October 10th, 2018

Shooting Superstars Go Antelope Hunting in New Mexico

Derek Rodgers Paul Phillips Kelly McMillan fiberglass stock hunting hunt hunter antelope New Mexico .338 Lapua .308 Win
The Three Amigos in New Mexico (L to R): Kelly McMillan, Paul Phillips, Derek Rodgers.

This isn’t your typical hunting story, because these aren’t your typical hunters. Derek Rodgers is the current F-TR World Champion, and past King of Two Miles. Paul Phillips was a member of the Silver Medal-winning F-TR Team McMillan at the 2018 Nationals. Paul also shoots with Team Applied Ballistics in ELR competition. The third hunter, Kelly McMillan, needs no introduction. The respected owner of McMillan Fiberglass Stocks, Kelly has been a leading figure in the gun industry for years. He also supports many top rifle shooting teams.

Derek Rodgers Paul Phillips Kelly McMillan fiberglass stock hunting hunt hunter antelope New Mexico .338 Lapua .308 Win

This talented trio recently got together for a very successful hunt in New Mexico, Derek’s home turf. All three men bagged an impressive Antelope, with Paul Phillips dropping the biggest buck of all. Derek made the longest shot, hitting his buck at an impressive 510 yards, verified by laser rangefinder.

Paul Phillips posted: “Our New Mexico Antelope hunt with Kelly McMillan and Derek Rodgers was a success. To hunt with these two icons was definitely on my bucket list. I shot my buck at 389 yards in an 18-mph wind through a barbed wire fence. It may be a possible Boone and Crockett trophy buck, measuring 84 3/8 inches.”

Derek nailed his Antelope at 510 yards with a .308 Win fitted with a GSL Technology suppressor. As dusk approached, despite blustery wind and rain, Kelly dropped the third Antelope with a great 230-yard shot from a broken tree crotch. Paul noted: “All three bucks had their own challenges and funny story. All three hunts required team work with stalking, communication. For all three shots we used Applied Ballistics LLC solutions with our Kestrels for data.” The three men used all top-quality products including McMillan stocks, Bartlein barrels, Stiller actions, Berger bullets, and Nightforce scopes.

Derek Rodgers Paul Phillips Kelly McMillan fiberglass stock hunting hunt hunter antelope New Mexico .338 Lapua .308 Win

Derek Rodgers Paul Phillips Kelly McMillan fiberglass stock hunting hunt hunter antelope New Mexico .338 Lapua .308 Win

For long-range hunting you need to have your drops absolutely “spot-on”. Paul posted: “When you do a 30-45 minute stalk… you need to have all your ballistics perfect or they get away. We were glad that we had a practice day before the hunt to confirm our zeros and verify our ballistics.”

Derek Rodgers Paul Phillips Kelly McMillan fiberglass stock hunting hunt hunter antelope New Mexico .338 Lapua .308 Win

Kelly notes: “Paul Phillips scored this nice 80+” buck in New Mexico. It was Paul’s first antelope.” The .338 LM rifle featured a Stiller TAC338 action, Bartlein 20″ barrel, McMillan A5 Stock, and Nightforce ATACR scope. In the Facebook video, Paul talks about making the shot, directly into the wind.

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
July 6th, 2018

2018 King of 2 Miles (KO2M) Highlights Report

alt=

The 2018 King of 2 Miles (KO2M) event took place July 2-4 in Raton, New Mexico. Conditions were very challenging this year, yet three shooters managed to hit the most distant 3,525-yard plate at least once in five shots, a remarkable accomplishment. At that range the bullet was in flight about six seconds.

Robert Brantley of Team Manners Composite Stocks is the new King of 2 Miles. Congrats to Robert and his team-mates. Robert amassed 85178 points, finishing over 20,000 points ahead of runner-up John Buhay. Paul Phillips of Team Applied Ballistics finished third. FULL K02M 2018 RESULTS HERE.

King 2 miles 2018 raton new mexico

King 2 miles 2018 raton new mexico
Here’s Robert Brantley after his superb qualifying performance, which set a new 2018 King of 2 Miles qualifying round record. Going perfect on targets 1, 2, and 3, Robert missed just one shot on Target 4 of the qualifying phase, amassing 51355 points, a new K02M record.

King 2 miles 2018 raton new mexico

CLICK HERE for a very complete and thorough KO2M report created by The Precision Rifle Blog (PRB). This excellent PRB Report contains complete load and rig specifications for the top five shooters. In addition, the PRB Report includes a full run-down on this year’s event.

K02m 2018 Raton New mexico Cheytac barrett
Though the trigger pullers get the glory, this is really a three-man game. One guy shoots, a second team member spots for hits and calls corrections, and a third watches mirage and makes wind calls.

alt=

Multi-Day, Multi-Distance Competition with Farthest Target at 3525 Yards
The K02M Competition runs in stages, with the distances getting farther with each round. After five shots on target 1 at 1547 yards, there are then three shots per target for the remaining three parts of the Qualifying round. Then, in the three-target Finals phase, there are with five shots per target. You get more points for earlier hits in each string, and there are no sighters during the match. The event started with a tough Cold Bore Challenge — a single-shot at 1689 yards, just shy of one mile. Only three out of 62 competitors made that cold-bore mile shot on a 16″ plate, about 1 MOA at that distance. After that there are two rounds with the targets arrayed as follows.

KO2M Qualification Round
1,547 yards: 5 shots, 24” x 37” rectangle
1,719 yards: 3 shots, 24” x 37” rectangle
1,890 yards: 3 shots, 30” x 37” rectangle
2,095 yards: 3 shots, 30” x 37” rectangle
KO2M Finals Round — July 4
2,727 yards: 5 shots, 33” x 41” rectangle
3,166 yards: 5 shots, 42” x 54” rectangle
3,525 yards: 5 shots, 48” x 60” rectangle

Big Bore Rifles with High-BC Bullets
This year saw the continued evolution of equipment. Top shooter Brantley shot a .416 Barrett with 500gr Cutting Edge bullets. Robert’s massive 44-lb rifle featured a 39″ K&P barrel, McMillan action, and a Manners LRT (Long Range Tactical) stock designed expressly for this KO2M competition.

Second Place John Buhay shot an improved version of the .375 CheyTac, with 353gr Lehigh Defense Match Solid bullets. Buhay’s 37.6-lb rig bosted a BAT action and 36″ Krieger barrel along with a fairly conventional McMillan MBR 1K benchrest stock. Mark King built the rifle.

Third Place Paul Phillips campaigned a .416 Barrett with 550gr Cutting Edge Lazer bullets. Paul’s 42-lb rig featured a BAT action and McMillan Beast 1 stock. Shown below is the latest rifle of 2017 K02M champ Derek Rodgers, a .416 Barrett also in a McMillan Beast. Derek spotted for Phillips in the match.

derek rodgers ko2m beast

Optics Options
There was quite a variety of scopes used by Top K02M competitors, evidence that a number of manufacturers now offer optics with abundant elevation and the ability to stand up to heavy recoil. Here are the optics choices for the Top Five Shooters:

1. Bushnell XRS II 4.5-30x50mm with G3 reticle in Badger UniMount
2. Nightforce ATACR 5-25x56mm with MOAR reticle, with ERA-TAC Inclined Mount
3. Nightforce ATACR 5-25×56mm, with Charlie TARAC external Prism System for Elevation
4. Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25×56mm, in Spuhr mount with Charlie TARAC
5. Burris XTR II 5-25x50mm in Barrett rings

alt=

Notably, two of the top five used the Charlie TARAC prism system. This provides a ton of extra elevation by essentially shifting the view seen through the scope. The unit fits to the scope’s front objective.

alt=

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, News 9 Comments »
May 14th, 2018

Beast for the King — Reigning King of 2 Miles Gets .416 Barrett

Derek Rodgers .416 Barrett ELR KO2M king of 2 miles Beast 2 McMillan stock Nightforce ATACR scope extreme long range New Mexico

Current F-TR World Champion Derek Rodgers is also the reigning King of 2 Miles champ, so he knows something about Extreme Long Range (ELR) shooting. While Derek won his KO2M title at Raton shooting the .375 CheyTac cartridge, Derek decided that something even bigger was in order. This season, Derek will be shooting a .416 Barrett. Last week we showcased his impressive .416 Barrett ammo, with massive Cutting Edge bullets.

Derek Rodgers .416 Barrett ELR KO2M king of 2 miles Beast 2 McMillan stock Nightforce ATACR scope extreme long range New Mexico

Now we can show the Big Rig that will deliver those .416-caliber projectiles. This monster weighs 40+ pounds and sports a 40″ Bartlein barrel — more length for more velocity. Derek’s new ELR rifle features a McMillan Beast 2 stock, BAT EX action, and Nightforce ATACR 7-35x56mm scope. Derek explained why he moved up to a bigger caliber: “I built a new rifle with the anticipation of seeing impacts easier. It was not just a larger caliber being more effective on hitting ELR targets, but rather hoping that a missed shot would have a much larger impact. Impacts beyond a mile become harder to see due to terrain and vegetation. So any added dust or splash erupting from the earth is a decisive benefit over an equally-accurate smaller caliber.” Here is Derek’s full report on his new .416 Barrett rifle.

