July 11th, 2018

How to Hydro-Form Cartridge Brass — Dasher Video

6mm Dasher hydroforming case die hornady

Can you form a wildcat cartridge such as the 6 Dasher without expending primer, powders, and bullets? Absolutely. Using the hydro-forming method you can form improved cases in your workshop with no firing whatsoever, so there is no wear on your precious barrel. Watch this video to see how it’s done:

6 Dasher Case Hydro-Forming Demonstration:

Forum member Wes J. (aka P1ZombieKiller) has produced a helpful video showing how to form Dasher cases use the Hornady Hydraulic forming die kit. This includes a two-part die (body and piston), and a special shell holder. To form the case, you insert a primer in your virgin brass, top the case off with with a fluid (water or alcohol), then run the case up into the Hydro-forming die. A few stout whacks with a hammer and your case is 95% formed.

6mm Dasher hydroforming hydraulic 6mmBR hornadyHydro-Forming Procedure Step-by-Step:
1. Insert spent primer in new 6mmBR brass case.
2. Fill with water or alcohol (Wes prefers alcohol).
3. Wipe excess fluid off case.
4. Place case in special Hornady shell-holder (no primer hole).
5. Run case up into Hydraulic forming die.
6. Smack top piston of forming die 3-4 times with rubber mallet or dead-blow hammer.
7. Inspect case, re-fill and repeat if necessary.
8. Drain alcohol (or water) into container.
9. Remove primer (and save for re-use).
10. Blow-dry formed case. Inspect and measure formed case.

Wes achieves very uniform cartridge OALs with this method. He measured ten (10) hydro-formed 6 Dasher cases and got these results: two @ 1.536″; 2 @ 1.537″; and 6 @ 1.538″.

Three or Four Whacks Produces a 95%-Formed Case
With a Hornady hydro-forming die, hydraulic pressure does the job of blowing out the shoulders of your improved case. The process is relatively simple. Place a spent primer in the bottom of a new piece of brass. Fill the case with water, and then slip it into a special Hornady shell-holder with no hole in the middle. Then you run the case up into the forming die. Now comes the fun part. You gently insert a plunger (hydraulic ram) from the top, and give it three or four stiff whacks with a mallet (or better yet, a dead-blow hammer). Remove the plunger and you have a 95% formed case, ready to load.

Walter Queen Hydraulic Hornady DieSpecial Shell-Holder
Hornady supplies a shell holder made specifically for the hydro die; there’s no hole in the bottom of it. Just insert a spent primer into the primer pocket and you’re ready to go. The spent primer, combined with the solid shell holder, keeps the water from seeping out of the primer pocket. The primer pushes out a little bit during this process, but it’s impossible for it to come out because of the way the shell holder is designed. The shell holder has a grove which allows the case to slide out of the shell holder even when the primer protrudes a bit.

Story tip from Body Allen. We welcome reader submissions.

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June 13th, 2018

Home-Built F-Open Rifle and Dual-Belt-Drive Front Rest

Tikka 590 Essex Custom

We like Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects. It takes initiative, creativity, and dedication to make your own hardware, and that’s worth acknowledging. For you dedicated DIY guys, here’s a great project that should inspire. Here is an owner designed and crafted F-Open rig, complete with home-built, belt-drive front rest.

Some of our mechanically-skilled readers chamber their own barrels or bed their own stocks. But these are relatively simple tasks compared to the jobs of constructing an entire rifle plus building an advanced front rest from scratch. Well that’s exactly what Forum member Steve B. (aka Essexboy) did a couple seasons back. He built his own rifle and an impressive twin-belt-drive pedestal rest. (Click photo below for large version). And get this, Steve’s home-made rifle was victorious in its first-ever match. Steve reports: “I shot my first Comp with the rifle … and managed to win with a score of 239-21!” (The match was shot at 300/500/600/1000/1100 with English scoring of 5 points for center bullseye).

Do-It-Yourself F-Open Rig from England
Steve, who hails from Essex in the UK, constructed virtually every component of his skeleton-style rifle except the 28″ HV Bartlein barrel (chambered as a 6mm Dasher) and the Tikka 590 donor action. Steve also did all the design and fabrication work on his one-of-a-kind front rest. Steve tells us: “Over the last year or so, I made this rifle stock and rest. I managed to make it all on a little Myford Lathe, as you can tell I’m no machinist but it saved me a load of money — so far I’ve got about $200 invested plus the barrelled action. The stock is aluminum except for the stainless steel bag runner. The rifle came in at one ounce under weight limit for F-Class Open division.” Steve did get help with the chambering and barrel-fitting, but he hopes to do all the barrel work himself on his next project.

Tikka 590 Essex CustomThe gun is very accurate. Steve notes: “I have shot the rifle to 1100 yards and it shoots well. Last time out the rifle dropped just one point at 1000 yards and 5 points at 1100 yards [English scoring system]. I know it’s not pretty, but it got me shooting long range F-Class for peanuts.” Message to Steve: Don’t worry how it looks. As another Forum member observed: “Any rifle that shoots well at 1100 yards is beautiful….”

Steve started with a Tikka 590 action: “The whole stock was made on a small (6.5×13) lathe and a vertical slide. This caused a few head scratching moments, figuring out how to hold the T6/HE30 alloy for the milling/turning operations, but it did teach me a few things. The hardest parts were clamping the longer sections (such as the fore-end) and keeping it all square. Due to the short cross-slide travel I had to keep re-setting the parts. I managed to keep all measurements to 0.001″ (one thousandth). I’m most proud of the trigger guard (photo below). This took a full day but came out really well, even if I say so myself.”

Tikka 590 Essex Custom

Belt-Driven Front Rest
We’re impressed with Steve’s ingenious front rest. Steve explains: “The rest is belt-driven and still in the experimental stage — hence no powder coating or polishing yet. I may have gone over the top as the key moving parts (the pulleys) run on three (3) types of bearings: radial; reamed bush; and a ball race. The main post runs on a radial bearing and the feet even have bearings in them, so when I raise the main body up (for rough height adjustment) the foot stays static.”

Tikka 590 Essex Custom

Will Steve build another rifle? Steve says he will, and he’s upgraded his tools: “Since building the rifle I have acquired a bigger lathe (Harrison m250) and a milling machine. For the next project I hope to be able to do the barrel work (threading, chambering, crowning) as well.” The next gun might be another Dasher. Steve explains: “After extensive reading on AccurateShooter.com, I chose the 6mm Dasher chambering, as I have a shoulder problem and can’t shoot a rifle with a lot of recoil.”

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June 11th, 2018

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

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

Scott Nix Dasher Record

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

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February 4th, 2018

Full-Length Sizing Die Fit — Diagnosing Stiff Bolt Lift Problems

Resizing Die Alex Wheeler Shoulder Bump Die fitting Full-Length

In this video, gunsmith Alex Wheeler explains how to ensure that your full-length sizing dies fit your brass properly. With many cartridge types, it’s not unusual for factory dies to be slightly large in the bottom section. When the diameter of a FL-sizing die is too large near the base, this can leave the bottom section of fired cases “unsized”, with the result that you can have extraction issues and stiff bolt lift, or what Alex calls “clickers”. At the same time, it’s not unusual for dies to over-size fired cases at the shoulder (i.e. reduce the shoulder diameter by .004″ or more).

We strongly recommend that all hand-loaders watch this video, particularly if you load cases 6+ times with relatively high-pressure loads.

Alex explains that a key dimension is the diameter of a fired case 0.200″ above the case head. If your die does not size your fired cases at this point, you should get a FL die that does. This could be a custom die ground to fit your chamber, or it could be a “small-base” die specifically designed to “hit” the bottom section of the case. Alex also notes that some FL dies have an inside chamfer at the mouth of the die, right at the very bottom. (See video at 3:55). This can leave the section of the case right above the extractor groove unsized, which can also lead to “clickers” and stiff bolt lift.

Paint Your Brass to Find Problem Areas
If you are having stiff bolt lift or extraction issues, Alex explains that you can “paint” your brass with magic marker (or dye-chem), and then place the case in your chamber. On the “hot spots” where the case contacts the chamber wall, the marking will rub off, allowing the brass metal to shine through in the problem area(s). This will illustrate where you need better sizing from your die.

“You can ink up the case with some magic marker or dye-chem. If you are getting clickers, go ahead and mark up the case and chamber it and see where it’s wearing. This will help you diagnose [whether the problem] is coming from the base, is it coming maybe from a score in the chamber… it can even happen at the shoulder although that’s pretty rare. Usually the dies size enough at that point.”

Did you find this video helpful? View more informative Tech Tip Videos on WheelerAccuracy.com.

Video Tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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November 19th, 2017

Drilled by Dasher — Spectacular 600-Yard Target Shot in Oregon

Tri-Valley Gun Club TVGC Portland Oregon

Take a look at that group. That would be pretty nice for 200 yards. But this group was shot at 600 yards in competition by Fred Dobson at a recent NBRSA match in Oregon. The X-Ring is 1.2″ in diameter. Perfectly centered for a 50-5X, this Light Gun target should be a new NBRSA Score record, pending approval. The previous Score record was Ken Schroeder’s 50-4X.

