February 15th, 2018

Shooting on a Spinning Planet — The Coriolis Effect

Whittington Coriolis Effect
Photo by Dustin Ellermann at Whittington Center Range.

The Coriolis Effect comes into play with extreme long-range shots like this (2100 yards at Raton, NM). The rotation of the earth actually moves the target a small distance (in space) during the long duration of the bullet’s flight.

Coriolis Effect Bryan Litz Applied BallisticsWhen you’re out at the range, the Earth seems very stable. But it is actually a big sphere zooming through space while spinning around its axis, one complete turn every 24 hours. The rotation of the earth can create problems for extreme long-range shooters. During extended bullet flight times, the rotation of the planet causes an apparent deflection of the bullet path over very long distances. This is the ballistics manifestation of the Coriolis Effect.

Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics discusses explains the Coriolis Effect in his Ballistics Books and Seminars. Bryan notes that Coriolis is “a very subtle effect. People like to make more of it than it is because it seems mysterious.” In most common shooting situations inside 1K, Coriolis is not important. At 1000 yards, the Effect represents less than one click (for most cartridge types). Even well past 1000 yards, in windy conditions, the Coriolis Effect may well be “lost in the noise”. But in very calm conditions, when shooting at extreme ranges, Bryan says you can benefit from adjusting your ballistics solution for Coriolis.

Bryan explains: “The Coriolis Effect… has to do with the spin of the earth. You are basically shooting from one point to another on a rotating sphere, in an inertial reference frame. The consequence of that is that, if the flight time of the bullet gets significantly long, the bullet can have an apparent drift from its intended target. The amount [of apparent drift] is very small — it depends on your latitude and azimuth of fire on the planet.”

Coriolis Effect Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics

Coriolis is a very subtle effect. With typical bullet BCs and velocities, you must get to at least 1000 yards before Coriolis amounts to even one click. Accordingly, Bryan advises: “Coriolis Effect is NOT something to think about on moving targets, it is NOT something to think about in high, uncertain wind environments because there are variables that are dominating your uncertainty picture, and the Coriolis will distract you more than the correction is worth.”

“Where you could think about Coriolis, and have it be a major impact on your hit percentage, is if you are shooting at extended range, at relatively small targets, in low-wind conditions. Where you know your muzzle velocity and BC very well, [and there are] pristine conditions, that’s where you’re going to see Coriolis creep in. You’ll receive more refinement and accuracy in your ballistics solutions if you account for Coriolis on those types of shots. But in most practical long-range shooting situations, Coriolis is NOT important. What IS important is to understand is when you should think about it and when you shouldn’t, i.e. when applying it will matter and when it won’t.”

The Coriolis Effect — General Physics
The Coriolis Effect is the apparent deflection of moving objects when the motion is described relative to a rotating reference frame. The Coriolis force acts in a direction perpendicular to the rotation axis and to the velocity of the body in the rotating frame and is proportional to the object’s speed in the rotating frame.

A commonly encountered rotating reference frame is the Earth. The Coriolis effect is caused by the rotation of the Earth and the inertia of the mass experiencing the effect. Because the Earth completes only one rotation per day, the Coriolis force is quite small, and its effects generally become noticeable only for motions occurring over large distances and long periods of time. This force causes moving objects on the surface of the Earth to be deflected to the right (with respect to the direction of travel) in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere. The horizontal deflection effect is greater near the poles and smallest at the equator, since the rate of change in the diameter of the circles of latitude when travelling north or south, increases the closer the object is to the poles. (Source: Wikipedia)

Permalink Shooting Skills, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
December 24th, 2017

Junior Marksmanship Camps — Spring 2018 Openings Available

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

You may not know it, but Top Shot Champion Dustin Ellerman is not just a great shooter. He’s also a youth camp director. Dustin runs a Christian-oriented camp in Texas, Camp His Way. In spring 2018, the camp will offer weekend marksmanship camps for youngsters and teens. Dustin tells us that there are still a few spots available for the popular Kids’ Camp which offers a “Top Shot” type experience: “Dates are March 3-4, March 17-18 for kids ages 9-13. The Teen camp for April 7-8 only has one spot left.” The cost is reasonable — $270 per participant includes all meals, activities, gear and lodging for the weekend. The weekend programs are limited to 12 participants, which allows in-depth training.

