November 11th, 2017

Veterans Day — November 11th — Honor All Who Served

Memorial Veterans Day Vet Army Navy Marines WWII

On that day, let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting and enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.

– 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Veterans Day proclamation.

On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month of 1918, bugle calls signaled the ‘cease fire’ ending the First World War. (The official Armistice was signed earlier that morning.) To those who endured it, WWI was the “Great War”, “the War to End All Wars.” Tragically, an even greater conflict consumed the world just two decades later.

Today, 99 years after the end of WWI, Americans mark the anniversary of the WWI Armistice as “Veterans Day”. In Canada it is known as Remembrance Day. On this solemn occasion we honor all those who have served in the military in times of war and peace.

Memorial Veterans Day Vet Army Navy Marines WWII

While more WWII veterans pass away each year, there are still over 21.8 million veterans in the United States. Take time today to honor those soldiers, sailors, and airmen who have served their nation with pride. Today we remember that… “All gave some, and some gave all.”

Former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James Peake asked Americans to recognize the nation’s 21.8 million living veterans and the generations before them who fought to protect freedom and democracy: “While our foremost thoughts are with those in distant war zones today, Veterans Day is an opportunity for Americans to pay their respects to all who answered the nation’s call to military service.”

On Veterans Day we especially need to remember the seriously wounded combat veterans. These men and women summon great courage every day to overcome the lasting injuries they suffered in battle. Some of these soldiers have lost limbs, yet volunteered to return to combat duty. That is dedication beyond measure.

CLICK HERE for List of Regional Veterans Day Ceremonies.

National Veterans Day Ceremony
The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony commences precisely at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations. The ceremony is intended to honor and thank all who served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Major regional ceremonies and events are also held throughout the country.

Memorial Veterans Day Vet Army Navy Marines WWII

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November 11th, 2016

Honor All Who Served on This Veterans Day

Memorial Veterans Day Vet Army Navy Marines WWII

On that day, let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting and enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.

– 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Veterans Day proclamation.

On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month of 1918, bugle calls signaled the ‘cease fire’ ending the First World War. (The official Armistice was signed earlier that morning.) To those who endured it, WWI was the “Great War”, “the War to End All Wars.” Tragically, an even greater conflict consumed the world just two decades later.

Today, 98 years after the end of WWI, Americans mark the anniversary of the WWI Armistice as “Veterans Day”. In Canada it is known as Remembrance Day. On this solemn occasion we honor all those who have served in the military in times of war and peace.

Memorial Veterans Day Vet Army Navy Marines WWII

While more WWII veterans pass away each year, there are still over 21.8 million veterans in the United States. Take time today to honor those soldiers, sailors, and airmen who have served their nation with pride. Today we remember that… “All gave some, and some gave all.”

Former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James Peake asked Americans to recognize the nation’s 21.8 million living veterans and the generations before them who fought to protect freedom and democracy: “While our foremost thoughts are with those in distant war zones today, Veterans Day is an opportunity for Americans to pay their respects to all who answered the nation’s call to military service.”

On Veterans Day we especially need to remember the seriously wounded combat veterans. These men and women summon great courage every day to overcome the lasting injuries they suffered in battle. Some of these soldiers have lost limbs, yet volunteered to return to combat duty. That is dedication beyond measure.

CLICK HERE for List of Regional Veterans Day Ceremonies.

National Veterans Day Ceremony
The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony commences precisely at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations. The ceremony is intended to honor and thank all who served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Major regional ceremonies and events are also held throughout the country.

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September 16th, 2016

High-Tech Tactical Rifle from Austria’s Ritter & Stark

Ritter & Stark Austria tactical modular SX-1 rifle .300 Win Mag .338 LM Lapua Magnum

Ritter & Stark Austria tactical modular SX-1 rifle .300 Win Mag .338 LM Lapua Magnum

There’s a new long-range precision tactical rifle from Ritter & Stark (R&S) of Austria. The new SX-1 Modular Tactical Rifle (MTR) is designed to allow rapid barrel changes for three chamberings: .308 Winchester, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .338 Lapua Magnum.

Notably, the scope rail is mounted on the barrel itself, and the bolt locks directly into the barrel. This patented system allows scope, rail, and barrel to be swapped out as one integrated assembly, which should definitely help maintain zero when barrels are exchanged.

