April 19th, 2014

Better Viewing at 600 Yards with ‘Negative’ Targets

At long range, small bullet holes are much easier to see in the white than in the black. When you’re practicing at long range on high power targets, one way to enhance your ability to see your bullet holes is to print a “negative” version of the regulation bullseye target.

How do you create a “negative” of a target image? Many image programs, including the FREE Irfanview software, have a “Negative” function in the pull-down menu. If you don’t see a “Negative” menu option in your program, look for a “substitute colors” option. Many printers also have a “reverse colors” function. If you can’t find a solution with your computer or printer, just take a normal bullseye target to a copy shop, and the staff can easily print you a set of targets with white centers in black fields.

Forum member Watercam uses a Pentax PF-80ED spotting scope. With his 80mm Pentax he can see 6mm bullet holes in the white at 600 yards (in very good conditions), but holes in the black are only visible out to 400 yards or so. Accordingly, Watercam uses a modified “reversed” black-to-white target for 600-yard practice.

Watercam told us: “The view through the Pentax is very sharp and contrasty with great color. Eye relief with the Pentax 10-60 power zoom is 18-22mm (much more than the Kowa zoom), so I can use glasses with no problem. With my 6mm and limited mirage I’m seeing defined, 6mm holes in the white out to 600. In the black, I can see bullets holes at about 400 with my eyes. I am printing reverse-color targets for training without a pit partner at the 600-yard line.”

Pentax PF-80 ED scope

Brits Use New White-Field Target for F-Class
In the UK, ranges are now using a “reverse-style” target with a mostly white area. Laurie Holland says this allows shooters to see shots much more easily. Laurie reports: “Here’s a photo of the 500/600 yard F-Class match target we use in PSSA comps at Diggle Ranges with club members Chris Hull (L) and Terry Mann (R). We now use this target form at all ranges up to 1K for F-Class, and, yes you can often see your hits at 600 on the target before the markers pull it. Regards from England — Laurie”.

Day-Glo Stick-on Targets
If you’re not concerned with official scoring rings, you can use an all-white target with a bright, fluorescent target dot in the middle. A 2″- or 3″-diameter stick-on target dot is highly visible at 600 yards. With a high-quality scope, you can use the small black diamonds in the center for precise aiming. The Birchwood Casey Target Spots® assortment (item #33928-TSA) offers neon orange target dots in 1″, 2″, and 3″ diameters. This “value pack” includes 72-1″, 36-2″, and 24-3″ self-adhesive circles.

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March 17th, 2014

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to Our Readers!

F-TR irelandThe folks at F-Class Team Ireland wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day and F-TR Ireland sends greetings from the Emerald Isle….

Wishing all our friends and fellow-shooters at home in Ireland and around the Globe all the very best. Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Beannachtai na Féile Phádraig! Hope you all … enjoy the festivities wherever you may be, whether be you Irish by birth, heritage, or aspiration!

Big May Match at Midlands in Ireland
The NRA of Ireland (NRAI) invites shooters to the inaugural F-Class Emerald & Ireland Long Range Challenge, to be held at the Midlands National Shooting Centre of Ireland (MNSCI), May 30 through June 1, 2014. The Long Range Challenge will be shot at 1100 and 1200 yards on May 30, followed by the Emerald match on May 31 – June 1. The Emerald will be shot at 800, 900, and 1000 yards, complete with a shoot-off for the top 10 competitors.

F-TR ireland

Guns of EIRE
Here are the custom guns crafted for the FCWC 2013 F-TR Team Ireland. Compliments to Francie McFadden of NGSS and Edi Graeff of PSE Composites for the work. (Photo courtesy of the UK Varminting website.)

F-TR ireland

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March 6th, 2014

SEB Invents ‘Pod-Pad for Bipod Shooters

Sebastian (“Seb”) Lambang is a really smart guy, a gifted machinist/fabricator, and a very innovative designer. If Seb worked in the auto industry, we’d probably all be driving flying cars by now.

