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 »
November 19th, 2017

Drilled by Dasher — Spectacular 600-Yard Target Shot in Oregon

Tri-Valley Gun Club TVGC Portland Oregon

Take a look at that group. That would be pretty nice for 200 yards. But this group was shot at 600 yards in competition by Fred Dobson at a recent NBRSA match in Oregon. The X-Ring is 1.2″ in diameter. Perfectly centered for a 50-5X, this Light Gun target should be a new NBRSA Score record, pending approval. The previous Score record was Ken Schroeder’s 50-4X.

Tri-Valley Gun Club TVGC Portland OregonFred’s 600-yard group is also amazingly small. Using On-Target Software, we measured Fred’s five-shot group at 0.738″, which is a tiny 0.118 MOA at 600 yards.

NOTE: This is NOT an official measurement. The actual 5-shot group size might be larger or smaller, though it won’t be an NBRSA GROUP record. The current NBRSA 600-yard Light Gun group size record is 0.5823″ set by Robert Hoppe way back in 2008. But Fred’s 50-5X target should, indeed, be a new SCORE record.

Forum member “Jet” reports: “The Tri-County Gun Club just south of Portland, Oregon hosted its second NBRSA 600-guard match 11/18/2017. Twenty-one shooters brought rifles to the line. Fred Dobson shot the 50-5X target shown here.”

Congrats to Fred. Forum member KVD posted: “That’s truly fine shooting — something to be proud of. Seems like the bar gets boosted higher and higher every time there is a sanctioned match.”

Load Specifications
Cartridge: 6mm Dasher
Bullet: Precision Ballistics 105 gr
Powder: Hodgdon Varget
Primer: CCI 450

Equipment Specifications
Action: Kelbly
Barrel: Bartlein 1:7.5″ twist
Stock: McMillan MBR

Tri-County Gun Club TVGC Portland Oregon
TCGC 600-yard Range. This range uses the same target holders as the 300-yard line of the 200–300 yard range, which is closed when the 600-yard range is in use. Raised platform is for prone shooting.

About the Tri-County Gun Club in Oregon
Tri-county Gun Club TVGC Portland Oregon

Tri-County Gun Club is one of the premiere shooting clubs in the Pacific Northwest. The 230-acre private facility is located in Sherwood, Oregon just 15 minutes from downtown Portland. TCGC offers a wealth of ranges, competitions, and social activities for shooters of all ages, interests, and skill levels.

Article Tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
September 21st, 2017

Where to Buy Official Competition Targets

Official Target Printer Vendor Source

Need targets — not just any old targets, but the correctly-sized targets for specific shooting disciplines (such as NRA Smallbore, F-Class, and 1K Benchrest)? Well you won’t find them at your neighborhood Wally World store. Precise, dimensionally-correct competition targets are producted by a half-dozen specialty printers. In this article we provide links to the leading target sellers, with a chart showing “who’s got what”. Look for your particular discipline and the vendors will be specified.

Sources for Official Shooting Competition Targets:

ALCO Target Company

American Target Company

Kruger Premium Targets

National Target Company

Pistoleer.com

U.S. Target Company

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?”

Official targets NRA IBS NBRSA

All these vendors carry nearly all the NRA High Power and Smallbore targets, including the new, smaller F-Class targets. National Target has the F-Class and High Power targets, including 100-yard reductions of the 200, 300, and 600-yard military targets. Germany’s Kruger Targets sells all the important NRA targets, and international (ISSF) air rifle and smallbore targets too.

NRA Target IBS Hunter Rifle Target

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.

Available Official Competition Targets
Vendor NRA High Power F-Class NRA Smallbore Air Rifle/Pistol IBS NBRSA Other
ALCO Target
Company
Yes, All No Yes Yes No No Archery, IDPA, IPSC, Police, Realistic, Shoot-N-C, Silhouette, Fun Targets, Pasters.
American Target
Company
Yes, All Yes Yes, All Yes No No USBR, Sight-in, Muzzle-Loading, Police Silhouette
Kruger Premium
Targets
Yes, All Yes Yes, All Yes No No IDPA, IPSC, Animal Shapes, ISSF, Sight-in, Fun Targets
National Target
Company
Yes, Nearly All Yes Yes, All Yes Yes* No IDPA, IPSC, FBI, Police Silhouette, Sight-in, Target Backers, Pasters
Pistoleer.com Yes Yes Yes, most and color training Yes Yes No Bianchi, FBI, IBS, IDPA, IPSC, Silhouette, Archery, Pasters
U.S. Target, Inc. Yes Yes Yes, All Yes No No Bianchi, FBI, Police Silhouette, IPSC, Realistic Silhouette, Varmint

Kruger Targets

Permalink Competition, Gear Review No Comments »
September 16th, 2017

IBS Match Report: Visalia 3-Gun California Championship

IBS International Benchrest Shooters Visalia CA california match Boyd Allen
The Visalia Sportsman’s Association Dale Wimp Shooting Range — a great place to shoot.

Report by Boyd Allen | Photos and video by Pete Kitrinos
The IBS is in the West! The first International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) match at the Visalia, CA range was held over the recent Labor Day Weekend. Despite scorching 106° heat, many of the West’s top short-range benchrest shooters assembled for the first IBS-sanctioned match (after a 30-year history with the NBRSA) at the Visalia range. The mix of shooters included at least one Benchrest Hall of Fame member, as well as NBRSA record holders. Competitors were happy to return to Visalia, which had been closed for seven months while range improvements were made (some parts of the East berm were still under construction). With only two ranges in the entire state holding short range group matches, the temporary loss of Visalia had a significant impact. It was time to get back to business — the business of shooting tiny groups.

This video includes Aerial Drone footage of the range — worth watching!

Surrounded by fields, the Visalia Range is located in California’s Central Valley, a rich agricultural area.
IBS International Benchrest Shooters Visalia CA california match Boyd Allen

For about thirty years the California 3-Gun Benchrest Championship match has been held at the Visalia Sportsman’s Association Dale Wimp Range over Labor Day weekend. For all those years, the matches have been put on by local shooter and current club president Dennis Thornbury. During a good part of that time, he has also managed to keep his name in the NBRSA record book, and pick up four Benchrest Hall of Fame points, as well as having recently done a tour as NBRSA president. This year’s match is sanctioned by the IBS, a first at Visalia.

Don “The Pumpkin” Nielson used an action he fabricated, a “fat bolt” aluminum 3-lug with steel insert.
Visalia IBS Benchrest Rest

Dennis Thornbury has been putting on registered matches at the Visalia range for 30 years. He holds an NBRSA record, and has 4 Hall of Fame points.
IBS International Benchrest Shooters Visalia CA california match Boyd Allen

The format: On Saturday competitors shot 100 yards all day, Sporter in the morning, Light Varmint in the afternoon. The following day the morning competition was Heavy Varmint at 100 and at lunch the targets were moved to 200 yards with Heavy Varmint being shot that afternoon. On Monday, Labor Day, at 200 yards, Light Varmint was shot in the morning and Sporter in the afternoon. All three days consisted of five, 5-shot matches in the morning and five more in the afternoon.