Derek Rodgers Campaigns a .416 Barrett

Report by Derek Rodgers
Cartridge Choice — I chose a standard .416 Barrett cartridge as it allows for bullets up to and slightly exceeding 550 grains. It really does bridge the gap between the .375 variants and a 50 BMG. There are several great solid ELR bullet options from manufactures like Cutting Edge that range from 475-550 grains. These offer a variety of extremely high BC options for barrels that have different twist rates. Most loads will utilize the slowest burn rate powders commercially available. Good options are Vihtavuori 20N29, RL50, H50BMG and other powders with a similar burn rate.

Derek Rodgers .416 Barrett ELR KO2M king of 2 miles Beast 2 McMillan stock Nightforce ATACR scope extreme long range New Mexico

Shooting the .416 — Tamer than Expected
An initial observation is that the rifle is very controllable and feels much like a larger F-TR gun. The rifle weighs 40+ pounds, balanced and stays on target very well. The recoil is manageable and linear. This seems to give a straight rearward impulse that does not affect positioning. This allows for quick repositioning into battery and faster follow-up shots.

Derek Rodgers .416 Barrett ELR KO2M king of 2 miles Beast 2 McMillan stock Nightforce ATACR scope extreme long range New Mexico

Rifle Details — BAT EX Action, Bartlein 40″ Barrel, McMillan Beast 2 Stock
Derek’s .416 Barrett ELR Rig features a BAT EX action with a Bix N’ Andy trigger. Out front is a gigantic 40” long, 1:9″-twist Bartlein barrel fitted with a Terminator T5 muzzle brake. The handsome McMillan Beast 2 stock combines a lower center of gravity design with a higher butt location. Given that high butt geometry, McMillan cleverly fitted the higher buttpad with a port allowing the cleaning rod to pass through (see photo below). On top is a Nightforce ATACR 7-35x56mm scope in NF rings on a +60 MOA rail, with Holland 34mm bubble level. The stock is supported by a Phoenix bipod and rests in an Edgewood bag designed for the McMillan Xit F-TR stock.

Derek Rodgers .416 Barrett ELR KO2M king of 2 miles Beast 2 McMillan stock Nightforce ATACR scope extreme long range New Mexico

Note the extended Buttpad height. That helps with recoil in prone position. This McMillan Beast 2 stock includes a pass-through hole for the cleaning rod.

Derek Rodgers .416 Barrett ELR KO2M king of 2 miles Beast 2 McMillan stock Nightforce ATACR scope extreme long range New Mexico

Gunsmithing by Blake Barrel and Rifle in Arizona
Derek’s rifle was built and chambered by Bryan Blake of Blake Barrel and Rifle in Phoenix, Arizona. The chambering was done with a Manson Precision reamer. Derek explains: “Bryan and his family have been in the machine shop business for several generations and have the expertise and equipment to handle larger barrel diameters associated with F-Class to ELR type rigs. I tried to consider all angles and potential pitfalls that might occur during the building process. However, Bryan added his own touches to make the project his own. He truly created a work of art and supplied a turn-key rifle that is meticulously built from the inside out and looks as great as the tolerances it holds.”

Derek Rodgers .416 Barrett ELR KO2M king of 2 miles Beast 2 McMillan stock Nightforce ATACR scope extreme long range New Mexico

.416 Barrett Derek Rodgers Action

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 6 Comments »
May 8th, 2018

The King Goes Big — Derek Rodgers Builds a .416 Barrett

.416 Barrett Vihtavuorit Cutting Edge Bullets King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

Our friend Derek Rodgers is the current F-TR World Champion AND the current King of 2 Miles, having won his KO2M crown at Raton last year. Shooting with Team Applied Ballistics, Derek delivered a dominant performance at the KO2M event, scoring nearly twice as many points as his nearest rival, Ronnie Wright. And Derek was the first KO2M marksman in history to hit the target at the maximum 3368-yard (1.91 mile) distance.

.416 Barrett Vihtavuorit Cutting Edge Bullets King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

Derek topped the K02M field last year shooting a .375 CheyTac with Cutting Edge 400gr LazerMax tipped bullets. That’s a really big cartridge, but apparently not big enough for Derek. Mr. Rodgers has hot-rodded his long-range rig, fitting a barrel for an even bigger cartridge, the mighty .416 Barrett. Derek tells us: “The .416 is rolling now. I am preparing for initial load development and working out tooling kinks on the bench.” He is loading more Cutting Edge bullets with a selection of slow powders. For his .375 CheyTac last year, Derek used Hodgdon 50 BMG. He’s trying something else this time…

.416 Barrett Vihtavuorit Cutting Edge Bullets King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

Breakfast of Champions:
.416 Barrett Vihtavuorit Cutting Edge Bullets King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

Watch Derek Rodgers hit 3368-yard target at 2017 K02M Competition:

At the 2017 K02M, Derek ruled. With his McMillan-stocked .375 CheyTac rifle, Derek shot brilliantly from the start. He was perfect — without a miss — at the first three yardages: 1543, 1722, and 1888. He had some misses at 1953 and 2667 yards, but then he out-shot all competitors at 3028 yards, going two for five. No other shooter managed a single hit at 3028 yards. Then it all came down to the big one — the last (and greatest) challenge, the target at 3368 yards (1.91 miles).

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
February 21st, 2018

The King of 2 Miles Goes Hunting with His Daughter

Derek rodgers new mexico coyote varmint hunting oryx

Derek Rodgers is the current F-TR World Champion AND the reigning King of 2 Miles. He’s also a member of the Berger SWN-winning McMillan F-TR team. But when it comes to rifles, competition is only one of Derek’s interests. He’s also an avid hunter. He enjoys getting out in the back-country in his home state of New Mexico.

Derek rodgers new mexico coyote varmint hunting oryx

Recently Derek went coyote hunting with his daughter, Dereka. They spotted some ‘yotes, but the real treat was seeing Oryx, a long-horned species native to Africa. Some time ago, a herd of Oryx was transplanted to a “secret spot” in New Mexico not too far from Albuquerque. Permission to hunt the Oryx is hard to obtain, but possible.

Derek rodgers new mexico coyote varmint hunting oryx


SEE Wild Oryx In New Mexico — Watch Video on Facebook »

Derek and his daughter could not shoot Oryx on this occasion because the timing wasn’t right. But he noted: “Calling for coyotes can get exciting when your daughter has an oryx hunt just weeks away.” You can see the animals in the video below. Derek says: “It would have been a successful morning if this was March 1st [when Oryx hunting would be allowed with her tag].” Derek’s wife Hope tells us that “Oryx meat is delicious — much better than deer or elk.” Good luck to Dereka and her famous father next month.

Derek rodgers new mexico coyote varmint hunting oryx

Derek’s Coyote rifle (for this trip) was an AR-platform rig. Despite being a world-champion F-Class shooter, Derek had a number of coyote misses on this trip, which did NOT impress young Miss Dereka. It just shows that even the best can easily miss on a moving target.

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting 5 Comments »
February 6th, 2018

Weakside Bolt Placement — The Competitive Advantages

left port McMillan Rifle

Most bolt-action rifle shooters work the bolt with their trigger-pulling hand. This is because most rifles sold to right-handed shooters come with right-side bolts, while “lefty” rifles come with left-side bolts. This “standard” configuration requires the shooter to take his dominant, trigger-pulling hand off the stock to cycle the bolt, then re-position his hand on the stock, and “re-claim” the trigger. Often the shooter must lift or move his head to work the bolt, and that also requires him to re-establish his cheek weld after each and every shot. Not good.

This really doesn’t make much sense for precision shooting with fore-end support*. There is a better way. If you leave your trigger hand in position and work the bolt (and feed rounds) with the opposite hand, then you don’t need to shift grip and head position with each shot. All this requires is a weakside-placed bolt, i.e. a left bolt for a right-handed shooter or a right bolt for a left-handed shooter. The video below shows a “Lefty” working a right bolt. Note how efficient this is:

As our friend Boyd Allen explains: “If you think about it, if you are going to work with a factory action where your options are left bolt and left port or right bolt and right port, and you are building a rifle that will only be shot from a rest, using the left/left for a RH shooter or using a right/right for a LH shooter works better than the conventional configuration”.

Shoot Like a Champ and Work the Bolt with Your Weakside Hand
Derek Rodgers, the current F-TR World Champion, the reigning King of 2 Miles, and the only person to have won BOTH F-Open and F-TR U.S. National Championships, runs this kind of “opposite” bolt set-up. Yep, Derek shoots right-handed with a left bolt. Though Derek is a right-hander, he shoots with a Left Bolt/Left Port (LBLP) action. He pulls the trigger with his right index finger, while working the left-side bolt with his left (weakside) hand. This allows him to stay in position, and maintain his cheekweld. He places his right hand on the grip, while manipulating the bolt (and feeding rounds) with his non-trigger-pulling hand.

Current King of 2 Miles (and F-TR World Champion) Derek Rodgers
left port McMillan Rifle Derek Rodgers

This is the rifle with which Derek won the 2013 F-TR National Championship.
left port McMillan Rifle Derek Rodgers

*For true standing, off-hand shooting (whether in competition or on a hunt), a conventional strongside bolt placement makes sense, since the non-dominant arm must support the front of the rifle all the time. When shooting from bipod or rest, it’s a different story.