Seb has just invented another really good product — a heavy, sand-filled mat for bipod use. We’ve christened this the ‘Pod-Pad™, and we think a lot of folks will want one. While the ‘Pod-Pad was designed for use with the SEB Joystick Bipod (“Joy-Pod”), it will work with other modern bipods (such as the Remple, the Sinclair, and the EVO). Inside the green fabric cover is sand plus a thin layer of neoprene. This allows the bipod feet to slide easily during recoil, and it also provides damping (and energy absorption) to reduce hop and torque.

Seb reports: “This is still a prototype mat, but I believe it works great. The carrying handle is the black belt in the middle of the mat, so it is easy to haul. There is a layer of 1/4″ thick neoprene under the slick microfiber on the top. This way the feet will slide smoothly and won’t sink, helping the rifle to maintain elevation. This heavy mat should be legal under the rules. It is not a rigid board, it can be folded.”

Seb Lambang bipod joy-pod sand bag 'Pod-pad

Watch Joystick Bipod (Joy-Pod) Used with NEW Sand-filled ‘Pod-Pad:

Seb tells us: “In this video, I am shooting my friend’s tactical rifle with the new Joy-pod, just to check how the bipod and mat work under recoil. The bipod and mat combo should work much better with a true F-TR gun. The new-generation Joy-pod has better internals and it’s more rigid. We should have the next shipment of Joy-pods ready around mid-April 2014″. Seb notes that the new Joy-pod has longer feet — more like actual skis. These can also be adjusted slightly for tilt/angle. The longer feet do seem to slide smoothly on recoil with much less hop.

Seb Lambang bipod joy-pod sand bag 'Pod-pad

The new generation Joy-pod will have a quick-detach (QD) option for mounting on a Picatinny rail. The quick-detach lever can be located on the right hand side (as shown above) or left hand side, tightening either forward or rearward as the shooter prefers.

Seb Lambang bipod joy-pod sand bag 'Pod-pad

For USA price list and more information, please contact:
Ernie Bishop
Gillette, WY
ernieemily @ yahoo.com
Phone: 307-257-7431

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March 6th, 2014

Print Reduced Target Centers for 300-Yard F-Class Practice

F-Class Target center NRA

Here’s a handy training option for F-Class shooters. Forum member SleepyGator is an F-Class competitor, but it’s not convenient for him to shoot at long ranges close to home. Accordingly, he wanted some “reduced-distance” targets he could use at 300 yards for practice. There is an official reduced-distanced standard for 300-yard F-Class matches. This utilizes the NRA No. MR-63FC – F-Class Target Center which is pasted over the MR-63 target. It provides a 1.42″ X-Ring, 2.85″ 10-Ring, and 5.85″ Nine-Ring. (The dimensions of F-Class targets are found in the NRA High Power Rules, Sec. 22, part 4, page 70 — see sample below.)

F-Class Reduced Target Centers

CLICK HERE to Download F-Class 300-yard Target Centers (.Zip archive with three targets)

To duplicate the 300-yard target, SleepyGator has prepared a printable version of the MR-63FC Target Center, along with a pair of training targets with two bulls and five bulls. The two-bull and five-bull targets mirror the scoring rings on the MR-63FC, but they display only the innermost three rings and two rings respectively. All three targets are Adobe Acrobat files that can be easily printed. You may need to adjust the scale (sizing) on your printer to get the dimensions exactly correct. As noted above, when printed, the 10-Ring on all three targets should measure 2.85″. This should provide some handy practice targets you can use between matches. Thanks to SleepyGator for providing these targets. You can download all three as a .Zip archive. After downloading the .Zip file, just click on the .Zip archive to extract the individual targets.

CLICK HERE to Download NRA High Power Rules with F-Class Target Dimensions

F-Class Target Paste Center

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March 5th, 2014

Can Cross-Training in Other Disciplines Help You Shoot Better?