Tri-Valley Gun Club TVGC Portland OregonFred’s 600-yard group is also amazingly small. Using On-Target Software, we measured Fred’s five-shot group at 0.738″, which is a tiny 0.118 MOA at 600 yards.

NOTE: This is NOT an official measurement. The actual 5-shot group size might be larger or smaller, though it won’t be an NBRSA GROUP record. The current NBRSA 600-yard Light Gun group size record is 0.5823″ set by Robert Hoppe way back in 2008. But Fred’s 50-5X target should, indeed, be a new SCORE record.

Forum member “Jet” reports: “The Tri-County Gun Club just south of Portland, Oregon hosted its second NBRSA 600-guard match 11/18/2017. Twenty-one shooters brought rifles to the line. Fred Dobson shot the 50-5X target shown here.”

Congrats to Fred. Forum member KVD posted: “That’s truly fine shooting — something to be proud of. Seems like the bar gets boosted higher and higher every time there is a sanctioned match.”

Load Specifications
Cartridge: 6mm Dasher
Bullet: Precision Ballistics 105 gr
Powder: Hodgdon Varget
Primer: CCI 450

Equipment Specifications
Action: Kelbly
Barrel: Bartlein 1:7.5″ twist
Stock: McMillan MBR

Tri-County Gun Club TVGC Portland Oregon
TCGC 600-yard Range. This range uses the same target holders as the 300-yard line of the 200–300 yard range, which is closed when the 600-yard range is in use. Raised platform is for prone shooting.

About the Tri-County Gun Club in Oregon
Tri-county Gun Club TVGC Portland Oregon

Tri-County Gun Club is one of the premiere shooting clubs in the Pacific Northwest. The 230-acre private facility is located in Sherwood, Oregon just 15 minutes from downtown Portland. TCGC offers a wealth of ranges, competitions, and social activities for shooters of all ages, interests, and skill levels.

Article Tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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October 4th, 2017

IBS Match Report: 2017 1000-Yard Nationals in West Virginia

IBS 1000-yard Nationals White Horse West Virginia

2017 IBS 1000-Yard Benchrest Nationals
Report By Boyd Allen
On September 1-4, the IBS held its 2017 1000-yard Benchrest Nationals at the Whitehorse Shooting Center in Peeltree, West Virginia. There was a great turn-out this year, with 118 entries in Light Gun Class (17-lb limit, 5 shots per target) class and 107 shooters in Heavy Gun Class (Unlimited weight, 10 shots per target). The conditions this year were challenging to say the least, with rain storms, spiraling winds, and fog. In fact, rain and fog on Saturday (with cancelled relays) caused the Nationals to be extended by one day through Monday, September 4th. What’s more, of the 107 shooters listed in the Two-Gun Overall results who actually shot both guns, there were dozens of DQs. (Yes, the wind was a bit tricky at this year’s Nationals.)

IBS 1000-yard Nationals White Horse West Virginia
Sam Hall, past IBS Shooter of the Year, provided this image and most of the photos in this report.

Congratulations to the “top guns” at the Nationals: Edward Kenzakoski (Two-Gun Overall Champion), Mike Gaizauskas (Light Gun Overall, plus LG Score Agg), and Mike Brennan (Heavy Gun Overall, plus HG Score Agg). Group Agg winners were Richard Schatz for LG, and Charlie Lentz for Heavy. Two ladies also deserve mention. Sally Bauer shot the smallest group of the match, a 1.923″ 5-shot group in LG — that’s 0.184 MOA! Ruth Edwards drilled a 2.104″, also mighty impressive. Nice shootin’ ladies…


CLICK HERE for Complete 1000-Yard Nationals RESULTS »

Top Shooters — Overall, Light Gun, and Heavy Gun:
IBS 1000-yard Nationals White Horse West Virginia
CLICK HERE for Larger Chart

White Horse Wind and Weather Factors — and Topography
The firing line for the 1000-yard range has a covered structure with 14 well-spaced masonry benches with block bases and cast concrete tops. Facing southwest, the firing line is above the land between it and the target butts, which are at the head of a canyon. There is a low area with trees on the left with an elevated flat area on the right.

IBS 1000-yard Nationals White Horse West Virginia

This topography create unpredictable wind patterns that can change rapidly with no warning. Those changes can wreak havoc with competitors’ groups and scores. The wind direction at the targets can be opposite that at the firing line, with the result that a let-off down range not only carries the penalty of making a hold-off incorrect, but because the wind at the firing line can continue, adding the additional penalty of a reversal. This was the common cause of disqualifications, which were numerous at this year’s Nationals.

Light Gun and Heavy Gun Equipment Lists (Partial Sample):
IBS 1000-yard Nationals White Horse West Virginia

Barrel-Block Heavy Gun with a handsome wood stock. Wide fore-ends enhance stability.
IBS 1000-yard Nationals White Horse West Virginia

Delay Caused by Fog and Rain
On Saturday, rain and fog delays, caused the match to be extended through Monday. The rules dictate that if a full match cannot be finished because of weather, then all of the day’s results are discarded. This meant that even those shooters who completed their relays on Saturday had to shoot them over — hence another day was added to the event. Because of the prospect of worsening conditions on Saturday afternoon, even though there was daylight left, the decision was made to extend the match through Monday.

Profile of 2017 IBS 1000-Yard National Champion Edward Kenzakoski

Commenting on his performance at the Nationals, Ed said modestly:
“I didn’t shoot really good. I just shot better than them other guys.”

IBS 1000-yard Nationals White Horse West Virginia

Winning Hardware (with a 110-lb Heavy Gun)
Notably, Ed does all of his own gunsmithing, and he built his Championship-winning rifles. Both guns featured 1:11″-twist, 30″ Krieger barrels. (LG: 1.250″ shank and .950 muzzle; HG: 2″ contour untapered). Ed’s Light Gun has a BAT action, no barrel block, Jewell trigger, and McMillan Tooley MBR stock. His Heavy Gun boasts a 10″-long BAT action in a two-piece aluminum stock with barrel block. That HG beast weighs 110 pounds! Both of Ed’s rifles (light and heavy) wore Nightforce 12-42x56mm BR scopes.

Winning Numbers
To win the Two Gun Overall, Ed posted 137 LG Score, 262 HG Score, and 399 Two-Gun Score Agg. His Group numbers were: LG Group 5.659, HG Group 7.483, Two-Gun Agg: 6.571.

Winning Loads and Reloading Methods
Both rifles are chambered in 300 WSM. Ed shoots 210gr Berger VLDs (sorted every way possible), with Norma brass, Hodgdon H4350 powder, and CCI BR2 primers. For the two guns he used very different seating depths — barely touching for the HG, 0.100″ jump for the LG. He said that it takes him a full four days to load the ammunition for both rifles for a match. Yes, he weighs primers, and he even passes his bullets through a .309 bushing.

No Dark Horse at White Horse — Kenzakoski is a Proven Winner
One shouldn’t be surprised at Edward Kenzakoski’s success. Ed really cleaned up at Williamsport this year, winning one 6-match Aggregate and two 10-match score and group Aggregates. He also established a new Williamsport club Light Gun record of 3.2″.

Last year’s winner Tom Mousel sitting at the bench on Sunday. Tom finished third overall this year.
IBS 1000-yard Nationals White Horse West Virginia

IBS 1000-yard Nationals White Horse West Virginia

Record-Setting Asymmetry
In 2016 Michael Gaizauskas set the current 1000-yard IBS Heavy Gun (10 shot) group and score records. He set those records with the rifle on the left (below), then chambered in 6.5×47 Lapua. In this match, Mike won LG Group and LG Overall with the rifle on the right as chambered in his own 7mm short magnum wildcat. Mike designed and built both these distinctive assymetric stocks.

IBS 1000-yard Nationals White Horse West Virginia

Prizes and Gift Certificates Galore at White Horse
The prize table at the IBS 1000-yard Nationals was impressive, with many scopes and stocks as prizes, plus a treasure trove of gift certificates:

IBS 1000-yard Nationals White Horse West Virginia

White Horse Shooting Center Facilities, Organization, and Location
The 1000-yard range used at the IBS 2017 Nationals is part of a large shooting facility run by Whitehorse Firearms Outdoor Education Center in cooperation with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. White Horse is located off of Route 20 near the small community of Peeltree, WV. The nearest town of any size, ten miles to the south, is Buckhannon, WV, which has about 5600 residents.

IBS 1000-yard Nationals White Horse West Virginia

White Horse Geography and Climate
The White Horse range is set in wooded hill country, with lots of creeks and some smaller rivers all kept green and running by an annual rainfall of about 48 inches and about the same for snowfall. To my eyes it is beautiful county, pleasingly rural and lush, in marked contrast to where I live where every plant must be served by some sort of irrigation.

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October 3rd, 2017

Young Gun — Hunter the Talented 7-Year-Old Trigger Puller

Boy junior Pennsylvania rifle shooting father son Dasher
Hunter always wears proper ear protection. Here he got behind an empty rifle on closed range.

