October 10th, 2018

Shooting Superstars Go Antelope Hunting in New Mexico

Derek Rodgers Paul Phillips Kelly McMillan fiberglass stock hunting hunt hunter antelope New Mexico .338 Lapua .308 Win
The Three Amigos in New Mexico (L to R): Kelly McMillan, Paul Phillips, Derek Rodgers.

This isn’t your typical hunting story, because these aren’t your typical hunters. Derek Rodgers is the current F-TR World Champion, and past King of Two Miles. Paul Phillips was a member of the Silver Medal-winning F-TR Team McMillan at the 2018 Nationals. Paul also shoots with Team Applied Ballistics in ELR competition. The third hunter, Kelly McMillan, needs no introduction. The respected owner of McMillan Fiberglass Stocks, Kelly has been a leading figure in the gun industry for years. He also supports many top rifle shooting teams.

Derek Rodgers Paul Phillips Kelly McMillan fiberglass stock hunting hunt hunter antelope New Mexico .338 Lapua .308 Win

This talented trio recently got together for a very successful hunt in New Mexico, Derek’s home turf. All three men bagged an impressive Antelope, with Paul Phillips dropping the biggest buck of all. Derek made the longest shot, hitting his buck at an impressive 510 yards, verified by laser rangefinder.

Paul Phillips posted: “Our New Mexico Antelope hunt with Kelly McMillan and Derek Rodgers was a success. To hunt with these two icons was definitely on my bucket list. I shot my buck at 389 yards in an 18-mph wind through a barbed wire fence. It may be a possible Boone and Crockett trophy buck, measuring 84 3/8 inches.”

Derek nailed his Antelope at 510 yards with a .308 Win fitted with a GSL Technology suppressor. As dusk approached, despite blustery wind and rain, Kelly dropped the third Antelope with a great 230-yard shot from a broken tree crotch. Paul noted: “All three bucks had their own challenges and funny story. All three hunts required team work with stalking, communication. For all three shots we used Applied Ballistics LLC solutions with our Kestrels for data.” The three men used all top-quality products including McMillan stocks, Bartlein barrels, Stiller actions, Berger bullets, and Nightforce scopes.

Derek Rodgers Paul Phillips Kelly McMillan fiberglass stock hunting hunt hunter antelope New Mexico .338 Lapua .308 Win

Derek Rodgers Paul Phillips Kelly McMillan fiberglass stock hunting hunt hunter antelope New Mexico .338 Lapua .308 Win

For long-range hunting you need to have your drops absolutely “spot-on”. Paul posted: “When you do a 30-45 minute stalk… you need to have all your ballistics perfect or they get away. We were glad that we had a practice day before the hunt to confirm our zeros and verify our ballistics.”

Derek Rodgers Paul Phillips Kelly McMillan fiberglass stock hunting hunt hunter antelope New Mexico .338 Lapua .308 Win

Kelly notes: “Paul Phillips scored this nice 80+” buck in New Mexico. It was Paul’s first antelope.” The .338 LM rifle featured a Stiller TAC338 action, Bartlein 20″ barrel, McMillan A5 Stock, and Nightforce ATACR scope. In the Facebook video, Paul talks about making the shot, directly into the wind.

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
September 29th, 2018

Norm Harrold and His Championship-Winning F-Open Rig

F-Class Open F-Open Norm Norman Harrold Champion Championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico 284 Shehane Berger Bullets

After Norm Harrold won the 2018 F-Open National Championship in Raton, New Mexico, setting a new 1000-yard National Record in the process, many of our Forum members wanted to see Norm’s championship-winning rifle, and learn more about Norm’s experience at the Nationals. Read on for coverage of Norm’s equipment and .284 Shehane ammo. Scroll down and you’ll find a detailed video showing how McMillan builds the advanced Kestros ZR stocks, like the one Norm used at Raton.

Norm posted: “I made it home from Raton 2018 F-Class Nationals and what an unbelievably amazing week I had. I was blessed enough to bring home a new F-Open 1000-yard record and the National Championship! Our Team McMillan took second in Mid-range and fourth overall in Long Range. I am so thankful and blessed to have this opportunity and to be able to do it with such a stand-up group of competitors and lifelong friends. Thanks to all our sponsors: McMillan Fiberglass Stocks, Nightforce Optics, Kelbly’s [Actions], Bartlein Barrels, and Berger Bullets.”

F-Class Open F-Open Norm Norman Harrold Champion Championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico 284 Shehane Berger Bullets

Gun and Load: Norm’s F-Open rig features a McMillan Kestros ZR stock and Bartlein barrel chambered for the .284 Shehane, which has a bit more case capacity than a standard .284 Winchester. Norm loaded Berger 184gr 7mm bullets in Lapua brass. Norma revealed his load in an Erik Cortina YouTube Video. Fellow shooter Erik Cortina joked — “the minute this video goes live, the 184s will be hard to find”. Norm says “Stock up guys — they shoot good!”

F-Class Open F-Open Norm Norman Harrold Champion Championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico 284 Shehane Berger Bullets

Here Norm Harrold shows his shooting form. Note how low the McMillan Kestros ZR forearm sits on Norm’s SEB NEO front rest. Norma also uses a large footprint rear bag for enhanced stability.

Harrold Shoots 200-22X to Smash 1000-Yard F-Open Record
On a rainy day at Raton, Norm shot brilliantly to set a new F-Open National Record: 200-22X at 1000 yards. (The previous record was 200-17X.) How could he get 22 Xs for a 20-shot string? Under NRA rules, if you shoot all Xs for the full string, you are allowed to keep shooting for as long as you can put shots in the X-Ring. Norm almost missed the chance to extend his X-Count. After his 20th shot, Norm recalled, “I said ‘I’m done, give me my target’, but … my shooting partner said ‘No! Keep shooting!’” So Norm did, drilling two more Xs to set the new National Record.

F-Class Open F-Open Norm Norman Harrold Champion Championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico 284 Shehane Berger Bullets

Kelly McMillan Shows Design and Construction of the Kestros ZR:

In this video, Kelly McMillan explains the design features and construction methods for the Kestros ZR, a fiberglass Kestros with aluminum extension rails in the front. Kelly explains “how and why we made the stock the way we did” and he shows how to retro-fit standard Kestros stocks with the new front rails. On the ZR the rails are anchored to a reinforced area for extra rigidity. In addition, the cantilevered rails are milled to be perfectly parallel. If you shoot F-Class we strongly recommend you watch this video.

Kelly McMillan Kestros ZR front rail prototype
Kelly McMillan showed us the prototype Kestros ZR at the 2018 Berger Southwest Nationals.