Dustin Ellerman Camp His Way

Dustin says these camps have been very popular: “We’ve had great… positive feedback from the Marksmanship program — which you can see on our Facebook Page. And we have many happy campers who return each season. It is an experience to remember.”

Parents Can Participate in 2018
Dustin says parents can join the fun in 2018: “This year we are allowing parents to book to participate as well (extra fee applies). We had such heavy demand in years past, that we only allowed kids to participate. But this past fall we hosted some father/son camp experiences and it worked great.” For more information, visit Marksmancamp.com.

Marksmanship Training and Fun at Camp
By Dustin Ellermann
Fun, safety, and education are the main goals of Marksmanship Camp. As far as I know this is the only program available that allows kids and parents to experience such a vast array of marksmanship equipment and techniques. Marksmanship training helps kids not only master shooting accurately, but helps build life skills such as focus, patience, teamwork, communication, and critical thinking. We also include short life lessons with several of the shooting challenges that they can continue to apply personally.

Camp His Way Dustin Ellermann

Inspiration from our Marksmanship Program came from my time on the Top Shot TV show on the History Channel. After that I thought that it would be awesome to use our summer camp facilities for the same kind of experience for youngsters. So I built what I wanted to do, and just let the kids come and play. For instance, I wanted to shoot while flying down our camp zipline, so that’s our night-time activity — shooting a light- and laser-equipped paintball gun at targets while flying down the zipline.

The primitive and modern marksmanship challenges all include aspects of teamwork, accuracy, firearms handling, and strategy for your team to win.

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

At Camp His Way in Zavalla, Texas, Ellermann hosts weekend Marksmanship Camps for kids aged 9-13 and teens 14-18. The Christian-oriented camps focus on safety, marksmanship skills, and team building. Campers enjoy a host of fun skill-oriented activities: Airgun Shooting, Archery, Blowguns, Knife Throwing, Paintball Games, Slingshots, Tomahawk Throwing, and of course Rimfire Rifle Marksmanship with a variety of rifles.

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

The Kids’ (ages 9-13) Marksmanship Weekends cost $270. That fee includes all ammo, equipment, meals, lodging, team t-shirt, and one adult guest spectator. CLICK HERE to reserve a spot — a few openings are still available. And yes, this year parents can come along too.

Dustin Ellerman Camp His Way

Notice the young campers always wear ear and eye protection when shooting firearms. That’s as it should be. We wish adult shooters, including benchrest, smallbore, High Power, and F-Class competitors, followed this important safety practice.

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August 13th, 2017

P-Dogs Beware — Dustin’s Wicked Accurate 17 HMR

Volquartsen 17 HMR Dustin Ellermann 17 HMR

Top Shot former Champion Dustin Ellerman likes his Volquartsens, and we can see why. With his latest 17 HMR rimfire varminter, he’s seen some outstanding accuracy with CCI ammo. On his Facebook page, Dustin reports: “Prepping for prairie dogs and I’m floored by this cold, sub-half-inch group shot with the Volquartsen Custom 17 HMR at 100 yards.” This thumbhole-stock rifle features a Bowers Group USS suppressor, and 3-12x56mm Meopta Scope. Dustin tried different types of CCI 17 HMR ammo. This small group was shot with CCI A17 ammo.

Volquartsen 17 HMR Dustin Ellermann 17 HMR

A couple years back Dustin took another Volquartsen 17 HMR on a Prairie Dog hunt in Wyoming. He was impressed with the rifle (shown below) and the little rimfire cartridge. Dustin says the effective range of the 17 HMR is farther than one might expect: “I made hits out to 300 yards. 200 yards was easy as long as the wind wasn’t too bad.”