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing, Shooting Skills 6 Comments »
January 2nd, 2018

Good Reading — Shooting Sports USA January “Rifle Issue”

Sighting in rifle technique zero zeroing

There are three notable articles in the latest January 2018 Digital Edition of Shooting Sports USA Magazine. F-Class competitors will definitely want to read the report on the 2017 World Championships. And hand-loaders will appreciate the insightful article on the AMP induction annealing machine. The third recommended article provides tips and techniques for sighting in hunting, tactical, and benchrest rifles. Access the entire SSUSA 54-page January 2018 eZine by clicking THIS LINK.

F-Class 2017 World Championships in Canada
Story by Larry Bartholome

Sighting in rifle technique zero zeroing

Fifteen years ago, the very first F-Class World Championships were held in Canada. In 2017, the Championships returned to Canada for the fifth edition of the match. This year there were triple the number of entries, representing the growing popularity of F-Class competition. Notably, this year’s event was preceded by the Canadian F-Class National Championships. This issue contains a full report on the event, written by Larry Bartolome, a past National F-Open Champion. Shown at right above is the new F-TR World Champion, our friend Derek Rodgers from New Mexico.

AMP Annealing Machine — Annealing .30-06 Brass for Vintage Military Rifles
Story by Art Merrill

Sighting in rifle technique zero zeroing

Produced in New Zealand, the AMP (Annealing Made Perfect) unit is a sophisticated, microprocessor-controlled annealing machine that achieves ultra-consistent results using an electrical INDUCTION process. By contrast, with butane torch systems you may have to adjust the system when the ambient temperature changes, or even if your butane fuel is slightly different. In this month’s issue of Shooting Sports USA, Field Editor Art Merrill uses the AMP to anneal .30-06 brass for vintage military rifles. The review shows how to use the AMP and explains the advantages of the Induction Annealing vs. flame-based annealing.

Sighting In Your Rifle — Tips for All Shooters
Story by Jim Shults

Sighting in rifle technique zero zeroing

This month’s “Rifle Issue” of Shooting Sports USA focuses on rifle shooting in various forms. Author Jim Shults has written an lengthy article offering tips and techniques for sighting-in your rifle. Shults says “The trick in effective sighting-in (zeroing) is shot-to-shot consistency”. To achieve that consistency, you must first eliminate driver error. You need a stable set-up. Good ammo is also essential and Shults offers an important tip: “Keep your ammo cool and out of direct sun at the range”. Shults also explains there is a big difference between load testing and zeroing. You want to finalize your zero AFTER you have developed your match or hunting load.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Shooting Skills No Comments »
October 20th, 2017

Tough Brass for Big Ammo — Cheytac Brass from Peterson

Peterson .375 Cartridge Brass Cheytac K02M

Do you have a hankering to shoot Extreme Long Range (ELR)? Then you’ll want a large-caliber cartridge with plenty of boiler room. Some of the most successful ELR cartridges have been based on the CheyTac family, including the .375 CheyTac (9.5×77) and .408 CheyTac (10.36 x 77). Now brass for both these jumbo cartridges is offered by Peterson Catridge. This Peterson Cheytac brass has proven to be tough and long-lived. And it is capable of winning — Derek Rodgers won the 2017 King of 2 Miles (K02M) event shooting a .375 Cheytac with Peterson brass. Here’s a report on how Peterson developed and tested its tough CheyTac cartridge brass.

Developing and Testing CheyTac Brass

Report by Peterson Cartridge Co.
Recently, our president, Derek Peterson, was live-testing our most recent iteration of the .375 CheyTac (aka 9.5 X 77). He started with five casings, and did a full-body resizing after each firing. He got 17 firings out of each before he started to notice the early signs of case head separation. [Editor: Theses were with extremely high pressure loads.] He then took another set of casings and after each firing he just bumped the shoulder back, like a typical reloader would. He got 20 firings out of those casings.

Peterson .375 Cartridge Brass Cheytac K02M
Note: CheyTac® is a registered trademark of CheyTac USA, LLC. Peterson Cartridge has no affiliation.

Low MV Extreme Spread
On the first two shots the muzzle velocities were within 12 feet per second of each other. On the 3rd and 4th shots the muzzle velocities were within 6 feet per second of each other. By the 5th shot the muzzle velocities were within 1 foot per second of each other. Now that is how you can put two bullets in the same hole down range.

No SAAMI Spec for CheyTac Cartridges
As many of you probably already know there is no SAAMI spec on these calibers. So, without a SAAMI spec there is no stated maximum pressure for a service load. However, there IS an international spec on the .408 [promulgated by the] CIP (Commission International Permanente). And the CIP max pressure for this round is extremely high. Our partner in Europe tells us it is probably unnecessarily high. Our partner loads these rounds and they have a standard load for the .375s which is also quite high. So that is the pressure we did our testing at. To even achieve that pressure, we had to use a compressed load. We are explaining all this to say that you [should not use] a load that hot, and therefor you will most likely get more reloads than we did[.]

Peterson Brass Goes Through 11 Dimensional Tests
With all the casings we make in any caliber, we perform a battery of in-process, real-time dimensional checks. [We test] 11 different dimensions continuously throughout each shift. Some of these are tube cylindricity, mouth to body concentricity, primer pocket diameter, length to shoulder, overall length, and more. These measurements are automatically fed into Statistical Process Control software. If a dimension begins to drift from nominal we can catch it immediately and correct it.

Peterson is Fully Committed to CheyTac Brass Production
Peterson Cartridge purchased additional manufacturing equipment designed specifically to produce these large casings. Our capacity is 5-million casings a year. We are committed to there not being a shortage of these calibers ever again.

.375 CheyTac — K02M-Winning, World-Beating Cartridge

Derek Rodgers is the 2017 King of 2 Miles. He is also the only human to ever hit the maximum distance target target at 3368 yards (1.91 miles). His cartridge choice? The .375 CheyTac. Derek ran Cutting Edge Bullets in Peterson brass with Hodgdon H50BMG powder.

Q: Why did you choose the .375 CheyTac cartridge?

Derek: When I was asked to join the Applied Ballistics Team, I needed to get an ELR rifle built in a short period of time. I was under a very tight time schedule to get the project complete. In an effort to eliminate variables, I decided to keep things standard and as simple as possible. I chose the .375 CheyTac for the ease of getting components. The larger rifles are more difficult to get components quickly and I felt like the .375 CheyTac had enough attributes to be competitive at ELR distances.

.375 Cheytac Derek Rodgers KO2M King 2 miles

.375 Cheytac Derek Rodgers KO2M King 2 miles

Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Tech Tip No Comments »
September 5th, 2017

Extreme Long Range — New ELR DVD from Applied Ballistics

Applied Ballistics DVD KO2M) extreme long range

Team Applied Ballistics will soon release a new DVD on the science, skills, and strategy required for successful Extreme Long Range (ELR) shooting. The new DVD features a reality-style documentary following Team Applied Ballistics in the 2017 King Of 2 Mile (KO2M) competition. Team AB has now won this prestigious event two years in a row. Team shooter Mitchell Fitzpatrick won the KO2M title in 2016, followed by team-mate Derek Rodgers in 2017.

Applied Ballistics DVD KO2M) extreme long range

Bryan Litz tells us: “Applied Ballistics is proud to announce the release of our latest DVD: ELR Shooting With Applied Ballistics. With lessons learned from our successful 2016 KO2M campaign, you can see how the AB ELR team developed our equipment and approach through practice and careful analysis. Learn the essential elements of ELR competition from the top team in the sport.”

This documentary, filmed over the course of a year, shows Team Applied Ballistics preparing for, and competing in, the 2017 KO2M match. This presentation includes interviews from all Team AB members, along with tips on ELR shooting. Pre-Order the ELR DVD and Save $5.00 (Pre-Order Price $19.95)

2017 K02M Match-Winning Performance on Video
The video below shows Team Applied Ballistics shooter Derek Rodgers winning the 2017 King of 2 Miles event. This excellent video combines firing line and target-cam views. You can see the strings-of-fire at 2667 and 3028 yards. Then Watch Derek, after four misses, hit the last target with his fifth (and final) round! That plate was set at a mind-numbing 3368 yards (1.91 miles). Derek had Paul Phillips as a spotter and Emil Praslick as a wind coach — a very powerful team and it showed.

ELR K02M 2017 derek rodgers

» READ ELR Story on Shooting Sports USA

If you want to learn more about ELR shooting and how team Applied Ballistics achieves great results in ELR competition, we recommend an excellent article just released byShooting Sports USA. SSUSA’s Editor John Parker interviewed Team Applied Ballistics members Bryan Litz and Paul Phillips. Both men said that successful Extreme Long Range shooting requires solid team-work.

Bryan Litz (center) conferring with Team AB members Emil Praslick (L) and Doc Beech (R).
Applied Ballistics DVD KO2M) extreme long range

Paul Phillips explained: “ELR is very difficult. It requires a great shooter with 1/2-MOA accuracy, a really good wind coach and spotter to see impacts, trace and the ability to quickly negotiate and engage the targets. It’s one fluid team working together.”

