Top shooters like 11-time National Champion David Tubb have mastered marksmanship by being continually aware of their physical state while shooting. This article by Glen Zediker talks about respiration and how to modulate your breathing to maximize on-target accuracy and consistency. This article originally appeared in the MidSouth Shot Report Blog.
by Glen Zediker
Elsewhere I’ve talked about what I call the “true fundamentals” of shooting. Put the sight on the target and pull the trigger without moving the sight. And we’ve talked about some of the mechanics, like natural point of aim, sight picture, and the trigger itself, that combine to assist this goal.
Holding still sometimes takes more thought, and effort, than we might realize. Shooting well is a truly multi-faceted task that shooters like 11-time National Champion David Tubb have attended to through miniscule details, like being aware of the physical state continually while performing.
Another crucial and largely unknown element is controlling breathing. Right. That thing we do to stay awake and alive. Breathing can be a calculated technique among competitive shooters, and that is because the state of the body in the framework of making a shot is a defining element in the effectiveness of the shooting platform. That platform, by they way, is you!
I’ll break it down, and then offer a few suggestions on how to incorporate a better understanding of the dynamics of maintaining human oxygen supply.
When we are breathing when doing nothing in particular but living, we’re not taking the deepest breaths we can when we inhale, and we’re not expelling all the air we had when we exhale. We’re also not breathing in and out, in and out, in and out in constant successions. We breathe in to a comfortable level. Hold that a bit. We breathe out to a comfortable level. And then we hold that state for a bit. Then we very naturally breathe in again. These cycles are on a balanced rhythm, and a relatively shallow cycle. It’s a lot different than when we’re doing something strenuous, like running.
So, to fire a gun from our most stable state, make the trigger break in what shooting coaches call “the natural respiratory pause”. That’s the state between exhaling and inhaling. From a “human machine” standpoint, that’s when the body is most calm and stable.
Breathing Cycles for Best Shooting
Learn to use the natural pattern of your breathing to experience the most effective (steadiest) hold. When we breathe normally we don’t inhale as much air as we can hold and then blow it all out, and we also don’t breathe continually in and out, in and out. Rather, we simply inhale and exhale to levels that are comfortable to us. Take aim and fire the shot when you have reached what some call the “natural respiratory pause,” or the natural resting point prior to inhalation where we are “using” the oxygen we have retained.
It’s a narrow window. That window of opportunity varies widely depending on a lot of factors, but some experience dry-firing will show you where you stand.
Christmas is coming soon. Books have always been popular holiday gifts. If you haven’t completed your holiday shopping, here are some recommended titles that should please the serious shooters and firearms enthusiasts on your shopping list. For shooting clubs, books also make great end-of-season member awards. Most of us would rather have a useful book than one more piece of wood to toss in a box in the closet.
Here Are TEN BOOKS Recommended for Serious Shooters:
Glen Zediker’s brand new book, Top-Grade Ammo, is hot off the press. Many folks believe this is Glen’s best book ever. This 314-page resource covers every aspect of the reloading process — component sorting, priming, sizing, bullet seating and more. With 430 photos, Top-Grade Ammo is a richly-illustrated, step-by-step guide to producing high-quality handloads. Unlike many reloading books, Top-Grade Ammo is truly current and up-to-date, so it covers modern practices and the latest precision reloading tools. While Zediker focuses on producing match-grade ammo for competition, this book will also help novice reloaders on a budget. It’s written for all hand-loaders — beginners through advanced. This book features a special “lay-flat” binding so it’s easy to use as a benchtop reference. To view Chapter List and sample pages visit ZedikerPublishing.com.
If you’re a serious long-range shooter, consider adding this book to your library. Relying on extensive ballistics testing, Modern Advancements contains some fascinating research results, including the effects of twist rate on muzzle velocity, BC, and precision. Other sections detail the evolution of modern rifle, bullet, and optics designs. And there is an important comparison test of chronographs. Laser rangefinders and wind measurement devices are explained in detail by contributing author Nick Vitalbo. This book is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to understand the current “state of the art” in today’s shooting world. There is a ton of “hard science” in this book — not just opinions.
