February 10th, 2018

Berger SWN 2018 — Friday Match and Gear Highlights

Berger SW Nationals John Whidden Palma F-TR
Reigning NRA National Long-Range Champion John Whidden in action on the 1000-yard line. John’s rifle features a centerfire action in an aluminum Anschutz small-bore stock.

There are now two more days left for the 2018 Berger SW Nationals, with the competition heating up. From this point on, all shooting will be at 1000 yards. Friday was challenging, with increasing wind velocities over the day. Shifts were harder to figure out, and some talented shooters dropped 8-10 points. Competition was fierce. In the sling division, our friend Gary Eliseo of Competition Machine came out on top via tie-breaker. Gary and Stuart Mackey shot identical scores on Friday at each distance: 150-8X, 150-7X, and 149-8X, both finishing with 449-23X. That’s as close as it gets.

One shot left… will that last bullet end up in the X-ring? We hope so…

Saturday Shooting — Team and Individual Competition at 1000
Today, Saturday 2/10/18, all shooting will be at 1000 yards, with both Individual and 4-person Team competition. The format calls for two, 20-shot matches for both individuals and teams. Good luck to all!

MATCH RESULTS: Complete Daily Scores and On-Going Match Standings are posted on the McMillan Fiberglass Stocks Facebook Page. Here are Top Five in each Division, at day’s end on Friday, 2/9/2018:

Top Five F-Open
Bob Sebold — 449-30X
Danny J. Biggs — 449-26X
Jay Christopherson — 448-28X
Stephen Potter — 448-23X
Ubaldino De Arellano — 448-23X
Top Five F-TR
Ellis Berry — 448-26X
Peter Johns — 448-25X
Philip Kelley Jr. — 448-21X
Doug Boyer — 447-27X
Greg Barkley — 447-23X
Top Five Sling
Gary Eliseo — 449-23X
Stuart Mackey — 449-23X
Bill Vaughn — 448-28X
Curtis Gordon — 448-23X
Nancy Tompkins — 447-30X

No Worries Mate — Mark Swaps Stocks in Mid-Match

Berger SW Nationals Mark Fairburn Australia  Palma F-TR

Australian Mark Fairbairn performed a “Quick Fix” during Thursday’s match. His F-Open rifle, in a conventional fiberglass stock, was giving him random vertical during one yardage: “I had a bit of a problem with elevation — the stock was hitting somewhere [causing vertical]. I was X-X-X then a shot popped up in the 9 ring with no good reason. So I figured I better put a new stock on it. I got my old aluminium stock I brought from Australia and quickly adjusted it to fit on the Stolle.” Right on the berm he swapped his barreled action into the metal stock of his own design. The clock was ticking… but the story had a happy ending. For the next yardage Mark shot a brilliant 150-7X, not dropping a point. So the “Quick Fix” did the trick. As they say Down Under — “Good on Ya, Mate!”

Patriotic Pair of Stars and Stripes F-Open Rigs

Berger Stars Stripes rifles SWN F-TR

There were two very patriotic F-Open rifles side-by-side on the firing line yesterday. These Stars and Stripes rigs were squadded right next to each other just by chance — but it made for a great show.

Like Father, Like Daughter — The Cortinas

Berger SW Nationals Erik Amber Cortina F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

Erik Cortina, member of Team Lapua/Brux/Borden, is one of the nation’s top F-Class shooters. But on Friday he was only the second-best Cortina at 1000 yards. Erik’s daughter, Amberleeana, posted a 147-7X to edge her Dad by 3 Xs (Erik scored 147-4X) from the 1000-yard line.

F-Class is for Everyone – All Ages, Guys AND Gals

Berger SW Nationals female shooter F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

F-Class is not just a man’s game. There were many lady shooters on the firing line, in both F-Open and F-TR Divisions. Some shooting instructors says females learn faster than their male counterparts, so they can excel quickly in the shooting sports.

Cool Gadget (Literally) — The BarrelCool Device

Barrel Cool F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

The clever BarrelCool is a dual-purpose device that serves as an Empty Chamber Indicator (ECI) while cooling your barrel with a battery-powered fan. This is American ingenuity at its best.