Here is a great “feel-good” family story from Forum Member Jonathan T. (aka “sniperjwt”). Father Jonathan explains how he introduced his son Hunter to precision shooting, at the ripe young age of six. Hunter took to shooting like a fish to water. Now seven years old, Hunter is shooting half-MOA (or better) and hitting steel at 800 yards with ease. What’s more he even finished second in a St. Thomas, Pennsylvania Ground-Hog match — beating nearly all the ground-ups (including his Dad) in the process.

You’ve got to watch this video — It’s priceless. This kid has talent.

Like Father, Like Son — Teaching My Boy How to Shoot

by Jonathan T.
“Focus on your trigger… squeeze it easy”. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it 1000 times. Not because he isn’t listening, but just so he knows how important it is.

Last year, at the age of six, Hunter started showing a lot of interest in going with me to the local shooting range. Of course I was happy to let him tag along and see what it was all about. Most fathers hope that their son will pick up the same interest so they can share something that they both enjoy. Teaching a kid to shoot can be very difficult, but also very rewarding.

The first couple of times I just let him watch and I would go over the safety aspects of shooting and things to watch out for. After several range sessions he was no longer content with just watching and wanted to get in on the action. My first concern was recoil. He was not a big 6-year-old and I did not want to get him flinching because we all know how hard that is to overcome. I started him with a .223 Rem with reduced loads. I haven’t been concerned with where he hits on the target. In fact I often wait until he is done shooting to even look at the target. My focus is on making sure his mechanics are right and his trigger control is what it should be. But as you can see, he learned fast…

Hunter’s first really good group, shot at age 6. This is six shots at 100 yards with a Savage .223 Rem.
Hunter son kid boy shooter 6-year-old

After a couple range sessions, he wanted to shoot in one of the local groundhog matches I attend. I told him we would practice some more and if I thought he was ready we would go to the last match of the year in 2016. I ended up letting him shoot in that match, but he struggled a bit as it is a timed event. Overall he was happy with how he did and I was happy he enjoyed himself. Over the winter we continued to practice and he continued to improve each time we went out. In March he turned seven years old, but he is still a little guy weighing only 42 pounds. When this year’s 2017 matches started, he was very excited that I had told him he could go to all of them when he didn’t have baseball games. The first several matches he still struggled a little but he was getting better each time.

Seeing how well Hunter shoots, one Forum member joked: “I’m gonna try Hunters under-the-armpit position. If it works for him….”
Hunter son kid boy shooter 6-year-old

Half way through the summer when we were at a match at Shippensburg Fish & Game, Hunter had an “AH-HA” moment. He was shooting at 320 yards and his first two sighters were good so I had him move over to the score side of the target. The first two shots were in the 9 Ring, but he jerked his third shot and it went over into the sighter side of the target. He did not know where it went and I just told him to get another one and shoot again. After he got his target back he looked at me and said “someone shot my target”. I asked him why he said that and he pointed to a bullet hole and said someone shot it right here. I explained to him that on his third shot where he jerked the trigger that is where it ended up. He looked at me and then the target and it was as if a light-bulb went off. Bingo — he finally understood why I kept telling him to focus on the trigger and squeeze it easy.

Hunter son kid boy shooter 6-year-old

After the match I let him shoot at 540 yards with the gun we mostly use in matches — a Savage Model 12 F-Class .223 Rem with a Sightron 10-50x60mm scope. Our “go to” load is Varget in Lapua brass with Berger 73gr bullet. He hit the plate just high of middle on the first shot and then commenced to put 12 shots within about a 4″ circle on the plate. After about shot 8 or 9 he asked if he could shoot at something else because he couldn’t even tell where he was hitting as the plate was splattered with hits.

Hunter Hammers Steel at 800 Yards
About a month later we were at the same range after a match and he wanted to shoot some more so I let him try his hand at 800 yards. At that distance there is a large 4’x4’ plate and he thought he was going to shoot at it but I told him I wanted him to shoot at a smaller 8″x11″ plate instead. I dialed in the elevation and told Hunter to get comfortable and “send it when he was ready”. He thought his first shot missed because he did not hear it immediately (as he would at shorter ranges). I told him that he did hit the target and to load another one. The next three were all hits.

Hunter son kid boy shooter 6-year-old

On his fifth shot I had him hold just off the left edge because a wind flag suggested it would be blown to the right. But that was not the case, so shot five was a miss. We corrected the hold and he put the last four rounds on the plate. Hunter made 8 hits out of 9 shots on a 8″x11″ target at 800 yards! Not bad for a 7-year-old with a .223 Rem. Oh, and yes, the one miss was my bad wind call.

Hunter Beats the Big Boys at St. Thomas Ground Hog Shoot
The Groundhog match at St. Thomas is one of our favorite matches. Well, at this September match, Hunter would turn some heads for sure. At 100 yards he shot a perfect 100 with three Xs. I told him after he shot the 100-yard relay that his trigger control was not real good and if he wanted to do good at 200 and 300 that he would have to do better. At 200 yards there was a night-and-day difference in his trigger control. It was as close to perfect as I have seen him do. He ended up with a 48-1X at 200. At this time we both had 98 scores but he had 4X and I had 5X. I was joking around with him before the 300-yard relay and he even had me text my wife and tell her we were tied.

Hunter son kid boy shooter 6-year-old

After I scored 44 in my 300-yard relay I told him, “Buddy, if you get a 45 or better you will beat me” his response was, “OK Dad, I’ll do that”. After some sighters, his first shot was a 10. I again told him that the trigger control was perfect and to do four more just like that. Hunter’s second shot was a 10. Now I got excited. His third shot was low and right in the 9 ring. Fourth shot was high and left in the 9 ring. Now I am shaking in excitement. Last shot was an 8 low and right cutting the hole of the third shot. I quickly did the math in my head and when he looked up at me I was grinning from ear to ear. I asked him if he knew what score he shot and he replied that he did not. I said a 46, and now he had a huge smile on his face. I let him come over to the spotting scope and look through it and when he got done I gave him a big hug and told him how proud of him I was.

Hunter’s final score was a 144-4X. Only one other competitor (of any age) had a higher class score — 146-3X. So, at seven years of age, Hunter earned a second place finish! But it turned out his superb shooting created a problem…

After the match was over I was called into the club office. Apparently a Junior Shooter had never finished this high and they were unsure how to handle awards since Juniors aren’t charged an entrance fee. I told them that I didn’t care how they handled it. I was just happy that he did as well as he did and he sure was happy that he beat Daddy. In fact Hunter’s score of 144-4X is the 4th highest score of the year in that class. To top things off this was the first time I had let him load his own cartridges from start to finish (under my supervision of course).

Father and Son Spending Quality Time Together
As much as I enjoy Hunter’s interest in shooting, I love the fact that we have something we can spend quality time doing together. At the table after the match, Hunter was sitting next to a well-respected shooter everyone calls “Cowboy”. This gentleman leans over and says “Son, you don’t know how lucky you are, the only thing I did with my dad was work in the garden”. My hope is that one day he will know how lucky he is… Right now I know how lucky I am to be able to spend time with my son doing something we both enjoy.

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January 1st, 2017

Solid Gold Shooting Tips from Sam Hall

At the request of many Forum members, we’re reprising this archived video from past IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year Samuel Hall. Without a doubt, Sam is one of the best mid-range benchrest shooters in the nation. While the video quality is rough (to say the least), Sam’s offers plenty of tips you can “take to the bank”. Even if you don’t shoot competitively, the techniques described here can improve your accuracy when shooting from a bench.

2008 IBS 600-yard National Champion Samuel Hall has prepared a 9-minute VIDEO showing his techniques for shooting from the bench. Sam covers a number of topics including bag set-up, body position, bolt manipulation, and loading skills. He also explains the importance of having a relaxed, comfortable posture and keeping your head in the same position shot to shot.

If you’re serious about accurate benchrest shooting, at ANY distance, you should watch this video. Sam’s tips can really help you. We guarantee it. While the video itself is grainy and wind noise affects the audio, you can still glean many great points from the video. From minute 8:00 on Sam shoots a 5-shot string on camera with his BAT-actioned, Leonard-stocked 6BR. Though he was fighting 20-mph winds Sam achieves a half-inch group at 200 yards. Quarter-MOA in such conditions is good shooting.

IBS Sam Hall Benchrest

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November 29th, 2016

2016 IBS 1000-Yard Nationals at Georgia’s Cool Acres Range

IBS 2016 1000-Yard Nationals Benchrest long range Mousel Cool Acres Georgia

Match Report by David and Donna Matthews
The 2016 IBS 1000-Yard National Championships were held September 4-5 at the Cool Acres Sporting Camp in Swainsboro, Georgia. The event was well attended with 87 Registered Light Gun shooters and 76 Heavy Gun competitors. After a hurricane-filled practice day, the competitors put forth their best effort to master the sometimes tricky Georgia range. The 1000-Yard National Match for 2016 featured a three-target Aggregate for each Division (i.e. six targets total for both classes).

The Cool Acres Range and Facility is one of the best in the country. The facility features a wide 1000-yard range lined with Georgia pines on each side. Conditions held constant for most relays. Mother Nature blessed the shooters with temperatures that were cooler than during preceding weeks. The management of Cool Acres put on a great event this year. In addition, upgraded restrooms and a new cleaning shed were added — these were very much appreciated by all. Several shooters had very positive comments about the upgrades and changes made to the Cool Acres facility in Swainsboro.