Here’s the Volquartsen 17 HMR Dustin used in Wyoming in 2015:
Volquartsen 17 HMR Dustin Ellermann 17 HMR

After that 2015 P-Dog expedition, Dustin became a fan of the 17 HMR cartridge: “Never paid it much attention before now because the ammo is five times more expensive than .22 LR and I mostly target shoot. However, for prairie dogs, the 17 HMR is amazing!” Consider this — Hornady’s 17 HMR ammo pushes a 17gr V-Max bullet at 2550 fps, twice as fast as typical .22 LR rounds.

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May 30th, 2017

Chain Detonation — What Happens When A Primer Stack Blows

RCBS Primer Progressive strip APS dillon detonation

What can happen when the bottom-most primer in a primer feed tube goes off? A big bang, that’s what. Some or all of the primers in the vertical feeding tube can go off in a chain detonation. That’s exactly what happened to Dustin Ellermann, Top Shot Season 3 Champion. Scary experience, but thankfully Dustin was not injured. He writes: “Super thankful that I was wearing my Wiley X eye protection this weekend when I was reloading some .223 rounds. My press detonated nearly 100 small rifle primers. Shown here is the magazine feed tube. Not fun but it could have been much worse. Stay safe!”

When working with progressive reloading presses, you should definitely wear eye protection. Dustin’s chain detonation experience proves that — without a doubt. Remember you only have one set of eyes!

RCBS APS Strips — Alternative to Primer Tubes
RCBS Primer Progressive strip APS dillon detonationWhen you stack a column of primers in a single metal tube, you’re asking for trouble. As Dustin Ellermann learned, when one primer fires, the entire column can follow suit in a chain detonation. Thankfully, you do have options when it comes to primer feeding on a progressive press. RCBS developed an innovative primer system for its Pro-2000 progressive press. Instead of being stored in a vertical tube, primers are placed in flat, plastic “APS” strips, with a ring of plastic separating each primer. Moving horizontally, primers are never stacked, so the chance of a chain detonation is reduced dramatically. The re-usable APS strips are color-coded for different primer types. You can buy CCI “pre-loaded” primer strips, or you can insert any brand of primers into strips using an RCBS strip-loader tool.

RCBS Pro-2000 with APS Strip Priming System

AccurateShooter.com Editor Uses Strip Primers
This Editor owns an RCBS Pro-2000 progressive press. The RCBS strip-priming system was one key reason I selected the RCBS Pro-2000 over similar-priced progressives from Dillon and Hornady. I believe the strip primer system is safer, more positive, and easier to use. Before I purchased my RCBS progressive, I “road-tested” the competition. I loaded hundreds of rounds on each of four different progressives: Dillon 550B, Dillon 650, Hornady Lock-N-Load, and RCBS 2000. I was concerned about the primer feed tubes on the Dillons, and I found the RCBS rotary powder measure was much more precise (and easier to adjust) than the sliding bar system on the Dillon machines. The RCBS priming system was definitely more fool-proof than the system on the Hornady press (a first-generation L-N-L that had issues with primer feeding). After “test-driving” blue, red, and green brand progressives extensively, I settled on the RCBS Pro-2000. A decade later, I still think I made the right choice. I like the APS strips for big jobs, and I can also use them in the RCBS hand-priming tool (shown below). With the strips, it’s easy to prime 20 or 40 cases at a time, and then switch to another type of primer for comparison testing.

RCBS Primer Progressive strip APS dillon detonation

APS Tool press mounted RCBSThe APS priming system also works with press-mounted priming tool, bench-mounted tool, and APS hand-tool. EdLongRange uses the press-mounted tool: “I also like the APS approach but use the press-mounted unit (saves your hands/wrists — and I haven’t had a need for a progressive press in over 20 years). Loading the primers in the strips is a bit of a PITA but very manageable. As with all tools there is a learning curve.” CLICK HERE for video showing strip-loading tool and press-mounted APS tool. The press-mounted tool is no longer in production, but you can still BUY IT HERE.