Morning, Day 1 — Very few “daisy wheels”. This has been the trend for many years at this range.
IBS International Benchrest Shooters Visalia CA california match Boyd Allen

Getting down to business. Shown, from right to left: Henry Pinkney, Joe Stanovich, Steve Epstein, Keith Cottrell (face obscured), Jim Nicolas (standing).
IBS International Benchrest Shooters Visalia CA california match Boyd Allen

Sunday Top Shots: Jack Childers, Keith Cottrell, John Pierce, Lester Bruno, Dennis Thornbury, and Don Nielson. (Yes that’s a corn field in the background):
Visalia IBS Benchrest Rest

With the big temp changes between morning and afternoon, competitors were chasing powder loads all weekend. Small groups were hard to find, so only three “screamers” were recorded all weekend, and no teen Aggs. With the oppressive heat, attrition was also a factor: “We started with 30 shooters, and ended with just 21 competitors”.

Temperatures were in the triple digits for Saturday and Sunday, backing off to the high 90s on Monday. High humidity made it feel even hotter — heat stress was a definite issue. Even the rifles seemed to be at less than their best, causing very light wind conditions to produce Aggregates that were larger than the observed wind conditions would lead one to expect. Wind was generally light and switchy. Lighter mornings with wind increasing slightly through the days. Sunday saw more wind than the other two days after ten o’clock or so.

Loading benches with the usual clutter. Note the LabRadar chronograph on a bench at the firing line. Lawrence Weisdorn tracked his velocities during the match to know when a powder charge adjustment was needed.
IBS International Benchrest Shooters Visalia CA california match Boyd Allen

Top Shooters: The Top Five in the 3-Gun (HV, LV, and Sporter) Championship were: Keith Cottrell (.2534), John Pierce (.2695), Dennis Thornbury (.2714), Art Kawai (.2885), and Rich Shaw (.3016). Winners of the Class Grand Aggs were Dennis Thornbury (HV .2424), Lester Bruno (LV .2400), and Keith Cottrell (Sporter .2395). CLICK HERE for full Match Results.

Visalia IBS Benchrest Rest

Equipment List for Top Five Shooters
Visalia IBS Benchrest Rest

You can use a LabRadar during competition. This was Lawrence Weisdorn’s set-up at Visalia.
IBS International Benchrest Shooters Visalia CA california match Boyd Allen

Benchrest Technique — How to Shoot at Visalia
This range is built a bit like a large bathtub, dug into a flat field with the excavated earth thrown up in steep berms on three sides. This configuration and the usual lack of strong winds creates a lot of thermal-generated switchiness with flags changing direction often and very little agreement within any shooter’s set. This places a high premium on visual memory and the ability to judge equivalent conditions, because duplicates are almost never seen. Although the opportunity to run groups can happen, this is mostly a “pickers” range, which places a high premium on visual memory.

Visalia IBS Benchrest Rest

Facilities at Visalia Sportsman’s Association Range
There are 28 monolithic, steel-reinforced, concrete benches (poured in place, base and top all one pour). The reloading area is behind the benches with most of it on the same level as the benches. There are permanent (fixed position) tables that have laminate tops, except for where the range house sits, mid-range, with a “wailing wall” along its east and north sides. The direction of fire is north. The benches are under a slightly pitched metal roof that has recently been extended so that it has a good amount of overhang in front of the benches. Electricity is available in the reloading area and there are a few electrical outlets in the parking lot for RVs. There are both steps and a wheelchair ramp connecting parking lot to the reloading level and the shooting level.

Visalia IBS Benchrest Rest

Field of (Benchrest) Dreams — Precision Shooting Among the California Corn Fields.
Visalia IBS Benchrest Rest

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing, Shooting Skills 4 Comments »
July 19th, 2017

Can We Predict Useful Barrel Life? Insights from Dan Lilja

Lilja Rifle Barrels barrel life 3-groove AR15 Barrel heat

Barrel-maker Dan Lilja’s website has an excellent FAQ page that contains a wealth of useful information. On the Lilja FAQ Page as you’ll find informed answers to many commonly-asked questions. For example, Dan’s FAQ addresses the question of barrel life. Dan looks at factors that affect barrel longevity, and provides some predictions for barrel life, based on caliber, chambering, and intended use.

NOTE: This article was very well-received when it was first published last year. We are reprising it for the benefit of readers who missed it the first time.

Dan cautions that “Predicting barrel life is a complicated, highly variable subject — there is not a simple answer. Signs of accurate barrel life on the wane are increased copper fouling, lengthened throat depth, and decreased accuracy.” Dan also notes that barrels can wear prematurely from heat: “Any fast varmint-type cartridge can burn out a barrel in just a few hundred rounds if those rounds are shot one after another without letting the barrel cool between groups.”

Q. What Barrel Life, in number of rounds fired, can I expect from my new barrel?

A: That is a good question, asked often by our customers. But again there is not a simple answer. In my opinion there are two distinct types of barrel life. Accurate barrel life is probably the type most of us are referencing when we ask the question. But there is also absolute barrel life too. That is the point where a barrel will no longer stabilize a bullet and accuracy is wild. The benchrest shooter and to a lesser extent other target shooters are looking at accurate barrel life only when asking this question. To a benchrest shooter firing in matches where group size is the only measure of precision, accuracy is everything. But to a score shooter firing at a target, or bull, that is larger than the potential group size of the rifle, it is less important. And to the varmint hunter shooting prairie dog-size animals, the difference between a .25 MOA rifle or one that has dropped in accuracy to .5 MOA may not be noticeable in the field.

The big enemy to barrel life is heat. A barrel looses most of its accuracy due to erosion of the throat area of the barrel. Although wear on the crown from cleaning can cause problems too. The throat erosion is accelerated by heat. Any fast varmint-type cartridge can burn out a barrel in just a few hundred rounds if those rounds are shot one after another without letting the barrel cool between groups. A cartridge burning less powder will last longer or increasing the bore size for a given powder volume helps too. For example a .243 Winchester and a .308 Winchester both are based on the same case but the .308 will last longer because it has a larger bore.

And stainless steel barrels will last longer than chrome-moly barrels. This is due to the ability of stainless steel to resist heat erosion better than the chrome-moly steel.

Barrel Life Guidelines by Caliber and Cartridge Type
As a very rough rule of thumb I would say that with cartridges of .222 Remington size you could expect an accurate barrel life of 3000-4000 rounds. And varmint-type accuracy should be quite a bit longer than this.