This book should be on the shelf of every short-range benchrest shooter. (Shooters in other disciplines will find the book helpful as well.) Butch Lambert says Mike’s book is “far and away the best Benchrest book written. Very comprehensive, it touches on every aspect of our game.” Mike’s 368-page book is dedicated to getting the most from modern rifle accuracy equipment with an emphasis on shooting 100-200-300 yard group benchrest tournaments. This book covers the most popular hardware plus new equipment offerings are covered, including external mount scopes, actions, triggers, stocks, wind flags, and more. Also covered are rifle handling techniques, note taking, tuning, bullet selection, goals, and match strategies. Mike provides many tips that will help active competitors update their own competitive program.
Nancy Tompkins is one of the greatest long-range shooters in American history. She has won five National Long-range Championships. Tompkins’ treatise is a must-read for serious Palma, F-Class, and High Power shooters. The revised Second edition includes F-Class equipment and techniques, and newly updated information. Color pictures. Topics include Mental & Physical training, Reading Wind & Mirage Shooting Fundamentals, International Competition, and Loading for Long Range. Nancy Tompkins is a 4-time winner of the National Long Range Championships, and has won countless other major events. Nancy has been on six Palma Teams (as both a shooter and a coach).
Ryan Cleckner is noted for his ability to explain complex topics in an easy-to-comprehend manner. Now Cleckner has authored a book, the Long Range Shooting Handbook, which expands on the topics covered in Cleckner’s popular NSSF video series. The Long Range Shooting Handbook is divided into three main categories: What It Is/How It Works, Fundamentals, and How to Use It. “What It Is/How It Works” covers equipment, terminology, and basic principles. “Fundamentals” covers the theory of long range shooting. “How to Use It” gives practical advice on implementing what you’ve learned, so you can progress as a skilled, long range shooter. You can view Sample Chapters from Ryan’s Book on Amazon.com.
Tony Boyer, the most successful shooter in the history of short-range benchrest competition, shares many of his match-winning tips in this 323-page book. The book covers all aspect of the benchrest discipline: loading, windflags, rest set-up, addressing the rifle, and match strategies. This is a high-quality publication, filled with valuable insights. Every serious benchrest shooter should read Tony’s book. Boyer has dominated registered benchrest in a fashion that will never be duplicated, having amassed 142 U.S. Benchrest Hall of Fame points. The next closest shooter, Allie Euber, has 47 Hall of Fame points. This handsome, full-color book is 323 pages long, with color photos or color illustrations on nearly every page.
This book by 11-time National High Power Champion David Tubb focuses on position shooting and High Power disciplines. Section One covers fundamentals: position points, natural point of aim, breathing, triggering mechanics and follow-through, sling selection and use, getting started, getting better, avoiding obstacles. Section Two covers mechanics of offhand, sitting, and prone positions. Section Three covers shooting skills, including wind reading and mental preparation. Section Four covers the technical side of shooting, with extensive disuctions of rifle design, load development, reloading barrel maintenance, and rifle fitting. We consider this book a “must-read” for any sling shooter, and there is plenty of good advice for F-Class shooters too.
Bullseye Mind (Mental Toughness for Sport Shooting) by Dr. Raymond Prior, $17.95 (Softcover).
Having a Bullseye Mind means thinking in ways that create confidence and consistency, even under pressure. A “must-read” for competitive shooters, Bullseye Mind is a mental training book written specifically for the shooting sports. The book is well-organized, with handy highlighted lists and key “talking points”. Each chapter concludes with examples from a world-class shooters such as: Matt Emmons, 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist; Vincent Hancock, 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist; Jamie Corkish, 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist; Petra Zublasing, 2014 World Champion/ISSF Shooter of the Year; and Nicco Campriani, 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist, 2010 World Champion. This book has earned rave reviews from competitive shooters who found it really helped their “Mental Game”. One recent purchaser states: “This book is as though you had a coach in your back pocket…”
Many of our Forum members have recommended The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters by Linda Miller and Keith Cunningham. This 146-page book, published in 2007, is a very informative resource. But you don’t have to take our word for it. If you click this link, you can read book excerpts on Amazon.com. This lets you preview the first few chapters, and see some illustrations. Other books cover wind reading in a broader discussion of ballistics or long-range shooting. But the Miller & Cunningham book is ALL about wind reading from cover to cover, and that is its strength. The book focuses on real world skills that can help you accurately gauge wind angle, wind velocity, and wind cycles.