IBS 2016 1000-Yard Nationals Benchrest long range Mousel Cool Acres Georgia

The Two-Gun Champion and Overall winner was Tom Mousel from Montana with 24 rank points. Tom also won the Light Gun Overall title. Notably, Tom placed first in Light Gun Group with a stunning 3.356″ Group Agg — remember this was at 1000 yards folks. That’s a 1/3 MOA Agg at 1000 yards — truly remarkable precision.

Tom came to Georgia with one thing on his mind and that was winning. He accomplished that with his Wheeler Accuracy-built 6mm Dashers with Krieger barrels. Tom ran Vapor Trail bullets pushed by Hodgdon H4895. Finishing second in the Two-Gun Overall was 2015 winner Jim Bauer with 36 rank points. Jim took First Place honors in Light Gun Score with his Gordy Gritters-built 6mm Dasher shooting Vapor Trails pushed by Hodgdon Varget powder. The bright star of the show was Junior Division Winner Amber Brewer. Remarkably, this talented young lady topped the entire Heavy Gun field, winning Heavy Gun Score (97.667 average) and winning Heavy Gun Overall against all comers (of all ages). Her father, Henry Brewer Jr., played a role in her HG win — Henry smithed Amber’s class-winning 6.5×47 Lapua Heavy Gun, and even crafted the stock. Amber shot Berger bullets with H4895. Sally Bauer was top female shooter with her Douglas-barreled 6mm Dashers LG and HG, both built by Gordy Gritters. Sally also shot Vapor Trail Bullets with Varget.

Tom Mousel 6mm Dasher Deep Creek

Mousel won Light Gun Group with a stunning 3.356″ 5-shot Group Aggregate. That’s a 1/3 MOA Agg at 1000 yards — amazing, awe-inspiring accuracy.

Overall Winner Tom Mousel shot the 6mm Dasher cartridge in both Light Gun and Heavy Gun Classes. This little wildcat, shown below, has accuracy to spare. Alex Wheeler smithed Tom’s Rifles. Tom is shown below at his home range in Montana with an older rifle (not one used in Georgia this year).

Tom Mousel 6mm Dasher Deep Creek
Tom Mousel 6mm Dasher Deep Creek

Follow Link for Full Match Results and Equipment List
The IBS website has results for all major IBS Matches. Complete Results and Equipment Lists for the IBS 2016 1000-Yard Nationals can be found by CLICKING THIS LINK for the Nationals Results Page.

Tom Mousel 6mm Dasher Deep Creek

Big Prize Table — Over $18,000 Worth of Hardware
Over $18,000 worth of prizes were awarded at this year’s IBS 1000-Yard Nationals. Prizes included: Nightforce scopes, Sightron Scopes, SEB Coaxial Rest, BAT Action, Bench Source Annealing Machine, Defiance Action, Baity Action, Shehane stocks, reloading tools, Sierra bullets, Berger bullets, and much more. Many thanks go to Stanley Taylor from Douglas Barrels for his time and energy in acquiring prizes for the match. And the IBS thanks ALL of the generous sponsors for the 2016 1K Nationals.

Tom Mousel 6mm Dasher Deep Creek

Great Southern Hospitality and BBQ
On Saturday evening competitors were rewarded with a fantastic Southern meal prepared by the talented cooks of Real South BBQ from Swainsboro, Georgia, sponsored by Vapor Trail Bullets.

Permalink Competition, News 4 Comments »
July 5th, 2016

The Best-Performing Cartridge Types For F-Class Competition

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

Cartridge Choices for F-Class Competition

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

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

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

Mid-Range F-Open Cartridges

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

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

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

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

Choice for Long-Range F-Open Competition

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

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

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

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

Top Caliber/Bullet Combos for F-TR

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

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

Bryan Litz F-TR 2015 National Championship rifle

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

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

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

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

– 2014 F-Class Open National Champion

– 2015 F-Class Open National Championship, Silver Medal

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

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

– 2013 U.S. National Team Member

– 2017 U.S. National Development Team Member

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition 10 Comments »
June 27th, 2016

Bargain Finder 41: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Bullets.com — 6mm Dasher Brass from Norma

NRA Life Membership Offer

It’s finally here, ladies and gentlemen — factory-made Dasher brass. That means no more fireforming! This 6mm Dasher brass has been custom crafted by Norma exclusively for Bullets.com. A special blend of brass together with special treatment of the primer pockets has produced casings that will last for many firings under normal use. The necks have been specially lengthened and are .290″ from shoulder. Overall length is 1.598″ and neck walls are approximately .013″ thick. Available in packs of 100 ($109.95) or 500 ($529.95).

NOTE: This extra-sturdy brass has a thicker rim which may not work in your standard shell holder. Custom shell holder item BL12100 is designed to accommodate the heavy rim of these cases.

2. CDNN Sports — 1911-Type .22 LR Target Pistol

GSG German model 1911 .22LR Rimfire pistol handgun

Everyone should have an accurate .22 LR target pistol. This German-made GSG 1911 22LR pistol shares the look, feel, and ergonomics of J.M. Browning’s classic model 1911 so it’s good for cross-training. We’ve tried this pistol and the trigger is pretty darn good — though don’t expect it be be as nice as a S&W Model 41. But consider that the GSG costs just $249.99. By contrast, MSRP on a new Model 41 is a steep $1369.00. For cross-training and target work the GSG is a very good value.

3. Monmouth Reloading — Sig Sauer Kilo 2000 LRF, $499.00

NRA Life Membership Offer

This excellent laser rangefinder rivals other premium LRFs selling for hundreds more. Head-to-head field tests with Leica, Zeiss, and Swarovski LRFs proved that the new Sig Sauer Kilo 2000 can play in that league, but at a much more affordable price point. Sig accomplishes that with tight beam divergence and state-of-the-art DSP technology which allows the Kilo 2000 to range faster (and more reliably) at longer 
distances. Optic magnification is 7X. The Kilo 2000 weighs 7.5 oz and measures 3″ x 4.2″ x 1.3″.

SAVE MORE: Right now you can save an additional $110 off every Rangefinder Monmouth Reloading sells, including the Sig Kilo 2000. To save an additional $110, use Coupon Code LRF 110. That will lower your cost to $389.00 for the Kilo 2000, which is a total steal. (Time-Limited Offer!)

4. Cabelas.com — Rock Chucker Supreme Reloading Kit

Deals of Week RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Kit

Everything you see above can be yours for just $225.00, after manufacturer’s rebate. Right now, Cabela’s is selling the Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit for $300.00. That’s a good deal as this Reloading Kit sells elsewhere for up to $360.00. But he’s the real incentive — if you spend $300.00 on RCBS products in 2016, RCBS will send you a $75.00 rebate. With that REBATE, your net cost is just $225.00 for the entire Kit.

5. Amazon — Motorola Walkie Talkies, $42.56 per Pair

Deals of Week Motorola Walkie Talkie Radio Weather Channel

Walkie-Talkies are “must-have” items for long-range shooting. The 22-CH Motorola MH230R Two-Way Radio is Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in FRS/GMRS Handheld Radios. This under-$45.00 set offers 22 channels with a claimed range up to 23 miles (We’ve used them and they worked at 3 miles line of sight). The kit includes: 2 radios, 2 belt clips, 1 dual drop-in charger, 1 charging adapter, 2 NiMH rechargeable battery packs. Run-time is about 10 hours — plenty for a full day of shooting. There is also a newer version, the Motorola T260 for $59.00.

6. Amazon — Nikon 1-4x20mm M-223 Scope with BDC, $212.46

Deals of Week Nikon 1-4x20mm M-223 Optic Scope CMP Service Rifle

Under the CMP’s new Service Rifle Rules, you can use an optic with up to 4.5X magnification and 34mm objective. If you have money to burn, you could purchase the excellent new Nightforce 4.5x24mm SR scope for $1950.00. Or, if you would rather put your money into barrels, bullets, and brass, you can spend a whole lot less. This little Nikon 1-4x20mm M-223 can do the job and right now it’s on sale for under $215.00! You could buy NINE of these Nikons for the price of one Nightforce SR. That certainly makes you think about priorities.

7. Grafs.com — NEW Nikon Wind Meter for SmartPhones, $28.99

Nikon spot on smart phone wind meter Ballistics App

Here’s a great new gadget for under $30.00. Nikon’s new Spot On™ Ballistic Wind Meter plugs directly into the headphone port on most popular smart phones. The Spot On Wind Meter reads both wind speed and direction and inputs the data directly into Nikon’s free Spot On Ballistics Mobile App (available for iOS and Android). This allows you to quickly determine and calculate wind drift corrections without needing a separate, dedicated wind meter. When not in use, the Nikon device easily fits in a pocket.

8. Amazon – Frankford Arsenal Master Tumbler Kit, $56.65

Master tumbler reloading kit Frankford Arsenal

This Master Tumbler Kit contains everything you need to tumble rifle or pistol brass. Now on sale for $56.65, this Kit contains: Vibratory Tumbler, Rotary Media Separator, Plastic Bucket, 3 lbs. Cleaning Media, and 4 oz. Brass Polish. This product has received excellent reviews from verified purchasers.