Permalink - Videos, Reloading, Tech Tip 10 Comments »
December 13th, 2016

Unique Holiday Gift — Coloring Book for Firearms Fans

Here’s a cool Christmas Gift item — a high-quality 70-page coloring book featuring firearms. If you have kids or grandkids that enjoy shooting or hunting, this could be a fun, interactive gift. (Heck we know some adults who would enjoy it too.) Offered by Top Shot Champ Dustin Ellermann, Full Metal Coloring features quotes from famous people and shooting tips from ace shooters such as Jerry Miculek and Bryan Zins. The WideOpenSpaces Blog says: “Forget abstract designs or run-of-the-mill shapes. Instead, get your hands on this cool coloring book full of guns.” The price is $11.99.

Product Description: Filled with humor, history and iconic images, Full Metal Coloring appeals to military, veterans, shooting sports athletes and hunters. Amusing quotes by Aristotle, Walter Cronkite, Wyatt Earp and more. Shooting tips by Jerry Miculek, Brian Zins, Jim Henderson and more!

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December 10th, 2016

Marksmanship Camps for Youngsters — Openings Available

Dustin Ellermann Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

Top Shot Champion Dustin Ellermann is not just a great shooter. He also directs a Christian-oriented youth program in Texas. In the spring of 2017, Dustin’s Camp His Way team will be offering weekend marksmanship camps for youngsters and teens. Dustin tells us that there are still a few spots available for the Kids’ Camps on February 25-26 and March 25-26, as well as the Teen Camp on March 11-12, 2017. These two-day Camps make a great holiday gift for youngsters. The programs are conducted at Camp His Way outside of Zavalla, Texas. For more information, visit Marksmancamp.com.

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

These weekend Marksmanship Camps are specially designed for kids aged 9-13 and teens 14-18. The Christian-oriented two-day camps focus on safety, marksmanship skills, and team building. Campers enjoy a host of fun skill-oriented activities: Airgun Shooting, Archery, Blowguns, Knife Throwing, Paintball Games, Slingshots, Tomahawk Throwing, and of course Rimfire Rifle Marksmanship with a variety of rifles. The Rimfire Rifle Marksmanship program features Volquartsen Custom Rifles, S&W M&P 15-22s, Ruger 10/22s, Savage bBolt Actions, and Henry Lever Actions.

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

The Kids’ (ages 9-13) Marksmanship Weekends cost $270. Teen (ages 14-18) Camps are $300.00. These fees include all ammo, equipment, meals, lodging, team t-shirt, and one adult guest spectator. Parents are welcome to attend and spectate, but participation in marksmanship activities is limited to the kids at this time. CLICK HERE to reserve a spot — a few openings are still available.

Dustin Ellerman Camp His Way

Notice the young campers always wear ear and eye protection when shooting firearms. That’s as it should be. We wish adult shooters, including benchrest, smallbore, High Power, and F-Class competitors, followed this important safety practice.

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December 26th, 2015

Spots Still Available for Texas Youth Marksmanship Camps

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

You may not know it, but Top Shot Champion Dustin Ellerman is not just a great shooter. He’s also a youth camp director. Dustin runs a Christian-oriented camp in Texas. This spring, the camp will be offering weekend marksmanship camps for youngsters and teens. Dustin tells us that there are still a few spots available for the popular Kids’ Camp which offers a “Top Shot” type experience: “We have openings for the Kids’ Camps on February 20-21 and February 27-28. These are for kids ages 9-13. Sorry but the March 5-6 Teen/Parent Camp is full.” For more information, visit Marksmancamp.com.

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

At Camp His Way in Zavalla, Texas, Ellermann hosts weekend Marksmanship Camps for kids aged 9-13 and teens 14-18. The Christian-oriented camps focus on safety, marksmanship skills, and team building. Campers enjoy a host of fun skill-oriented activities: Airgun Shooting, Archery, Blowguns, Knife Throwing, Paintball Games, Slingshots, Tomahawk Throwing, and of course Rimfire Rifle Marksmanship with a variety of rifles.