Steven Boelter’s 352-page book is a comprehensive study of all types of rimfire ammunition (including 17s and 22 mags), with over 600 photos. In a remarkable undertaking, Steven Boelter fired every brand and sample of rimfire ammo he could acquire (including .22 LR, 17 Mach 2, 17 HMR and .22 WMR), and recorded all the results. In all, Steven tested 11 brands and 137 different rimfire rounds, firing over 32,000 test rounds.
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In response to the NRA’s just-revealed plans to move NRA High Power Rifle Matches away from Camp Perry starting in 2017, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) has announced that it will offer MORE matches at the storied Camp Perry facility in 2018. CMP is demonstrating its commitment to Camp Perry, which has been the site of the National Matches since 1907.
CMP Announces New Programs for 2018 National Matches
The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) is pleased to announce planning is underway for a number of new and exciting programs for the 2018 National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio.
“In an effort to continue to attract new competitors and to reward the thousands who annually participate in our matches, the CMP will add new pistol, smallbore, high power rifle, and long range rifle matches in 2018,” said Mark Johnson, CMP Chief Operating Officer.
“A major part of our mission is to conduct competitions, provide marksmanship training and recognize competitors for their progress and achievements as has been done at the National Matches since 1903. Accordingly, we enthusiastically look forward to the opportunity to expand our role at the National Matches at Camp Perry. We are committed to Camp Perry and our published dates for events in 2017 remain set. We have invested in Camp Perry with electronic targets on Petrarca Range, the Bataan Armory, our headquarters building, the CMP North Store, and the Gary Anderson Competition Center.”
Planned enhancements include a new CMP High Power Ranking System which will provide a fair and accountable method of rewarding success on the firing line at every level of experience, above and beyond our current awards. New, challenging pistol and rifle matches will be added to the schedule. Greater shooting opportunities for women and junior competitors are being developed. Increased use of electronic targets is being considered for many events. A CMP Range Officer Certification and Licensing Program has been developed for pistol, rifle and airgun disciplines and will be introduced by year-end.
“The CMP will not waver in its mission of promoting firearm safety and marksmanship training with an emphasis on youth,” Johnson said. “The tradition of the National Matches at Camp Perry will continue, supported by the CMP and the Ohio National Guard, with or without the participation of other organizations.”
AccurateShooter.com offers dozens of FREE, printable targets for target practice, load development, and fun shooting. We also offer a few of the most popular NRA Bullseye targets. One or more of these printable targets should work for most training purposes. However, some readers have asked: “Where can we get the real targets… exactly like the ones used in NRA, IBS, and NBRSA shooting matches?”
All these vendors carry nearly all the NRA High Power and Smallbore targets, including the new, smaller F-Class targets. Germany’s Kruger Targets sells all the important NRA targets, and international (ISSF) air rifle and smallbore targets too.
Orrville Printing currently sells IBS targets for rimfire (50 yard) benchrest, short-range centerfire Benchrest (100, 200, 300 yards), Hunter BR Rifle (100, 200, 300 yards), plus the official 600-yard and 1000-yard IBS targets. National Target Company also has most of the IBS targets. NBRSA short-range, 600-yard, and 1000-yard benchrest targets are available directly from the NBRSA Business Office. Call (307) 655-7415 to order for the season.
No more High Power Championships at Camp Perry. No, this is NOT an April Fools Day story. The NRA has announced that it is moving the National High Power XTC Rifle Championship, Mid-Range Championship, and Long Range Championship away from Camp Perry, Ohio, starting in 2017. These matches will henceforth be held at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. The CMP Matches will continue to be held at Camp Perry, so we are told. 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.
There is a century of tradition at Camp Perry, with the National Matches held there since 1907. It appears that this venue change is going to happen, although one source states that it might be subject to change: “The move was apparently prompted by the director of NRA Competitive Shooting, and will face final approval by the NRA Board of Directors in January 2017. If enough support is garnered among the competition community by then, it could be feasible that it would be reversed, but we doubt that is the case.” Source: The Firearm Blog.
