April 6th, 2019

Improve Your Shooting Skills with Multi-Discipline Training

Michelle Gallagher Cross Training

Guest Article By Michelle Gallagher, Berger Bullets
Let’s face it. In the world of firearms, there is something for everyone. Do you like to compete? Are you a hunter? Are you more of a shotgun shooter or rifle shooter? Do you enjoy running around between stages of a timed course, or does the thought of shooting one-hole groups appeal to you more? Even though many of us shoot several different firearms and disciplines, chances are very good that we all have a favorite. Are we spreading ourselves too thin by shooting different disciplines, or is it actually beneficial? I have found that participating in multiple disciplines can actually improve your performance. Every style of shooting is different; therefore, they each develop different skills that benefit each other.

How can cross-training in other disciplines help you? For example, I am most familiar with long-range prone shooting, so let’s start there. To be a successful long-range shooter, you must have a stable position, accurate ammunition, and good wind-reading skills. You can improve all of these areas through time and effort, but there are other ways to improve more efficiently. Spend some time practicing smallbore. Smallbore rifles and targets are much less forgiving when it comes to position and shot execution. Long-range targets are very large, so you can get away with accepting less than perfect shots. Shooting smallbore will make you focus more on shooting perfectly center shots every time. Another way to do this with your High Power rifle is to shoot on reduced targets at long ranges. This will also force you to accept nothing less than perfect. Shoot at an F-Class target with your iron sights. At 1000 yards, the X-Ring on a long range target is 10 inches; it is 5 inches on an F-Class target. Because of this, you will have to focus harder on sight alignment to hit a center shot. When you go back to the conventional target, you will be amazed at how large the ten ring looks.

Michelle Gallagher Cross Training

Also, most prone rifles can be fitted with a bipod. Put a bipod and scope on your rifle, and shoot F-TR. Shooting with a scope and bipod eliminates position and eyesight factors, and will allow you to concentrate on learning how to more accurately read the wind. The smaller target will force you to be more aggressive on your wind calls. It will also help encourage you to use better loading techniques. Nothing is more frustrating than making a correct wind call on that tiny target, only to lose the point out the top or bottom due to inferior ammunition. If you put in the effort to shoot good scores on the F-Class target, you will be amazed how much easier the long-range target looks when you return to your sling and iron sights. By the same token, F-Class shooters sometimes prefer to shoot fast and chase the spotter. Shooting prone can help teach patience in choosing a wind condition to shoot in, and waiting for that condition to return if it changes.

Benchrest shooters are arguably among the most knowledgeable about reloading. If you want to learn better techniques about loading ammunition, you might want to spend some time at benchrest matches. You might not be in contention to win, but you will certainly learn a lot about reloading and gun handling. Shooting F-Open can also teach you these skills, as it is closely related to benchrest. Benchrest shooters may learn new wind-reading techniques by shooting mid- or long-range F-Class matches.

Michelle Gallagher Cross TrainingPosition shooters can also improve their skills by shooting different disciplines. High Power Across-the-Course shooters benefit from shooting smallbore and air rifle. Again, these targets are very small, which will encourage competitors to be more critical of their shot placement. Hunters may benefit from shooting silhouette matches, which will give them practice when shooting standing with a scoped rifle. Tactical matches may also be good, as tactical matches involve improvising shots from various positions and distances. [Editor: Many tactical matches also involve hiking or moving from position to position — this can motivate a shooter to maintain a good level of general fitness.]

These are just a few ways that you can benefit from branching out into other shooting disciplines. Talk to the other shooters. There is a wealth of knowledge in every discipline, and the other shooters will be more than happy to share what they have learned. Try something new. You may be surprised what you get out of it. You will certainly learn new skills and improve the ones you already have. You might develop a deeper appreciation for the discipline you started off with, or you may just discover a new passion.

This article originally appeared in the Berger Bulletin. The Berger Bulletin blog contains the latest info on Berger products, along with informative articles on target shooting and hunting.

Article Find by EdLongrange.

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September 20th, 2018

Sling Thing: Dennis DeMille Explains How to Set Up Your Sling

Dennis DeMille Creedmoor Sports Rifle Sling video training set-up
Dennis DeMille shows a young competitor at the CMP Western Games how to adjust his leather sling.

Setting-Up a Leather Service Rifle Sling for Competition
So you made the mistake of disassembling your leather service rifle sling, or are intimidated about how to use one? In this Creedmoor Sports InfoZone video, Creedmoor G.M. Dennis DeMille explains how to set up and use a sling. The covers the basics — Dennis starts with a totally disassembled leather service rifle sling and shows you how to set it up properly.

Tip: “Many shooters shy away from using a leather sling because they have never been taught how to use one. That’s unfortunate. In my opinion a leather sling offers more support than a web sling, which is important when competiting with the heavier than normal rifles.”

Configuring the Sling for the Standing (Offhand) Position
In this second in a series of Creedmoor InfoZone videos on the setup and use of the leather service rifle sling, Dennis DeMille details how to configure and best utilize the leather service rifle sling while shooting from the standing position.

Tip: “Putting the Frogs in different hole will change the amount of added elevation a sling provides.”

Looking at Sling Types — Comparing the Features
In this video Dennis showcases a large variety of shooting slings. He explains the strong points of each type so you can choose the sling best suited to your discipline and shooting style.

Dennis DeMille High PowerThe Benefits of Dry-Fire Training
Once you know how to set up your sling properly, you’ll want to practice. Dennis DeMille stresses the importance of dry-fire practice with sling and shooting coat. Dry-Fire training is essential to the sling disciplines. Dennis DeMille, a national Service Rifle Champion, told us that, for every minute he spent in actual competition, he would spend hours practicing without ammunition. While in the USMC, Dennis would practice in the barracks, working on his hold and dry-firing:

“The most important thing is to spend time off the range practicing. Most of what I learned as a High Power shooter I learned without ammunition — just spending time dry firing and doing holding exercises. Holding exercises will really identify the weak parts of your position. The primary purpose of dry firing is to get you used to shooting an empty rifle. If you can shoot a loaded rifle the same way you shoot an empty rifle then eventually you will become a High Master.”

