November 23rd, 2014
The .308 Winchester, a shortened version of the .30-06, has almost completely replaced the .30-06 in NRA competition. The .308 is required for Palma shooting, so it is also used by many Palma competitors in other long-range and mid-range prone matches. However, with the exception of M1 Garand matches, you won’t see many .30-06 rifles on the firing lines. Does that mean the .30-06 is obsolete? Is the .308 Win really much more accurate? Or does it just offer the advantages of reduced recoil and reduced powder consumption?
Cartridge photos courtesy Deuce45s.com, a leading source of specialized military cartridges.
In his Sibling Rivalry: .308 vs. .30-06 article on the Rifleman’s Journal website, German Salazar argues that the .30-06 remains a viable competition cartridge, particularly for the long-range game. This isn’t just a subjective opinion. German has data to back up the argument that the .30-06 can still do the job.
German compares the actual scores produced by his .308 Win rifles with the scores from his .30-06 rifles. German analyzes scores, over a two-year period, shot by “matched pair” rifles (one in each caliber) with similar actions, stocks, sights, and barrels. For comparison purposes, German also includes score data from his 6XC, a modern low-recoil chambering.
RESULTS: .308 Has Small Edge at Middle Distance, But .30-06 Is Better at Long Range
Surprisingly, the .30-06 performed nearly as well as the .308 at middle distances. The .30-06 delivered 99.2% of max possible scores vs. 99.5% for the .308 Win. Notably, at 1000 yards, the .30-06 racked up 97.7% of max scores vs. 97.3% for the .308 Win. So, at 1000 yards, the .30-06 actually proved superior to the .308 Win. German explains: “This isn’t too surprising when one considers [the .308's] limited case capacity for the bullet weights typically used in Long-Range shooting. They just run out of steam and dip perilously close to the transonic range as they approach 1000 yards of flight. The extra 150 fps or so that can be safely obtained from the .30-06 case really pays off at 1000 yards.”
In NRA Mid-Range matches (500 and 600 yards), the average score and percentage of possible score for each cartridge was as follows:
.308 – 597-36X (99.5%), 960 rounds fired
6XC – 596-35X (99.3%),1260 rounds fired
.30-06 – 595-31X (99.2%), 2580 rounds fired
If we look at the score averages, the .308 comes out on top at the Mid-Range distances… by 0.3% of the possible score. By the way, notice that the 6XC, as good as it is, simply straddles the .30 caliber cartridges; it is not the winner.
German rarely shoots the .308 in matches that are only 1000 yards; most of his 1000-yard .308 shooting is done in Palma matches which include 800, 900 and 1000 yards. To make the comparison useful, the Long-Range results are presented only as a percentage of the possible score and the 800- and 900-yard stages of Palma matches were NOT included.
In NRA Long-Range and Palma matches, the average percentage of possible score for each cartridge at 1000 yards was as follows:
6XC – 98.9%, 360 rounds fired
.30-06 – 97.7%, 460 rounds fired
.308 – 97.3%, 490 rounds fired
Editor’s Note: Among the three cartridges German studied, the 6XC actually proved best at 1000 yards, delivering 98.9% of the maximum possible scores. The .30-06 was second-best with 97.7%, slightly better than the .308 Win at 97.3%.
You’ll want to read German’s full Sibling Rivalry article, which includes an interesting history of the .30-06 and .308 in High Power shooting, along with tables showing German’s actual scores with his .30-06, .308 Win, and 6XC rifles. German’s story first ran in 2011.
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November 12th, 2014
Looking to shoot an AR-platform rifle out past 500 yards? Then you should read two recent articles by AR guru Glen Zediker. Author of The New Competitive AR-15 and The Competitive AR15 Builders Guide, Zediker is an expert when it comes to AR-platform rifles — he knows as much as any guy around. Glen believes ARs have excellent long-range capability, provided they are built to high standards, with good barrels. Glen says: “a properly configured AR-15 is easily capable of good performance at 500+ yards. Good performance means it can hit a 1-foot-square target all the time. Competitive shooters can cut that standard in nearly half (the X-Ring on an MR1 600-yard NRA High Power Rifle target is 6 inches, and high X-counts are commonplace among more skilled shooters).”
Published in the Cheaper than Dirt Shooter’s Log, Zediker’s pair of articles cover the history and upgrading of the AR-15. Part One reviews the AR’s development as an accurate firearm, tracing its evolution from a Vietnam-era combat weapon to what is now a favored target rifle of High Power competitors. READ PART ONE.