For medium-size cartridges, such as the .308 Winchester, 7×57 and even the 25-06, 2000-3000 rounds of accurate life is reasonable.

Hot .224 caliber-type cartridges will not do as well, and 1000-2500 rounds is to be expected.

Bigger magnum hunting-type rounds will shoot from 1500-3000 accurate rounds. But the bigger 30-378 Weatherby types won’t do as well, being closer to the 1500-round figure.

These numbers are based on the use of stainless steel barrels. For chrome-moly barrels I would reduce these by roughly 20%.

The .17 and .50 calibers are rules unto themselves and I’m pressed to predict a figure.

The best life can be expected from the 22 long rifle (.22 LR) barrels with 5000-10,000 accurate rounds to be expected. We have in our shop one our drop-in Anschutz barrels that has 200,000 rounds through it and the shooter, a competitive small-bore shooter reported that it had just quit shooting.

Remember that predicting barrel life is a complicated, highly variable subject. You are the best judge of this with your particular barrel. Signs of accurate barrel life on the wane are increased copper fouling, lengthened throat depth, and decreased accuracy.

Lilja Rifle Barrels barrel life 3-groove AR15 Barrel heat

Benchrest Barrel Life — You May Be Surprised
I thought it might be interesting to point out a few exceptional Aggregates that I’ve fired with 6PPC benchrest rifles with barrels that had thousands of rounds through them. I know benchrest shooters that would never fire barrels with over 1500 shots fired in them in registered benchrest matches.

I fired my smallest 100-yard 5-shot Aggregate ever in 1992 at a registered benchrest match in Lewiston, Idaho. It was a .1558″ aggregate fired in the Heavy Varmint class. And that barrel had about 2100 rounds through it at the time.

Lilja Rifle Barrels barrel life 3-groove AR15 Barrel heat

Another good aggregate was fired at the 1997 NBRSA Nationals in Phoenix, Arizona during the 200-yard Light Varmint event. I placed second at this yardage with a 6PPC barrel that had over 2700 rounds through it at the time. I retired this barrel after that match because it had started to copper-foul quite a bit. But accuracy was still good.

Lilja Rifle Barrels barrel life 3-groove AR15 Barrel heat

Permalink - Articles, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip No Comments »
May 3rd, 2017

NBRSA 1000-Yard and 600-Yard National Championships

NBRSA National Benchrest Shooters 600 yard 1000 1K championship national Sacramento, CA

The National Benchrest Shooters Association (NBRSA) held its 600-Yard and 1000-Yard Benchrest Championships in April. Both events were held at the Sacramento Valley Shooting Center facility in Northern California. With significant rainfall in Spring 2017, the range was unusually green and pretty as you can see.

NBRSA National Benchrest Shooters 600 yard 1000 1K championship national Sacramento, CA

1000-Yard NBRSA Nationals, April 22-23, 2017

The 2017 NBRSA 1000-Yard National Championship was held at the Sacramento Valley Shooting Center last weekend. Congratulations to Richard Schatz, the 2017 NBRSA 1000 Yard National Champion. Richard, a past NBRSA Champ, also won Light Gun Score and Heavy Gun Group. Bill Johnston finished Second Overall, while Louie Tamagni secured Third Overall. Recently-crowned 600-Yard Champ Robert Hoppe won Heavy Gun Score at 1000, showing his ability at the longer distance. Congrats also to Dan Roberson who set a new Light Gun 3-Target Group National Record: 3.395. That’s 1/3 MOA at 1000 yards for three targets. That would be impressive at 300 yards. At 1000 yards, it is stunning.

CLICK HERE for a MS Word file with full 1000-Yard Match Results.

NBRSA National Benchrest Shooters 600 yard 1000 1K championship national Sacramento, CA

600-Yard NBRSA Nationals, April 19-20, 2017

The 2017 NBRSA 600-Yard National Championship was held at the Sacramento Valley Shooting Center April 19-20. Robert Hoppe shot superbly to win the 2017 Mid-Range Championship. Along with his overall title, Hoppe won Two-Gun Group, Two-Gun Score, Light Gun Group, and Heavy Gun Score. Mighty impressive shooting — Congrats Robert. Finishing Second Overall was Jamie Cardena, while Bert Croy took Third Overall. Jason Peterson had the Top Light Gun Score, while Richard Duncan won Heavy Gun Group. Terry Nunemaker shot the smallest group, a 1.087″ 5-shot, 50-1X. That was a stunning target, all shots centered. Congrats to 2017 Champ Robert Hoppe and all the “Top Guns”.

CLICK HERE for a MS Word file with full 600-Yard Match Results.

NBRSA National Benchrest Shooters 600 yard 1000 1K championship national Sacramento, CA

Photos courtesy Tanner Furniss and Canada Cummins.CLICK HERE for Match Gallery.

NBRSA National Benchrest Shooters 600 yard 1000 1K championship national Sacramento, CA

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition 1 Comment »
March 2nd, 2017

NBRSA Rule Change Inspires Radical New Front Bag Design

NBRSA New Front bag wrap around sandbag benchrest

The NBRSA has liberalized its rules regarding front sandbags. Until this year, NBRSA rules required that benchrest competitors be able to lift their rifle fore-ends freely from the front bag. Accordingly, front bags could not “capture” the forearm or hold the gun down (i.e. keep it from rising). In order to meet this requirement, “legal” bags had straight sides that didn’t stand too far up.

Now the NBRSA rules have changed. You no longer have to be able to lift the gun up freely from the bag without interference. It’s now permissible to have a bag that offers some up/down retention. Check out this new bag from Edgewood Shooting Bags. Call “The EDGE”, it offers taller side sections that can hold the fore-arm in place and counter torque.

NBRSA New Front bag wrap around sandbag benchrest

Edgewood’s designers state: “There are a couple of [NBRSA] rule changes for 2017. The change we found most intriguing was that the requirement of being able to lift your fore end freely from the front rest has been removed. So, we came up with a new design with super tall ears which will allow the innovators to push the envelope. Let’s see what you can do with these…”

We expect this new type of front bag will help stabilize short-range benchrest rifles, particularly in the 10.5-lb Sporter and Light Varmint classes. But we expect the biggest gains will be had with the big-caliber rifles used in Mid-Range and Long Range benchrest competition. In the 1000-yard game, heavy-recoiling 7mm and .30 caliber cartridges are popular with many shooters. These big guns generate considerable torque despite their ample weight. We predict these “super-sized” front bags will reduce both hop and rolling motion (torque) in the big guns.

