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July 18th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: Sako TRG-22 & TRG-42 Hunting Rifles in Norway

Many years ago, when we decided to do a story about SAKO’s TRG series of rifles, we remembered our friend Terje Fjørtoft in Norway. Terje has owned, and hunted with, both the TRG-22 (in .308 Win), and its big brother, the TRG-42 (chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum). Unlike many TRG owners in the USA, Terje has carried his “tactical hunters” into the field, and tested their effectiveness on large game in both coastal and mountain environments, in warm weather and cold. Terje tells us the TRGs have proven to be rugged and reliable. And they are accurate. The .308 Win TRG-22 delivers about 0.45 MOA groups at 420 yards shot from bipod. The .338 LM TRG-42 shoots about 0.55 – 0.7 MOA at that distance.

A Tale of Two TRGs by Terje Fjørtoft

I live in Brattvåg, along the coast of Norway, but I hunt and shoot at the nearby island “Fjørtoft” (same as my last name) and a small island outside Fjørtoft. I grew up on Fjørtoft as a child, and we hunt seals there in the spring and fall. The large, top photo shows me with my black TRG-42 338 Lapua Mag (“LM”) during a seal hunt a couple years ago. Click on the thumbnail at right to watch a video that shows me shooting the .338 LM. Most of the photos in this story are from that hunt. Because the .338 LM was really “overkill” on the seals (and expensive to reload), I replaced that rifle with a TRG-22 in .308 Winchester.

We hunt seals primarily for wildlife control. This is because the seals carry an internal parasite, called “Kveis”, a small worm that breeds inside the seals (after eating contaminated fish). When the seals expel the Kveis into the water, the Kveis larvae are consumed by the fish and then the fish become unfit to eat. The parasite literally eats the fish from the inside out. It’s not very pretty and it has hurt our Norwegian fishing industry. So there is an important purpose for our seal hunting. We hunt mostly from islands, targeting the seals in the water, and retrieving them with a small boat.

Because the seals spend most of their time in the water, a seal-hunter needs a very accurate rifle [to take head shots at distance]. I like the TRG-22 because it is very accurate out of the box, with a very nice bipod that works well in the field. The stock is comfortable with good adjustment range. The TRG features a 10-rd magazine and the barrel is pre-threaded for a muzzle brake or suppressor.

I have also used my TRGs for hunting big game, deer and what Americans call “Elk”. You can see, further down on this page, a picture from a hunting stand taken late in the evening, in the fading light. Yes I successfully bagged a nice buck during that trip with my TRG-42. When hunting, I use a Leica 900 rangefinder, Swarovski 7×42 Habicht binoculars, and a Silva windwatch. For Optics on the TRG-22, I have a Zeiss 6-24×56 scope, in Tikka Optilock rings. To get more scope adjustment I milled 0.9 mm off the front scope base mount. The Zeiss is great for viewing small targets past 400 meters. It was very difficult to find a longer shooting place than 575 meters on this Island (Uksnøy) but I found a place where I can shoot out to 930 meters, and I’ve made an 80-cm steel gong for a target. At this range, the bullet must fly nearly all the distance over the water.


Terje Shooting the TRG-42 without suppressor. Big recoil, big flash.

Both the TRG-22 and TRG-42 are very accurate right out of the box. The only thing I did before I first shot the TRGs was to clean the barrels very thoroughly. This is because the SAKO factory test shoots the gun without cleaning the barrel. I also adjust the cheek piece upward when shooting the rifles with a big scope. However, if you raise the cheek piece too high you can’t get the bolt out without removing the whole cheek piece. The only real modification I’ve made to my TRGs was to put rubber foot pads on the feet of the SAKO factory bipod. This gives the bipod better grip on slick surfaces such as concrete, or the rocks on the offshore islands.

.338 LM vs. .308 Win — Smaller Can Be Better
A few years ago I had a black TRG-42 (338 LM), but after a year, I sold it, and ordered a TRG-22 from the SAKO factory. After a one-year wait, I got the new green TRG-22 in February this year. One main reason I changed to .308 Win was the cost of ammo. I can reload .308 Win ammo for about one-third the price that it costs to reload .338 LM. One other reason is that my usual shooting distance is about 390 meters–at that distance the .308 is more than effective enough. Also, with the .338 LM, the barrel and the suppressor heated up after only a few shots, but with my new .308, I can shoot at my own pace without this problem. After my most recent shooting trip I once again confirmed how accurate, and fun-to-shoot, the TRG-22 is. I think now the TRG-22 has become my favorite plinking gun.

Though it is fun to experience the big boom and flash of the .338 LM, I’ll admit that it is just too much rifle for most applications. The .338 LM is REAL overkill for seal hunting. Here in Norway we have a rule that the smallest caliber we can use is 6.5×55 with a 140gr (or heavier) bullet, but everyone who hunts seals knows that the seals stay mostly in the water, and therefore you must take a headshot at distance up to about 200 meters. Making the headshot with a smaller caliber is advised for two reasons. First, when a big .338 bullet hits the water, there is a danger it will skip and ricochet quite some distance. Second, if you use too powerful a load/gun/caliber and take a headshot on a swimming seal, the seal sinks like a rock.

Reloading for the TRG-22 (.308 Win)
With the TRG-22, I found it was easy to get an accurate load. My groups with 155gr Scenars are consistently good with a variety of different powders. I’ve tried both light and heavy bullets, but I favor the 155gr Scenars over the 185gr Scenars because the 155s fly a lot faster and drop less.

Three loads (all with Fed 210m primers) that have worked well are: 155gr Scenar with VV N150, 885m/sec; 155gr Scenar with Norma N-11, 890m/sec, and 185gr Scenar, VV N150, 770m/sec. Norma N-11 is a low-cost powder for target shooting. N-11 is similar to Norma 203B or Norma 202 but it varies quite a bit from lot to lot.

I use a RCBS Rock Chucker press, and currently use a standard RCBS full-length die kit to reload my .308 rounds. However, I recently ordered a Redding Competition 3-die set with a .335 bushing. I look forward to trying the Reddings. I have just started to test different seating depths. The 155s just “kiss” the lands at 74.10 mm. I’ve tried 74.00 mm, 74.10 mm and 73.55 mm, but so far saw no significant differences.

Reloading for the TRG-42 (.338 LM)
For the .338 LM, I started with a 250gr Scenar and 95 grains of Vihtavuori N-170. That load was very accurate at about 850 m/sec, but it produced excessive muzzle flash. And, in the winter, the muzzle velocity was inconsistent, and there was too much unburned powder. Next I tried Norma N-15, which proved very accurate at about 880 m/sec. With that load I shot my best TRG-42 group at 380 meters. I set the 250gr Scenar to touch the rifling with 93.2 mm COAL, and I used Federal 215m primers in Lapua-brand brass. Norma MPR2 and VV N-560 (860 m/sec) also were very accurate with the 250 Scenar.

My seal hunting bullet was the 200gr Nosler BT. This bullet grouped very well with 90-94 grains Norma N-15. Velocity was about 970m/sec if I remember correctly. I also tried the 300gr Sierra MK, and got 1/2″ 3-shot groups at 100 meters with 93.5 grains of VV N-170, but this combination produced terrible groups at longer range.

Loading for the .338 LM was not difficult — about the same as loading for .308 Win, except that you use nearly twice the amount of powder. I didn’t crimp the bullets in the neck, didn’t use any special tricks or neck lube. I used RCBS .338 LM full-length die. That functioned, but it would not be my first choice today. Overall, my better loads in the .338 shot in the 0.5-0.7 MOA range. My best group was four shots in 25mm (1″) at 380 meters (416 yards).

Hunting in Norway


I’m not a competitive sport-shooter. Normally, the only time I go to a “commercial” rifle range is to take the test for my hunting license. Every year, I must re-qualify for a shooting license to hunt big game and seals.