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March 29th, 2018

‘Big Boomer’ Galleries on Updated FCSA Website

Fifty 50 Caliber Shooters Association FCSA

50 Caliber Shooters AssociationFans of Heavy Artillery should head over to the updated and enhanced Fifty Caliber Shooters Association (FCSA) Image Gallery website. There you’ll find photo collections and animated slide-shows (there also a separate Video Collection) On the photo gallery page, you’ll find a map. Click on any gray range link to see images from that venue. There are also a series of articles covering FCSA competition along with the “care and feeding” of the big 50-caliber rifles.

The FCSA will host its 1000/600 Yard World Championship July 5 through 7, 2018 at the Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico. This will follow the 2018 King of 2 Miles Competition at Raton, which runs July 2-4, 2018. CLICK HERE to Register for FCSA 2018 Championship.

Fifty 50 Caliber Shooters Association FCSA

Fifty 50 Caliber Shooters Association FCSA

Fifty 50 Caliber Shooters Association FCSA

Fifty 50 Caliber Shooters Association FCSA

About the FCSA
Founded in 1985, the FCSA is an international organization with members in 22 countries. Headquartered in Monroe, Utah, the FCSA has a membership of approximately 4000. While the FCSA provides a service to military and law enforcement with research and instruction as well as an active liaison in both communities, the primary charter of the FCSA is the promotion of the sporting use of the 50 BMG cartridge and its wildcat derivatives. The FCSA and its members have lead the way in refining .50-caliber cartridges, rifles, and 1000-yard plus shooting know-how. Members enjoy a quarterly magazine, a suppliers directory, a very active website, and access to literally the best repository of 50 BMG information on the planet. If you are interested in Mr. John Browning’s big 50, you should seriously consider joining the FCSA.

Story tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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July 18th, 2017

New Mexico War Wagon for Varmint Safaris

Shooting Varmint Bench Trailer

AccurateShooter Forum member John H. of New Mexico (aka “Skratch”) has created an impressive mobile shooting bench that he can haul with his ATV. This trailer-mounted, movable bench is built on a central tubular spine that also serves as the tongue for the trailer, which attaches to a standard hitch. The bench offers two (2) shooting positions so it works for both left-handed and right-handed shooters.

Up front, for storage, a surplus .50-Cal ammo can is secured to the trailer frame. The V-shaped middle section of the wood benchtop looks to be reinforced with a metal stiffener frame on the underside. The front section of the bench is supported by twin tubular uprights attached to the box-section axle housing. The two wooden bench-style seats (on left and right) ride on a cross-tube. At the ends of that cross-tube are adjustable legs for additional support.

Shooting Varmint Bench Trailer

Great Rig for New Mexico Varmint Hunting
There are plenty of great varmint hunting areas in Skratch’s home state of New Mexico — you’ll find some huge prairie dog fields there. But to get the best results on a varmint-hunting field session, you need a solid shooting station that can be easily hauled to new locations as needed. It looks like John (aka “Scratch”) has come up with an outstanding “War Wagon” for his New Mexico varmint safaris.

Click on image frames to see full-size photos

Some readers wanted to know how John’s War Wagon is positioned in the field and if it is ever detached from John’s ATV. John answers: “We do unhook the 4-wheeler for target-checking unless we have an extra along which is usually the case. That way we can level the table front to rear. We have an umbrella from a patio table to provide shade on extra warm days.”

War Wagon Construction Details
John told us: “My brother-in-law and I built this mobile bench a few years ago. The axle, wheels and tire are a tag axle from a small Chevy car, obtained from a salvage yard for about $35-$40 a decade ago. The tubular frame is drill stem, while the bench-top and seats are 3/4′” plywood. Under the plywood we fitted rails so we can slide our target stand under the benchtop for secure travel. The total cost for everything (including storage box) was about $250-$300.”

We set the bench and seat heights so that, with adults, the rifle sets straight level to the shoulder. For the smaller ‘younguns’ we just use a sofa pillow to raise them up. (Yes, adjustable seat heights would be great.) The ammo box holds our rifle rest, sand bags, spotting scope, and miscellaneous gear. Options are a couple of lawn chairs, and a cooler of brew (for after the shooting is done).

Permalink - Articles, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
July 7th, 2017

King of 2 Miles ELR Match — Derek Rodgers Takes the Crown

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics
Photos by Stephen Fiorenzo, courtesy Applied Ballistics.

The 2017 King of 2 Miles match has concluded, and we have a new monarch. F-Class Ace Derek Rodgers is the new King of 2 Miles. Shooting with Team Applied Ballistics, Derek delivered a dominant performance, scoring nearly twice as many points as his nearest rival, Ronnie Wright. And Derek was the first KO2M marksman in history to hit the target at the maximum 3368-yard (1.91 mile) distance.

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics
King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

With his McMillan-stocked .375 CheyTac rifle, Derek shot brilliantly from the start. He was perfect — without a miss — at the first three yardages: 1543, 1722, and 1888. He had some misses at 1953 and 2667 yards, but then he out-shot all competitors at 3028 yards, going two for five. No other shooter managed a single hit at 3028 yards. Then it all came down to the big one — the last (and greatest) challenge, the target at 3368 yards (1.91 miles).

This would require superior shooting skills, a masterful wind call (by Emil Praslick), and nerves of steel. Derek tried four shots without success. It looked like the two-mile hit would continue to be an impossible goal. But then, on his fifth and very last shot, Derek did it — he hit the 3368-yard target.

After Derek made the (nearly) two-mile shot, cheers erupted on the firing line — what an achievement! Derek is the first (and only) shooter to make the 3368-yard shot at K02M. Watch him do it in this video:

Derek Rodgers Hits Target at 3368 Yards on his Final Shot:

Derek Rodgers K02M-Winning Hardware and Ammunition

RIFLE COMPONENTS
Stock: McMillan ELR Beast
Action: Barnard Model P-Chey
Trigger: Barnard Two-Stage
Barrel: Bartlein, 36″ length
Brake: Piercision 5-Port Muscle Brake
Optic: Nightforce 7-35x56mm ATACR F1
Bipod: Phoenix Precision
Level: Holland’s Shooting

CARTRIDGE and LOAD
Cartridge: 375 CheyTac (standard chamber)
Brass: Peterson Brass Co.
Powder: Hodgdon H50BMG
Bullet: Cutting Edge 400gr Lazer-Tip MAX
Primer: FED 215

Factory Rifle Finishes in Second Place
With so many full-custom rifles on the firing line, many were surprised to see a factory rifle finishing second overall. Ronnie Wright shot superbly with his stock Barrett M99 chambered in .416 Barrett. Ronnie’s impressive second-place performance proved the effectiveness of the .416 Barrett cartridge (and the build quality of the M99). For ammo, Ronnie used Cutting Edge 472gr MTAC projectiles loaded in Barrett-stamped .416 cases. The powder was Alliant Reloder 50 ignited by CCI #35 50 BMG primers. The rifle had a Barrett factory 32″ barrel fitted with an Accuracy 1st level.

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

INTERVIEW with DEREK RODGERS:

Q: What do you believe contributed to your success at this match?