We also expect that some varmint hunters will experiment with high-sided front bags that wrap around the fore-end. Such front bags may prove a real boon for guns with narrower, sporter-style fore-ends. And it would be interesting to see if this kind of tall-sided bag design will be incorporated into portable sandbags for the PRS game. We shall see…

Rule Change and Product Tip from EdLongrange. Product Tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Competition, Gear Review, New Product 1 Comment »
April 30th, 2016

Check Out the Legendary .009″ Group By Mac McMillan

Mac McMillan .009 benchrest record group nbrsa

Mac McMillan .009 benchrest record group nbrsa.009″ — The Record That Stood for 40 Years.
In 1973 Mac McMillan shot an amazing 100-yard, .009″ five-shot group in a benchrest match. The .009″ group was measured with a 60x microscope for verification. Mac McMillan shot the group using a handbuilt prototype McMillan rifle with an early McMillan stock.

Mac’s .009″ group was the “Holy Grail” of rifle accuracy. This .009″ record was considered by many to be unbreakable, a record that would “stand for all time”. Well, it took 40 years, but someone finally broke Mac’s record with an even smaller group. In 2013, Mike Stinnett shot a .0077″ five-shot group using a 30 Stewart, a .30 caliber wildcat based on the 6.5 Grendel. Stinnett’s .0077″ group now stands as the smallest 100-yard group ever shot in registered benchrest competition.*
Read About .0077″ group HERE.

Stinnett’s success doesn’t diminish the significance of Mac McMillan’s .009″ group in the history of benchrest competition. For four decades Mac’s group stood as the ultimate standard of rifle accuracy*. For those of you who have never seen Mac McMillan’s .009″ group, here it is, along with the NBRSA World Record certificate. The target now hangs in the McMillan Family Museum.

Mac McMillan .009 benchrest record group nbrsa

*Somebody else might claim a smaller group, but unless moving backers or electronic targets were used, it cannot be verified. Moving target backers are used at registered benchrest matches to ensure that five (5) shots are actually fired in each group. That eliminates any doubt.

Permalink Competition, News, Shooting Skills 6 Comments »
December 13th, 2015

In Memoriam: Jerry Tierney — A Great Shooter, A Great Friend

Jerry Tierney obituary memorial NBRSA Sacramento

I am very sad to announce that a good friend (and a brilliant shooter) Jerry Tierney, has passed away at age 77. I have worked on this site for 11 years, and Jerry was one of the most helpful and talented men I’ve met along the way. Though he won many championships, Jerry was a modest man who always was there to help other shooters. I will really miss him. AccurateShooter.com owes a debt of gratitude to Jerry. With his technical expertise, he helped me greatly with my understanding of rifle accuracy. Jerry was small in stature, but big in talent. Rest in Peace Jerry. We’ll miss your smarts, your good humor, and your love for the sport. — Paul McM, Editor in Chief.

Jerry Tierney shot competitively for nearly 50 years and won multiple championships in various rifle disciplines. Fellow shooter Donovan Moran noted: “Jerry was the leading member of the NBRSA ‘Long Range Hall of Fame’ — well deserved! He was a very friendly man, a mentor to the sport, and one of the best Long Range competition shooters there’s ever been.”

With great natural talent and the mind of a scientist, Jerry could win events in ways not thought possible. He is certainly the only man I know who won a Benchrest Championship shooting a prone-type tube gun. He pioneered the .284 Win as an F-Open weapon. A self-declared “iron-sight prone guy”, he competed for many seasons in the full-bore and Palma disciplines, but in the last decade he turned his attention to 600-yard and 1000-yard benchrest and F-Class. He won multiple NBRSA Nationals, due in no small part to superb wind-doping skills and mastery of the “mental game”.

Jerry Tierny memorial

A former computer engineer with IBM, Jerry was an extremely bright guy who took a systematic approach to the sport. He made decisions based on hard data. He did things many shooters once considered radical (such as cleaning his barrels infrequently), but he always had the data to back up his methods. He was a forward thinker who wasn’t afraid to depart from conventional wisdom if he found a better way to do things. For me, Jerry Tierney was an important mentor — he showed me how the “state of the art” could be pushed to higher levels with careful experimentation and a willingness to try new things.

Jerry Tierney NBRSA

We did a lengthy interview with Jerry way back in 2005, when Jerry won the NBRSA 1000-yard Nationals. That performance helped proved the worth of the .284 Win in 1K competition, a cartridge that now is a leading choice for F-Open. Read this interview carefully — even ten years later, Jerry offers many nuggets of advice that can help with your reloading and shooting:

READ Interview with Jerry Tierney with Discussion of Wind Reading and .284 Winchester.

Jerry Tierney Danny Biggs Memorial F-ClassDanny Biggs Remembers Jerry Tierney
Past National F-Class Champion Danny Biggs wrote: “Our long-time shooting friend, Jerry Tierney, left the range last night. Jerry was 77 years old, and was overtaken by bad health over the past year…cancer and other ailments. An accomplished Palma Rifle shooter, his home range was the Sacramento Valley Shooting Center, near Sacramento, CA, and, just 16 miles from his front door, outside Plymouth, CA.

Jerry was a frequent contributor to [Rifle Blogs] in past years. In particular, about 7 years ago, he published considerable results of his testing of the Winchester .284 cartridge. This testing convinced several of us to transition from the venerable 6.5-284 to the straight .284 for both long range ‘sling’ and F-Class Open. Jerry’s testing was primarily in the realm of F-Open; wherein, he fell ‘in cahoots’ with a young F-Open shooter, Charles Ballard, who set an F-Class Open National record that stood for many years. (By the way, Incahoots is the name of Jerry’s favorite restaurant in Plymouth, CA, near his home; where I’ve enjoyed many an evening meal with him.)

Many others have contributed to the legacy of the Winchester .284… but, if you happen to be shooting a .284 in F-Open today, you might just give a thought to Jerry at your next trigger-pull. More than likely, you are shooting some of his data.” — Danny Biggs

Forum Member Killshot added:
“I only new Jerry for a few years, as I began shooting F-Class in 2010 — but he always answered my questions, helped me with my first Wildcat chambering and I never, ever, saw or heard of him ‘Big Timing’ anyone. I’ll miss his gap-toothed grin, like he knew something you didn’t. (and probably did!)

We’re better off for knowing him and worse off for not having him around any longer. So, appreciate your friendships and shoot small… Jerry would.”

Permalink Competition, News 3 Comments »
September 26th, 2015

USA Wins World Benchrest Championship Amidst Controversy

World Benchrest Championship St. Louis Team USA Russia Accuracy Benchrest Rifle
Benchrest legend Tony Boyer finished fifth overall in the individual standings.

Congratulations to USA Team 2, which won the “battle of the nations” at the World Benchrest Championship. Team 2 members are: Lester Bruno, Wayne Campbell, Larry Costa, and Billy Stevens. Wayne Campbell also won the individual Championship, earning him the title of 2015 World Benchrest Champion. Wayne is now officially the best point-blank benchrester on the planet! We wish to acknowledge all the many competitors, from 24 nations, who attended this prestigious event.

