randy Jarvais who learned the hard way to not drop the first X! Randy tied with Kim for total score all weekend but Kim shot a 5X on the first target and Randy got a 4X. Fourth in the Grand went to 200-yard winner Hal Drake with 500-33X, and Ricky Read rounded out the Top Five with 500-32X.

Gary Long won the Hunter Grand division with 497-22X, Dean Breeden was second with 496-20X, and third was Dave Thomas with 496-14X. It was great to see Dave back shooting again. Dean Breeden put in a repeat performance as IBS Score 2-Gun winner with a 996-51X score, Larry Feusse was second with 990-46X and Dudley Pierce was third with 987-44X.

IBS 43rd Annual 100 / 200 Yard Score Nationals
Union County Sportsman’s Club — August 31st to September 1st, 2013

IBS Score Nationals Weikert PA 2013 30BR Hunter Varmint

IBS Score Nationals Weikert PA 2013 30BR Hunter Varmint

IBS Score Nationals Weikert PA 2013 30BR Hunter Varmint

IBS Score Nationals Weikert PA 2013 30BR Hunter Varmint

IBS Score Nationals Weikert PA 2013 30BR Hunter Varmint

CLICK Equipment Lists Below to See LARGE Versions

IBS Score Nationals Weikert PA 2013 30BR Hunter Varmint
IBS Score Nationals Weikert PA 2013 30BR Hunter Varmint

IBS Score Nationals Weikert PA 2013 30BR Hunter Varmint

Praise for the Match Crew and Kitchen Crew
I cannot say enough good things about the target crew and range officer Mark Trutt. They ran a very efficient match. I do not recall a single delay all weekend from loose- or erroneously-hung targets. We started promptly at 9:00 am and finished around 2:00 pm both days. Range officer Mark Trutt did an outstanding job when confronted with a tricky situation regarding IBS Score 2-Gun shooters. The range has 40 benches and we had a very nice turnout of 63 guns on the line but it simply was not justified to run a third relay so Mark judiciously added around 10 minutes between each relay to allow 2-gun shooters some time to reload. I don’t think the time would even have been noticed but the target crew was speedy and efficient, so we ended up with a little extra time on the line. I personally felt it made for a very nice, laid-back pace for competitors shooting only one gun. Scoring was fast and efficient for the most part.

The Kitchen crew deserves praise for the fine breakfasts and lunches. In good Weikert tradition, we were treated to “Mama Trutt’s” fresh-baked cookies each afternoon. — Dick Grosbier

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June 2nd, 2013

12-Year-Old Kevin Donalds Jr. Wins Score Match with 250-25X

Well it looks like there’s some real talent in the next generation of IBS Benchrest shooters. Watch out for those young guns — they can give seasoned veterans a run for their money — and then some. Young Kevin Donalds Jr. fired a perfect 250-25X score to win a 100-yard IBS score match at the Thurmont, Maryland range on May 18th, 2013. At just 12 years of age, Kevin is already showing he has the focus, talent, and determination to win. And, yes he managed to beat his proud father Kevin Donalds (Sr.) who finished second with a 250-23x. Like father, like son. It’s great to see a father and son who shoot together — and share the podium together.

Above, 12-year-old Kevin, match winner, is shown flanked on his left by his father (second place), and on his right by third place finisher Larry Fritz. Young Kevin was shooting a 30BR (no surprise), with a BAT action, Krieger barrel, and an affordable Sightron 8-32X scope (about $860). The rifle was smithed by Sid Goodling and stocked by Roy Hunter. The load was a stout charge of Hodgdon H4198, fired by Federal primers, pushing BIB 112gr bullets.

For more information on this Match and other IBS competitions, visit InternationalBenchrest.com and the IBS News Magazine Archive.

IBS international benchrest shooters

Story Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition 4 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 »
July 4th, 2010

Triumph in Texas: Jackie Schmidt Shoots 0.1118 5-Target Agg at 100 yards with 30 BR — Best in History

Jackie SchmidtTexan Jackie Schmidt, using a 13.5-lb 30BR Heavy Varmint rifle, has shot a pending NBRSA world record 5-target, 5-shot-per-target Aggregate at 100 yards. Jackie’s 5x5x100 Agg measured 0.1118! How small is that? To help our readers visualize this, the illustration at right shows what a SINGLE 0.111″ 5-shot group (with .30-cal holes) would look like. Jackie’s actual measured group sizes for his five-target Aggregate were: .153, .093, .120, .100, and .093.