Ritter & Stark Austria tactical modular SX-1 rifle .300 Win Mag .338 LM Lapua Magnum

Ritter & Stark Austria tactical modular SX-1 rifle .300 Win Mag .338 LM Lapua Magnum

Ritter & Stark explains: “The MIL-STD 1913 Picatinny rail is installed directly on the barrel, allowing barrel interchangeability with pre-set scopes for no shift of impact when changing calibers. Easily and quickly done in the field, the patented caliber conversion system allows the barrel to be precisely positioned in the machined aluminum receiver with a greater area of contact allowing for more stability. The bolt is locked directly into the barrel breech[.]”

Video Shows Barrel Swap System, and Bolt Locking in Barrel Breech:

Ritter & Stark Austria tactical modular SX-1 rifle .300 Win Mag .338 LM Lapua Magnum

CNC-Controlled Rifling Process
Ritter & Stark states: “The rifling is processed in a CNC-controlled electrochemical machine. This avoids the transmission of thermal effects and mechanical stress to the material. Furthermore, this process allows us to produce barrels with unique uniformity and within tolerance zones that were not possible in a serial production before.” This is very interesting technology, and we’d like to learn more about it.

Accuracy Guarantee and Barrel Life Guarantee
Apparently the CNC-controlled rifling process works well as Ritter & Stark guarantees that its barrels maintain accuracy for a long time. The Austrian company states: “Our barrels are guaranteed to at least 5,000 rounds for .308 Win and .338 LM, and 2,000 rounds for .300 WM before noticing any degradation in accuracy.” That kind of claim certainly invites a long-term test. Who’s got enough ammo? Ritter & Stark also claims that “every rifle we manufacture can achieve 0.5 MOA 3-­round groups or better with factory match-grade ammunition.”

The Ritter & Stark SX-1 MTR is designed for adaptability. It will accept third-party Rem 700-compatible triggers as well as a variety of AR-type grips. In addition, the SX-1, in standard configuration, will accept other manufacturers’ AI, SR25, or AR10 magazines. The rifle can also accept other buttstock assemblies compatible with Ritter & Stark’s folding mechanism which, interestingly, can be set to fold to either side.

Ritter & Stark Austria tactical modular SX-1 rifle .300 Win Mag .338 LM Lapua Magnum

Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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March 21st, 2016

The Chocolate Garand — Edible M1 Garand Cake

Kentucky Grooms Cake M1 Garand baked chocolate cake

Here’s something you’ve probably never seen before — an edible M1 Garand. You heard that right. The rifle you see in these photos is actually a specialty cake, and every element of the chocolate Garand is deliciously edible, even the authentic receiver and sights. Note the remarkable detail — the grain in the wood, the sling swivels, trigger guard, and buttplate. This is truely a masterpiece of cake-making.

Kentucky Grooms Cake M1 Garand baked chocolate cake

This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is edible (and delicious).

My edible rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

Without me, my edible rifle is useless. Without my edible rifle, I am useless. I must eat my rifle true….

This impressive example of cake-making was created by Kentucky Wildflour Cakes. This was created as a “Groom’s cake” for a wedding reception. Below is a photo of the unique chocolate cake in the making. The fellow who commissioned this work of culinary art posted: “I begged you to knock this one out of the park for me, and by gosh you blew it out of the park! This was the main attraction at our reception last night and people are still going on and on about it. I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am for your work!”. For those doubting Thomases who can’t believe this masterpiece was actually created, layer by layer, as a cake, here is a photo of the M1 Garand cake “under construction”:

Kentucky Grooms Cake M1 Garand baked chocolate cake

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November 11th, 2015

On Veterans Day — Honor All Those Who Served

Memorial Veterans Day Vet Army Navy Marines WWII

On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month of 1918, bugle calls signaled the ‘cease fire’ ending the First World War. (The official Armistice was signed earlier that morning.) To those who endured it, WWI was the “Great War”, “the War to End All Wars.” Tragically, an even greater conflict consumed the world just two decades later.

Today, 97 years after the end of WWI, Americans mark the anniversary of the WWI Armistice as “Veterans Day”. In Canada it is known as Remembrance Day. On this solemn occasion we honor all those who have served in the military in times of war and peace.

Memorial Veterans Day Vet Army Navy Marines WWII

While more WWII veterans pass away each year, there are still over 23 million veterans in the United States. Take time today to honor those soldiers, sailors, and airmen who have served their nation with pride. Today we remember that… “All gave some, and some gave all.”

Former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James Peake asked Americans to recognize the nation’s 23.4 million living veterans and the generations before them who fought to protect freedom and democracy: “While our foremost thoughts are with those in distant war zones today, Veterans Day is an opportunity for Americans to pay their respects to all who answered the nation’s call to military service.”