Derek: This match was truly a team effort from the entire Applied Ballistics Team. Emil Praslick and Paul Phillips are world class wind-readers and spotters. They have the ability to make decisive decisions and trust that I (as the shooter) will put a bullet on target every time a command is given. We posses a dynamic team background with a lot of history and experience under our belt. Our positive team synergy is hard to find. The addition of vital tools played a huge role in our success. A few of the tools we used were the AB Kestrel and Garmin Foretrex 701 AB Elite to give absolutely crucial and accurate ballistic solutions. The new McMillan ELR Beast stock was stable and the NF ATACR scope is robust and clear. The Bartlein barrel used was top notch! However, one of the most important pieces of the ELR puzzle and the only thing that separates the target is — the bullet. We chose Cutting Edge (CE) bullets due to their high level of precision. These bullets proved to be invaluable in connecting every piece of steel at the KO2M competition. The CE 400gr Lazer Max bullet was selected and was tremendously accurate. This bullet transitioned into a sub-sonic velocity without any loss of precision at ELR distances. Our success would not be possible if the projectile did not fly correctly for 7+ seconds of flight time. CE has outstanding designs and several quality choices to choose from.

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

Q: How many hours would you say you practiced for this match?

Derek: It is hard to calculate practice time in hours. ELR is a program that we work on every chance we get — day and night for months prior to the event. We have an extremely strong background of team shooting and long range shooting. A lot of time has been invested on and off the range, but does not stop there. The combined range time from other disciplines really helped me to be successful in transitioning from long range to ELR. It really is a compilation of 10 years of trials and tribulations. Some would say, “the Devil is in the details”. Our team tries very hard to not overlook any small detail. Practice and training is always scrutinized for improvements. Our Applied Ballistics team has a love and passion that goes beyond measurable amounts of time. We were fortunate to get together for two days a month prior to the Ko2M event to review our program and practice as a team. Bryan Litz had a plan, and we discovered as a team we had flaws in our program. Each one of us contributed from years of experience on improving our technique until we had a winning solution.

Q: Why did you choose the .375 CheyTac cartridge?

Derek: When I was asked to join the AB Team, I needed to get an ELR rifle built in a short period of time. I was under a very tight time schedule to get the project complete. In an effort to eliminate variables, I decided to keep things standard and as simple as possible. I chose the .375 CheyTac for the ease of getting components. The larger rifles are more difficult to get components quickly and I felt like the .375 CheyTac had enough attributes to be competitive at ELR distances.

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics
The Cutting Edge 400gr bullets are milled from solid copper bar stock on a CNC Swiss-style lathe.

New ELR Hardware and Software on Display at K02M
This marks the second straight year that Team Applied Ballistics has won the K02M event. Last year, Team AB shooter Mitchell Fitzpatrick won the coveted “King of 2 Miles” title (Fitzpatrick finished fourth this year, just off the podium). In the past year, there has been considerable evolution in Extreme Long Range hardware and software, and projectiles are constantly being improved.

Bryan Litz (center) conferring with Team AB members Emil Praslick (L) and Doc Beech (R).
King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

We asked Bryan Litz, founder of Applied Ballistics, to summarize developments in the ELR game. Here are Bryan’s observations:

“Each year the KO2M sees advancements and shooters converging on those tools and processes that have proven effective in prior years. It’s rather apparent, for example, that spotting impacts is a crucial part of success in this match. This was improved by the match directors/organizers placing the targets in very good locations for spotting impacts. We’re seeing less set-ups with adjustable bases, and more with solid/fixed scope mounts. One of the exciting new pieces of equipment is the periscope device made by TACOMHQ (John Baker). This device provides an optical shift to the image which allows you to get more elevation for those long shots. Also, the refinement of fire control (ballistic) solutions has really played a role in getting shooters centered up for their first shots.”

“This tournament highly favors first-round impacts with the scoring system, so the approach of ‘walking the shots on’, isn’t a winning strategy. Those who employed accurate ballistics solvers were able to score more first round hits, and pile up the points. First and second place (at least) were using Applied Ballistics solvers to center their shots. We’re looking forward to even more advancements and making these ELR shots even out to two miles more commonplace in the future thru systematically applying the Science of Accuracy.”

The winning Applied Ballistics Team:
King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

Bonus Video — Interview with David Tubb at KO2M

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, News 11 Comments »
February 5th, 2017

NRA Whittington Center Video — What a Place to Shoot…

NRA Whittington Center New Mexico

If you’ve never visited the NRA Whittington Center outside Raton, New Mexico, it is well worth a visit. This new HD video shows the features of this unique facility where marksmen can shoot from 10 yards to two miles. Drone video footage gives you a “birds eye view” of the scenery and the ranges.

This is an excellent video. Well worth watching, with impressive aerial photography.

The Whittington Center hosts many major matches each year. Along with the training and range facilities, the Whittington Center has comfortable, modern cabins and RV camping zones for extended stays. Founded in 1973, the Center offers ranges for every kind of shooting discipline, along with a shotgun center, firearms museum, specialized firearms training, guided and unguided hunts, plus an adventure camp for younger shooters.

NRA Whittington Center New Mexico

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting 2 Comments »
July 14th, 2016

Black Powder Target Rifle Championship Next Week in Raton, NM

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championship Raton NM
NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

Next week the NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championship will be held at the Whittington Center in Raton, NM. From July 19-24, top Black Powder Cartridge Rifle (BPCR) shooters from around the country will test their skills during a week-long event with targets set from 200 to 1000 yards. On the firing line you’ll see many handsome, custom-built BPCRs (Sharps, Ballards, Browning High Walls, Rolling Blocks) with exquisite wood, hand-checkering, and color-case-hardened receivers.

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

The Black Powder Championship starts with mid-range matches from 200 to 600 yards. Then competitors set their sights for long range, with 800-1000 yard Creedmoor matches at the end of the week. Interestingly, for safety reasons, there are minimum bullet weight and muzzle velocity requirements for the Creedmoor matches. These BPCR shooters launch some seriously heavy projectiles downrange:

Caliber Minimum Bullet Weight (Grains) Minimum Bullet Velocity (FPS)
.38 Cal 408 (375) 1300 (1375)
.40 Cal 408 1280
.44 Cal 450 1240
.45 Cal 510 1200
.50 Cal 600 1200

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

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July 1st, 2016

Applied Ballistics Shooters Dominate King of 2 Miles Finals

King of 2 two miles Raton New Mexico Berger Bullets Applied Ballistics Bryan Litz
Applied Ballistics team dominates the King of 2 Miles match: Mitchell Fitzpatrick (1st Place), Bryan Litz (2nd Place), and Paul Phillips (4th Place).