Spotting Scope Support Arm Attached to Front Rest

Berger SW Nationals Richard King F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

Texas gunsmith Richard King of King’s Armory had a very clever set-up for his spotting scope. He has fabricated a support arm that holds the spotter very close to his rifle. With this configuration, Richard can view through the spotting scope without shifting his position on the rifle. This puts the spotting scope’s eyepiece just a few inches from his riflescope eyepiece so he can move easily from one optic to the other. This set-up also reduces the amount of gear Richard carries to the line. No separate spotting scope base, stand, or tripod is needed. This is a simple, elegant solution. We bet, with a little tinkering and design work, a similar system could be mounted to a SEB or Bald Eagle front rest

Labor of Love — Do-It-Yourself F-TR Stock Milled from Aluminum

Berger SW Nationals Erik Cortina F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

We saw many interesting F-TR rigs. Here’s an one-of-a-kind stock, machined from aluminum billet by shooter/owner Mark Roberts of Lone Star Tumblers. There are a ton of man-hours in this unique stock.

Bird’s Eye Ben Avery — A Look at the Range

If you’ve never visited the Ben Avery Facility north of Phoenix, Arizona, here is a video shot in 2016 that shows the 1000-yard range (including drone footage). The desert range at Ben Avery is something special — check out this “birds-eye view”. This video also includes an interview with Derek Rodgers, the current F-TR World Champion, King of 2 Miles, and the only man who who has earned both F-Open AND F-TR National titles.

Ben Avery by Air — We are repeating this 2016 video here because it has a great aerial view of the Mid Tompkins 1000-yard Range at Ben Avery

Erik Stecker of Berger Bullets visited the match Friday. Here he talks with members of Team Berger Bullets. Eric now oversees operations of Berger, as part of the Capstone Precision Group (Berger, Lapua, SK, Vihtavuori). That’s Walt Berger in the background in the red shirt.

Berger SW Nationals Capstone Precision Berger Bullets F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

There were plenty of smiles on the firing line — the Berger SW Nationals event offers great weather, great competition, great camaraderie, and a great prize table.

Berger SW Nationals Erik Cortina F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

Swap-Meet at Ben Avery
After the matches concluded on Friday, a Swap Meet was held in the Club House. There were some great bargains to be found. Can you name the past National Champions in the background of this photo?

Berger SW Nationals Swap Meet Nancy Tompkins James Crofts F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

Parting Shot: Glamtactical by Cerus Rifleworks

Berger SW Nationals Capstone Precision Berger Bullets F-Class Sling Palma F-TR

We spotted a stunning “Glamtactical” rig from Cerus Rifleworks in the Nightforce booth. Believe it or not, Cerus owner Will McCloskey found this stunning wood buried in a “bargain bin”, and snagged the highly-figured walnut blank for under $10. Steal of the year! This rifle features a carbon-wrapped barrel with muzzle brake.

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February 9th, 2018

Berger Southwest Nationals 2018 — Report from Ben Avery

Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open
Thursday was Team Day at the Berger SWN. The rules called for four shooters. But one Aussie Team had a special mascot shooter to add team spirit.

Today, Friday, marks the third day of competition at the Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN), with individual matches on the schedule. Today’s match will have a Palma format, with shooters competing individually at three yardages: 800, 900, and 1000. This is when it really gets tough — no wind coaches. Each shooter is on his or her own. Yesterday, Thursday, was a Team Day at Ben Avery, with four-person teams shooting at 800, 900, and 1000. We saw some familiar squads on the firing line, such as Team Berger Bullets, The X-Men, and Da Bulls, as well as new squads.

Individual Long-Range Competition starts today, Friday, at the Berger Southwest Nationals. The firing line is full — this match “sold out” early. Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.
Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open

Click Image to see full-screen Panorama of 1000-yard firing line at Ben Avery.
Berger SW Nationals panorama Mid Tompkins range match

Full interim results for Thursday’s Team match are posted on the McMillan Fiberglass Stocks Facebook Page.