On Veterans Day we especially need to remember the seriously wounded combat veterans. These men and women summon great courage every day to overcome the lasting injuries they suffered in battle. Some of these soldiers have lost limbs, yet volunteered to return to combat duty. That is dedication beyond measure.

CLICK HERE for List of Regional Veterans Day Ceremonies.

National Veterans Day Ceremony
The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony commences precisely at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations. The ceremony is intended to honor and thank all who served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Major regional ceremonies and events are also held throughout the country.

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August 3rd, 2012

“Dream Strong” Video Spotlights SGT Sherri Jo Gallagher

SGT Sherri GallagherThe NRA High Power National Championships begin in just a few days. One of the favorites this year is SGT Sherri Jo Gallagher, who won the High Power Title in 2010. Sherri is only the second women in history to win the National High Power Championship. The first was her mother, Nancy Tompkins. Sherri looks forward to the challenge of competing against the likes of defending champ Carl Bernosky, and past title holders Norman Houle, and David Tubb. Count on Sherri to turn in a strong performance at Camp Perry this year.

Along with competitive rifle shooting, Sherri has other important duties as a member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU). Sherri, the 2010 U.S. Army Soldier of the Year, helps train other service men and women in shooting skills. In the video below, Sherri explains her duties with the USAMU. She is proud of the role the USAMU plays in training U.S. Army soldiers.

‘Army Strong’ is a way to show that the Army is going to make you a better person. It’s going to turn you into a much better version of yourself — that you didn’t even know could exist. ‘Dream Strong’ to me would be setting high goals for yourself, and doing what it takes to achieve them. There are things I’ve done in the Army that I’ve never dreamed I could do. I’ve always wanted to be a good leader — to teach others the [marksmanship] skills that I have used my whole life. It’s incredibly gratifying. — SGT Sherri Jo Gallagher

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March 10th, 2012

Kentucky Wildcats Win NCAA Smallbore Rifle Championship

Story by By Kyle Jillson for The NRA Blog
The Kentucky Wildcats won the 2012 NCAA team smallbore championship yesterday, shooting a 2328 to win the Smallbore Title and secure a 3-point lead over 2nd place Army in the overall (combined smallbore and Air Rifle) 2012 NCAA Rifle Championships. Last year the Wildcats came into the second day’s Air Rifle competition with a 7-point lead and held on by three to claim the school’s first National Championship. Today at the French Field House Kentucky hopes to maintain the lead in the Air Rifle championship and take home a National Championship for the second consecutive year.

NCAA Championships

Heading into Saturday’s Air Rifle competition, here are current Team Scores and rankings::

1. University of Kentucky: 2328
2. U.S. Military Academy (West Point): 2325
3. Texas Christian University: 2323
4. Alaska-Fairbanks: 2312
5. University of Nevada Reno: 2306
6. Jacksonville State University: 2304
7. UTEP: 2303
8. West Virginia University: 2297

TCU’s Sarah Scherer Wins Individual Smallbore Championship
Friday afternoon the top eight shooters from the smallbore relays stepped up to the firing line for the 2012 individual smallbore finals. When the final scores were totaled, TCU’s Sarah Scherer was the victor, edging West Point’s Michael Matthews by just one point. Scherer, who recently qualified for the US Olympic Team, took the individual smallbore title with a 99.6 in the finals and a total aggregate of 688.6. This was her second win in smallbore; the first coming in TCU’s national championship run in 2010.

Sarah Scherer TCU

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March 20th, 2011

NRA Intercollegiate Pistol Championship Concludes

NCAA Pistol ChampionshipFrom March 15-19, the NRA Intercollegiate Pistol Championships were held at Ft. Benning, Georgia. The tournament determined the National Collegiate Individual and Team Champions in NTA Intercollegiate Free Pistol, Standard Pistol, Open Air Pistol, Women’s Air Pistol and Women’s Sport Pistol. Both men and women competed shoulder to shoulder in Free Pistol, Standard Pistol, and Open Air Pistol events, but there were separate Ladies’ Only matches for Air Pistol and Sport Pistol. Men and Women shooters competed in separate divisions.

Navy beats Army in Ladies’ Sport Pistol and Air Pistol
There was a strong rivalry among the military academy teams in the Women’s Pistol Matches at the USAMU’s 25 meter range. In Women’s Sport Pistol, the U.S. Naval Academy earned its second Women’s championship this year with a score of 1626, topping the West Pointers by 24 point. In the individual Sport Pistol finals, Kirsten Asdal of the U.S. States Naval Academy took the win with a 655.3 score, edging West Point’s Heather Deppe (653.9 score). The Lady Midshipmen (Midshipwomen?) also won the Women’s Air Pistol Championship with a final team score of 1086. Arch-rival West Point finished second with a 1073 team Air Pistol score.