Hunters Tested Annually
In Norway, you must pass an actual shooting test before you can hunt big game. This test requires five shots at a deer silhouette target at 100 meters. No rests are allowed–you must shoot off-hand or with a sling only. You have to place five shots inside a 30 cm circle over the front leg.

Every big game hunter that passes this test is authorized to hunt at “dusk and dawn” and in moonlight. So, we do a lot of our hunting in the twilight hours. However, no night-vision or artificial illumination (spotlights) are allowed. We usually hunt deer at dusk and dawn. In the evening, we go on post two to three hours before it is dark, and sit there waiting for the deer to show up–hopefully before it is too dark. In the morning we go to the post one hour before you see any light of the sun, and wait for the deer to show up until the daylight. But when it is full moon we sometime have enough light to hunt in the middle of the night. In the photo, you can see a deer through the scope of my TRG-42. This was very late in the evening. CLICK HERE for BIG Photo.

Sound Suppressors for Hunting Rifles

Suppressors are legal to use for hunting in Norway. I have suppressors on all my rifles, even my little CZ 452 in 17 HMR. To me, shooting a rifle without a suppressor is like driving a car without an exhaust system. The suppressor reduces both noise AND recoil significantly. With a good suppressor, there is no loss of accuracy. The only “negative” in using a suppressor is extra weight on the end of the barrel.

I crafted my own home-made suppressor. It’s similar to my commercially-made TRG-22 suppressor, but the core is made from titanium to be lighter in weight and more corrosion-resistant. I used a lathe at work to craft the inside of the new suppressor. The core of the unit is built from a 27.5 cm X 40mm round bar of titanium while the outer cylinder is made from a 42mm stainless steel tube. I wanted to use titanium for the exterior cylinder as well, but I couldn’t source the right size titanium tube.


Commercial Suppressor on TRG-42

Comparing .308 Win vs. 6mmBR
I also have a 6BR hunting rifle (compensated of course). I have a lot of field time with the 6BR rifle, and feel very confident with that gun. When I got the Krieger 6mmBR barrel on the SAKO Varminter, I fell in love with that rifle from day one, and that rifle is my first choice for small game hunting.

I also like the TRG-22 gun very much and enjoy it more and more with each new field trip. That .308 is my big game rifle and my long-range target rifle.

I recently tested my TRG-22 rifle at 387 meters. This was just “fun shooting” at steel plates, and I didn’t measure groups. But I was happy with the results. Once I corrected for the 5 m/sec crosswind, I was able to put five successive shots on a 10 cm (4″) diameter steel target at 387 meters (423 yards).

My SAKO Varminter in 6mm BR and my TRG-22 are two very different rifles. The TRG-22 is much heavier. I guess the TRG-22 is about 6.5-7 kg while my SAKO 6BR is about 4.5-5 kg, both with suppressor, scope, and bipod. The 6BR with suppressor is much quieter than the TRG-22 with suppressor. The recoil of the 6BR is a lot softer than the TRG-22. So far my 6BR is more accurate. A typical three-shot group with the 6BR is 25-40 mm at 387 meter (423 yards), and that is with just 10X magnification from a Zeiss scope. With my TRG-22, my 3-shot groups run about 50-60 mm, shooting with bipod and beanbag. But I think with a better .308 Win reloading die and more practice, I can improve my groupings with the TRG-22.

SPEC SHEET

The SAKO TRG-22 and TRG-42 are built in Finland by SAKO, a subsidiary of Beretta. In America, the guns are distributed by Beretta USA. Both TRGs (22/42) are available in forest green or a matte black textured finish. A two-stage match trigger is standard.

The stock is somewhat unconventional. It is an external shell, bolted to an internal metal chassis. The action bolts directly to the chassis, without bedding. The injection-molded stock is adjustable for comb height, length of pull (with spacers), vertical butt-pad height and cast-off.

Weight TRG-22
4.7 kg (black)
4.9 kg (green)

Barrel TRG-22
660 mm (26″), hammer-forged, optional stainless or phosphate finish

Capacity
10-round Mag (TRG-22)
7-round Mag (TRG-42)

Calibers
.308 Win (TRG-22)
300WM, .338 LM (TRG-42)

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
June 27th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: Tennessee Triple — Voldoc’s Varmint Rifles

Varmint rifles 20 BR Stiller Diamondback 6mm Dasher

Shooting Prairie Dogs at extreme long range takes some highly specialized equipment. Forum Member VolDoc and his friends have taken long-range varminting to a whole new level. With his Savage-based, Hart-barreled 20 BR, VolDoc managed a verified 1,032-yard Prairie Dog kill, possibly the longest recorded with a .20-Caliber rifle. But that’s just part of VolDoc’s impressive precision varminting arsenal. Here we showcase three of VolDoc’s accurate rigs: his stunning English Walnut Diamondback 6BR/Dasher, his Nesika-actioned “Orange Crush” Dasher, and the 1K Prairie Dog-slaying 20 BR Savage.

Diamondback Switch-Barrel Rifle Specifications
The action is a Stiller Diamondback, drop-port. The custom stock is similar to a Shehane ST-1000, but crafted from 40-year-old English Walnut. [Editor’s note: the wood on this gun is gorgeous!] There are three barrels for the gun with three different chamberings: 6BR Brux 1:8″-twist HV; 6BRX Krieger 1:8″-twist HV, and 6mm Dasher Krieger 1:8.5″ twist fluted straight contour (no taper). The scope is a Nightforce 12-42x56mm, with 2DD reticle.

Stiller Diamondback 6mm Dasher English Walnut

Comments: This rifle is a good study in comparison of the three different chamberings. On the same rifle platform (same stock and action), each of these barrels had killed prairie dogs over 1,000 yards. So if someone asks which is best, a 6BR, or 6BRX, or 6 Dasher, VolDoc says they are all effective. The improved cartridges will deliver higher velocities, which can be an advantage. On the other hand it is simpler to load 6mmBR brass right out of the box, and it’s easy to find an accurate load for the 6mmBR (see photo).

Stiller Diamondback 6mm Dasher English Walnut

Nesika 6mmBR/Dasher Rifle Specifications
VolDoc’s “Big Orange Crush” rifle has a stainless Nesika ‘J’ action, with 2 oz. Jewell trigger, in a painted fiberglass Shehane ST-1000 stock. Originally a 6BR, the gun is now chambered as a 6mm Dasher with a .271 no-turn neck. The barrel is a 1:12″-twist Krieger fited with Vais muzzle brake. On top is a NightForce NXS 12-42x56mm scope with double-dot reticle. The double-dot gives precise aiming and lower dot can be used as an aming point, when you need a few more MOA of elevation in the field.

Nesika 6BR 6mm Dasher

Comments: Big Orange Crush shoots 87gr V-Maxs into bugholes at 3,400 fps. VolDoc’s load with the 87s is very stout, more than 32 grains of Vihtavuori N-135 with Wolf SRM primers. Cases are full-length sized, with an 0.266″ bushing for the necks.

Nesicka 6BR 6mm Dasher
This 3400 fps load with the 87gr V-Maxs has accounted for hundreds of Prairie Dogs killed from 97 yards to 1,050 yards. The 87gr V-Max at this speed literally picks Prairie Dogs up and throws them 10 feet vertically and laterally. VolDoc reports: “The barrel now has more than 3,000 rounds down the tube and exhibits little throat fire-cracking and no loss of accuracy. I can’t explain why, it just hasn’t deteriorated yet. This rifle is my best-ever ‘go-to’ Prairie Dog rifle.”