Bryan Litz, Applied Ballistics founder, concurred: “Of all the various precision rifle disciplines, ELR shooting is particularly suited to a team approach. All aspects of ELR shooting are both highly challenging as well as critical to success. One individual is typically not able to stay on top of all the variables effectively enough to hit targets at extreme ranges all by themselves.”

Applied Ballistics DVD KO2M) extreme long range

Litz says superior wind-reading skills are vital in the ELR game: “One of the important challenges of hitting targets at long range is reading the wind. All the shooters on our team can read wind, but when we’re shooting a match, we put our strongest wind-reader in this position for all shooters. Emil Praslick is arguably the best in the world at putting a number on the wind. He’s got a well-rehearsed process that works in all scenarios. When Emil isn’t available, someone else on our team will apply his process and focus specifically on the wind.”

Permalink - Videos, Competition, News 1 Comment »
August 15th, 2017

Individual Champions Crowned at F-Class Worlds in Canada

Canada Ontario Ottawa Connaught Ranges Championship 2017 FCWC Rod Davies Derek Rodgers

Hail the new F-Class World Champions: Australian Rod Davies (F-Open) and the USA’s Derek Rodgers (F-TR). The 2017 F-Class Individual World Championships event was memorable — with thunderstorms, tight competition, and wicked winds on the final day. On Day 1, Saturday 8/12/17, only one 700m relay was completed before a massive storm front dropped a deluge. Conditions prior to that were good, with dozens of competitors shooting “clean” — one competitor lamented “I didn’t drop a point but ended up way down the standings on V-Count…”

After one yardage, the FCWC was halted on Saturday (Day 1) by a massive thunderstorm.
Canada Ontario Ottawa Connaught Ranges Championship 2017 FCWC Rod Davies Derek Rodgers
Sebastian Lambang photo

F-TR — The King of 2 Miles vs. The Newly-Crowned Canadian Champ
The F-TR event couldn’t have been closer — this went down to the wire. American Derek Rodgers scored 473-36V to win the title on V-Count over Canadia Kevin Chou (473-31V). Kevin is a very tough man to beat on his home range in Ontario. At this same venue, Kevin recently won Canada’s F-TR National Championship, his second F-TR Canadian National title in a row.

This has been a great summer for Rodgers. Last month Derek won the King of 2 Miles competition in Raton, NM. But the World Championship F-TR win didn’t come easy. Not by a long shot. This was a tough, come-from-behind win for Derek. After Day 1, which was halted by rain, Derek was in 77th position. On Day 2, he had climbed to 17th. He moved all the way to the top of the podium on the third and final day by shooting brilliantly in very tough conditions.

Derek told us: “The wind was changing very rapidly on Monday (Day 3). There were radical changes. It was blowing left to right, but there were rapid velocity changes. You might move from holding at the edge of the black ring on the left, then over to the 2 ring on the right from shot to shot.” Derek noted that the match was “pair fire” so you had to wait up to 45 seconds for your partner to shoot. “That means you couldn’t shoot fast. You had to watch the conditions very carefully — watch those big canvas flags and the mirage.” Derek said the mirage was “huge in Canada… but it looks different than what I’m used to in the American Southwest. The mirage off grass is different.”

Canada Ontario Ottawa Connaught Ranges Championship 2017 FCWC Rod Davies Derek Rodgers

Many observers had counted Rodgers out when he stood in 17th place after Day 2, but he mastered the tough conditions to move up in the standings as others were dropping points in bunches. Derek said that starting in 17th might have been a blessing in disguise: “Starting 17th, I didn’t feel any pressure on the last day. Once I got the wind ‘roped’ on that last day, it was actually fun. I nailed a bunch of Vs, and that’s what carried me to victory.”

Canada Ontario Ottawa Connaught Ranges Championship 2017 FCWC Rod Davies Derek Rodgers

F-Open World Champion Rod Davies (Australia) Receives the Milcun Shield Trophy
Canada Ontario Ottawa Connaught Ranges Championship 2017 FCWC Rod Davies Derek Rodgers
Jenni Hausler photo.

Australian Captures F-Open Title with a Powerful Performance
In F-Open, the story was all Rod Davies, the talented Australian. He shot strong and steady throughout the match, to top the field with a 489-41V score. Finishing second was the UK’s Paul Sandie (485-38V), while another Australian, Adam Pohl, took third with 482-38V. Those Aussies do know how to shoot off grass in windy conditions. Five of the top 15 F-Open shooters were from Down Under. The top American was Jim Murphy in fourth place, followed by Erik Cortina in fifth.

Tough Conditions on Day Three
Erik Cortina told us that conditions were very tough on the last day. Wind velocities were changing unpredictably — with disastrous results for some shooters dropped 10 points or more. Somehow, in those rapidly changing winds, Eric nailed the top Aggregate for the last day, out-shooting the field: “I was lucky enough that conditions were very tough on the last day and that I was able to read the conditions good enough to win the Aggregate for the day. I moved up from 27th to 5th (overall) in one day. There were close to 200 of the best F-Open shooters in the World competing at this match, what an amazing experience to share the range with such an outstanding group of people.”

Canada Ontario Ottawa Connaught Ranges Championship 2017 FCWC Rod Davies Derek Rodgers

2017 FCWC relays were conducted with Pair Firing, with each shooter alternating shot by shot. Here are Mark Fairbairn (Australia) and Matt Schwartzkopf (USA) on the right. Sebastian Lambang photo.
Canada Ontario Ottawa Connaught Ranges Championship 2017 FCWC Rod Davies Derek Rodgers

YOUNG GUNS: At the 2017 FCWC the first-ever Under 25 World Champions were crowned: Mitchell Fitzpatrick (F-TR) and Rhys Ireland (F-Open). Rhys also won the 2017 Canadian National F-Open Championship last week. Mitchell is a past KO2M winner.

The young pit crew members did a great job. Sebastian Lambang photo.
Canada Ontario Ottawa Connaught Ranges Championship 2017 FCWC Rod Davies Derek Rodgers

Team Matches Come Next
There is a lay day today, August 15th, after which the Team Competition phase of the F-Class World Championships commence. We can expect a tough battle among the top teams: Australia, Canada, Great Britain/UK, South Africa, and the USA. Here is the schedule/course of fire for the Team Matches:

    FCWC Team Competition
    Wednesday, August 16: 2+15 @ 700m, 2+15 @ 800m, 2+15 @ 900m
    Thursday, August 17: 2+15 @ 700m, 2+15 @ 800m , 2+15 @ 900m
    Prize Giving and Closing Ceremonies
Permalink Competition, News 10 Comments »
July 7th, 2017

King of 2 Miles ELR Match — Derek Rodgers Takes the Crown

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics
Photos by Stephen Fiorenzo, courtesy Applied Ballistics.

The 2017 King of 2 Miles match has concluded, and we have a new monarch. F-Class Ace Derek Rodgers is the new King of 2 Miles. Shooting with Team Applied Ballistics, Derek delivered a dominant performance, scoring nearly twice as many points as his nearest rival, Ronnie Wright. And Derek was the first KO2M marksman in history to hit the target at the maximum 3368-yard (1.91 mile) distance.

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics
King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

With his McMillan-stocked .375 CheyTac rifle, Derek shot brilliantly from the start. He was perfect — without a miss — at the first three yardages: 1543, 1722, and 1888. He had some misses at 1953 and 2667 yards, but then he out-shot all competitors at 3028 yards, going two for five. No other shooter managed a single hit at 3028 yards. Then it all came down to the big one — the last (and greatest) challenge, the target at 3368 yards (1.91 miles).

This would require superior shooting skills, a masterful wind call (by Emil Praslick), and nerves of steel. Derek tried four shots without success. It looked like the two-mile hit would continue to be an impossible goal. But then, on his fifth and very last shot, Derek did it — he hit the 3368-yard target.

After Derek made the (nearly) two-mile shot, cheers erupted on the firing line — what an achievement! Derek is the first (and only) shooter to make the 3368-yard shot at K02M. Watch him do it in this video:

Derek Rodgers Hits Target at 3368 Yards on his Final Shot:

Derek Rodgers K02M-Winning Hardware and Ammunition

RIFLE COMPONENTS
Stock: McMillan ELR Beast
Action: Barnard Model P-Chey
Trigger: Barnard Two-Stage
Barrel: Bartlein, 36″ length
Brake: Piercision 5-Port Muscle Brake
Optic: Nightforce 7-35x56mm ATACR F1
Bipod: Phoenix Precision
Level: Holland’s Shooting

CARTRIDGE and LOAD
Cartridge: 375 CheyTac (standard chamber)
Brass: Peterson Brass Co.
Powder: Hodgdon H50BMG
Bullet: Cutting Edge 400gr Lazer-Tip MAX
Primer: FED 215

Factory Rifle Finishes in Second Place
With so many full-custom rifles on the firing line, many were surprised to see a factory rifle finishing second overall. Ronnie Wright shot superbly with his stock Barrett M99 chambered in .416 Barrett. Ronnie’s impressive second-place performance proved the effectiveness of the .416 Barrett cartridge (and the build quality of the M99). For ammo, Ronnie used Cutting Edge 472gr MTAC projectiles loaded in Barrett-stamped .416 cases. The powder was Alliant Reloder 50 ignited by CCI #35 50 BMG primers. The rifle had a Barrett factory 32″ barrel fitted with an Accuracy 1st level.