U.S.M.A. (West Point) Win’s Standard Pistol Team Championship
USNA, USMA, Ohio St., Citadel, Oregon St., USCGA, MIT, Texas A&M, Yale and USMMA were all represented in the team championship by shilled shooter however after the third stage had been fired the United States Military Academy had emerged victorious with a total team score of 2121. Tallying up another championship under his belt this year, Nick Mowrer of Pikes Peak Community College shot a 569 to claim the Standard Pistol Individual title.

Below, courtesy The NRA Blog, is a slide show from the NRA Intercolllegiate Pistol Championships.

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October 26th, 2010

U.S. Army Places Huge Order for New M855A1 Ammo

ATK has received orders from the U.S. Army for nearly 300 million rounds of the new M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round (EPR). The EPR is an enhanced version of the M855 5.56mm cartridge, used by U.S. troops since the early 1980s. ATK also announced it has received additional orders worth $10 million for nonstandard ammunition (NSA) in support of its current NSA multi-year contract with the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Rock Island, Ill. The three-year contract calls for ATK to acquire and deliver a broad range of NSA, or non-NATO ammunition [such as 7.62×39], to Kabul, Afghanistan, to train and sustain allied security forces.

M855A1 ammunition ammo EPR

The military sought to replace current M855 ammo because M855 has not performed optimally in the Afghan theater. The Army’s Picatinny Arsenal claims that the new M855A1 has improved hard target capability, more consistent performance at all distances, improved accuracy, reduced muzzle flash, and higher velocity. M855A1 ammo is tailored for use in M4 carbines but should also give enhanced performance in M16s and M249s.

M855A1 ammunition ammo EPRNew Steel-Tip Bullet Design
The 62-grain bullet for the new M855A1 ammo is a completely new design. While it may appear to have a plastic “ballistic tip”, that’s deceiving. The new bullet created for M855A1 ammo has a bismuth-tin alloy core with a steel “stacked-cone” penetrating tip. The photo at right shows the version from last year; the final production version may be slightly different (e.g. the final version tip is a different color). Apparently the latest bullet design is a winner. During testing, M855A1 ammo performed better than current 7.62mm ball ammunition against certain types of targets. According to Lt. Col. Jeffrey K. Woods, the program’s product manager, the new M855A1 ammo is “the best general purpose 5.56mm round ever produced. A true general purpose round, the M855A1 exceeds the performance of the current M855 against the many different types of targets likely to be encountered in combat.”

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September 21st, 2010

Remington Wins M24E1 Army Sniper Rifle Contract

The United States Army’s Joint Munitions and Lethality Contracting Center has awarded Remington Arms a 5-year contract to upgrade 3,600 current M24 sniper rifles to the new M24E1 Sniper Weapon System. The major change will be a conversion from the 7.62mm NATO (.308 Winchester) cartridge to .300 Winchester Magnum to provide “additional precision engagement capability and range”. The contract, potentially worth over $28 million, was awarded after a 9-month competitive evaluation. CLICK HERE for Remington Press Release.

The Army’s new M24E1 sniper rifle will share the Rem 700 long action (receiver) and trigger from the currently-fielded M24, but little else. (The Army specifically required that the M24E1 be built around the same 700 series long action and fire control system.) The M24E1 is considered a “total conversion upgrade”, by which the barrel, stock, magazines, muzzlebrake, suppressor, and even the optics will be changed. The M24E1 will carry a 6.5-20×50 variable power Leupold scope with a first focal plane (FFP) reticle that includes .300 Win Magnum bullet-drop compensation markings.

Remington M24e1 SWS

To the new M24E1s, Remington will fit 24″, 10-Twist (5R) hammer-forged barrels, chambered in .300 Win Mag. After the change in chambering, the most notable difference between the M24 and M24E1 is the new modular metal chassis/stock. There are a variety of adjustments in the rear buttstock section, which also folds forward for easier transport. The forearm has removable Mil Std 1913 Picatinny Rails to allowing fitting of night-vision devices and other accessories. Click Here for Forearm Photo.

M24E1 Contract Follows Production of 15,000 M24s By Remington
It is no great surprise that Remington won the contract to upgrade the older M24 sniper rifles. Remington has been produced nearly 15,000 M24 Sniper Weapon Systems for the military over the past 22 years. The M24E1 may be seen as the “natural evolution” of the Army’s existing Rem sniper platform. While the M24E1 rifle looks radically different on the outside, it remains much the same on the inside. According to Remington:

This long tradition of production and repair makes Remington the natural choice to upgrade this venerable system[.] Current operations in Southwest Asia exposed the need for a more powerful and longer-range sniper round. The baseline M24 was designed from inception to chamber a longer and more powerful round than the 7.62mm NATO, so an obvious solution to the capability gap was to finally exploit the M24’s long bolt action and chamber it for .300 Winchester Magnum.