Savage 20 BR Rifle Specifications
The action is a Savage Dual Port, with an aftermarket Sharp Shooter Supply (SSS) 4 oz. Evolution trigger. The stock is a modified Savage factory unit that has been pillar-bedded. The factory barrel was replaced with a 28″ Hart stainless, 1:9″ twist barrel fitted with a Rayhill muzzle brake. The gun is chambered in 20 BR with a 0.235″ no-turn neck. Kevin Rayhill did the smithing. To provide enough elevation to shoot at 1,000 yards plus, Ray fitted a +20 MOA Bench Source scope base. This +20 rail is very well-crafted, and made especially for the Savage Model 12.

Savage 20BR

Comments: VolDoc reports: “When I got the Savage back from Kevin Rayhill, it still had my 6 BR factory barrel on it, as I use it to compete in Factory-class regional matches. I put on the new 20 BR Hart barrel Kevin had chambered and quickly put in a full day of load development using the 55gr Bergers (0.381 G1 BC) and the 40gr V-Maxs. Both proved very easy to tune and I soon had my loads. My 55gr Berger load with runs about 3590 fps. Varget was very accurate with the 55s (see load dev. targets below).

Savage 20BR load development targets

The mild recoil of the 20 BR, along with a very good muzzle break (Rayhill’s design) enables me to spot every hit or miss myself. Kevin also re-contoured the underside of the Savage stock so it tracks straight back on recoil, also making seeing hits easier.”

The 20 Caliber 1000-Yard Prairie Dog Quest

Savage 20BRMaking the 1032-Yard Shot with a 20 BR
by Dr. John S. (aka “VolDoc”)
This article covers my recent successful quest for a 20-caliber varmint kill past 1,000 yards. This may be a first — I couldn’t find anyone else with a confirmed 20-Cal Prairie Dog kill at 1000+. I started a thread on the Varmint section of the AccurateShooter.com Forum about building a 20 BR capable of 1,000-yard Minute of Prairie Dog accuracy and many said 20 Cal bullets just could not do it. Some came to my defense and said those that doubted had never studied the ballistics of the 20BR with the new Berger 55gr bullets now available. Well, folks, I can tell you, hitting a Prairie Dog at 1000 yards isn’t easy — but it IS possible. Here’s how it was done….

Gale-Force Winds and High Temps
After arriving at our Prairie Dog Ranch in Colorado, I soon realized my quest was going to be especially difficult because we had continual 40+ mph winds and 100° heat every day. We had a special place where Birdog and I had made many 1,000-yard+ kills in years past, so I knew the ideal location but needed a small window of opportunity either early morning or late afternoon. Based on past experience, I knew I needed about 21 MOA from my 100-yard zero to get to 1,000 yards. On the first day of the Safari, I shot the 20 BR in the 45 mph brutal winds and heat of 97°. But after about 20 shots, I connected on a dog and lifted him about three feet high. Well, that’s a start.

Savage 20BR

Winds Subside — Here’s Our Chance …
On the second day of our shoot, I had listened to the early weather forecast, so I knew that there was to be a brief period of light winds early in the morning. We were out on the Colorado prairie at daylight and the conditions were perfect. The sunrise was at my back and we had about a 10 mph tailwind. I looked through my Leica Geovid Rangefinder Binos and the Prairie Dogs were out for breakfast. I quickly ranged the targets and found a group at about 1,050 yards. The technique is to find the dogs, range them, click-up according to your ballistic chart and shoot.

Savage 20BR

My first shot was very, very close. I added about four clicks up and a couple of clicks left for windage and let another go. That shot threw dirt all over, but the dog didn’t even flinch. This is another good point to remember about long-range Prairie Dog hunting. To be successful, the dogs can’t be too skittish, because if they have been shot at even a few times, they will go down and stay down. So, you should have an agreement with those in your party as to where each member is going to be shooting and respect this boundary. Drive-by shooting style is OK if that’s your thing, it’s just not mine.

Savage 20BRHitting the Mark — Dead Dog at 1032 Yards
On the fourth shot, I saw the dog go belly up and kick its final throws. My quest for the 20-Caliber 1,000-yard Prairie Dog had become a reality. We confirmed the distance with our lasers at 1,032 yards. Our technique for retrieving a dead dog at that range is worth mentioning. When I killed that dog, I left it in the crosshairs of my Nightforce scope. My shooting buddy kept looking through the scope (of my gun) and guided me to the deceased dog using Motorola walkie-talkies. When I got to the dog I was jubilant. I marked it with my tripod and orange jacket, and we took some pictures. (See view through scope photo below). The 55gr Bergers require a center mass hit as they will not expand, especially at that range. I centered this dog in the head — his BAD LUCK, my GOOD.

After making the 1,032-yard kill, I shot many many other Prairie Dogs with the Savage 20 BR using the 40gr V-Maxs. The dog flights were spectacular — red mist and helicopters, counter-clockwise or clockwise on demand. I killed at least five at over 500 yards. I will not use the 55 Bergers on Prairie Dogs again since the quest is over. I will use the 40gr V-Maxs and 39gr Sierra BlitzKings for next trip’s 20 BR fodder.

Savage 20BR

CLICK HERE for More Info on Voldoc’s 20 BR Savage Varmint rifle »

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting, Shooting Skills No Comments »
December 1st, 2020

Custom-Loaded Rifle Ammo from Federal Custom Shop

Federal custom handloading center hand-loaded rifle shotshell ammo ammunition Berger Sierra Nosler

Don’t have time to hand-load your own ammo, or don’t have all the equipment and dies needed? There’s a new option — something that’s actually quite revolutionary in the ammo industry. Federal is now offering custom-loaded ammunition. You choose the cartridge type and bullet type and Federal technicians put the ammo together. Think about it — this could be an interesting option for hunters who only need a few rounds a year, or if you want to try out a bullet/cartridge combo for the first time.

Order Federal Custom Ammunition ONLINE through the Federal Custom Shop.

Federal custom handloading center hand-loaded rifle shotshell ammo ammunition Berger Sierra Nosler

“Each round is painstakingly handloaded to order by our team of expert engineers in our state-of-the-art reloading workshop. Veteran craftsmen combine the best components with extra quality checks at every stage for the most consistent velocity, accuracy, and overall performance. Loads are then hand-checked for final inspection and cleaned before being custom-packed in durable, personalized packaging.”

26 Centerfire Rifle Cartridge Types + Many Bullet Options

Currently, you can choose from 26 rifle cartridge types and a wide selection of quality bullets from Barnes, Berger, Sierra, Nosler, Federal, Hornady, Swift, and more. NOTE: Federal Custom Shop ammo will be sold direct-to-consumer only. Along with rifle ammo, Federal will offer custom TSS Shotshells.

Cartridge Types Offered: .243 WIN, .257 ROBERTS, .257 WEATHERBY MAGNUM, 6.5 CREEDMOOR, .264 WIN, 6.5-284 Norma, 26 Nosler, .270 WIN, .270 WSM, .284 Win, 7mm REM MAG, .308 WIN, .30-06 SPRG, .300 Win Mag, .300 WSM, .338 FEDERAL, .370 SAKO, .375 H&H Mag, .416 REM MAG, .416 RIGBY, .458 LOTT, .458 REM MAG, .470 NITRO, .500 NITRO, 9.3×62, 9.3x74R

Bullet Types Offered: BARNES TIPPED TSX, BERGER HYBRID HUNTER, HORNADY ELD-X, NOSLER ACCUBOND (and Accubond LR), NOSLER PARTITION, SIERRA MATCHKING, SWIFT A-FRAME, WOODLEIGH HYDRO SOLID; and Federal TERMINAL ASCENT, TROPHY BOND BEAR CLAW, TROPHY BONDED SLEDGEHAMMER, TROPHY COPPER.