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September 29th, 2017

Hunting 101: How Hunters Can Stabilize Their Shooting Positions

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand
For hunters in a tree stand, SFC McPhail recommends a position with your weakside leg pulled up and firmly braced on the front rail of the treestand. You can then rest your support arm on your leg. This provides a rock-solid position when shooting from a stand.

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestandTeam USA Olympian and ISSF World Cup Winner SFC Michael McPhail is one of the world’s best smallbore rifle shooters. He is also an avid hunter, who enjoys harvesting game with centerfire rifles. In a USAMU video, McPhail shows how competition shooting positions can be adapted for hunters. McPhail shows how well-established positions can provide a more stable platform for hunters in the field. That can help ensure a successful hunt. McPhail demonstrates three positions: kneeling, supported prone, and sitting in a tree-stand.

Watch SFC McPhail Demonstrate Positions for Hunters (Good Video):

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

McPhail first demonstrates the kneeling position. Michael notes: “I like kneeling. It’s a little bit of an under-utilized position, but it’s almost as stable as prone. It allows you get up off the ground a little bit higher to [compensate for] vegetation. For kneeling start by taking your non-dominant foot and put that towards the target, while at the same time dropping down to a knee on the dominant leg. At the same time … wrap the sling around wrist and fore-arm, lean slightly into the target and take the shot.”

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

McPhail shows a nice “field expedient” use of your backpack. He shows how the basic prone position can be adapted, using the pack as a front rifle support. McPhail recommends pulling your dominant (strongside) leg forward, bent at the knee. According to Michael, this takes pressure off the abdomen, helps minimizes heart beat effects, and helps with breathing.

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December 27th, 2016

Reptilian R1 — Santiago’s Snakeskin TubeGun

Santiago Tubegun Eliseo R1 Snakeskin Hydro-dip

Santiago Tubegun Eliseo R1 Snakeskin Hydro-dip

Santiago Tubegun Eliseo R1 Snakeskin Hydro-dipA 7mm Snake for Santiago
Our friend Dennis Santiago has a reptilian rig in his arsenal. It’s actually an Eliseo R1 single-shot tubegun chambered in .284 Winchester. The eye-catching aspect of Santiago’s .284 bolt-gun is the snakeskin dip job on the exterior. This really creates a distinctive look. Dennis tells us: “It was Gary Eliseo’s idea to try a water-transfer printing finish for this rifle. There are many patterns to choose from — this is the WTP-260 Snakeskin Illusion-Fall Copper from WaterTransferPrinting.com. For a single shot LR gun, I figured something on the bright side would be interesting and pick up less heat from the sun in the summer.”

Dennis will use his new rifle in prone matches, where a single shot works fine. He says: “Underneath the hood, it’s a Rem 700 Long Action, chambered in .284 Win. Yes it’s a single shot! I don’t need anything else for a prone gun. Nothing to get in the way of building the perfect position.”

Dennis says: “Length of pull, offset and cast initially set the same as my similar RTS .308. My gun, my body dimensions.”
Santiago Tubegun Eliseo R1 Snakeskin Hydro-dip

A FFP 6-24x50mm Sightron Rides on Top
The optic is a Sightron 6-24x50mm, FFP MOA-2. Dennis reports: “I looked at many scopes (within my determined price range), and this is the one that had the best combination of features for for this gun’s particular application. The sight line sits about 3 inches above bore line on these guns. It’s been leveled, bore-sighted and pre-dialed for a 200-yard estimated zero for the ammo I plan to use. Those are Gen II A.R.M.S. rings. Super easy to tailor to different rail widths. Same rock-steady steel performance.”

Santiago Tubegun Eliseo R1 Snakeskin Hydro-dip

Santiago Tubegun Eliseo R1 Snakeskin Hydro-dip

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April 10th, 2016

Joystick Bipod Shooting Tips by Joy-Pod Inventor Seb Lambang

SEB Coax Joypod joystick bipod joy-Pod

Do you shoot with a SEB joystick-equipped bipod, or are you considering acquiring a “Joy-Pod” for your F-TR rifle? Then you should read this article. Here Sebastian (“Seb”) Lambang, the inventor and builder of the SEB joystick bipod, offers tips on shooting with this impressive piece of engineering. Seb explains some techniques that can help with tracking and getting back on target. You can ask SEB questions about his Joy-Pod in this Shooter’s Forum Thread.

Joy-Pod Shooting Tips by Seb Lambang

1. Be sure that the rear bag is settled before starting to shoot. Tap your stock into the bag. Then move your rifle back and forth, while checking your reticle. If it tracks straight, vertically perfect, and comes back to the original point of aim, it’s fine. If not, re-adjust.

2. If you use the Pod-Pad, be sure it is fully settled before starting to shoot. Tap the top where the feet rides on using your palm — you wan to create a flat top. To be sure the Pod-Pad does not move or slide, remove any gravel or pebbles under the pad — these can act as roller bearings.

SEB Coax Joypod joystick bipod joy-Pod
Photo Courtesy Busselton Rifle Club, Australia.

3. Be sure your shooting mat is NOT springy or spongy. This is very important. Use a proper mat, or cut it if possible so your rear bag rests directly on the ground. Use a heavy rear bag. You can use a sand-filled doughnut (not a rigid spacer) to stabilize the bag on uneven ground. These doughnuts are relatively inexpensive and really work.

4. Be sure your whole body position is correct, so your shoulder is square. “Follow” the recoil with your shoulder, don’t push “against” it. Don’t move too much. Don’t make unimportant movements during your shooting string. Always be as consistent as you can in all things — how you hold the rifle, even how you breathe before taking the shot.