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September 20th, 2010

National Champion Set Sights on Top Soldier Competition

SGT Sherri Gallagherby Michael Molinaro, USAMU
Sgt. Sherri Jo Gallagher set high goals for 2010. To say she met them is an understatement. The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Soldier recently won the National High Power Rifle Championship, is on the brink of competing to be the Army Soldier of the Year, and relishes every moment serving her country.

“I wanted to be in the military since I was very young — I was drawn to the challenge and excitement of it,” said Gallagher. “I wanted to learn how to be a leader and make a difference in life. Then I had the opportunity to join the USAMU and turn my favorite hobby into my daily life. Nothing could be more fun than that.”

Gallagher became the first service member since 1987 to win the high-power competition at the National Championships held annually at Camp Perry, Ohio. She set a new national record in the match with a 2396-161x, dropping only four shots during the entire competition. She shot 21 more “X”s than anyone else in the field, which included legends of the sport and past champions. She also became the second woman ever to win the championship — her mother, Nancy Tompkins, being the first.

“Mom won in 1998,” Gallagher said. “We were both competing that year so I didn’t get to watch her that much — but she wasn’t shooting high-power this year so she was able to watch me shoot. She brought me coffee every day. It was very nice.”

SGT Sherri Gallagher Nancy Tompkins

Gallagher grew up around the sport of shooting. Her stepfather managed a U.S. national rifle team, her mother is a living legend in the sport, and her sister is a three-time national high-power long-range rifle champion and finished third overall in the long-range event this year. “I started shooting when I was five,” Gallagher said. “My step-dad had us pulling targets by about seven and the best way to get out of the pits is if we volunteered to shoot. So it was good motivation.”

Gallagher currently holds 21 National records in rifle. In 2009, she won the National High Power Long Range Rifle Championship for the first time and credits her success on the firing line to some very simple advice she received at a young age.

“The biggest thing we learned growing up was to have fun and if you’re not having fun something is wrong,” she continued. “There is no point getting worked up over what you do because all you can do is your best.”

Gallagher took that advice to heart in training for the nationals this year because besides winning the coveted title at Camp Perry, she was named TRADOC Soldier of the Year just a few weeks prior. A process that started at the unit level back in the spring now has her set to go head-to-head against the best the Army has to offer at the 2010 Best Warrior Competition with the title of Army Soldier of the Year on the line.

SGT Sherri Gallagher Nancy Tompkins

“It’s been an awesome experience,” said Gallagher, who was promoted to the rank of Sergeant since competing at TRADOC (U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command). One of the reasons soldiers in her unit believe Gallagher is thriving is the approach she takes to every task she is given: “She has a ‘can do’ attitude about everything she does”, said SFC Kyle Ward, NCO-in-charge for the service rifle team. Gallagher hasn’t lost focus on the mission at hand for the USAMU: “The most important thing is training Soldiers, assisting with research and development, and helping the war fighter,” she said. “My goal for next year is to learn how to be a better instructor. I like to use everything I learn through competition to help train others. I get to use a skill I grew up using and help people with their marksmanship.”

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August 5th, 2010

USAMU and SSG Green Dominate 2010 Interservice Match

U.S. Army Marksmanship UnitThe U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s Service Rifle team dominated the 49th Interservice Rifle Championships. USAMU shooters won the coveted 10-man Interservice Rifle team championship and swept every major award at the Interservice tournament, held last week at Quantico, Virginia. USAMU teams also won the the 1,000-yard team match in both the service rifle and match rifle categories, setting a new match record in the service rifle category. With its performance at Quantico, the USAMU completed a sweep of all interservice marksmanship championships in 2010 — soldiers and teams from the USAMU previously won the shotgun and pistol interservice competitions, as a team and individually.

Sgt. Brandon Green USAMu

Individually, Staff Sgt. Brandon Green was the big winner during the week. He won six championships, including the overall individual championship — his second time winning the prestigious title. He also won the Coast Guard match, the Marine Corps match, the 600-yard match rifle, the 1,000-yard match rifle, and the match rifle individual long-range championship.

