December 8th, 2013
Blast from the Past: As we gear up for SHOT Show 2014, we thought we’d dig into our archives for one of the most interesting features we posted a few years back. At the 2010 SHOT Show, we had the unique opportunity to corner three “superstars” of High Power shooting, and solicit their wind-reading secrets. Carl Bernosky, David Tubb, and John Whidden all shared some championship-caliber wind wisdom in video interviews. If you shoot competitively, you’ll want to watch these videos. David’s video is worth watching twice because some of the key points he makes go by pretty quickly.
In the three videos below (in alphabetical order), Carl Bernosky (10-Time Nat’l High Power Champion), David Tubb (11-time Nat’l High Power Champion and 7-time Nat’l Long-Range Champion), and John Whidden (2-Time Nat’l High Power Long-Range Champion) shared some of the wind-doping strategies that have carried them to victory in the nation’s most competitive shooting matches. This is GOLD folks… no matter what your discipline — be it short-range Benchrest or Long-Range High Power — watch these videos for valuable insights that can help you shoot more accurately, and post higher scores, in all wind conditions.
We were very fortunate to have these three extraordinarily gifted champions reveal their “winning ways”. These guys REALLY know their stuff. I thought to myself: “Wow, this is how a baseball fan might feel if he could assemble Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Ted Williams in the same room, and have them each reveal their hitting secrets.” Editor’s Note: These interviews were conducted before Bernosky and Tubb won their most recent National Championships.
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November 4th, 2013
Some folks say you haven’t really mastered marksmanship unless you can hit a target when standing tall ‘on your own hind legs’. Of all the shooting positions, standing can be the most challenging because you have no horizontally-solid resting point for your forward arm/elbow. Here 10-time National High Power Champ Carl Bernosky explains how to make the standing shot.
Carl Bernosky is one of the greatest marksmen in history. The reigning 2012 National High Power Champion, Carl has won ten (10) National High Power Championships in his storied shooting career. In this article, Carl provides step-by-step strategies to help High Power shooters improve their standing scores. When Carl talks about standing techniques, shooters should listen. Among his peers, Carl is regard as one of the best, if not the best standing shooter in the game today. Carl rarely puts pen to paper, but he was kind enough to share his techniques with AccurateShooter.com’s readers.
If you are position shooter, or aspire to be one some day, read this article word for word, and then read it again. We guarantee you’ll learn some techniques (and strategies) that can improve your shooting and boost your scores. This stuff is gold folks, read and learn…
How to Shoot Standing
by Carl Bernosky
Shooting consistently good standing stages is a matter of getting rounds down range, with thoughtfully-executed goals. But first, your hold will determine the success you will have.
1. Your hold has to be 10 Ring to shoot 10s. This means that there should be a reasonable amount of time (enough to get a shot off) that your sights are within your best hold. No attention should be paid to the sights when they are not in the middle — that’s wasted energy. My best hold is within 5 seconds after I first look though my sights. I’m ready to shoot the shot at that time. If the gun doesn’t stop, I don’t shoot. I start over.
2. The shot has to be executed with the gun sitting still within your hold. If the gun is moving, it’s most likely moving out, and you’ve missed the best part of your hold.
3. Recognizing that the gun is sitting still and within your hold will initiate you firing the shot. Lots of dry fire or live fire training will help you acquire awareness of the gun sitting still. It’s not subconscious to me, but it’s close.
4. Don’t disturb the gun when you shoot the shot. That being said, I don’t believe in using ball or dummy rounds with the object of being surprised when the shot goes off. I consciously shoot every shot. Sometimes there is a mistake and I over-hold. But the more I train the less of these I get. If I get a dud round my gun will dip.* I don’t believe you can learn to ignore recoil. You must be consistent in your reaction to it.
5. Know your hold and shoot within it. The best part of my hold is about 4 inches. When I get things rolling, I recognize a still gun within my hold and execute the shot. I train to do this every shot. Close 10s are acceptable. Mid-ring 10s are not. If my hold was 8 inches I would train the same way. Shoot the shot when it is still within the hold, and accept the occasional 9. But don’t accept the shots out of the hold.
6. Practice makes perfect. The number of rounds you put down range matter. I shudder to think the amount of rounds I’ve fired standing in my life, and it still takes a month of shooting standing before Perry to be in my comfort zone. That month before Perry I shoot about 2000 rounds standing, 22 shots at a time. It peaks me at just about the right time.
This summarizes what I believe it takes to shoot good standing stages. I hope it provides some insight, understanding, and a roadmap to your own success shooting standing.
– Good Shooting, Carl
* This is very noticeable to me when shooting pistol. I can shoot bullet holes at 25 yards, but if I’ve miscounted the rounds I’ve fired out of my magazine, my pistol will dip noticeably. So do the pistols of the best pistol shooters I’ve watched and shot with. One might call this a “jerk”, I call it “controlled aggressive execution”, executed consistently.
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October 25th, 2013
We expect you’ve heard of David Tubb, 11-time NRA National High Power Champion. Without question, David is one of the greatest rifle shooters who ever lived. What you may not know is that David came from a family of shooters. David’s father, George Tubb, was a nationally-ranked High Power competitor. What’s more (now this may surprise you), David’s mother “Polly” was was a great shooter in her own right. When she wasn’t rearing a future Champion, Polly was hitting the X-Ring at rifle matches.
Pauline (“Polly”) S. Tubb of Canadian, Texas, earned several rifle championships during the course of her shooting career. In this photo, Polly took a moment to appear for a photo after winning the 1962 National Woman’s Bolt Rifle championship at Camp Perry. One shooter who competed against Polly observed: “I was there as a 1962 Pennsylvania State Team junior! I remember Polly. She beat some of the best Army and Marine shooters and always did it with style and good humor.”
Now that’s our kind of gal. God Bless you Polly. Thanks for being a Leading Lady of our sport.
Archive photo courtesy Civilian Marksmanship Program, TheCMP.org.
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October 13th, 2013
Get Official Targets, Target Centers, Pasters, Pit Supplies, and Training Targets
Looking for training targets, competition targets, or fun targets? Well Creedmoor Sports has what you need for NRA smallbore and centerfire competition (including target pasters). Creedmoor has the official targets for most popular NRA disciplines along with the “Target Repair Centers” (Bullseye overlays that save money compared to full-size targets). In stock now are official F-Class targets, High Power rifle targets, smallbore targets, pistol targets, and air rifle targets. Creedmoor also now carries Birchwood Casey Shoot-N-C targets and Hi-Viz Orange Target Spots®. When practicing with scoped rifles, we use the 1″ Target Spots at 200 yards, and the 3″ Target Spots at 600.
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August 19th, 2013
Story by Lars Dalseide for NRABlog
It was a close one for SSG Tyrel Cooper. He’s been close before at NRA’s National Long Range High Power Rifle Championships in Camp Perry, but not as close as this. Not so close that his overall point total of 1243, while impressive, was not good enough to win. It was only good enough for a tie. Thank god for the X count. With an X count of of 71, Cooper inched by fellow U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) teammate Brandon Keith Green by seven whole points. Talk about the skin of your teeth. “It’s been a long time coming,” said Cooper — Fourteen years to be exact.
Falling in love with High Powered Rifles
Cooper wasn’t raised on rifles. No, he was just your typical California kid on the streets of Sacramento. It wasn’t until a 14 year-old Ty accompanied his father to the Police and Fire Games that he discovered a passion for firearms.
“I tagged along with Dad to a high power rifle match. We ran into Jim O’Connell at the practice range. He asked if I wanted to shoot one of his ARs. After a little prodding, I did and instantly fell in love. I ended up pulling targets for the rest of the match. That’s when I decided it was better to be pulling triggers than pulling targets.”