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

INTERVIEW with DEREK RODGERS:

Q: What do you believe contributed to your success at this match?

Derek: This match was truly a team effort from the entire Applied Ballistics Team. Emil Praslick and Paul Phillips are world class wind-readers and spotters. They have the ability to make decisive decisions and trust that I (as the shooter) will put a bullet on target every time a command is given. We posses a dynamic team background with a lot of history and experience under our belt. Our positive team synergy is hard to find. The addition of vital tools played a huge role in our success. A few of the tools we used were the AB Kestrel and Garmin Foretrex 701 AB Elite to give absolutely crucial and accurate ballistic solutions. The new McMillan ELR Beast stock was stable and the NF ATACR scope is robust and clear. The Bartlein barrel used was top notch! However, one of the most important pieces of the ELR puzzle and the only thing that separates the target is — the bullet. We chose Cutting Edge (CE) bullets due to their high level of precision. These bullets proved to be invaluable in connecting every piece of steel at the KO2M competition. The CE 400gr Lazer Max bullet was selected and was tremendously accurate. This bullet transitioned into a sub-sonic velocity without any loss of precision at ELR distances. Our success would not be possible if the projectile did not fly correctly for 7+ seconds of flight time. CE has outstanding designs and several quality choices to choose from.

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

Q: How many hours would you say you practiced for this match?

Derek: It is hard to calculate practice time in hours. ELR is a program that we work on every chance we get — day and night for months prior to the event. We have an extremely strong background of team shooting and long range shooting. A lot of time has been invested on and off the range, but does not stop there. The combined range time from other disciplines really helped me to be successful in transitioning from long range to ELR. It really is a compilation of 10 years of trials and tribulations. Some would say, “the Devil is in the details”. Our team tries very hard to not overlook any small detail. Practice and training is always scrutinized for improvements. Our Applied Ballistics team has a love and passion that goes beyond measurable amounts of time. We were fortunate to get together for two days a month prior to the Ko2M event to review our program and practice as a team. Bryan Litz had a plan, and we discovered as a team we had flaws in our program. Each one of us contributed from years of experience on improving our technique until we had a winning solution.

Q: Why did you choose the .375 CheyTac cartridge?

Derek: When I was asked to join the AB Team, I needed to get an ELR rifle built in a short period of time. I was under a very tight time schedule to get the project complete. In an effort to eliminate variables, I decided to keep things standard and as simple as possible. I chose the .375 CheyTac for the ease of getting components. The larger rifles are more difficult to get components quickly and I felt like the .375 CheyTac had enough attributes to be competitive at ELR distances.

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics
The Cutting Edge 400gr bullets are milled from solid copper bar stock on a CNC Swiss-style lathe.

New ELR Hardware and Software on Display at K02M
This marks the second straight year that Team Applied Ballistics has won the K02M event. Last year, Team AB shooter Mitchell Fitzpatrick won the coveted “King of 2 Miles” title (Fitzpatrick finished fourth this year, just off the podium). In the past year, there has been considerable evolution in Extreme Long Range hardware and software, and projectiles are constantly being improved.

Bryan Litz (center) conferring with Team AB members Emil Praslick (L) and Doc Beech (R).
King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

We asked Bryan Litz, founder of Applied Ballistics, to summarize developments in the ELR game. Here are Bryan’s observations:

“Each year the KO2M sees advancements and shooters converging on those tools and processes that have proven effective in prior years. It’s rather apparent, for example, that spotting impacts is a crucial part of success in this match. This was improved by the match directors/organizers placing the targets in very good locations for spotting impacts. We’re seeing less set-ups with adjustable bases, and more with solid/fixed scope mounts. One of the exciting new pieces of equipment is the periscope device made by TACOMHQ (John Baker). This device provides an optical shift to the image which allows you to get more elevation for those long shots. Also, the refinement of fire control (ballistic) solutions has really played a role in getting shooters centered up for their first shots.”

“This tournament highly favors first-round impacts with the scoring system, so the approach of ‘walking the shots on’, isn’t a winning strategy. Those who employed accurate ballistics solvers were able to score more first round hits, and pile up the points. First and second place (at least) were using Applied Ballistics solvers to center their shots. We’re looking forward to even more advancements and making these ELR shots even out to two miles more commonplace in the future thru systematically applying the Science of Accuracy.”

The winning Applied Ballistics Team:
King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

Bonus Video — Interview with David Tubb at KO2M

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, News 11 Comments »
September 27th, 2016

Bolt Configuration: The Benefits of Weakside Bolt Placement

left port McMillan Rifle

Most bolt-action rifle shooters work the bolt with their trigger-pulling hand. This is because most rifles sold to right-handed shooters come with right-side bolts, while “lefty” rifles come with left-side bolts. This “standard” configuration requires the shooter to take his dominant, trigger-pulling hand off the stock to cycle the bolt, then re-position his hand on the stock, and “re-claim” the trigger. Often the shooter must lift or move his head to work the bolt, and that also requires him to re-establish his cheek weld after each and every shot. Not good.

This really doesn’t make much sense for precision shooting with fore-end support*. There is a better way. If you leave your trigger hand in position and work the bolt (and feed rounds) with the opposite hand, then you don’t need to shift grip and head position with each shot. All this requires is a weakside-placed bolt, i.e. a left bolt for a right-handed shooter or a right bolt for a left-handed shooter. The video below shows a “Lefty” working a right bolt. Note how efficient this is:

As our friend Boyd Allen explains: “If you think about it, if you are going to work with a factory action where your options are left bolt and left port or right bolt and right port, and you are building a rifle that will only be shot from a rest, using the left/left for a RH shooter or using a right/right for a LH shooter works better than the conventional configuration”.

Shoot Like a Champ and Work the Bolt with Your Weakside Hand
Derek Rodgers, the only person to have won BOTH F-Open and F-TR National Championships, runs this kind of “opposite” bolt set-up, shooting right-handed with a left bolt. Though Derek is a right-hander, he shoots with a Left Bolt/Left Port (LBLP) action. He shoots with his right hand on grip, while manipulating the bolt (and feeding rounds) with his non-trigger-pulling hand. He pulls the trigger with his right index finger, while working the left-side bolt with his left (weakside) hand. This allows him to stay in position, and maintain his cheekweld.

2013 National Championship-Winning Derek Rodgers Left Bolt/Left Port Rifle.
left port McMillan Rifle Derek Rodgers

left port McMillan Rifle Derek Rodgers

*For true standing, off-hand shooting (whether in competition or on a hunt), a conventional strongside bolt placement makes sense, since the non-dominant arm must support the front of the rifle all the time. When shooting from bipod or rest, it’s a different story.

Permalink - Videos, Competition, Shooting Skills 6 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 »
May 18th, 2016

Company Profile: Edgewood Shooting Bags and Gun Leather

Edgewood Rear Bag holster leathergoods Albuquerque New Mexico Derek Rodgers

Edgewood makes some of the best front and rear shooting bags you can buy. And the latest Edgewood rear bag is better than ever, with a new hybrid “slick material overlay”. This combines the shape retention and stability of leather ears, with slick, low-friction material where the stock rides. This “best of both worlds” solution delivers both bag stability and improved tracking. Derek Rodgers, the only man who has won BOTH the F-Open and F-TR National Championships, is using this new rear bag, and he says it’s excellent. He says his gun tracks great with the slick material on top of leather-based ears.

Edgewood Rear Bag holster leathergoods Albuquerque New Mexico Derek Rodgers

You’re probably familiar with Edgewood for its high-quality shooting accessories. You may not know that Edgewood also offers a full line of quality leather holsters. And we bet you didn’t know that Edgewood got its start making tack and bridles for horse riders. Here’s a short history of Edgewood Leather, a family-run business based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The History of Edgewood Leather

by Jack Snyder
I’ve always enjoyed working with leather and still do to this day. Something about starting with an idea and building a useful and hopefully, beautiful piece does it for me. There’s nothing like leather to stimulate my imagination. It brings out my creativity and makes me happy.

Edgewood Rear Bag holster leathergoods Albuquerque New Mexico Derek RodgersI began doing leatherwork as a kid, 12 or 13, and the first piece I made was a pair of shoes. Got a job in a leather shop in the late ’60s and made purses and belts, wallets and sandals — many pairs of sandals. I opened a small retail shop in Estes Park, CO and made even more of the same, adding vests, halter tops, hats, mountain man gear of all sorts from skunk hats to goat fur high-top moccasins.

After a decade or so, I became restless for something new and taught myself bridle work. I discovered a niche market with English riders who were always looking for beautiful, well-fitting show bridles and over a period of about twenty years developed and produced many products for these riders — numerous types of nosebands, breastplates, martingales, girths and many different varieties of reins. At the same time I observed that for every horse and rider there were at least two dogs trotting along beside. I began making dog products which closely resembled their horse buddies bridle work. Sales were good. Leashes, leads, halters and collars showed up at dog shows around the country. My bridles were worn by many champions in every horse discipline — dressage, show ring, hunter-jumpers, and my polo gear became popular among the players. All of that was fun and I’m still proud of those products (still being made today), but it was time for a change. I sold my interest to my partner and tried to retire. Didn’t work, though.