Thursday’s conditions were much calmer than the Wednesday (when winds were howling in the afternoon). It was very calm in the early morning but then the wind increased gradually during the day, becoming switchy. Many shooters told us the mirage was difficult to read. The sling division was tightly fought, with Scottish HPS Team and U.S. National Mrnak Team tied on points at 1779 at day’s end. The Scots finished first by X-count, 92 to 85. Finishing third was U.S.A. National Hayes Team, 1776-114X.

Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open

In F-Open, the “Old Gentlemen” of Team Berger lead the way on Thursday, with a score of 1784-92X, followed by Team Lapua/Brux/Borden in second with 1782-101X. Tied on points in third place, but with fewer Xs, was Team Defiance at 1782-82X. This was a bit of a family affair as Scott Harris coached wife Christine and son Adrian, along with shooters John Moreali and Ben Steinsholdt. Larry Bartholome had top individual score, not dropping a point to finish “clean” at 450-21X. Next best was AccurateShooter’s own Jay Christopherson, with 449-31X.

Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open

In F-TR, Team “Da Bulls” topped the field with 1762-66X, barely edging second-place Team McMillan which scored 1762-64X. The McMillan team was a powerhouse including current F-TR World Champion Derek Rodgers, and, as coach, former USA F-TR Team Captain Ray Gross.

Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open
The powerhouse Team McMillan F-TR squads featured serious talent. Left to right here, in their red jerseys, are Captain Paul Phillips, Derek Rodgers, and Coach Ray Gross.

One team featured a Father-Daughter Duo, with father Scott coaching Morgan, his talented daughter. Morgan tells us that competitive shooting has unlocked a new world for her. She has traveled to South Africa with her father to shoot in international matches. Shooting at the SWN is a highlight of her year: “I love the warm weather here — It’s snowing back home in New York”.

SWN VIDEO: Father coaches daughter in Thursday’s Team Match:

Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open

View from the pits at the Mid Tompkins Range at Ben Avery. Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.
Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open

Kelly McMillan showed us a new F-Open competition stock, the Kestros with “Z-Rail”. This features a box-section aluminum extension on the fore-end. This allows a longer “wheelbase” on the stock, as well as a lower center of gravity. Kelly says his company is working may adapting this extension to include an bipod attachment rail. That way you could shoot the same stock in both F-TR and F-Open divisions.

Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open

SWN VIDEO: Kelly McMillan talks about new McMillan and MCubed (M3) stocks in this video. Kelly plans to host his Taking Stock Radio Show on Friday, February 9, live from the Berger SWN. CLICK HERE for Kelly McMillan’s SWN Radio Show.

Listen to Kelly McMillan’s Taking Stock Radio Show from Berger Southwest Nationals

Rekindle Old Friendships and Meet New Friends
Some shooters come to to the SW Nationals for the swag (the prize table is amazing). Others come for the sunshine (think warm 80-85° weather). And even more folks come to try out their shiny new toys and to test their skills against the nation’s best shooters.

But we’d say the number one reason most folks make the pilgrimage to Ben Avery every year is the camaraderie — the chance to connect with friends, rekindling connections that may go back decades. Fundamentally, then, the Berger SWN is about the people. For many of us, this is the only time of the year when we get a chance to meet fellow shooters from distant corners of the USA (and other nations).

Team Berger
Old Guys Rule — Team Berger topped the F-Open field in Thursday Team competition. NOTE: this photo shows 2017 team members.

Berger Southwest Nationals SWN Team Palma F-TR F-Class F-Open

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January 29th, 2017

Wenatchee White-Out Doesn’t Deter Monte…

Monte Milanuk snow southwest berger Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery Range Arizona

Our friend Monte Milanuk needed to get in a little practice for the upcoming Berger Southwest Nationals. Monte didn’t let a little white stuff get in the way of his training session at the NCW Gun Club range in East Wenatchee, WA. Monte says: “For all you southerners and snowbirds… this is how the rest of us get ready for the Berger SWN!” Oh man that does look cold…

Monte Milanuk snow southwest berger Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery Range Arizona

Monte’s F-TR competition rig features a fully-adjustable McMillan XIT stock resting on a SEB JoyPod up front with an Edgewood bag in the rear. On top is a Nightforce Competition scope. Monte shoots Berger bullets, measuring their velocity with a LabRadar chronograph. The LabRadar sits on a Manfrotto tripod, which can adjust super-low, as you can see. With this set-up, Monte tells us “life is good” — even on a chilly morning in Wenatchee.