The King of 2 Miles event has come to an end, the scores have been tallied, and Team Applied Ballistics finished first, second, and fourth. That’s dominance. The “Top Gun” was young Mitchell Fitzpatrick, who blitzed the field with his impressive .375 Lethal Precision Arms LLC rifle shooting prototype solid 400gr Berger bullets. Mitchell built this rifle himself using a McMillan A5 Super Mag stock. Remarkably, Mitchell nailed first- and second-shot hits at the 2477-yard target, a full 1.4 miles away. That’s amazing shooting. The photo below illustrates the vast distance from firing line to target.

King of 2 two miles Raton New Mexico Berger Bullets Applied Ballistics Bryan Litz

Mitchell gave credit to his team-mates: “We had the best ballistic solutions possible thanks to the work done at Applied Ballistics LLC by the one and only Bryan Litz. Bryan is also a world-class wind coach and world champion shooter. Paul Phillips, also a world-class wind coach, world champion shooter, and just an all-around class act. Paul was invaluable to making the wind calls we needed to win this match. One of the most important parts of any rifle system is the projectile… Berger’s new prototype .375-cal 400gr projectile we have been developing gave us a monumental ballistic advantage. [It was] without a doubt, a key to our success.”

Berger Ballistician Bryan Litz took second place shooting a .338 Edge (the only .338 rifle in the Finals). Durvin Wick finished third, while Paul Phillips, shooting Bryan’s rifle, placed fourth overall.

King of 2 two miles Raton New Mexico Berger Bullets Applied Ballistics Bryan Litz

Report by Bryan Litz, Team Applied Ballistics
The 2016 King of 2 Miles event is in the books. Today the Top 10 teams engaged targets at 2011 yards, 2477 yards, and 3375 yards. All three Applied Ballistics teams had hits at 2011 yards, and two out of three of us scored first-round hits at 2477 yards! Note that no competitor (from any team) hit the two-mile (3375-yard) target, but that gives us a goal to shoot for next year. Many factors contributed to the success of the Applied Ballistics shooters in this event:

1. Teamwork. We shoot together on the U.S. Rifle Team. The standardized communication protocols between coaches and shooters was a big advantage in this timed event. We had excellent team-work, and are already discussing ways to improve and adapt our approach to ELR events.

2. Science. Applied Ballistics specializes in the science of accuracy. First round hits in this event are scored highly and you can get more first round hits if you know your ballistics. The top two shooters in this event both had first round hits at 2477 yards today which was key, and is not possible without highly accurate ballistic solutions.

3. Ballistic Performance. The performance of Mitchell Fitzpatrick’s .375 Lethal Precision Arms LLC rifle with the prototype 400 grain Berger Bullets solid is unmatched (G7 BC of 0.56 at over 3000 fps). This performance helped Mitch win the match by a sizable margin. The other two Applied Ballistics teams were shooting Bryan Litz’s .338 Edge with the Berger Bullets 300 grain Hybrid. Despite being a smaller caliber (compared to the .375s, .416s, and .50-calibers), the .338 Cal 300 grain Berger Hybrid proved to be a great performer.

There were quite a few big .50 Cals on the line, but a .375 topped the field. Sheri Judd photo.
King of 2 two miles Raton New Mexico Berger Bullets Applied Ballistics Bryan Litz

Thanks to Eduardo Abril De Fontcuberta, Founder of the KO2M Event
We would like to thank all those who worked hard to make this event happen especially Eduardo Abril De Fontcuberta (shown below with Mitchell Fitzpatrick and Paul Phillips). Eduardo has worked hard to organize a great event that pushes the limits of ELR shooting in a fun and competitive way. We’re very grateful for the chance to participate and look forward to competing in the King of 2 Miles event next year. Also, thanks to Kelly McMillan for his support of our team. Kelly has been an awesome sponsor of our efforts here, as well as the U.S. Rifle Team, and the shooting community in general.

King of 2 two miles Raton New Mexico Berger Bullets Applied Ballistics Bryan Litz

Permalink Competition, Tactical 2 Comments »
May 18th, 2016

Company Profile: Edgewood Shooting Bags and Gun Leather

Edgewood Rear Bag holster leathergoods Albuquerque New Mexico Derek Rodgers

Edgewood makes some of the best front and rear shooting bags you can buy. And the latest Edgewood rear bag is better than ever, with a new hybrid “slick material overlay”. This combines the shape retention and stability of leather ears, with slick, low-friction material where the stock rides. This “best of both worlds” solution delivers both bag stability and improved tracking. Derek Rodgers, the only man who has won BOTH the F-Open and F-TR National Championships, is using this new rear bag, and he says it’s excellent. He says his gun tracks great with the slick material on top of leather-based ears.

Edgewood Rear Bag holster leathergoods Albuquerque New Mexico Derek Rodgers

You’re probably familiar with Edgewood for its high-quality shooting accessories. You may not know that Edgewood also offers a full line of quality leather holsters. And we bet you didn’t know that Edgewood got its start making tack and bridles for horse riders. Here’s a short history of Edgewood Leather, a family-run business based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The History of Edgewood Leather

by Jack Snyder
I’ve always enjoyed working with leather and still do to this day. Something about starting with an idea and building a useful and hopefully, beautiful piece does it for me. There’s nothing like leather to stimulate my imagination. It brings out my creativity and makes me happy.

Edgewood Rear Bag holster leathergoods Albuquerque New Mexico Derek RodgersI began doing leatherwork as a kid, 12 or 13, and the first piece I made was a pair of shoes. Got a job in a leather shop in the late ’60s and made purses and belts, wallets and sandals — many pairs of sandals. I opened a small retail shop in Estes Park, CO and made even more of the same, adding vests, halter tops, hats, mountain man gear of all sorts from skunk hats to goat fur high-top moccasins.

After a decade or so, I became restless for something new and taught myself bridle work. I discovered a niche market with English riders who were always looking for beautiful, well-fitting show bridles and over a period of about twenty years developed and produced many products for these riders — numerous types of nosebands, breastplates, martingales, girths and many different varieties of reins. At the same time I observed that for every horse and rider there were at least two dogs trotting along beside. I began making dog products which closely resembled their horse buddies bridle work. Sales were good. Leashes, leads, halters and collars showed up at dog shows around the country. My bridles were worn by many champions in every horse discipline — dressage, show ring, hunter-jumpers, and my polo gear became popular among the players. All of that was fun and I’m still proud of those products (still being made today), but it was time for a change. I sold my interest to my partner and tried to retire. Didn’t work, though.

My plan was to shoot benchrest matches, as many as I could. And I did for some time and loved every minute. I’ve made many friends among the shooters, discovering early on that these people are the most interesting, smart folks a guy could ever associate with. To the man, they’ll share what they know with you and even hand you their gun when yours malfunctions during a match, and grin and slap you on the back when you beat ‘em with it!

When I was getting started in benchrest, one aspect of the game was somewhat disappointing to me-the quality and stability of the shooting bags. It was natural with my past leather experience to make what I thought would be a better product. I cobbled up a couple of bags and went to a match in Oklahoma. All hell broke loose. Most of the shooters had to have one. By the end of the summer, I had so many orders for shooting bags, I couldn’t keep up the pace. I was improving the designs, based on the shooters telling me what worked and didn’t work. I was adding new products, experimenting with materials, processes and configurations and having a great time. Completely by accident, Edgewood Shooting Bags was born. My wife Cindy and my two kids Jackie and Aaron jumped in and we became a bag-making machine — always looking to improve and expand upon the products. Jackie’s husband Ryan joined us several years ago and together, we’ve made a pretty awesome team.

Edgewood Rear Bag holster leathergoods Albuquerque New Mexico Derek Rodgers

Edgewood’s New Line of Leather Holsters
Since we’re all avid shooters with many handguns among us, the next logical product to add to our catalog would be a line of high-quality leather holsters. For the last year or so, we’ve come up with what we believe to be the most comfortable, elegant holster out there. Affordably priced, these holsters are are available in many different styles and configurations, for both outside carry and concealed carry.

Latest Rear Bag Design — Leather Ears with ‘Slick Material Overlay’
Edgewood constantly strives to improve its products. Witness the new “slick material overlay” bag ears. This is a major design improvement over our regular “slick ears”. The development of the overall design all started when we noticed some shooters applying household products like talcum powder or dryer sheets to the ears of their bag in an effort to reduce friction and speed up their rifle’s return to battery. We found a material that would achieve this function without the need to raid their wife’s pantry for powders or laundry accessories and began sewing the ears up using this “microscopic glass bead impregnated” fabric. We were happy with the results. However, we soon began to realize that the slick material could have the longevity of our nylon as well as its slick properties, if we found a way to increase its thickness without causing wrinkles or inconsistencies.

Edgewood Rear Bag holster leathergoods Albuquerque New Mexico Derek Rodgers

First, we ended up hunting down some similar fabric with a much higher strength and thickness. It even has a fireproof backing that makes it far more durable — even if shooters aren’t planning on exposing it to temperatures higher than the Arizona desert can offer. This material was definitely superior and even more representative of the quality and durability that shooters have come to expect from products wearing the Edgewood logo. We didn’t stop there, either.

We started experimenting with a way to combine our toughest ear design, which is made from soft leather, with the slick material to create the best of both worlds. We deemed it the “slick overlay” option and many of the world’s top shooters now swear by it. There is no compromise with this ear set — shooters gain all of the advantages of the slick material, in addition to durability and consistency that exceeds even our tried and true nylon ears. Many of our original bags have been punished by shooters for over a decade and are still performing. We expect this design to last even longer.

Edgewood Rear Bag holster leathergoods Albuquerque New Mexico Derek Rodgers

Keeping ahead of the curve with innovations that create and help propel evolution in the sport is a signal of our commitment to retain our status into the future. Along with other new products like our second generation of concealed and open carry holsters, range bags for sighting in hunting rifles, radius front bags for AR-style rifles, camouflage color options and more — we even have a new logo for 2016. Check us out online or give us a call. We’re ready to meet the demands of shooters — from Benchrest and F-Class to concealed carry and IDPA.

Jack Snyder
President – Edgewood Shooting Bags and Gun Leather

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March 9th, 2015

Trailerable Shooting Bench — Impressive DIY Project

In our Shooters’ Forum thread about Portable Shooting Benches, Forum member John H. of New Mexico (aka “Skratch”) showed off a nicely-crafted mobile shooting bench that he can haul with his ATV. This trailer-mounted, movable bench is built on a central tubular spine that also serves as the tongue for the trailer, which attaches to a standard hitch. The bench offers two (2) shooting positions so it works for both left-handed and right-handed shooters.

Shooting Varmint Bench Trailer

Up front, for storage, a surplus .50-Cal ammo can is secured to the trailer frame. The V-shaped middle section of the wood benchtop looks to be reinforced with a metal stiffener frame on the underside. The front section of the bench is supported by twin tubular uprights attached to the box-section axle housing. The two wooden bench-style seats (on left and right) ride on a cross-tube. At the ends of that cross-tube are adjustable legs for additional support.

Shooting Varmint Bench Trailer

Great Rig for New Mexico Varmint Hunting
There are plenty of great varmint hunting areas in Skratch’s home state of New Mexico — you’ll find some huge prairie dog fields there. But to get the best results on a varmint-hunting field session, you need a solid shooting station that can be easily hauled to new locations as needed. It looks like John (aka “Scratch”) has come up with an outstanding “War Wagon” for his New Mexico varmint safaris.

CLICK HERE for MORE DETAILS of Trailerable Shooting Bench

Click on image frames to see full-size photos

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October 20th, 2014

Care and Feeding of the 50 BMG — A Look at Big Bore Shooting

A while back we published an Introduction to .50-Caliber Shooting authored by James Patterson. James has written a companion piece for Sinclair’s Reloading Press that covers the “care and feeding” of the big .50 Cal match rifles.

FCSA 50 Caliber 50 BMG

Owning and Feeding ‘The Big Bore’

Is The Challenge Of Big Bore Extreme Range Shooting And Hunting Right For You?
By James Patterson

Handling a 50 BMG
Is a 50 BMG caliber rifle difficult to shoot? Not at all. The relatively heavy weight of a standard rifle at 30 pounds or more combined with a very efficient muzzle brake makes it a pleasure to shoot. The typical recoil can be compared to a .243 rifle or a 12 gauge trap load. On the other hand, the burning of a typical load of 230 grains of powder combined with that muzzle brake makes the muzzle blast experience exhilarating. A first time shooter will fire, pause for a moment in awe at the muzzle blast, and then break out into what has become known as “The 50 caliber Grin”, almost impossible to wipe from ones face. My daughter started competing with the 50 BMG at 18 (115 lbs of tall skinny girl) and happily shoots 100+ rounds in the course of a match, her grin on the last round is as wide as on the first! Many members and competitors in the FCSA are women and many have distinguished themselves as excellent marksman having set world records on numerous occasions.

50 BMG

Cost of Big-Bore Shooting
Is owning and shooting a 50 BMG caliber rifle expensive? Relatively speaking yes, but one must put it into perspective. Rifles may run from $2500 to $7000, maybe even more for a top of the line custom rifle. A good scope will set you back $500 to $1500. And while excellent commercial ammo is available it runs from $3 to $5 a round. Most serious shooters start reloading for the rifle as soon as practical, not only for the economics of reloading but also for the ability to fine tune custom ammo for their specific rifle. It’s a very rare match that is won shooting commercial ammo. I recently compared the cost of my hobby — owning, shooting, and competing with the 50 BMG — with a friend whose hobby is snowmobiling. Factoring in the cost of equipment, licensing, gasoline, clothing, etc. it was soon obvious that my hobby was significantly less expensive than his.