Members of the winning 10-man Interservice Rifle team were: Sgt. 1st Class Lance Dement, Sgt. 1st Class Grant Singley, Staff Sgt. Tyrell Cooper, Staff Sgt. Brandon Green, Staff Sgt. Joel Micholick, Staff Sgt. Scott Grant, Sgt. Sherri Jo Gallagher, Spc. Kevin Trickett, Spc. Augustus Dunfey, and Pfc. Amanda Elsenboss. Coaches were Sgt. 1st Class Emil Praslick and Staff Sgt. Walter Craig. Cooper was the high individual shooter during the match with a score of 497-21x.

Interservice Championship USAMu

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July 7th, 2010

Disabled Vets Compete in National Veterans Wheelchair Games

Nat'l Veterans Wheelchair Games Air Rifle MatchThe 30th National Veterans Wheelchair Games commenced this week in Denver, Colorado. The largest annual wheelchair sports competition in the world, this event offers 17 different sports to veterans who use wheelchairs due to spinal cord injuries, amputations and neurological diseases. One of the popular events is the Air Rifle competition, which has attracted ten relays of competitors, all of whom are wounded or disabled military veterans.

With the help of family, friends, and volunteers, they unpack their guns, sight in their rifles, and shoot three rounds of twenty shots in thirty minutes. The competitors display a wide array of emotions — some are intense, some are smiling, and some are satisfied with the mere act of competing.

The stories are as diverse as those who are shooting: An Army ranger injured post-retirement, an officer with multiple sclerosis, an enlisted man wounded in combat. They come from California, from Ohio, from Florida and Texas. “We’ve seen a wonderful change in our guys,” said a group leader from California. “They find a sport in which they can flourish and their smiles are contagious.”

Photos and story by Lars Dalseide, courtesy NRA Blog.

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April 5th, 2010

Wounded Warriors Prepare for Warrior Games with USAMU

USAMUThis past week (March 29 – April 1), wounded soldiers practiced marksmanship at Fort Benning (GA) under the tutelage of USAMU instructors. The training focused on Air Rifle and Air Pistol skills in preparation for the inaugural Warrior Games, to be held May 10-14 at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO. The Warrior Games provide a venue where wounded, ill, and injured service-members from all branches can compete in Paralympic sports. The goal of the Warrior Games is to inspire recovery and promote opportunities for growth and achievement among wounded troops.

The Fort Benning Training Camp gave injured soldiers a chance to break away from their sometimes grueling rehabilitation schedules, and look forward to something beyond another doctor’s appointment. “It’s so easy to isolate yourself, then think that nobody understands,” said Staff Sgt. Rachelle Renaud, who required a double lumbar fushion on her spine after suffering back injuries during two Iraq deployments. “The Warrior Games have inspired me — I’m motivated to go out and go exercise, go to the gym — go do something to prepare.”

“The challenge to compete with these other soldiers who have gone through similar experiences… is very exciting,” said Capt. Juan Guerrero. Severely injured in both legs from an explosive projectile while on a patrol south of Baghdad in 2007, Guerrero offers some important advice: “They may think they aren’t going to be able to do it, but until they try it, they won’t know for sure. One of the things as a soldier is that you have to try it first. If you try it and succeed, then you go on from there. If you try and you fail, you try again. It’s a long process, but eventually, you’ll get to the point where you’ll be able to do stuff you didn’t think you could do, just like I did.”

As the week progressed, enthusiasm to get on with the Games was evident. There was no mention of treatments or appointments, just encouragement and excitement. At a practice match, the wounded competitors rooted for each other. With the Warrior Games a month away, the goal of the Games seems to be working. “What we have to do with our service-members is inspire them to reach for and achieve a rich and productive future, to defeat their illness or injury, whatever lies in their way, to maximize their abilities and know that they can have a rich and fulfilling life…” said Brig. Gen. Gary Cheek, commander, U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command.

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December 24th, 2009

MOH Winner, Most-Decorated Soldier Passes

Col. Robert HowardMedal of Honor winner Col. Robert L. Howard passed away yesterday in Waco, Texas. Prior to his death, historians believed Howard was the most highly-decorated then-living American soldier. He was part of the Army Special Forces and ran cross-border operations in Laos, Cambodia and North Vietnam. He was wounded 14 times in Vietnam and was awarded eight Purple Hearts.

He was nominated three separate times for the Medal of Honor, finally receiving the nation’s highest award in 1971. President Richard M. Nixon presented him with the honor for his bravery in Vietnam during a mission to rescue a missing soldier in enemy territory.