We wish Monte (and all competitors) good luck at the Berger SW Nationals. The popular event runs February 6-12, 2017 at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, AZ. See you on the firing line!

CLICK HERE for Phoenix Travel and Lodging Information.


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January 21st, 2017

Six by Litz — Tips for Shooting Long-Range

Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals Ben Avery Bryan Litz

Berger SW Nationals Bryan LitzWith the Berger Southwest Nationals coming up soon (Feb. 6-12), we thought we would share some tips from a past Champion who really knows the Ben Avery range in Phoenix. In 2015, Bryan won the F-TR Mid-Range AND Long-Range National Championships hosted at Ben Avery. And at the 2014 Berger SW Nationals (SWN), Bryan took top honors among all sling shooters. If you only know Bryan Litz from his Applied Ballistics Books and DVDs, you may not realize that this guy is a great marksman (along with being an actual rocket scientist). This guy can shoot.

Given his impressive track record at Ben Avery, we asked Bryan if he had any advice for other long-range competitors. First Bryan provided three tips concerning Ballistics, his special area of expertise. Next Bryan offered three more general tips about long-range competition — how to analyze your shooting, how to choose your ‘wind strategy’, and how to avoid the most costly mistakes, i.e. how to avoid the “train-wrecks”.

Here is the sleek F-TR Rig Bryan Litz used to win the 2015 F-TR Mid-Range and Long-Range Championships at Ben Avery:
Bryan Litz F-TR Ben Avery Berger SW Nationals

Litz Ballistics Tips

Ballistics TIP ONE. If you’re having trouble getting your ballistic software to match actual drops, you need to look at a number of possible reasons. Here are some common issues that can cause problems.

Click Values Are Not Exact. Scopes and iron sights don’t always produce accurate adjustments. In other words, if your ballistics program predicts 30 MOA of drop, and you dial 30 MOA but hit low, it might be that your sight actually only moved 28 MOA (for example). To see if your sight is adjusting accurately, shoot a tall target at 100 yards and measure group separation when dialing your sight.

Barometric vs. Station Pressure. This is a commonly misunderstood input to ballistics programs. You can avoid this pitfall by remembering the following: station pressure is the actual measured pressure at your location, and you don’t need to tell the program your altitude when using station pressure. Barometric pressure is corrected for sea level. If you’re using barometric pressure, you also have to input your altitude.

Muzzle Velocity. Chronographs are not always as accurate as shooters think they are — your true MV may be off by 10-20 fps (or more). If your drop is different than predicted at long range, it might be because your muzzle velocity input is wrong.

Mixing Up BC (G1 vs. G7). Knowledgeable long range shooters know that the G7 standard is a more representative standard for modern LR bullets. However, using G7 BCs isn’t just a matter of clicking the ‘G7′ option in the program. The numeric value of the BC is different for G1 and G7. For example, the G1 BC of the Berger 155.5 grain Fullbore bullet is .464 but the G7 BC is .237. If you were to enter .464 but click on G7, the results would be way off.

Ballistics TIP TWO. A properly installed level is absolutely essential for long range shooting. Without a good level reference, your long range wind zero will be off due to minor canting of the rifle from side to side. You can verify that your level is installed correctly on a 100-yard ‘tall target’. Draw a plumb line straight up the target and verify that your groups track straight up this line as you go up in elevation.

Ballistics TIP THREE. If your long range ballistic predictions aren’t tracking, always come back and verify your 100-yard zero. Sometimes a simple zero shift can be misconstrued as errors in long range ballistics predictions.

Bryan Litz Tips

Litz Competition Shooting Tips

Competition TIP ONE. Improving your scores in long range competition is a constant process of self-assessment. After each match, carefully analyze how you lost points and make a plan to improve. Beginning shooters will lose a lot of points to fundamental things like sight alignment and trigger control. Veteran shooters will lose far fewer points to a smaller list of mistakes. At every step along the way, always ask yourself why you’re losing points and address the issues. Sometimes the weak links that you need to work on aren’t your favorite thing to do, and success will take work in these areas as well.