Working odd jobs and hoarding the cash, Cooper eventually saved enough for an AR of his own. Now all he needed was a place to shoot. California, contrary to popular opinion, would provide.
“There are a lot of real good shooters who come out of California,” said Cooper. “They have one of the best high power teams in the country right now. Norman Mayo, Tom Whittaker, and Bob Gustin (3rd in this year’s Long Range High Power Championships) all came out of California. We use to shoot at the same club in Sacramento. “I grew up watching him (Gustin) shoot, wishing one day I’d be like him.”
A path to the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s Long Range Rifle Team
The rest of Cooper’s teenage years were spent competing. With his father and sister in tow, they went from competition to competition throughout the state. It was a family affair.
“We only had one gun,” he said with a snicker. “I would shoot, she would shoot, then dad would shoot. After a while, he backed off and just supported us. “My sister was pretty good. I was actually her coach on the Junior Team in 2007 at the World Championships up in Canada. But that’s the last time we shot together. She went and got married, had two kids. Life got in the way.”
Cooper was working on a life of his own. Out of high school, he was searching for a place to put those rifle talents to use. That place would be with the U.S. Army. Joining at the age of 19, he spent the next few years honing skills. Reading wind, playing with ballistics, shooting whenever possible. Four years later, as a member of the USA Young Eagles Rifle Team (America’s under 21 and under 25 long range rifle team), he met with AMU Coach Emil Praslick.
“We head a real good talk. I got the letter and was off to basic training.”
It’s been a whirlwind ever since. Learning from the best in the business, Cooper utilizes his refined skills to be the best in competition and valuable resource in training. As any member of the AMU will tell you, one of their primary goals is to serve as a force multiplier. They do this by sending members of the Unit to army bases throughout the world. There they teach the troops the finer points of marksmanship.
But the travel doesn’t end there. There’s also a great deal required for the competitions. Ty explained: “For Long Range I’ve been to Canada, England, Australia, South Africa. In the states I’ve shot in California, Louisiana, Tennesee, Virginia, Georgia and Ohio. Long Range has taken me around the world, High Power has only taken me up and down the east coast.” Now, no matter where he goes, he will always be known as NRA’s 2013 National Long Range High Power Rifle Champion.
“When he was a kid growing up, he had a lot of help from a lot a good shooters,” said Robert Gustin, one of Cooper’s early mentors at the Sacramento shooting club. “One thing you can count on is that he’s always been good and will get nothing but better.” Photo above shows SSG Brandon Green, SSG Tyrel Cooper, and Bob Gustin on stage at the NRA Long Range High Power Rifle Championships in Camp Perry.
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August 13th, 2013
SSG Ty (Tyrel) Cooper of the USAMU won the 2013 NRA National High Power Rifle Long Range Championships with a final score of 1243-71X. Ty grabbed the lead from fellow USAMU shooter Shane Barnhart on the final day of competition, shooting superbly to take the Long Range title. Also moving up in the standings today was SSG Brandon Green, who won the NRA High Power Championships last week. Green was a close second. Though both soldiers finished with a total score of 1243 points, Cooper’s X count topped Green’s by seven (71 to 64). On his Facebook page, Green praised his USAMU team-mate: “Congrats to Ty Cooper, he is the 2013 Long Range National Champion! And I’m the first loser! … Stupid Xs.” (Photo courtesy NRA Blog.)
Below is a file photo of SSG Ty Cooper at 2012 High Power Championship. In the Long Range Championships, Cooper used a Nesika-actioned bolt gun with long barrel chambered in 7mm SAUM.
NRA Blog editor Lars Dalseide interviewed Ty Cooper shortly after he won the 2013 Long Range title. “It’s a long time coming,” said Cooper with a smile. “Years of shooting and now here it is. It’s overdue — that much is true.”
Cooper edged out USAMU teammate Brandon Keith Green for the win by seven Xs, after four days of long-range competition. “You don’t get much closer than that,” said Russ, a competitor from Georgia. “Winning by an X count. Boy that is something.”
Rounding out the top five in the overall Long Range Championships are Bob Gustin with 1239-76X, Shirley Mcgee with a 1238-65X, and Eric Smith with a 1236-55X.
Complete Results from the Long Range Championships will be posted on the NRA Competitive Shooting Championships Results Webpage later today.
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August 8th, 2013
Story by Kyle Jillson for NRABlog
(Camp Perry – August 7, 2013) Half way through the hunt for the 2013 NRA National High Power Rifle title, defending champion Carl Bernosky is in the lead with a 1193-69X. It is a narrow lead, but a lead nonetheless. One point behind Bernosky is 2009 champion Norman Houle at 1192-49X who himself holds off three very capable shooters by just one point.
With six matches completed and six more to go, the Championships are at the official half-way point. The High Power Championship involves a 12-match cycle, with 480 total shots for record. Two full days of shooting remain for competitors, who have already been thoroughly pummeled by Camp Perry’s notorious heat and rain. Whoever wins the High Power title will have earned it — the hard way.
Bernosky has been in this position before. The winner of ten national championships, he is more than aware of how close the race can get. All of the top shooters are veterans and capable of winning it all. At this point, with these scores, it’s nearly a blank slate when shooting begins again tomorrow morning. Will Bernosky hold on for number eleven, could Houle claim his fourth Mumma Trophy, or will a new champion step up on the podium?
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August 7th, 2013
We want to say “Happy Birthday” to Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics LLC. Bryan came to earth from Planet Krypton on August 7, 1979, making him a ripe old 34 years of age today. (One more year and he’s over the hill).
In an industry where many products are conceived and marketed by folks who spend more time on the golf course than the shooting range, it’s reassuring to know that there are still guys like Bryan who shoot what they sell, and who put in the trigger-time to acquire (and maintain) world-class shooting skills. Bryan, who actually worked as a rocket scientist before founding Applied Ballistics, is one of the nation’s leading long-range sling shooters — with the trophies to prove it. As well, the bullets Bryan designed for Berger bullets, particularly the Berger Hybrids, are helping competitive shooters around the world shoot higher scores and win more matches.
Palma Match from a Shooter’s Perspective
For those of you who haven’t seen it before, here is a “shooter’s POV” video of Bryan shooting an 800-yard Palma match. In the video Bryan shoots a 149-12X over a 15-shot string. NOTE: This video was speeded up in editing to keep it to a reasonable length.
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August 3rd, 2013
Here’s a feel-good story about dedicated, hard-working young people from California. The California Grizzlies Junior Rifle Team shot great in the Infantry Trophy competition at the NRA National Championships, winning not only the High Junior Title, but the Civilian Title as well. In fact the young Grizzlies squad beat ALL the adult teams except the powerhouse U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Team coached by Emil Praslick III.
Dennis Santiago reports that: “The kids from California have once again proven that the adversity of onerous laws cannot keep skill and talent from prevailing on the field of sporting competition. They placed second overall behind Emil Praslick’s USAMU team.” This means the Grizzlies will receive both the High Civilian Team and High Junior Team awards for this year’s Infantry Trophy competition at Camp Perry. Way to go Grizzlies!
File Photo of the 2012 Grizzlies Team. Some members of the 2013 team may not be shown.
The California Junior High Power Team currently consists of 20 juniors who are from different parts of California. The team is open to NRA High Power classified California youth between the ages of 13 and 20. The California team has the privilege of competing in the National Rifle Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio, every August.
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July 13th, 2013
It’s important for all serious “gun guys” to share our hobby with new shooters. Sharing the fun with those new to the sport helps keep our shooting heritage alive. And going to the range is also a great way for family members and friends to spend “quality time” together. A father and son outing to the range can be very rewarding, as Forum Member Belton45 observed recently.
Forum Member Belton45 started a thread in our Shooters’ Forum, entitled “Why I Enjoy Shooting.” In the thread, Belton45 described a day at the range with his 11-year-old son: “My son wanted a nice gun like my PPC so I fixed him up a Krieger-barreled 223 AR. [The photo shows] my son shooting the newly-put-together AR. He had the best two small groups of the day with it. Smallest was this .295″ and one a little over .3″. He was very happy as I was also. He is 11 and loves going to range. I am pretty sure I was happier than he was. Although he had to call his grandpa and tell him. On the drive back home he was giving me pointers on how to shoot. He has been shooting with me for 5 to 6 years. He is definitely a good shot. He also shoots a MKIII .22LR pistol very well also. He thinks I’m the ‘coolest dad in the world’. He is a very hard working young man — he mows yards, gets good grades, and is very athletic. I could not be happier.”
READ ‘Why I Enjoy Shooting’ Forum Thread
Forum Member Tim B had a similar positive experience with his nephew: “I don’t have kids but feel that we need to keep alive the gun aspect of our heritage. I bought a .22 mag rifle and gave it to my nephew. He is a natural in my eyes. He loves that rifle more than anything. He has learned to read the wind and can shoot some tight groups with it. I recently let him shoot my AR I just finished building. The look in his eyes after shooting it was priceless. I hope to build him a very nice target gun someday.”
Forum Member Ray in Wenatchee also gave a young shooter a special thrill: “A 10/22 shooting teenager sideled up to me behind my Anschutz M1413 free style rifle and was amazed at my grouping. His dad had taken him down to do a little shooting, then maybe archery. I set him up on my Bald Eagle rest and let him shoot 5 rounds. [He drilled] a 5-round, nickel-sized hole at 50 yards. Both of them were still waving ‘Thank You’ when I left.”
As an eighth grader, Amanda L (photo above), attended a Benchrest Clinic in Southern California. She ended up shooting one of the small groups of the day, an impressive 0.163″. Who said short-range benchrest is just for pudgy old guys with cranky personalities? Amanda is living proof that precision shooting can be enjoyed by just about anyone, at any age.
And we can also help the sport by giving adult shooters the chance to try a very accurate rifle for the first time. Often, when a novice gets a chance to shoot a real tack-driver, he gets “hooked” on the sport. Forum Member LawrenceH writes:
One of the most fulfilling aspects of benchrest shooting, for me, is to get others interested in the sport. At my home range, most shooters have never seen a benchrest rifle, or wind flags. During range visits I get at least one person who comes over and asks questions about my gun and the flags. I will take a break from my shooting and talk with the interested shooter as long as they care to talk. I will then ask them if they would like to shoot a group with my rifle. More often than not they will say yes. The smile on their face when they finish their group and the cheer in their voice as they talk about how fun it is to shoot that rifle is enough to make my day. I got one guy hooked on the sport and made several friends this way. Being open and friendly with other shooters can go a long way toward sustaining our sport.
When I am at the range practicing, I do all I can to dispel the stigma that benchrest shooters are unapproachable or arrogant. My intention of being open and friendly with other shooters is to provide them the thrill of shooting a benchrest rifle and giving them the opportunity to find out what they can do with good equipment. In the process they will see that benchrest shooters are a good bunch of guys and that benchrest competition might be a fun endeavor. If they chose to pursue the sport, that is a bonus. In any case, it has always been a positive experience to share my knowledge and equipment with other shooters. It boils down to having fun and being a good steward of the shooting sports. I will continue to do my part and hope that other benchrest shooters do the same.”
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June 30th, 2013
by Kelly Bachand
[Editor: If you have been watching the Top Shot All-Stars TV series this season you've noticed that our Buddy Kelly Bachand has been "kicking a** and taking names". On last week's episode Kelly was the only shooter to place multiple rimfire rounds through the center of a CD without touching the plastic. Most of the other Aall-stars in this challenge couldn't send even one shot through the CD without breaking plastic. Shooting offhand, Kelly went three-for-three. That's impressive. Though you know him best from Top Shot, Kelly is one of America's leading young long-range prone shooters. Bachand has been a Top Five finisher in many major matches, and he has won the Canadian Open Target Rifle Championship, shooting his Barnard-actioned Palma Rifle.]