NRA Moving National High Power Rifle Championships from Camp Perry
In an effort to keep the National High Power Rifle Championships up to the high standards that competitors have enjoyed for over one-hundred years, the NRA will move the Championship from its historic home at Camp Perry, OH, to Camp Atterbury, IN. This change in venue will take effect during the 2017 National Matches, pending approval by the NRA Board of Directors in January 2017.
Dennis Willing, director of NRA Competitive Shooting explained the decision.
“The NRA High Power Rifle Committee met and determined it would be beneficial to all competitors if we moved the Championship from Camp Perry to another site. After much discussion, the range at Camp Atterbury, IN, was selected as the new home of the NRA National High Power Rifle Championships.”
The proposed match schedule (subject to change) is below:
— First Shot Ceremony – July 7
— Welcome BBQ (afternoon) – July 7
— Across the Course – July 8-13
— Mid-Range – July 14-17
— Long-Range – July 18-22
Willing added, “I intend to change the face of High Power Rifle as a discipline, and will be presenting matches that are better than competitors have ever seen before.”
Since Across the Course is scheduled to end on July 13th, there will be sufficient time for competitors to attend the CMP National Trophy Matches.
The NRA Smallbore Prone Championship is scheduled to end with sufficient time for competitors to leave Bristol, IN, and come to Camp Atterbury to compete in Mid-Range Prone and Long-Range Prone. The NRA National Pistol Championship will remain at Camp Perry but will be held July 9-14, 2017, following previous year’s practice.
The Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center is administered by the Indiana National Guard, and has just under 35,000 acres of training and maneuver space—plenty of room in case the NRA decides to expand beyond the High Power Rifle Championships. Additionally, Camp Atterbury is home to several active U.S. Army components, including several from the First Army Division East. The site also provides various training and testing sites for military and civilian responders from around the world.
Competitors’ Comments — Pro & Con
Comments on this Venue Change have been both negative and positive.
“Nothing like abandoning over 100 years of tradition. Really stupid idea!” — C.G.
What venue could possibly be better than Camp Perry? It’s not a destination, it’s an experience.” — Stephen B.
“Very disappointing decision. The NRA should have asked shooters for their input instead of decision by committee, and, my bet…some politicians.” — Jeffrey C.
“How about the people that wants to shoot long range and CMP? Keep it Camp Perry or change the dates.” — Kevin G.
“Don’t see how this will help attendance. It doesn’t make sense.” — Alton N.
“It makes beautiful sense! Are you kidding?! Atterbury is a much more modernized facility and is HUGE. The accommodations for sleeping quarters are infinitely better and more extensive than Perry and with Indianapolis only 30 min away or less it will make attendance MUCH easier for so many people. I love Perry but you will see just how superior this facility is when you come. This should have happened a LONG time ago.” — Ron W.
“Atterbury’s ranges are outstanding, and there’s LOTS more housing options available on base if that’s part of the package put together with the base. The carriers are the same as the new ones at Perry (they were installed at Atterbury first).” — W.M.
History of the National Matches at Camp Perry
The National Matches have been held at Camp Perry since 1907. The range is located along the shores of Lake Erie in northern Ohio near Port Clinton. The site was first acquired in 1906, in response to the need for a larger facility for military training and the NRA’s shooting programs. In 1906 Gen. Ammon B. Crichfield, Adjutant General of Ohio, ordered construction of a new shooting facility on the shores of Lake Erie, 45 miles east of Toledo, Ohio. The original land for Camp Perry was purchased in 1906, and the reservation was named after Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, the American naval commander.
On August 19, 1907, Cpl. L. B. Jarrett fired the first shot at the new Camp Perry Training Site. And that year, 1907, Camp Perry held its first National Pistol and Rifle Championship events. This location has hosted the annual NRA National Matches ever since. Today, over 4,000 competitors attend the National Matches each year, making it the most popular shooting competition in the western hemisphere.
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Creedmoor Sports has launched a completely redesigned, “new and improved” website. You’ll find it easier to navigate, with improved search funchtionality, and a more mobile-friendly interface. Check out the updated site at: www.CreedmoorSports.com.