Permalink Hot Deals, New Product 1 Comment »
June 27th, 2016

The Amazing 6mm Dasher: 10 Shots in 4.554″ at 1000 Yards

Scott Nix Dasher Record

6mm DasherHow well can the 6mm Dasher perform at 1000 yards when conditions are good, and the shooter is riding a hot streak? Well here’s a shot-by-shot record of Scott Nix’s 4.554″ 10-shot group shot at Missoula, Montana at the Northwest 1000-yard Championship a few years back. All 10 shots were centered for a 100-6X score. That’s about as good as it gets. If Scott had stopped after 5 shots, his group would have been under 3 inches!

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

Permalink - Videos, Competition 2 Comments »
December 16th, 2015

Insane Accuracy — How to Craft Record-Breaking Ammo

Rodney Wagner Insane Accuracy IBS Record 6mm Dasher

Rodney Wagner shot the smallest 5-shot, 600-yard group in the history of competitive rifle shooting. First measured at a mere 0.349″, then certified on the IBS Record books at 0.336″, Rodney’s group is mind-blowingly small — and it was centered for a 50 score. This amazing group shows what can be done with a great gun, a talented shooter, and superb hand-loaded ammunition. Today’s Tech Tip reveals some of Rodney’s reloading methods that helped him put five shots you could cover with a dime into a target 600 yards away.

Creating Ultra-Accurate Benchrest Ammunition

Rodney takes great care in loading his brass, and he employs a few tricks to get superior consistency.

Fire-Forming — To prepare his cases for fire-forming, Rodney starts by turning his Lapua brass to just past where the new neck-shoulder junction will be: “I just cut enough for the 6mm Dasher neck. A little bit of the cut shows on the shoulder after forming.” Then Rodney runs a .25-caliber K&M mandrel through the whole neck, expanding the neck diameter. After the entire neck is expanded, Rodney re-sizes the top section with a Wilson bushing, creating a false shoulder. Then, as further insurance that the case will be held firmly in place during fire-forming, Rodney seats his bullets long — hard into the lands. When fire-forming, Rodney uses a normal 6mmBR load of 29.8 grains of Varget: “I don’t like to stress my brass before it has been hardened. I load enough powder to form the shoulder 95%. Any more than that is just wasted.” Rodney adds: “When fire-forming, I don’t want to use a super-hard primer. I prefer to use a Federal 205, CCI 200, or Winchester — something soft.” Using a softer primer lessens the likelihood that the case will drive forward when hit by the firing pin, so this helps achieve more consistent “blow lengths”.

Rodney Wagner IBS 600-yard Record

Ammo Loading — Rodney is fastidious with his brass and weighs his charges very precisely. Charges are first dispensed with an RFD manual powder measure, then Rodney trickles kernel by kernel using a highly-precise Sartorius GD-503 laboratory scale. He tries to maintain charge-weight consistency within half a tenth of a grain — about two kernels of Varget powder.

K&M arbor press bullet seating force accurateshooter.comOne important technique Rodney employs is sorting by bullet-seating force. Rodney batch-sorts his loaded rounds based on seating force indicated by the dial gauge on his K&M arbor press: “I use a K&M arbor press with dial indicator strain gauge. When I’m loading I pay lots of attention to seating effort and I try to batch five rounds that feel the same. For record rounds I try to make sure I get five of the same number (on the dial). When sorting based on the force-gauge readout, you need to go slow. If you go too fast the needle will spike up and down before you can see it.”

In practice, Rodney might select five rounds with a gauge value of 25, then another five with a gauge read-out of 30 and so on. He places the first five like-value rounds in one row of his ammo caddy. The next like-value set of five will go in the next row down. By this method, he ensures that all five cartridges in a five-round set for a record target will have bullets seated with very consistent seating force.

Unlike some top shooters, Rodney does not regularly anneal his cases. However, after every firing, he does tumble his Dasher brass in treated corncob media. After sizing his brass, before seating the bullets, he runs a nylon brush in the necks: “The last thing I do before firing is run a well-worn 30 caliber nylon brush in the necks, using a small 6-volt drill for power. This is a quick operation — just in and out the neck”. Sometimes, at the end of the season, he will anneal, but Rodney adds: “If I can get 10 firings out of the case I’ve done good.” He usually makes up new brass when he fits a new barrel: “If it is a good barrel (that I may shoot at the Nationals), I’ll usually go ahead and prepare 200 pieces of good brass.”

Tips for 600-Yard Shooters New to the Game
In the course of our interview with Rodney, we asked if he had any tips for shooters who are getting started in the 600-yard Benchrest Game. Rodney offered some sensible advice:

1. Don’t try to go it alone. Find an old-timer to mentor you. As a novice, go to matches, watch and ask questions.

2. Go with a proven cartridge. If you are shooting 600 yards stick with a 6mmBR or one of the 6BR improveds (BRX or Dasher). Keep it simple. I tried some of the larger cartridges, the 6XC and 6-6.5×47 Lapua. I was trying to be different, but I was not successful. It wasn’t a disaster — I learned something. But I found the larger cases were not as accurate as a 6BR or Dasher. Those bigger cartridges are competitive for score but not for group.

3. You don’t have to spend a fortune to be competitive. Buy a used rifle from somebody and find out if you like the sport. You can save a lot with a used rifle, but do plan on buying a new barrel immediately.

4. Don’t waste weeks or months struggling with a barrel that isn’t shooting. My best barrels, including this record-setting Brux, started shooting exceptionally well right from the start.

Rodney Wagner 600 yard record

Rodney’s record group was measured at 0.349″ at the match, then IBS record-certified at 0.336″.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 5 Comments »
October 22nd, 2015

Match Report: IBS 2015 600-Yard National Championship

IBS 600 yard national championship light gun heavy gun

IBS Match Report by Tom Jacobs and Jim Bauer
“What a wonderful match” — those words were heard often during this year’s IBS 600-yard National Championship match. Tom and Sara Jacobs hosted the 600-yard Nationals September 26-27 at their Vapor Trail Valley Range in Spickard, Missouri. Attendance was strong, with 78 competitors from 14 different states. The Vapor Trail Valley range holds both 600-yard and 1000-yard yard matches throughout the year. Located in northwest Missouri, Vapor Trail Valley sits in the middle of crop ground and cattle country. The terrain is a mixture of tree lines and green pastures.

IBS 600 yard national championship light gun heavy gun

It seemed every aspect of the match came off flawlessly, thanks to the hard work of the organizers. Even the weather cooperated, with 80 degree days and 60 degree mornings. The wind was mild but twitchy, providing a challenge for the competitors. Overall though, conditions were generally good and some very impressive results were recorded. Despite the twitchy winds, over the course of the weekend, some eighty perfect 50-point targets were shot. That’s darn good shooting overall.

CLICK HERE to View Complete 600-Yard Nationals Results

600-Yard Nat’ls Light Gun Equipment List | 600-Yard Nat’ls Heavy Gun Equipment List

IBS 600 yard national championship light gun heavy gun

Interesting Factoids from Vapor Trail:
1. Competition is VERY tight now. The difference between 1st place and 20th place in Light Gun Group Aggregate was .478″, less than half an inch. The difference between 1st and 20th place in Heavy Gun Group aggregate was .480″, again less than half an inch.

2. 6mm cartridges, particularly the 6mmBR and Dasher, now dominate the 600-yard Benchrest game.

IBS 600 yard national championship light gun heavy gunAll but one Light Gun was chambered as a 6mm, mostly 6BRs or Dashers. Even in the Heavy Gun division, 6mms ruled — 58 out of 61 Heavy Guns were chambered for 6mm cartridges, mostly Dashers.

3. These rigs are capable of extreme accuracy. The ten best Light Gun groups were all under 1.250″ (FYI, at 600 yards, one-quarter-MOA is 1.570″). And, as you can see at right, the three smallest Light Gun Groups were all under 0.9″. Think about that — a one-inch group used to be considered darn good at 300 yards.

This photo shows the winners in the front row, kneeling. Left to right are: Bud Larson (HG Score), Richard Schatz (2 Gun Overall, HG Group) , and Jim Bauer (HG Overall).
IBS 600 yard national championship light gun heavy gun

After Friday practice, the match began with the Light Gun relays on Saturday. Both Light and Heavy Guns shoot 8-target Aggregates. At the end of the day Saturday, Tim Gonnerman was the Light Gun Group winner with a 2.236 Agg , edging runner-up Jason Walker by a mere .003″. That’s about as close as it gets. Dan Hullinger won Light Gun Score with a 382 (Danny Wake also had a 382 but placed second on the tie-breaker). Richard Schatz, “Mr. Consistent”, placed 4th for score and 5th for group to take the Light Gun Overall title. Last year’s two gun Champion Ryan Hunt finished in second place.