This young lady shooter is using a first generation Joy-Pod. The newer versions have flat, ski-like feet.
SEB Joy-Pod

5. Be sure your rifle and rear bag are aligned. You want the slot between the ears of the bag perfectly aligned with your barrel. (You can use a yardstick or a piece of string to help with the alignment).

SEB Coax Joypod joystick bipod joy-Pod

6. Use a heavy rear bag. The heavier and the more stable, the better.

7. It does not matter (from my own experience) whether you light-hold the joystick or leave the joystick in the air when you shoot (see Darrell Buell video — he shoots “hands off”). I believe the bullet already exits the muzzle before the joystick moves in your fingers. I lightly hold the joystick myself, just as I would hold a billiard stick.

Watch Darrell Buell shooting his .375 CheyTac equipped with a counter-balanced Joy-Pod. Note how the gun comes straight back, and how Darrell can release the joystick before breaking the shot.

SUMMARY — When It All Comes Together
If everything is set up right, and done correctly, your rifle will track beautifully straight and your reticle will come back or very close to the original point of aim, every time. If you have to change the Joy-Pod, rear bag, or your body position after a shot, there could still be something wrong with your set-up, alignment, or body position. When everything is right, you can also see your own score in the scope after every shot you make (after initial recoil). You also should not have to change the bipod’s setting, the height, the cant etc., at all. You only need to adjust for the current condition with the joystick, the joystick will do it all. That’s why we call our bipod the JOY-Pod.

SEB JOY-POD Joystick Bipod, and POD-PAD
Weighing in at just 18 ounces (510 grams), the Gen 2 Joy-Pod is unlike any other bipod on the market. Designed specifically for weight-restricted shooting classes, the Joy-Pod offers smooth and precise joystick-controlled aiming. The Gen 2 model offers up to 14 degrees of cant and an improved design that functions with up to 50 pounds of rifle weight. Each Joy-Pod comes with a Weaver rail adapter. The optional Pod-Pad accessory is designed expressly for the Joy-Pod. It works filled or unfilled with the Joy-Pod’s sleds to bring you back to your shooting position easily. CLICK HERE for more information, or visit SebRests.com.

.308 Win Tactical Rifle fitted with Joy-Pod on Pod-Pad. CLICK HERE for Video.
SEB Coax Joypod joystick bipod joy-Pod

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February 5th, 2016

New Mid-Range Prone Discipline for AR Shooters

AR Mid-range prone high power match bipod tactical
Here’s an AR configuration suited to the new AR Mid-Range Prone Discipline: Moderate-length barrel, Harris Bipod, Leupold Mark AR MOD 1 4-12x40mm scope. Photobucket image by Ingo1978.

The NRA has created a new mid-range, target-shooting discipline for AR owners. The provisional rules for the new AR Mid-Range Prone Competition will allow calibers from .22 up to .308. Rifle weight will be limited to 14 pounds. Competitors may use Harris (or similar) compact, “tactical” bipods, and optics up to 12-power will be allowed (but iron sights can also be used). The goal of this new competition is to get the many AR owners to the range to compete.

The NRA’s Information Sheet for the new mid-range discipline explains: “These rifles are of the ‘AR-Platform’ variety, semi-automatic, chambered in any caliber from .223 cal./5.56mm. up to and including .308 cal./7.62mm. The courses of fire will be the same courses of fire currently used for other NRA Mid-Range (Prone) High Power Competition (300, 500, and 600 yards) and are designed to be fired concurrently with other forms of Mid-Range competition. The targets will be the same targets that are used for Service Rifle, Match Rifle, and Palma Rifle Mid-Range Prone competition. Mid-range telescopic sights will be allowed, but not required. Because this is prone competition, shooters may use tactical front rests such as Harris-type bipods and limited rear rests of the type one might find used in military or police tactical situations.”

A very prominent NRA member who works with the Competition Committee recently posted this explanation of the new AR discipline on our Forum:

NRA Mid-Range (Prone) Tactical Rifle (AR)
For those clubs and match directors who have members with ARs who want to shoot Mid-Range Prone but who don’t want (or can’t afford) to shoot traditional “sling” or F-Class, we have a new opportunity to get those ARs out of the closet and onto the range with very little in the way of additional costs:

It’s called Mid-Range Tactical Rifle (AR). A copy of the description and the Rules (Provisional) are attached as a PDF file and should be published by the NRA very soon. CAUTION — these are NOT official — but I think they are accurate:

In brief, here’s how it works:

1. The event will be fired concurrently with any other Mid-Range event, alongside of F-Class and “sling” divisions.
2. The Event will be fired on the “sling targets”.
3. AR Rifle General Standards:

    Calibers: 223/5.56 up to and including .308/7.62mm
    Weight: Overall weight not more than 14 pounds
    Support: Harris-type “tactical bipod” (no large F-Class bipods).
    Optics: Scope not more than 12X
    Barrel: Not more than 20″
    Trigger: Trigger pull not less than 4.5 pounds

4. This is NOT F-Class — this is designed to be closer to “tactical”. F-Class competition gear is generally illegal; competition stocks are generally illegal. [The event] is designed to attract more law enforcement and/or military (maybe local National Guard?) and other “tactical shooters” out to the range shooting for precision. For more info, check out the attached PDF file.

CLICK HERE for AR Mid-Range Prone Competition Information Document..