To help celebrate the launch of its updated website, Creedmoor Sports is running a big SALE this weekend on premium rifle cases. Creedmoor makes some of the best soft rifle cases you can buy. They are constructed with premium materials and can be ordered in sizes big enough for long match rifles.
David Tubb has come out with a new, improved version of his heavyweight 6mm match bullet. David’s new DTAC 115gr 6mm projectile is very slippery — the tested G1 1000-yard BC is 0.620. The DTAC 115 features a Rebated Boat Tail (RBT) design and a factory-pointed tip (what David calls a “closed nose”). This bullet is in production now, priced at $145.00 for 500 bullets. David tell us “the new DTAC 115 has arrived” and his company is currently filling backorders. New orders will be taken at DavidTubb.com starting Monday, August 15th. You can also call 806-323-9488 (8:30 am-4:30 pm CT) to order.
David explained the two main reasons why the Rebated Boat Tail (RBT) design was chosen for the new DTAC 115 bullet:
1. It is easier to precisely hold tolerances when manufacturing the 7 degree boat tail angle. Most conventional boat tails have 9 degree angles (or greater).
2. The RBT more efficiently obturates to the bore of the rifle barrel when fired. (It mimics a flat base bullet design). This will allow the RBT design to extend your accurate barrel life by reducing gas leakage around the bullet when fired in a worn 6mm throat.
NOTE: David does NOT claim the RBT offers a higher BC compared to a conventional boattail design.
DESIGN FEATURES: DTAC 115 Bullet with Rebated Boat Tail
Commentary by David Tubb
In the 1980s we shot 107 grain weight-range 6mm bullets for Silhouette and High Power competitions. Lower recoil and good wind drift were paramount in coming to the 6mm bullet diameter.
After I developed the 6XC case around 2003 I approached Sierra about making me a 6mm bullet in the 115 grain range. Sierra ran prototypes in 112, 115, and 120 grain configurations. I thoroughly tested these and decided on the 115 grain. In 2004 I used these at Camp Perry and the result was a Long Range National Championship Aggregate with a perfect 1450×101 score. Enough said….
In 2007 Sierra had just introduced its plastic-tipped bullets. I had them run a test batch of plastic-tipped 117 grain weights. These didn’t pass my criteria.
We then ran another test batch of 111 grain plastic tip 6mm bullets and they looked great in the Sierra tunnel tests. However when shot them over an Oehler 43 at 1000 yards the results indicated the plastic tips were deformed or nonexistent at the target. These didn’t pass my criteria.
FYI — that plastic tip deformation testing information preceded the Hornady “Plastic tips Are Bad” advertising campaign by more than seven years.
When using a .308 early in my High Power rifle career we shot 190 grain Sierras at the 600-yard stage. When 600-yard accuracy began to fall off a switch to a 185gr Lapua rebated boat tail brought the accuracy back. I remember shooting some very high X-Count scores with 185gr Lapuas. The reason the Lapua worked in a worn barrel is because the rebated boat tail allows the bullet to obturate to fit the worn throat and prevent less gas leakage around the bullet when fired.
I had a bullet-maker friend reform some 6mm 115s with a rebated boat tail (RBT) in 2015 and had excellent results. So it was a natural move to redesign the current DTAC 115 6mm with a RBT and a 7 degree boat tail.
Ballistic Coefficent and Stabilization
High BC Confirmed
David says, “The new DTAC 115 RBT testing is complete and [we] can claim a G1 1000-yard BC of 0.620″.
Required Twist Rate for Stability
David reports: “This bullet stabilized out of true 1:8″ twist or faster barrel at velocities approaching 3000 fps at sea level”.
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We congratulate Norman Houle, the 2016 National High Power Champion, and John Whidden, the 2016 National Long Range Champion. Norm secured his win with an impressive 2384-130X score. Along with the title of National Champion, Norm received a Mumma Trophy Plaque, a National Champion Medallion, Krieger Barrels Certificate, Trijicon Scope, and Geissele Certificate. In second place was last year’s champion, SFC Brandon Green of the USAMU. Brandon, who won the 2015 and 2013 High Power Championships, finished with a score of 2381-120X. In third place was SGT Nick Mowrer with 2381-114X, a very impressive score with a Service Rifle. (SGT Mowrer won the Service Rifle Championship.)