Part Two discusses the specifics that make an AR accurate at 500 yards and beyond. Zediker talks about barrel configuration (profile and twist rate), bullet selection, floating handguards, and proper mounting of optics or iron sights. READ PART TWO.
Here are some highlights from Long-Range AR-15 Part TWO:
Barrel Twist Rate
To stabilize anything longer than a 68- or 69-grain bullet, the barrel twist rate must be — at minimum– 1-in-8. Twist rates reflect how far the bullet travels along the lands or rifling to make one complete revolution. So, 1-in-8 (or 1-8, 1:8) means “one turn in eight inches.” I think it’s better to go a little faster in twist. There is nothing wrong with a 1:7 twist. The 90-grain bullets require a 1:6.5, and that is getting on the quick side. If you want to shoot Sierra 77s or equivalent, and certainly anything longer, 1:8 is necessary. By the way, it is bullet length, not weight, which constitutes the necessary twist rate to launch a stable bullet.
Correct optical sight positioning can be a challenge. With a flattop upper, I need a good inch additional forward extension at the muzzle side of the upper for the sight mount bases to avoid holding my head “back” to get the optimal view through the scope. A longer rail piece is necessary for my builds as a result.
Buttstock Length and Adjustment
An adjustable buttstock is valuable, and even more valuable if it’s well-designed. Mostly, a standard stock is too short, and the cheek area sits too low. Adding length helps a lot by itself. There are assemblies that replace the standard buttplate to allow for length and, usually, height and rotation adjustments for the buttpad. An elevation-adjustable cheekpiece is a big help to attain a solid position.
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August 16th, 2014
“Gain-twist” refers to a form of barrel rifling where the twist rate gets tighter over the length of the barrel. For example, a gain twist barrel might start with 1:12″ twist and finish with 1:8″ twist. There is some evidence that gain-twist rifling can deliver more velocity (compared to a conventional barrel) with certain cartridge types. There have also been claims of increased accuracy with some types of bullets, but such claims are more difficult to quantify.
Gain-twist rifling is not new. This form of rifling has been around for a long, long time. The first gain-twist barrels appeared in the late 1800s. However, in the last few years, there has been increased interest in gain-twist barrels for both short-range and long-range competition.
Video Explains Gain Twist Rifling
Radical Extreme Gain Twist Barrel Design
In this video from our friend John M. Buol Jr., gunsmith John Carlos talks about a fairly radical gain-twist barrel design for high power and service rifle shooters. Produced by Bartlein Barrels, this gain-twist barrel starts with a 1:14″ twist and finishes with a 1:6.8″ twist at the muzzle (See 1:50 time-mark). Carlos believes that this type of barrel delivers higher velocities while providing excellent accuracy for a wide range of bullet weights. In .223 caliber, the gain twist works with the 75-77 grain bullets used on the “short course” while also delivering excellent accuracy with the longer 80-90gr bullets used at 600 yards and beyond. Velocity is the important bonus for long-range use. Carlos says the gain twist barrels deliver greater muzzle velocity, allowing a 90 grain bullet to stay well above the transonic zone, even at 1000 yards. (See 4:50 time-mark.)
This 1:14″ to 1:6.8″ gain-twist barrel is the product of much experimentation by Carlos and Bartlein. Carlos states: “We’ve varied all sorts of internal dimensions, such as the land height, and the groove depth. We’ve tried 5R rifling and 4-groove rifling, and we’ve worked with various rates of twist, and I believe we have it down really well right now.”
In this video, John Carlos explains the history of gain-twist rifling, and he explains how modern Bartlein gain twist barrels have been developed in recent years for both benchrest and High Power applications. If you are interested in barrel technology and design, take the time to watch.
Erik Dahlberg illustration courtesy FireArmsID.com.
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August 14th, 2014
Most of you know Carl Bernosky as a great marksman and 10-time National High Power Champion. But you may not realize that Carl is also a superb stock-maker. A true craftsman, Carl produces outstanding laminated and fancy wood stocks for hunters and competitive shooters. Visit CarlBernosky.com to see a selection of Carl’s competition and hunting stocks.
One of Carl’s latest creations is a thumbhole F-Class stock. Designed for F-Open shooters, this stock features a flat, 3″-wide fore-end, ergonomic grip, and adjustable cheekpiece. The laminated Bernosky stock featured here was crafted for Chesebro Rifles, which offers a turn-key stock package for the Barnard ‘P’ action, one of our favorite custom actions. This particular build features a MT Guns Vee Block Bedding System, MT Guns 3-Way Adjustable Butt Plate, and B&D Precision removable cheek piece.