IBS 600 yard national championship light gun heavy gun

Equipment Choices of Two Gun Top 20
If you review the equipment list for the Top 20 Two Gun competitors, you’ll find that Nightforce scopes were used by 19 shooters, while BAT actions were used by 15 shooters. Remarkably, 17 out of the top 20 used rifles chambered in 6 Dasher. Hodgdon Varget was the most commonly-used powder followed by Alliant Reloder 15. In the barrel department, Brux enjoyed a slight edge over Krieger, with ten shooters using Brux Barrels vs. seven using Kriegers.

Note the large, extended-width base-plate under the forearm. This spreads the load and provides more stability when used with super-wide SEB MAX front rest.
IBS 600 yard national championship light gun heavy gun

The Heavy Guns came out on Sunday. Early morning relays saw a dead-flat wind condition that constantly changed as the day progressed. Scores settled a little and groups opened up, creating a little room between competitors. In the end, Bud Larson won the Heavy Gun Score title with a 385 total. This year’s Shooter of the Year leader Andy Ferguson was close behind with a 384. The Heavy Gun group champion is Richard Schatz with a 2.003 Agg, followed by Jim Bauer with a 2.017. The Heavy Gun overall went to Jim Bauer followed by “Andy Who?” Ferguson (see photo below).

The 2015 IBS 600-yard Two Gun Champion is Richard Schatz with 18 rank points. If you look at the new 600-yard traveling trophies, you’ll see Mr. Schatz’s name multiple times — this victory marks the third time Richard has won the 600-yard, Two Gun IBS National Championship in the past decade. Richard Schatz is certainly a great ambassador for our sport and a true gentleman. Second Place in the Two Gun overall went to Jim Bauer, not far behind with 20 rank points. Taking third was Andy Ferguson with 28 rank points.

IBS 600 yard national championship light gun heavy gun
Left to right are Two Gun Overall winner Richard Schatz, along with top female Shooter, Sally Bauer and Tom Jacobs, Vapor Trail Valley range owner.

The top lady shooter was Sally Bauer. A past IBS 1000-yard Shooter of the Year, Sally is a 7-time female National Champion in 600-yard or 1000-yard benchrest. Rory Jacobs was the Junior “Top Gun” this year, winning the Junior division and finishing 10th Overall among ALL shooters (of any age) in the Two-Gun Agg. Rory is a four-time Junior National Champion and three-time Junior shooter of the year. The top Rookie shooter was Carroll Lance.

IBS 600 yard national championship light gun heavy gun

As with many of the matches that we attend, the range owner’s family and friends make up the help for scoring and target crews, the lunch attendants and general maintenance of the ongoing match. This match is no different. Tom and Sara’s families took care of all the required chores and it all came together like a well-oiled machine. Give credit to Tom Jacobs for working with the sponsors to put together a great prize table — every shooter in attendance got a sponsored prize. Please take the time to let our sponsors know that you appreciate their generous support.

There was an excellent prize table, as this young fellow demonstrates
IBS 600 yard national championship light gun heavy gun equipment list

“Andy Who?” — Ferguson is Front-Runner in 600-Yard Shooter of the Year Race
Here’s the “Andy Who?” story. Andy Ferguson, a good friend and neighbor of the Vapor Trail Valley range owners, is currently leading the 600-yard Shooter of the Year (SOY) point competition. Given his hot shooting and top ranking in the SOY chase, some of Andy’s friends/fellow competitors thought Andy might be getting a “big head” (i.e. oversize ego). To bring him down to earth, as a joke, Andy’s friends printed up the “Andy Who?” T shirts. A good laugh was had by all.

IBS 600 yard national championship light gun heavy gun equipment list

Permalink Competition, News No Comments »
August 31st, 2015

A Very Accurate Dasher — By Way of the Forum Classifieds

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

With all the talk about the new Norma Dasher brass coming in the fall from Bullets.com, we thought it was time to feature a special rifle chambered for the 6mm Dasher wildcat. This gun has a great story behind it. Forum member Bob A. (aka “Killshot”) used his “Forum Classifieds Special” to beat all comers in the F-Class Division in the American-Canadian Match and the Long Range Regional Match in 2013 in Sacramento, CA. Bob’s 6mm Dasher sports a blue-printed Rem 700 action. Who says you need a high-dollar custom action to run with the big dogs? In fact, this same gun, built with components sourced from AccurateShooter Forum Classified Ads, set a Sacramento F-Class range record of 200-17X a few years back. In this story, Bob talks about the build, and he explains his methods for loading ultra-accurate Dasher ammo.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

Bob’s Budget-Build Dasher F-Classer
I wanted to build a proper rifle for F-Open but needed to keep it simple and, well, cheap. I found a solid “base” to build on in the form of a Dave Bruno-built, “pre-owned” 6-6.5×47 Lapua that I located in the AccurateShooter Forum classifieds in late 2011. The base action was a trued and blue-printed Remington 700 receiver circa 1971 with a spiral-fluted bolt. It was in a Shehane ST1000 stock painted sky blue and had a Jewell 1.5-oz BR trigger. I sent the bolt to Greg Tannel (Gretanrifles.com) to have the firing pin hole bushed and sleeved, the ejector removed and the hole filled and the face trued. I ugraded to Tannel’s Light Steel firing pin assembly while it was out.

Having the working bits completed, I needed a barrel. So I went to the AccurateShooter classifieds again and found a 1:8″-twist, 30″ x 1.25″ (diam.) Bartlein with a 0.236″-land bore. I called Dave Kiff and explained my pursuit and he recommended his PT&G “world record” 6 Dasher reamer (.2704″ no-turn neck and .104″ freebore). A month or so later the reamer and gauges arrived.

I had the barrel chambered by Marc Soulie of Spartan Precision Rifles (510-755-5293, Concord, CA). Marc is a great builder and I’m pleased to call him a friend.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

The rifle got its good looks from a Pennsylvania artist named Kenny Prahl. His Prahl Designs shop (724-478-2538) added the white ghost-flames over the existing sky blue metallic paint.

Looks Great, Shoots Better
Fire-forming showed great promise — ten-shot groups of half an inch at 200 yards were typical. I lost only one case to a split neck and the “blow lengths” are good and consistent. This was followed up with load development which saw 100-yard, five-shot groups in the .1s and .2s as the rifle showed its preference for Reloder 15 over Varget powder, and for CCI 450s over all other primers. The bullet of choice was the ever-popular Berger 105gr Hybrid Target.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

In February 2012 I began shooting the Dasher in monthly club matches at the Sacramento Valley Shooting Center, the home range of a number of excellent F-Class, Benchrest and High Power shooters. Using a Farley Coaxial rest up front (also picked up from a WTB ad on AccurateShooter’s Forum) and an Edgewood bag in the back, I gradually improved my gun-handling to the point where I could shoot a respectable score. This was very different from the bipod shooting I’d done in the past in F/TR.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness


Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March MadnessDasher Loading Tips
My chamber is set up for blue box Lapua 6mmBR brass. My case preparation is straight-forward. I fire-form with virgin cases right out of the box. I don’t size them but I will give the primer holes a good look and clean up the flash hole with a .058″ bit in a pin vise. To fire-form, I seat a Berger 108gr BT .030″ into the lands over a standard 6mmBR load of Varget.

For match loads, I use Alliant Reloder 15. While Varget is less sensitive to temp changes, RL15 has given me lower extreme spreads and better long range control. [Bob acknowledges that every barrel is unique, so a different powder might work better for you.]

I clean my fired cases with stainless steel media in a Thumler’s rotary tumbler after every firing. I anneal after every other firing using a Bench-Source machine which is very well made and easy to operate. I use a Whidden full length bushing die with Redding bushings for sizing.

Permalink Competition, Reloading 1 Comment »
November 16th, 2014

Chuck’s Dazzling Dasher Duo — A Pair of Beauties

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

6mm Dasher Shehane duo

6mm Dasher Shehane duo

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

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

6mm Dasher Shehane duo

Specifications for the Dasher Duo:

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

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

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

6mm Dasher case fire-forming fireform

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

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting 4 Comments »
May 22nd, 2014

0.40x” at 600 Yards — Schatz Shoots Small (Amazingly Small)

Richard Schatz, the “Duke of Dashers”, has done it again. Just look at that group! Believe it or not, that is five shots at 600 yards. There are four shots in one ragged hole, with one a bit to the right. The group, initially measured at between 0.402″ and 0.410″, is very close to an IBS World Record. Assuming (on the high side) that that group measures 0.410″, that works out to 0.065 MOA. Wow.

Richard Schatz IBS 600-yard record .40

Richard Schatz IBS 600-yard record .40

Schatz, a past IBS 600-yard National Champion, shot this group in a Heavy Gun relay on May 18, 2014 at the Columbus Sportsman’s Association range in Columbus, Wisconsin. Richard was using his trusty 6mm Dasher, a 17-lb Light Gun that he has been shooting for years. His ultra-accurate load consisted of 103gr Spencer Bullets pushed by Varget and CCI 450 primers. The Lapua brass had recently been annealed and he batched his record rounds “by feel” based on the force needed to seat the bullets.

Richard Schatz IBS 600-yard record .40

Richard said the group involved a good bit of luck, and perfect timing. The conditions were generally “switchy and difficult” at the match. However, in one Heavy Gun relay, Richard said “the wind flags just dropped straight down at the end of the sighter period. It’s like the range went dead.” Richard had windage on his scope so he just held off to correct for the calm. “I didn’t guess the hold-off correctly”, Richard admitted, “that’s why the shots ended up at the edge of the 9 Ring.”