John Whidden is always strong at Camp Perry (file photo from past event).
Whidden Wins Long Range Championship
In the Long Range Competition (Tompkins Trophy Match), John Whidden of Whidden Gunworks topped the field with a very strong 1240-77X performance. This victory secured John’s fourth Long Range National title. As in the High Power Championship, in the Long Range event SFC Brandon Green also finished in second place (1238-67X). Rounding out the Long Range podium was William Gelet with a 1238-57X tally. With his Long Range Championship win, Whidden took home a Tompkins Trophy Plaque, a Gold Championship Medallion, and a $500 Berger Bullets Certificate.
John campaigned three rifles he smithed himself. These feature Barnard actions in modified Anschutz smallbore stocks. For the open-caliber events, John shot .243 Win-chambered rifles with 6mm 105gr Berger Hybrids. For the Palma matches he shot a .308 Win with 155gr Berger Hybrids. John’s ammo was loaded on Whidden dies of course. During the Long Range cycle, matches were shot with both iron sights and scopes. John had two different .243 Win rifles, one fitted with iron sights, the other with a scope.
High Power Hardware: The Guns of Perry
We thought our readers would like to see some of the ultra-accurate rifles campaigned by High Power competitors at Camp Perry. Both bolt-action and self-loading rifles are popular. Among bolt guns, Tubb 2000s and Eliseo tubeguns are popular. Semi-auto AR platform “Space Guns” offer some advantages (particularly during rapid-fire and for standing position), and are favored by many of the top marksmen. Many Camp Perry High Power competitors are also shooting less exotic AR service rifles.
Tubb 2000 with a shortened handguard, and custom hand support bracket forward of mag well.
The modern AR Space Gun, scoped version. Note the side charging handle, and absence of forward assist. A block fitted under the handguard helps with the standing position. The scope is mounted on a “piggy-back” rail that extends forward of upper receiver’s built-in rail.
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.
Know 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.
Tired 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.
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).
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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
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.
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.
Something interesting took place in St. Louis, Missouri this weekend — F-Bench competitors shot next to Sling, F-TR, and F-Open prone shooters and all had fun. We like events that bring shooters together from multiple disciplines, and we like matches that allow F-Class folks to shoot from the Bench for a change. (We’d love to see a 300-yard match that allows short-range PPC and 30BR shooters to compete side-by-side with F-Class shooters — the more the merrier.)
The 2016 Sierra Cup Match took place at the Bench Rest Rifle Club (BRRC) of St. Louis on Saturday, May 14, 2016. Some 57 shooters braved some chilly weather to compete at 600 yards. Competitor Jim K. (aka 500Stroker in our Forum) said this was “another great match” despite challenging conditions: “It was freezin’ cold, with major switching winds, but I loved every minute. Congrats to all the winners — they earned every point at this match.”
2016 Sierra Cup Winners
F-Open — Tony Francik
F-TR — Drew Rutherford
F-Bench — Neil Greenwell
Sling — Jeff Lindblom
New, Experimental Sierra Projectiles Perform Great
Two Sierra staffers competed this year, shooting prototype Sierra bullets in the final stages of testing. Congrats to Sierra’s Tommy Todd who took Second Place in F-TR class, and to Sierra’s Mark Walker who finished third in F-Open. That bodes well for the new, experimental Sierra bullets. Based on Tommy’s and Mark’s results, the new Sierra bullets appear to be very accurate indeed.
Forum member Drew R. (aka SkiUtah2) drove all the way from North Dakota to attend the Sierra Cup:
“This was my first time at BRRC and it was as anticipated — a great place to shoot. I met many gracious and talented shooters. I love getting to try new ranges and meeting people from the AccurateShooter Forum. It’s fair to say that even the guy from North Dakota was chilled when we started on Saturday. The warm welcome helped take the edge off.
Organizing a match of this caliber takes a lot of work even with an army of people behind the scenes, and without a core group herding the cats it doesn’t run well as this one did. Thanks Brett, Joe, and everyone who made this match run so smoothly. Coordinating with sling, bench, F-TR and F-Open shooters’ needs must have been remarkably challenging and you made it look effortless.
