November 18th, 2014

In Memoriam — Forum Member John Adams

It is with great sadness we announce the passing of John Adams of Fallbrook, Calfornia. One of our very first Forum members, John has been a stalwart supporter of this site for nearly a decade. He generously donated funds, reloading components, and equipment to our site, year after year, asking nothing in return. A modest man, John was also an innovator, who developed his own wildcat cartridges, designed reloading tools, and put together some great-shooting rifles.

John Adams Pala Silhouette

On Saturday, November 15, Johnny Adams (John’s son) sent out this message to John’s friends and acquaintances in the shooting community: “I have to inform everyone of the sad news that my father, John Adams, died unexpectedly this Saturday Morning. He has been battling cancer for a number of years and has finally succumbed to the disease. He has asked me to include this photo of him and asked that his friends remember him in this way.”

John was a very active benchrest shooter in Southern California, and one of the dedicated organizers of the monthly Varmint Silhouette Match in Pala, California. Shooting that match with John as my mentor was one of the most enjoyable highlights of my shooting career.

John Adams Pala SilhouetteThose of us who knew John would tell you he was a generous, good-hearted man who had a real love for shooting. I am honored to say John was my friend, and I will forever be grateful for the things he did to help this site get off the ground, and to help many new shooters get started. When I had a chance to shoot at the Pala Varmint Silhouette match, John took the time to help practice with me, and he even provided the rifle (a wickedly accurate 22 Dasher) and the ammunition!

Many years ago, John was involved as an owner of the SAECO company that made presses and other reloading equipment. He had a vast knowledge of shooting hardware, and he never gave up his avid interest in shooting-related product design and engineering. He remained interested in new products and new techniques until his last days. Just a few weeks ago he called me to chat about new developments in spotting scopes.

John, Rest in Peace old friend. We’ll miss your presence at our matches in California. You were a generous soul and a true friend of the shooting sports. The shooting community is much diminished by your passing….

John Adams Pala Silhouette

John Adams Pala Silhouette

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October 18th, 2013

Varmint Silhouette Match This Weekend at Pala in California

About 24 miles east of Oceanside, California (near the Camp Pendleton Marine base) is the Pala Reservation. On that Native American land you’ll find a Casino Resort, plus an excellent shooting range. Each month, shooters come to Pala for the Varmint Silhouette Match hosted by the North County Shootist Association. Normally the match is held on the first Sunday of the month. But this October, the match will be held Sunday, October 20th. Matches start around 9:00 am and finish around noon.

Pala Varmint Silhouette

Course of Fire: Five Yardages, 50 Critters
At five different yardages, ten steel “critter” targets are set as follows: 200 Meters – Field Mice (“pikas”); 300 meters – Crows; 385 meters – Ground Squirrels; 500 meters – Jack Rabbits; 600 yards – Prairie Dogs. The folks at Pala run a tight ship, cycling multiple relays efficiently, so everybody gets to shoot 50 targets (10 each at five different yardages), and the show is usually completed by 1:00 pm. A one-hour sight-in period starts at 8:00 am, and the match starts at 9:00 am sharp. Newcomers should definitely arrive no later than 7:45 am, because you may need the full sight-in period to get good zeros at all five yardages. CLICK HERE for full match INFO.

pala range san diego varmint

What to bring to Pala
ammo 6mm GrendelYou’ll need an accurate rifle, plus at least 80 rounds of ammo (bring 100 rounds if you have no idea about your come-ups at these distances). You can shoot either rested prone (F-Class style), from bipod, or from a portable bench with front pedestal and rear bag. Most guys shoot from benches. Any rifle 6.5 caliber or under is allowed (max bullet weight is 107 grains). With no weight restrictions, any good varmint rifle, bench gun, or F-Class rifle can be competitive. Muzzle brakes are permitted. Spotter assistants are allowed, so bring a friend along — he/she can shoot in a different relay. Bring cleaning gear if your rifle can’t run 80+ rounds without losing accuracy. Pastry snacks are often provided, but bring water, and a lunch. You’ll spend some time in the sun helping to set targets, so bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

Fun Weekend for the Whole Family
Pala California Shooting RangeThere is a deluxe Indian Casino/Spa a half-mile from the range. So don’t hesitate to bring the wife. If she’s not a shooter, she can enjoy a fancy brunch or spa treatment while you’re having fun mowing down metal critters. Pala is a 30 minutes from the Pacific Ocean and beautiful beaches, so you can make this a weekend holiday for the whole family — kids love sand and surf.

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October 6th, 2013

Hot .243-Based Wildcats — The .243 BR-K and 6mm Super X

Gunsmith Mike Sosenko and long-time AccurateShooter Forum member John Adams have been using a modified .243 Winchester case with great success in Varmint Silhouette matches at the Pala Range in Southern California. Officially called the “.243 BR-K” (and informally dubbed the “6BR Long”), the wildcat is basically a .243 Winchester with less body taper and a 30-degree shoulder. The design essentially grafts a 6mmBR Norma “top end” to the .243 Winchester case. After fire-forming, Mike and John can reload this case using normal, unmodified 6BR neck-sizing and seater dies.

Compared to a .243 Winchester, the .243 BR-K’s body length is about .006″ longer, and the shoulder is about .0055″ wider. The main difference is the shoulder angle (30° vs. 20°), and the location of the neck-shoulder junction (“NSJ”). Based on reamer prints, the base to NSJ dimension is 1.718″ on the 6BR Long, compared to 1.804″ for the .243 Winchester. Neck length is a bit shorter because “the neck shrinks a little when the shoulder blows out” according to Sosenko. We’ve provided a mock-up diagram of the .243 BR-K, but you should check with Dave Kiff of Pacific Tool & Gauge for exact dimensions. Dave created the reamers for both the 6mm and 22-caliber versions of this wildcat. Ask for the “22 BR-K” or “.243 BR-K” reamer designs.

6mmBR long .243 Winchester Wildcat 243 BR-K wildcat cartridge

Wicked Velocity with Stable Brass
The main advantage of the .243 BR-K is serious velocity in a case that is very stable. Mike’s favorite load is the 95gr Berger VLD pushed by Reloader 22. With a stout load of RL22 and Federal 210m Primers, Sosenko is getting 3450 fps with the 95-grainer, with no bullet blow-ups. This is with a 1:8.5″ twist Broughton 5R barrel finished at 28.5″. The cases are holding up very well. Mike has a half-dozen loads on his brass and he hasn’t had to full-length size yet. Mike runs a .262″ tight neck, but there is also a no-turn version of the case (see illustration). Accuracy is excellent. Mike says the round delivers repeatable 1/4 MOA groups at 100 yards in testing. He has also experimented with N160, but, thus far, Reloader 22 has delivered smaller groups with better ES and SD.

VIEW 243 BR-K REAMER PRINT (No-Turn Neck)

John Adams shoots a no-turn (.274″) neck .243 BR-K with 105gr Berger VLDs. He’s getting about 3230 fps using Reloader 22. John says he can push the 105s faster, but 3220-3240 fps “seems to be the sweet spot.” John notes that “after about five reloadings on a case, it gets a little tight”. John then full-length sizes with a custom Hornady FL bushing die. “The Hornady custom shop dies work great” according to John. Adams also shoots a version of this wildcat necked down to 22-caliber. It has demonstrated outstanding velocity and good accuracy in initial testing with a 9-twist barrel. Using the 80gr Amax bullets, John is getting 3570+ fps speeds. John feels that his 22 BR-K needs some more development work. “The .243 BR-K is proven. We know what works. With the 22 I want to try different seating depths, experiment with a few different bullets, and fine-tune the velocity.”

Whitley’s 6mm Super X
Robert Whitley shoots a variant of the .243 Winchester he calls the 6mm Super X. This features a 30° shoulder, and slightly less body taper. He gains a little case capacity over the standard .243 Win, and he says the cartridge is extremely accurate with both 105-108 grain pills and the heavier 115s: “Here’s a picture of a .243 Win (left), a 6mm Super X (center), and a 6XC (right). All I can say is the 6mm Super X has been good to me and I have shot many a clean in 600-yard High Power matches with it with either DTAC 115s or Berger 115s.”

243 BR-K wildcat cartridge

While Mike Sosenko and John Adams use their BR-Ks to push 95s and 105s at high velocities, Robert takes a different approach with his Super X. He shoots the high-BC 115s and keeps velocities under 3000 fps. A long-range High Power shooter, Robert demands consistency during long shot strings. That means backing off from max attainable speeds, at least with the 115s. Robert writes:

“You can get 3050 fps with H4831SC and the 115s with no problem, I did it in testing multiple times, but to me that also does not mean anything because I shoot loads where they are the most consistent and accurate over a 22+ shot string. I have never found that any of the 6mm cartridges I have used with 115s will stay consistent, tight and accurate the whole way at 3050 fps for 22+ shots straight. I have tried 115s in the .243 Win, the 6CM, the 6mm Super X, the 6XC, the 6-6.5 x 47 Lapua and none of them ever stayed consistent and tight for 22 shots straight with the 115s at that speed. Most of the time with all the 6mm cartridges, if you get the 115s much over 2975 fps, they won’t hold tight for 22+ shots straight. Now if you’re a bench rest shooter and you only need to do a few sighters then 5 or 10 shots for record, you can run 3050 fps or more and the groups will likely hold tight during your string, but not when you need to go 22+ shots straight with no break. I have shot many different 6mm cartridges and done a lot of testing with many different powders, moly and non-moly bullets. I don’t find the ‘consistent accuracy’ (for 22+ shots straight) at those higher velocities.”

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May 3rd, 2012

Double Dose of Varmint Silhouette Action This Month at Pala, CA

About 24 miles east of Oceanside, California (near the Camp Pendleton Marine base) is the Pala Reservation. On that Native American land you’ll find a Casino Resort, plus an excellent shooting range. Each month, shooters come to Pala for the Varmint Silhouette Match hosted by the North County Shootist Association. Normally there is one match, held on the first Sunday of even month. But in May, you can “double your fun” because there will be TWO (2) matches. The first will be held this Sunday, May 6th, 2012. The second match takes place on Sunday, May 20th. On both match days, gates open at 7:30 am with practice from 8:00 am to 9:00 am. On Friday, May 4th, the range will be open for practice 9:00 am – 1:00 pm, while on Friday, May 18th, the range opens at 10:30 am.

Pala Varmint Silhouette

Course of Fire: Five Yardages, 50 Critters
At five different yardages, ten steel “critter” targets are set as follows: 200 Meters – Field Mice (“pikas”); 300 meters – Crows; 385 meters – Ground Squirrels; 500 meters – Jack Rabbits; 600 yards – Prairie Dogs. The folks at Pala run a tight ship, cycling multiple relays efficiently, so everybody gets to shoot 50 targets (10 each at five different yardages), and the show is usually completed by 1:00 pm. There’s a one-hour sight-in period starting at 8:00 am, and the match starts at 9:00 am sharp. Newcomers should definitely arrive no later than 7:45 am, because you may need that full sight-in period to acquire solid zeros at all five yardages. CLICK HERE for full match INFO.

pala range san diego varmint

What to bring to Pala
ammo 6mm GrendelYou’ll need an accurate rifle, plus at least 80 rounds of ammo (bring 100 rounds if you have no idea about your come-ups at these distances). You can shoot either rested prone (F-Class style), from bipod, or from a portable bench with front pedestal and rear bag. Most guys shoot from benches. Any rifle 6.5 caliber or under is allowed, with no weight restrictions. Any good varmint rifle can be competitive. Muzzle brakes are permitted. Spotter assistants are allowed, so bring a friend along — he/she can shoot in a different relay. Bring cleaning gear if your rifle can’t run 80+ rounds without losing accuracy. Pastry snacks are often provided, but bring water, a sandwich and your preferred non-alcoholic beverage. You’ll spend some time in the sun helping to set targets, so bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

Fun Weekend for the Whole Family
Pala California Shooting RangeThere is a deluxe Indian Casino/Spa a half-mile from the range. So don’t hesitate to bring the wife. If she’s not a shooter, she can enjoy a fancy brunch or spa treatment while you’re having fun mowing down metal critters. Pala is a 30 minutes from the Pacific Ocean and beautiful beaches, so you can make this a weekend holiday for the whole family — kids love sand and surf.

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