50 BMG

FCSA 50 Caliber 50 BMG

Getting Started
FCSA 50 BMG Fifty Caliber Shooting AssociationSo how does one get started? You could do as I did, purchase a rifle not knowing what you were really getting into; or you could come out to a FCSA-sponsored event, shoot a number of different rifles, rub shoulders with those who have already taken the plunge, and see if this sport is right for you. While membership in the Fifty Caliber Shooters Association (FSCA) is required to compete at a FSCA event, membership is not required to come and experience first hand what is going on. If you have any inclination that you are interested in the extreme sport of long rang, big bore shooting then a year’s membership in the FCSA is only $60 ($20 for active duty military) a significant bargain if it helps you make just one well-informed equipment choice. In addition one of the primary functions of the FCSA is helping to identify active members near you who can help you understand just what is involved and help you ‘get your feet wet’ in this challenging sport.

FCSA 50 Caliber 50 BMG

Photos courtesy FCSA Photo Gallery.
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September 3rd, 2014

2014 Spirit of America Match at Raton September 5-12

Preview by John Gaines, President, BERC
Sponsored by the Bald Eagles Rifle Club, the 2014 Spirit of America Fullbore Rifle Prone Championship will be held at the NRA Whittington Center near Raton, New Mexico on 5-12 September. The event is open to Target Rifle, F-Open, and F-TR shooters. There will be matches at 300, 500, 600, 900 and 1000 yards. CLICK HERE for 2014 Spirit of America Match Program.

Since 2001 the Bald Eagles have hosted the Spirit of America Match and it has grown in both stature and reputation with every year of competition. It is one of the premier fullbore matches in the world, and the range at Raton is one of the most challenging in the United States.

Spirit of America Match Raton, New Mexico

The short ranges are fired in the mornings and the long ranges in the afternoon. Short range matches (300, 500, and 600 yards) are fired “two to the mound” while the long ranges (900 and 1000 yards) are fired “string fire”. Both individual and team matches are fired and competitors not belonging to a recognized or hometown team are encouraged to join a “make-up” team for the experience and the camaraderie of team shooting. The total round count for the week is more than 400 (counting practice and “blow-off” shots.) That’s lots of shooting on one of the best ranges in the world!

Door Prizes and More…
In addition to cash, trophies, and medals there will be a door prize table containing various merchandise from recognized companies in the shooting sports industry. Top door prize will be a Savage M12 F-Class rifle with a Nightforce Competition scope. To learn more about the 2014 Spirit of America Match visit the Bald Eagles Rifle Club website at www.baldeaglesrc.org.

Spirit of America Match Raton, New Mexico

The Guns and the Targets
The match is for fullbore Target rifle, F-Class (Open), and F-Class (T/R). There will be separate awards for each category.

TARGET RIFLE
Gun Specs: A rifle chambered for the unmodified 7.62×51 or commercial .308 Win cartridge, or a rifle chambered for the unmodified 5.56mm or commercial .223 Remington cartridge. Any safe trigger is acceptable.
Targets: 300 yards-MR63; 500 yards-MR65; 600 yards-MR1; 900 & 1000 yards-NRA LR

F-CLASS
Gun Rules: Rifles and rests must comply with NRA rules 3.4 & 3.4.1
Targets: 300 yards-MR63FC; 500 yards-MR65FC; 600 yards-MR1FC; 900 & 1000 yards-R-FC

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August 28th, 2013

F-Class World Championships: Team USA Wins F-TR Team Titles, Australia Wins F-Open Team Championship

The 2013 F-Class World Championships are in the history books. Congratulations to Australia, winner of the 8-man F-Open Match (Farquharson Cup) and to the USA F-TR squad which captured both 8-person and 4-person F-TR team titles. Here’s a quick summary of the results (an in-depth report with more photos and videos is in the works).

Team Australia F-Class World Championship
Not all Australia team members shown in photo.

Marty Lobert Explains How Australia Took the Title:

With his straight .284 Win, Marty Lobert shot 442-46V for Australia during the team championships, one of the highest scores among all F-Open shooters during Team Comps. Marty’s Australian team-mate, Cameron McEwan, had a 443-40X, high score for the match. Congrats to Cameron — great shooting!

Team Australia won the 8-man F-Open Championship with a 3490-339V tally. The USA 8-man F-Open team finished second with a 3475-308V team score. South Africa was third with 3445-267V, while the previous champion Great Britain Team finished fourth with 3427-261V. Team Spindle Shooters won the F-Open Rutland Cup for 4-man teams with a 1750-163V score, 10 points ahead of the 4-man Team USA squad coached by Emil Praslick (1740-169V).

Team F-TR T/R USA F-Class World Championship

In the F-TR Division, F-TR Team USA won both the 8-person F-TR Richardson Trophy Match (3412-261V) and the 4-person F-TR Rutland Cup Match (1689-130V). Canada’s 8-man F-TR team scored 3400-245V for second place in the 8-man F-TR competition, while Great Britain’s 8-man team tallied 3393-220V for third place. Notably, F-TR Team USA’s 8-man team score would have been good enough for fifth place in the F-Open Division. Yanks dominated the 4-man F-TR match, with Nik Taylor’s BNX/21st Century squad placing second (after F-TR Team USA), and the Michigan F-TR team (Barnhart/Litz) finishing third.

Team F-TR T/R USA F-Class World Championship

Team F-TR T/R USA F-Class World Championship

Here are the published official results for the 2013 F-Class World Championships, for both the team and individual competitions. These links all point to PDF files. If you have the right browser plugin, you should be able to simply click and view. Otherwise, right-click the link and “save as” to your hard-drive before viewing.

2013 F-Class World Championship Final Scores and Rankings

FCWC Team Results
8-Person F-Open Team Match (Farquharson Cup)
8-Person F-TR Team Match (Richardson Trophy)

4-Person F-Open Team Match (Rutland Cup)
4-Person Team F-TR Team Match

FCWC Individual Results
Individual World Championship – F-Open
Individual World Championship – F-TR
Individual Day 1 – F-Open
Individual Day 1 – F-TR
Individual Day 2- F-Open
Individual Day 2 – F-TR

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August 25th, 2013

F-Class Individual World Championship Goes Down to the Wire

We’re halfway through the F-Class World Championships, with the individual matches completed. We should be able to announce the winner very soon, when the final individual scores have been certified. We can report that this match went down to the wire, with the top two places decided on V-Count (the international equivalent of our X-Count). Final results of both Individual and Team FCWC matches will be posted at: fcwc-usa.org/results.

One Very Patriotic Shooter at the F-Class World Championships.
team usa rifle f-class worlds

It has been a very tough two days for most competitors. One late relay on Saturday faced a rain squall that resulted in many off-target misses. On Sunday, from mid-morning on, the wind was switching angles all the time with ups and downs in wind speeds. There were apparent lulls that seemed steady, but quite suddenly the wind angle could switch 40° or more, while gusting. Nonetheless, shooters turned in some great performances. During his 800-yard relay, Australia’s Marty Lobert shot a perfect 75-15V for fifteen shots (max shot value at the Worlds is a five).

F-class worlds South Africa

The individual F-Open and F-TR World Champions will be crowned tonight. Team competition begins tomorrow (Monday). We’ll post video interviews with the top shooters soon. Here are some photo highlights from Sunday at the F-Class World Championships.

F-class worlds canada australia

f-class worlds

Seb Lambang f-class worlds

F-class worlds

f-class worlds au

f-class worlds south africa

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October 26th, 2012

War Wagon Part 2 — Details of Skratch’s Mobile Shooting Bench

After we ran a story on the New Mexico War Wagon, readers wanted more details about this well-designed mobile shooting bench belonging to Forum member John H. (aka “Skratch”).

John told us: “My brother-in-law and I built this mobile bench a few years ago. The axle, wheels and tire are a tag axle from a small Chevy car, obtained from a salvage yard for about $35-$40 a decade ago. The tubular frame is drill stem, while the bench-top and seats are 3/4′” plywood. Under the plywood we fitted rails so we can slide our target stand under the benchtop for secure travel. The total cost for everything (including storage box) was about $250-$300.”

We set the bench and seat heights so that, with adults, the rifle sets straight level to the shoulder. For the smaller ‘younguns’ we just use a sofa pillow to raise them up. (Yes, adjustable seat heights would be great.) The ammo box holds our rifle rest, sand bags, spotting scope, and miscellaneous gear. Options are a couple of lawn chairs, and a cooler of brew (for after the shooting is done).

Click on image frames to see full-size photos

Some readers wanted to know how John’s War Wagon is positioned in the field and if it is ever detached from John’s ATV. John answers: “We do unhook the 4-wheeler for target-checking unless we have an extra along which is usually the case. That way we can level the table front to rear. We have an umbrella from a patio table to provide shade on extra warm days.”

Potential Modifications and Upgrades to the War Wagon
When our buddy Mark LaFevers (AccurateShooter.com’s chief fabricator), saw the war wagon, he was impressed. Mark, a professional welder by trade, is now thinking about building a similar rig — with some enhancements. Mark told us: “The thing I like best about the design is the simplicity. It has enough features to get the job done without any frills, bells and whistles. There is always the danger as one adds items that seem like they would be desirable, that the unit becomes too complex and loses its fun aspect. Still, I would try adding a few things.

I like how the builder has added stabilizers at the seat locations. For areas with steep or uneven terrain , I would consider adding a trailer tongue jack to be able to level front to rear, or disconnect from the ATV to go check targets. I would also consider not hard-fastening the bench-top to the frame, but rather mounting it with screw-jacks to be able to level it independently from the frame, both crosswise and lengthwise. Being able to level the benchtop may not be necessary in flat prairie country, but it would be helpful on hilly or uneven terrain.

I would also make the seat height-adjustable. That would accommodate different shooter body sizes and shapes. Height could be adjusted with a threaded seat column, which you can buy cheaply online. You could even mount a slider to allow front-to-rear seat movement. This would allow you to move back for longer rifles and forward for smaller rifles or Encore-style pistols.

Of course, there are other possible “creature comfort” options. If you really wanted to “pimp your ride”, you could include an umbrella stand, gimbaled beer holder, the mandatory water-misters, and a mobile sound system….

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product 1 Comment »
October 24th, 2012

New Mexico ‘War Wagon’ — Mobile Benchrest Trailer

In our Shooters’ Forum thread about Portable Shooting Benches, Forum member John H. of New Mexico (aka “Skratch”) showed off a nicely-crafted mobile shooting bench that he can haul with his ATV. This trailer-mounted, movable bench is built on a central tubular spine that also serves as the tongue for the trailer, which attaches to a standard hitch. The bench offers two (2) shooting positions so it works for both left-handed and right-handed shooters.

Shooting Varmint Bench Trailer

Up front, for storage, a surplus .50-Cal ammo can is secured to the trailer frame. The V-shaped middle section of the wood benchtop looks to be reinforced with a metal stiffener frame on the underside. The front section of the bench is supported by twin tubular uprights attached to the box-section axle housing. The two wooden bench-style seats (on left and right) ride on a cross-tube. At the ends of that cross-tube are adjustable legs for additional support.

Shooting Varmint Bench Trailer

Great Rig for New Mexico Varmint Hunting
There are plenty of great varmint hunting areas in Skratch’s home state of New Mexico — you’ll find some huge prairie dog fields there. But to get the best results on a varmint-hunting field session, you need a solid shooting station that can be easily hauled to new locations as needed. It looks like John (aka “Scratch”) has come up with an outstanding “War Wagon” for his New Mexico varmint safaris.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product 5 Comments »
October 6th, 2012

.50 Caliber Shooters Association Photo Galleries Unveiled

Are you a died-in-the-wool .50 BMG fan? Got a hankerin’ for heavy artillery? Then visit the FCSA Photo Gallery page. There you’ll find hundreds of photos from Fifty Caliber Shooting Association (FCSA) matches and fun shoots in California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Washington. To access the photos from the Gallery Page, click on the colored tabs which indicate match location and date (such as NV2011-08).

FCSA 50 Caliber Photo Gallery

Photo sets go all the way back to 2002, so you can see the evolution of the hardware over the years. Sample multiple archives to see the differences in terrain from one range to another — from Raton’s alpine setting to the hot, dry Nevada desert. This Gallery is really a treasure-trove of .50-Cal history. It’s worth a visit. Here are a few sample images.

FCSA 50 Caliber Photo Gallery

FCSA 50 Caliber Photo Gallery

FCSA 50 Caliber Photo Gallery

FCSA 50 Caliber Photo Gallery

FCSA 50 Caliber Photo Gallery

FCSA 50 Caliber Photo Gallery

Story Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Competition, News 3 Comments »
September 22nd, 2012

David Bailey and James Crofts Win 2012 F-Class Nationals

The 2012 F-Class Nationals have concluded and the event was a great success. Nearly 200 shooters competed at Raton this year.

Congrats to the new F-Class National Champions: David Bailey (F-Open) and James Crofts (F-TR). Bailey amassed a 1283-59X score to edge F-Open runner-up Bob Sebold (1282-59X) by a single point. Note that Jim and Bob, both AccurateShooter Forum members, had the same X-count. Bob’s excellent X-count placed him ahead of Jim Murphy (1282-50X), who captured third place along with F-Open High Senior Title. High Lady Shooter was Michelle Gallagher with a 1274-51, while Danny Biggs, a past National Champion, was High Senior with 1273-46X.