It was a fun time. I can highly recommend this range and this match to everyone wanting an enjoyable and memorable experience. Conditions on Saturday were definitely not a trigger-pulling contest, and (for me) that adds to the fun. The amenities are top tier. Many of the ranges I shoot at do not even have running water, much less showers onsite.
Thanks to Sierra for the sponsorship and very generous prize table. And thanks for the award waiving my entry fee as the ‘Long Distance Shooter’ for my trek. That was classy and completely unexpected.” — Drew R.
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The NRA has released new, updated versions of Competition Rules, with changes that have been adopted for 2016. There are quite a few minor changes affecting rifle competitors in High Power, Service Rifle, Prone AR Platform Rifle, F-Class, and Smallbore Disciplines. There are also new rules for matches with Electronic Targets.
The wait is over… Creedmoor Sports is now producing some of the best .223 Rem target ammo you can buy. Three “match-grade” types are offered with Sierra bullets and NEW Lake City cartridge brass. If you shoot Service Rifle, you may find that this new Creedmoor ammo rivals good handloads — and that’s quite an achievement. Creedmoor General Manager Dennis DeMille, a past National Service Rifle Champion, states: “As a National Rifle Champion and having fired probably a Gazillion rounds down range (mostly hand loads), I would not hesitate to compete with this ammunition on a National Level!”
Creedmoor currently offers .223 Rem competition ammo loaded with three of the most popular projectiles: 69 grain Sierra TMK (Tipped MatchKing), the 77 grain Sierra TMK, and the 77 grain Sierra BTHP. All three ammo types are loaded in Creedmoor’s new production facility using brand new Lake City Brass. As with all Creedmoor Ammo, each lot is pressure tested and velocity tested prior to every round being hand-inspected and packaged. That gives you confidence that this ammo is consistent lot to lot. Given the quality of this ammo, it is VERY affordable, starting at $34.75 per 50-round box. That works out to $0.69 per round. At that price, when you consider hand-loading, you have to ask yourself “what’s your time worth”? Would that time be better spend practicing?
Quantity Discounts and FREE Shipping on Large Orders
Creedmoor offers quantity discounts on the .223 Rem ammo: “Order Five (5) or more boxes of any one round to get your first price break. Order Ten (10) boxes of ANY combination of Creedmoor Ammo (Rifle or Pistol, Mix and Match) you get free shipping.”
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Since this is Mother’s Day, here’s a story about one very special mother — a talented lady shooter who also reared one of the greatest marksmen in history, David Tubb.
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.”
Nick Till in 2009 M1A Match. Nick was the 2007 Service Rifle Nat’l Champion. Photo courtesy NRA Blog.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the NRA Springfield M1A Match, scheduled for July 31, 2016 at Camp Perry, Ohio. The Springfield M1A Match will kick off the 2016 NRA National High Power Rifle Championships. With this year’s anniversary M1A competition, more than 4,000 competitors will have shot the classic M1A for score from Camp Perry’s 300-yard line.
Big bucks will be at stake in this year’s M1A match. Springfield Armory is donating over $25,000 worth of cash and prizes, including a $2,000 cash award to the overall winner. All competitors who register by July 15, 2016 will also receive a free Springfield M1A Match T-shirt.
Sponsored by Springfield Armory, the NRA Springfield M1A Match was conceived to promote use of this historic battle rifle, based on the military’s M14. “Springfield Armory has always been about heritage,” stated Springfield Armory CEO Dennis Reese. “I competed myself last year. It was incredibly inspiring to see hundreds and hundreds of our M1A rifles on the Camp Perry firing lines.”
M1A Match Course of Fire
Equipment rules allow pretty much all types/grades of M1As in the match. The one-day course of fire consists of 50 shots at 300 yards on the NRA MR-65F target, as follows: 5 sighters; 20 shots slow-fire prone; 10 shots rapid-fire prone; 10 shots rapid-fire, kneeling or sitting; and 10 shots slow-fire standing.
Video of 2009 M1A match at Camp Perry (NOTE: Loud wind noise — turn down speakers.)
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Geissele Automatics manufactures a line of two-stage triggers favored by top Service Rifle, High Power, and 3-Gun shooters. Geissele now offers a variety of trigger models for both large-pin and small-pin lowers, with pull weights from 1.8 lbs to 6.0 lbs. You select the Geissele trigger with the appropriate first and second stage pull for your discipline (refer to chart below for trigger model specs).