In addition to the MOH, Col. Howard held the following major decorations: Distinguished Service Cross (with one oak leaf cluster); Silver Star; Defense Superior Service Medal; Legion of Merit (with three oak leaf clusters); Bronze Star (with three oak leaf clusters and “V” device); Purple Heart (multiple with a silver and two bronze oak leaf clusters); Meritorious Service Medal (with two oak leaf clusters); Air Medal (with “V” Device and numeral 3. One award for heroism and two for aerial achievement); Joint Service Commendation; Army Commendation Medal (with “V” device and one each silver and bronze oak leaf clusters. 4 awards for valor and 3 for achievement); Presidential Unit Citation (for Studies and Observations Group–SOG).

Howard also held many other U.S. service medals and Foreign Decorations, including the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry (with Gold, Silver, and Bronze citations).

After retiring from the Army, Col. Howard spent much of his free time working with veterans. He also took periodic trips to Iraq to visit active duty troops. Howard died of pancreatic cancer at a hospice in Waco, Texas on December 23, 2009.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Col. Howard and to read his Medal of Honor citation. As a staff sergeant of the highly-classified Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG), Howard was recommended for the Medal of Honor on three separate occasions during thirteen months spanning 1967–1968. The first two nominations were downgraded to the award of the Distinguished Service Cross due to the covert nature of the operations in which Howard participated.

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December 10th, 2009

FREE NRA Membership for Active-duty Armed Services Personnel

The NRA is currently offering FREE one-year memberships for all active-duty U.S. Armed Services personnel. The free NRA membership includes all regular membership benefits, including a subscription to one of three NRA publications: America’s First Freedom, American Hunter, or American Rifleman. This offer applies to personnel currently serving with the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, or Coast Guard. To get the free membership, active-duty servicemen and women should visit the NRA Website and provide contact info and choice of publication.

CLICK HERE for FREE NRA Membership for Armed Services Personnel.

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October 23rd, 2009

Junior Shooters Learn from the Best

The Fort Benning Junior Rifle Club, started in the 1970s, was formed to help junior shooters raise their level in competitive shooting and assist them in getting recognized by college coaches. It is organized and run by members of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s International Rifle team, whose roster includes Olympians and national champions.

CLICK HERE for U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Website (Check out the video!)

“The kids are extremely motivated,” said Staff Sgt. Armando Ayala, the club’s head coach. “These shooters are exposed to the USAMU work ethic and our accomplishments, and it really motivates them.” Fourteen-year-old MacKenzy Crawford explains: “This is a ton of fun…. I started shooting when I was six and wanted to join the school’s rifle team, so I needed to get practice and coaching here.”

USAMU Junior Team

There are 52 kids in the Club this year, Ayala said, almost double the number of shooters from last year. There are two training sessions a week during the school year with a break during the winter holidays. Besides Ayala, who attends every training session, two of his teammates rotate from week-to-week, allowing the students a chance to work with the entire IR team. “We teach shooters from beginners all the way to advance levels,” he remarked. “We essentially take them from never shooting to the U.S. National junior team-level.”

Club members compete in a number of matches year-round. The biggest matches are sanctioned by USA Shooting, including the national championships and spring and fall selection matches for juniors. They also travel to Camp Perry, Ohio each summer to compete in the Smallbore National Championships and compete in regional postal and invitational matches.

USAMU Junior Team

Training Program Leads to Future Success
Many junior club members have achieved success at college and beyond. West Point has tapped into the program and recruited future officers through the academy’s shooting team, and many former and future members made the military their career choice after being tutored within the military environment. Coaches from Columbus State, University of Kentucky, Memphis University, Texas Christian University, Nebraska and others have scouted the club’s members and brought scholarship offers with them.

“To see our juniors develop into motivated young citizens and accomplish great things is very rewarding,” Ayala said. “I know what they learn here they carry into all aspects of their lives because the examples set for them affect their lives. What we do here really inspires and motivates young people.”

Report by By Michael Molinaro, USAMU PAO

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April 7th, 2009

Army Extends ATK's Lake City Ammo Plant Contract

Lake City Ammo ATKAlliant Techsystems (NYSE:ATK) has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Army to continue operating the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant for an additional four (4) years. Under the new contract, ATK will continue to supply small-caliber ammunition through September 2013. The contract extension assures an uninterrupted supply of ammunition to the U.S. military beyond ATK’s current 10-year contract. The U.S. Army also awarded ATK $481 million under the new contract for production of 5.56mm, 7.62mm, and .50-caliber ammunition and to continue work to modernize the Lake City facility.

ATK is now the #1 producer of small arms ammunition in the world, manufacturing billions of rounds each year. Lake City is a key source of ATK ammo production. ATK began operating the plant, located in Independence, Missouri, in April 2000 and has increased production from 350 million to more than 1.4 billion rounds annually. The plant has the capability to produce a mix of 5.56mm, 7.62mm, .50-caliber, and 20mm cartridges, as well as ammunition links.