Click Photo to view full-size image of stock.
As you see it, complete with all hardware (including short fore-end rail for bipod) this stock runs $1275.00 ready to ship. Just attach your Barnard barreled action and you’re ready to compete. The stock (by itself) weighs 6.5 pounds. Contact Chesebro Rifles, (661) 557-2442, for more information.
Cheek-piece close-up shows high-quality adjustment hardware.
Cheek-piece is relieved to allow full bolt travel.
Short accessory rail on the underside of the fore-end can be used to mount bipod.
Stock tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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July 28th, 2014
We are already half-way through the NRA High Power National Championship and SSG Shane Barnhart of the USAMU remains atop the leaderboard, with a score of 1193-64X out of a possible 1200 points. Barnhart shot a 595-28X during Sunday’s Navy Cup, Coast Guard Trophy, and Army Cup matches. Barnhart currently holds a three-point lead over second place SSG Brandon Green (1190-58X), the defending High Power National Champion. Like Barnhart, Green shoots for the USAMU. Kenneth Lankford leads the “any sight” (scopes allowed) division with 1191-54X.
High Power Hardware: The Guns of Perry
We thought our readers would like to see some of the ultra-accurate rifles campaigned by High Power competitors at Camp Perry. Both bolt-action and self-loading rifles are popular. Among bolt guns, Tubb 2000s and Eliseo tubeguns are popular. Semi-auto AR platform “Space Guns” offer some advantages (particularly during rapid-fire and for standing position), and are favored by many of the top marksmen. Many Camp Perry High Power competitors are also shooting less exotic AR service rifles.
Here is your current leader, SSG Shane Barnhart, with an AR Space Gun. Note the side charging handle and tall iron sight set-up.
Tubb 2000 with a shortened handguard, and custom hand support bracket forward of mag well.
The modern AR Space Gun, scoped version. Note the side charging handle, and absence of forward assist. A block fitted under the handguard helps with the standing position. The scope is mounted on a “piggy-back” rail that extends forward of upper receiver’s built-in rail.
Tubb 2000 rifle, left-hand version. Note how the butt-plate is adjusted for cant, angle, and drop.
Look carefully — it appears that a separate fore-arm section is duct-taped to the red free-floated handguard. Perhaps this AR owner experienced some wiggle, and that’s why he seems puzzled?
A countdown timer is attached directly to this shooter’s Tubb 2000 rifle.
This Service Rifle competitor shows how to get some “R & R” between relays.
All Photos courtesy NRA General Operations.
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July 26th, 2014
The SCATT MX-02 is a revolutionary electronic shooter training system that is capable of operating outdoors with live, centerfire ammunition, at distances from 25 yards to 600 yards. Tony Chow recently tested this product, as fitted to his AR-15 Service Rifle. Tony concludes this is a very useful tool that can help High Power competitors refine their technique and thereby shoot higher scores. CLICK HERE for Full 3000-word Review.
How the SCATT MX-02 Works
The SCATT sensor mounted on the end of the barrel has a digital camera that recognizes the black bullseye in the target, even in broad daylight outdoors. Using the bullseye as a reference, the SCATT software tracks the movement of the muzzle relative to the center of the target. The unit can plot these movements as a continuous trace, which appears on a monitor as a squiggly, colored line. By sensing the exact moment of shot release, the SCATT can also interpolate relative shot placement (for a single shot or series of shots) — but this is not the same as an electronic target which actually records the exact shot impact location on the target.
Back in January, we reviewed this product from the perspective of a smallbore competitive shooter. (Read Previous Review.) Recently, we had the chance to test SCATT MX-02 again, this time on an AR-15 service rifle, in order to assess its implications for the High Power competition community.
We put the MX-02 through its paces in all three High Power shooting positions and in various environmental conditions. We wanted to find out whether the system can reliably operate in the harsher outdoor settings and withstand the recoil of a centerfire rifle. We also wanted to assess whether it provides added values for High Power shooters over older generation of electronic trainers such as SCATT’s own venerable WS-01.
On both counts, we came away impressed. The SCATT MX-02 stood up to centerfire recoil after hundreds of shots and was able to consistently recognize the often less-than-pristine High Power target faces. Both indoors and outdoors, the MX-02 acts as SCATT should and dutifully captures useful aiming traces and other data. It does that even during outdoor live-fire sessions, where shooter performance often differs from indoor dry-firing due to the sensation of recoil and environmental factors.