If this record is certified, it will be the best 5×5 100-yard Agg ever shot in history by a bag gun in competition. Jackie’s Agg may also beat the “Unlimited” (Rail Gun) 5x5x100 records, but we’re still researching that. Remarkably, Jackie shot his 0.1118″ Agg with a stout-recoiling 30 BR (not a PPC), he did it in howling winds, and he did it with brass that had been fired 30 times! He also shot the entire Agg without cleaning his barrel.

We know it may be difficult for some readers to understand how hard it is to average 0.1118 for 25 shots on FIVE targets. To help demonstrate this, we’ve created an illustration that shows a SINGLE 0.111″ five-shot group. Jackie shot five groups that averaged this size. And he wasn’t “machine-gunning”. He took 6-7 minutes to shoot each target, firing on a “angle transition” in the conditions. Jackie explained: “The wind was switching, but I wasn’t shooting the dominant condition. I would wait for the transition and then shoot when the flags came around to about 15 degrees.”

Jackie gave credit to his rifle: “Though I usually use this rifle for score shoots, this 30BR is the most accurate rifle I have in terms of shooting small groups. I was lucky and hit the perfect tune. There was absolutely no vertical. You can’t shoot [an Agg] like this unless you have a rifle tuned to the hilt.” Jackie recognizes that this performance was a “once in a lifetime type experience.” He told us: “Today everything was right. The rifle was shooting impeccably, I had a good handle on the conditions, and just didn’t make a mistake.” Jackie added: “These days are few and far between — you just have to cherish the moment.”

Jackie’s 5-target Agg was so good that many experts predict it will stand as a record for a long time. On Benchrest Central, respected BR gunsmith Mike Bryant wrote: “The current record … was still Rex Reneau’s .1399 Agg from 1982. With Jackie’s Agg, I’m sure that it will easily beat Rex’s record when measured by the records committee. It’s just too far under the current record for it not to hold up… [and] to do it with a .30 BR is even more amazing. That should put to rest the notion that the .30 BR is a score cartridge only.”

Many people are surprised this pending Agg record was shot with a 30BR rather than a 6 PPC. When asked if he thinks the 30 BR can rival the 6PPC in group competition, Jackie told us: “In the 13.5-lb Heavy Varmint class, a good 30 BR is every bit as accurate as a good PPC, and possesses an equal Agging capability.” It’s different in the 10.5 classes, Jackie acknowledged: “in the LV/Sporter 10.5-lb classes, the 30 BR can get a little aggravating over the course of a match due to its greater recoil.”

Jackie’s Aggregate May Be Best in Benchrest History
Shooting in a Midland, Texas BR for group match, Jackie battled shifty, 15-20 mph winds in what may well be the greatest single-day display of “pure accuracy” in the history of the shooting sports. To put this accomplishment in perspective, Jackie’s 5-target Agg was better than any other 5×5 100-yard Aggregate ever shot in a registered benchrest match by a bag-gun. And according to the published records we could find on file with the NBRSA and IBS, Jackie’s 0.1118″ also beats even the existing rail-gun 5x5x100 Aggs. So, this could potentially be the smallest 5-target Agg ever shot in history, by any gun, in any registered match, at any time. Below are the current IBS and NBRSA World records listed on the Internet:

Current Benchrest 100-yard World Records (5 Targets, 5 shots per target)
5-5-100 Aggregate (NBRSA)

Unlimited: .1283″ Steve Kostanich 8/10/2003

Heavy Varmint: .1399″ Rex Reneau 9/6/1982

Light Varmint: .1500″ Jeff Fowler 6/11/1994

Sporter: .1573 (na) Dick Katchmar 4/14/1985

5-5-100 Aggregate Records (IBS)