Please note: Federal Custom Shop ammunition is built to order — not pulled out of inventory in a warehouse. As such, please allow more time for processing and delivery. Typically, your Custom Shop order will take two weeks to build, plus standard delivery time. The Custom Shop handloading center is located at Federal’s main factory in Anoka, Minnesota. For more information, including how to order, what specific load options are available, and shipping details, visit: FederalPremium.com/custom-shop.html.

Federal custom handloading center hand-loaded rifle shotshell ammo ammunition Berger Sierra Nosler

“If it’s not in Federal’s vast catalog as factory-loaded ammo, we may have it listed on our website as a load we will custom hand-load for you,” notes Federal Ammunition President Jason Vanderbrink. “For example, Barnes 120-grain Tipped TSX in 6.5-284 Norma and 28-gauge TSS turkey loads aren’t products we list in our catalog, but you can certainly order them through our Custom Shop.”

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Reloading 1 Comment »
September 8th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: 6mm Dasher Winner From Forum Classifieds

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

With the 6mm Dasher cartridge becoming popular with PRS/NRL competitors as well as the benchrest crowd, we thought it was time to re-visit 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 upgraded 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, such as H4895 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.

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, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
January 16th, 2019

Save 15% NOW on Reloading Components, Tools, and Gear

Precision Reloading 15% Off sale January 2019 fifteen percent savings

Who doesn’t want to save money? If you can get a significant discount, you should really take advantage of that opportunity. Guys, we’ve been tracking prices on shooting sports products at vendors around the country. Sad to say, we’ve seen price increases across the board in 2019. Reloading components, loading tools, stocks, targets, electronic gadgets — you name it, the price trend is moving upwards. Thankfully our friends at Precision Reloading are holding the line. Even better, Precision Reloading is running a really significant promotion right now.

Take Note! For today and tomorrow, January 16 and January 17, you can get 15% OFF All ORDERS over $100.00. That’s right, save 15% on your purchases at Precision Reloading with Code 15OFF. If you buy a $400.00 item that could save you $60.00. Yes, this applies to pretty much everything in stock at Precision Reloading, including all major brands below (and dozens more including Lapua, Berger, Forster, Hodgdon, Nosler, RCBS, Redding, Sierra etc.).

Precision Reloading 15% Off sale January 2019 fifteen percent savings

If you need bullets, brass, powder, dies, presses, powder dispensers, check out this sale. It’s a very good deal. Use Code 15OFF at check-out to save 15% on your orders over $100.00.

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January 14th, 2019

Creedmoor Heaven — New Factory Ammo from Berger and Lapua

Berger Bullets Lapua Capstone 6.5 Creedmoor 6mm creedmoor ammo ammunition hunting lead free Naturalis

PRS and NRL shooters, as well as game hunters, now have new ultra-accurate Berger and Lapua factory ammo for the popular 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor chamberings. For shooters who do not have the time or equipment to hand-load, these new factory ammo options promise outstanding performance. We fully expect that these new offerings from Berger and Lapua will set new standards for accuracy and ballistic uniformity among commercial ammunition for the 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor. Lapua’s match ammo for the similar 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge has shown outstanding accuracy with ES/SD numbers rivaling high-quality hand-loads. (SEE 6.5x47L Test Results).

New Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor Target and Lead-Free Hunting Ammunition
Lapua has added the popular 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge to its line of Scenar-L Target ammo and its Naturalis Hunting ammunition offerings. The 6.5m Creedmoor 136 grain Scenar-L offers a high ballistic coefficient (BC) for long-range competitive target shooting, yet maintains SAAMI configuration for flawless function through all factory or custom rifle magazines. Lapua ammo will also be loaded with the excellent 123 grain OTM Scenar. One of our favorite bullets, the 123-grainer offers faster velocities (and less recoil) than its bigger brother, and may be the best choice for many PRS stages.

6.5 Creedmoor ammo loaded with the 140 grain Lapua Naturalis provides hunters a lead-free option for hunting in areas that ban lead bullets. Designed and manufactured from pure copper, Naturalis bullets will reliably retain 90-100% of their original weight. Lapua’s Naturalis projectiles produce consistent, controlled expansion at the widest velocity range on the market.

Related Story: Read Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor Brass Test Results »

Berger Bullets Lapua Capstone 6.5 Creedmoor 6mm creedmoor ammo ammunition hunting lead free Naturalis

New Berger 6mm Creedmoor Target and Hunting Ammo
New 6mm Creedmoor Target Ammunition is loaded with Berger 105 grain Hybrid Target bullets, the “go-to” for PRS shooters and long-range accuracy enthusiasts alike. Built using premium-grade Lapua cartridge cases, Berger’s 6mm Creedmoor Target Ammunition provides the discriminating shooter the highest quality components and sub-MOA accuracy “off-the-shelf”, unequaled by the competition.

New Berger 6mm Creedmoor Hunting Ammunition is loaded with 95 grain Hybrid Classic Hunter bullets in premium Lapua brass. These top-flight components deliver lethal precision and sub-MOA accuracy — impressive for hunting ammo. The hybrid ogive design of the Classic Hunter projectile is the same as Berger Hybrid Target bullets, while allowing for SAAMI length configurations for efficiency in the field and reliable functioning through magazines.

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April 25th, 2018

Capstone Shooting Seminars at NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits

NRA Annual Meetings Exhibits Dallas Texas PRS Lapua Berger Nammo Capstone VihtaVuori

Capstone Precision Group will conduct four informative seminars about competitive shooting during the 2018 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits. These seminars, designed as introductions to various shooting disciplines, will be led by top competitors. The 147th Annual NRA Convention runs May 3-6, 2018 at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. Visit Capstone at Booth #4517 to learn more about competitive shooting from the experts. The seminars will be held each day in Booth #4517, May 4, 5, and 6 on the schedule listed below.

F-Class Shooting – 10:00-10:30

Join members of the USA Rifle Team to learn about F-Class, what you need to get started and what resources are available to help you learn more. This session will be held by the leaders of the United States F-Open and F-TR Rifle Teams. Made up of over 40 members, the team will be traveling to South Africa in 2021 to represent our country.

NRA Annual Meetings Exhibits Dallas Texas PRS Lapua Berger Nammo Capstone VihtaVuori
F-TR Team USA won the 2017 F-TR World Championship.

Precision Rifle Series (PRS) Shooting – 1:30-2:00

The Precision Rifle Series is one of the fastest growing competitive disciplines. Join two of the top series shooters to learn about all PRS has to offer and how you can join in on the fun. This session is led by Matthew Brousseau of Team Lapua and Missy Gilliland of Team Berger. Matthew is currently #1 in the series, and Missy has won numerous women’s and Top 10 daily awards.

NRA Annual Meetings Exhibits Dallas Texas PRS Lapua Berger Nammo Capstone VihtaVuori
F-TR Team USA won the 2017 F-TR World Championship.

Juniors in Competitive Shooting – 10:45-11:15

Do you have a son or daughter who is interested in competitive shooting? Attend our Juniors in Competitive Shooting educational session to learn how get them started on the right foot. Madison Bramley and her father Dan will lead this discussion. At just 14, Madison has already competed and represented the US around the country, as well as Ireland and Canada.

NRA Annual Meetings Exhibits Dallas Texas PRS Lapua Berger Nammo Capstone VihtaVuori
Madison Bramley at Berger SWN. Erik Cortina Facebook Photo.

Women in Competitive Shooting – 2:15-2:45

This is designed specifically for women who are interested in shooting competitively. Missy Gilliland of Team Berger and Gabby Pitre of Team VihtaVuori will talk about how they got their start in the competitive world and how you can get involved. Missy is a PRS shooter, and Gabby competes in Long Range, Mid-Range, and High Power Across the Course (XTC), so this session will cover many topics.