Competition TIP TWO. Select your wind shooting strategy carefully. For beginners and veterans, most points are typically lost to wind. Successful shooters put a lot of thought into their approach to wind shooting. Sometimes it’s best to shoot fast and minimize the changes you’ll have to navigate. Other times it’s best to wait out a condition which may take several minutes. Develop a comfortable rest position so you have an easier time waiting when you should be waiting.

Competition TIP THREE. Actively avoid major train wrecks. Sounds obvious but it happens a lot. Select equipment that is reliable, get comfortable with it and have back-ups for important things. Don’t load on the verge of max pressure, don’t go to an important match with a barrel that’s near shot out, physically check tightness of all important screws prior to shooting each string. Observe what train wrecks you and others experience, and put measures in place to avoid them.

“Must-Watch” SWN Video has aerial view of Ben Avery plus highlights from Saturday

Bryan Litz Tips

Photos by Steve Fiorenzo

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July 8th, 2016

Emil Praslick III Becomes Berger Bullets Sponsorship Director

Berger Bullets Coach Emil Praslick III USAMU sponsorship

Praslick is back! He won’t be coaching the USAMU any more but he will be helping top shooters and teams reach their goals. SFC Emil Praslick III, (U.S. Army, retired) has been hired by Berger Bullets as the company’s new Sponsorship Director. In this role, Emil will work directly with Berger’s sponsored shooters and teams. Emil will also manage Berger’s match sponsorship programs and handle Berger’s gun writer connections.

Coach of Champions — Emil Praslick
Emil’s past experiences include serving as the Head Coach of the U.S. National Long Range Rifle Team and Head Coach of the USAMU for several years. Teams coached by Emil have won 33 Inter-Service Rifle Championships. On top of that, teams he coached set 18 National records and 2 World Records. Overall, in the role of coach, Praslick can be credited with the most team wins of any coach in U.S. Military history.

Berger Bullets Coach Emil Praslick III USAMU sponsorship

Emil’s unique skill set will be a great asset for Berger-sponsored shooters. For numerous years, Emil worked tirelessly to ensure his teams and shooters performed at world-class levels, maximizing their abilities. Now, he will be doing the same for Berger’s sponsored shooters:

“My passion is coaching and working with shooters, so this is an incredible opportunity for me to help develop Team Berger by providing them with the support they need to perform at the highest level,” says Emil.

“I am thrilled that Emil has joined Berger. His experience and exceptional ability, both on and off the range, are certain to be impactful,” says Berger Bullets President, Eric Stecker.

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February 13th, 2016

Individual Palma Competition on Day 3 of Berger SW Nationals

2016 Berger Southwest Nationals SW

The Individual Palma Match kicked off Friday at the Berger Southwest Nationals. While still mostly calm, conditions were more variable and tricky. James Crofts told us that you had to watch both the mirage AND the flags, because sometimes a change appeared on the flags before you could see anything in the mirage. The top shooters were scanning the range constantly for any velocity or angle change. If you don’t pay attention to the flags, James said, “you’ll be out in the nine ring”.

Watch Video with Highlights from Day 3 of Berger SWN, including James Crofts Interview:

Our good friend John Whidden, a past National Long-Range Champion, brought his “A Game” Friday, topping the Sling Division with 449-33X. Competition was fierce with five sling shooters finishing with the same 449 points, separated only by X-Count: Whidden (33X), Oliver Milanovic (31X), Rick Hunt (25X), Michael Barlow (25X), and Steven Powell (22X).

2016 Berger Southwest Nationals SW
John Whidden file photo from 2015

In F-Open, the top three shooters for the day were: Ken Padilla (448-25X), John Myers (447-32X), and Kenny Adams (447-24X). In F-TR Dan Lentz topped the Field with 447-24X, followed by Derek Rodgers and Justin Bertino (both at 445-23X). Ryan Pierce noted that Dan Lentz’s performance for the day beat all but three of the F-Open shooters: “Extremely impressive is Dan Lentz 447-24X F-TR score [which] tied Kenny Adams’s third-place F-Open Aggregate. Shooting .308 Win off a bipod and keeping up with the 7mms and 30 Cal magnums is outstanding. Good shooting Dan.”