Forum member James (‘Jim’) Crofts took the F-TR crown with a truly dominating performance. Jim’s 1272-47X was a full six points and 11 Xs ahead of runner-up (and 2011 champ) Jeff Rorer, who finished with 1266-36X. In third-place overall, was High Senior Daniel Pohlable (1264-42X). In fourth overall, was the High Lady shooter Trudie Fay (1259-45X).

james croft f-tr f/tr national champsionship f-class

Jim Crofts really deserves praise for his marksmanship at Raton. Jim’s F-TR Score of 1272-47X would have ranked him 13th in the F-Open division, ahead of dozens of skilled shooters running ballistically-superior cartridges. In his .308 Win, Jim ran Berger 200gr Match Hybrids at 2600 fps with Hodgdon Varget. Jim’s winning F-TR rifle featured a 30″ Brux barrel and Precision Rifle & Tool (PR&T) stock. And take note — Jim’s barrel had over 3000 rounds though it by the end of the match. Jim wants to thank Ray Bowman at PR&T for smithing a great rifle and providing sponsorship.

CLICK HERE for Complete F-Class Nationals Results with Match by Match Scores

James Crofts F-TR ChampionInterview with Jim Crofts
We had a chance to talk to Jim by telephone this morning, and he was kind enough to answer a few questions for us….

AccurateShooter: Is this your first big win? How did you feel receiving the trophy as National F-TR Champion?

Jim: I won the Berger SW Nationals earlier this year, but this is my first-ever National Championship. I was very relieved once it was over because there were many great shooters right behind me.

AccurateShooter: Did you run any new hardware at the Nationals? Did you alter your load any?

Jim: This is the same combination that I’ve used all year long. I went back to my old faithful PR&T-built rifle and my old faithful load and everything works. I still anneal my cases every firing. You will find this helps maintain consistent bullet seating and it helps lower your extreme spread.

AccurateShooter: Shooters from your neck of the woods have now won the F-TR division two years running — Whats the secret?

Yes, with my win we’ve had back to back F-TR National championships for North State X-Men club members. Jeff Rorer, last year’s F-TR champ [and 2012 runner-up] shoots with us at a local level. That’s who I’ve been chasing since last year’s National Championship. When you shoot against quality competition every week, it makes you strive for perfection.

AccurateShooter: How were conditions during the week? Raton can be windy…

Jim: Actually, conditions were moderate most of the week. However, on the last day, it was calm during the first match, but in the second match it got to be very tricky. There were changes in velocity and angles — I had a hard time keeping up with the velocity changes in the last match.

AccurateShooter: How has the FTR game changed in the last couple years? Is it more competitive than ever before?

Jim: The sport is growing and it’s getting tougher, that’s for sure. This year we had 91 competitors in F-TR. It went up from about 60 last year to 91 this year — a 50% increase. And the competition is really getting tight in F-TR. Not only are the numbers of shooters growing, but the quality of the competition is getting higher every year.


Also at the F-Class Nationals this year, some Eliseo Tubeguns made an appearance. Shown below are Linda Shehan (Team Australia) and Warren Dean (Team USA) with their GC-1 FTR rigs at the nationals. These tubeguns feature actions by Rod Shehan, with an Adam Davies bipod on the left, and Sinclair F-Class bipod on the right.

Eliseo Tubegun

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September 21st, 2012

F-Class Nationals at Raton — Reports from Shooters

Breaking News: We’re informed that Forum Member James Crofts (aka “VA Jim”) has won the F-TR division of the F-Class Nationals, shooting a .308 Win rifle with Precision Rifle & Tool stock. Read more about Jim Crofts HERE.

The F-Class Nationals are underway right now at the Whittington Range in Raton, NM. Conditions have been fairly challenging. On Day 1 of the individual championship, forum member Steven B (aka “Sleepygator”) reports that: “The winds later in the day were a little tougher. The tailwind caused some vertical to those unfortunate enough to shoot the third match at the little end.” F-TR shooter James Crofts shot amazing well on Day 1, recording 446-17X. Crofts outscored not only all other F-TR shooters, but he beat all but one of the F-Open “hot rod” shooters, Mark Walker (who posted a 446-19X). When an F-TR outshoots nearly the entire F-Open field, that’s newsworthy. Well-done James. Forum member Mark H. (aka “Hunsucker”) observed: “I personally know for a fact how much Jim [Crofts] practices and how hard he works.”

On Day 2, conditions became trickier at the end according to Forum member Greg Taylor: “Day 2 started out very like Day 1, except a bit warmer. Winds were relatively forgiving, especially for Raton. That is until the third match. The last match of the day, winds were absolutely wicked, ranging from 1-2 mph, up to 10-11 mph, from SE/S. Scores for many dropped predictably.”

Close Competition in F-Open
F-Open leaders after Day 2 are: F-Open Leaders after Day 2: Bob Sebold with 886-39X, David Bailey with 885-44X, and Mark Walker with 885-37X. This is a tight battle — the top ten places in F-Open are separated by 6 points.

CLICK HERE for Official Scores from F-Class Nationals

Team Sinclair Secures F-TR Team Win
In F-Class Team competition earlier this week, Team Sinclair secured a victory in the F-TR division with a combined score of 1561-48X. The team is coached by Raymond Gross, and shooters are Paul Phillips, Derek Rodgers (Captain/shooter), Jeff Rorer and Brad Sauve. Phillips declared: “Ray did a great job coaching for both spirit of America and nationals. Brads rifle shot half the national record and jeff and mine were the other half. Great work from the whole team. Very tough competition. FTR is getting very very competitive now.”

Permalink Competition 1 Comment »
September 14th, 2012

Match Report: Day 3 at Spirit of America in Raton

Report by Bryan Litz
Day 3 of the Spirit of America Individual Aggregate (Thursday, 9/13/2012) started out cold and misty. Everyone was pretty much wearing every shred of clothing they had to get thru the morning, but the afternoon warmed up nicely. Short range was typical; constant and relatively calm at 300 and 500, but the wind kicked up about the time we started shooting 600 and some points started falling. After lunch we shot 900 yards and the points really started falling! As expected, the chaos shook up the standings quite a bit.

Controversy in Sling Class
In the sling class, Noma Mayo was the high shooter at 4 points down. Noma shot a miss at 600 yards, challenged it, and lost the challenge. She finished the range, then later went to the stat house and had the miss removed from her score card. A formal protest was filed, but her amended score stood (without a miss). Needless to say, the result is somewhat controversial, especially considering that Noma is in contention to win the tournament. The current standings in the individual sling aggregate are: Nancy Tompkins at 6 points down, Noma Mayo at 8 points down, and Bryan Litz at 9 points down.

Spirit of America Raton

Trudie Fay Continues to Lead F-TR
In F-TR, Trudie Fay continues her dominant performance at 13 points down to win the day. Trudie is also leading the F-TR aggregate with one day to go. Tomorrow is the Raton 8-man team match.

Larry Bartholome won the F-Open class at 7 points down for the day (Aggregate standings were not posted as of when we left the range so it’s difficult to calculate those full standings).

Click Links for Day 3 Full Results: F-Class Individual | Sling Individual

Permalink Competition, News 5 Comments »