SCATT Rapid Fire Results (paper target on left, screen on right).
In particular, SCATT MX-02 allows shooters to effectively troubleshoot and improve their rapid-fire performance, a service that no previous-generation trainers are capable of providing. The unit isn’t perfect — the SCATT MX-02 had some mounting issues with small-diameter barrels, but a cardboard shim provided a quick and effective solution.
CLICK HERE for Full SCATT MX-02 Review.
Overall, performance was impressive. In most realistic training conditions that High Power shooters experience, the system performed well. We can certainly recommend SCATT MX-02 as an extremely valuable tool for High Power competitors looking to take their performance to the next level.
Test Drive the MX-02 at Camp Perry
SCATT electronic training systems are currently on display at the NRA National Championships in Camp Perry, Ohio. Interested shooters can try out SCATT at Champion Shooters on Commercial Row, Building #1023B.
For more information or to order SCATT products, including the new MX-02, visit ScattUSA.com or call toll-free: 1-855-57-SCATT (72288).
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July 25th, 2014
The NRA maintains a webpage with the latest results for all the National rifle and pistol matches at Camp Perry. Click any of the links below to launch a page with match-by-match results. Once you navigate to the appropriate results page, click the particular match title (or 3-digit match number) to open a table with ranked lists of competitors with their scores. For example, the National High Power Rifle Championship is Match number 400.
CLICK for MATCH RESULTS
Over $25,000 Worth of Prizes at 2014 NRA Springfield M1A Match
The Springfield M1A Match was held Wednesday July 24, 2014. Sponsored by Springfield Armory, this popular event features big-money payouts and valuable hardware prizes. More than $25,000 in cash and prizes were awarded, with categories for shooters of all skill levels. There was a big turn-out for the event. Competitors were treated to bright, sunny skies yesterday. Here are photos from the match, courtesy NRA General Operations.
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July 17th, 2014
Yet another important gun-related company has left California for a more business-friendly location. Gary Eliseo’s Competition Machine Inc., producer of rifle chassis systems, has moved operations to Northern Arizona. A large, new Arizona facility has been secured, and Gary’s team is busy putting the production machinery in place and organizing supplies and inventory.
Rifle Chassis Builder Moves to Arizona
Gary Eliseo announced: “It’s official, after 24 years of dealing with the difficult business environment in California, we’re relocating to Northern Arizona. To our friends and customers we ask for your patience during this monumental task. Our new shop will be larger and more efficient which will allow us to better serve your needs. We have some exciting new products planned in the future that we were simply not able to pursue in California.”
Gary is happy about his new digs in Arizona. His new Arizona facility is much bigger: “The new shop is over twice the size of the old one (3600 square feet vs. 1500 square feet). The added space which will let me open a new rifle division. We’ll update the Competition Machine website soon with the new contact information.” — Gary Eliseo
Here’s a photo of the new facility on “move-in” day. Gary says: “This is just an empty shell, but it’s soon to be a very busy place. There is so much more opportunity for us here than in California. Also, this Northern Arizona area is crazy beautiful, I think I’m gonna like it!”
Highway Photo by Wing-Chi Poon, Wiki Creative Commons License.
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July 16th, 2014
If you’re wondering what is happening when at the NRA National Rifle and Pistol championships, here is a calendar of all the scheduled events. The pistol matches concluded last week. Smallbore (rimfire) events are underway this week (in Bristol, Indiana), while the High Power events commenced yesterday (July 15) with clinics. The popular CMP Garand match is held July 19, while the NRA High Power National Championship commences on Saturday, July 26.
Click the calendar image below to see a large size version (that’s easier to read). You can also download a PDF file with the complete National Matches Event schedule for 2014.
CLICK to DOWNLOAD 2014 National Match Calendars
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July 1st, 2014
The July 2014 digital edition of Shooting Sports USA magazine is now available. Along with the cover story on the Bianchi Cup, this month’s issue has many interesting articles. And the price is right — this month’s Shooting Sports USA eZine is FREE for the taking. Just Click This Link to load the July 2014 eZine edition right in your web browser.
For all competitive shooters, we highly recommend a 6-page article on Mental Training by Editor Chip Lohman. Drawing on scientific studies, Lohman reveals that practice and specialized training can actually improve mental function and create beneficial physical changes in the brain itself. Lohman quotes one study which revealed that “Brain scans of concert violinists and taxi drivers show enlargement of the areas important to the practice of their profession.” Morever, Lohman notes that “the trained brain has a better idea of tripping the correct nerves and muscles, leading to memory within the muscle itself.”