Penalties and DQs
Other USA Teams might have finished in the top five, but there were some major mishaps at this event. USA Team 1 suffered a big penalty because of a 5-shot cross-fire at 200 yards. USA Team 3 was disqualified from the event due to a late shot after the “Cease Fire” command (DQ details below).

Report by Vince Bottomley, Target Shooter Magazine

Here’s how the Teams Match ended up. USA Team 2 finished first, followed by three Australian squads, with Canada Team 1 finishing fifth:

World Benchrest Championship St. Louis Team USA Russia Accuracy Benchrest Rifle1. USA Team 2 – 0.2230 MOA
2. Australia Team 1 – 0.2441
3. Australia Team 3 – 0.2463
4. Australia Team 2 – 0.2635
5. Canada Team 1 – 0.2678

Wayne Campbell Wins WBC with 0.1866 Agg
But who is the individual World Benchrest Champion? That would be American Team member Wayne Campbell — a very popular result. Wayne shot a remarkable 0.1866 MOA Agg over the four-day event, combining 100- and 200-yard LV and HV matches. That shows you how accurate today’s Benchrest rifles can be (and the skill of the top shooters). Here are the top five individuals, all of whom Agg’d under 0.2100:

1. Wayne Campbell (USA) – 0.1866 MOA
2. Gene Bukys (USA) – 0.1973
3. Murray Hicks (Australia) – 0.2062
4. Larry Costa (USA) – 0.2087
5. Tony Boyer (USA) – 0.2095

The USA took four out of the Top Five individual spots. Living legend Tony Boyer proved he’s still got his stuff. Tony finished just .0033 off the podium, which saw Boyer protege Wayne Campbell in 1st place, Gene Bukys in second, and Australian Murray Hicks in third. The best of the two Great Britain Teams finished in 13th spot (out of 24 teams) with a 0.2998 MOA Agg. Top individual Brit was Bruce Lenton in 31st place with a very creditable 0.2666 MOA Agg.

Shooters from 24 nations competed at the 2015 World Benchrest Championship. Here Alexander Skuratov from Russia prepares ammo for a match.
World Benchrest Championship St. Louis Team USA Russia Accuracy Benchrest Rifle


DAY Four (Friday) Match Report
The fabulous St Louis weather was with us again for the last day and this is the first World Championship I can remember that didn’t have rain! Facilities at this fabulous Benchrest range are second to none and the event has run like the proverbial clockwork. That is a credit to the Club and its helpers and officials who have worked tirelessly for two weeks, as of course the NBRSA Nationals preceded the 2015 WBC.

Today, on the final day, Heavy Varmint rifles shot at 200 yards. Winds were again light, except for the odd relay but the top shooters again banged in those itty-bitty groups that the rest of us can only dream about. Just one non-American managed to sneak into the top five:

Friday Results, 200-Yard Heavy Varmint

1. Wayne Campbell (USA) – 0.1866 MOA
2. Gene Bukys (USA) – 0.1973
3. Murray Hicks (Australia) 0.2062
4. Larry Costa (USA) – 0.2087
5. Tony Boyer (USA) – 0.2095

Thursday DQ Drama — Disqualification and Penalty for American Teams
On Thursday, we had drama when one of the three USA Teams suffered a ten-inch penalty but such is the strength of American Benchrest that USA Team 1 members fought themselves back into contention. The ten-inch penalty was given when a USA Team 1 shooter fired all five shots on the wrong target at 200 yards. But, just as things were looking possible for an American 1, 2, 3 sweep, yet more drama occurred with the disqualification of USA Team 3! That’s right, the entire team was DQ’d as the result of a safety breach. Apparently, a USA Team 3 shooter fired AFTER the “Cease fire” command. That serious rule violation caused the disqualification.

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September 15th, 2015

St. Louis Club Hosts NBRSA and World Benchrest Championships

NBRSA WBSF Championship St. Louis Walt Berger

The NBRSA short-range Group Benchrest Nationals commenced this week at the St. Louis Benchrest Club Range in Wright City, Missouri. This will be followed, next week, by the World Benchrest Shooting Federation (WBSF) Championships at the same venue. Lapua staffer (and Forum member) Kevin Thomas trekked to Missouri for this combined National/International event. Kevin reports: “The best benchrest shooters [on the planet] will fight it out over the next two weeks to see who can shoot the smallest groups possible. And I’ve got to say, many of these shooters are truly amazing. It doesn’t hurt a bit that virtually all of them are shooting Lapua brass, either.”

The WBSF event has attracted shooters from around the world. Benchrest aces from Australia, Canada, Great Britain, and South Africa are already in St. Louis, with other international competitors set to arrive next week. On Monday, Day One of the NBRSA Nationals, the Unlimited Class rigs showed off their capabilities. As shown below, these heavy rail guns represent the pinnacle of precision in the 100/200-yard benchrest game.

NBRSA WBSF Championship St. Louis Walt Berger

Here’s living legend Walt Berger, founder of Berger Bullets. Now in his late 80s, Walt is still competing at a very high level. Walt is proof that Benchrest shooting is truly a “sport for a lifetime”.

NBRSA WBSF Championship St. Louis Walt Berger

Here’s a beautiful Missouri sunrise captured as Kevin Thomas drove to St. Louis for the 2015 NBRSA Benchrest Championships.

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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 14th, 2014

Need Official Targets? Here Are Your Options…

Target NBRSA IBS NRA shooting sources vendor printingAccurateShooter.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?”

Sources for Official Shooting Competition Targets
Here are seven (7) sources for official match targets:
ALCO Target Company, American Target Company, Kruger Premium Targets, National Target Company, Orrville Printing, Pistoleer.com, and U.S. Target Company.

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.

NRA Target IBS Hunter Rifle Target

Kruger Targets

Orrville Printing currently sell 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.

Available Official Competition Targets
Vendor NRA High Power F-Class NRA Smallbore Air Rifle/Pistol IBS NBRSA Other
ALCO Target
Company
Yes, All No Yes Yes No No Archery, IDPA, IPSC, Police, Realistic, Shoot-N-C, Silhouette, Fun Targets, Pasters.
American Target
Company
Yes, All Yes Yes, All Yes No No USBR, Sight-in, Muzzle-Loading, Police Silhouette
Kruger Premium
Targets
Yes, All Yes Yes, All Yes No No IDPA, IPSC, Animal Shapes, ISSF, Sight-in, Fun Targets
National Target
Company
Yes, Nearly All Yes Yes, All Yes Yes* No IDPA, IPSC, FBI, Police Silhouette, Sight-in, Target Backers, Pasters
Pistoleer.com Yes Yes Yes, most and color training Yes Yes No Bianchi, FBI, IBS, IDPA, IPSC, Silhouette, Archery, Pasters
U.S. Target, Inc. Yes Yes Yes, All Yes No No Bianchi, FBI, Police Silhouette, IPSC, Realistic Silhouette, Varmint