Twenty Seconds of Near-Perfect Shooting
Richard got his five record rounds down range in about 20 seconds. He can shoot faster but, given the exceptional conditions, he took a little more time to aim: “Because the flags dropped and conditions stayed calm, I slowed down a little. I made more of a deliberate attempt to shoot a small group — a conscious effort to aim more precisely. Normally I’ll try to shoot the quickest I can get the dot close to the center of the X. I was trying to be a little more precise this time.”

Whatever Richard did, it sure worked. That’s a spectacular group — one of the smallest ever shot at 600 yards. Richard, a modest guy, credited the group to good conditions, and good luck: “Like I always say ‘the wind can blow ‘em in just as easy as it blows ‘em out’.” Richard says this rifle, with the current Krieger barrel, can typically put five shots in about two inches at 600 yards, in calm, stable conditions.

Richard Schatz IBS 600-yard record .40

Very Close to an IBS Heavy Gun Record
The current IBS 600-yard, five-shot Heavy Gun group record is 0.404″, set by John Lewis in 2008. This recent group by Richard Schatz is very, very close to that mark. At Columbus, Wisconsin, four different measurers examined Richard’s group on May 18th. The four measurements were: 0.402″, 0.403″, 0.410″, and 0.409″ (see photo). Whether or not this is a new record will be determined by the IBS official measurement committee to which the target is being submitted. It’s worth mentioning that Richard Schatz currently holds the IBS 600-yard Heavy Gun score record, with a value of 50 points (and 0.634″ tie-breaker).

Richard Schatz IBS 600-yard record .40

Rifle Specifications:
Nesika Action
Krieger 1:8″ twist barrel, 27″ length, 0.236″ bore
Chambered for 6mm Dasher with 0.272″ neck
and 0.104″ Freebore
Shehane “Baby Tracker” stock
Nightforce 8-32x56mm NSX Scope
Load Specifications:
Clay Spencer 103gr bullets
Lapua 6mmBR brass (formed to Dasher)
Cases skim-turned for .0035 total clearance
Hodgdon Varget powder, 32.2 grains
CCI 450 primers
Muzzle Velocity 2980 FPS

Richard Schatz IBS 600-yard record .40

Permalink Competition, News 4 Comments »
April 18th, 2013

Bob’s March Madness Dasher F-Classer — Accuracy on a Budget

In most of the country “March Madness” is all about hoops. But in the Sacramento (CA) area, “March Madness” is a popular multi-match shootfest that brings out some of the top F-Class and sling shooters in the region. During this year’s Folsom Shooting Club March Madness series, Forum member Bob A. (aka “Killshot”) brought out his “Forum Classifieds Special” and beat all comers in the F-Class Division in both the American-Canadian Match and the Long Range Regional Match (See Results). Bob’s 6mm Dasher sports a blue-printed Rem 700 action. Who says you need a high-dollar custom action to run with the big dogs? In fact, this same gun, built with components sourced from Forum Classifieds, set a Sacramento F-Class range record of 200-17X. In this story, Bob talks about the build, and he explains his methods for loading ultra-accurate Dasher ammo.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

Bob’s Budget-Build Dasher F-Classer
I’m a newcomer to F-Class competition and shot my first match in 2010. After getting accustomed to the match format and seeing what others were using, I wanted to build a proper rifle for F-Open but needed to keep it simple and, well, cheap. I found a solid “base” to build on in the form of a Dave Bruno-built, “pre-owned” 6-6.5×47 Lapua that I located in the AccurateShooter Forum classifieds in late 2011. The base action was a trued and blue-printed Remington 700 receiver circa 1971 with a spiral-fluted bolt. It was in a Shehane ST1000 stock painted sky blue and had a Jewell 1.5-oz BR trigger. I sent the bolt to Greg Tannel (Gretanrifles.com) to have the firing pin hole bushed and sleeved, the ejector removed and the hole filled and the face trued. I ugraded to Tannel’s Light Steel firing pin assembly while it was out.

Having the working bits completed, I needed a barrel. So I went to the AccurateShooter classifieds again and found a 1:8″-twist, 30″ x 1.25″ (diam.) Bartlein with a 0.236″-land bore. I called Dave Kiff and explained my pursuit and he recommended his PT&G “world record” 6 Dasher reamer (.2704″ no-turn neck and .104″ freebore). A month or so later the reamer and gauges arrived.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

I had the barrel chambered by Marc Soulie of Spartan Precision Rifles (510-755-5293, Concord, CA). Marc is a great builder and I’m pleased to call him a friend. He is an outstanding shooter himself and developed his lathe skills from several “name smiths” I won’t mention here, all while he continued in his previous profession. Marc went into building custom rifles full-time a couple of years ago and is at the point in his career that word of his work has spread. He was recently selected by Frank Galli to create 25 rifles, each customized to the buyer’s specs, for the Sniper’s Hide 2013 Group Build. Marc has also built a number of tactical-style rifles for the Northern California Practical Precision Rifle Club’s shooters, several of whom have won or placed high in major matches.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

After his great shooting in March, Bob reports: “I could not be happier with my little budget build. With a few more good scores I might even stop looking at BAT Machine’s website — my little old Remington action seems able to hold its own with the BATs and Kelblys just fine.

The rifle got its good looks from a Pennsylvania artist named Kenny Prahl. His Prahl Designs shop (724-478-2538) added the white ghost-flames over the existing sky blue metallic paint. Kenny’s work with an airbrush floored me, he does everything from stocks to mailboxes to gas tanks equally well.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

“I use a Nightforce Benchrest 12-42x56mm with a NP-2DD reticle. To help my aging eyes I use a 3.5X BulzEyePro lens booster, I found it helped with mirage and target clarity enough that I rarely dial down the magnification even when mirage is bad.”

Looks Great, Shoots Better
Fire-forming showed great promise — ten-shot groups of half an inch at 200 yards were typical. I lost only one case to a split neck and the “blow lengths” are good and consistent.This was followed up with load development which saw 100-yard, five-shot groups in the .1s and .2s as the rifle showed its preference for Reloder 15 over Varget powder, and for CCI 450s over all other primers. The bullet of choice is the ever-popular Berger 105gr Hybrid Target.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

In February 2012 I began shooting the Dasher in monthly club matches at the Sacramento Valley Shooting Center, the home range of a number of excellent F-Class, Benchrest and High Power shooters. Using a Farley Coaxial rest up front (also picked up from a WTB ad on AccurateShooter’s Forum) and an Edgewood bag in the back, I gradually improved my gun-handling to the point where I could shoot a respectable score. This was very different from the bipod shooting I’d done in the past in F/TR.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

Like many others, I settled on the high-node dose of Reloder 15. Shooting F-Class puts a good number of rounds down the tube in a short time-frame. That can be hard on throats. At roughly the 1,200-round mark the groups started to grow as the throat wore. So, a barrel set-back was needed. The barrel was rechambered by another great California gunsmith, Ken Breda (831-334-2386, Aptos, CA). Ken, a sling shooter and all-around good guy, was able to get me back shooting with little down-time. When I went back to the range, I found the now 1.25″-shorter barrel shot equally well, even with the same load I had previously used.

An October Surprise — New Range Record, 200-17X
The chamber setback and muzzle cleanup brought the Dasher back to life and it was was really shooting well with several “cleans” shot at a few distances at club matches this summer. I shot the Folsom Shooting Club’s October match, this one a 3×600. I drew relay number two and settled in to spot and score for the shooter who drew relay one. The wind was very light and good scores were being posted. I set up for my first string and fired four sighters: three 10s and one X.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness“Here we go”, I thought as I went for record. Happily, the first six shots found the X-Ring before a 10 came up out of the pits. The next six shots also found the X-Ring, then another 10 came up. Shots 15 thru 19 were all Xs and I finished the string of twenty shots with a final 10. I’d cleaned the 600-yard F-Class target with 17 Xs! This was by far my best “clean” at any distance.

I followed the first string up with a 199-6X and a 195-7X as the wind was beginning to harrass everyone on their third strings. My final score of 594-30X gave me my first win in F-Open by one point. I was very happy and received many congratulations from fellow shooters after the match. It wasn’t until I arrived at the range for November’s match that I learned that my 200-17X was a new range F-Class record.

I couldn’t believe it. Considering the quality of shooters and the number of big matches held at Sacramento Valley, setting a range record of ANY type there is an accomplishment. I have been fortunate to meet and shoot with some absolutely fantastic people at the Sacramento Valley Shooting Center. It took a little while to find out just how talented some of them were — several are national champions and record-holders but you’d never know it talking to them. These guys have always been helpful to others. Likewise, I try to help out when new shooters need a hand.


Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March MadnessDasher Loading Tips
My chamber is set up for Lapua’s current iteration of 6mmBR brass, in the blue plastic boxes. My case preparation is straight-forward. I fire-form with virgin cases right out of the box. I don’t size them but I will give the primer holes a good look and clean up the flash hole with a .058″ bit in a pin vise. To fire-form, I seat a Berger 108gr BT .030″ into the lands over a standard 6mmBR load of Varget.