2016 Berger Southwest Nationals SW

2016 Berger Southwest Nationals SW

Interesting Hardware

New Speedy F-Open Stock (Jeff Reed, owner)

Speed Gonzalez F-Open Stock

Speed Gonzalez F-Open Stock

F-Open competitor Jeff Reed has a new F-Open rig with the brand new Speedy Gonzales laminated stock. Jeff says he loves the stock, saying it “tracks like a dream”. Jeff also likes the recoil-reduction system fitted at the rear of the stock. This really makes a difference for the big calibers says Jeff. If you’re curious, that’s an IOR Valdada 12-52x56mm scope with a 40mm main tube on top of Jeff’s rifle. It features 25 MOA of elevation in one rotation of the turret.

Spotting Scope Mounted to Front Rest

Speed Gonzalez F-Open Stock

Gunsmith Richard King of Texas has mounted his spotting scope directly to his Farley front rest. Very clever. This puts the spotter eyepiece just a few inches from his riflescope eyepiece so he can move easily from one optic to the other. This set-up also reduces the amount of gear Richard carries to the line. No separate spotting scope base, stand or horizontal mounting arm is required. This is a simple, elegant solution. We bet, with a little tinkering and design work, a similar system could be mounted to a SEB or Bald Eagle front rest. Note, it may appear that the lens is obscured by the front clamp, but that’s just the camera angle. We looked through the spotting scope and everything is clear.

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February 11th, 2016

Dear Daddy — You Are the Best…

DEAR DADDY. We all draw positive motivation from different sources. This competitor at the Berger SW Nationals gets a lift from his child’s hand-written note: “Dear Daddy, I love you very much. I hope you win the competition. You are the best….”

deardad01

The Berger SWN competition began in earnest yesterday, with hundreds of shooters taking to the line. Today, it’s more of the same, with the nation’s top F-TR, F-Open, and Sling Shooters competing at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility north of Phoenix.

Berger SWN

Photos by Stephen Fiorenzo and Phil Kelley.

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February 4th, 2016

Rimfire Training Can Benefit F-Class Competitors

rimfire practice Berger SWN

The 2016 Berger Southwest Nationals event is less than a week away. If you need some last-minute practice before this match and you don’t have the time (or money) to load a couple hundred rounds of centerfire ammo, consider rimfire practice. Past F-TR National Champion James Crofts attributes much of his success to plenty of trigger time with his rimfire training rifle.

Rimfire Training for F-Classers

2014 and 2012 U.S. National F-TR Champion James Crofts is one of America’s top F-Class shooters. A member of the 2013 World Championship-winning F-TR Team USA squad, James knows a thing or two about long-range shooting, that’s for sure. But you may be surprised to learn how James sharpens his shooting skills at relatively short distances. You see, James often practices with a .22 LR rimfire rifle at distances from 50 to 200 yards. James tells us: “Shooting my F-Class rimfire trainer saves me money and improves my shot process and wind-reading abilities.”

Remington rimfire 40X barreled action in PR&T LowBoy stock with PT&G bolt.
James Crofts F-TR Rimfire .22 LR

Rimfire Training Teaches Wind-Reading Skills by James Crofts
Training with the rimfire is extremely useful and can be done from 25 yards out to 200 yards. I am lucky and can shoot 50 yards right off my back deck. That is far enough that any miscue on rifle handling will show up on the target. I use a two dry-fire to one actual shot routine for my practices. This gives me much more positive reinforcement without any negative reinforcement.

Wind reading is extremely important with a .22 LR rifle. I use a set of smallbore flags to aid my wind calls. The smallbore flags are a must and force you to look at the flags and mirage on each and every shot. If you think the flags at Camp Butner move a lot, try smallbore flags around tall pine trees.

James Crofts F-TR Rimfire .22 LR
James Crofts — Photo by Kent Reeve.