ALCO Target Co., Ph: (626) 358-4814, 2048 Central Ave., Duarte, CA 91010
American Target Co., Ph: (877) 733-0433, 1328 South Jason St., Denver, CO 80223
Kruger Premium Targets (USA Sales), Ph: (503) 746-6816, 125 W. Main St., Hillsboro, OR 97123
National Target Co., Ph: (800) 827-7060, 3958-D Dartmouth Ct., Frederick, MD 21703
Orrville Printing Co., Ph: (330) 682-5066, 1645 N. Main St., Orrville, OH 44667
Pistoleer.com, Ph: (618) 288-4588, 12 Schiber Court, Maryville, IL 62062
U.S. Target Inc., Ph: (800) 746-6836, 16472 Common Rd., Roseville, MI 48066

NBRSA 600 yard Target NRA Air Rifle Target
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October 26th, 2014

Walt Berger Earns 20th Hall of Fame Point at NBRSA Nationals

Here’s a feel-good story, particularly for those of us getting up in years. Walt Berger recently proved you are as young as you feel — and you can enjoy shooting success at any age. Walt Berger, well into his 80s, won a big benchrest victory last month, taking the Sporter Class 100-yard Aggregate at the 2014 NBRSA Score Nationals. In so doing, Walt earned his 20th Hall of Fame Point. That’s a great accomplishment for the Elder Statesman of Benchrest. Congrats to Walt! And, yes, of course, Walt was shooting a projectile made by Berger Bullets — the 6mm 65gr BT Target bullet.

Walt Berger NBRSA Hall of Fame

About Walt Berger
Walt Berger started making rifle bullets in 1955 because he believed he could make better bullets than those that were available at the time. He regularly participated in benchrest shooting competitions (and still does today), which requires the highest levels of precision in all components. In 1987, Walt grew his bullet making operation beyond a part time hobby after encouragement from his second wife Eunice (Walt lost his first wife Mary to cancer). Together, they grew the business into a large-scale precision rifle bullet-making operation.

Walt was born at the end of the Golden Twenties and the beginning of the Great Depression. His story is about overcoming great odds and seeing things through to success when almost everyone around him was convinced he would fail.

Walt Berger with two younger generation Berger Bullets employees at the 2014 NRA Annual Meeting.
Walt Berger NBRSA Hall of Fame

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 4 Comments »
October 6th, 2014

Hail the Rail — Unrivaled Precision for Accuracy Junkies

NBRSA Unlimited Rail Guns Aggregate Benchrest Gary Ocock
NBRSA Unlimited Rail Guns Aggregate Benchrest Gary Ocock

You’ve heard of “Adrenalin Junkies”? Well many readers of this website could rightly be called “Accuracy Junkies”. And for true accuracy junkies nothing can beat the “rush” you get with a rail gun. 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 groups in the zeros one after another.

RAIL GUNS GALORE — Video shows many current Rail Guns (Ocock Rail at 0:35 Mark):

NBRSA Unlimited Rail Guns Aggregate Benchrest Gary OcockUltimate Benchrest Accuracy
How accurate can rail guns be? Hall-of-Fame shooter (and skilled gunsmith) Gary Ocock recently shot a terrific five-target Agg this past weekend in a match at Visalia, California. The range-measured Agg (average group size of all five targets) is an amazing 0.1088″, with four “zero” groups out of five. Though it won’t be submitted for a new record, this Agg is still a stunning demonstration of the accuracy these big rigs can deliver. The current NBRSA Unlimited 5-target, 100-yard Agg record is 0.1242 by Jerry Lahr. Congrats to Gary for a fine performance. The cartridge was a 6 PPC loaded with Gary’s own custom-made boat-tail bullets. The rifle is a modified Jay Young Rail, fitted with a 1:13.5″-twist Krieger barrel.

NBRSA Unlimited Rail Guns Aggregate Benchrest Gary Ocock

Gary’s rail gun features a round hole in the barrel block and a Delrin sleeve placed between block and barrel. The rail gun also has been modified to save weight for bench rotations. The lead photo (at top) is from an earlier match when Gary’s rail had a BAT action. Currently Gary is running a Marsh Saguaro action, shown in the photo below.

NBRSA Unlimited Rail Guns Aggregate Benchrest Gary Ocock

NOTE: Gary does not aim through two scopes at the same time, in binocular fashion. However, he does have a twin mount option so he can periodically check one scope against another, to ensure the scopes are holding point of aim. Gary tells us he normally just runs one scope. But at this match he wanted to ensure that his primary scope (the black Bausch & Lomb on left) was performing 100%. So he would cross-check it from time to time using the silver Weaver (on right). Gary notes that, unlike many rail gun shooters, he looks through his scope before each shot, and sometimes makes a very minor aiming correction using the rail controls. His scopes are boosted to very high power (55X), so even when the shots are falling in a tiny “bug-hole” cluster he can see if the last shot edged a bit left or right. He then adjusts aim accordingly.

Story and photos by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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May 4th, 2014

Aussie Sets Southern Hemisphere 1K Record with Borrowed Rifle

We recently wrote about a spectacular 2.6872″ ten-shot group shot at 1000 yards in Montana. Well Australian Peter Varley recently turned in another amazing group at 1000 yards — this time 2.010″ for FIVE shots. And he did it with a borrowed gun! That’s not the smallest 1K group ever shot on the planet*, but it’s still an Australian and (we believe) a Southern Hemisphere record. Varley shot the 2.010″ group with a borrowed 17-lb Light Gun at a Canberra Rifle Club match in March of this year. Congrats to Peter for his outstanding shooting. And “hats off” to fellow Queenslander John McQuire, who loaned Peter the rifle.

Shown below is Peter Varley with his target, plus a close-up. You’ll note that two of the five (5) shots go through a paster. You’ll find pasters all over these targets because the Canberra Club “recycles” these large 1K targets many times.

Peter Varley 1000 Yards Light Gun Record

Peter Varley 1000 Yards Light Gun Record

Peter reports: This was shot at a 1000-yard match on the Canberra Rifle Range on Sunday, March 9, 2014. I traveled 1300 kilometers (807 miles) from Nambour (Sunshine Coast) Queensland to Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory.

I had left my rifle case keys at the motel and resigned myself to target butts duty or a lazy day. A friend, John McQuire from Mackay (Central Queensland Coast) said: “Get my 6.5 x 47 out, clean up, and you’re in the first detail (relay)”. So it was a borrowed gun for the shoot. The match commenced around 9:00 am. Conditions were very good — winds were very light with no mirage to speak of. Everything fell into place.”

Gun Specifications: Lawton 7500 action with Jewell trigger, PacNor barrel chambered for 6.5×47 Lapua, home-made custom stock, March 10-60x scope

6.5x47L Load: Lapua 123gr Scenars, with CCI 450 primers and Varget (ADI 2208) powder.