Guest Article By Michelle Gallagher, Berger Bullets
Let’s face it. In the world of firearms, there is something for everyone. Do you like to compete? Are you a hunter? Are you more of a shotgun shooter or rifle shooter? Do you enjoy running around between stages of a timed course, or does the thought of shooting one-hole groups appeal to you more? Even though many of us shoot several different firearms and disciplines, chances are very good that we all have a favorite. Are we spreading ourselves too thin by shooting different disciplines, or is it actually beneficial? I have found that participating in multiple disciplines can actually improve your performance. Every style of shooting is different; therefore, they each develop different skills that benefit each other.

Michelle Gallagher Cross Training

How can cross-training in other disciplines help you? For example, I am most familiar with long-range prone shooting, so let’s start there. To be a successful long-range shooter, you must have a stable position, accurate ammunition, and good wind-reading skills. You can improve all of these areas through time and effort, but there are other ways to improve more efficiently. Spend some time practicing smallbore. Smallbore rifles and targets are much less forgiving when it comes to position and shot execution. Long-range targets are very large, so you can get away with accepting less than perfect shots. Shooting smallbore will make you focus more on shooting perfectly center shots every time. Another way to do this with your High Power rifle is to shoot on reduced targets at long ranges. This will also force you to accept nothing less than perfect. Shoot at an F-Class target with your iron sights. At 1000 yards, the X-Ring on a long range target is 10 inches; it is 5 inches on an F-Class target. Because of this, you will have to focus harder on sight alignment to hit a center shot. When you go back to the conventional target, you will be amazed at how large the ten ring looks.

Michelle Gallagher Cross Training

Also, most prone rifles can be fitted with a bipod. Put a bipod and scope on your rifle, and shoot F-TR. Shooting with a scope and bipod eliminates position and eyesight factors, and will allow you to concentrate on learning how to more accurately read the wind. The smaller target will force you to be more aggressive on your wind calls. It will also help encourage you to use better loading techniques. Nothing is more frustrating than making a correct wind call on that tiny target, only to lose the point out the top or bottom due to inferior ammunition. If you put in the effort to shoot good scores on the F-Class target, you will be amazed how much easier the long-range target looks when you return to your sling and iron sights. By the same token, F-Class shooters sometimes prefer to shoot fast and chase the spotter. Shooting prone can help teach patience in choosing a wind condition to shoot in, and waiting for that condition to return if it changes.

Benchrest shooters are arguably among the most knowledgeable about reloading. If you want to learn better techniques about loading ammunition, you might want to spend some time at benchrest matches. You might not be in contention to win, but you will certainly learn a lot about reloading and gun handling. Shooting F-Open can also teach you these skills, as it is closely related to benchrest. Benchrest shooters may learn new wind-reading techniques by shooting mid- or long-range F-Class matches.

Michelle Gallagher Cross TrainingPosition shooters can also improve their skills by shooting different disciplines. High Power Across-the-Course shooters benefit from shooting smallbore and air rifle. Again, these targets are very small, which will encourage competitors to be more critical of their shot placement. Hunters may benefit from shooting silhouette matches, which will give them practice when shooting standing with a scoped rifle. Tactical matches may also be good, as tactical matches involve improvising shots from various positions and distances. [Editor: Many tactical matches also involve hiking or moving from position to position -- this can motivate a shooter to maintain a good level of general fitness.]

These are just a few ways that you can benefit from branching out into other shooting disciplines. Talk to the other shooters. There is a wealth of knowledge in every discipline, and the other shooters will be more than happy to share what they have learned. Try something new. You may be surprised what you get out of it. You will certainly learn new skills and improve the ones you already have. You might develop a deeper appreciation for the discipline you started off with, or you may just discover a new passion.

This article originally appeared in the Berger Bulletin. The Berger Bulletin blog contains the latest info on Berger products, along with informative articles on target shooting and hunting.

Article Find by EdLongrange.

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March 2nd, 2014

Sidney — Michigan’s Pint-Sized, Expert-Class, F-Open Shooter

Sidney Lipski

Sidney Lipski has grown up surrounded by the shooting sports. Her father, Alan Lipski, is a gunsmith who began teaching her about rifles and shooting when she was just 3 years old. By the time she was 6, she had already started varmint hunting.