You’ll find a discussion of this new AR Mid-Range discipline in our Shooters’ Forum, HERE: AR Mid-Range Match Forum Thread. Here are some interesting comments from that thread:

“Opening up mid-range matches for ARs is a great idea. I’m not an AR guy myself, but I have lots of shooting friends who are. They tend to have a lot of ideas what their guns are capable of out to 600 yards, but most don’t take many opportunities to shoot them at those ranges, and none of the existing High Power disciplines are very appealing. Until now. I hope it doesn’t become an equipment race. A 185/200 is a respectable score even with a 12″ 10 ring. I hope everyone is supportive — helping get these guys on the paper and providing positive feedback even for scores that seem modest by F-Class standards.” — Comment by Berger.Fan222

“It looks like the recommended targets will be the same as conventional shooters use (i.e. ~1 MOA X-ring). Given the specifications for rifles/bipods/scopes/etc., I think this would be an appropriate level of difficulty to start. It will be challenging, particularly at 600 yards, but by no means impossible. Of course, at 600 yards, anyone shooting an AR15 (.223/5.56) will be at a disadvantage to ballistically-superior calibers unless they come up with a good way to load 80+ grain bullets that will mag-feed. Personally, I’d like to see this limited strictly to .223 ARs. Almost everyone has one and the mag feed requirement would really keep things even across the board. The inclusion of other calibers will allow this to become a ‘caliber race’ in that .223 will have a very hard time keeping up with other, better calibers at 600 yards.” — Comment by gstaylorg

“Looks like a great new addition. The PDF document says rule 7.20 for course of fire which is mid-range slow fire. I believe all slow fire is currently ‘one round loads’. The PDF explicitly states 10-, 20- or 30-round magazines and no sleds. Does anyone know if this new discipline would be fired from magazine or one-round loads? Shooting from magazine would be keeping with the ‘tactical’ aspect and enforcing mag-length loads. But it does not seem to jive with the ‘one round load’ currently stipulated for slow fire?” — Comment by Highpower-FClass

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December 31st, 2015

SFC McPhail Aims for Olympic Gold in 50m Prone Rifle

Shooting Olympics prone smallbore 50 meter 50m ISSF World Cup Team USA
SFC Michael McPhail, shown above, is currently ranked #1 in the world in the smallbore 50m prone rifle discipline. He’s one of the favorites to win Gold in 2016.

Shooting Olympics prone smallbore 50 meter 50m ISSF World Cup Team USAAs the 2015 international shooting season comes to a close, the USAMU shooting teams are preparing for the 2016 Olympic trials and a chance to compete in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro next summer. One USAMU marksman who has already secured a berth for the 2016 Olympics is SFC Michael McPhail of Darlington, Wisconsin.

SFC Michael McPhail, ranked number one in the world in men’s 50-meter rifle prone, already won his spot on the U.S. Olympic team by virtue of his performances in 2015 ISSF World Cup events. McPhail, of Darlington, Wisconsin, won the ISSF World Cup Finals in Munich this September. McPhail also won back-to-back gold medals at the ISSF World Cup events at Fort Benning, GA and Munich, Germany, held in May and early June of 2015.

Michael McPhail Secures Olympic Team Nomination with World Cup Finals Triumph
Shooting Olympics prone smallbore 50 meter 50m ISSF World Cup Team USA

McPhail said for anyone who wants to participate in the Olympics, the Army provides superior coaching, training, equipment and ammunition. “For a kid who shoots and their goal is to make the Olympics, the Army Marksmanship Unit is the place to go,” McPhail said.

SFC Jason Parker, International Rifle and Pistol Teams coach noted that: “Sergeant First Class McPhail has had a fantastic year. He has a great potential for medaling in the Olympic Games.”

With one seat already taken by McPhail for men’s 50-meter rifle prone, two other USAMU Soldiers are Parker’s top picks for the second and final seat. They are SFC Eric Uptagrafft and SSG George Norton. “Sergeant First Class Uptagrafft is another top contender for making the United States Olympic Team,” Parker said. “In the past, he has won multiple world class medals, he has been to two Olympics already, and he is one of our top shooters. He will be trying to get that last spot in the prone, and I wouldn’t count him out of anything.”

For more information on the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, visit www.USAMU.com.

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May 28th, 2015

Tube TECH: How to Configure Eliseo Tubegun for Prone Shooting

Salazar tubegun

This 2010 story is reprinted at readers’ request.
In the past few years, tubeguns have really taken over in high power circles. At many matches you’ll see more tubeguns than conventional prone rifles, and a high percentage of those tubeguns will have been built using an Eliseo (Competition Machine) CSS chassis kit.

Step-By-Step Guide to Stock Set-Up
If you are a new tubegun shooter, or if you are planning a tubegun build this winter, our friend “GS Arizona” has prepared a comprehensive set-up guide for Eliseo tubeguns. Eliseo’s CSS chassis system affords a myriad of adjustments. Initially, one can be overwhelmed by all the variables: Length of Pull, Length to Sights, Length to Handstop, Cheekpad Height, Buttstock Offset, Buttstock Cant Angle, Handstop Angle, and Forearm Rotation.

Salazar tubegun

(more…)

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November 16th, 2014

Motivational Advice from Eley’s Champion Shooters

Eley sponsors many of the world’s top rimfire shooters, who have shared their Tips from the Top for 2014. Five ace smallbore shooters provide advice on how to shoot better, how to train more effectively, and how to stay motivated even when “the going gets tough”. If you’re a competitive shooter (in any discipline) you can benefit from reading these words of wisdom from world-class shooters.

Eley champions shooting tips

Henri Junghaenel, current world #1 ranked, 50M prone rifle shooter.

    Focus on Fundamentals: Good performance requires a solid technical foundation. One can hunt after personal bests or one can try to work on the technical basics. The latter will probably lead to better results sooner.

    Stay Motivated Over Time: Be persistent and don’t lose your motivation on your way to success. Shooting, like every other sport, requires a learning process which takes a lot of time.

    Don’t Yield to Outside Pressures: Don’t let the expectations from others impact yourself. If some people try to put pressure on you (consciously or unconsciously), don’t let them!

Bill Collaros, 2013 Australian WRABF World Cup (Benchrest) and RBA team captain.

    Don’t Skimp on Hardware: Ensure your equipment is a good as you can buy. This includes: rests, bags, rifle, scope, and ammunition.