In this article, I’ll share what works for me in the prone shooting game. However, I recognize that every shooter/rifle combination is unique. So, the best way to find out what will really work best is by practicing and putting some rounds down range. But hopefully you’ll find some suggestions in this story that prove helpful.
The Rifle, Sling, Arms, and Hands
I keep my sling high on the pulse pad of my Creedmoor Sports shooting jacket which turns out to be at the top of my bicep muscle. The sling is tight enough that, with my forward hand against the hand stop and the stock firmly in my shoulder, the rifle is fully supported without any noticeable muscle use. As my coaches have recommended, placing my forward elbow as close to directly under the rifle as possible often yields a more stable position. My trigger hand does not support the rifle but rather grips it without disturbing its aim. If the rifle can be held level and stable with just the forward hand and sling, then one knows a good prone position has been found.
Head, Torso, Hips, and Legs
As with shooting off hand, when shooting prone, I find it best to keep my head as close to perfectly vertical as possible. While swaying is not a typical problem in the prone position, if a vertical head position grants me more stability, I will work to have one. My torso in particular bends in a way that may be uncomfortable for other prone shooters. My left hip and some of the left side of my stomach touch the ground but the majority of my chest and diaphragm are off the ground while I shoot prone. By minimizing the contact my stomach and chest have with the ground I can also minimize the effect my breathing has on my hold. (Also breathing is much easier when each breath isn’t lifting one’s torso weight). Below my waist my left leg extends almost perfectly straight out and sometimes falls asleep while shooting. My right leg is cocked and my right knee is brought up almost even with my right hip. This is what allows me to get so much of my torso off the ground.
The Finished Product
In the prone shooting game we shoot at distances from 300 to 1000 yards using iron sights (and sometimes scopes). When I have a good prone position, and my breathing is correct, there are a few seconds right before I take a shot when I feel as if my rifle is being supported on a bench. This sort of stability is only needed for the few seconds it takes to squeeze the trigger. It can, however, very consistently produce sub-minute groups with iron sights from the prone position at any range from 100-1000 yards.
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June 29th, 2013
New Daily Bulletin readers may not know that our AccurateShooter.com website offers an entire set of FREE TARGETS. There are over 50 free targets, including: Sight-in targets, Load Development targets, Benchrest targets, NRA Highpower targets, Scope Testing targets, Fun Targets, Rimfire BR targets, 3D Bullseye targets, and even a special set of Rimfire Tactical targets.
Most of the targets come bundled in .zip archives, so you can easily download multiple targets with one click. The targets are saved in PDF format (Adobe Acrobat), so they are easy to print and the scale is correct no matter what your screen resolution.
In the photo above, Forum member FireMedic shows some fine shootin’ with our basic Accuracy Target. With small, red diamonds and extended black lines, this target allows very precise aiming at 100 and 200 yards. The gray dot on top provides a reference point for a 200-yard zero. FireMedic reports: “My 30″, 12 twist, 3 groove does pretty good for an old Savage chambered in .308 Win.” With an average group size of 0.208 inches we’d have to agree. Great Shootin’ FireMedic!
Above are two fun targets you might enjoy. The Atomic Target was originally created as a contest for our readers. The design is by Michael Forester of Auckland, New Zealand. Hit the bigger green and red neutrons, then try your luck with the smaller electrons. Or you can try to shot some “bug-holes” with our popular Fly Shoot Target. Watch out for the bio-hazard rings!
Of course, if you happen to have actual insect land on your target, you might just shoot an honest-to-goodness “bughole”. Here we see an accurate “direct hit” on a gnat’s a** by Dr. Clint D., described by GA Precision’s George Gardner as a “gnat protologist”. The shot was made at 100 yards with a very accurate GAP .260 Rem.
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