Sidney LipskiAt just 8 years of age, Sidney won her first rifle match, competing against adults in an F-Open event. Last year, at 9 years old, Sidney fired her first perfect score of 200-11X. She also received her Expert Classification. She ended the year by finishing in second place for the IOSCO Sportsmen Club’s 3×600 Grand Aggregate.

Sidney’s Gun Specifications:
Rifle: Custom 6XC built by Alan Lipski with blue-printed Model 700 Remington action.
Barrel: 1:8″-twist, 6mm Bartlein.
Stock: Custom wood stock by Alan Lipski.
Load: Norma brass, H4831SC powder, Tula primers, and Berger 6mm 105gr Match Hybrid Target bullets.
Alan reports: “Bergers are very forgiving and extremely accurate!”

Sidney Lipski

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February 10th, 2014

Rear Sandbag Solutions for F-Open and F-TR

At the Berger Southwest Nationals, innovative F-Class hardware was on display. In F-TR, bipods are continuing to evolve, with new variations at every match. (We saw the Flex bipod in action and it operates very differently than anything else out there). But with F-TR bipods and F-Open front rests having evolved to such a high level, the weak link in the rifle support chain may now be at the rear.

In both F-TR and F-Open, it seems that shooters are turning their attention rearward — devising new ways to stabilize (and elevate) the rear sandbags. We saw a variety of “sub-platforms” designed to give rear bags more lateral stability, and also raise the bags up off the ground. A few shooters have moved away from a conventional rear sandbag to a hybrid support that almost looks more like a front bag attached to a rigid block. Here are a couple rear bag set-ups we saw at Ben Avery in Phoenix. These should give you guys some ideas:

Berger SW Nationals SWN rear bag

Berger SW Nationals SWN rear bag
Berger SW Nationals SWN rear bag

Check out this simple but effective Do-It-Yourself rear rest. The “base” is a large, flat piece of particle board. Above that is a sizable block of wood with carpet tacked to the base. It appears that the carpet may be affixed to small velcro squares on the flat base. The most clever feature is on top. A V-style leather front bag has been adapted to support the rear of the rifle. This solution looks both effective and affordable.

Berger SW Nationals SWN rear bag

Berger SW Nationals SWN rear bag

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February 3rd, 2014

Shooting a Tubegun in F-Class — German Salazar Talks Equipment

When we recently ran a story about Dennis Santiago’s new snakeskin Eliseo Tubegun, folks asked us if this kind of rifle can be competitive in F-Class competition. Here’s a detailed answer to that question by German Salazar, who runs the Riflemans Journal Website.

German Salazar F-Class TubegunA while back, German Salazar published a three-part article on Shooting The Tubegun in F-Class. Links for all three segments are found below. The article covers some of the hardware German engineered to adapt his tubegun for long-range F-Class shooting with scope. If you’re an F-Classer, or just a fan of tubeguns, you should read German’s article, in all its parts.

READ Tubegun in F-Class Part 1
READ Tubegun in F-Class Part 2
READ Tubegun in F-Class Part 3

In the intro to his multi-part F-Class Tubegun article, German explains:

Salazar: The tubegun has truly changed the face of High Power shooting over the past five years or so. Specifically, the CSS (Gary Eliseo) tubeguns, which are made for a broad variety of actions and configurable to single-shot or repeater, have truly helped the sport to grow. That’s not just idle talk, the two principal factors that made the tubegun so important to our growth are the ease of transition for AR15 shooters moving into a bolt-action rifle and the absolutely ridiculous length of time it currently takes to get a stock from the conventional stock makers. My last conventional stock took well over two years from order to delivery (plain fiberglass). One of my friends has now been waiting four years for a simple wood stock for a smallbore rifle. By contrast, tubeguns, which are largely CNC machined, are delivered in a reasonably short time — weeks or a couple of months at most.