Rimfire Training Is Cost-Effective
Rimfire ammunition is much less costly than centerfire ammo. Though .22 LR prices have risen in recent years (and rimfire ammo is harder to find), even now I can get a 500-round brick of .22 LR ammo for less than $75.00. That works out to fifteen cents a round. That’s a fraction of the cost of handloading .308 Win match ammo. Heck, you can pay 40 cents a piece for match-grade .308-cal centerfire bullets. Then you have to figure in brass, primers, and powder.

James Crofts F-TR Rimfire .22 LR

My CMP 40X Rimfire F-TR LowBoy Clone
My quest into the .22 LLR rimfire field started with an email from the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) announcing Rem 40X stripped barreled actions for sale. I thought, “Hmmm… Could one of those little 40X barreled actions be turned into a F-Class training rifle?” My gunsmith Ray Bowman of Precision Rifle & Tool was brought in at this point.

After conferring with Ray, it was decided that he could indeed turn this into a F-Class training rifle. Ray contacted Dave Kiff of PT&G and ordered a new bolt for the Remington 40X rimfire action. Next was the stock decision. I decided to go with a PR&T Low Boy F-Class stock — this is an exact clone of the stock for my .308 Win F-TR competition rifle. Then a Jewell trigger was acquired to complete the components. Ray built this just like he would any custom rifle, other than using the stock barrel. The project turned out awesome. The rifle was a hammer from the beginning even with the stock barrel.

James Crofts F-TR Rimfire .22 LR

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January 28th, 2016

Get Ready for Berger SW Nationals February 9-14, 2016

Berger Southwest Nationals

The Berger Southwest Nationals event is less than two weeks away… so get your bags packed and ammo loaded boys and girls. The SW Nationals run February 9-14, 2016, kicking off on Tuesday the 9th with a shooting clinic.


Photo by Phil Kelley at Ben Avery Range.

This prestigious rifle competition, hosted at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility, outside Phoenix, Arizona, draws top F-Class and sling shooters from around the country. The Berger SW Nationals event is the premier long-range match of the year in the Western United States. Over 360 shooters have already registered for the SWN. NOTE: there are a few spots left. To register, go to the Berger SWN Entry Page.

CLICK HERE to Download Berger Soutwest Nationals Program and Entry Form.

Watch Highlights from Last Year’s Team Match at 2015 Berger SW Nationals:

Click image to see full-screen panorama.

CLICK HERE for Phoenix Travel and Lodging Information.


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berger southwest nationals 2016 Ben Avery Phoenix

Competition Tips from Bryan Litz

To help you prepare for the Berger SW Nationals, here are some competition tips from Bryan Litz. Bryan knows the Ben Avery range well. He won the Mid-Range and Long-Range F-TR National Championships there last year. And twice he has won the sling division at the Southwest Nationals. Here are wise words from Bryan:

Competition TIP ONE. Improving your scores in long range competition is a constant process of self-assessment. After each match, carefully analyze how you lost points and make a plan to improve. Beginning shooters will lose a lot of points to fundamental things like sight alignment and trigger control. Veteran shooters will lose far fewer points to a smaller list of mistakes. At every step along the way, always ask yourself why you’re losing points and address the issues. Sometimes the weak links that you need to work on aren’t your favorite thing to do, and success will take work in these areas as well.

Competition TIP TWO. Select your wind shooting strategy carefully. For beginners and veterans, most points are typically lost to wind. Successful shooters put a lot of thought into their approach to wind shooting. Sometimes it’s best to shoot fast and minimize the changes you’ll have to navigate. Other times it’s best to wait out a condition which may take several minutes. Develop a comfortable rest position so you have an easier time waiting when you should be waiting.

Competition TIP THREE. Actively avoid major train wrecks. Sounds obvious but it happens a lot. Select equipment that is reliable, get comfortable with it and have back-ups for important things. Don’t load on the verge of max pressure, don’t go to an important match with a barrel that’s near shot out, physically check tightness of all important screws prior to shooting each string. Observe what train wrecks you and others experience, and put measures in place to avoid them.

Competition TIP FOUR. If your long range ballistic predictions aren’t tracking, always come back and verify your 100-yard zero. Sometimes a simple zero shift can be misconstrued as errors in long range ballistics predictions.

Bryan Litz Tips

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