Lake City Ammo ATK

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April 1st, 2009

U.S. Army Team Tests Radical New Dimpled Bullet

Aberdeen Proving Ground

At the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground, a team of ballistics technicians, supported by some of the U.S. Army’s top sniper instructors, has been quietly developing a radical new “dimpled” bullet. The exterior of the bullet resembles the dimpled surface of a golf ball. The function of the special dimpled skin is to reduce projectile drag, providing a flatter long-range trajectory, and greater retained energy at the target.

.338 Projectile with MIM Exo-Jacket
(3D-CAD Artist’s Rendering)
army bullet

In their pursuit of a lower-drag bullet, the Army tried a variety of designs, including bullets with circumferential drive bands, dual-radius ogives, and rebated boat-tails. The dimpled “golf-ball” design was considered a “long shot” according to the design team, but it has performed beyond all expectations. The nominal drag coefficient (Cd) has improved by about +.040, while cartridge muzzle velocity has increased by nearly 80+ fps because the bullet’s dimpled skin reduces in-barrel friction. What’s more — the terminal performance of the dimpled bullet has been “spectacular”. The Aberdeen team set out to produce a slightly more slippery bullet for U.S. Army snipers. What they ended up with is a bullet with dramatically enhanced long-range ballistics and superior killing power on “soft targets”.

army bulletLt. Col. Ben Eldrick, Long-Range Projectile Project (LRPP) team leader, told AccurateShooter.com how the radical bullet was conceived: “During our initial design work, we wanted the benefits of a high-BC, pointed bullet, but in a design that could be mass-produced and could work as a tracer. We consulted some of the top civilian bullet experts, including ballistician Bryan Litz of Berger Bullets. Mr. Litz really got the ball rolling. He suggested that the ‘next big step’ in bullet design would involve the turbulent boundary layer over the body of the bullet. Litz told us that ‘pointing bullet tips will take you only so far… think about optimizing the airflow over the entire bullet’. That made a lot of sense to us. When you design a race car to be aerodynamic, you sculpt the whole body, not just the front bumper.”

Lt. Col. Eldrick continued: “It turns out Litz was right on the money. By employing a golf-ball type dimpled surface, we were able to optimize the turbulent boundary layer on the bullet body. This reduced the low-pressure wake zone behind the bullet significantly, resulting in reduced base drag. As a result the bullet experiences much less overall drag, effectively raising the BC.” The Army team had discovered that what works for golf balls also works for bullets.

army bulletAfter testing a series of prototypes, the Aberdeen bullet design team settled on a copper-jacketed bullet with dimples about 0.5 mm in diameter. The first-generation bullets were formed in special binary impact swages that press-form the dimples after the bullets were pointed up in conventional dies. Future production bullets will be made with an advanced metal-injection-molding (MIM) process that forms the dimples directly into the surface of the bullets. Rather than simply wrap the core material (which is classified), the MIM is molecularly bonded to the core. The Aberdeen LRPP team calls this “Exo-Jacket” construction, as in “Exo-Skeleton”.

Higher Velocities Achieved
There was a surprise benefit of the dimpled bullet design — higher muzzle velocities. Given the same powder charge, dimpled bullets exit the muzzle faster because they produce less in-barrel friction than do conventional bullets. This is because the recessed dimples effectively reduce the metal-on-metal bearing surface. Lt. Col. Eldrick revealed: “the added velocity was an unexpected bonus. With equal-pressure loads, dimpled .308 bullets will fly about 80 fps faster than normal .308 bullets. With the large .338-caliber projectiles, the difference is even greater… we can pick up nearly 150 fps.” Given the observed velocity gains achieved with dimpled bullets, Aberdeen designers are now working on dimpled shell casings for larger artillery projectiles.

Dimpled Jacket Delivers ‘Explosive’ Fragmentation
While the internal design and core materials of the new dimpled bullet remain classified, the design team revealed that the terminal performance of the new bullet has been “spectacular”. The bullet penetrates like a FMJ but then explosively fragments, resulting in a devastating energy release in the target. According to Capt. Jack Sarazen, an Aberdeen engineer, “the enhanced terminal performance of the dimpled bullet was unanticipated. This was a serendipitous effect of the slight thinning of the jacket material where the dimples are pressed.” Sarazen explained: “Most FMJ bullets break along the cannelure and then fragment into two or three large pieces. With the dimpled bullets, you have multiple fragmentation points so the bullet literally blows up like a grenade in the target.”

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