German Salazar F-Class Tubegun

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the tubegun would never have attained its present success if it weren’t for one simple fact — they are brutally accurate. I have three CSS tubeguns, one chambered in .308 and two in .30-06 and they are my favorite prone rifles due to their accuracy and great ergonomics. Those factors are just as appealing to an F-Class competitor as to a prone shooter, and indeed, the tubegun is making solid inroads into F-Class. READ MORE…

READ MORE of Part 1, The Tubegun in F-Class

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February 2nd, 2014

Forum Member Builds His Own High-Quality Front Rest

AKShooter front rest F-Class Dasher 6mm AlaskaYou have to admire someone with serious do-it-yourself skills. Not just hammer and nail skills, but formidable design and fabrication skills. Well Forum Member Dave D. (aka “AKShooter”) has a DIY skill set that might put some trained machinists to shame. You see, “DIY Dave” crafted his own pedestal front rest from scratch, using his own design and about $100.00 in materials (not counting the Edgewood front bag). Dave estimates he put 20 hours of labor into the project, but the end result was worth it: “This Do-It-Yourself rest drives like a dream. I’ve played with the Caldwell and a Sinclair, they have nothing on this one.”

Dave tells us: “Here is my Do-It-Yourself front rest. I wanted to show other folks who are handy that a solid front rest is doable with a bit of time — and you don’t need to spend $1000.00. (You could say this is a design for shooters with more time than money.) This is for F-Class. I was originally overwhelmed by the equipment needed, so I decided to make my own rest. I didn’t have the money for a SEB or Farley Coaxial. This is what I’ll run this season (my second as an F-Class competitor).”

AKShooter front rest F-Class Dasher 6mm Alaska
AKShooter front rest F-Class Dasher 6mm Alaska

We asked Dave what equipment was used to make the rest. He explained: “My brother has a CNC cutter. But most water-jet outfits would do the work for $100 or less. All the plates are tapped and screwed. I found small machine screws on eBay.” Dave says there are other ways to build a front rest: “You could do the same with a welder and plate stock for base. It’s easier to do the top out of aluminum though, with all the tapping.”

Dave enjoys fabricating his own gear, but he admits the process can be time-consuming: “I’m a DIY guy. Sometimes I wrap up a project and wonder why the heck I just spent X amount of time on it.” Dave has other projects in the works: “Another option we are making for a friend is taking a cheap front rest and bolting to a 3/4″ thick, wide MDF base and adding additional adjustment screws. The hardware store is your friend!”

On the competition front, Dave is tuning up a 6mm Dasher for 2014: “My rifle last year was a .260 Rem Savage repeater. I was about middle of the pack in my group of shooters. Just went with unsorted Bergers and Lapua brass, and had a ton of fun. Now I’m in hook, line, and sinker. I have an unfired 6 Dasher barreled action from the folks at Kelbly’s to break in. I’m cheap, so I ended up with a Do-It-Yourself stock for the Dasher.” Hopefully Dave will send us a photo of his DIY-stocked Dasher when the gun is dialed-in and “ready to rumble”.

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January 22nd, 2014

Mike Miller and Stan Pate Provide Expert F-TR Tips

F-TR Stan Pate SavageOver the past few years, interest in F-Class competition has grown dramatically. At the 2013 SHOT Show we had a chance to talk about F-TR competition with U.S. National F-TR Team members Mike Miller and Stan Pate, two of America’s top F-TR shooters. We are reprising this interview for readers who may have missed it the first time around. If you shoot F-TR (even if you’re a High Master), we think you’ll learn a few things from this interview.

In this interview, Mike and Stan agreed to share their vast store of knowledge about long-range shooting. In a wide-ranging dialog, we discussed many topics of interest to F-Class shooters: position set-up, bipod shooting techniques (and hardware), gun-handling, and bullet selection. In addition, Mike and Stan offer some great advice on wind reading and precision reloading. These general tips will benefit all competitors, no matter what their discipline.