NRA Annual Meetings Exhibits Dallas Texas Lapua Berger Nammo Capstone VihtaVuori
Missy Gilliland photo courtesy Bushnell.com.

High Power Shooting – 3:00-3:30

Are you interested in High Power Rifle competitions? Let us break down the competition, what you need to get started and how you can get involved with our High Power seminar led by Gabby Pitre and Kevin Thomas. Gabby is a member of Team VihtaVuori and has been competing since she was eight years old. Kevin Thomas is a Capstone employee, and has years of experience both shooting and teaching High Power shooting skills. Both have won distinguished badges and been awarded President’s Hundred, among other accomplishments.

NRA Annual Meetings Exhibits Dallas Texas Lapua Berger Nammo Capstone VihtaVuori

About Capstone Precision Group
Capstone Precision Group is the exclusive U.S. distributor of Berger Bullets, Lapua Components and Munitions, Vihtavuori Propellants, and SK Rimfire products. Capstone Precision Group is a part of Nammo Group.

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January 12th, 2017

Try Barnes, Berger, and Nosler Bullets with Sample Packs

Bullet Proof Samples

Bullet Proof SamplesBullet Proof Samples offers 12-count packs of big-name bullets. This lets you try out many different bullet types without forking out big bucks for larger 50-ct or 100-ct boxes. Currently, Bullet Proof Samples offers projectiles from Barnes, Berger Bullets, and Nosler. The sample packs range in price from $5.99 (for 22-cal varmint bullets) to $17.49 (for a .30-Cal Barnes LRX). The Berger Bullets sample packs run $6.99 to $10.49, with the larger 7mm and 30-cal bullets at the upper end of the range. On a per-bullet cost basis, it’s still much cheaper to purchase a “normal” 100-ct box, but the sample packs let you “test before you invest.”

Berger’s Michelle Gallagher tells us: “We receive frequent feedback from shooters who are looking for bullets in small pack quantities so that they can test different bullets without the expense of buying full boxes. Bullet Proof Samples… has done an exceptional job of addressing that concern. Bullets are packaged in blister packs, so they can be clearly seen. Each pack contains 12 bullets. They offer Nosler, Barnes and Berger in a variety of weights and calibers. Bullet Proof Samples is not a Berger Bullets LLC company, but we are supportive of their efforts[.]”

Story idea by EdLongrange.
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December 12th, 2016

Powder Valley’s $20,000 Giveaway — 12 Days of Christmas

Powder Valley Inc. Giveaway 12 days of Christmas Ammo Bullets Press Lapua Sierra Berger

Are you feelin’ lucky? Well here’s your chance to win. Over the next twelve days (through December 23, 2016), Powder Valley is giving away a total of $20,000 worth of products from big name suppliers. That’s an average of $1,667 worth of product prizes every day. This is top-of-the-line stuff, including Powder from Accurate, IMR, Ramshot, and Vihtavuori, Bullets from Berger, Berry’s, Hornady, Lapua, and Sierra, Brass from Lapua, Hornady and Nosler, Ammo from Hornady, Nosler, Lapua, and Silver State Armory. Each day there will be a new set of prizes. Today’s prize is a Hornady reloading press.

It’s easy to qualify to win one of the Daily Giveaway prize packages. Simply visit Powder Valley’s Facebook Page, and make a comment on the featured Daily Giveaway Post. You don’t have to fill out any forms, but you must have a Facebook account so you can comment. Each day the folks at Powder Valley will select winners from among the visitors who commented. Today (Dec. 12th) there will be one winner of the Hornady Press. In days ahead there can be multiple daily winners — as many as 20 to 30 per day. NOTE: You can enter multiple times by commenting on multiple days, but sorry, if you win, you are no longer eligible.

Powder Valley Daily Giveaway

The Powder Valley 12 Days of Christmas promotion starts today, December 12th, 2016. To enter, you must visit the Powder Valley Facebook Page. Once there, scroll down to find the Giveaway of the Day. Today’s Giveaway is a Hornady Press. Look for the post shown below. You need to comment on that post to be entered. Winners will be selected by lottery from those who comment. Each successive day through December 23rd, there will be another product giveaway post.

Powder Valley Inc. Giveaway 12 days of Christmas Ammo Bullets Press Lapua Sierra Berger

To be entered in this Powder Valley Contest, you need to go to the Powder Valley Facebook Page and post a Facebook Comment for the Daily Prize story. The give-away for today, December 12th, is a Hornady Lock-N-Load AP Press. NOTE: You need to post your comment on Powder Valley’s Facebook Site, NOT HERE. And you need to comment each day to be entered in that particular day’s contest. To have repeat chances to win you need to comment on multiple days. Got it?

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November 2nd, 2016

NEW Sierra 6mm 110-Grain MatchKing with Claimed 0.617 G1 BC

Sierra 6mm 110gr matchking bullet BC 0.617

Sierra’s new 110gr 6mm MatchKing is so new you won’t even find it on Sierra’s website. But MidwayUSA has it listed as “coming soon”. This new bullet, optimized for a 1:7″-twist barrel, promises class-leading ballistics. The listed G1 Ballistic Coefficient (BC) is an impressive 0.617 (sorry, no G7 BC has been stated). That’s 12.8% higher than the 0.547 G1 BC Sierra claims for its older 107gr MatchKing. That’s a very significant improvement. We attribute the reduced drag of the new 110-grainer to an improved hybrid-ogive bullet shape along with much smaller meplats. Sierra has not yet confirmed that it is pointing the meplats of the new 6mm 110s at the factory, but we expect that may be the case. In this respect the 110-grainers could be like Sierra’s excellent 183gr 7mm MatchKings, which come with tight, pointed tips right out of the box.

Sierra 6mm 110gr matchking bullet BC 0.617

G1 vs. G7 and Listed BCs vs. Tested BCs — What You Need to Know

Manufacturer-listed G1 Ballistic Coefficients of 6mm Match Bullets
Sierra 110gr HPBT MK Sierra 107gr HPBT MK Berger 105gr Hybrid Tgt Hornady 108gr ELD
G1 BC = .617 @ 2500+ fps G1 BC = .547 @ 2500+ fps G1 BC = 0.536 G1 BC = 0.536

If you look at the table above you’ll see that Sierra’s claimed 0.617 G1 BC for the new 110gr MK is higher than the 0.536 Berger lists for its 105gr 6mm Hybrid and higher than the 0.536 Hornady lists for the new 108gr 6mm ELD Bullet. We do think Sierra’s 110-grainer will prove to have the highest BC of the bunch, based on recent comparison tests by Sierra.

Let’s explain… Sierra lists a 0.547 G1 BC for its 107-grain MatchKing. Sierra tells us that the the .547 listed BC is for the current lots of 107-grainers which are pointed by Sierra. Sierra’s Matt Reams states that the new 110-grainers definitely have less drag than the current Sierra 107gr MKs or Berger 105gr Hybrids: “We have shot the pointed 107s side by side (raced) in our 300-meter range next to the [Berger] 105s and our pointed 107s had a higher BC between those two lots. In the comparison we did, our lot of new pointed 107s had a slightly higher BC than the [Berger] 105s. The 110s are significantly higher than both.”

In the real world, Sierra’s new 110gr 6mm MatchKing may not have as big an edge over the competition as it seems from Sierra’s claimed 0.617 G1 BC. (The G7 numbers may be closer.) Nonetheless, we do expect that Sierra’s new 110-grainer will be very competitive, and may actually have best-in-class BC. And if the new 110gr SMKs come “tipped” from the factory that will be a very good thing.

Anybody currently shooting a heavy 6mm bullet in competition should look at the new 110gr MatchKing when it becomes available. It could prove to be a winner. NOTE However — Sierra recommends a true 1:7″-twist barrel to stabilize the new 110-grainers.