What this means is that competitive shooters can benefit from mental training in profound ways that were not previously understood. If you want to shoot higher scores at your next match, you should definitely read this article, part 2 of a series.
From the ’50s — How to Shoot the High Power Rifle
Another highlight of this month’s Shooting Sports USA eZine is a “golden oldie” article, “How to Shoot the High Power Rifle”. First published in American Rifleman way back in August, 1955, this article covers basic High Power technique. Lt. Col Jim Crossman talks about position shooting, sling use, practice methods, and procedures for relaxing between firing sequences. Much of the advice Lt. Col. Crossman offers can still benefit today’s High Power shooters.
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June 22nd, 2014
Report based on story by Kyle Jillson for NRA Blog
The 2014 Remington and NRA National Rifle & Pistol Championships at Camp Perry, Ohio are just a couple weeks away. You can still register for one or more of the matches. Just click the orange “Register” button (below) to register online.
Many of the finest civilian and military marksmen in the United States will square off for weeks of rifle and handgun competition while vying for the NRA’s historic and prestigious trophies. From pistol, to smallbore rifle, high power rifle, and long-range high power rifle, the National Matches have something for just about everybody.
Head on over to the Camp Perry sign-up page and get started on this year’s application.
Smallbore Matches Will Be in Indiana This Year
If you’re a smallbore shooter, these next two years will be a little different. In 2014 and 2015, the NRA National Smallbore Position Championships and the NRA National Smallbore Prone Championships will be held at Chief Wa-Ke-De Range in Bristol, Indiana. This change of venue for the Smallbore Championship Events was made to accommodate the 2015 World Palma Rifle Championships at Camp Perry. (The change was made in 2014 because the World Palma teams will be practicing at Camp Perry this summer, a year before the big event.) The Chief Wa-Ke-De Range is an excellent location that has hosted the NRA National Metric Championships for the past few years.
The NRA National Rifle & Pistol Championships are the pinnacle of target shooting in the USA. If you’re itching to try out some new equipment or are looking for an excuse to buy some more accessories, the National Matches are the perfect excuse. Use the links below to register for the National Matches, or to view the 2014 program brochures (in PDF format) for the High Power, Fullbore, and Pistol disciplines.
Click Here to Sign Up for Camp Perry
2014 National Matches Calendar (Draft)
2014 High Power Program
2014 Fullbore Program
2014 Pistol Program
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June 19th, 2014
Phase I Nearing Completion at CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park
By Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer
Construction continues at the CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park as Phase I has reached 95% completion. The first phase is expected to be complete in September 2014. Clearing of brush, trees and other natural foliage is 100% complete, with 95% of the 600,000 cubic yards of dirt moved. The only earth that remains to be moved is in the action pistol bay areas. The second phase of the project is expected to be complete in March 2015, with the range’s official opening to the public in April 2015.
Berms have taken shape as 95% of the 600,000 cubic yards of crimson Alabama dirt has been moved.
This concrete slab will be home to the CMP Clubhouse. The building will overlook the 600-yard range.
Phase II of the project is around 10% finished, with pavement down on the main entrance road and the concrete foundation for the main building complete. It may be another month before workers begin to stand steel and pour concrete slabs for the other buildings on the property. Workers are also preparing to place footings on the 600-yard range.
The 600-yard and 300-yard ranges will be equipped with state-of-the-art, all-weather electronic targets.
Electronic Targets at Talladega
Back at CMP’s south offices, the state-of-the-art electronic targets that will be featured at the new park have been under construction. The wooden frames for the 600-yard range are already complete, while construction on the 300-yard frames will soon be underway.
The electronically-powered target lifters are being crafted in Ohio. Once completed, the frames and the lifters will be attached to rubber-faced targets that will be able to withstand all weather conditions and multiple shots. The targets resemble the electronic targets used at CMP’s air gun ranges, only on a much, much larger scale.
An aerial view shows the trees that will serve as natural dividers between each range.
The main goal of the new park will be to provide a place where beginning and experienced marksmen can practice firearm safety through clinics and courses, as well as participate in CMP Games matches. The park will also be open for year-round open public shooting. Mark Johnson, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, reports: “It’s impressive. It’s going to be a lot more impressive looking with the grass, the woods and the rolling hills. People are going to really like it.”
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