    Tune to Your Ammo: Ensure that the ammunition you have is tested and your rifle is tuned to it, to get the smallest possible group.

    Train in All Conditions: Train in all sorts of wind and conditions so you know how your rifle and ammunition react in all circumstances.

Stine Nielsen, 2012 Olympic finalist for 3-Position Smallbore Rifle.

    Eley champions shooting tips

    No Excuses: When I train, I train by my motto: “A loser has excuses. A winner has a plan.” And when I shoot in competitions I think about that mantra.

    Stay Focused: When I stand at a shooting range, I have a good focus on my shooting and myself. I also have a good will to want to shoot 110%.

Zorana Arunovic, current world #2 ranked, 25M women’s pistol shooter.

    Never give up: No matter how hard it is you should always find something that will inspire you to keep going further. I find my inspiration in the success of other athletes. They inspire me to work more and harder. I would say to any young athletes, never give up, no matter how hard it is.

João Costa, current world #2 ranked, 50m pistol shooter.

    Breathing is Key: In shooting as in life, breathing is of paramount importance. So, when shooting try to be calm and quiet. On the bench in front of me I have my pistol, the scope, the magazine and my choice ammo then I count:

    1… Eley – breathe
    2… Eley – breathe
    3… Eley – breathe
    4… Eley – breathe
    5… Eley – breathe

Story find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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June 11th, 2014

Zebra Spotted in the Pacific Northwest

Forum Member John V.S. (aka BPD459) has a special story to tell — about rifle craftsmanship and a life-long friend. What you see below is John’s new .243 Win prone rifle. It sports a beautiful Zebrawood stock crafted by Mr. James Cloward. Here’s the story of Jim Cloward and John’s new gun:

James Cloward of Lake Stevens, Washington did the stock in just a month. The stock is African Zebrawood, with an Ebony grip cap and a WTC rail. Jim had the Zebrawood in stock. I wanted a lighter-colored stock and this blank called my name and did not eat my wallet either! Photos do not do it justice! The rifle features a Barnard action, and 30″, 1:7.5″-twist Krieger chambered in .243 Win by Randy Gregory. Sights are Warner rear and RightSight front.

CLICK Photo to See Full-Screen Version
James Cloward Zebrawood Stock gunstock wood prone rifle

Jim Cloward surveys the original blank.
James Cloward Zebrawood Stock gunstock wood prone rifle

Jim’s stock work is above reproach. His hand-cut checkering is better than a couple custom 1911s I had done by “big name” builders! When Jim refined the original Roy Dunlap stock, he created history. There is no better feeling / handling stock on the world than a Cloward Dunlap stock. I wanted him to do a Dunlap for my Barnards and we could not get it to work due to the size and trigger placement on the Barnard action. So, I just had to make due with his prone stocks — life is rough sometimes.

Respect for a Master Craftsman
I am honored to have known Jim since I was 12, and even more honored to call him a friend. Growing up, it was always “Sir” or “Mr. Cloward” when I would ask him something. When I was 35, Mr. Cloward told me “You can call me Jim now”. I felt like I was a grown-up adult that day!

James Cloward Zebrawood Stock gunstock wood prone rifle

I have several Cloward-built XC rifles and two other prone rifles that Jim stocked. It still amazes me how Jim can take a big piece of rough-sawn firewood and turn into artwork that’s functional and better looking than anyone else’s stocks!

Permalink Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
January 10th, 2014

Gear Review: SCATT MX-02 Dry Fire and Live Fire Training System

SCATT MX-02 MX02 rifle trainer lens
by Tony Chow
In recent years, the use of electronic trainer systems has revolutionized training in all disciplines of position shooting. By capturing (and illustrating) key performance variables like the steadiness of a shooter’s hold, accuracy of aiming, and the timeliness of trigger release, these devices can offer tremendous insights into the strengths and weakness of a shooter’s position and technique, making high-level marksmanship training less voodoo and more of a science.

Until now, electronic trainers all suffered from one critical limitation: the inability to be used outdoors in live fire training. Now, however, SCATT has introduced the next-generation MX-02 electronic trainer, a product that can finally support outdoor live firing in broad daylight, as well as dry firing indoors. In addition, the MX-02 is the first electronic trainer to support centerfire rifles. It goes without saying that, when we at AccurateShooter.com were offered an MX-02 test unit to review, we jumped at the opportunity.

SCATT MX-02 MX02 rifle trainer lens

READ FULL REVIEW of SCATT MX-02 Electronic Trainer

How the SCATT MX-02 Works
The SCATT sensor mounted on the end of the barrel has a digital camera that “sees” the black bullseye in the target, even in broad daylight outdoors. Using the bullseye as a reference, the SCATT software tracks the movement of the muzzle relative to the center of the target. The unit can plot these movements as a continuous trace, which appears on a monitor as a squiggly, colored line. Data points from the trace are also available in a tabular spreadsheet format. This allows the shooter to “crunch the numbers”, revealing strengths and weaknesses in his gun-handling and aiming technique.

In our testing, we confirmed that, like SCATT’s earlier indoor-only WS-01, the MX-02 offers excellent support for indoor dry-fire training, which will continue to be the primary means through which position shooters sharpen their fundamental skills. Since the new SCATT uses the same familiar Windows software for data capture and analysis as its predecessors, shooters and coaches upgrading to MX-02 will have no learning curve to overcome, and newcomers to the SCATT platform can tap into the wealth of institutional knowledge accumulated over the years by the shooting community on how to interpret shot data.

It’s in the support for outdoor live firing, however, that SCATT MX-02 distinguishes itself from its predecessors and the competition. Shot trace data captured by MX-02 during live firing turned out to be every bit as valuable (and revealing) as we had hoped. The ability to correlate SCATT tracing with real shots on target gave us a better understanding of the shooting process, and helped the reviewer, already a high-level smallbore prone shooter, uncover a significant problem in his shooting. SCATT MX-02’s outdoor capability is therefore an invaluable feature, particularly for experienced shooters aspiring to world-class performance.

SCATT MX-02 MX02 rifle trainer lens

SCATT MX-02 MX02 rifle trainer lens

In summary, SCATT MX-02 is an outstanding product that delivers on its promises. We heartily recommend it, both for first-time users of electronic training aids, and also for those shooters who may wish to upgrade their current electronic training system. The MSRP for SCATT MX-02 is $1,799, $500 more than its predecessor, the SCATT WS-01, which is still available. In my view, the $500 premium for the MX-02 is justified by the MX-02’s enhanced capabilities, making it a better long-term investment.

Our complete, 3600-word MX-02 review of the SCATT MX-02 can be accessed through the link below. This full review contains many more photos plus detailed field test results. For the time being, the review only covers our experience with the product in smallbore shooting. An upcoming addendum to the review will include test results from centerfire shooting. Those attending SHOT Show in Las Vegas next week can examine SCATT MX-02 in person. SCATT will have the MX-02 on display at Booth 111.

READ FULL REVIEW of SCATT MX-02 Electronic Trainer

For more information or to order SCATT products, including the new MX-02, visit ScattUSA.com or call toll-free: 1-855-57-SCATT (72288).

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Shooting Skills 4 Comments »
December 23rd, 2013

Useful Website for Small-bore and Air Rifle Shooters

Massachusetts smallbore shooter Dan Holmes, well-known match shooter and gun writer Hap Rocketto, and Erik Hoskins have developed a great dedicated website for competitive small-bore and air rifle shooters. Over the past few years, Pronematch.com has delivered quality content, including match reports, shooting tips, rule changes/updates, tech reports, and a calendar of events.

Pronematch.com also has a “human interest” feature, called the “Shooter Spotlights”. Holmes and his staff have interviewed dozens of shooters. Each marksman answers a few questions about his/her background in shooting, shooting techniques, match strategies, and personal items (such as “What is your favorite pre-match meal?).

The “Shooter Spotlights” let you “tap into” the wisdom of some of the county’s best shooters. Many of those interviewed offer some great tips, or they share fascinating anecdotes about the shooting sports.

We recommend you visit Pronematch.com, if nothing else to peruse the profiles, check the upcoming matches and read the popular “Hap’s Corner” stories. Hap is a talented writer who has provided plenty of content to ProneMatch.com. As just one example, Hap has written a fascinating Short History of Camp Perry and The National Championships.

Permalink Competition, News, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
June 30th, 2013

Body and rifle positioning for prone shooting

by Kelly Bachand
Prone from above[Editor: If you have been watching the Top Shot All-Stars TV series this season you’ve noticed that our Buddy Kelly Bachand has been “kicking a** and taking names”. On last week’s episode Kelly was the only shooter to place multiple rimfire rounds through the center of a CD without touching the plastic. Most of the other Aall-stars in this challenge couldn’t send even one shot through the CD without breaking plastic. Shooting offhand, Kelly went three-for-three. That’s impressive. Though you know him best from Top Shot, Kelly 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.

Prone position

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.

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 8 Comments »
June 7th, 2013

37-Year-Old Whips Young Guns at USA Shooting Championships

Justin Tracy wasn’t prepared to be standing on top of the podium at the USA Shooting Championsihps. The 37-year-old from Farmington, NY, didn’t start competitive shooting until well after his college years and only had minimal military experience as a part-time member of the New York Air Guard.

Yet the relative newcomer to the sport beat a field of competitors dotted with Olympians and World Cup medalists to find himself atop the podium with a National Champion title in the Men’s Prone Rifle event at the USA Shooting National Championships. Tracy has a two-day aggregate score of 1256.9 points and has earned himself a spot on the National Team as well.

usa shooting Championships

“I was one of the few shooters in yesterday’s final that was in today’s final so that gave me a real advantage and I just ran with it!” said Tracy. “Before Spain I’m going to need to definitely work on shooting under pressure- I saw some weak points I had, getting a shaky trigger finger with nerves, so I’ll need to work on things like that!”

Rounding out the podium in second place is four-time Olympian and U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) shooter Jason Parker with a score of 1253.5. Parker took gold in the Men’s Three-Position Rifle event earlier this week. In third was National Junior Team member Daniel Lowe with 1251.3 points.

Two other new National Champions in prone rifle shooting were also crowned. On the Women’s Prone Rifle side, National Team member Sarah Beard took home her second medal of the week with a first-place finish of 1248 points. In the Junior Men’s Prone event, Kevin Sui took gold with 1246 points.

usa shooting Championships

New members to the National and Developmental Paralympic teams were welcomed at events yesterday and today with eight new athletes being named to the Paralympic Development Team and one new athlete named to the Paralympic National Team.

usa shooting Championships

Rifle Competition in rifle now moves to Men’s Air and Women’s Three-Position over the next two days. View all photos from the USA Shooting National Championships for Rifle & Pistol at www.flickr.com/usashooting. To view results for all disciplines, CLICK HERE for USA Shooting Championships scores.

All Photos courtesy USAShooting.org, All Rights Reserved.
Permalink Competition, News No Comments »
May 30th, 2013

First Time’s a Charm with 6BRX in Eliseo Tubegun Chassis

6mm BRX fire formingFor those of use who have sweated through fire-forming and load development, it’s nice to see things coming together right out of the gate. With the 6mmBR improved wildcats such as the BRX, BRDX, and Dasher, it’s not unusual to see outstanding accuracy even while blowing out cases. In fact the accuracy is usually good enough that you might as well do your fire-forming during competition (once you’ve confirmed that everything is working with a 10-round function test). We’ve seen Dashers shoot in the low twos and even ones during fire-forming — so long as you load carefully and use good bullets, powder, and primers. Here’s a report from Forum member Chris W. (aka “baydawg”) on his new 6mm BRX tube gun:

Shot my 6 BRX last night for the first time at 600 yards last night. The result was a 199-11X. Not bad for fire-forming brass with thrown loads… LOL. Thanks Gary Eliseo and Competition Machine for a kick-ass chassis!”

6mm BRX Fire forming Eliseo Tubegun

Gun Specs: Competition Machine R1 in Granny Smith green. Pierce repeater tube gun action. 32″ Bartlien 6mm barrel, chambered in 6mm BRX. Smithed by Pierce Engineering in Lansing, Michigan.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo 4 Comments »
March 3rd, 2013

MidwayUSA Pro Series Competition Shooting Mat for $49.99

The MidwayUSA Pro Series Competition Shooting Mat is now on sale for just $49.99, through the end of March, 2013. That’s 51% off the regular $102.99 price. This mat is bigger and better than MidwayUSA’s original shooting mat, with many enhancements. The Pro Series mat measures a full 73.5″ x 35.5″ and the padding is thicker. There is a zippered pocket on the front extension flap to hold ammo or log book. The rubberized contact areas are tan now (rather than black) so they don’t get so hot in the sun. And the designers added webbing “pockets” for bipod feet so you can pre-load the ‘pod with forward pressure. MidwayUSA has done a good job improving a mat that was already a good deal for the money. At $49.99 on sale (through 3/31/2013), this Pro Series mat is a great deal.

MidwayUSA pro series shooting mat

MidwayUSA pro series shooting mat

MidwayUSA Buyer Reviews:

Five Stars: Great upgrades to the original. It’s bigger in every direction, and the padding is twice as thick. The new knee and elbow pads won’t get as hot as the black material on the old one did, and the new material is “grippier” than the old stuff too. The bi-pod stop is a nice touch if you shoot F-T/R. — Bob M., Missouri, 10/6/2010.

Five Stars: As a competitive shooter my mat is important. The mat I replaced had been with me for about twenty years. It had been with me through the famous weather at Camp Perry, the winds and sand of Grayling 1000 yard matches. My Midway mat arrived shiny and new, full of stuffing, stiff and green. At my next match I found I liked the feel of the mat, it has handles! The rocks and sand on the firing line were not as sharp. The rubber is well-placed. It has proven to be rugged and quite up to the task. I am seeing more Midway mats at matches. A good thing. — Tom, Michigan, 12/26/2012.

Four Stars: I purchased this mat for a 2-day Appleseed event this fall. Good overall quality and more than wide and long enough for my frame. The only drawback and reason for me giving it 4 stars instead of 5 is that the padding is insufficient when placed on top of a rocky surface. I wasn’t looking for a sleeping mat mind you, but you feel every single rock underneath the mat when shooting prone (especially on the elbows), kneeling and when transitioning between positions. Best to use another pad underneath if you are using it on a rocky surface. Most of the other mats out there have the same drawbacks so this is still a great choice at a very decent price. — Chris S., Illinois, 1/6/2013.

Five Stars: This is a great mat for the money. It’s larger, thicker, and stickier than my old one. I could use larger knee area friction pads, but that’s the only complaint. The elbow area is huge and that’s what’s best. Much cooler in the sun, too. Rolls up and rolls out easy. The double-adjustable carry strap has built in loops I use for carrying a rolled up foul weather cover. The fold-out front fly is large and useful. This is a good looking, hard working mat. — Steve R., Illinois, 10/11/2010

This product has 4.3 star average with 53 user reviews.

Permalink Hot Deals, New Product 1 Comment »
February 8th, 2013

New FLEX F-TR Bipod from Dan Pohlabel

Report by Monte Milanuk
With the proliferation of wide bipods for competitive F-TR shooting, we’ve seen a lot of cool gear hitting the market. Whatever you can imagine, someone is either building now, or working on prototype plans. One new design that seems to have stayed under the radar thus far is the FLEX bipod by Dan Pohlabel.

Flex bipod Dan Polabel Milanuk

The FLEX bipod’s designer, Dan Pohlabel, offers these instructions:

The bipod feet are shipped loose. Note there is a left foot and a right foot. Mount them as shown in the diagram above. Determine the balance point of your rifle and mount the bipod approximately two inches forward of that point. You may want to move it further forward after shooting. Experiment with its placement to minimize movement of the bipod. When setting up, first grab each foot and ‘dig’ them in to the shooting surface, dirt, gravel, grass, carpet — it doesn’t matter. After making sure each foot has a hold, raise or lower the bipod to your target and use the cant adjustment to level your rifle. Loading the bipod with your shoulder is the preferred method of position. Contact me with any FLEX bipod questions you may have: danielp123 [at] earthlink.net.

The FLEX bipod is a very simple design — no Mariner’s wheel for vertical adjustment, no joystick head, no changing width as it goes up and down. And the FLEX bipod is very light (as are most, these days), but also very durable. I haven’t actively tried to destructively test it, but so far it’s held up to being tossed in the back of the truck, hauled around to the range and everywhere else in between. It definitely has not been ‘babied’ in any way, and it’s not noticeably any worse for wear. An added bonus is that it breaks down very flat for airline travel. Once I take the feet off, remove the ratchet lever (with screw), the whole bipod nestles very nicely in the bottom layer of foam in my gun case (with cuts for the head etc. in the foam). I’m definitely not worried about it in there. If someone bashes the case hard enough to damage what is essentially a plate of spring steel, then I’ve got bigger worries.

Flex bipod Dan Polabel Milanuk

This view (below) shows a bit of the adjustment controls. Each leg has independent control for height, and there is a ratcheting locking lever that controls the cant. Instead of being directly centered like most other designs I’ve seen, this one is off-set a little, allowing a fair amount of movement without allowing it to completely ‘flop’ over to one side. (By contrast, using other bipod designs, I’ve had guns literally flip over as they tipped over too far.) Also having the tilt control relatively close/tight to the bore of the gun helps with the stability as well.

Flex bipod Dan Polabel Milanuk

Inventor Dan Pohlebel developed the FLEX bipod for use in his native Ohio, where apparently grassy firing lines are the norm. Here in the Pacific Northwest, I seem to encounter concrete or gravel more often, which is why I usually place a mat under the bipod to keep it from sinking in too far. On Dan’s newest models, the “feet” have teeth to give better traction on hard surfaces such as the hard-pack clay/dirt (beneath a skim layer of gravel) that you’ll find at Raton, NM.

Why would you want more traction? Well, not everyone wants a bipod that slides around like a hog on ice. Some people manage to get things tracking straight back and forth, almost like it was constrained by a front rest. Personally, I have a hard time doing that in a repeatable fashion. While the FLEX Bipod shoots quite well with a [loose] hold, it was designed for those of us who like to ‘lean’ into the gun a bit. Quite literally, the idea is that you get the feet to dig in slightly, and push against the rifle butt with your shoulder and the bipod will ‘flex’ or bow forward slightly. It is one of those things that sounds wonky until you try it. It may take a few times to get a feel for it, but once you do, it is surprisingly repeatable.

Flex bipod Dan Polabel Milanuk

The system does have a few quirks to it. Personally, I wish the rail attachment had a ratchet lever like the pivot control. Currently you need a separate tool to take the bipod on/off the gun. Also, the FLEX bipod seems to work better mounted somewhat further back than other designs. Some experimenting may be necessary to find what works best. Then again, we all need more trigger time….

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 6 Comments »
October 8th, 2012

Setting Up A Tube-Gun for Prone Shooting

Salazar tubegun

This 2010 story is reprinted at readers’ request.
In the past few years, tubeguns have really taken over in high power circles. At many matches you’ll see more tubeguns than conventional prone rifles, and a high percentage of those tubeguns will have been built using an Eliseo (Competition Machine) CSS chassis kit.

Step-By-Step Guide to Stock Set-Up
If you are a new tubegun shooter, or if you are planning a tubegun build this winter, German Salazar has prepared a comprehensive set-up guide for Eliseo tubeguns. Eliseo’s CSS chassis system affords a myriad of adjustments. Initially, one can be overwhelmed by all the variables: Length of Pull, Length to Sights, Length to Handstop, Cheekpad Height, Buttstock Offset, Buttstock Cant Angle, Handstop Angle, and Forearm Rotation.

Salazar tubegunIn his Guide to Configuring the Eliseo Tubegun, Salazar shows how to adjust the Tubegun so that a shooter’s prone position is stable, repeatable, and comfortable. Salazar covers each adjustment, step by step. If you follow his instructions, starting with setting Length of Pull, you should find that your hold becomes more stable, the gun moves less from shot to shot, and your eye position relative to the sights is improved.

German explains the set-up process: “Adjusting the stock is a process that you must work at and it builds on itself. As you get one adjustment right, the others begin to fall into place. Our hope is that you take from this article a system for adjusting the stock, not an exact set of dimensions; and that you understand that it will take continuous work over a period of time to really refine the adjustments. Your goal is not to obtain a ‘perfect set of dimensions’ but rather a perfect feel that accomplishes the three objectives of stability, durability and comfort and the knowledge of how to change the adjustments to achieve those objectives under varying conditions such as sloped firing lines or other terrain features.”

>> CLICK HERE to Read Full Eliseo Tubegun Article

Read More at RiflemansJournal.com
German Salazar runs the excellent Rifleman’s Journal website, where you will find dozens of informative articles like this story.

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »
July 31st, 2012

CPT Christopher Abalo Wins Smallbore Prone Championship

Report based on story by Kyle Jillson for the NRA Blog
CPT Christopher Abalo of the USAMU won the NRA Smallbore Rifle Prone Championship at Camp Perry, claiming the prestigious Critchfield Trophy with a score of 4792-352X. Reya Kempley came in second, just two points back (4790-363X). Rounding out the top three was Michael Anti who shot 4787-350X

The “third time was a charm” for Abalo, who secured the title in his third appearance at the Camp Perry smallbore prone event. He was close to the top in the past two years. In 2010 Abalo finished second behind teammate SSG Shane Barnhardt, while in 2011 Abalo took third, behind teammate SSG Michael McPhail and Mark Delcotto. “It feels great,” Abalo said of his first win. “After coming in second and third the last two years, it feels great to be at the top of the podium this time.”

CPT Abalo Smallbore Prone ChampionshipsCPT Abalo shown during “Any Sights” stage of Smallbore Prone Event.

Comprised of a Metallic Sight Championship and Any Sight Championship, the Prone Championship saw improved weather from the previous week’s Position Championships. Conditions stayed dry for the most part, but the wind coming off Lake Erie was still a force to contend with and often made life difficult for the almost 300 shooters taking part in the matches.

Photo courtesy the NRA Blog

Permalink Competition 1 Comment »
June 16th, 2012

Meet the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Rifle Competitors

The rifle shooters who will represent the United States at the 2012 London Olympics are currently profiled on the RifleShooter magazine website. Log on to RifleShooterMag.com to read about Team USA’s Olympians who will be competing in Air Rifle and Smallbore (.22LR Rimfire) events in London next month. The Olympic selection process recently concluded, and we now know the talented men and women who made the cut. CLICK HERE to read bios of individual athletes.

U.S. Olympic Rifle Shooters Team USA


Men’s Rifle Team

Matt Emmons, 50m 3P
10m Air Rifle

Jonathan Hall, 10m Air Rifle

Michael McPhail, 50m Prone

Josh Olson, Paralympic R3, R6

Jason Parker, 50m 3P

Eric Uptagrafft, 50m prone


Women’s Rifle Team

Jamie Beyerle Gray, 50m 3P
10m Air Rifle

Amanda Furrer, 50m 3P

Sara Scherer, 10m Air Rifle
Story find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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