New Product Tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, News 22 Comments »
July 18th, 2016

Derek Rodgers Sets Pending 1000-Yard F-TR Record

Derek Rodgers F-TR 1000 yard record McMillan stock berger bullets lapua brass

Derek Rodgers, the only shooter to win both the F-Open and F-TR National Championships, has done it again. While shooting the Santa Fe Trail LR Regional match in Raton, New Mexico, it looks like Derek set a new 1000-yard record. Derek nailed his 1000-yard target, recording a 200-14X score — that’s twenty (20) shots for record, all tens with 14 in the X-Ring. Derek told us: “Yesterday at Raton New Mexico’s Whittington Center, I shot a 200-14X, which should be a new pending F-TR National Record at 1000 yards.” Derek took special pride in this accomplishment, as he held the F-TR record before: “I’m happy to have the record back. I have had three of the last four records”. Well done Derek!

Derek Rodgers F-TR 1000 yard record McMillan stock berger bullets lapua brass

Derek Rodgers .308 Win F-TR Rifle Equipment List:
McMillan Xit stock, Kelbly Panda LBLP action, Bartlein .308 Win barrel (32″, 1:11.25″ twist), Nightforce NXS 8-32x56mm scope. Note that Derek shoots right-handed, but with a LEFT BOLT. This allows him to stay in position better while cycling the bolt with his LEFT hand.

Derek Rodgers F-TR 1000 yard record McMillan stock berger bullets lapua brass

This impressive performance by Derek shows that the best F-TR rifles can rival the big F-Open rigs for pure accuracy, even though the favored F-Open chamberings, such as .284 Win and .300 WSM, are still ballistically superior to the venerable .308 Winchester used by nearly all F-TR competitors. For his record-breaking load, Derek used Berger 200gr Hybrid Target bullets in Lapua .308 Win (small primer pocket) brass, pushed by Hodgdon Varget powder.

Permalink Competition, News 5 Comments »
April 1st, 2016

First-Ever 50: New 750gr Titanium-Tipped Monster from Berger

Berger Solid Bullet Titanium TI removable threaded tip bullet .50 Caliber BMG Bryan Litz

The biggest Berger bullet ever is on its way. In early summer, Berger Bullets will unveil its first-ever .50-Caliber projectile and its first-ever solid. This new 750gr bullet, called the TItan (for Titanium), features heat-resistant CNC-machined Titanium bullet tips with threaded shafts. TItan bullet bodies are precisely tapped (with a fine pitch) to accept the threaded tips. This allows for ultra-precise tip alignment and perfect concentricity. Another benefit of this threaded attachment system is that hand-loaders can change out tips, selecting a particular tip profile for different applications. Initially three tip types will be offered: Hunting (for increased expansion), Match (for maximum BC), and Tactical (for military/LEO applications). The Match Tip gives the new TItan a spectacular 1.25 G1 BC.

The field-tested G7 BC is still “top-secret” but Bryan Litz reports: “The number we’ve seen with the prototype TItans is a game-changer… nothing will touch it.” How impressive is the new TItan? Bryan told us: “Look, I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag, but I’m building a new .50 just to shoot this thing, and we’re looking to go sub-MOA at 2500 yards.”

Berger Solid Bullet Titanium TI removable threaded tip bullet .50 Caliber BMG Bryan Litz

The Titanium bullet tips set the new Berger TItan apart from all other projectiles on the market. Berger Ballistician Bryan Litz noted: “We wanted the ability to adapt bullet performance to particular applications. With interchangeable bullet tips you can increase BC or increase terminal performance. In addition, with the Titanium material, we have the most heat-resistant bullet tips in the business. Compare the heat resistance of Titanium with any thing else — red, green, or otherwise.” Recently, Hornady rolled out a line of ELD™ match bullets with heat-resistant red plastic tips. Berger’s Titanium tips can withstand much higher temperatures than ANY polymer tips. “Our Titanium tips are essentially heat-proof. The amount of heat required to compromise the tips would melt your barrel first”, said a Berger production engineer.

Berger Bullets President Eric Stecker said the company considered other monikers for its super-sized .50 Caliber projectile before finalizing on the name “TItan”: “For the new .50 we needed something to top the ‘Juggernaut’ name we use for our big 30s. We thought about ‘Super-Solid’ and even considered calling the big .50 the ‘Berger King Whopper’, but that didn’t work for obvious reasons. We finally settled on ‘TItan’ because it means ‘big’ and has the Titanium connection, and we can trademark that. But Bryan and some of the production guys in the shop still call this big .50 the ‘Whopper'”.

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February 15th, 2016

Berger Southwest Nationals — Match Wrap-Up


This video includes interviews with Walt Berger and tube-gun builder Gary Elesio. This is our final Berger SW Nationals video for 2016, so enjoy the highlights from Ben Avery — see you next year.

The 2016 Berger Southwest Nationals are now history. This was a great match, with an incredible level of talent. There were numerous “big names” on the line, including reigning F-Open World Champion Kenny Adams, 10-time National High Power Champion Carl Bernosky, past National Long-range Champion John Whidden, current National Mid- and Long-Range F-TR Champion Bryan Litz, and Derek Rodgers, who won the F-TR division at last year’s SW Nationals. With a strong performance this week, Derek topped the F-TR field again, securing his second straight SW Nationals F-TR title.

Top Five Shooters by Class

F-TR Top Five F-Open Top Five Sling Division Top Five
Derek Rodgers
James Crofts
Niklas Montin
Bryan Litz
Ian Klemm
John Myers
Larry Bartholome
Jim Murphy
Emil Kovan
Danny J. Biggs
Patrick McCann
Oliver Milanovic
Robert Stekette
Nancy Tompkins
Tom Whitaker

In team competition, the Michigan F-TR Team scored a narrow victory over tough competition from the USA F-TR Team and the X-Men. In the F-Open Division, Team Lapua-Brux shot superbly at 1000 yards to capture the Aggregate title, finishing ahead of Team Grizzly and Team Berger. The Ethnic Fringe Team from the UK had strong performances in the Sling Division Team events.

With his 2016 victory, Derek Rodgers has secured back-to-back F-TR titles at the Berger Southwest Nationals. He says he likes his new McMillan F-TR stock. View yesterday’s feature video for a revealing interview with Derek. In that video, Derek discusses the best bullet and powder choices for F-TR.

Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery

Members of the winning Lapua-Brux F-Open team were all smiles. They deserved to be proud — they set a new SWN record in the 1000-yard team match. Left to right: Bob Sebold, Pat Scully, Erik Cortina, Steve Harp.

Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery

Here is F-Open Winner John Myers of Texas, along with Berger’s F-Open Perpetual Trophy. John is interviewed in today’s video, linked at the top of this story. John’s F-Open rifle is chambered for the 7mm Walker, a .284 Win Improved similar to the .284 Shehane.

Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery

Sling Division (Palma rifle) winner Patrick McCann is congratulated by Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics. Pat has recently returned to competitive shooting after a lengthy hiatus. Pat’s a great competitor who has won the National XTC Championships Twice. Nancy Tompkins lead the “Any Rifle” Sling category. As Forum member Rheurer observed: “No intro needed for the nicest person in the sport.”

Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery

Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery

berger southwest 2016

Permalink - Videos, Competition 6 Comments »
February 14th, 2016

Valentine’s Day Showdown — Berger SW Nationals Report

Today’s the final day of the Berger Southwest Nationals, with individual Sling, F-TR, and F-Open matches on tap. The competition remains tight, with many shooters within striking distance for podium positions. Predictions are for light and variable winds for the day. We’re sad to see the fun come to a close. This is a special event, drawing top shooters from around the nation. As James Crofts told is: “It’s always great to see good friends and fellow shooters from far and near….”