Video Shows Geiselle Trigger Installation in AR15
Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com has crafted a video showing how to install a Geissele National Match Trigger in an AR15. This video covers installation of the trigger assembly, the trigger guard, the safety selector lever assembly, and the pistol grip.
AR15 Trigger Installation Video
Follow-Up Video for AR10 Trigger Install
Gavin recently released a follow-up video which covers the installation of a Geissele Super Dynamic Trigger in an AR10. The procedure is mostly the same as for the AR15, but this video also covers removal of the AR10 factory trigger, so it’s worth watching. You may want to turn the volume down on your computer’s speakers before playback. CLICK HERE for Geissele Trigger Instruction Manual
AR10 Geissele Trigger Installation
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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…
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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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.
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.
Position shooters can also improve their skills by shooting different disciplines. High Power Across-the-Course shooters benefit from shooting smallbore and air rifle. Again, these targets are very small, which will encourage competitors to be more critical of their shot placement. Hunters may benefit from shooting silhouette matches, which will give them practice when shooting standing with a scoped rifle. Tactical matches may also be good, as tactical matches involve improvising shots from various positions and distances. [Editor: Many tactical matches also involve hiking or moving from position to position — this can motivate a shooter to maintain a good level of general fitness.]
These are just a few ways that you can benefit from branching out into other shooting disciplines. Talk to the other shooters. There is a wealth of knowledge in every discipline, and the other shooters will be more than happy to share what they have learned. Try something new. You may be surprised what you get out of it. You will certainly learn new skills and improve the ones you already have. You might develop a deeper appreciation for the discipline you started off with, or you may just discover a new passion.
This article originally appeared in the Berger Bulletin. The Berger Bulletin blog contains the latest info on Berger products, along with informative articles on target shooting and hunting.
Article Find by EdLongrange.
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To succeed in long-range shooting matches, given the high level of competition these days, you’ll need solid wind-reading abilities. We’ve found an article by SFC Emil Praslick III, retired USAMU Service Rifle coach and U.S. Palma Team Coach, that can help you make better wind calls in competition.
Emil Praslick, now retired from the U.S. Army, is considered one of the best wind gurus in the United States, if not the world. During his service with the USAMU he authored an excellent two-part article on wind reading that is available on the CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program) website. Both articles contain helpful illustrations, and are “must-read” resources for any long-range shooter–not just Service Rifle and Highpower competitors.
Part One covers basic principles, tactics, and strategies, with a focus on the 200-yard stages. Emil writes: “There are as many dimensions to ‘wind reading’ as there are stages to High Power competition. Your tactical mindset, or philosophy, must be different for the 200 and 300 yard rapid-fire stages than it would be for the 600 yard slow-fire. In the slow-fire stages you have the ability to adjust windage from shot to shot, utilizing the location of the previous shot as an indicator. Additionally, a change to the existing conditions can be identified and adjusted for prior to shooting the next shot.”
In Part Two, Praslick provides more detailed explanations of the key principles of wind zeros, wind reading, and the “Clock System” for determining wind values: “The Value of the wind is as important as its speed when deciding the proper windage to place on the rifle. A 10 MPH wind from ’12 o-clock’ has No Value, hence it will not effect the flight of the bullet. A 10 MPH wind from ‘3 o’clock’, however, would be classified as Full Value. Failure to correct for a Full Value wind will surely result in a less than desirable result.”
Praslick also explains how to identify and evaluate mirage:
Determine the accuracy of the mirage. Mirage is the reflection of light through layers of air that have different temperatures than the ground. These layers are blown by the wind and can be monitored to detect wind direction and speed.
Focus your scope midway between yourself and the target, this will make mirage appear more prominent. I must emphasize the importance of experience when using mirage as a wind-reading tool. The best way to become proficient in the use of mirage is to correlate its appearance to a known condition. Using this as a baseline, changes in mirage can be equated to changes in the value of the wind. Above all, you must practice this skill!
Click HERE for more excellent instructional articles by Emil Praslick and other USAMU Coaches and shooters.
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