September 23rd, 2017

Sling Thing: Dennis DeMille Explains How to Set Up Your Sling

Dennis DeMille Creedmoor Sports Rifle Sling video training set-up
Dennis DeMille shows a young competitor at the CMP Western Games how to adjust his leather sling.

Setting-Up a Leather Service Rifle Sling for Competition
So you made the mistake of disassembling your leather service rifle sling, or are intimidated about how to use one? In this Creedmoor Sports InfoZone video, Creedmoor G.M. Dennis DeMille explains how to set up and use a sling. The covers the basics — Dennis starts with a totally disassembled leather service rifle sling and shows you how to set it up properly.

Tip: “Many shooters shy away from using a leather sling because they have never been taught how to use one. That’s unfortunate. In my opinion a leather sling offers more support than a web sling, which is important when competiting with the heavier than normal rifles.”

Configuring the Sling for the Standing (Offhand) Position
In this second in a series of Creedmoor InfoZone videos on the setup and use of the leather service rifle sling, Dennis DeMille details how to configure and best utilize the leather service rifle sling while shooting from the standing position.

Tip: “Putting the Frogs in different hole will change the amount of added elevation a sling provides.”

Looking at Sling Types — Comparing the Features
In this video Dennis showcases a large variety of shooting slings. He explains the strong points of each type so you can choose the sling best suited to your discipline and shooting style.

Dennis DeMille High PowerThe Benefits of Dry-Fire Training
Once you know how to set up your sling properly, you’ll want to practice. Dennis DeMille stresses the importance of dry-fire practice with sling and shooting coat. Dry-Fire training is essential to the sling disciplines. Dennis DeMille, a national Service Rifle Champion, told us that, for every minute he spent in actual competition, he would spend hours practicing without ammunition. While in the USMC, Dennis would practice in the barracks, working on his hold and dry-firing:

“The most important thing is to spend time off the range practicing. Most of what I learned as a High Power shooter I learned without ammunition — just spending time dry firing and doing holding exercises. Holding exercises will really identify the weak parts of your position. The primary purpose of dry firing is to get you used to shooting an empty rifle. If you can shoot a loaded rifle the same way you shoot an empty rifle then eventually you will become a High Master.”

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills, Tech Tip No Comments »
August 30th, 2017

Left-Port, Side-Charging AR Upper — Not Just for Southpaws

left hand ar15 upper keystone accuracy

Here’s something you may not have seen before — a left-port, side-charging AR15 Upper. This unit was developed by John Scandale of Keystone Accuracy. While this was designed for left-handed High Power shooters, the lefty upper also works well for right-handed F-TR shooters. This design allows a prone shooter to single-load with his left hand, an efficient system for a right-handed shooter. Here is a review of the lefty upper from GS Arizona, who created the Rifleman’s Journal website. Like John Scandale, GS is a southpaw.

The Lefty AR Upper from Keystone Accuracy

by GS Arizona
We left-handed shooters are always the last to get the benefit of new firearms developments, or so it seems to us most of the time. There is no rifle more popular today than the AR15, whether for competitive shooting or plain recreational use; but even for that ubiquitous black rifle, left-handed items are few and far between. However, Keystone Accuracy run by left-handed High Power shooter John Scandale has some good stuff for us.

Left-handed Left AR15 Upper Keystone Accuracy  Scandale

John is a long time High Power shooter, a member of the National Guard’s All-Guard rifle team and a Distinguished Rifleman. He knows exactly what makes a good High Power rifle — unlike many of the mail-order parts and pieces you see offered for sale by someone who only shoots his computer keyboard… John is a real shooter, I’ve known him for many years and trust his work.

The most interesting item from Keystone is the left-hand billet upper receiver for the AR15 match rifle. This thick-wall, CNC-machined piece appears to be very durable and fits all existing AR15 lower receivers.

left handed billet ar-15 ar15 upper side port

When the AR15 was becoming popular in High Power shooting in the mid-1990s, I had a match rifle built on one. To solve the left-hand problem, I had a second port milled into the left side to allow me to load the rifle comfortably in slow-fire, single-load matches. Unfortunately, sometimes the round I flicked into the left port would fall right out of the right port! That was a bit frustrating and this receiver, along with an appropriate left-handed bolt assembly will work for the lefty just as we desire.

left-handed ar15 upper

I’ve seen quite a few AR15 based rifles in F-TR at our local club matches over the past year. This upper would be a good choice for many right-handed shooters using the AR for F-Class as it allows loading with the left hand while the right hand remains on the pistol grip and ready to fire when the target appears. In light of the fact that the bolt release is on the left side, that makes life a lot simpler than using the right hand! So if you’re a left-handed shooter or even a right-handed F-Class shooter, give this some thought, it might be just what you’ve been waiting for and didn’t even know it!

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 2 Comments »
July 18th, 2017

Camp Perry Report — The National President’s 100 Rifle Match

President's 100 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago
All Camp Perry photos courtesy Dennis Santiago.

Our friend Dennis Santiago is at Camp Perry this summer. Yesterday (7/17/17) he competed in the historic National President’s 100 Match. This is a huge event — this year, there were 1109 ranked competitors from throughout the nation, making this one of the biggest High Power events of the year.

The President’s 100 Rifle Match is richly steeped in history. This unique match was first held in 1878. Here’s the view from the line at 600 yards:
President's 100 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago

The 2017 President’s 100 Rifle Match was a tightly-fought affair, with the top five shooters separated by just three points. Justin Utley from Texas shot superbly to take the top position and President’s Rifle Trophy. The top 100 competitors overall in the President’s Rifle Match are designated as the President’s 100. They receive President’s 100 medallions and certificates. GET full match results. (Click Link then “Results” tab).

President's 100 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago

Top Five Shooters at 2017 National President’s 100 Match
1. Justin Utley (TX) 396-17X (Trophy Winner)
2. SFC Brandon Green (GA, USAMU) 394-20X
3. Robert Taylor II (CA) 394-11X
4. MAJ Samuel Freeman (NC, USAR), 393-23X
5. SGT Ben Cleland, (OH) 393-19X

President’s 100 Shoot Off! — The Top 20 shooters face off while everyone watches, wishing the best for every one of them. This is what attending a family gathering is for us.
President's 100 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago

Dennis Says Camp Perry is about Friendships as Well as Marksmanship
This is Dennis Santiago’s second year at Camp Perry. He will be competing in a number of events: “This will be my second year attending the National Matches at Camp Perry. It will be my first time navigating CMP week using a scoped service rifle. I hope to do well at the Oliver Hazard Perry, President’s 100, and National Trophy Individual (NTI). I will be shooting with the California Team again and one of my goals is to help our contingent do well in the team matches, the Infantry Trophy match aka ‘Rattle Battle’ in particular. I am also looking forward to shooting my M-1 Garand at Camp Perry[.]

But most of all, my goal is to spend time with as many of my friends as possible — the friends I’ve known and hang out with throughout the year, the ones I only see once a year at Camp Perry, and the many I’ve only conversed with on social media and will meet in person for the first time. More than anything, Camp Perry is where I come home to my shooting family. My mission is to celebrate my love of this sport with them.”