Peter Varley 1000 Yards Light Gun Record

*The current NBRSA Light Gun 1000 Yard 5-shot group record is 1.473″ by Bill Schrader in 2002. Tom Sarver is credited with an even smaller 5-shot IBS Light Gun record.

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April 29th, 2014

NBRSA 600-Yard and 1000-Yard National Championships Results

The Sloughhouse Benchrest Shooters hosted the 2014 National Benchrest Shooters Association (NBRSA) 600-Yard and 1000-Yard National Championships April 23-27, 2014. The match was shot in generally good conditions at the Sacramento Valley Shooting Center. Richard Duncan won the 1000-yard championship, finishing 8 points ahead of past Champ Richard Schatz. In the 600-yard Championship, Steven Raeder edged runner-up Wayne Courand. Bill Johnston set three, NBRSA 1000-Yard Heavy Gun Group Records* during the course of the match. Jim O’Connell reports that the sponsors were very generous again this year. Jim notes: “I think the big raffle winner this year was Bill Hubina who won a Nightforce scope and a Bat action. Congratulations to all the winners and thank you for your support of the Sloughhouse Benchrest Shooters. Hope to see you again next year for the 2015 Nationals.”

File photo from past event.
NBRSA 600 yard 1000 nationals sacramento

The three linked MS Word documents include results of the 600-Yard Nationals, the 1000-Yard Nationals, and the F-Bench Match. Click and download these files to view complete Group, Score, and Aggregate results, with rankings of all the individual competitors.

NBRSA 1000-Yd Nationals Results | NBRSA 600-Yd Nationals Results | NBRSA F-Bench Results

1000-Yard Overall Two-Gun Results
1. RICHARD DUNCAN – 13 (Nat’l Champion)
2. RICHARD SCHATZ – 21
3. BILLY COPELIN – 25
4. BRUCE BANGEMAN – 25
5. ROBERT HOPPE – 28
6. SHAWN GREENE – 30
7. BILL JOHNSTON – 34
8. GREG WILSON – 37
9. CANADA CUMMINS – 41
10. PETER WHITE – 44

600-Yard Overall Two-Gun Results
1. STEVEN RAEDER – 12 (Nat’l Champion)
2. WAYNE COURAND – 15
3. TOM ESSER – 28
4. DAVID LLOYD – 31
5. JOSEPH MCKEE – 41
6. GREG WILSON – 46
7. KENNETH SCHROEDER – 48
8. JERRY TIERNEY – 49
9. TERRY BALDING – 51
10. SHAWN GREENE – 56

*Bill Johnston set the following Heavy Gun records at the Nationals: Single Target Heavy Gun Group, 4.219″; Three-Target Heavy Gun Group Agg, 5.056; Six-Target Heavy Gun Group Agg, 5.899.
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March 16th, 2014

Super-Wide Forearms Add Stability to Benchrest Rifles

Most long-range benchrest stocks are three inches wide because that used to be the max width under the rules for Light Gun Class. Many folks may not realize that the IBS, the NBRSA, and the Williamsport organizations have all modified their Light Gun rules to allow wider forearm widths in registered competition. A wider stock provides increased stability and resists rotation (torquing) as the gun is fired. If you’re building a new Light Gun, you may want to consider a 4″-wide or 5″-wide forearm. Do check the rules of your local club or regional organization to ensure the wider width is allowed in the matches you attend. And if you plan to shoot F-Class as well, stick to 3″. Under F-Class (Open) rules, “the width of the rifle’s forend shall not exceed 76mm (approximately 3 inches)”.

Wider Forearm Stock Options
Most stock-makers still only offer a 3″-wide forearm width with their Light Gun long-range benchrest stocks. However, there are some other options. On request, Joel Russo, Russo Rifle Stocks, can cut a stock with 4″-wide forearm, but that’s not a standard pattern.

If you want a 4″-5″ wide version of the popular MBR Tooley-style long-range stock, Bill Shehane offers a ‘Big Dawg’ version of his MBR Tracker stock. This features a longer, deeper, and wider fore-end for added stability and more resistance to torque with the heavy calibers. Along with having a wider forearm, the Big Dawg stock is cut 4″ longer than a standard Shehane ST-1000 Tracker. This provides a “longer wheelbase” for better balance with very long (30″+) barrels. (The ST-1000 itself is 3″ longer than most benchrest stocks.) The Big Dawg is available with a 4″-wide or 5″-wide forearm, and will handle barrels up to 40″ in length and 1.5″ in diameter. In the top photo, taken by Forum member Preacher, you see a 4″-wide Big Dawg next to a normal ST-1000 Tracker. (Both stocks are symmetrical; there is distortion caused by wide-angle lens.)

This color pattern is what Bill calls “Prairie Dog Camo”, a Rutland laminate in orange and dark gray, with olive ‘accent’ layers. The price for a ‘Big Dawg’ in Rutland laminate is $625. In African Obeche wood (any color choice), the price is $855.00. For more info, contact Bill Shehane at (704) 824-7511, or visit his website, www.ScopeUsOut.com.

Wide Stocks for Rimfire Benchrest
Ultra-wide stocks are also legal in many rimfire benchrest disciplines. Shown below is a rimfire rifle built with a 4″-wide Shehane Big Dawg stock. This gun is used in ARA Unlimited competition. Extra-wide stocks like this can also be used in the IR 50/50 Unlimited Class and RBA Unlimited Class.

Why use a wide stock for rimfire where recoil is not an issue? The extra width definitely provides more stability in the bags. This is noticeable when cycling the action during the loading process — the gun shows less “wiggle” when opening and closing the bolt. The larger mass of wood also, potentially, provides additional vibration damping. A wider stock design carries more weight (per inch of length) and more mass is distributed outboard. Initial testing shows that the wide stocks work well for rimfire shooters who like to grip their gun — the gun feels “planted” with less wobble when the stock is gripped or cheeked by the shooter.

Joe Friedrich Big Dawg rimfire rifle Shehane tracker

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
October 18th, 2013

NBRSA Changes Sporter Rules — Bukys Builds to New Standards

The National Benchrest Shooters Association (NBRSA) has adopted new rules, loosening restrictions on the Sporter Class of benchrest rifles. Now a Sporter fore-arm may be any width (or angle), and the underside of the buttstock can have any angle. Previously, fore-arm width was limited to three inches, and the bottom of the buttstock had to be angled up. (NBRSA Rules will continue to require this “up-angle” geometry for all Light Varmint (LV) and Heavy Varmint (HV) rifles). In addition, the NBRSA opened the Sporter Class to any caliber “no larger than .308 Winchester”.

