Editor’s Comment: All long-range competitive shooters should watch this excellent video — whether you shoot with a team or as an individual. Three cameras were used so you can watch the shooter, the range flags, and the target simultaneously. After a discussion of scoring, the actual shooting starts at the five-minute mark in the video. Under the guidance of wind coach Gary Rasmussen, U.S. F-Class Open Team Captain Shiraz Balolia shoots 100-7X for ten shots, following Gary’s wind calls.
Team Shooting with a Coach
Shiraz tells us: “We come across a lot of shooters who have never shot under a coach. This video was produced to give shooters a basic understanding of shooting with a coach and the importance of releasing a good shot. In a team setting, you basically leave all the decision-making to the coach and aim where you’re told to aim. I’ve worked with Gary many times and it shows in the comfort level we have with each other. The coach plots the shots or a plotter advises the coach of any grouping that is not centered.”
Watch Gary Call the Wind and Shiraz Shoot 100-7X for Ten Shots
For best viewing, click the YouTube settings button to watch in 720p or 1080p HD (high definition).
Shiraz was shooting a 7mm F-Open rig: “My .284 Shehane rifle takes about 10 to 12 shots to settle down and that is probably why we made several scope adjustments while shooting. It is a great caliber and a step up from a straight .284 Winchester. The wind was relatively calm, but sometimes that slow wind with subtle angle changes can be very deceiving.”
The video was shot the first week of May 2013 at a range in Custer, WA located about 20 miles from Bellingham, Washington. The production team included Shiraz Balolia, Gary Rasmussen, three cameramen, and a target puller. Big Thanks to Grizzly Industrial for providing the camera crew and post-production talent.
Conventional .308 Winchester brass has a large primer pocket with a large, 0.080″-diameter flash hole. In 2010, Lapua began producing special edition .308 Win “Palma” brass that has a small primer pocket and a small flash hole, sized 1.5mm (.059″) in diameter. Tests by U.S. Palma Team members showed that the small-flash-hole .308 brass possibly delivers lower Extreme Spread (ES) and Standard Deviation (SD) with some bullet/powder/primer combinations. All things being equal, a lower ES should reduce vertical dispersion at long range.
Why Might a Small Flash Hole Work Better?
The performance of the small-flash-hole .308 brass caused some folks to speculate why ES/SD might be improved with a smaller flash hole. One theory (and it’s just a theory) is that the small flash hole creates more of a “jet” effect when the primer fires. German Salazar (Rifleman’s Journal Editor) sought to find out, experimentally, whether this theory is correct. German explained: “During one of the many internet forum discussions of these cases, Al Matson (AlinWA) opined that the small flash hole might cause the primer flash to be propagated forward more vigorously. In his words, it should be like shooting a volume of water through a smaller nozzle, resulting in a flash that reaches further up the case. Now that kind of comment really sparked my curiosity, so I decided to see what I could see.”
More Primer Testing by Salazar
You can read more about this test and other primer experiments on RiflemansJournal.com.
Large and Small Flash Hole .308 Cases — But Both with Small Primer Pockets
To isolate the effect of flash hole diameter alone, German set up a test with the two types of .308 case that have a small primer pocket: Remington BR brass with a 0.080″ flash hole and Lapua Palma brass with a 0.062″ flash hole. NOTE: German reamed the Lapua brass to 0.062″ with a Sinclair uniforming tool, so it was slightly larger than the 0.059″ factory spec. The Remington brass has a .22 BR headstamp as this brass was actually meant to be re-formed into .22 BR or 6 BR before there was factory brass available for those cartridges.
German set up his primer testing fixture, and took photos in low light so you can see the propagation of the primer “blast” easily. He first tested the Remington 7 1/2 primer, a primer known for giving a large flame front. German notes: “I thought that if there was a ‘nozzle effect’ from the small flash hole, this primer would show it best. As you can see from the photos, there might be a little bit of a flash reduction effect with this primer and the small flash hole, the opposite of what we expected, but it doesn’t appear to be of a significant order of magnitude.”
Next German tested the Wolf .223 primer, an unplated version of the Small Rifle Magnum that so many shooters use. German notes: “This is a reduced flame-front (low flash) primer which has proven itself to be very accurate and will likely see a lot of use in the Lapua cases. With this primer, I couldn’t detect any difference in the flash produced by the small flash hole versus the large flash hole”.
Remington BR case, 0.080″ Flash Hole, Wolf .223 Primer.
Palma case, 0.062″ Flash Hole, Wolf 223 Primer.
German tells us: “I fired five or six of each primer to get these images, and while there is always a bit of variance, these are an accurate representation of each primer type and case type. You can draw your own conclusions from all this, I’m just presenting the data for you. I don’t necessarily draw any conclusions as to how any combination will shoot based on the pictures.”
Results of Testing
Overall, looking at German’s results, one might say that the smaller diameter of the small flash hole does not seem to have significantly changed the length or size of the primer flame front. There is no discernible increased “jet effect”.
Story by Lars Dalseide forNRABlog
Protea is the top team trophy at the South African International High Power Championships. Named after the South Africa’s National Flower, the International Protea is shot over three ranges measuring out at 300, 600 and 900 meters. Keeping with the earlier team matches, it was South Africa that powered past England and the United States to claim the hometown title.
Teams from South Africa, England, the United States, Wales and Ireland readied in the early South African sun for their 8:00 am start. “These are the smallest targets,” American shooter Anette Wachter explained on her website (30CalGal.com). “The winds were up and tricky at all meter lines.”
With twelve shooters per team gunning for a perfect match score of 1800, it started at 300 meters. England held tighter than the rest finishing with 597. Right on the Brits’ heels were South Africa at 595 and the United States at 593. That’s when South Africa made its move.
But things changed at the 600 meter line. England dropped ten points at 600 meters. Both South Africa and the United States dropped five each. That left South Africa in command with a two point lead over the United States. The hometown advantage would be even more apparent in the final round (900m).
On the back of perfect scores from Bona and Brand, South Africa finished on top with final score of 1769.193. England was practically perfect at 900 meters to finish second while the United States ended up in third. “What a heart break,” Wachter wrote. “But we fought hard. Coaches Emil, Steve and Norm did a great job. The saying is that as a shooter on a team your only job is to pull the trigger. But ‘just pulling the trigger’ is scary.”
Parag Patel Wins Individual Honors
Though South Africa walked away with most of the team titles, it was an Englishman who won the overall individual championships. Mr. Parag Patel, a consultant surgeon at St. George’s Hospital in London, finished his South African tour as the tournament’s top shooter. Parag won the South African Championships, their most coveted prize which is made up of the Grand, the State President’s second Stage and the State President’s Final. As a reward for winning the South African title, he was driven off the range in a vintage 1934 Ford. Click Here to see Parag with the 2013 England Rifle Team.
The tournament now complete, teams are all returning home. For some it’s an incredibly short drive and for others it’s an unbelievably long plane ride. All in an effort to keep in game shape for the next Palma Rifle World Championships in Camp Perry, Ohio.
Story by Lars Dalseide for NRABlog Bloemfontein, South Africa — The South African Rifle Team jumped out to an early lead in yesterday’s America Match at the General de Wet Range. Gaining ground in each of the four relays, the South Africans’ final tally reached 2362.251 before teams from the U.S. and England fired their final shot. By then, South Africa was in the clubhouse with a 13 point win.
The America Match is a four-round team competition shot at 300, 600, 800 and 900 meters. Made up of eight-man teams, each has the opportunity to score up to 600 points per round. Shot last year during the NRA Long Range High Power Rifle Championships in Camp Perry, this is the first America Match win for South Africa.
Having Long Range High Power Rifle Fun in the African Sun
Though one may try, it is truly impossible to simulate game day situations in practice. All the preparation in the world will never prepare you for the tension or adrenaline spike that accompanies real life. The distractions are even greater when competing in South Africa.
Not only is there the incredibly long plane ride, a new culture to embrace and new cuisines to devour, there’s also the local wildlife to consider. Don’t believe me? Then listen to what Alex Williams had to say on the England Rifle Team website:
Aside from keeping a beady eye on the targets, there were several opportunities to cop a look at the local wildlife – dawn is heralded by the cooing of pigeons and the squeaking of hundreds of small starlings. Zebras and elegant giraffes festoon the grasslands on the drive from the hotel to the range. Springbok prance through the fawn coloured savannah startled by the passing minibuses. Dinner also provides an opportunity to sample some of the local wildlife, which generally appears medium-rare.”
Redemption via the Rifle Awaits
Though the American Match holds a special significance to those of us here in The States, American shooters have to toss those results aside. Same goes for the the English, the Welsh and the Irish. After all, they are only three days into ten day of competition. There are plenty of victories left to be had.
Having the home field advantage has played well into the South African’s hands so far. The heat, the elevation (4,500 feet above sea level) and familiarity with the surroundings makes aiming that rifle all the more favorable for the locals. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. Things can change.
Yesterday’s match saw Team USA finish second. Under the leadership of Head Coach Norm Anderson, along with coaches Emil Praslic and Steve Harding, Team USA’s shooters (including Lane Buxton, Brandon Green, Michael Storer, Ty Cooper, Bob Gill, Nate Guernsey, Anette Wachter and Dave Crandell) are sure to find their mark soon enough.
Thanks to Anette Wachter and James Watson for contributing to this post … both with pictures (Anette’s) and information. Follow Anette’s coverage of her long range high power shooting saga at www.30calgal.com.
Many of our readers ask: “Where can I find a top-quality rifle case that will hold my scoped, long-barreled F-Class, or Benchrest rifle?” Most of the cases you’ll find at retailers are only good for guns with max barrel lengths in the 27-28″ range. And many of these cases are a tight fit if you have a large scope with big tall turrets and side parallax knobs.
Well here’s good news for owners of rifles with long barrels (up to 32″ in length). Starlight Cases offers the SC-081454 Double Rifle Case featuring a deep lid that measures 3″ from top to bottom. The increased clearance provided by the 3″-thick lid provides additional protection, without creating side loads on your scope that can cause reliability issues. What’s more, making the lid taller allows the hard case to better fit wide-forearm rifles and rifles with attached bipods.
SC-081454 cases are currently on sale at StarlightCases.com for $288.00 (10% off). That’s not inexpensive…. but when you’re hauling up to $7000.00 worth of rifle and optics, that’s money well spent for the added protection it provides, particularly during airline transport.
Internally, the SC-081454 Double Rifle Case is 8″ Deep X 14″ Wide X 54″ Long. That’s long enough to hold rifles with barrels up to 32″ — so this case can hold Palma, Long-Range Benchrest, and F-Class rifles. Case weight, unladen, is 26 pounds. You can custom-fit the interior to your rifle by cutting the layered foam with a hot knife. The SC-081454 hard-case also includes a molded-in recessed wheel kit for ease of transport. These cases are offered in black, Olive Drab, and “flat dark earth” colors.
Why the Deep Lid is a Good Thing: We’ve seen issues with bulky rifles (with large scopes) jammed into cases with insufficient clearance from top to bottom. This can put side-loads on your scope turrets that can lead to problems down the road. While you don’t want your rifle to shift during transport, at the same time you don’t want the case lid and bottom pressing on the rifle optics. We do recommend cutting the foam to create a fitted recess for your rifle.
The patented Latch-Lock™ System (with O-ring seal) on Starlight Cases ensures an airtight, watertight, chemical resistant protective case. Fitted with a pressure equalizer valve, Starlight cases are tested watertight and airtight to 400′ pressures. These durable hard cases are temp-tested from -65° to 200°. ATA-approved Starlights exceed the stringent Military MIL-C 4150J testing standards. All Starlight cases are Made in the USA and backed by an Unconditional Lifetime Warranty. In addition, If for any reason you are not satisfied with your case when it is delivered, you have 7 days to return the case to the manufacturer for a full refund.
In his Riflemans Journal Blog, German Salazar has authored an excellent article on IMR 4320 — The Forgotten Powder. German tested IMR 4320 and found that it produced outstanding results both in the .308 Winchester and the 30-06. This means that shooters have another very effective propellant option for their .308 and 30-06 match rifles. With H4895 and Varget being hard to obtain lately, you may want to give IMR 4320 a try.
German writes: “IMR 4320 falls right between 4895 and 4064 on the burn rate scale for most cartridges — in other words, right where Varget falls. Yet, despite having a very useful burn rate, 4320 has languished for decades while newer powders of similar burn rate have gained in popularity. I was interested in seeing what current production IMR 4320 would do in the .308 with the 155gr Palma bullets. My interest was sparked by the obvious fact that Varget and H4895 have been very hard to get lately while IMR 4320 sits on the shelves.”
German loaded up some .308 Win loads with IMR 4320 and moly-coated Sierra 155gr Palma bullets. German’s “practical max” load delivered 2990 fps in his long-barreled Palma rifle. This is certainly competitive speed-wise.
German observed that: “IMR 4320 has very small granules and throws very consistently from the powder measure — it is very much like Reloder 15 in granule size — so for those who prefer to throw charges it’s a good choice.”
Satisfied with the chron results, German loaded more rounds with the two most promising charge weights and used them in a 500-yard prone match at Ben Avery (ambient temps were 60s-80s F). Here is his report:
“As in the chrono tests, all IMR 4320 loads were with moly-coated Sierra 155 Palma bullets, Winchester brass and PMC primers. Powder charges should be reduced at least 1.0 grain for bare bullets. The load with 45.0 grains of IMR 4320 gave me a 199-12X with the single 9 being a high shot just off the 10 ring line at 12:00. Overall, I would rate that load as good, very useable for the intended purpose of 500 or 600 yard shooting (it’s 2844 fps) but no better than my H4895 load for that purpose.
Next I fired the heavier 47.0 grains ‘practical max’ load and that was an eye opener. The score was 200-15X in conditions that were windier than those in which the first load was fired. Elevation was noticeably tighter and shots were exactly on call. This load gives 2990 fps, so it has real potential as a Palma load. While no 500-yard test can ensure results at 1000, given the MV and reasonably low SD of this load as well as the good performance at 500, I won’t hesitate to shoot it at 1000 at the first opportunity. Warning: this was a STRONG LOAD and may not be safe in your gun.
Overall, I’m very satisfied with what I’ve seen in these past few days from IMR 4320 and plan to shoot it in some of our upcoming Palma and 1000-yard matches with the 155s. It appears to be a very useful alternative to some of the harder to get powders.”
Not content with their great performances at the NRA Long-Range Championships and America Match held at Camp Perry, shooting teams from Australia and Great Britain have crossed our northern border in search of new worlds to conquer. Brit and Aussie shooters are now in Ottawa, Ontario, competing at the 130th Canadian Fullbore Rifle Championships. Held at Ottawa’s famed Connaught Ranges, the Fullbore Championships attract many of the world’s top marksmen, including David Calvert of the Great Britain Rifle team. After completing the initial Ottawa Regiment match, Calvert leads the way in the target rifle division. Calvert posted a 75-12V, narrowing edging Justin Hearn (75-11V)
Along with the sling-shooters, F-Class competitors test their skills this weekend in Ottawa. Alexander Tklitch shot a 75-7V to lead the F-Open Division, while Kevin Chou posted a 74-10V to top the F/F field by two Vs. Why are we referring to “Vs” rather than “Xs”? In international competition, the “V” area is the center-zone equivalent to our X-Ring in the USA. However, the Scoring Ring values are different. On International fullbore and F-Class targets, the highest scoring ring has a value of 5, not 10 as in the USA. So, a 75 score represents the max points possible for 15 shots. If all those shots land in the V zone, the total, for 15 shots, would be 75-15V.
SGT Emil Praslick of the USAMU just provided this report from Camp Perry: “The America International Rifle Match is complete. In the end, after shooting virtually level with the powerhouse that is the Great Britain Rifle Team, we held off a late charge by GB at the 1000-yard line to win by 3 points. Both sides fired four hundred and eighty bullets each… and it came down to three points on a ten-point target. Unbelievable.” The final scores (4800-480X possible) are: USA 4784-308X; GBRT 4781-305X; Canada 4743-260X; Australia 4729-233X; Japan 4377-109X.
Praslick commented: “I continue to be impressed not only by the quality of GB shooting and coaching, but by their sportsmanship as well. We could all learn some lessons from their team. You cannot possibly find better sportsmen — within seconds of the final shot they were over here shaking hands. They are the best sportsmen I have ever seen.”
Shot over the course of a day, eight-man teams from each country took faced off at Camp Perry’s Viale Range, with stages at 300, 800, 900 and 1000 yards. Though the Americans leaped ahead in round three, Team Great Britain’s hot shooting in the fourth and final relay was almost enough to make the difference. “If we every have another one like this it’ll be enough to kill me,” joked one U.S. coach.
Established in 2002, the America Match is open any country with an eight-man rifle team. This is a biennial match for .308 Win caliber Palma-type match rifles. The teams gather every two years to test their mettle in one of the toughest shooting competitions in the world. Held every four years in the United States, this is the first time it the match was conducted at Camp Perry. The NRA Whittington Center in Raton, NM, previously served as the USA host venue. With its 2012 victory, Team USA is now tied with Team Great Britain with three America Match wins each.
Story based in part on Report by Lars Dalseide inNRABlog.
Breaking News from Camp Perry – Based on preliminary score tabulations, David Luckman of Great Britain is the 2012 NRA National Long Range Champion. Luckman finished with a 1246-74X.
As reported on NRABlog.com, Luckman topped a very competitive field, with a strong final day showing: “After a practically perfect performance in today’s Palma Individual Trophy Match (449-31X), it appears that David Luckman of the Great Britain Rifle Team will be crowned tonight as the NRA’s 2012 Long Range High Power Rifle Champion. A veteran of the International Long Range Rifle world, Luckman’s list of accolades includes the 2010 World Individual Long Range Rifle title as well as seventeen consecutive UK Grand Aggregate crosses.”
David started shooting with Sedgemoor Target Shooting Club. He became an Atheling in 1994 and has since toured with the GB team to Canada, the USA, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia. A truly great marksman, in 2010 Luckman shot 4 international matches in four consecutive days (National, Kolapore, Mackinnon and Australia) without dropping a single point.
David works for Clerical Medical in Bristol as an Actuary. In his spare time he is an avid sports player and qualified tennis coach. He competes in triathlons and half marathons as well as enjoying mountain biking, surfing, swimming and other sports.
by Kelly Bachand
[Editor: Kelly, a popular Top Shot (Season One) TV show contestant, is one of America's leading young long-range prone shooters. Bachand has been a Top Five finisher in many major matches, and he has won the Canadian Open Target Rifle Championship, shooting his Barnard-actioned Palma Rifle.]
In this article, I’ll share what works for me in the prone shooting game. However, I recognize that every shooter/rifle combination is unique. So, the best way to find out what will really work best is by practicing and putting some rounds down range. But hopefully you’ll find some suggestions in this story that prove helpful.
The Rifle, Sling, Arms, and Hands
I keep my sling high on the pulse pad of my Creedmoor Sports shooting jacket which turns out to be at the top of my bicep muscle. The sling is tight enough that, with my forward hand against the hand stop and the stock firmly in my shoulder, the rifle is fully supported without any noticeable muscle use. As my coaches have recommended, placing my forward elbow as close to directly under the rifle as possible often yields a more stable position. My trigger hand does not support the rifle but rather grips it without disturbing its aim. If the rifle can be held level and stable with just the forward hand and sling, then one knows a good prone position has been found.
Head, Torso, Hips, and Legs
As with shooting off hand, when shooting prone, I find it best to keep my head as close to perfectly vertical as possible. While swaying is not a typical problem in the prone position, if a vertical head position grants me more stability, I will work to have one. My torso in particular bends in a way that may be uncomfortable for other prone shooters. My left hip and some of the left side of my stomach touch the ground but the majority of my chest and diaphragm are off the ground while I shoot prone. By minimizing the contact my stomach and chest have with the ground I can also minimize the effect my breathing has on my hold. (Also breathing is much easier when each breath isn’t lifting one’s torso weight). Below my waist my left leg extends almost perfectly straight out and sometimes falls asleep while shooting. My right leg is cocked and my right knee is brought up almost even with my right hip. This is what allows me to get so much of my torso off the ground.
The Finished Product
In the prone shooting game we shoot at distances from 300 to 1000 yards using iron sights (and sometimes scopes). When I have a good prone position, and my breathing is correct, there are a few seconds right before I take a shot when I feel as if my rifle is being supported on a bench. This sort of stability is only needed for the few seconds it takes to squeeze the trigger. It can, however, very consistently produce sub-minute groups with iron sights from the prone position at any range from 100-1000 yards.
Forum member Ryan Pierce set a pending new F-Class Open National Long-Range record this past Sunday at a Long Range Regional Palma Match in Lodi, Wisconsin. Ryan shot a “clean” 450 with 24 Xs in a 800/900/1000 match at Winnequah Gun Club. Once certified, Ryan’s 450-24X score tops the 449-33X record set by Robert Bock in 2008. To make the story even better, Ryan smithed the gun himself, doing his own metal and stock work! Ryan’s record-setting rig is a .284 Win with BAT action, Brux barrel, and Precision Rifle & Tool (PR&T) stock. Ryan shot Berger 180gr Hybrids pushed by H4831SC and CCI BR2s. Interestingly, Ryan set the record with a ‘dirty barrel’. By the time he finished the 1000-yard stage on Sunday, he had put over 150 rounds through his barrel since its last cleaning. Ryan wasn’t just being lazy — he had noted that the vertical tightened up the more rounds he shot.
Ryan Reveals How Record Was Set
Ryan tells us: “I had actually debated using my 6BR last weekend but didn’t and used up my last box of 180 Hybrids. They are seated .025″ off the lands with 56.0 grains of Hodgdon H4831SC and a BR2 primer. This load is running 2900 fps. I had 1 1/2 min of wind on and was favoring another half minute. I had excellent pit service, 6 seconds, by Jeff Dick. I knew he was fast so I figured ‘let’s rock and roll’. I was done in 3 to 3.5 minutes. I was pretty stoked. Halfway through the relay I started shaking pretty bad. After my last shot came up a 10 I was all smiles and couldnt believe I’d shot the 450.”
Above is Ryan with his rifle and 1000-yard target. He had two (2) sighters in the 9-ring, but the rest were 10s and Xs. Jim tells us: “As the string went on Ryan started flirting with the bottom of the 10 ring. Those pasters were removed to validate that they were indeed solid 10s.” Jim adds: “I witnessed Ryan’s 900- and 1000-yard strings and had the pleasure of signing the score card on the 1000-yard string, it was amazing to watch and see Ryan so excited about accomplishing this.”
Ryan Pierce SPEAKS OUT
CLICK “PLAY” to hear Ryan TALK about setting Nat’l Record with .284 Win at Lodi.
Above you can see Ryan’s 800- and 900-yard strings on the same target. Jim See reports that: “Due to the rain delay, and some relay jockeying, Ryan ended up being the last shooter at 800 and the first shooter at 900, all on a clean target. So when [Ryan] hit the pits he took the picture, not knowing what was in his near future.” NOTE: The 800-yard stage allowed unlimited sighters, so there are a few shots out of 10 Ring. At the 900- and 1000-yard distances, two sighters were allowed at each yardage.
We congratulate Ryan for his great shooting. This was a tough record to beat. Forum member Nodak7mm says: “This was great shooting by an awesome up-and-coming shooter in the F-Class arena. Ryan is definitely a force to be reckoned with….”. Click the link below to hear Ryan talk about setting the record, and some surprising changes he made the day of the match.
Ryan Pierce .284 Win F-Open Rig Specifications
Ryan provided this info on his record-setting rifle: “The gun has a BAT ‘M’ action (Jewell trigger), Brux 32″ 1:9″ twist barrel, and a Ray Bowman (PR&T) F-Open ‘low boy’ stock with adjustable cheekpiece and adjustable buttplate. The scope is a Nightforce NXS 12-42x56mm. The barrel has 1300 rounds through it. All the metal and stock work was done by me.” Ryan’s record-setting load consisted of Berger 180gr Hybrids pushed by H4831SC and CCI BR2s at 2900 fps. This was a straight .284 Winchester.
Forum member Rick from Louisiana (aka RMulhern) has rigged up a fantastic target for long-range shooting. Rick, a long-time competitive Palma shooter, had a large 72″x72″ steel target fabricated with two separate center rings that are equivalent to the official paper Palma/Creedmoor target. He says he’s “shot a lot of Palma on that target, as well as lots of Black Powder Cartridge (BPCR) rounds”. The big steel target works great when Rick shoots his Sharps 45/110 BPCR at 800 to 1000 yards. The large steel background (painted white) helps Rick see and hear his hits. If you understand the high-arching trajectory of 500+ grain projectiles shot from a 45/110, you know it can take a few rounds to get Point of Impact dialed in.
Rick reports: “These are two of my favorite rifles to shoot: a M1874 Shiloh Sharps in caliber 45/110 (2 7/8) made in Big Timber, Montana by Kirk Bryan and family. The other is a 6.5×47 Lapua on a blue-printed M700 action with 1:8.5″-twist Krieger barrel and F5 McMillan Tactical stock. Many of the shooters that take up BPCR have a tendency to get away from their smokeless powder rifles in favor of the blackpowder game. Frankly I have the best of both worlds as I enjoy shooting both (smokeless and BPCR), although I must admit that I probably spend the majority of my time on the range with the Sharps rifles these days.” (Rick’s pretty good with his Sharps by the way — he recently shot a 95, 96, and 100 (clean) for 3×10 shots at 800 yards.)
Gongzilla: $1000 Worth of Steel with Three Plate Layers
Rick tells us: “Here’s the deal — everything is steel! The large plate is 72″x72″ and the black bull is 44″ diameter. The 20″-diameter central white bull is made from 1/2″-thick AR400 bull-dozer plating. That’s the same size as the regulation Palma/Creedmoor paper target. The white square and black bull are 3/8″-thick mild steel. Plates are off-set 2″ from each other. I welded a 2″ length of square tubing to the back of both plates and the bolt slides through and is attached to the large plate. I used 2 3/8″ upset tubing (oil field pipe) for the holder framing.” Rick says he invested about $1000.00 in metal for the target, but that was 15 years ago. Today the steel would be much more expensive.
Rick says the AR400 armor plate in the center bull is very strong: “You can shoot a .338 Lapua Magnum at 200 yards and it won’t damage the center bull”. The mild steel works well for the cast bullets Rick uses with his Sharps 45/110. Also, Rick says the mild steel is rugged enough for 6.5mm and .308 hollowpoint match bullets, if you’re at least 500 yards away. However, Rick told us, “If I would make [the target] again, I would make the black bull AR400 as well. [That way] you would never have to worry about big dents or beating the plate up at any distance. The AR400 is very tough steel. You can shoot a Sierra or Lapua HP bullet and they will just splatter.”
Rick told us: “I built this target with off-set clanger plates. The white clanger is AR400. Bullets just splatter!” Does he worry about hitting the bolt head? Not at all. Rick says: “When I hit the bolt head, I break my arm patting myself on the back!”.
For more information about Rick’s all-steel 1000-yard target, read this AccurateShooter Forum Thread. Registered Forum Members can also send private messages to “RMulhern”.