Mike Miller Stan Pate F-TR F-T/R

If you shoot F-TR or you are considering getting involved in this fast-growing shooting sport, definitely watch this 14-minute video interview from start to finish. Mike and Stan are true F-TR gurus whose knowledge of the F-TR game has been gleaned from years of top-level competition. If you shoot a .308 from a bipod, we guarantee you can learn much from Mike and Stan. If you follow their advice, we bet you’ll see your scores improve in future matches.

Watch Video for Tips from U.S. National F-TR Team Members Mike Miller and Stan Pate

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January 19th, 2014

New Burris 8-40x50mm XTR II Scope for $1199.00 (MSRP)

Burris XTR II Scope F-Class 8-40x50mm 840

Need a comp scope with serious magnification, but have a limited budget? Then check out the new XTR II 8-40x50mm from Burris. Priced at $1199.00 (MSRP), this new scope offers 40X max magnification, and a lifetime, bumper-to-bumper warranty. The scope weighs 31.4 ounces, has 1/8th-MOA clicks, and 10 MOA per turret revolution. With a 34mm main tube, the scope delivers 70 MOA of elevation adjustment and 30 MOA of windage adjustment. New this year, this FFP scope should be available by the end of March 2014. Learn more in the video preview below:

Learn about Features of 8-40x50mm Burris XTR 11:

Burris XTR II Scope F-Class 8-40x50mm 840

Burris XTR II Scope F-Class 8-40x50mm 840

Innovative F-Class MOA Reticle with Multiple Center Dots
Burris offers this First Focal Plane (FFP) scope with an F-Class MOA Reticle, the only reticle of its kind to feature multiple illuminated center dots (on the vertical line), the Front Focal Plane reticle keeps the 1/2 MOA grid design constant (relative to target) at any magnification. A second 20 MOA offset 1/2 MOA grid allow shooters to obtain an extra 20 MOA of elevation beyond the capability of the turret adjustments and still have horizontal wind hold-off references. At each 10 MOA section you’ll find an ultra-fine crosshair with 1/8 MOA illuminated dot for maximum versatility.

Burris XTR II Scope F-Class 8-40x50mm 840

Permalink New Product, Optics 9 Comments »
January 14th, 2014

NEW Leupold 7-42x56mm VX-6 — $1800 MSRP, Summer Release

Leupold 7-42x56mm VX-6 scope long-range $1800.00

It’s official. No more “vaporware”. In 2014, Leupold will sell a 7-42x56mm VX-6 scope for approximately $1800.00. This scope will be “coming out this summer”. This is a very impressive optic that will give other premium high-magnification competition scopes a run for their money. The new 7-42 features a 34mm main tube. That large diameter tube helps the scope deliver an estimated 70 minutes of elevation (final specs subject to change). There is a side parallax control, and target turrets with 1/8th-MOA click values and built-in zero stop. We were pleased to see that the scope features a “fast-focus” eyepiece with plus/minus diopter adjustment. Initially the scope will be offered with two (2) reticles, the TMOA and TMOA Plus. These feature MOA-based hash marks, with a small gap in the very center with a target dot at the aiming point.

We did get a chance to test the scope. Jason successful engaged targets at 960 yards using a .308 Win Colt modular rifle fitted with the new 7-42x56mm Leupold. Jason reports that the clicks are tactile and positive. The scope is sharp and bright all the way out to the edges of the viewing circle, even at max 42 power. We liked this optic, and can’t wait to get our hands on a final production version.

Leupold 7-42x56mm VX-6 ($1800.00 MSRP, mid-2014 release)

  • Magnification Range: 7X to 42X
  • Front Objective: 56mm
  • Elevation Range: 70 MOA (estimated) with Zero Stop
  • Main Tube Diameter: 34mm
  • Warranty: Full lifetime Leupold Gold Ring Warranty

Watch Video Showing Features of Leupold 7-42x56mm VX-6 Riflescope

Leupold 7-42x56mm VX-6 scope long-range $1800.00

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