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

The Kids’ (ages 9-13) Marksmanship Weekends cost $270. That fee includes all ammo, equipment, meals, lodging, team t-shirt, and one adult guest spectator. Parents are welcome to attend and spectate, but participation in marksmanship activities is limited to the kids at this time. CLICK HERE to reserve a spot — a few openings are still available.

Dustin Ellerman Camp His Way

Notice the young campers always wear ear and eye protection when shooting firearms. That’s as it should be. We wish adult shooters, including benchrest, smallbore, High Power, and F-Class competitors, followed this important safety practice.

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August 24th, 2015

Whittington Ultra-Long Range — Ringing Steel at 2100 Yards

Dustin Ellermann NRA Whittington Mile Shot Long Range

Many of us dream of taking and making a shot at one mile (1760 yards). Well Top Shot Champion Dustin Ellermann pushed the envelope even farther during a recent ultra-long-range session at the NRA’s Whittington Center in New Mexico. On his Facebook page, Dustin wrote: “I earned the ‘One Mile+ Shot’ mancard this week with 1MOA Solutions. We reached out to 2,100 yards with the Barrett M99 .50 BMG out in the hills of the Whittington Center. You can see the target area marked in the center of the photo. This is a locked-down mountain range, with 30,000 acres.”

Bullet flight time was 3.7 seconds, drop was 94 MOA, velocity at target was only 1,100 fps. The 7,500′ elevation and a 5 degree down-slope helped the ballistics. Dustin reports: “About six seconds after impact you would hear the ‘ding’.” [Editor’s note: Yes it really takes roughly six seconds for sound to travel 2100 yards. The speed of sound at 7500′ elevation* is 1053.61 fps, or roughly 351.20 yards per second. The distance-to-target of 2100 yards divided by 351.2 works out to a 5.98 second time delay.]

One of Dustin’s friends commented: “We rarely think about what the bullet does after it exits, but seeing the 60% drop in velocity [over the trajectory] and how long it was actually in flight (3.7 seconds) makes these types of shots so amazing! Congrats to you making the One Mile + club!”

Dustin Ellermann NRA Whittington Mile Shot Long Range

*This is with temperature corrected -30° F below standard at sea level.

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August 19th, 2015

Dustin Dusts Wyoming P-Dogs with a 17 HMR

Dustin Ellermann Prarie Dog Wyoming Volquartsen 17 MHR Varmint Hunting

Dustin Ellermann Prarie Dog Wyoming Volquartsen 17 MHR Varmint HuntingTop Shot Champion Dustin Ellermann has been busy up in Wyoming slaying varmints. On his Facebook Page, Dustin wrote: “I’ve been helping some ranchers out with their prairie dog infestation in Wyoming. The 17 HMR Volquartsen Custom is amazing! The Meopta Sports Optics R1r is super nice as well. Can you guess how many prairie dogs I eliminated in two days?” (Facebook users post guesses HERE.)

Dustin says the effective range of the 17 HMR is farther than one might expect: “I made hits out to 300 yards. 200 yards was easy as long as the wind wasn’t too bad.”

Dustin was very impressed with the 17 HMR cartridge: “Never paid it much attention before now because the ammo is five times more expensive than .22 LR and I mostly target shoot. However, for prairie dogs, the 17 HMR is amazing!” Dustin is now a fan of the speedy rimfire round. Consider this — Hornady’s 17 HMR ammo pushes a 17gr V-Max bullet at 2550 fps, twice as fast as typical .22 LR rounds.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
December 16th, 2014

Youngsters Learn Outdoor Skills at Texas Marksmanship Camp

Wondering what to give a niece, nephew, or one of the grand-kids this Christmas? Well how about giving them something special — a 5-day camping experience, hosted by Top Shot’s Dustin Ellermann. Dustin reports that: “Youth Marksmanship Camp 2015 Spring Break Dates have been announced, and folks are grabbing them up as Christmas presents. Visit Marksmancamp.com to learn more….”