For my match load, I use Alliant Reloder 15. We shoot year-’round in Northern California. It was a brisk 28º at the start of our January match this year. Your load needs to be able to carry you from that cold to the 100º+ heat we get in the summer months. While Varget is less sensitive to temperature changes, RL15 gives me lower spreads and better long range control.

I clean my fired cases with stainless steel media in a Thumler’s rotary tumbler after every firing. I anneal after every other firing using a Bench-Source machine which is very well made and easy to operate. I use a Whidden full length bushing die with Redding bushings for sizing.

After sizing, I chamfer the inside of the neck with the K&M tool which has a pilot rod centered in the flash hole. Then I’ll give the neck and mouth a “once over” with some 0000 steel wool. I finish loading off with a Redding Competition Seating Die with the micrometer top.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March MadnessI use a carbide ball on the expander rod of the full length sizing die. I use a .266″ TiN-coated bushing and the ball just kisses the inside walls of the sized neck. I get very consistent neck tension this way and have had no issue with split necks.

Seating Depth Considerations
With fire-formed brass, the junction of the bullet’s bearing surface and boat-tail is above the neck/shoulder junction of the case, so I have no issues with donuts. You can see how a loaded round looks in the photo at left. For occasional trimming, I use a very nice little Possum Hollow trimmer that indexes on the case shoulder.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition 6 Comments »
September 29th, 2012

Sally Bauer Sets Pending IBS 1000-yard HG Score Record

Last month, Sally Bauer set a pending new International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) Score Heavy Gun (HG) record for 1000-yard competition. Her score was 100-5X with a 3.495″ tie-breaker group. Sally shot the group on August 19, 2012 at the Gopher Rifle and Revolver Club in Harris, MN. If this record is approved, Sally will be the first female shooter to hold an IBS 1000-yard benchrest record. Sally’s handsome 67-lb Heavy Gun, “Stars & Stripes”, is painted with an American flag theme.

Sally Bauer IBS 1000 yard heavy gun

Sally Bauer IBS 1000 yard heavy gunSally Sets a Record
At the end of the Heavy Gun match #10 Sally was directed by Range Officer Gordy Mitchell to leave all of her equipment and rifle setting on her bench. Sally was perplexed by Gordy Mitchell’s direction but he assured her “It is a good thing”. Rumors swirled and Dave Holland was summoned to the pits.

Dave and Gordy brought the target back to the scoring shed and had club officials and some respected competitors measure and sign the target. All agreed Sally had just shot an IBS record score. Sally’s rifle and equipment were measured and photographed and the target sent off to the IBS for final measurement and verification.

Sally Bauer IBS 1000 yard heavy gun

Gun Specifications
Sally’s 67-lb Heavy Gun was originally purchased from Bill Shehane, and it uses Bill’s Maxi-Tracker stock. The gun was originally chambered for the 6-6.5×47 Lapua Improved. But the gun didn’t shoot like the Bauers wanted, so it was rechambered to 6mm Dasher by Gordy Gritters. The action is a 2″-diameter, round, chrome moly, 3-lug, 7 ½” BAT. The barrel is a 28″, 1:8″-twist Krieger, with 1.45″-diameter straight tube. The barreled action is secured in the stock with a 9″-long barrel block. The gun uses a 12X42 Nightforce BR scope and a Jewel BR trigger. Gordy Gritters smithed the rifle. Jim Sauer states: “We have known Gordy for years now and trust every phase of our gun projects — all of them are mechanical works of art. When we get our guns from Gordy we know we can put our focus on brass prep and load development and don’t have to worry about the guns being right. That really helps save time.”

Reloading Procedure for Sally’s “Stars & Stripes” Maxi by Jim Sauer
With every new rifle we start with new brass. The first step is to run them through a full length sizing die, then over an appropriate expander mandrel. Since we use a .270 neck on our 6 Dasher chambers, neck turning amounts to a 80% cleanup of the new Lapua brass necks. We do the normal primer pocket and flash-hole uniforming.

We fire-form two times to make sure we get nice sharp shoulder corners before competition. We then separate them according to weight using 1/10th of a grain differences for each box. Much of our loading process is geared around time savings. We look for easy-to-use, consistently good products and don’t vary from them unless we have a problem or results aren’t to our standards. We have chosen to shoot Clay Spencer’s 103gr 6mm bullets. We weight-sort and bearing-surface sort them and that’s it. I gave up trimming and tipping simply because it didn’t improve how Clay built them. We also use only one primer, the CCI 450.

We use one of four different powders. Our “go-to” powder is RL15, next we try Varget, then IMR 8208, and if that doesn’t work we try H4895. We have found that these bullets usually shoot best at 2970 fps. This is not an absolute, just what normally works best. We always try higher and lower velocities looking for that special load. Once we find the powder and quantity that works the best we play with the seating depth. Usually this is a fine-tune method and most of the time 15 thousandths into the rifling works the best. But don’t be afraid to jump the bullets as much as 0.100″. When we use this procedure we usually find a combination that will shoot nice, round ¾” groups at 400 yards.

Our reloading regimen starts with ultra-sonic cleaning our brass, then tumbling until shiny. We anneal the brass every time. We proceed to full-length resizing, repriming, and lubing the inside of the necks with graphite. We then charge with our selected powder and seat the bullets. We measure for concentricity, [shooting] the best ones for the record and the others for sighters. The load that Sally shot the record with is 33.0 grains of IMR 8208 XBR, CCI 450 primers, Spencer 103gr bullets, Lapua brass, bullet seated 15 thousandths into rifling, Velocity 2980 fps.

About Sally Bauer – This is the third year of competitive shooting for Sally. She listened to proper and basic instruction and learned at her pace. She developed her own style and discipline. Not wanting to be dependent on others Sally learned to set up her rests and carries Stars & Stripes to the bench by herself.

Sally and I would like to thank the kind people we have met in this crazy frustrating game of shooting. For the most part fellow competitors have been helpful and giving of the time, experience and knowledge. Every range owner and operator we have come across has treated us like family and friend. I can think of no other sport where the participants give so freely. We would also like to thank Dave Holland, Gordy Mitchell and all the others at GRRC for the professional way they handled the target and situation. — Jim and Sally Bauer


As an interesting historical note, Gordy Mitchell observed that there was an all-star line-up at the match when Sally set her record: “After checking our bench roster I noticed we had three national champions (2009-Ed Nazy, 2010-Jim Bauer, 2011-Todd Soeby) and current top five Shooter of the Year points leaders (Al Forbes, Sally Bauer, Jim Bauer, Shannon Lowman, and Larry Bryant) all at one match.”
Permalink Competition, Reloading 3 Comments »
August 1st, 2012

Two LG Benchrest World Records in One Day for Scott Weber

Long-range benchrest shooter Scott Weber had a pretty decent day at the range last Saturday — to put it mildly. Shooting his 6mm Dasher in a Williamport (PA) 1000-yard match, Scott recorded two new Light Gun world records, breaking a record set by Scott’s own father (Frank Weber) in the process.

Scott Weber Light Gun 10-shot record 1000 yards

Scott Weber Light Gun 10-shot record 1000 yards

Early in the day, Scott shot a 3.746″ (99-1X) 10-shot group which beat the existing group-size record, a 3.835″ group shot at the Montana Deep Creek Range in 2006. Then, in the shoot-off, Scott drilled a 100-6X score to top the existing score record held by his father Frank Weber. Interestingly, Frank’s 2012 record was also a 100-6X, but Scott has the smaller group — 4.007″ vs. Frank’s 4.237″ — so Scott will be credited with the record. Well at least he kept it in the family!

Scott Weber Light Gun 10-shot record 1000 yards

Scott reports: “It’s unbelievable to set one record but two in one day on different relays — it doesn’t seem real. All I wanted to do was win the shoot off since I never won one since I’ve been shooting. My dad is happy for me , but he told me ‘don’t look back’ because he is coming to get his record back!”

INSIDE STORY — Rifle Specs and Load Details
Scott Tells us: “Mark King built the rifle. It is similar to my dad’s Light Gun that Mark also built. It has a Sitman (Master Class) stock with 2-inch rail in the back, BAT 3-lug action, Broughton barrel with Mark King brake, and a Jewell trigger. My scope is a Leupold 8.5-25X, MK IV.” The Broughton barrel is chambered for the 6mm Dasher with a 0.266″ neck. Scott turns his necks to about 10.5 thousandths thickness and runs 0.261″ neck tension.

Two Loads for Two Records
Scott used two different loads during the match: “The load I used for the group record was 32.7 grains Varget with CCI primers, 107gr VLD custom bullet, seated +.010 into the lands. These 107gr VLDs were experimental bullets I just recently received. I used a different load in the shoot-off when I broke the score record. That load was 33.7 grains Varget, CCI primers, 105 Berger hunting VLD, seated +.010 into lands. The Bergers were trimmed and pointed hard with a Hoover pointing die.” [Editor’s Note: The 33.7 grain load is very stout and may be UNSAFE in some Rifles. Both listed loads should only be used with fully-formed Dasher cases.]

Permalink Competition, News 3 Comments »