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

If you’ve never shot this match, you should. You’ll squad alongside the nation’s best long-range shooters, and you’ll enjoy a superb facility. The desert range at Ben Avery is something special — check out a “birds-eye view” with our latest video from the match. This video also includes an interview with Derek Rodgers, the only man who who has earned both F-Open AND F-TR National titles. We strongly recommend you watch this video.

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

Yesterday, Saturday, marked the conclusion of the Team events. In the F-TR division, Michigan extended its lead to win Gold while the U.S. Rifle Team (USRT) held on for silver for the overall team title. Notably, ten of the twelve shooters making up the top three squads are members of the USRT, as are the top two coaches. Congrats to all.

Phil Kelley reports that Saturday’s F-TR team match went down to the wire: “It was a fun 1000-yard team day at SW Nationals. Good to use a teammate’s backup gun to finally be competitive at something. Congrats to Team Michigan for the big win, both for the day and overall. There was great competition today with Michigan winning by 1 point (and some Xs) over X-men and X-men getting Team Virginia/USA by 1 point and some Xs. Great shooting by all.”

Phil added that: “Dan Lentz continues to perform well with another great day and maintains the overall lead going into the final day. Derek Rodgers, Bryan Litz, and Jim Crofts are on his heels but Dan looks confident.” Tomorrow, here on the Daily Bulletin, we will provide final individual results from the match, along with all the final team results.

Snapshots from the Berger Southwest Nationals

Here’s one of the new Borden wide-body actions in a Shurley Brothers stock. The timing on this action is insanely good, making it very smoooooth to operate.

This Scottish shooter showed some style on the range, with his traditional Scottish tweed cap. That’s classy. No floppy boonie hat for this dapper lad.

Take a look at the very useful information card. Note that it shows mirage patterns and provides suggested windage and elevation corrections for all yardages.

Check out the handsome, 3D-effect Stars and Stripes finish applied to this F-TR Rifle. Note that the right-handed shooter is running a Left-Bolt, Left Port action, with a SEB Joy-Pod up front.

Here’s the brand-new F-Class front rest from Competition Machine. This 38-lb beast features a belt-drive elevation adjustment, joy-stick windage, and rotary pivoting head to align with your target.

Rewards for Berger SWN Participants

The Berger SW Nationals has one of the richest prize tables in the shooting sports. This Saturday night, nearly 400 participants received a variety of participation prizes and raffle awards. In addition, winners were announced for some of the events which concluded earlier in the week. Gunsmith John Pierce came up a big winner with a kiss from his lady and a Team Trophy for the Michigan F-TR Squad.

Berger SW Nationals prizes

Berger SW Nationals prizes

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February 10th, 2016

2016 Berger Southwest Nationals Commence in Arizona

2016 Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Arizona AZ
Checking conditions at break of day. This week Phoenix will offer cool nights and warm days, with daytime temps in the mid- to high 80s (F).

2016 Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Arizona AZThe Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN), is the biggest, most prestigious long-range shooting match west of the Mississipi. The SW Nationals, which run February 9-14, 2016, kicked off on Tuesday the 9th with a shooting clinic at the Ben Avery 1000-yard Range. This gave competitors a chance to confirm their zeros, study the conditions at Ben Avery, and prep their “mental game” for the upcoming competition. This will be a huge event, with over 370 shooters from all over the USA and many foreign countries. The SW Nationals attracts top F-Class and Sling shooters, lured by the quality of the competition and a huge prize table. This is truly a “world-class” event.

Tuesday’s shooting clinic started with a class on Exterior Ballistics hosted by Bryan Litz. Following the ballistics class, shooters made their way to the firing line for one-on-one instruction with experienced shooters in each discipline (sling, F-TR and F-Open). During this segment of the clinic, champion shooters worked directly with novice and intermediate shooters. Bryan said: “It was great to see the ‘top guns’ sharing their knowledge.”

2015 Berger Southwest Nationals Clinic Applied Ballistics High Power F-Class Phoenix Ben Avery
File photo from 2015.

Nat’l Mid-Range and Long-Range F-TR Champion Bryan Litz instructs during Tuesday’s Clinic at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility.
2016 Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Arizona AZ

Eliseo Tubegun with Nightforce Competition scope. These versatile rifle chassis systems are produced by Competition Machine in Cottonwood, Arizona.
2016 Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Arizona AZ

Click image to see full-screen panorama.

CLICK HERE for Phoenix Travel and Lodging Information.


View Larger Map

Photos by Steven Fiorenzo.

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December 3rd, 2015

Get Info for 3900 Bullets in FREE Online Database

ShooterForum Bullet Database

Here’s a valuable web resource our readers should bookmark for easy access in the future. ShootForum.com offers a vast Bullet Database, which includes roughly 3900 bullet designs in all. We counted nearly 200 different 6mm bullets! The bullet info comes from the makers of QuickLOAD Software. Access to the online database is FREE. Most database entries include Caliber, Manufacturer, Stated Bullet Weight, True Bullet Weight, Length, Sectional Density (SD), and Ballistic Coefficient.* In many cases multiple BCs are provided for different velocity ranges.

The coverage of the Bullet Database is amazing. Manufacturers in the database include: A-Square, Barnaul, Barnes, Berger, Brenneke, Calhoon, CDP, CheyTac, ColoradoBonded, CT, DAG, David Tubb, Delsing, DEWC, DKT, DTK, DYN, Federal, Fiocchi, FMJ, FN, Fortek, FP, Freedom, Frontier, GECO, Gian-Marchet, GPA, GS-Custom, H&N, Hawk, HeviShot, Hirtenberger, Hornady, HP, Igman, IMI, IMI-Samson, Impala, JDJ, JLK, Klimovsk, Lapua, LEADEx, LEE, Lehigh, LIMA, LostRiver, LYM, MEN, Mil, Norinco, Norma, NorthFork, Nosler, PMC, PMP, Powell, PrviPartizan, Rainier, RCBS, Reichenberg, Remington, RN, RNFP, RUAG, RWS, Sako, Sellier-Bellot, Shilen, Sierra, Sinterfire, Speer, Stoklossa, SWC, Swift, Swiss, The Gun Haus, TMJ, WestCoast, Winchester, WM-Bullets and Woodleigh.

The database is great if you’re looking for an unusual caliber, or you want a non-standard bullet diameter to fit a barrel that is tighter or looser than spec. You’ll find the popular jacketed bullets from major makers, plus solids, plated bullets, and even cast bullets. For those who don’t already own QuickLOAD software, this is a great resource, providing access to a wealth of bullet information.

Values for Changed Bullet Designs
Some of our readers have noted some variances with BCs and OALs with recently changed bullet designs. In general the database is very useful and accurate. However, as with any data resource this extensive, there will be a few items that need to be updated. Manufacturers can and do modify bullet shapes. Kevin Adams, one of the creators of the database, explains: “Thanks for mentioning this database. It took us a long time to collate this information and have agreement to publish it. Please keep in mind that individual batches of bullets will differ from the manufacturers’ stated standards. This is more a reflection on the manufacturers’ tolerances than the database ‘accuracy’. We will continue to add to the database as more manufacturers’ figures come available.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 4 Comments »
January 7th, 2015

Murdica’s Masterpiece — Just About as Good as It Gets

Lou Murdica Railgun NBRSA Record one-hole 6PPC Berger Bullets kelbly Action

Sometimes superlatives really aren’t necessary. Just look at that target. Yes that is FIVE shots (although it truly appears like one hole). And it is centered! This remarkable group, measured at 0.039″, was shot by Lou Murdica in Phoenix on January 3, 2015. Lou drilled this group with his 6 PPC railgun. Rounds were loaded with Accurate LT-32 powder and Berger 65gr BT bullets. The target will be submitted to the NBRSA as a potential new 100-yard Benchrest record in the Unlimited (Railgun) Class. The current NBRSA record small group (Unlimited) is a 0.049 shot by Hall-of-Famer Gary Ocock in 2009.