Unlimited HB: .1386 (na) R. Howell 12/3/04

Heavy Varmint: .1407″ Tony Boyer 8/3/07

Light Varmint: .1599″ B. Goad 8/13/08

Sporter: .1592″ R. Boop 8/13/08

Jackie SchmidtGun Specs: Jackie was shooting a 13.5-lb 30 BR that he chambered and assembled himself. The barrel is a 4-groove, 1:18″ twist, HV-taper Krieger, fitted with a 5.5-oz. “snubber” barrel tuner made by Jackie. The action is a cast Farley, “glued and screwed” into the stock and fitted with a Jewell trigger. The stock is a Robertson Composites BRX, built with extra weight to make the gun a dedicated 13.5-pounder. The scope is a 50-power March.

Record Load: Jackie was running a stout load of Hodgdon H4198 powder, Federal 205M primers, and BIB (Robinette) 112gr flat-base bullets seated about .003″ into the lands. Load is “tuned for 3020 fps”. Cases are formed from Lapua 6mmBR brass using a dedicated forming barrel that blows the necks out to 0.330″ in one step. Trim length is 1.540″, longer than most 30 BRs. Jackie turns the necks for a total of .002″ clearance.

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September 19th, 2009

Tight Competition at 200-300 Yard IBS Score Nationals

The 2009 200-300 Yard IBS Score National Championship was held September 12-13 at the Thurmont Conservation & Sportsmans’ Club in Thurmont, Maryland. Competition was fierce with the combined yardage winners taking one-point victories in two of the three classes. Shooting a 498-17X, Wayne France won the 200/300 combined in the Varmint for Score (VFS) class, followed by Al Weaver (497-17X), and Hal Drake (497-10X). In Hunter Class, Gary Long (491-10X) took top honors for the combined yardages, followed by Frank McKee (487-5X), and David Apple (484-11X). Finally, in Varmint Hunter Class, David Thomas (494-11X) edged Eddie Harren (493-12X), with Sara Haran finishing third with 484-5X.

200-300 IBS Score Nationals

During the match, there were four perfect 250s shot at 200 yards: Curtis Nelson (250-12X) and Fred Ridgway (250-11X) in VFS, Gary Long (250-6X) in Hunter Class, and David Thomas (250-8X) in Varmint Hunter Class. Wayne France nailed the best score overall at 300 yards, an impressive 249-7X in VFS class. Congratulations to the winners and to all the competitors.

2009 200/300 IBS Score Nationals Equipment List (Partial)

200-300 IBS Score Nationals

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March 7th, 2009

Robinett Has New Website for BIB Bullets

Randy Robinett, maker of the popular and super-accurate BIB bullets, now has an updated website. With a little help from Ryan Ware and the folks at the BenchTalk Forum, Randy has expanded his website to include very comprehensive information on all the bullets he produces.

On Randy’s new product page, you’ll find everything you want to know about his bullets: BCs, recommended twist rates, ogive number, meplat size, and diameters of pressure rings and shanks. Here’s a sample of the info for Randy’s 6mm bullets:

BIB 6mm Bullets

6mm – 65gr FB, BC = .27. Made in Niemi carbide dies, 8.5 ogive/.055″ meplat, .2435 pressure ring; .2433 shank: a 1:14″ twist is ideal.

6mm – 67.0gr FB, BC = .28. Made in Niemi carbide dies, 8.5 ogive/.055″ meplat, .2435 pressure ring; .2433 shank: ideal twist for the 67gr FB is 1:13.5″.

6mm – 95gr FB, BC = .45. Made in Niemi carbide dies; 11 ogive/.052″ meplat; .2435 pressure-ring; .2433″ shank. Ideal twist: 1:10″ twist; works well in twist rates as fast as 1:8″.

6mm – 108gr FB, BC = .51. Made in Niemi carbide dies; 11 ogive/.052″ meplat; .2435 pressure-ring; .2433″ shank. Ideal twist rate: 1:9″; faster twists not recommended.

BIB Bullets

For more information on Robinett’s .22, .25, 6mm, and 30-Caliber bullets, visit www.BIBullets.com. You can also email Randy at bibrob [at] netins.net, or phone him at (515) 438-4010.

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