Origins of the President’s Match
The National Rifle Association’s President’s Match was instituted in 1878, as the American Military Rifle Championship Match. In 1884, the name was changed to the President’s Match for the Military Rifle Championship of the United States. It was fired at Creedmoor, New York until 1891. In 1895, it was reintroduced at Sea Girt, New Jersey. Today, the match is held at Camp Perry, Ohio.

Dunfey USAMU President's MatchThe President’s Match was patterned after an event for British Volunteers called the Queen’s Match. That British competition was started in 1860 by Queen Victoria and the NRA of Great Britain to increase the ability of Britain’s marksmen following the Crimean War.

The tradition of making a letter from the President of the United States the first prize began in 1904 when President Theodore Roosevelt personally wrote a letter of congratulations to the winner, Private Howard Gensch of the New Jersey National Guard.

After a hiatus in the 1930s and 1940s, The President’s Match was reinstated in 1957 at the National Matches as “The President’s Hundred.” The 100 top-scoring competitors in the President’s Match were singled out for special recognition.

CLICK HERE for history of the President’s Match.

Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
July 12th, 2017

Match Etiquette: Be Prepared, Know the Rules and Course of Fire

Match Etiquette USAMU Course of Fire Rules SFC Norman Anderson CMP Rulebook NRA

Match Etiquette USAMU Course of Fire Rules SFC Norman Anderson CMP Rulebook NRA

Don’t Be “That Guy” (The Bad Apple on the Firing Line)

By SFC Norman Anderson, USAMU Service Rifle Team Member
You know the guy, he’s still talking at the coffee jug when his preparation period begins, then his magazines aren’t loaded when the command “STAND” is given, and finally, he doesn’t know the rules when he argues with the block officer as his target comes up marked “9 and No”. Although this guy might be the highlight of the “after match” activities, he is the proverbial bad apple on the firing line. With this example fresh in your mind, let’s go over how not to be “that guy”.

While the sport of High Power shooting is a hobby for most, all are passionate about performance throughout the day. In order to achieve your maximum performance each and every day, it is essential that you conduct yourself as a professional competitor. As a competitor, you have a personal responsibility to know the course of fire as well as the rules and procedures that apply to it and to be prepared to follow them. Knowing this will not only make you a better competitor, but it will enable you to resolve situations with other targets besides your own. So what does all this mean? I’ll explain…

Know the Course of Fire
Know the course of fire. It sounds easy enough, as we all shoot plenty of matches, but it’s more than that. If you think about it, how many people in the pits, for example, do not really know what is happening on the firing line? This leads to targets being pulled early during a rapid fire string or missing a shot during a slow fire string. In cases like this, the result is the same, delays in the match and upset competitors. To avoid being “that guy,” it is imperative that you stay tuned to the events as the day progresses. When you are at the range shooting a match, be at the range shooting the match.

At any firearms competition — be sure you know (and understand) the course of fire.
CMP Match Etiquette

Match Etiquette USAMU Course of Fire Rules SFC Norman Anderson CMP Rulebook NRAKnow the Rules
Now, let’s discuss rules. As you have probably heard more than once, the rulebook is your best friend. Here is why. I can virtually guarantee that most competitors know some of the rules based only on the old “this is how we do it at home” adage. The funny part of that is, the same green NRA rulebook and orange CMP rulebooks are used to govern High Power matches all over the country.*

It is vital that all shooters be familiar with the rules as they are written, not with “how they are applied at home”. This creates consistency and continuity in how matches are conducted, from local club matches to state tournaments to National Championships. Knowledge is power when it comes to scoring targets under contention, what to do in the case of a malfunction, or even how to file a protest correctly. These rules are in place for a reason and it benefits everyone to both know and operate by these rules.

Maintain Composure and Humility — Exhibit Good Sportsmanship
One aspect of competing that cannot be forgotten is bearing. As I mentioned earlier, you must be prepared for both good and bad to happen. All too often we all see “that guy” (or that “that guy’s” gear) flying off of the firing line in disgust. Remember that we all must maintain our composure and humility in all conditions, not matter what happens. After all, it’s just a game. To put it into perspective, if it were easy, attendance would be a lot higher. Sportsmanship must be displayed in an effort to keep from ruining the day for all those around you. It doesn’t cost anything to smile, and smiling never killed anyone. So turn that frown upside down and keep on marching, better days will come.

Like a Boy Scout — Always Be Prepared
Lastly, I would like to cover preparedness. Being prepared goes beyond simply having your magazines loaded and a zero on your rifle. It means approaching the firing line, knowing what you are about to do, being ready for what is going to happen (good or bad), and being ready for the results. If you approach the firing line to merely shoot 10 shots standing in your next LEG match, you are not going to be pleased with the result. You must be prepared mentally and physically, not only for the next stage, but also the next shot. By being prepared physically (equipment ready), you give yourself peace of mind which is an essential part of being prepared mentally, and by being prepared mentally, you are less likely to become distracted and are more likely to maintain focus for each and every shot.

Conclusion — Informed Competitors Make for Better Matches
The culmination of these efforts results in a shooter that knows how to be ready for success on the range, but also and perhaps more importantly, a shooter who knows what it means to be a competitor. When you have a range full of competitors who know and follow the rules and proper match procedures, the match runs smoothly, everyone shoots well, and a good time is had by all. In the end, isn’t that what it’s all about?


* After this article was originally written, the CMP separated its rules into two different Rulebooks:

The 2016 4th Edition of the CMP Competition Rules for CMP Games Rifle and Pistol Matches governs all CMP-sanctioned matches for As-Issued Military Rifle and Pistol events including Special EIC Matches that are fired with As-Issued Military Rifles or Pistols.

The 2016 20th Edition of the CMP Competition Rules for Service Rifle and Service Pistol governs sponsored and sanctioned matches for Service Rifle, Service Pistol and .22 Rimfire Pistol events, including National Trophy Rifle and Pistol Matches, Excellence-In-Competition (EIC) matches and other CMP-sanctioned competitions.

This article by SFC Norman Anderson originally appeared in the CMP First Shot Online Magazine.

Permalink - Articles, Competition No Comments »
July 12th, 2017

SFC Brandon Green Wins CMP 2400 Agg Title at Camp Perry

Story based on Report by Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer
SFC Brandon Green, 32, of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, fired a score of 2368-97X to earn the championship title in the 2400 Aggregate Rifle event held during the inaugural Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Cup Matches. The 2400 Aggregate award goes to the top shooter in the three combined 800 Aggregates. The 2015 National High Power Champion, SFC Green is a gifted competitor who has excelled in multiple rifle disciplines. In addition to Service Rifle and High Power events, Green has competed in PRS and tactical matches.

National Matches CMP Calendar Camp Perry Ohio
CLICK HERE to view larger version of this image.

CLICK HERE for 2017 National Matches Calendar (PDF).

SFC Brandon Green

Even before joining the USAMU Green was an ace marksman. As a junior, he earned Distinguished Air Rifle Badge #1. “I’ve been very fortunate to get support from friends, family and the ROTC programs in high school, and of course from the CMP and NRA as well, which kind of catered to someone like myself, coming in as a junior and shooting all the way up through the High Power sports,” said Green. “I’ve also been lucky enough to gain so many opportunities from being a part of the Army and the USAMU. It’s been a long learning journey, but it’s been a good one.”

The CMP Cup Matches, which kicked off the 2017 National Matches at Camp Perry, were introduced as an extra series of elite match and service rifle competitions. The schedule included a 4-Man Team Match, three consecutive days of 800 Aggregate matches, and an EIC Service Rifle Match.

CMP Matches
4-Man Team Match kicked off a week of events fired entirely on the CMP’s electronic High Power targets.

The CMP Cup Series week marked a new era at Camp Perry, with the first successful competitions fired on the base’s ranges using CMP’s mobile electronic targets. Over 36,000 rounds were sent downrange, with less than 50 questioned by competitors throughout the week. For many, the Cup Matches provided an initial look at the CMP’s target system.

Also making marks in the 2400 Aggregate match during CMP Cup Week was SSG Amanda Elsenboss, 28, of the Army Marksmanship Unit, who earned the High Woman Award, as well as Serena Juchnowski, 18, of Richfield, OH, who snagged the High Junior credit. Paul Terrence, 65, of Cleveland, OH, was named the High Senior of the event.

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »
July 7th, 2017

National High Power Rifle Championships Commence in Indiana

Camp Atterbury Indiana Perry CMP Cup Matches Ohio NRA High Power

The 2017 National High Power Rifle Championships commence today, June 7th, at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. The National Matches, which run through July 25, 2017, involve multiple National Championship events along with famed Trophy Matches. The nation’s finest civilian and military marksmen will convene on some of Atterbury’s 60 ranges for nearly 20 days of High Power rifle competition in a variety of formats. This year’s National Matches at Camp Atterbury will include the National High Power Championships, National Mid-Range Championships, National Long Range Championships, and various side matches, including NRA America’s Rifle Challenge, NRA 2-Gun, and an Extreme Long Range One Mile event.

High Power Rifle Championships (Camp Atterbury, IN — July 7-25, 2017)
Webpage: CLICK HERE for National High Power Rifle Championships INFO.
High Power Rifle Registration: https://competitions.nra.org/NationalMatches/
Updated Schedule: Updated Schedule for 2017 National High Power Rifle Championships
Program: 2017 NRA High Power Rifle Championship Program (PDF)

For more information about the 2017 National High Power Rifle Championships, including registration, calendar of events, official program, and more, click the links above or visit the official website.

Shown Below is Reigning NRA Long Range National Champion John Whidden.
John Whidden Long Range Championship

This year’s sponsors include ArmaLite, Berger Bullets, Cutting Edge Bullets, Champion’s Choice, FN America, Hodgdon Powder, Krieger Barrels, Lapua, NEXUS Ammunition, Nightforce Optics, Nosler, OTIS, Satern/Liberty Barrels, Sierra Bullets, SK, Timney Triggers, Vihtavuori, and White Oak Arms.

Match Schedules Adjusted to Allow Travel Time
The shooting schedule has been adjusted to give competitors time to travel between events held at different locations. Following the completion of the XTC matches, competitors will have a day to travel to Camp Perry, Ohio, should they wish to attend the Small Arms Firing School and shoot the Civilian Marksmanship Program National Trophy Matches. Similarly, Smallbore Prone competitors in Bristol, Indiana, will have a day of travel to arrive at Camp Atterbury to participate in the High Power Mid-Range and Long-Range Prone matches.

Camp Atterbury Indiana range High Power championship

Permalink News No Comments »
June 24th, 2017

CMP & Nat’l Matches Calendar: Camp Perry and Camp Atterbury

National Matches CMP Calendar Camp Perry Ohio
CLICK HERE to view larger version of this image.

CLICK HERE for 2017 National Matches Calendar (PDF).

The CMP National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio commence with the First Shot Ceremony on Monday, June 26, 2017. That’s just two days away! With the NRA having moved the National High Power Rifle Championships away from Camp Perry to Indiana this year, the CMP has stepped into the breach, offering more matches in the first part of the June 2017 National Match Schedule.

In the opening week of the National Matches schedule, June 26-30, 2017, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) will lead off with CMP Service Rifle and CMP Match Rifle events, called the CMP Cup Matches. The CMP Cup series includes: CMP Four-Man Team Match, CMP 800 Aggregate Matches, and CMP Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) Service Rifle Match. This will be followed by pistol events July 1-2, and July 9-13, 2017.

Camp Perry M1A Match

On July 14-25, the CMP conducts its second set of National Matches rifle events including the CMP National Trophy Rifle Matches, and CMP Rifle Games Events. Notable special events will include the President’s 100 Match (July 17), National Trophy Team Match (July 20), the CMP Garand Match and M1A Match (July 22), and the Vintage Sniper Match (July 24). The Sniper Match was the brainchild of Hornady’s Dave Emary. The competition was inspired by his father, a World War II scout sniper, who carried a rifle similar to the 1903A4 rifle builds found today on the Camp Perry firing line.

Hornady’s Dave Emary and “Gunny” R. Lee Ermey (right) at Vintage Sniper Match:
AccurateShooter.com CMP Vintage Sniper Rifle Match

Rimfire Sporter — Fun for the Whole Family
The CMP’s final event, the hugely popular National Rimfire Sporter Match, will be held on Saturday, July 29 (see below). For more information, visit the CMP 2017 National Matches website.

Watch Highlights from the 2016 National Rimfire Sporter Match:

Download CMP Rimfire Sporter Guidebook | View AccurateShooter’s Rimfire Sporter Page

National Rimfire Sporter Match Camp Perry 2016

NRA Events at Camp Atterbury, Indiana

Camp Atterbury Indiana Perry CMP Cup Matches Ohio NRA High Power

This year, NRA High Power events and major rifle championships will be held in Indiana, at Camp Atterbury. The American Rifleman website explains: “The High Power Rifle Championships have a new venue, exciting side matches and the opportunity to shoot at a mile. Preparations for the 2017 NRA National High Power Rifle Championships at Camp Atterbury (near Edinburgh, Indiana) are proceeding well. The Indiana National Guard is making improvements to firing lines, housing is open for reservations, and buildings have been selected for administrative needs[.] NRA and the Indiana National Guard are working hard to make this year at Camp Atterbury a memorable one.”

The championships will be conducted July 7 to 25, 2017, and they will include Across-the-Course (XTC), Mid-Range, and Long-Range matches, as well as classic trophy matches — such as the Leech Cup and the Wimbledon Cup… and, of course, Palma competition.

Match Schedules Adjusted to Allow Travel Time
The shooting schedule has been adjusted to give competitors time to travel between events held at different locations. Following the completion of the XTC matches, competitors will have a day to travel to Camp Perry, Ohio, should they wish to attend the Small Arms Firing School and shoot the Civilian Marksmanship Program National Trophy Matches. Similarly, Smallbore Prone competitors in Bristol, Indiana, will have a day of travel to arrive at Camp Atterbury to participate in the High Power Mid-Range and Long-Range Prone matches.

Camp Atterbury Indiana range High Power championship

High Power Rifle Championship (Camp Atterbury, IN — July 7-25, 2017)
Webpage: CLICK HERE for National High Power Rifle Championships INFO.
High Power Rifle Registration: https://competitions.nra.org/NationalMatches/
Updated Schedule: Updated Schedule for 2017 National High Power Rifle Championships
Program: 2017 NRA High Power Rifle Championship Program (PDF)

NRA National Championship Rifle Events in Indiana
The NRA has moved the National High Power XTC Rifle Championship, Mid-Range Championship, and Long Range Championship away from Camp Perry, Ohio, starting in 2017. Starting this summer, all these events will henceforth be held at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. That means if you want to compete in both CMP and NRA rifle matches, you would need to go two different venues, located 280 miles apart, in two different states.


Camp Wa-ke'-de range Bristol indiana IN championship

Smallbore Rifle Championship (Wa-Ke’-De Range, Bristol, IN — July 8-17, 2017)
Webpage: CLICK HERE for National Smallbore Rifle Championships INFO.
Smallbore Rifle Registration: https://compete.nra.org/smallboresignup/


Permalink News No Comments »
April 11th, 2017

Trigger Options for AR-Platform Rifles

AR15 Timney drop-in trigger two-stage 2-stage single stage

AR-platform rifles are fun and versatile, but the standard, mil-spec triggers leave much to be desired. They tend to be gritty, with creep and heavy pull weight. One of the easiest, most effective AR upgrades is a trigger group swap. An improved fire control group makes a huge difference. There are many aftermarket trigger options for the AR platform rifles. Choose single-stage or two-stage, either standard trigger assembly or unitized “drop-in” trigger, such as those made by Timney or Triggertech.

Read Full AR Trigger Article in NRA Blog HERE »

AR15 Space Gun trigger
When upgraded with a precision trigger and match barrel, AR-platform rigs work great in NRA High Power competitions (Photo from NRA Blog, at Camp Perry).

AR15 Timney drop-in trigger two-stage 2-stage single stageTwo-Stage vs. Single-Stage Triggers
Two-stage triggers have two separate movements. The first stage offers a light, spring-loaded pressure that works against the shooter’s pull until stopping at the second stage – this is called “take-up”. If there is no spring pressure, it is known as “slack”. Should the shooter continue to pull the trigger once he’s arrived at the second stage, the mechanism will operate like a single-stage trigger from there until engaging the sear and firing the gun. Good trigger reset requires the shooter to keep pressure on the trigger, even during reset, to minimize movement of the muzzle.

Single-stage triggers feature no take-up or slack, as they begin engaging the sear as soon as the shooter begins pulling the trigger. Some competitive shooters prefer the two-stage trigger because of the feedback it provides during its first stage, while other shooters, including those using their rifle in tactical scenarios, may want the surety of a single-stage trigger, ready to engage and fire once their finger is inside the trigger guard. Regardless of preference, a good trigger will feature minimal creep and should be free of grittiness, providing a smooth, even break.

AR15 Timney drop-in trigger two-stage 2-stage single stage

Drop-In Trigger Assembly vs. Standard Trigger Group
Once you decide between a single-stage or two-stage trigger, you can choose between standard and drop-in trigger groups. Standard trigger groups feature all the fire control group parts separated, and need to be pieced together and installed much like a mil-spec trigger, while drop-in trigger are pre-assembled and contained within a casing that simply drops in to the receiver and accepts the pins, hence the name.

After-Market Trigger Comparison

Some shooters prefer drop-in triggers due to the ease of installation, while others opt for standard groups so they can access the components individually for cleaning adjustment or replacement. If one piece of a drop-in trigger fails, you’ll need to either replace the entire unit or send it to the manufacturer for repair, whereas you may be able to simply replace the broken component of a standard trigger without needing a whole new trigger set.

Trigger Terminology — “Creep”, “Stacking”, “Overtravel”
“Creep” or “travel” is the distance the trigger moves between the end of take-up and when the trigger breaks to fire the fun. Too much creep can affect accuracy, but no creep can be unsafe, as the shooter may not be prepared to fire. “Stacking” occurs when the trigger weight actually increases during travel — this shouldn’t happen. Lastly, “overtravel” is the distance the trigger continues moving back after the gun fires.

This article is based on a longer story in the NRA Blog.

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing No Comments »
March 28th, 2017

How to Shoot Standing — HP Champion Carl Bernosky Explains

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. A multi-time National High Power Champion, Carl has won ten (10) National High Power Championships in his storied shooting career, most recently in 2012. 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…


Carl Bernosky High PowerHow 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.

Carl Bernosky High Power5. 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.

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »
March 25th, 2017

Get Physical — Strength and Cardio Training for Shooters

In the archives of The First Shot (the CMP’s Online Magazine), SGT Walter E. Craig of the USAMU discusses physical conditioning for competitive shooters, particularly High Power competitors. Fitness training is an important subject that, curiously, is rarely featured in the shooting sports media. We seem to focus on hardware, or esoteric details of cartridge reloading. Yet physical fitness also matters, particularly for High Power shooters. In his article, Craig advocates: 1) weight training to strengthen the Skeletal Muscle System; 2) exercises to build endurance and stamina; and 3) cardiovascular conditioning programs to allow the shooter to remain relaxed with a controlled heart beat.

SGT Craig explains: “An individual would not enter a long distance race without first spending many hours conditioning his/her body. One should apply the same conditioning philosophy to [shooting]. Physical conditioning to improve shooting skills will result in better shooting performance…. The objective of an individual physical training program is to condition the muscles, heart, and lungs thereby increasing the shooter’s capability of controlling the body and rifle for sustained periods.”

CLICK HERE to READ FULL FITNESS ARTICLE

In addition to weight training and cardio workouts (which can be done in a gym), SGT Craig advocates “some kind of holding drill… to develop the muscles necessary for holding a rifle for extended periods.” For those with range access, Craig recommends a blind standing exercise: “This exercise consists of dry-firing one round, then live-firing one round, at a 200-yard standard SR target. For those who have access only to a 100-yard range, reduced targets will work as well. Begin the exercise with a timer set for 50 minutes. Dry-fire one round, then fire one live round and without looking at the actual impact, plot a call in a data book. Continue the dry fire/live fire sequence for 20 rounds, plotting after each round. After firing is complete, compare the data book to the target. If your zero and position are solid, the plots should resemble the target. As the training days add up and your zero is refined, the groups will shrink and move to the center.”

Brandon GreenFitness training and holding drills help position shooters reach their full potential.

Training for Older Shooters
Tom Alves has written an excellent article A Suggested Training Approach for Older Shooters. This article discusses appropriate low-impact training methods for older shooters. Tom explains: “Many of the articles you will read in books about position shooting and the one mentioned above are directed more toward the younger generation of shooters in their 20s. If you look down the line at a typical high power match these days you are likely to see quite a few folks who are in their middle 30s and up. Many people in that age range have had broken bones and wear and tear on their joints so a training program needs to take that into account. For instance, while jogging for an extended period for heart and lung conditioning may be the recommended approach for younger folks, it may be totally inappropriate for older people.”

READ FULL ARTICLE by Tom Alves

Permalink - Articles 2 Comments »
March 17th, 2017

Free Data Book Scoring App from Creedmoor Sports

Creedmoor Sports High Power CMP Competition Scoring App Apple Android

Creedmoor Sports High Power CMP Competition Scoring App Apple AndroidTired of hauling around an old-fashioned Score Book and making entries with pencil and paper? Well now you can go digital — Creedmoor Sports has released a full-featured Scoring Book App that lets you plot your shot locations using an iPhone, iPod, or iPad (Apple tablet). The price is right — just visit the iTunes store to download the App for FREE.

Record Match and Practice Data
This new App, available for free in the Apple App Store, provides all the same functions and capabilities of the traditional Creedmoor print Data Book, but with the convenience and ease of recording your match and practice information with your iPhone or tablet. With this App you can break your 20 shot slow-fire segments into either 10- or 20-shot targets, and also opt for sighting shots. All the specific event data can also be recorded, such as location, wind, light etc., along with wind and elevation adjustments.

Creedmoor Sports High Power CMP Competition Scoring App Apple Android

COMMUNICATIONS Restrictions: In some matches you are not allowed to have electronic communication ability, so you may have to set your iPhone to “Airplane Mode”, or use this only with an iPod (which does not have two-way communication capability).
Permalink Competition, New Product 1 Comment »
March 9th, 2017

Using Mirage to Read the Wind (Spotting Scope Technique)

wind mirage spotter spotting scope

Mirage as a Wind Indicator

Read FULL ARTICLE in Midsouth Shooters Blog
wind mirage spotter spotting scopeby Glen Zediker
Most good shooters use mirage as their leading indicator to spot changes in the wind. With well-designed stand, the scope can be set it up where you can see the wind with the left eye and see the sight with the right without anything more than a visual focus shift. That gets the shooter back on the trigger with the least chance of missing another change. In the photo above you can see 11-time National High Power Champion David Tubb using a spotting scope set up for his left eye.

There are resources that give clues or evidence of wind direction and strength: wind flags, observation of grass and trees, and mirage.

Almost always I use mirage as my leading indicator. Mirage (heat waves) is always present but you’ll need a scope to read it. For 600 yards I focus my scope about halfway to the target. Mirage flows just like water and the currents can be read with respect to wind speed as well, but it’s not clearly accurate beyond maybe a 15 mph speed. The thing is that mirage shows changes, increases or decreases, and also direction shifts, really well.

A couple more things about mirage flow: when mirage “boils,” that is appears to rise straight up, either there’s no wind or the scope is dead in-line with wind direction. And that’s a quick and accurate means to determine wind direction, by the way, move the scope until you see the boil and note the scope body angle. It’s also how to know when a “fishtail” wind is about to change, a boil precedes a shift.

wind mirage spotter spotting scope
You don’t need to spend big bucks for an effective spotting scope to view mirage. You can get the Kowa TSN-601 Angled Body for just $249.00 from B&H Photo. An eyepiece will run another $275.00 or so. Though relatively inexpensive, the TSN-601 is used by many top marksmen.

I use a long-eye-relief 20X to 25X wide-angle eyepiece. That setup shows the flow best. And pay attention to where the wind is coming from! See what’s headed your way, because what’s passed no longer matters. That’s true for any indicator. Right to left wind? Read off the right side of the range.

Once I get on target then all I am doing is watching for changes. It’s really uncommon to make a big adjustment between shots. The fewer condition changes you are enduring, the easier it is to keep everything on center. That’s why I shoot fast, and why I start at the low point in a wind cycle.

sighters spotting scope mirageMaking Corrections with Limited Sighters
Here’s a Tip for NRA High Power matches where only two sighters are allowed: “Make a full correction off the first sighting shot location! Even if there are minor changes afoot, that’s how to know how well you assessed condition influence pre-shot. Don’t second-guess. After the second sighter you should be on target and then simply watching for changes. Pay attention, correlate visible cues to the results of prior shots, and if in doubt, click into the wind.”

Information in this article was adapted from material in several books published by Glen Zediker and Zediker Publishing. Glen is an NRA High Master who earned that classification in NRA High Power Rifle using an AR15 Service Rifle. For more information and articles visit ZedikerPublishing.com.

Permalink - Articles, Shooting Skills No Comments »
March 8th, 2017

Improve Your Shooting Skills with Multi-Discipline Training

Michelle Gallagher Cross Training

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.

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.

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »
February 28th, 2017

Sight Picture Options for Iron Sights

Iron sights picture metallic sights USAMU

In an article for the CMP Online Magazine, SSG Tobie Tomlinson of the USAMU Service Rifle Team explains the various sight alignments employed by iron sights shooters. Tobie writes: “There are a myriad of sight picture options that shooters have used to great effect over the years. The sight picture that allows you to consistently shoot the smallest group, with a minimal shift in zeros, is the correct one. Remember, for any shooter to be successful, consistent sight picture must be complemented by front sight focus and sight alignment.” CLICK HERE to read FULL ARTICLE

Center Hold
The front sight is placed directly in the center of the target. A center hold is great in different light conditions. On a bright day the target appears small. On a dark day the target appears large. In [any] light conditions the center of the target is always in the center. A shooter who has problems with elevation shots in various light conditions may benefit from a center hold.

6 O’Clock Hold
With the 6 O’Clock hold the front sight is placed at the bottom of the aiming black. For many shooters, this hold allows precision placement of the front sight. The ability to accurately call your shots will come with time and experience. Light changes, which alter the appearance of the target, may affect shooters who utilize the 6 O’Clock hold.

Sub 6 Hold
The sub 6 is just like the 6 O’Clock hold, only there is a small line of white between the front sight and the aiming black. Many shooters have a problem determining the exact 6 O’Clock position with their front sight, but by using a sub 6 or line of white they may be able to better estimate their hold.

Frame Hold
With the frame hold, just like with the other holds, the front sight is in the center of the rear sight. The front sight can then be placed at the 6 or 12 O’Clock position on the frame when there is no visible aiming point. This hold is typically reserved for foul weather and poor light conditions. By placing the front sight at the top or bottom of the frame, a shooter may hold better when there is little target to see. It can be difficult to hold a tight group this way, but it may add more hits in bad conditions. This technique is normally applied when shooting longer ranges such 600 or 1000 yards.

CLICK HERE for more articles from The FIRST SHOT, CMP Online Magazine.

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »
January 26th, 2017

New 2017 CMP Competition Rules — Some Big Changes

2017 CMP Rules Competition Pistol High Power new

By Gary Anderson, DCM Emeritus
The 2017 CMP competition rules are now approved and posted on the CMP website. The 2017 CMP Highpower Rifle and Pistol Competition Rules and the 2017 CMP Games Rifle and Pistol Competition Rules can be downloaded on the CMP Competition Rules Page.

CLICK HERE for 2017 Highpower Rifle and Pistol Competition Rules

CLICK HERE for 2017 CMP Games Rifle and Pistol Competition Rules

2017 CMP Rules Competition Pistol High Power new

2017 marks the third consecutive year with major CMP competition rule changes. The 2015 Rules opened Service Pistol shooting to a wider variety of pistols and introduced the popular 22 Rimfire Pistol Distinguished Badge. The 2016 rules authorized limited power optical sights for service and modern military rifles and opened Service Rifle shooting to a wider variety of M16/AR-type rifles.

AR Alternative Rifles Allowed in Highpower Service Rifle Competitions
The 2017 rules authorize residents in states where AR ownership is prohibited to use an Alternative Rifle that is legal in that state. The introduction of an Alternative Rifle rule exemplifies the CMP’s determination to take whatever steps are legally possible to ensure that all competitors in the USA can continue to compete in CMP Highpower Service Rifle competitions.

The new Highpower Alternative Rifle will allow competitors in states where the ownership or possession of M16/AR-type rifles is prohibited to use a rifle that has the same capabilities as an M16/AR-type rifle. Alternative Rifles may be either semi-auto or manually operated and must be chambered for the 5.56 x 45mm NATO cartridge (.223). Optical sights with a manufactured maximum of 4.5X are permitted. These rifles must have a 4.5-pound trigger pull, a maximum barrel length of 20 inches and a fixed sling swivel on their fore-ends. Alternative Rifles may have stocks with the same adjustment capabilities as Service Rifles, that is butt-stock length may be adjustable, but the cheek-piece and butt-plate must be fixed. Stock design and magazine configuration is flexible according to what is permitted in the competitor’s state.

Match Rifles Will Be Allowed in Highpower Matches
The 2017 CMP Rules will also open the door for Match Rifle competitors to shoot in CMP-sanctioned highpower events. Due to the advantages these rifles have (more cartridge options, no trigger limitation, infinite stock adjustments and unlimited optical sight power), competitors with Match Rifles will usually compete in a separate or Open Individual Category, but they will now be welcomed in CMP Highpower Matches. Traditional EIC and National Trophy Match events will still be restricted to Service and Alternative Rifles, but match sponsors can now invite Match Rifle competitors to shoot in CMP-sanctioned events. Except for EIC and National Trophy Matches, which will continue to be no-sighter matches, the 2017 Rules will permit sighters in other matches.

Tubb 2000 Match rifle

Most Match Rifle competitors have already competed in CMP Matches with Service Rifles and are familiar with CMP requirements that shooters must start rapid-fire series from standing. The CMP regards this requirement to quickly go from standing to sitting or prone and place the natural point of aim on the target as a vital skill that highpower rifle shooters should be able to perform. However, some Match Rifle competitors who have never competed in CMP Matches will find this to be a new … challenge.

New Competition Classification System
The CMP will develop and introduce a new competitor classification system in 2017. The system will be similar to traditional classification systems where competitors are divided into five classes according to current match score averages. CMP classifications will initially be available for use by Highpower and Service Rifle match sponsors. The CMP system will provide for instant, electronic updates of match score data. Match sponsors will be able to confirm competitor classifications through online look-ups.

For those competitors who are over 70 or who have physical impairments, the CMP has lots of experience in making it possible for those competitors to start rapid-fire series in position. Everyone who is able is expected to start rapid-fire from standing, but those who cannot are allowed to start in position. These competitors can win special and class awards as well as CMP Achievement Awards; they just cannot win the match.

Use of Electronic Devices (Airplane Mode OK)
The new rules clarify that the use of “electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets or other hand-held communication devices only to keep time, record shots, or compute sight adjustments” is permitted. However, those devices must not be capable of communicating with other electronic devices (must be placed in airplane mode).

Below are summaries of other rule changes in the 2017 CMP Competition Rules.

(more…)

Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
January 25th, 2017

15-Year-Old Beats Entire Field in Talladega EIC Match

Excellence in Competition EIC M16 Match

There’s a notable quote: “Old Age and Treachery will always beat Youth and Exuberance.” (David Mamet). Well, that’s not always true. Recently a 15-year-old marksman beat the entire field of shooters at the CMP’s Talladega 600 M16 match. Here’s the story of that remarkable win…

Report based on story by Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer
Alabama native Anthony Kissik, one of only two junior competitors in the Talladega 600 M16 EIC Match, was the overall winner with an impressive score of 383-16X. In winning the match, Kissik beat all adult shooters, including many top-flight competitors with decades of experience. With his win, Kissik received his first EIC (Excellence-In-Competition) leg points towards earning his Distinguished Rifleman Badge — a major honor for competitive marksmen.

Last year, Kissik missed the EIC cut mark by only a few points, slipping in his prone rapid stage. It was a mistake he was determined to avoid at the 2016 event. As the 2017 match commenced, Kissik was focused on not making mistakes. “Don’t screw up. Don’t screw up” he told himself. After cleaning the prone slow-fire portion, he felt comfortable with his performance. “And it was good from then on out”.

Excellence in Competition EIC M16 Match

The M16 EIC Match is fired at the conclusion of the CMP’s Small Arms Firing School, an introductory clinic designed to instruct new and veteran marksmen on rifle safety, fundamentals and techniques. The EIC match gives competitors the chance to earn their first four leg points towards the 30 points needed to earn a revered Distinguished Badge.

From 3P Air Rifle Competition to High Power Rifle at Camp Perry
An Alabama state-level junior champion, Kissik began his shooting career on a sporter 3P air rifle team. He then got started in High Power competition through matches hosted by the Virginia Junior Marksmanship Program. He attended his first High Power match at Fairfax before heading to Quantico in the summertime. Fresh off the air rifle firing line, he had a steep learning curve in the High Power discipline: “When you win in air rifle, it’s fun. In High Power I still have a lot to learn. In order to win in High Power, you have to be very precise.”

Competing at Camp Perry at Age 13
Kissik attended his first National Matches at Camp Perry at age 13, the youngest member of his squad. “Ultimately I want to get to High Master classification, and Distinguished, of course,” he added. As another personal goal, Kissik hopes to someday outshoot his coach, Sam Richardson.

With a new appreciation for High Power, Kissik has worked to hone his skills at CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park, which Kissik now calls home: “The [Talladega] facility is great. No pits, you don’t have to walk. It’s one of the most advanced in the country, and I get to call it my home range.”

CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park Kissik CMP 600
The Talladega Marksmanship Park boasts Kongsberg electronic targets at 200, 300, and 600 Yards.

Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
January 21st, 2017

Six by Litz — Tips for Shooting Long-Range

Berger Southwest SW SWN Nationals Ben Avery Bryan Litz

Berger SW Nationals Bryan LitzWith the Berger Southwest Nationals coming up soon (Feb. 6-12), we thought we would share some tips from a past Champion who really knows the Ben Avery range in Phoenix. In 2015, Bryan won the F-TR Mid-Range AND Long-Range National Championships hosted at Ben Avery. And at the 2014 Berger SW Nationals (SWN), Bryan took top honors among all sling shooters. If you only know Bryan Litz from his Applied Ballistics Books and DVDs, you may not realize that this guy is a great marksman (along with being an actual rocket scientist). This guy can shoot.