Lou Murdica Railgun NBRSA Record one-hole 6PPC Berger Bullets kelbly Action
This is a file photo with a different railgun.

This wasn’t the only tiny group shot by Lou over the weekend. Murdica shot a sizzling 0.1262 five-target 100-yard Unlimited Aggregate. That 0.1262 Agg will also be submitted for consideration as a possible record. Here are the individual group sizes: 0.104, 0.183, 0.201, 0.104, 0.039. At this match Lou won both the Unlimited and Sporter class. “It was a great weekend” Lou reported.

Lou Murdica Railgun NBRSA Record one-hole 6PPC Berger Bullets kelbly Action

About the Gun
What kind of rifle can put five shots in one hole? Lou was shooting an Unlimited-class railgun. This return-to-battery rig (a Kensler railgun) allows the shooter to focus on firing at the perfect time for the conditions. Lou’s Kensler railgun (see below) features a Kelbly top-loader Grizzly action, Shilen 6-groove barrel, and March 10-60X scope. The Shilen is chambered for the 6 PPC cartridge. But there’s something special about this particular 6 PPC — read on….

Click photo for larger version:
Lou Murdica Railgun NBRSA Record one-hole 6PPC Berger Bullets kelbly Action

Radical New Reamer Design from PT&G
Lou used a new chamber reamer from Pacific Tool & Gauge (PT&G) with special geometry in the leade/throat section. Called a “Bore Rider” (or sometimes “bore-runner”), this new reamer design cuts a staged, variable taper in the leade/throat area that is quite different than the taper in a typical throat. It’s a little hard to explain, so we’ve included the 6 PPC Bore Rider reamer print below. (Download the PDF file for a better view.) Experts should look at the leade angle(s), freebore, and throat dimensions. You may be surprised. Dave Kiff of PT&G says this Bore Rider design has worked successfully for other cartridge types/calibers as well. Apparently this design helps the bullet center up smoothly in the bore before the bullet engages “hard” in the rifling — or so we’ve been told.

CLICK HERE to DOWNLOAD Reamer Print as PDF File.
6 PPC Railgun Bore Rider Lou Murdica world record

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing 11 Comments »
January 4th, 2015

F-Class Nationals Featured in January Shooting Sports USA eZine

The 2014 F-Class National Championships were held in Phoenix this past October. It was a well-attended match with nearly 170 competitors from around the nation. In a tight battle, James Crofts (1574-59X) edged past champion Derek Rodgers (1573-65X) by a single point in the F-TR division. In F-Open, Emil Kovan (1587-83X) shot well to beat Danny Biggs (1585-83X) by a two-point margin. Both Kovan and Biggs racked up 83 Xs — that’s mighty impressive shooting. Overall, conditions were generally good (if hot), and many new records were set. The course of fire was 160 shots, all at 1000 yards.

Shooting Sports USA Larry Bartholome

An excellent, detailed day-by-day report on the F-Class Nationals appears in the January edition of Shooting Sports USA, just released. Prepared by past National F-Open Champion Larry Bartholome (aka “LBart” in our Forum), this article provides unique insights by one of the leading competitors in the game. Larry may be a senior citizen but he can still shoot. In fact, Larry observes that age is no barrier to success in the F-Open division: “In the ten-year history of F-Class, the F-Open discipline has been won four times by senior or grand senior shooters. John Brewer was 73 when he won in 2004. In 2007 Bob Bock won as a 65-year-old senior in Raton, NM. Jim Murphy was a 65-year-old senior when he won in lodie, WI. Finally, Larry Bartholome won in 2013 at Raton at the age of 73, even though he felt like 103. All of these senior/grand senior champions are members of Team Berger, and still shoot.”

Another highlight of the 2014 F-Class Nationals was the performance of Team Long Shots. Team members pleased the crowd by shooting in their Halloween costumes on October 31st. The colorful costumes (Snow White and the four dwarfs) didn’t seem to hurt their performance. In fact it may have brought the Long Shots some luck. All four marksmen went through the match without dropping a single point. This gave Team Longshots an 800-42X score at the end of the day to secure the team win, setting a new team record in the process. Larry Bartholome writes: “This is the first-ever 800-point team score in the history of F-Class.”

Shooting Sports USA Larry Bartholome

You can read the FREE eZine version of Shooting Sports USA online. Along with Larry’s F-Class article, this January edition includes coverage of various state and regional shooting championships, plus a field test of the new Match-Grade .30-06 Springfield Ammunition from Creedmoor Sports. This is excellent stuff, produced with premium Lapua brass and Lapua Scenar bullets. Tester Art Merrill reported this ammo was very straight, and demonstrated excellent accuracy on target. If you shoot Garand matches, you may want to get your hands on this high-quality ammo. See the test results below.

New Creedmoor Sports .30-06 Ammo Reviewed:
Creedmoor Sports .30-06 Ammunition Ammo

Permalink Competition, News No Comments »
December 21st, 2014

FREE Comprehensive Bullet Database — Bookmark It!

Here’s a valuable web resource our readers should bookmark for easy access in the future. ShootForum.com offers a vast Bullet Database, which includes over 3900 bullet designs in all. We counted nearly 200 different 6mm bullets! The bullet info comes from the makers of QuickLOAD Software. Access to the online database is FREE. Most database entries include Caliber, Manufacturer, Stated Bullet Weight, True Bullet Weight, Length, Sectional Density (SD), and Ballistic Coefficient. In many cases multiple BCs are provided for different velocity ranges.

The coverage of the Bullet Database is amazing. Manufacturers in the database include: A-Square, Barnaul, Barnes, Berger, Brenneke, Calhoon, CDP, CheyTac, ColoradoBonded, CT, DAG, David Tubb, Delsing, DEWC, DKT, DTK, DYN, Federal, Fiocchi, FMJ, FN, Fortek, FP, Freedom, Frontier, GECO, Gian-Marchet, GPA, GS-Custom, H&N, Hawk, HeviShot, Hirtenberger, Hornady, HP, Igman, IMI, IMI-Samson, Impala, JDJ, JLK, Klimovsk, Lapua, LEADEx, LEE, Lehigh, LIMA, LostRiver, LYM, MEN, Mil, Norinco, Norma, NorthFork, Nosler, PMC, PMP, Powell, PrviPartizan, Rainier, RCBS, Reichenberg, Remington, RN, RNFP, RUAG, RWS, Sako, Sellier-Bellot, Shilen, Sierra, Sinterfire, Speer, Stoklossa, SWC, Swift, Swiss, The Gun Haus, TMJ, WestCoast, Winchester, WM-Bullets and Woodleigh.

The database is great if you’re looking for an unusual caliber, or you want a non-standard bullet diameter to fit a barrel that is tighter or looser than spec. You’ll find the popular jacketed bullets from major makers, plus solids, plated bullets, and even cast bullets. For those who don’t already own QuickLOAD software, this is a great resource, providing access to a wealth of bullet information.

ShooterForum Bullet Database

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 6 Comments »
March 24th, 2014

Six Shooting Tips from Bryan Litz

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. At the recent Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN), Bryan took top honors among all sling shooters — and he managed to do that while performing many other important match duties. The pay-off for Bryan was getting his name on a really cool “ghost dancer” perpetual trophy. Litz joked: “With what the wind gods can do at shooting matches, it makes sense to have a trophy that puts you in touch with the spirit world.”

Bryan Litz Tips

This is actually the second time Litz has finished first in Sling class at the Southwest Nationals. After his impressive win, 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”.

Bryan Litz Tips

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.

Bryan Litz Tips

Photos by Steve Fiorenzo

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »