January 10th, 2018

Blast from the Past — Angelina Beats Benchrest Hall of Famers

Angelina Benchrest girl phoenix

We first ran this story in 2014, when Angelina was just ten years old. A Forum member recently asked if she was still shooting benchrest, and we can say the answer is yes — under the guidance of her grandfather Lou Murdica. So we are repeating the story today, to inspire all the other granddads who might encourage a little lady to take up the sport…

Angelina Benchrest girl phoenixYou have to love this story, supplied by our friend Lou Murdica. It seems that a petite little 10-year-old school girl finished fourth in a 100-Yard Benchrest match in Phoenix, beating some of the best in the business, including many Benchrest Hall of Famers. That’s right, shooting a remarkable 0.1612 Aggregate, little Angelina G. put a whupping on some very big names in the Benchrest game, including Lou Murdica himself. Angelina finished just .008 behind Hall of Famer Gary Ocock, beating other Benchrest superstars such as Bob Brackney, Lester Bruno, and Tom Libby. Angelina also beat legendary bullet-maker Walt Berger, but we’ll cut Walt some slack. Now in his 80s, Walt deserves praise for doing so well at the opposite end of the age spectrum.

Congratulations to Angelina on some great shooting in the Unlimited Class. Her five groups measured: 0.186, 0.172, 0.173, 0.121, 0.155. That’s impressive consistency. You go girl!

Point to ponder: If Angelina was shooting a Rail Gun, her rifle probably weighed more than she did.

Check out the big names who finished behind little Angelina.

Angelina Benchrest girl phoenix

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »
March 29th, 2016

Cactus Classic in Phoenix Draws Top Benchrest Talent

Berger Bullets Cactus Classic Benchrest competition match Phoenix Ben Avery
Click to view full-screen size image.

The Cactus Classic is a prestigious benchrest competition held every year in Phoenix, Arizona. On March 16-20, many of the nation’s top short-range benchresters came to Ben Avery to vie for glory and prizes. There were some impressive performances at this year’s Cactus Classic, hosted by the Arizona Benchrest Shooters. Top Gun was Larry Costa who won the Two-Gun Grand Aggregate as well as the Light Varmint (LV) 200-yard Agg. Lou Murdica (shown below) won the Heavy Varmint (HV) 200-yard Aggregate. At the shorter range, Larry Baggett won the Heavy Varmint 100-yard Aggregate and Gary Bristow won the Light Varmint 100-yard Agg. For full results, click the link below. To see hundreds of high-rez photos from the match, visit the Berger Bullets Flickr Photo Gallery.

CLICK HERE for Complete Cactus Classic Match Results.

HV 200-yard Aggregate winner Lou Murdica.
Berger Bullets Cactus Classic Benchrest competition match Phoenix Ben Avery

Berger Bullets Cactus Classic Benchrest competition match Phoenix Ben Avery

Berger Bullets Cactus Classic Benchrest competition match Phoenix Ben Avery

Most short-range benchrest shooters load at the range.
Berger Bullets Cactus Classic Benchrest competition match Phoenix Ben Avery

Now in his late 80s, Berger Bullets founder Walt Berger is still competing…
Berger Bullets Cactus Classic Benchrest competition match Phoenix Ben Avery

Impressive hardware was on display at the Cactus Classic.
Berger Bullets Cactus Classic Benchrest competition match Phoenix Ben Avery

Cleaning is part of the routine in the short-range benchrest game.
Berger Bullets Cactus Classic Benchrest competition match Phoenix Ben Avery

Permalink Competition, News 2 Comments »
January 14th, 2016

Unlimited Class “Rail Guns” — The Epitome of Precision

Unlimited Class Rail Gun Visalia CA

Hail the Rail. If you are looking to put multiple shots through one hole, the Unlimited Class benchrest gun, aka “Rail Gun”, is the firearm of choice. These heavy Unlimited rigs are the most accurate benchtop shooting machines ever created. Campaigned by ace competitors in the 100/200-yard benchrest game, rail guns are capable of delivering the ultimate in rifle accuracy — multiple 5-shot groups in the ones and zeros.

Watch Video to Learn More about Rail Guns and See Them in Action:

In this video, YouTuber “Taofledermaus” takes a look at high-tech rail guns on display at the Visalia (CA) shooting range. He says: “The Unlimited Class rail guns are indeed the epitome of precision shooting. [These rifles] resemble something out of a ballistics test laboratory. Each [rail gun] weighs about fifty pounds…”

One-Hole Accuracy with Rail Gun
What kind of accuracy can a top-of-the-line rail gun deliver? Check out this target shot by our friend Lou Murdica in January 2015 in Phoenix. Sometimes superlatives really aren’t necessary. Just look at that target. Yes that is FIVE shots (although it truly appears like one hole). And it is centered! This remarkable group measured at 0.039″. Lou drilled this group with one of his 6 PPC railguns. Rounds were loaded with Accurate LT-32 powder and Berger 65gr BT bullets. The target was submitted to the NBRSA as a potential new 100-yard Benchrest record in the Unlimited (Railgun) Class.

Lou Murdica Unlimited Target NBRSA record Rail Gun

Lou Murdica Unlimited Target NBRSA record Rail Gun
This is a file photo with Lou Murdica with a different rail gun (not the one that shot above target).

Story/video tip by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Competition, Gear Review No Comments »
August 14th, 2015

Lou Murdica Wins Sniper King Benchrest Match in Tacoma

Berger Bullets Tacoma Rifle Benchrest Lou Murdica Shilen Barrels

As far as we can tell, the first-ever formal benchrest shooting match took place in 1944 at the Tacoma Rifle & Revolver Club in Tacoma, Washington. Known today as the “Sniper King Competition”, this is still a popular event, drawing top shooters from around the country.

Our friend Lou Murdica bested the competition this year to win the Sniper King competition and Benchrest shooting’s oldest trophy. Take a look at that target. That’s a TEN-Shot group at TWO hundred yards. That works out to 0.1299 MOA for ten shots. That’s might impressive…

Berger Bullets Tacoma Rifle Benchrest Lou Murdica Shilen Barrels

We have to give Lou credit for his shooting skills and loading spectacularly accurate ammo. Lou was running a Kelbly action, Shilen Barrel, and March scope. He loaded 6mm Berger 65gr BT bullets driven by Accurate LT 30 powder.

Have you ever shot a smaller TEN-shot group, even at 100 yards? If so, tell us about that, by posting a comment below.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition 3 Comments »
January 7th, 2015

Murdica’s Masterpiece — Just About as Good as It Gets

Lou Murdica Railgun NBRSA Record one-hole 6PPC Berger Bullets kelbly Action

Sometimes superlatives really aren’t necessary. Just look at that target. Yes that is FIVE shots (although it truly appears like one hole). And it is centered! This remarkable group, measured at 0.039″, was shot by Lou Murdica in Phoenix on January 3, 2015. Lou drilled this group with his 6 PPC railgun. Rounds were loaded with Accurate LT-32 powder and Berger 65gr BT bullets. The target will be submitted to the NBRSA as a potential new 100-yard Benchrest record in the Unlimited (Railgun) Class. The current NBRSA record small group (Unlimited) is a 0.049 shot by Hall-of-Famer Gary Ocock in 2009.

Lou Murdica Railgun NBRSA Record one-hole 6PPC Berger Bullets kelbly Action
This is a file photo with a different railgun.

This wasn’t the only tiny group shot by Lou over the weekend. Murdica shot a sizzling 0.1262 five-target 100-yard Unlimited Aggregate. That 0.1262 Agg will also be submitted for consideration as a possible record. Here are the individual group sizes: 0.104, 0.183, 0.201, 0.104, 0.039. At this match Lou won both the Unlimited and Sporter class. “It was a great weekend” Lou reported.

Lou Murdica Railgun NBRSA Record one-hole 6PPC Berger Bullets kelbly Action

About the Gun
What kind of rifle can put five shots in one hole? Lou was shooting an Unlimited-class railgun. This return-to-battery rig (a Kensler railgun) allows the shooter to focus on firing at the perfect time for the conditions. Lou’s Kensler railgun (see below) features a Kelbly top-loader Grizzly action, Shilen 6-groove barrel, and March 10-60X scope. The Shilen is chambered for the 6 PPC cartridge. But there’s something special about this particular 6 PPC — read on….

Click photo for larger version:
Lou Murdica Railgun NBRSA Record one-hole 6PPC Berger Bullets kelbly Action

Radical New Reamer Design from PT&G
Lou used a new chamber reamer from Pacific Tool & Gauge (PT&G) with special geometry in the leade/throat section. Called a “Bore Rider” (or sometimes “bore-runner”), this new reamer design cuts a staged, variable taper in the leade/throat area that is quite different than the taper in a typical throat. It’s a little hard to explain, so we’ve included the 6 PPC Bore Rider reamer print below. (Download the PDF file for a better view.) Experts should look at the leade angle(s), freebore, and throat dimensions. You may be surprised. Dave Kiff of PT&G says this Bore Rider design has worked successfully for other cartridge types/calibers as well. Apparently this design helps the bullet center up smoothly in the bore before the bullet engages “hard” in the rifling — or so we’ve been told.

CLICK HERE to DOWNLOAD Reamer Print as PDF File.
6 PPC Railgun Bore Rider Lou Murdica world record

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing 11 Comments »
December 7th, 2014

You Go Girl! Ten-year-old Angelina Bests Benchrest Big Boys

Angelina Benchrest girl phoenixYou have to love this story, supplied by our friend Lou Murdica. It seems that a petite little 10-year-old school girl finished fourth in a 100-Yard Benchrest match in Phoenix, beating some of the best in the business, including many Benchrest Hall of Famers. That’s right, shooting a remarkable 0.1612 Aggregate, little Angelina G. put a whupping on some very big names in the Benchrest game, including Lou Murdica himself. Angelina finished just .008 behind Hall of Famer Gary Ocock, beating other Benchrest superstars such as Bob Brackney, Lester Bruno, and Tom Libby. Angelina also beat legendary bullet-maker Walt Berger, but we’ll cut Walt some slack. Now in his 80s, Walt deserves praise for doing so well at the opposite end of the age spectrum.

Congratulations to Angelina on some great shooting in the Unlimited Class. Her five groups measured: 0.186, 0.172, 0.173, 0.121, 0.155. That’s impressive consistency. You go girl!

Angelina Benchrest girl phoenix

Point to ponder: If Angelina was shooting a Rail Gun, her rifle probably weighed more than she did.

Check out the big names who finished behind little Angelina.

Angelina Benchrest girl phoenix

Permalink Competition, News 3 Comments »
November 12th, 2014

New LT-30 Powder — Accuracy Rivals H4198, with More Speed

Accurate Western Powder LT-32 PPC MurdicaOur friend (and ace benchrest shooter) Lou Murdica recently tested some prototype Accurate LT-30 powder from Western Powders. This is a new formulation similar to LT-32, but with a slightly faster burn rate. That makes LT-30 ideal for the 30 BR and other cartridges that presently work well with Hodgdon H4198. Lou tells us: “At a 100/200-yard group benchrest match in Phoenix this weekend, I shot the new LT-30 powder in a 30BR. I used Berger 115gr bullets in a rifle with a Shilen barrel. This powder is just like the LT-32 powder… just a little faster.”

Lou added that, in the 30 BR, this powder delivers accuracy similar to Hodgdon H4198, but 30 BR loads with match bullets can be pushed up to 200 FPS faster without apparent pressure issues. That’s significant. Lou posted some targets which do indicate that LT-30 offers excellent accuracy. Here are 5-shot groups shot with Berger 115s and LT-30 powder:

Accurate Western Powder LT-32 PPC Murdica

Western Powders has not yet announced an “arrival date” for LT-30, so we can’t tell you when you will see LT-30 at retail powder vendors. It appears this new propellant will go into production in the near future, though LT-30 is not yet listed on the Accurate Powders website.

Accurate Western Powder LT-32 PPC MurdicaAccurate’s New LT-30 Powder Is Like LT-32 but a Little Bit Faster…
LT-32 is a fine-grained extruded powder that was developed for 6mm PPC benchrest competitors. Already a proven match winner, LT-32′s excellent shot-to-shot consistency and low standard deviation (SD) make this a very good choice for competitive benchrest shooting. Due to its small grain size, LT-32 flows like a spherical powder and allows for very precise hand-loading. It also offers impressive accuracy in varmint and tactical cartridges, including the .223 Rem, and 20 Tactical. If you haven’t tried LT-32 in your PPC or varmint cartridges yet, you should give it a try. LT-32 is one of the most accurate powders on the market, when used with appropriate bullet/cartridge combos.

Permalink New Product, Reloading 1 Comment »
December 15th, 2012

New Accurate LT-32 Powder Coming in January

Midsouth Shooters Supply is now taking advance orders for the new Accurate LT-32 Powder, with initial deliveries expected in January 2013. Price for a 1-lb container is $25.12, while an 8-lb jug runs $190.50. Produced by Western Powders, LT-32 is an extruded powder with extremely small kernels (roughly .0275″). This powder is designed to perform like the legendary “T-322″ powders which worked brilliantly in short-range benchrest cartridges, especially the 6mm PPC. Early testers report that Accurate LT-32 meters superbly and is easy to tune. Western claims LT-32 exhibits very low standard deviation. (Photos below by Speedy Gonzalez).

Accurate lt32 powder Western

Speedy Says Accurate LT-32 is Very Promising
Benchrest Hall-of-Famer and noted gunsmith Thomas ‘Speedy’ Gonzalez tested the prototype LT-32 powder from Western Powder earlier this year. Speedy stated: “It pains me to say it, but the new LT-32 out-shot my best lots of [the original] IMR 8208 (T-322)”.

Accurate lt32 powder Western

Speedy reports: “I must say that I was quite surprised by the results of my initial testing of the new Western Powder LT-32. Shooting this morning over my Oehler 35P triple screen chronograph yielded some very unexpected results. My best lot of ‘T’ powder continues to exhibit its age as it continues to lose velocity (as it ages). While the new Western LT-32 demonstrated this morning velocities equal to what my old ‘T’ powder used to shoot like 30 years ago.

This new powder goes through the measure like a ball powder. (Note: I have always felt that one of the reasons ‘T’ powder shot so well was due to the fact it measured so well as compared to other powders. This is a definite advantage for us that rely on consistent volume instead of weight.) I will have to shoot it over a season to see if it is as temperature and humidity insensitive as ‘T’, but it looks very promising from what I saw today.

It has yet to be seen if the new LT-32 proves to not be affected by temperature and humidity like the old T-322. But from these short tests it very much mimics my T-322 of old. My ‘T’ powder was always a blessing to me in the fact that when I went to a match I did not have the same problems everyone else was having [i.e. having] to tune up and down over the course of a weekend or week. I got to shoot and concentrate on the conditions instead of making it a tuning competition. It was always kind of funny watching everybody going up and down on their powders trying to accommodate the changes in weather as the days went on. Hopefully this will allow all to become better shooters by being able to concentrate on shooting and not re-turning every time one comes back from the bench.”

Statement from Western Powders

The Accurate LT-32 is an exact copy of the original T-32 manufactured in the same plant and on the same machinery as the original. Lou Murdica has been extensively testing it and he tells us it is the easiest powder to tune that he has seen in 40 years.

Accurate lt32 powder WesternAccording to Lou, the chamber that everybody was using in the 80s will work with this powder. The bullets do not need to be seated way out in order to get more powder in the case. In testing the powder in our Bond Universal receiver against the original “T” powder, SDs were about 30% lower with the new powder versus the “T” powder. Lou and Don Nielson donated 16 lbs. of the original T-32 lot of powder for our quality control and that is what the new powder is shot against.

All of our powders are allowed to deviate +3% to -5% in pressure from the quality control lot except LT-32 which we cut the deviation percentages in half in order to have the best lot to lot consistency in the industry for this powder[.] We developed this powder specifically for the 6mm PPC and it is QC’d in the 6mm PPC.

Keith Anderson
Western Powders Ballistic Lab

NOTE: Accurate LT-32 should also be available from PowderValleyInc.com in mid-to-late January 2013. Listed Prices are: $24.10 for 1 pound and $182.00 for 8 pounds.

Permalink New Product, Reloading 5 Comments »