My plan was to shoot benchrest matches, as many as I could. And I did for some time and loved every minute. I’ve made many friends among the shooters, discovering early on that these people are the most interesting, smart folks a guy could ever associate with. To the man, they’ll share what they know with you and even hand you their gun when yours malfunctions during a match, and grin and slap you on the back when you beat ‘em with it!

When I was getting started in benchrest, one aspect of the game was somewhat disappointing to me-the quality and stability of the shooting bags. It was natural with my past leather experience to make what I thought would be a better product. I cobbled up a couple of bags and went to a match in Oklahoma. All hell broke loose. Most of the shooters had to have one. By the end of the summer, I had so many orders for shooting bags, I couldn’t keep up the pace. I was improving the designs, based on the shooters telling me what worked and didn’t work. I was adding new products, experimenting with materials, processes and configurations and having a great time. Completely by accident, Edgewood Shooting Bags was born. My wife Cindy and my two kids Jackie and Aaron jumped in and we became a bag-making machine — always looking to improve and expand upon the products. Jackie’s husband Ryan joined us several years ago and together, we’ve made a pretty awesome team.

Edgewood Rear Bag holster leathergoods Albuquerque New Mexico Derek Rodgers

Edgewood’s New Line of Leather Holsters
Since we’re all avid shooters with many handguns among us, the next logical product to add to our catalog would be a line of high-quality leather holsters. For the last year or so, we’ve come up with what we believe to be the most comfortable, elegant holster out there. Affordably priced, these holsters are are available in many different styles and configurations, for both outside carry and concealed carry.

Latest Rear Bag Design — Leather Ears with ‘Slick Material Overlay’
Edgewood constantly strives to improve its products. Witness the new “slick material overlay” bag ears. This is a major design improvement over our regular “slick ears”. The development of the overall design all started when we noticed some shooters applying household products like talcum powder or dryer sheets to the ears of their bag in an effort to reduce friction and speed up their rifle’s return to battery. We found a material that would achieve this function without the need to raid their wife’s pantry for powders or laundry accessories and began sewing the ears up using this “microscopic glass bead impregnated” fabric. We were happy with the results. However, we soon began to realize that the slick material could have the longevity of our nylon as well as its slick properties, if we found a way to increase its thickness without causing wrinkles or inconsistencies.

Edgewood Rear Bag holster leathergoods Albuquerque New Mexico Derek Rodgers

First, we ended up hunting down some similar fabric with a much higher strength and thickness. It even has a fireproof backing that makes it far more durable — even if shooters aren’t planning on exposing it to temperatures higher than the Arizona desert can offer. This material was definitely superior and even more representative of the quality and durability that shooters have come to expect from products wearing the Edgewood logo. We didn’t stop there, either.

We started experimenting with a way to combine our toughest ear design, which is made from soft leather, with the slick material to create the best of both worlds. We deemed it the “slick overlay” option and many of the world’s top shooters now swear by it. There is no compromise with this ear set — shooters gain all of the advantages of the slick material, in addition to durability and consistency that exceeds even our tried and true nylon ears. Many of our original bags have been punished by shooters for over a decade and are still performing. We expect this design to last even longer.

Edgewood Rear Bag holster leathergoods Albuquerque New Mexico Derek Rodgers

Keeping ahead of the curve with innovations that create and help propel evolution in the sport is a signal of our commitment to retain our status into the future. Along with other new products like our second generation of concealed and open carry holsters, range bags for sighting in hunting rifles, radius front bags for AR-style rifles, camouflage color options and more — we even have a new logo for 2016. Check us out online or give us a call. We’re ready to meet the demands of shooters — from Benchrest and F-Class to concealed carry and IDPA.

Jack Snyder
President – Edgewood Shooting Bags and Gun Leather

Permalink - Articles, New Product 2 Comments »
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 »
September 21st, 2015

Profile of Derek Rodgers — F-Class Legend Shares His Secrets

Derek Rodgers Team Sinclair F-TR F-Open F-Class New Mexico

Derek Rodgers is a member of the Team Sinclair F-TR squad. This talented group of shooters hasn’t lost a team match in years. What’s the secret of Team Sinclair’s success? Well there is not one single factor. These guys have very accurate rifles, work hard on load development, and practice in all conditions. In this interview, Derek Rodgers talks about long range competition, reviewing the hardware (and skill set) it takes to win. He offers some great tips on developing loads. You’ll find a longer version of this interview on the Sinclair Int’l website. CLICK HERE to Read Full Interview.

Derek Rodgers BIOGRAPHY
Derek Rodgers (Albuquerque, NM), is the only shooter to have won BOTH the F-Open and F-TR National Championships. Derek shot his first NRA sanctioned-match in 2007, and just three years later Derek won the 2010 F-Open Nationals. He also won the 2013 F-TR Nationals, making him the only person to win both divisions. He has won other major F-TR matches, including the 2013 Sinclair East Coast Nationals and the 2015 Berger SW Nationals. Derek holds the current 1000-yard, 20-shot, National F-TR Record (200-12X). Derek enjoys spending his time outdoors with his wife and two daughters, ages 12 and 7. He is blessed by his faith and supported by his family. Derek’s goal is to pass on what he has learned to the next generation.

Q: What is your favorite reloading product?
I really like my BenchSource Case Annealer. There is something about watching fire that I find relaxing. I can watch those shells go around the wheel for hours.

Q: What’s your preferred front rest or bipod?
I’m currently using a Duplin bipod. At 17.2 ounces it allows me a solid platform to shoot from and the extra wiggle room to make weight with a heavy barrel and Nightforce NXS scope. Also, I can’t do without my board under the bipod. We shoot off sand at my local range and in most cases the feet will tend to dig holes if not supported. The board is necessary gear for me.

Q: What rear bag do you use?
I have an Edgewood bag that I’ve used for years. Recently, I got a SEB Bigfoot and like how it supports the gun and stays put under recoil.

Q: Explain your load development process. What’s your methodology?
I have two log books that have many combinations that work with 308s. I have tried to keep detailed notes in these books. Now I am reaping the rewards, as I can go back to a particular twist and barrel length and find something very close. I usually start with 3-shot groups and check the chamber behavior. If something looks promising I will go back to the range and load up 6-shot groups. If those shoot well, I take it to a match to verify it in a 20-shot string. If it passes that test it is either good to go or I table it and try another. I tend to pick mild loads that the cartridge shoots well — consistently.

Q: What piece of shooting gear helps your load development?
I use a MagnetoSpeed Chronograph to record velocities. Then I can slow down or speed up my loads to reach an accuracy node. It is amazing that most barrels will shoot very accurately when fired at certain known velocity nodes.

Q: What optics do you find most useful?
I would say Nightforce NXS Scopes.

Q: What do you carry in your range bag on Match days?
Multi-piece Brownells tool set, RX Glasses, Sunglasses, Range Rod, Towel, Empty Chamber Indicators, Jacket, Sunscreen, Foam Ear Protection, Ear Muffs, Data Book, Plot Sheets, Pen, Clip Board, iPod with ballistic data, and chewing gum.

Team Sinclair Int'l Nationals

Q: How did you get started shooting?
I was raised in New Mexico where outdoor activities are abundant. Once my father introduced me to a Crossman pellet gun, all I wanted to do was shoot and refine my skills. Shooting evolved into hunting and then into perfecting my skills in off-season matches. Shooting local F-Class matches made me better as a marksman. Now I feel like I am competitive with anyone. However, I will never forget that my roots started with hunting and still cherish the opportunity to hunt…

Q: What do you find most challenging? How do you learn from mistakes?
What I find most challenging about precision shooting sports is how great shooters are able to reflect on what was learned — both positively and negatively. It is important to slow down and perform this step. Stopping to reflect and learn from mistakes I’ve made on the firing line is challenging. Not many people enjoy accurately critiquing themselves. Also the wind usually blows here in New Mexico and choosing the right time to shoot and to stop is important. It’s often tempting to try to finish out a string of fire. But sometimes challenging yourself to quit and wait out some wind will pay off[.]

Q: What advice do you have for selecting a gunsmith?
The best recommendation I can give is for a person to get to know a gunsmith. If you can find a local gunsmith that is available — even better! If you run into a snag along the way, it is so nice to be able to work it out without sending things back and forth. Be honest, realistic with your expectations and tell the gunsmith what you want. If he only wants to do things his way, or takes extra or excessive time in meeting the goals, you may want to consider someone else.

Q: Who would you recommend for stock work on your rifle?
Alex Sitman from Master Class Stocks and Doan Trevor can build or fix most anything.

Q: What do you do to mentally prepare before a shooting competition?
I relax and try to remember I do this for fun. I anticipate what game plan I want to go to the line with. I also try to take small snapshots of the conditions. I do not like getting overloaded with staring down a spotting scope for long periods of time. I try not to get overwhelmed with the match and just shoot my game. My approach is “One shot at a time — good or bad”. I will usually tell my scorer what I’m going to do so he or she is ready as well.

Q: What advice would you give to novice competitors?
Partner up with an experienced shooter that is ranked nationally. Mentoring under a veteran shooter would be the best way to help save time learning instead of experimenting. Chances are an experienced shooter has already tried what you are considering. As a new shooter, do not get sucked into reading all of the opinionated blogs on the internet. Stick to good information. AccurateShooter.com | 6mmBR.com is a great resource with a wealth of information from knowledgeable writers. That site has articles that are based from facts and/or industry news and information.

Q: What is something you would NOT recommend before a shoot?
I do not recommend coming unprepared. If you are late, scrambling around, or do not have your gear in order, you will not perform at your best.

Q: How many rounds do you shoot in a year and how often do you practice?
I shoot 3000+ rounds a year. I try to shoot 1 x a week if I can get away in the evening or on the weekend. If I am close to finding a load I may try to get out more until I exhaust that load as an option. So there may be occasions that I will try to shoot three times a week. Fortunately, the winters are mild in New Mexico and it allows me to shoot year round. I actually shoot more when it is colder. The summer sun here can create mirage that makes it nearly impossible to learn anything.

Permalink - Articles, Shooting Skills, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
June 27th, 2015

New F-TR Stock from McMillan

McMillan Fiberglass Stock F-Class F/tr F-TR Derek Rodgers Sinclair

McMillan has developed a new stock for F-TR competition. The front half is like a prone stock while the rear section has a straight underside (toe) section for smooth tracking in the rear bag. This stock appears to be designed for hard-holding, with a vertical grip and a fairly tall adjustable cheekpiece. The stock weighs just five pounds complete with adjusting hardware, so F-TR rigs built with this new stock should “make weight” easily. (The F-TR limit is 8.25kg or 18.188 pounds including bipod.)

Paul Phillips of Team Sinclair revealed the new McMillan stock on his Facebook page. Paul reports: “McMillan has been a leader in the industry for 40 years. I can’t thank the McMillan family enough for all they have done for our Military, Law Enforcement and Competitive shooting communities. Kelly McMillan and Team Sinclair worked together on what stock profile and features would be the best for FTR competition and this is what came out of the oven. Kelly also came up with some strong, super-light hardware that put the entire weight of the finished stock after bedding at 5 pounds even.

After Alex Sitman from Masterclass Stocks bedded my new stock, he told me that this new stock design is a true work of art and will fill a huge void in F-TR. Derek Rodgers set the current 1000-Yard F-TR record, 200-12X, with a McMillan prone-style stock. Team Sinclair holds the current 1000-Yard Team Record, 792-38X, and McMillan also contributed to that. McMillan [helps sponsor] the USA F-TR Team and Team Sinclair. Team USA will also be using these stocks in the upcoming 2017 World Championships hosted in Ottawa, Canada.”

Making Weight in F-TR — Every Ounce Counts

One Facebook reader asked why the new F-TR stock was so light. Here is Paul’s response:

Question: Paul, 5 pounds seems a little light. My Anschutz [stock] is heavier. Wouldn’t you want a heavier stock for stability, particularly for long range shooting?

Answer: It’s a fine line making an 18.18-pound weight limit. We need longer barrels to get the velocity to push 185- and 200-grain bullets. We also have a scope and bipod that add weight. It’s a balancing act. As I mentioned before, the current National record is with the same weight McMillan prone stock, just different profile. It works.

Permalink Competition, New Product No Comments »
November 2nd, 2014

Jim Crofts and Emil Kovan Top Field at U.S. F-Class Championships

Congratulations to James Crofts (F-TR) and to Emil Kovan (F-Open), our new 2014 F-Class U.S. National Champions. Crofts, F-TR Team USA Vice-Captain, won the F-TR Title with a 1574-59X score. Emil Kovan took the F-Open National Championship with a 1587-83X. Well done, gentlemen!

Battle of the Ages in F-TR Division
USA F-TR teammates James Crofts and Derek Rodgers entertained all with a 3-day battle that will be remembered for many years to come. James Crofts took home the title of US F-TR National Champion by just one point, scoring 1574-59X to Derek’s 1573-65X. These two great shooters, both at the top of their game, were neck and neck right down to the final shot. Rodgers had the higher X-Count but fell just one point short. He was shooting Berger 200gr Match Hybrid bullets with Varget powder. Crofts was also shooting heavy .30-caliber projectiles.

The battle between James Crofts (left) and Derek Rodgers (right) went down to the wire.
F-Class 2014 Championship Phoenix

In the F-TR Division, William Litz was third with 1563-58X. Brad Sauve, 3-Time National Champ, was close behind, with 1563-54X, to finish fourth in a very high-scoring event.

F-Class 2014 Championship Phoenix

James wanted to give credit to others who helped him along the way: “There are a lot of people that I need to thank that have helped me in my quest to become the U.S. National Champion, twice. First, I thank my family for giving me there unconditional support throughout it all. Second is Ray Bowman of Precision Rifle and Tool, he builds the best F-Class rifles in my opinion hands down. The rifle I used was the second F-TR rifle Ray has built for me. Thank you Ray.

Next, [I want to thank] all my teammates from the NorthState X-Men: Phil Kelley, Tracy Hogg, Joseph Conley, Mike Hardy, Ian Klemm and Radoslaw Czupryna. Your quest for perfection and determination make us all better and it is my honor to be your coach and captain.

F-Class 2014 Championship Phoenix

Last [I want to thank] all my team mates from F-TR Team USA — thank you all. I just hope I can represent our growing sport in a positive manner. — James E Crofts, 2012 and 2014 F-TR US FTR National Champion

Congratulations to all those who participated in the 2014 F-Class National Championship. There were many superb performances at this event, and new National individual and team records were set in Phoenix this past week. F-Class continues to grow in popularity, and with each passing year, the standard of precision improves, and the competition gets tougher.

F-Class 2014 Championship Phoenix

Medal photo by Shiraz Balolia, Captain of Team Grizzly, winners of the F-Open Team Championship.

Permalink Competition No Comments »
September 10th, 2013

F-TR Nat’l Champion Derek Rodgers Shares His Winning Secrets

While attending the 2013 F-Class World Championships at Raton, we had a chance to talk with Derek Rodgers, who had just been named the 2013 U.S. F-TR National Champion. Derek’s F-TR Win at Raton makes him the only shooter to have won U.S. F-Class National titles in both F-Open and F-TR divisions. Derek was excited about his performance at Raton: “F-TR was my first love in competitive shooting and [winning the F-TR title] has always been a personal goal to achieve”. In this Q&A session, Derek tells us about his rifles and his Nationals-winning .308 Winchester load. Derek also provides some advice for new shooters in the F-TR game.

Derek Rodgers 2013 F-TR USA U.S. national champion

Q: Readers want to know about your rifle. How did your select your stock, action, and bipod? And tell us about working with your gunsmith Doan Trevor and the quality of his work.

Derek: For my F-TR project, I carefully chose as many lightweight components as possible, without compromising performance. I wanted to put the weight savings (from light components) into a heaver, stiffer barrel. The rifle features a left port, left bolt Kelbly F-Class Panda action fitted with a Kelbly trigger. The stock was acquired as an uncut blank. It’s a McMillan Prone stock and is very comfortable in design. It also has a nice vertical pistol grip and gentle palm swell. This makes getting behind the gun feel very natural. [Editor’s Note: Though Derek is a right-hander, he shoots with a Left bolt-Left port action. This allows him to stay in the shooting position, right hand on grip, while manipulating the bolt (and feeding rounds) with his non-trigger-pulling hand.]

CLICK on Rifle Photos for Full-Screen Versions

Derek Rodgers 2013 F-TR USA U.S. national champion
Rifle photos by Dennis Welker.

Derek Rodgers 2013 F-TR USA U.S. national champion

Derek Rodgers 2013 F-TR USA U.S. national champion doan trevor gunsmithDoan Trevor built the entire rifle. Doan even made all of the hardware on the gun. Doan was able to drop pounds vs. ounces as a result. Doan’s 3-way butt-plate hardware alone weighs just half a pound! Doan was highly attentive in helping me build the gun the way I wanted. His bedding and fitment is clean and he has creative ideas for the competitive shooter. While my stock is fiberglass, Doan really shines when it comes to building stocks from wood blanks. In fact, Doan built the stock used by second-place finisher Lige Harris, and also fourth-place Trudie Fay. I feel fortunate to have Doan so close. He’s truly a master craftsman who can quickly turn a project into reality.

I chose a Bartlein barrel on this rifle. It is an 1:11″ twist, 32″ long, heavy-contour barrel to stabilize heavy bullets. This barrel was a real hummer from the start. I shot six shells over the chronograph to determine initial chamber behavior and all six loads shot into 1 hole at 100 yards. Each cartridge had 0.5 grains increase in powder. That’s never happened to me before.

Derek Rodgers 2013 F-TR USA U.S. national champion

Up front, I used a Duplin Bipod. It weighs just 17.2 ounces and is made in North Carolina by Clint Cooper and supplied through Brownells/Sinclair. It is a new product for them and it has already proved to be an extremely lightweight, solid platform. Kelbly rings and an NXS 8-32X scope top the rifle off.

Q: Could you talk about your experience shooting at Raton — dealing with the challenging winds. Did you have any strategy going into the Nationals? Did that change?

Derek: The Raton winds can be intimidating to a person that has never shot there before. In fact, one of the first comments I heard was that it was ugly and nasty out there as the flags ripped straight out to the NW. I glanced downrange and thought it looked like another beautiful New Mexico day (being from NM does have its perks). There is usually no shortage of big wind out here. I’m fortunate to shoot 1K matches locally at a Del Norte Gun Range located outside of Albuquerque. It prepared me to shoot when I can see the mirage and proceed with caution when I can’t. It is the same elevation as the Whittington Center and gives me true testing with actual come-ups that will work dead on at both ranges. My strategy going in to the match was to shoot heavy 200 grain Berger hybrid bullets. I felt like it was the best compromise between BC and velocity. My load held an incredibly flat water-line and that gave me the confidence to either shoot through the entire string in tough wind or stop and wait until the switching winds returned to what I like to see. I was fortunate to pick the correct wind-sets and jump in when I needed to — or wait when the mirage didn’t look right. It paid off as I saw competitors’ targets raised with wide ring spotters. A few times I watched my clock and let a couple relays tick down to the last several minutes before finishing. The winds are quite challenging here and wind pickups and let-offs are huge! The wind calls are definitely magnified in Raton.

Derek Rodgers 2013 F-TR USA U.S. national champion

Q: You are the only shooter to have won both the F-Open and F-TR U.S. National Championships. How would you compare and contrast F-Open vs. F-TR?

Derek: Now that I’ve won both F-TR and F-Open National titles, I have finally captured the elusive F-TR national victory. F-TR was my first love in competitive shooting and [winning the F-TR title] has always been a personal goal to achieve. I could not be happier to win in my home state with a spectacular level of expertise in attendance. You really need to remain 100% focused in F-TR and try not to miss any condition change. If you do, you will pay dearly as the .308 Win just doesn’t have the extra horsepower to plow through the minor wind changes like Open guns can. Needless to say, F-Open shooters have their hands full in Raton as well; high BCs and fast, booming magnums aren’t the only way to get good scores. Open shooters need to be just as in-tune with the wind. Most of the Open Class shooters use sophisticated rests and cartridges superior to the .308 Win. However, I saw rough conditions disrupt many top shooters as they handed over their score cards to line officers. Although not in a front rest, I have learned to manage my F-TR gun to keep it tracking straight back under recoil. I had two main concerns in Raton this year with my F-TR rifle: 1) Keep all my shots on paper even if the winds blow 25+ mph; and 2) do NOT shoot another target! It’s very easy to do if your bipod slides over during recoil. That was less of a concern for me when I shot Open. Open Class rifles have a more stable foundation that stays in place better. However, just one crossfire at this level will take you out of contention to win anything in Open or F-TR. Both classes are very tough these days on the upper level and you can’t afford to give away points.

Derek Rodgers 2013 F-TR USA U.S. national champion

Q. What was your load for Raton and did you have to make any adjustments for the altitude or temperature?

Derek: My load for the upcoming Nationals was something I used earlier in the year to win the 2013 East Coast Sinclair Nationals: Berger 200gr Hybrids, Lapua brass, Varget powder, Wolf LR primers. I felt it was very consistent against some of the best F-TR shooters around. However, my biggest concern was my load being over-pressured in late summer. It was a hot year in New Mexico. In June, I made a couple trips to Raton and discovered my loads that I felt were safe were actually on the hot side. I tested locally in the heat of the day vs. calm cool mornings. I also spent quite a bit of time studying past load data / temperatures and came up with a game plan to work with what I had. I kept my fingers crossed that the ambient temperature would stay in the low 80s. I knew my load shot well from 50-80 degrees, but above that and I thought I may have problems with the groups coming apart late in a string. I saw this happen to me in the past with temp-stable powders in a .308 Win. In fact, .308 Win loads become much more critical when pushing the cartridge to its full capacity. Had the temps been in the mid to upper 90s, I’m sure the rifle would have shot differently.

Derek Rodgers 2013 F-TR USA U.S. national champion

Q: What advice would you offer to someone getting started in F-TR competition?

Derek: I think shooting F-TR has allowed me to really get an idea of what the wind is doing. If a new shooter is interested in trying it, the best tips I can offer is to partner up with a few experienced shooters that know how to hand-load carefully and compare shooting notes. This helps someone get traction with proven methods. Another tip would be to get matches under your belt–at different ranges. It may seem trivial, but each range is different. The shooter may benefit by seeing something that he hasn’t encountered before. The other thing I’d suggest to new shooters is not to worry about your score when starting. Keep shooting. More trigger time is key. I’d recommend working on eliminating your lowest ring value first. For example, if you’re lowest score was a 6, next match try to only shoot better than 7s. Once that is eliminated work on your 8s. When you consistently shoot 9s and 10s then you can be assured that your technique is solid and manageable. Higher scores and Xs will come….

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing 4 Comments »
April 24th, 2013

Sinclair International 2013 East Coast Nationals

Sinclair Derek RogersThe first-ever Sinclair International East Coast Fullbore Nationals (ECN) was held at Camp Butner (NC) on April 18-21, 2013. Hosted by the North State Shooting Club, this first-time Sinclair ECN attracted many of the nation’s top shooters, and we know the event will grow in popularity in the years to come. The Camp Butner range served up very challenging conditions for the four-day competition. This match definitely offered shooters a chance to test their wind-reading skills.

There was a strong turn-out with 27 F-TR shooters, 21 sling shooters, and 9 F-Open competitors. A Team Match event followed the regular match relays each day. The firing points consisted of 300, 500, and 600 yards each day plus a long range portion. This included 900- and 1000-yard segments shot on alternating days. This enabled shooters to test their skills twice at each long distance firing point.

Blustery, Switchy Winds — and Nearby Tornado Warnings
For the first two days of the match, temps were in mid 80s and there were blustery tail-winds that switched in erratic fashion. The final two days of the 4-day match gave shooters the opposite conditions with opposing headwinds and highs in the 60s. This kept shooters on their toes as wind values and directions constantly shifted from left to right and back again. In the afternoon, winds increased with pick-ups that pushed 25+ mph. To top that, as the shooters pressed on to complete their relays, local radio stations were broadcasting tornado warnings for three counties to the west.

Sinclair Int’l East Coast Nationals Individual Match Winners:

1st F-TR: Derek Rodgers, 1741-62X
2nd F-TR: Tracy Hogg, 1737-59X
3rd F-TR: Philip Kelley, Jr., 1734-67X
1st F-Open: Kenny Adams, 1767-71X
2nd F-Open: Bret Solomon, 1752-74X
3rd F-Open: Danny Biggs, 1750-72X
1st Fullbore: Kent Reeve, 1770-94X
2nd Fullbore: John Friguglietti, 1764-79X
3rd Fullbore: Norman Crawford, 1754-78X

Pete LaBerge and F-TR Winner Derek Rodgers
Sinclair Derek Rogers

AUDIO CLIP: Derek Rodgers talks about the F-TR equipment race — how advancements in bullets, bipods, and gear have “raised the bar” in F-TR competition. Click “Play” to hear Audio. [haiku url=”http://accurateshooter.net/Video/derekrodgerstalks.mp3″ Title=”Derek RodgersTalks”]

Sinclair Derek Rogers

Team Sinclair Wins and Sets Pending National Record
Team Sinclair scored an impressive win over some very tough F-TR competitors. The Team amassed a 1538-40X collective score, which appears to break the existing NRA National Record (pending NRA verification). Remarkably, with this record-breaking ECN victory, Team Sinclair now remains undefeated in match competition. Team Sinclair consists of wind coach Ray Gross and shooters Paul Phillips, Brad Sauve, Jeff Rorer and Derek Rodgers. The team was shooting Berger bullets, but of varying weights. Derek Rodgers tells us: “I was shooting 200gr Berger Hybrids, with CCI primers and Lapua brass. Other team members were using 185gr Berger BT bullets, with either Federal and CCI primers in Lapua brass. We have predominantly been using Hodgden Varget powder for most of our .308 Win loads. In selecting bullets, accuracy is key, as is a high BC to stay competitive at long distances. Berger produces high-BC bullet designs that are also super-consistent dimensionally, thus leading to more accuracy. Berger offers many .30-Cal bullet options, designs, and weights. That’s important in F-TR because we have to pick a bullet that works with the .308 Win’s case capacity. Choosing a bullet from Berger’s vast line-up is a matter of fine-tuning what works best for each rifle.”

Team Sinclair (L to R): Wind Coach Ray Gross, Derek Rodgers, Paul Phillips, Jeff Rorer, Brad Sauve
Sinclair Derek Rogers

The BNX/21st CenturyShooting Rifle Team won the F-Open Team match with a score of 1516-43X. Members of this team are: Robert Burton, Luis Eljaiek, Tom Goodman, and Nikolas Taylor. Among the sling shooters, the local North State Shooting Club Team won the NRA Fullbore Prone team match with an aggregate score of 1552-61X. The team consisted of John Friguglietti, David Huskins, Norm Crawford, Russ Jones, and JP Young.

Participants agreed that Sinclair Int’l organized an excellent, well-run match. Shooters are looking forward to another great match next year and expressed their gratitude to Sinclair for sponsoring the program. CLICK HERE for complete Sinclair East Coast Nationals Match Results

Permalink Competition, News 4 Comments »