Given his impressive track record at Ben Avery, we asked Bryan if he had any advice for other long-range competitors. First Bryan provided three tips concerning Ballistics, his special area of expertise. Next Bryan offered three more general tips about long-range competition — how to analyze your shooting, how to choose your ‘wind strategy’, and how to avoid the most costly mistakes, i.e. how to avoid the “train-wrecks”.

Here is the sleek F-TR Rig Bryan Litz used to win the 2015 F-TR Mid-Range and Long-Range Championships at Ben Avery:
Bryan Litz F-TR Ben Avery Berger SW Nationals

Litz Ballistics Tips

Ballistics TIP ONE. If you’re having trouble getting your ballistic software to match actual drops, you need to look at a number of possible reasons. Here are some common issues that can cause problems.

Click Values Are Not Exact. Scopes and iron sights don’t always produce accurate adjustments. In other words, if your ballistics program predicts 30 MOA of drop, and you dial 30 MOA but hit low, it might be that your sight actually only moved 28 MOA (for example). To see if your sight is adjusting accurately, shoot a tall target at 100 yards and measure group separation when dialing your sight.

Barometric vs. Station Pressure. This is a commonly misunderstood input to ballistics programs. You can avoid this pitfall by remembering the following: station pressure is the actual measured pressure at your location, and you don’t need to tell the program your altitude when using station pressure. Barometric pressure is corrected for sea level. If you’re using barometric pressure, you also have to input your altitude.

Muzzle Velocity. Chronographs are not always as accurate as shooters think they are — your true MV may be off by 10-20 fps (or more). If your drop is different than predicted at long range, it might be because your muzzle velocity input is wrong.

Mixing Up BC (G1 vs. G7). Knowledgeable long range shooters know that the G7 standard is a more representative standard for modern LR bullets. However, using G7 BCs isn’t just a matter of clicking the ‘G7′ option in the program. The numeric value of the BC is different for G1 and G7. For example, the G1 BC of the Berger 155.5 grain Fullbore bullet is .464 but the G7 BC is .237. If you were to enter .464 but click on G7, the results would be way off.

Ballistics TIP TWO. A properly installed level is absolutely essential for long range shooting. Without a good level reference, your long range wind zero will be off due to minor canting of the rifle from side to side. You can verify that your level is installed correctly on a 100-yard ‘tall target’. Draw a plumb line straight up the target and verify that your groups track straight up this line as you go up in elevation.

Ballistics TIP THREE. If your long range ballistic predictions aren’t tracking, always come back and verify your 100-yard zero. Sometimes a simple zero shift can be misconstrued as errors in long range ballistics predictions.

Bryan Litz Tips

Litz Competition Shooting Tips

Competition TIP ONE. Improving your scores in long range competition is a constant process of self-assessment. After each match, carefully analyze how you lost points and make a plan to improve. Beginning shooters will lose a lot of points to fundamental things like sight alignment and trigger control. Veteran shooters will lose far fewer points to a smaller list of mistakes. At every step along the way, always ask yourself why you’re losing points and address the issues. Sometimes the weak links that you need to work on aren’t your favorite thing to do, and success will take work in these areas as well.

Competition TIP TWO. Select your wind shooting strategy carefully. For beginners and veterans, most points are typically lost to wind. Successful shooters put a lot of thought into their approach to wind shooting. Sometimes it’s best to shoot fast and minimize the changes you’ll have to navigate. Other times it’s best to wait out a condition which may take several minutes. Develop a comfortable rest position so you have an easier time waiting when you should be waiting.

Competition TIP THREE. Actively avoid major train wrecks. Sounds obvious but it happens a lot. Select equipment that is reliable, get comfortable with it and have back-ups for important things. Don’t load on the verge of max pressure, don’t go to an important match with a barrel that’s near shot out, physically check tightness of all important screws prior to shooting each string. Observe what train wrecks you and others experience, and put measures in place to avoid them.

“Must-Watch” SWN Video has aerial view of Ben Avery plus highlights from Saturday

Bryan Litz Tips

Photos by Steve Fiorenzo

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
January 20th, 2017

Shoot Better with No Ammo at All — Dry-Fire Training Tips

kirsten weiss dry fire anschutz smallbore

Kirsten Joy Weiss has created a useful video about Dry-Fire practice. Dry-Fire is a method of training without a live round in the chamber. Dry-Firing is effective, Kirsten explains, because “it eliminates all the extra noise and messages that you get when you fire a live round. Without recoil, without the sound of a shot going off etc., all you hear is the click of the trigger. This allows you to focus on your sight picture and your trigger press.” This the lastest installment in Kirsten’s ‘How to Shoot Awesomely’ series. Kisten says: “I hope it helps you, and keep on aiming true!”

kirsten weiss dry fire anschutz smallbore

Dennis DeMille High PowerThe Benefits of Dry-Fire Training
If you are not doing Dry-Fire practice yet, then it’s time to start. Dry-Fire training is essential to the sling disciplines, and very useful for F-Class. Dennis DeMille, a national Service Rifle Champion, told us that, for every minute he spent in actual competition, he would spend hours practicing without ammunition. While in the USMC, Dennis would practice in the barracks, working on his hold and dry-firing:

“The most important thing is to spend time off the range practicing. Most of what I learned as a High Power shooter I learned without ammunition — just spending time dry firing and doing holding exercises. Holding exercises will really identify the weak parts of your position. The primary purpose of dry firing is to get you used to shooting an empty rifle. If you can shoot a loaded rifle the same way you shoot an empty rifle then eventually you will become a High Master.”

Dry-Fire Training Can Benefit Benchrest Shooters
What about benchrest? Well, we’ve found that Dry-Fire sessions can even benefit benchresters — it can help reveal flaws in your trigger technique, or inconsistencies in the way you address the rifle from shot to shot. With the gun set up with your front rest and rear bag, if you see the scope’s cross-hairs wiggle a lot when you pull the trigger, you need to work on your technique. Also, dry-fire practice can help you learn to work the bolt more smoothly so you don’t disturb the gun on the bags.

Permalink - Videos, Shooting Skills No Comments »
January 2nd, 2017

NRA Competition Classifications — What You Need to Know

NRA High Power Competition Category Classification Master, High Master, Expert, Marksman
2014 NRA High Power Champion Joseph Hendricks

Marksman, Sharpshooter, Expert, Master, High Master — how are those classifications set up and how does one move up (or down) from one classification to another? These questions and more are answered by the NRA in a Shooting Sports USA article.

The purpose of the classification system is to allow competitors of the same relative ability to compete on a level playing field. That way relatively new or inexperienced shooters can compete in a class with others of the same skill levels, and be recognized. Likewise, the most skilled or successful shooters compete in the Master and High Master categories. But now and then a Marksman or Sharpshooter can indeed win a match outright or place in the top ten.