The idea behind these changes is to allow greater innovation in at least one class of benchrest bag guns, and to avoid “redundancy”. Currently a 10.5-lb Light Varmint can be shot as a Sporter, so long as the LV complies with caliber rules. For practical purposes, that meant Sporter Class was redundant with the Light Varmint Class, and there was no real reason for the Sporter Class to exist anymore.

The Sporter weight limit remains unchanged at 10.5 pounds (including optics). All current LV and Sporter rifles will remain 100% legal under the new rule, so no one is forced to go out and build a new rifle to shoot in Sporter class. But if you want to try a more radical stock design, now you have the opportunity to do so. Here is the text of the new rule:

NBRSA Rule Book (New Sporter Rule)
B. Definitions: 2. Equipment (d) Sporter Rifle

A Sporter Rifle is defined as any rifle having a safe manually and mechanically operated firing Mechanism and must not weigh more than 10.5 lbs, inclusive of sights. The stock can be flat, or convex, but not concave. The Forearm can be any width and have any angle. The butt stock can have any angle including a reverse angle, the barrel shall not be less that 18″ long forward of the bolt face and can be any diameter or configuration including a straight taper or a reverse taper. The Sporter Rifle can be no larger than .308 Winchester. Sporter Rifles do not have to conform to the Varmint Rifles diagram. All sand bag rules apply to the Sporter Rifle.

View NBRSA Rule Book (Includes New Sporter Definition) PDF

Bukys Explains the Thinking Behind the Sporter Rule Change

NBRSA Gene BukysOn Benchrest Central, leading benchrest shooter Gene Bukys discussed the new NBRSA Sporter Rule Changes: “[This] does not create a new rifle or an experimental class — it simply removes most of the restrictive rules from the existing Sporter class. Every existing LV rifle and every existing Sporter Rifle in this whole world is still legal, and competitive, under these changes.

My purpose in all of this is to make the Sporter class, and the LV rifle, no longer redundant classes, and to have a class where we can have some innovation in Benchrest. If there is a better stock configuration out there or a better barrel profile shouldn’t we benchrest shooters be the leading edge of this innovation? Benchrest used to be the leading edge of virtually all accuracy innovation. I’m not sure if that’s true anymore. I would like that to be… true again.

For right now, I don’t see this as making any huge radical changes to benchrest, but given time and a venue to work in (Sporter Class) there may be some really meaningful innovation that comes about. Let’s have some fun with this.”

Gene Bukys Commissions New Convertible Sporter/LV Stock by Bob Scoville
Under the new NBRSA Sporter standards, stock designers/fabricators can now experiment with a wider variety of stock shapes and geometry. Gene Bukys commissioned a new stock from Bob Scoville that shows what can be done under the new liberalized Sporter stock rules.

Gene’s latest NBRSA Sporter rifle features a stepped forearm that can fit a 5-inch wide bag rider plate. In the rear, this stock can run different size/shape “keels” (buttstock underbellies). The larger keel, shown attached in the photos, exhibits the flatter angle now allowed under the new NBRSA Sporter rule. (In fact, this keel may have a slight reverse angle, i.e. lower in the front than in the back). At any time, this Scoville stock can be switched back to a 100%-legal Light Varmint configuration by: 1) removing the 5″ front bag-rider plate; and 2) changing to the smaller, up-angled rear keel piece.

CLICK Photos to View Full-Screen Version
Bukys Scoville Carbon Fiber Sporter Benchrest Stock

Bukys Scoville Carbon Fiber Sporter Benchrest Stock

Bukys Scoville Carbon Fiber Sporter Benchrest Stock

Bukys Scoville Carbon Fiber Sporter Benchrest Stock

Photos and Links provided by Pascal Fischbach.
Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing 3 Comments »
September 7th, 2013

Best Group Ever: Michael Stinnett’s .0077″ Five-Shot Group

All target shooters strive for perfect shot placement. Well one man has come closer to perfection than any other shooter who ever lived. You are looking at Michael Stinnett’s .0077″ NBRSA world-record group, the smallest 100-yard 5-shot group ever shot in the history of rifle competition. (We’re told the group was certified at .0077″ though labeled .008″ on this photo. A moving backer verified that this was FIVE shots.)

Call it stunning, call it humbling, call it amazing. It is, quite simply the apotheosis (“perfect example”) of accuracy. This is what we all hope to achieve. It’s staggering to see that a rifle can drill FIVE perfectly-overlapped holes — the last virtually indistinguishable from the first — at a target a football field (100 yards) away. Yes the stars aligned for Mike, but it’s great to see a benchmark like this, if only to remind us what is possible in our sport of precision shooting. (Sighters appear below record target.)

world record Michael stinnett group .0077

Below is a larger-than-life-size view. Using this photo we measured the group with target-calculating software, and it came out .006″ (the software only goes to three digits). We recognize that it would be much better to work from the real target rather than a photo, so we are not challenging the official measurement in the least. But this does confirm that this is a phenomenally small five-shot group.

world record Michael stinnett group .0077

Many folks have asked about the gun and ammo that produced the .0077″ group. The Light Varmint-class Benchrest rifle was chambered as a .30-caliber wildcat, the 30 Stewart, which is based on the 6.5 Grendel case necked up. Mike was using Hodgdon H4198 powder behind BIB 114gr, 10-ogive bullets. Notably, the record-setting ammo was pre-loaded before the match. Here is Mike’s tuner-equipped rifle. CLICK HERE for more information on the rifle and cartridge.

Record .008 .0077 group rifle

Best Group Ever Record Rifle Equipment Report
Action: Kelby Panda “Speedy Shorty” with solid bolt and PPC-diameter bolt face. Kelby was asked to build several actions which were identical with the intent to eliminate any variance in head space between the two new rifles. This helped me use a single set-up on sizing dies for both rifles and ammo is interchangeable. Both actions were sent to Thomas ‘Speedy’ Gonzalez to be blue-printed and have Jewell triggers installed.

Reamer: 30 STEWART (I just call it a 30 PPC as that is what everyone expects, but it is in fact a custom design and Ralph deserves about 99% of the credit).

Barrels: Krieger was selected for the barrels. After discussions with Randy Robinett of BIB Bullets, a 1:17″ twist was identified as the correct, safe solution. Ralph Stewart has cut all my chambers using a custom-designed reamer. [Our goal] was consistent headspace and Ralph has been able to keep my barrels within .0002 variance. The barrel tuner also comes from Ralph Stewart.

  • Stock: Larson (including action bedding)
  • Scope: Leupold 45X Competition in Kelby Single Screw Tall Rings
  • Brass: Lapua (Base case is 6.5 Grendel)
  • Bullets: Randy Robinett (BIB) 30 Cal. 114gr, 10 Ogive (secondary bullet; primary is 112gr BIB)
  • Powder: H4198 – Stout Load with 2980 FPS Velocity
  • Front Rest: Farley Coaxial
  • Bags: Micro Fiber
  • Flags: Graham Wind Flags (large)
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