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

At Camp His Way in Zavalla, Texas, Ellermann hosts weekend Marksmanship Camps for kids aged 9-13 and teens 14-18. The Christian-oriented camps focus on safety, marksmanship skills, and team building. Campers enjoy a host of fun skill-oriented activities: Airgun Shooting, Archery, Blowguns, Knife Throwing, Paintball Games, Slingshots, Tomahawk Throwing, and of course Rimfire Rifle Marksmanship with a variety of rifles. Spots are now available for three weekends in March 2015:

March 10-11, 2015 – Kids Marksmanship Camp, Ages 9-13
March 13-14, 2015 – Teen Marksmanship Camp, Ages 14-18
March 20-21, 2015 – Kids Marksmanship Camp, Ages 9-13

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

The Camp Weekend cost $270 for kids 9-13 and $300 for teens 14-18. This fee includes all ammo and equipment, meals and lodging, and a team t-shirt. CLICK HERE to reserve a spot this spring.

Dustin Ellerman Camp His Way

Notice the young campers always wear ear and eye protection when shooting firearms. That’s as it should be. We wish adult shooters, including benchrest, smallbore, High Power, and F-Class competitors, followed this important safety practice.

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September 9th, 2013

Top Shot Champ Trains Youngsters at Marksmanship Camp

camp his way marksmanship camp Dustin EllermannYou probably know Dustin Ellermann from the Top Shot TV show. Dustin, a self-trained “natural” marksman, was the Season 3 Champion. You may not know that Dustin also runs a Christian Camp for young people, Camp His Way. One of the Camp’s special programs is a weekend marksmanship camp taught by Dustin.

Multi-Activity Marksmanship Camp
At these sessions, the young campers get to shoot, practice archery, throw tomahawks, ride horses, and even try out blow-guns. Dustin reports: “This past weekend we had another amazing Marksmanship Camp. We had a great group of campers and of course lots of fun shooting/throwing/riding/slinging! Thanks to all our sponsors for helping us make this weekend awesome: 5.11 Tactical, Elzetta Design, NextLevel Training, Volquartsen Custom, GhostTargets.com, Cold Steel and more.” CLICK for equipment list.

camp his way marksmanship camp Dustin Ellermann

camp his way marksmanship camp Dustin Ellermann

camp his way marksmanship camp Dustin Ellermann

camp his way marksmanship camp Dustin Ellermann

Notice the young campers always wear ear and eye protection when shooting firearms. That’s as it should be. We wish adult shooters, including benchrest, smallbore, High Power, and F-Class competitors, followed this important safety practice.

camp his way marksmanship camp Dustin Ellermann

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August 23rd, 2013

Top Shot Champ Demonstrates Long-Range Tomahawk Accuracy

Here’s a remarkable feat of accuracy. But this “trick shot” is not made with a rifle — it’s performed with a Tomahawk. Top Shot Season 3 Champion Dustin Ellermann shows off his “Tomahawk Sniper” skills by hitting a target at 60 feet. Flying over that distance, the Cold Steel Norse Hawk makes five full rotations before hitting the wood target. Dustin’s first throw planted solidly in the wood. That was impressive enough. But Dustin’s second throw hits dead-center, bursting the blue balloon. Ellermann’s tomahawk-tossing skills are impressive, but we do wonder what the Ballistic Coefficient (BC) of that spinning long-handled ‘hawk would be. Watch the video — we bet you’ll enjoy this.

Cold Steel Norse Hawk Tomahawk

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June 23rd, 2012

Savage Range Day in Texas with Dustin Ellermann

Savage Arms is sponsoring a series of range days this year, at locations around the country. Savage provides the guns, and the ammo (limited quantity allocated to each shooter). The latest range day is happening today, June 23, at the Evans Brothers Range in Huntington, Texas. A popular shooting personality, Top Shot Season 3 winner Dustin Ellermann, will be on hand to provide shooting tips and meet the participants. If you’re anywhere near Huntington today, head out to the range and have fun. Dustin writes on his Facebook page: “Want to come shoot with me? I’ll be at Evan’s Brothers Guns in Huntington this Saturday (June 23) from 9:00 – 12:00 demoing some sweet Savage Arms rifles.” Here are some photos from last year’s Savage Range Day at Evans Brothers Range:

Savage

Savage

Savage

Story Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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October 31st, 2011

Texan Dustin Ellermann Wins Season 3 Top Shot Title

Editor’s Note: We told you last week that Dustin Ellermann was the best natural marksman among Top Shot Season 3 competitors, and sure enough Dustin proved it, with a totally dominating performance in the final head-to-head battle. And before that Dustin made what was probably the most difficult rifle shot ever on Top Shot — hitting a golf ball with a .22LR rifle at 100 yards — with no sighter shots and no windflags. You try that sometime. It ain’t easy, even with a rimfire benchrest rifle and $15/box ammo.

In winning the Top Shot Season 3 title, Dustin, a self-taught shooter in his first-ever real competition, beat 15 other skilled marksman, most with much more impressive “shooting resumes”. Displaying poise, speed, and superior accuracy, Dustin proved he had the “right stuff”. Time and time again, Dustin sent “big name” shooters (with years of competition experience) packing. And throughout the Top Shot season, Dustin, a Christian Camp Director, exhibited good sportsmanship, unlike one foul-mouthed ex-Navy SEAL. Bravo, Dustin — you deserved this victory.

Top Shot Season 3 Dustin

Dustin Ellermann from Zavalla, Texas Wins $100,000 Top Shot Prize
The good thing about being sent to the elimination round on the The History Channel’s Top Shot TV show is that you get to shoot some pretty cool weapons. Everything from full-auto pistols to Gatling Guns. Bad news is you could be going home. For Dustin Ellermann, that possibility almost became reality during the first round of the season finale. Escaping elimination, Ellermann went on to win the overall title in a rout, soundly trouncing second-place “Big Mike” Hughes.

In the closing credits, Dustin said: “I came, I shot, I won. My victory proves that, hey, normal everyday people can be good shooters and can have fun doing it. I actually won this thing!”

Starting with a Glock 34s and a dueling tree, Ellermann took the lessons he learned from the first round and sent Chris Collins home with a perfect 12 for 12 as time ran out.

Next was the shooting gallery. With an assortment of firearms and targets, Dustin started things off by nailing a golf ball with a Volquartsen .22LR rifle at 100 yards. Mike and Gary couldn’t match that. The competition continued until Mike called for shooting an AK-47 with one hand. Mike and Gary were successful while Dustin was not. Then Gary, down by one point, failed to hit his final “called” shot (with a .40sw pistol at 25 yards), so Gary was eliminated.

That set up Dustin with Mike Hughes for the final one-on-one elimination round. This required the two men to move rapidly through multiple stages, using a variety of weapons: 1875 revolver, Benelli slug-gun, re-curve bow, semi-auto rifle, and so on. Mike and Dustin were pretty much even with the 1875, with Mike having a slight edge. But then Dustin “dusted” Hughes on the shotgun stage. Dustin was fast and accurate, while Mike struggled big time. Mike literally lost his sights. Using the notch instead of the front sight to zero in on the target, Mike spent the rest of the challenge killing the jars, never getting beyond the Benelli stage.

Meanwhile, Dustin was methodically cleaning the course in record time. He made his bow-and-arrow trick shot on the first try. From there it was two rapid shots with the Vltor TS3 (AR-type rifle), a quick thumbs up to the wife and a few more rounds through a Smith & Wesson 500. One final Tannerite flash from the S&W 500 target signaled Dustin’s dominating victory. Dustin Ellermann became Season 3’s Top Shot. And it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

CLICK HERE to Watch Repeat of Top Shot Season 3 Finale on History Channel (45 minutes).

It’s too late to audition for Top Shot Season 4, but if you want to learn some of the skills required to be a Top Shot, then sign up for a class at http://nrainstructors.org/ near you.

Story by Lars Dalseide for The NRA Blog.
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