NRA High Power Competition Category Classification Master, High Master, Expert, Marksman

How Does a Competitor Receive a Classification?
You begin the classification process by competing in a sanctioned, registered tournament. The match sponsor then sends the scores to the NRA within 30 days. If you are an NRA member, your NRA membership number is your classification ID. Non-NRA members are assigned a classification number.

Competitors may check their classification status at any time via the NRA Classification Page.

What are the Standards for Each Classification (Marksman, Sharpshooter etc.)?
Section 19 in each NRA Rule Book covers the classification rules for that discipline. This section includes the course-of-fire used for classification, number of shots required and the percentage for each class. For example, in High Power Rifle competition a minimum of 120 shots is required for the first classification card. The High Power performance-based classification levels are:

Marksman: Below 84 percent
Sharpshooter: 84-88.99 percent
Expert: 89-93.99 percent
Master: 94-96.99 percent
High Master: 97 percent or above

NOTE: After the initial High Power classification, an additional 240 shots will be required to reevaluate a classification — and each time thereafter.

NRA High Power Competition Category Classification Master, High Master, Expert, Marksman

How Long Does the Classfication Card Remain Valid?
A classification card remains valid as long as the competitor competes in an NRA-sanctioned tournament at least once every three years (five years if the competitor holds a Master card). The date on all classification cards is the effective date, not an expiration date. You do NOT have to shoot three matches a year to maintain your classification (a common misconception).

Is an NRA Classification Card Required to Enter a Tournament?
NRA has no such rule, generally speaking. However, some tournament sponsors may require this as part of their local regulations. You may use a Temporary Score Record Book for your first few tournaments while awaiting your classification card. These books are free and are provided either by your tournament sponsor or by the NRA Competitive Shooting Division. Note that until you are classified, you must compete in the master class for your first few tournaments.

NOTE: Some high-level matches do require NRA membership. For example the 2016 NRA National Smallbore Rifle Championships Program stated: “Competitors who do not hold an NRA Official Classification, either in the type of competition being fired, or an Assigned Classification, will not be allowed to enter.”

Permalink Competition No Comments »
December 19th, 2016

Basics of the Prone Position — Building the Position

USAMU Prone First Shot CMP
USAMU Prone First Shot CMP

The First Shot, the CMP’s online magazine, features a well-written article on Prone Shooting Technique by SPC Matthew Sigrist of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU). The article covers all the major points of gun hold and body position: hand position, elbow position, stock weld, buttstock placement, and sling position/tension.

Keep it Steady — The Elements of a Good Prone Position

Part 1 — Building the Position
By SPC Matthew Sigrist

Imagine the following scenario: You are at the last stage of fire in the National Trophy Individual Match, firing at the 600 yard line in the prone position and every point matters. What should you reflect on as you prepare to shoot this final string? As your eyes cloud from sweat, you realize that all you have to rely on is your experience and knowledge of the fundamentals.

During the National Trophy Individual Match, you will fire 60 percent of your shots from the prone position. This article will address the fundamentals of a good prone position and help you learn the techniques required to be successful in both the slow and rapid-fire stages of National Match competition.

This article will be divided into two parts. In part one, we will discuss the elements of a good prone position. In part two, we will cover the techniques you will in the rapid-fire and slow-fire stages.

The Fundamentals

The fundamentals are the building blocks of a position. Much like the framework of a house, a correct application of the fundamentals ensures a solid and stable structure. Since each person’s position will depend on their particular body build and shape, there is no “perfect position” that applies to everyone. Experience, practice and knowledge of the correct fundamentals will dictate the best position for you.

There are six key elements of any position. The purpose for these six points is to achieve a solid platform that allows for consistent sight alignment using the least amount of muscle tension.

    1. Placement of the Firing Hand (the hand that pulls the trigger)
    The firing hand needs to be placed high on the pistol grip. This high hand position will give you better control of the rifle. Combined with a firm grip there will be a reduced amount of hand movement when pulling the trigger. Wrap your thumb over the three fingers on the pistol grip (excluding the trigger finger). This will help isolate the movement of the trigger finger.

    2. Placement of the Non-firing Hand (the hand supporting the rifle).
    The non-firing hand should grip the handguard or stock in the flat portion of the hand between the thumb and forefinger. The fingers should curl naturally around the stock, but they should not grip it tightly. The position of the hand on the stock will depend on the physical size of the shooter. Generally speaking, taller shooters with longer arms will grip the rifle further out, near the sling swivel, while shorter shooters will need to pull their hand rearward. This is sometimes referred to as “short-stocking” the rifle.

    3. Stock Weld
    Stock weld is the contact that the face makes with the stock. It is important because it directly effects your sight alignment. Consistent head placement will help you achieve consistent sight alignment. The human head weighs an average of 8 to 10 pounds. The full weight of the head must rest on the stock. In doing this you achieve two things, a relaxed neck and reduced recoil because of the pressure of the head.

    4. Placement of the Rifle (the contact that is made in the firing shoulder)
    The rifle butt placement needs to be consistent. If this changes between shots, it effects your sight alignment and the effect of recoil. In the prone position the rifle will sit lower in the shoulder compared to other shooting positions. This allows for a more forward head and a lower position as a whole.

    5. Position of the Sling
    The sling should be high on the arm, above the bicep. This way the sling will have less leverage on the arm so it doesn’t cut off the circulation.


Demonstration of the placement of the firing elbow (left) and non-firing elbows (right).

    6. Placement of both the firing, and non-firing elbows
    A guideline for non-firing elbow placement is that there should be 1 ½’’ to 2’’ gap between your non-firing arm and the rifle’s magazine. (NOTE: this references the AR-15 service rifle) Your arm should be almost straight up and down; this will transfer the weight directly down the arm and not to the side (see picture above). Think of the firing arm as only a kind of kickstand, it doesn’t support weight it only holds the firing hand in position.

Variations of the Prone Position

There are two main variations of the prone position; open/spread legged, and bent-legged. The two types will be discussed below.

Open/Spread Leg Position

Demonstration of the Open/Spread Leg Position.

The first position is the open/spread legged position. This is when the shooter spreads their legs shoulder width or more apart. This allows for a more forward pressure on the sling and elbows. This position requires a tighter sling and solid elbow placement. The rifle should sit tight in the shoulder. With this position, your body will be farther behind the rifle compared to the bent leg position, allowing for minimum disturbance from recoil.

Bent Leg Position

Demonstration of the Bent Leg Position.

The bent leg position is when the shooter bends the firing side leg up towards the firing hand making the knee at a rough 90 degree angle to the body. The non-firing leg will remain straight and inline with the body. This will take pressure off the lungs and heart minimizing the pulse from the chest as well as easing the pressure on the lungs which will allow for easy breathing and control.

Summary

You now know the fundamentals of a good prone position, as well as the two types most commonly used. Extensive dry-firing will reveal which is the best position for you. If possible, have a friend take pictures of you in position. This will enable you to better diagnose and correct your errors. Remember, a position must be both fundamentally sound and comfortable. Practice frequently to learn your new position and to develop the conditioning required to endure long days on the range.

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »