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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September 26th, 2018

Hail the Champions: 2018 F-Class Nationals at Raton, NM

F-Class NRA Nationals National championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico Ian Klemm Norm Harrold Team Grizzly Team Lapua
The winning Klemm clan. Ian Klemm won his Second Straight F-TR National Championship last week. Here he is with parents Karen and Ken Klemm. Father Ken also competed at the Nationals, shooting great in both individual and team events.

The 2018 F-Class Nationals recently concluded at Raton, NM. The event was well-attended, with excellent turn out for both the Mid-Range and Long-Range cycles. The weather was variable, with wet but very calm conditions to start the 1000-yard match, resulting in new F-TR and F-Open National Records being set for 20-shot strings.

Long-Range F-Nationals Results | Mid-Range F-Nationals Results

Congratulations to the new F-Class Champions. Ian Klemm shot great to win the F-TR National Championship. This was the second straight F-TR title for Ian, who also won at Lodi, Wisconsin in 2017.

F-Class NRA Nationals National championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico Ian Klemm Norm Harrold Team Grizzly Team LapuaIt was a family affair this year for the Klemm clan. Ian’s father, Ken Klemm, finished third among High Masters, and also nailed the highest score among ALL shooters in the 1000-Yard F-TR team match. Well done father and son! Mike Plunkett finished second, while also setting a new F-TR record, 200-16X, also matched by Ray Gross.

Winning F-TR Rifle and Load:
Ian Klemm’s winning .308 Win featured a Kelbly Panda action, 30″ Bartline 1:10″-twist barrel, and McMillan X-IT left-hand stock. Ian used a Vortex 15-60X52mm Golden Eagle scope (as did runner-up Ted Plunkett). Ian loaded Berger 200.20X Hybrid bullets in Lapua brass with Vihtavuori N140 powder and CCI BR4s. MV is 2680 FPS.

F-Class NRA Nationals National championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico Ian Klemm Norm Harrold Team Grizzly Team Lapua

Ian, who won his first title last year in Lodi, Wisconsin, said this year was tougher. To travel down to New Mexico and win at Raton was very satisfying — as I had to come from behind.” Ian told us: “This Championship was especially difficult as a particularly strong challenger [and new 1000-yard record-holder] Mike Plunkett had earned an early lead and I would have to make up 6 points in the final day to win. Fortunately, the Range at Raton saved some of its most challenging conditions for the final match of the championship. This gave me the right amount of wind to work with. The Vortex Golden Eagle HD scope showed the mirage I needed in order to make timely wind-hold decisions.”

F-Class NRA Nationals National championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico Ian Klemm Norm Harrold Team Grizzly Team Lapua

In the F-Open division, Norm Harrold of Team McMillan shot great from the start, topping the field to win the F-Open division. Tom was shooting a .284 Shehane cartrdige in the new McMillan Kestros stock. Our buddy Erik Cortina interviewed Norm in this video, starting at 00:15:

Interview with F-Open Champ Norm Harrold at 00:15:

Team Competition Champions

In Team competition, Team X-Men won the 1000-Yard F-TR Team Title, with a 1568-61X score. Members shown are: Alan Barhardt, Tracy Hogg, Ian Klemm, Ken Klemm, Matt Schwartzkopf, Phil Kelley (Captain), James E Crofts (Coach). In second place was Team McMillan with 1553-53X: Paul Phillips, Derek Rodgers, Jeff Rorer, Brad Sauve, John Droelle (Captain), Ray Gross (Coach).

F-Class NRA Nationals National championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico Ian Klemm Norm Harrold Team Grizzly Team Lapua

In F-Open Division, Team Grizzly won the 1000-Yard Team Championship with a 1580-81X score, edging runner up Team Lapua-Brux-Borden by two points (1578-81X). Here are the team members, with Grizzly President Shiraz Balolia top left and coach Trudie Fay in the middle.

F-Class NRA Nationals National championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico Ian Klemm Norm Harrold Team Grizzly Team Lapua
Team Grizzly: Shiraz Balolia, Emil Kovan, David Mann, John Myers, Trudie Fay (Coach).

Team Pierce Engineering won the F-TR Mid-Range Team event. Team members included: Doug Boyer, Josh Moore, Richard Nixon, John Roethlisberger, Coach Tom Majewski.

Team Lapua-Brux-Borden captured the F-Open Mid-Range Championship with a strong performance. Team “LBB” shot well, to earn a second straight Mid-Range National Title, and grab second (Silver) at Long Range. Team member Jay Christopherson praised his team-mates and also gave credit to his rivals: “Team Grizzly was outstanding for the LR Open Gold”.

F-Class NRA Nationals National championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico Ian Klemm Norm Harrold Team Grizzly Team Lapua
Team LBB: Jay Christopherson, Erik Cortina, Tom Hendricks, Pat Scully, Coach Bob Sebold.

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September 26th, 2018

Black Powder Target Rifle Championship Oct. 1-7, in Raton, NM

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

The NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championship will be held October 1-7, 2018 at the Whittington Center in Raton, NM. During the week-long event, top Black Powder Cartridge Rifle (BPCR) shooters from around the country will test their skills at Raton with targets at 200 to 1000 yards. The event starts with mid-range matches at 200 to 600 yards, followed by 800- and 1000-yard long-range competition. 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 800-1000 yard Creedmoor matches will be held Friday and Saturday, October 5-6. 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.

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

REGISTRATION: Registration will take place at the Eagle’s Nest Building at the Whittington Center. NOTE: There are minimum requirements for bullet weight and velocity. Only ammunition which produces these results, or better, and only rifles that have long-range sights, will be permitted for use in the Creedmoor Championships. See the BPTR Nationals Ballistic Velocity Chart below for minimum requirements. There may be a 2% variance on bullet weight or velocity:

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

ACCOMMODATIONS: There are many motels in the town of Raton, about 10 miles from the Range. In additions, there are accommodations on the grounds of the Whittington Center: 90 beds in Competitors Housing and 100 beds in Log Cabins. These facilities fill up quickly — call the Whittington Center right away at (575) 445-3615 to reserve.

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

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September 20th, 2018

Best of Both Worlds: Hybrid Wood and Aluminum F-Class Stock

Accurateshooter.com Seb Lambang F-Class wood aluminum stock bag rider

NOTE: This is an older article, but with the F-Class National Championships underway this week in Raton, NM, we thought our readers might enjoy this view of a very rare and unique F-Class rig. This hybrid wood and aluminum stock is a “one-of-kind” custom, crafted by Sebastian (“Seb”) Lambang, creator of the SEB Coaxial Rests and Coaxial Joystick Bipod.

Back in 2013, our friend Seb Lambang engineered an impressive wood and aluminum F-Class stock. The stock features a long, box-section aluminum fore-end with a wood rear section and wood-trimmed “wings” on the front bag-rider. The aluminum fore-arm has “buick vents” for weight reduction. From the end of the action rearward, the stock is mostly wood, with light and dark fancy wood laminates on opposite sides (left and right).

Accurateshooter.com Seb Lambang F-Class wood aluminum stock bag rider

Accurateshooter.com Seb Lambang F-Class wood aluminum stock bag rider

The foot of the buttstock has a very wide aluminum rear bag-rider with rails. The rear wood section appears to be two solid pieces of wood — but that is deceiving. Seb explains: “To save weight, the buttstock is hollow (using thin-walled wood)”. To strengthen the construction, Seb added carbon fiber inside the buttstock. So what you see is a wood outer shell with carbon fiber layers on the inside. The stock sports vertically-adjustable cheek-piece and buttplate. The thick, rubber buttpad should diminish felt recoil even when shooting big cartridges with heavy bullets.

Accurateshooter.com Seb Lambang F-Class wood aluminum stock bag rider

Accurateshooter.com Seb Lambang F-Class wood aluminum stock bag rider

This is an interesting, innovative stock design. And as with everything Seb produces, the craftsmanship, fit and finish are superb.

To go with this gun, Seb also crafted a handsome set of angled scope rails with beautifully-machined scope rings. Imagine being able to custom-make one-off products of this quality in your own machine shop!

Accurateshooter.com Seb Lambang F-Class wood aluminum stock bag rider

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
May 8th, 2018

The King Goes Big — Derek Rodgers Builds a .416 Barrett

.416 Barrett Vihtavuorit Cutting Edge Bullets King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

Our friend Derek Rodgers is the current F-TR World Champion AND the current King of 2 Miles, having won his KO2M crown at Raton last year. Shooting with Team Applied Ballistics, Derek delivered a dominant performance at the KO2M event, 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.

.416 Barrett Vihtavuorit Cutting Edge Bullets King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

Derek topped the K02M field last year shooting a .375 CheyTac with Cutting Edge 400gr LazerMax tipped bullets. That’s a really big cartridge, but apparently not big enough for Derek. Mr. Rodgers has hot-rodded his long-range rig, fitting a barrel for an even bigger cartridge, the mighty .416 Barrett. Derek tells us: “The .416 is rolling now. I am preparing for initial load development and working out tooling kinks on the bench.” He is loading more Cutting Edge bullets with a selection of slow powders. For his .375 CheyTac last year, Derek used Hodgdon 50 BMG. He’s trying something else this time…

.416 Barrett Vihtavuorit Cutting Edge Bullets King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

Breakfast of Champions:
.416 Barrett Vihtavuorit Cutting Edge Bullets King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

Watch Derek Rodgers hit 3368-yard target at 2017 K02M Competition:

At the 2017 K02M, Derek ruled. 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).

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

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September 12th, 2017

Care and Feeding of .50 BMGs — What You Need to Know

fifty caliber shooting association

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.

50 BMG 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 Fifty Caliber Shooting Association

Fifty 50 Caliber shooting Association

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 Fifty Caliber

50 BMG FCSA fifty Caliber

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 5th, 2017

Extreme Long Range — New ELR DVD from Applied Ballistics

Applied Ballistics DVD KO2M) extreme long range

Team Applied Ballistics will soon release a new DVD on the science, skills, and strategy required for successful Extreme Long Range (ELR) shooting. The new DVD features a reality-style documentary following Team Applied Ballistics in the 2017 King Of 2 Mile (KO2M) competition. Team AB has now won this prestigious event two years in a row. Team shooter Mitchell Fitzpatrick won the KO2M title in 2016, followed by team-mate Derek Rodgers in 2017.

Applied Ballistics DVD KO2M) extreme long range

Bryan Litz tells us: “Applied Ballistics is proud to announce the release of our latest DVD: ELR Shooting With Applied Ballistics. With lessons learned from our successful 2016 KO2M campaign, you can see how the AB ELR team developed our equipment and approach through practice and careful analysis. Learn the essential elements of ELR competition from the top team in the sport.”

This documentary, filmed over the course of a year, shows Team Applied Ballistics preparing for, and competing in, the 2017 KO2M match. This presentation includes interviews from all Team AB members, along with tips on ELR shooting. Pre-Order the ELR DVD and Save $5.00 (Pre-Order Price $19.95)

2017 K02M Match-Winning Performance on Video
The video below shows Team Applied Ballistics shooter Derek Rodgers winning the 2017 King of 2 Miles event. This excellent video combines firing line and target-cam views. You can see the strings-of-fire at 2667 and 3028 yards. Then Watch Derek, after four misses, hit the last target with his fifth (and final) round! That plate was set at a mind-numbing 3368 yards (1.91 miles). Derek had Paul Phillips as a spotter and Emil Praslick as a wind coach — a very powerful team and it showed.

ELR K02M 2017 derek rodgers

» READ ELR Story on Shooting Sports USA

If you want to learn more about ELR shooting and how team Applied Ballistics achieves great results in ELR competition, we recommend an excellent article just released byShooting Sports USA. SSUSA’s Editor John Parker interviewed Team Applied Ballistics members Bryan Litz and Paul Phillips. Both men said that successful Extreme Long Range shooting requires solid team-work.

Bryan Litz (center) conferring with Team AB members Emil Praslick (L) and Doc Beech (R).
Applied Ballistics DVD KO2M) extreme long range

Paul Phillips explained: “ELR is very difficult. It requires a great shooter with 1/2-MOA accuracy, a really good wind coach and spotter to see impacts, trace and the ability to quickly negotiate and engage the targets. It’s one fluid team working together.”

Bryan Litz, Applied Ballistics founder, concurred: “Of all the various precision rifle disciplines, ELR shooting is particularly suited to a team approach. All aspects of ELR shooting are both highly challenging as well as critical to success. One individual is typically not able to stay on top of all the variables effectively enough to hit targets at extreme ranges all by themselves.”

Applied Ballistics DVD KO2M) extreme long range

Litz says superior wind-reading skills are vital in the ELR game: “One of the important challenges of hitting targets at long range is reading the wind. All the shooters on our team can read wind, but when we’re shooting a match, we put our strongest wind-reader in this position for all shooters. Emil Praslick is arguably the best in the world at putting a number on the wind. He’s got a well-rehearsed process that works in all scenarios. When Emil isn’t available, someone else on our team will apply his process and focus specifically on the wind.”

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August 17th, 2017

Stunning Backdrop for Rocky Mountain 3-Gun Championship

Rocky Mountain 3-Gun multi-gun USAMU raton new mexicon whittington center

For sheer “Fun with Firepower” it’s hard to beat a 3-Gun match at Raton, New Mexico. You get to play with lots of guns — rifles, pistols, and shotguns — while enjoying great views in one of North America’s most scenic shooting facilities. This past weekend many of the nation’s top 3-Gun aces were in Raton for the 2017 Rocky Mountain 3-Gun World Championship. This was held August 10-13 at the Whittington Center facility. Stages were conducted both on the designated rifle ranges as well as nearby hillsides.

In 3-gun matches, all stages are “on the clock”. Competitors need to be FAST and accurate.
Rocky Mountain 3-Gun multi-gun USAMU raton new mexico whittington center

There was a lot of Army black and yellow on the top of the podium, with USAMU shooters winning two divisions, along with the Team Event. SSG Joel Turner won the Open Division and SSG Tyler Payne won the Heavy Metal Scope Division. SFC Daniel Horner placed second in the Tactical Scope Division, while SFC Kyle McMaster finished second in the Tactical Irons Division. All four soldiers teamed up to win the Team Relay Shoot-Off competition to close out the event.

Rocky Mountain 3-Gun multi-gun USAMU raton new mexico whittington center

High-tech AR platform rigs are the rifles of choice for 3-Gun matches.
Rocky Mountain 3-Gun multi-gun USAMU raton new mexico  whittington center

Who wouldn’t like a chance to shoot at the Whittington Ranges? What a backdrop!
Rocky Mountain 3-Gun multi-gun USAMU raton new mexico whittington center

Run ‘N Gun at 6000 feet
The Rocky Mountain 3-Gun (RM3Gun) is an action shooting match in the natural terrain of the NRA Whittington Center near Raton, NM. The riverbeds, mountains, trees and rocks provide props for the stages. There are 5 divisions: Open, Tactical Scope, Tactical Iron, He-Man Scope, and He-Man Iron.

Daniel Horner USAMU SSG

RM3Gun is a very physical match, and Whittington’s 6000′ altitude makes things even tougher. The pace, thin air, and terrain challenge competitors’ fitness levels. The match has a healthy amount of long range rifle shooting. The match organizers state: “We try to strike a balance between rifle, shotgun and pistol, but you will definitely have lots of rifle because it’s one of the only places you can shoot as far in such a beautiful environment. Usually, we have some moving/aerial targets for the shotgun as moving targets are what the gun is designed for.”

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June 6th, 2017

Extreme Long Range Training — Rockin’ Two Miles at Raton

ELR Raton 2 miles KO2M 375 Lethal Magnum
Shooter behind the .375 Lethal Magnum. Check out the size of that suppressor!

Two-Mile ELR Training
ELR Raton 2 miles KO2M 375 Lethal MagnumThe Applied Ballistics ELR Team spent the weekend at the NRA Whittington Center in New Mexico training for the upcoming King of 2 Miles event. Former USAMU coach Emil Praslick III was on hand to help with wind calls. The results were impressive — all team members had confirmed hits at 2.05 miles on a 36″x36″ steel target. Bryan Litz even had a 3-shot group that measured 17.5″ x 22″. That’s under 0.6 MOA!

Most guys would be happy with 0.6 MOA at 300 yards. Bryan did it at 3611 yards, shooting Paul Phillips’s .375 Lethal Magnum. When you consider all the variables involved (bullet BC variance, shot velocity variance, wind changes during flight, Coriolis effect etc.), that’s phenomenal.

ELR Raton 2 miles KO2M 375 Lethal Magnum

Report by Paul Phillips
Just got done shooting two days in New Mexico with Recoil Magazine and the Applied Ballistics ELR team. We learned a lot and had great success. Every team member made impacts on target at 2 miles. The best 3-shot group at 3611 yards (2.05 miles) was shot by Bryan Litz with my 375 Lethal Mag. The group measured 17.5 inches tall by 22 inches wide with Cutting Edge bullets. We also had Recoil’s David Merrill shoot at two miles and was laying them in there like a true pro. We had three team members make impacts on the 36-inch plate at two miles within just three attempts in a mock competition. I also increased my personal longest shot by hitting only 15 inches right of center at 3611 yards. 2.05 miles. I did it with a GSL Technology Copperhead Silencer.

ELR Raton 2 miles KO2M 375 Lethal Magnum

ELR Raton 2 miles KO2M 375 Lethal Magnum

Report by Emil Praslick
I participated in the Extreme Long Range training with the Applied Ballistics team at the Whittington Center in Raton, NM. All team members had confirmed hits at 2.1 miles. Components and hardware suppliers included: Berger Bullets, Cutting Edge Bullets, Nightforce Optics, Kestrel, FLIR Systems.

Q: At that distance (2.1 miles), how much do spin drift and the Coriolis effect impact bullet trajectories?

Praslick: At 3613 yards we had to adjust about 1.5 MOA/56″ of Coriolis (up), and 5 MOA/~190″ of right spin drift adjustment. You’d have to come down if facing East. The planet rotates counter-clockwise (from above), so your target would be falling away from you.

Here is a 3-round group at 1898 yards (1.08 Miles) shot with factory ABM Ammo .338 Lapua Magnum loaded with 300 grain Berger Bullets Hybrids. That’s sub-MOA elevation. (The guy calling wind didn’t do too bad, either.)

ELR Raton 2 miles KO2M 375 Lethal Magnum

Report by Bryan Litz
Learning is my favorite part of new ventures and we learned a LOT this weekend shooting extreme range in New Mexico. I connected on a second round hit on a 3-foot square target at 2 miles in simulated match conditions under coaches Emil Praslick and Paul Phillips. In fact all five of our team shooters got on at 2 miles. The Applied Ballistics Extreme Long Range team is in good shape for the King of 2 Miles match later this month, and there is still so much to LEARN!

ELR Raton 2 miles KO2M 375 Lethal Magnum

You need serious equipment for shooting beyond two miles. Who can identify this high-tech hardware?
ELR Raton 2 miles KO2M 375 Lethal Magnum

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Shooting Skills 11 Comments »
May 16th, 2017

Big Rig — .338 Lapua Magnum Improved for King of 2 Miles Match


Click Image above for full-screen version

There’s a talented new team getting ready for the 2017 King of 2 Miles (KO2M) Competition in Raton, NM next month. The team features ace F-Class shooters Ian Klemm and Dan Pohlabel. Here’s a build report from X-Treme Shooting Products, which supplied the impressive XTSP action and two-stage trigger.

Big Gun for King of 2 Miles Event at Raton
XTSP: “It’s exciting — we’re getting closer to the 2017 King of 2 Miles match next month. Here are a few pictures of one of the rifles we will be shooting. Owned and built by Dan Pohlabel, it’s a .338 Lapua Magnum Improved. It has a 40° shoulder and we plan on shooting .338 Caliber 300 grain Berger OTM projectiles at around 3,100 fps.”

XTSP X-Treme Shooting Products .338 Lapua Magnum Improved king 2 miles ELR

“We started off with an XTSP .338 Magnum receiver, custom-built as a single shot with a solid bottom for stiffness. We built +60 MOA rails for each of the rifles. Of course we’re using the XTSP two-stage trigger! We added a 34″-long Bartlein gain-twist barrel which is 1.450″ at the shank tapering to 1.2″ at the muzzle. At the end we added Piercision Rifles’ 3/4 x 24 slabbed 5-Port ‘Muscle Brake’. The action is bedded in a McMillan Super Magnum stock. On top sits a Vortex Optics HD Razor in Vortex 35mm rings. We’ll have another rifle just like it shortly with the machine work by Dan Pohlabel again. That second rifle will be finished up and shot by Ian Klemm of Vortex Optics.”

XTSP X-Treme Shooting Products .338 Lapua Magnum Improved king 2 miles ELR

Here’s a file photo of a .338 Lapua Magnum Improved, alongside a standard .338 Lapua Magnum. We’re not sure about the shoulder angle on this particular example. For the XTSP project, the angle is 40 degrees (40°). Photo Courtesy LongRangeHunting.com.

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing 12 Comments »
July 24th, 2016

Phillips Video Shows Highlights of King of Two Miles Competition

Mitchell Fitzpatrick Team Applied Ballistics King of Two 2 Miles KO2M long range .375 Berger Bullets Kelly McMillan

Extreme Long Range — 2477 Yards
Notably, two Applied Ballistics team shooters made hits at 2477 yards. Just how far is that? Take a look at the photo above — that shows the location of the 2477-yard target with the firing line in the far distance. Now THAT is truly long range!

By Paul Phillips
I wanted to share a video that I made. This was from the King of 2 Miles event held recently in Raton, New Mexico. I was fortunate enough to be apart of an amazing team with Bryan Litz and Mitchell Fitzpatrick. We had some awesome sponsors: Berger Bullets, Nightforce Optics, McMillan Group International, Lethal Precision Arms LLC and Applied Ballistics LLC. Team Applied Ballistics took First, Second, and Fourth places out of 38 teams in this competition. Our Team highlight was working together to make first-round hits on a 24×36 inch plate at 1.4 miles. With me as coach, both Mitchell and Bryan made their first-round hits at 1.4 miles (2477 yards to be exact).

Video Shows Team Accomplishing Hits at 2477 Yards in Raton, NM

This event has been a personal goal of mine for a long time and I wanted to thank Bryan Litz and Mitchell Fitzpatrick for having me on the team. I call them quiet professionals. I also wanted to thank Kelly McMillan for sponsoring our team and being involved. Kelly has been an amazing sponsor and advocate for shooting sports and providing stocks and rifles for our military snipers for the past 40 years. I can’t forget to thank Ian Klemm for loaning me his Vortex Spotting scope with the MOA milling reticle. It worked great and was very fast to make corrections along with good glass.

Mitchell Fitzpatrick Team Applied Ballistics King of Two 2 Miles KO2M long range .375 Berger Bullets Kelly McMillan

Mitchell Fitzpatrick won the KO2M finals to earn the title “King of Two Miles”. He had a dominant performance shooting a .375 Lethal Precision Arms LLC rifle loaded with prototype solid 400gr Berger bullets. Mitchell built this rifle himself using a McMillan A5 Super Mag stock. Note: Berger has no current plans to market this .375-caliber bullet — it is still in the prototype stage.

Editor: Paul Phillips asked to make a special dedication, remembering a family member: “My brother Daniel Phillips passed away with brain cancer last year and this event was one that he wanted to video for me. I know he is smiling in heaven.”

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April 9th, 2013

U.S. F-Open Team Gets Ready for Upcoming Championships

U.S. F-Class Open Team Shiraz Balolia

This August the U.S. National and World F-Class Championships will be held in Raton, New Mexico. The U.S. F-Class Open Team has been working hard to prepare for the Worlds in Raton. This will be the fourth F-Class World Championship and first time it is being held in the USA. Team Captain Shiraz Balolia and his team-mates hope to successfully defend “home turf” this summer. The F-Class World Championships will run August 23 to 27, 2013. Preceding the World Championships, the U.S. F-Class National Championships will be held from August 18 to 22, 2013.

Team Members and Selection Process
U.S. F-Class Open Team Shiraz BaloliaThe US F-Class Open Rifle Team consists of the top F-Open shooters in the United States. Some members were on previous teams, but Team Captain Shiraz Balolia explains: “Our try-out process was very stringent and above board, which removed the notion of an ‘old boys club’ and allowed a lot of new blood to try out for the team”.

The selection process was straightforward. Each participant had to have placed in the top 20 of a National Championship or in the top 3 of a regional championship to be able to try out. After that, they had to participate in at least three try-outs over a two-year period. There were about a dozen try-outs at various venues (Houston, Lodi, Raton, Phoenix, Sacramento) which allowed shooters from all over the country to participate. Shooting during all try-outs were conducted at 1000 yards.

The scoring system was based on “Vertical” Score where the goal of the shooter was to hold good vertical elevation with regards to the X-Ring. All try-outs were shot with coaches and the wind calls were the responsibility of the coach. The shooters were not penalized for wide shots if they were on the waterline. The targets had horizontal lines drawn on them and points were deducted for high and low shots.

U.S. F-Class Open Team Shiraz Balolia

The targets were photographed and published for the try-out participants to view so everyone knew exactly where they stood. Shiraz notes: “This actually worked really well to raise the overall standard of the team as it increased competitiveness among the shooters”.

U.S. F-Class Open Team Shiraz Bilolia

From the initial group, the first cut was made to select the Development Team (DT). These DT shooters then continued further try-outs in 2012 with a similar process. The DT group was then culled to the final team members listed below.

Captain: Shiraz Balolia; Head Coach: Bob Mead; Other Coaches: Trudie Fay, Rick Hunt, Emil Praslick
Shooters (alpha sort)
1. Charles Ballard
2. Danny Biggs
3. David Gosnell
4. David Mann
5. Dean Morris
6. Don Nagel
7. Emil Kovan
8. Herb Edwards
9. Jim Murphy
10. John Dunbar
11. John Gaines
12. John Myers
13. Ken Dickerman
14. Kenny Adams
15. Larry Bartholome
16. Mark Walker
17. Rick Jensen
18. Robert Bock
19. Tony Robertson

F-Class Insights: Q&A with Team Captain Shiraz Balolia

We did a Q&A session with Shiraz Balolia, F-Open Team Captain. Shiraz offered candid answers to “hot topic” questions of interest to F-Class shooters. He also observed that his team is working very, very hard in preparation for the World Championships. After being beaten by the Brits in 2009, Shiraz says: “We have a score to settle….”

U.S. F-Class Open Team Shiraz Balolia

Q: The F-Open Team has switched calibers. What was the thinking behind that move?

Shiraz: After we lost to the Brits in 2009, it became a foregone conclusion that we needed to shoot a 7mm cartridge. Charles Ballard and Jim Murphy were among the first guys in the USA to recognize the virtue of the 7 mm (.284) caliber. The choices we had within the .284 family were: straight .284 Win, .284 Shehane, 7 RSAUM, or 7 WSM variant. After much experimentation and thought we decided on the 7 RSAUM and 7 WSM family of casings which allowed us velocities of around 3000 FPS with a 180gr bullet. With the advent of new 180gr bullets from Berger and Sierra, we were able to get extremely flat-shooting groups (tight vertical) with the velocities that we needed.

Q: Foreign teams won the last two F-Class World Championships. How are you going to beat the Brits and South Africans in 2013?

Shiraz: In the previous World Championship (at Bisley in 2009), the Brits had a huge advantage. Almost all of their shooters lived within a few hours of the Bisley range. The coaches they used knew that range inside out and they were able to practice as a team many times on that range before the World Championships. Plus, they were ahead of us in terms of caliber selection and were shooting 7mm cartridges, as were the South Africans. By contrast, our team came from all over the USA and we had very little time together as a team. Things are different this time… yes, our shooters are still from all over the USA, but the amount of training we have done as a unit, a whole team, is much better than last time around. We have a lot of depth in our team. In other words, our worst shooter is not that far behind our best shooter. I do not believe that there has ever been a long range U.S. Team that has trained this hard and this many times as a unit. We are ready to take on the Brits or any other country!

U.S. F-Class Open Team Shiraz Balolia
Shiraz notes: “We did a lot of training on the range as well as in the ‘classroom’ setting with power point presentations. We had numerous sessions like these…. The behind-the-scenes work to deliver ‘same-day’ power-point results (just hours after the scores were shot) provides immediate feedback.”

Q: How Does Successful Team Shooting Differ from Individual Shooting?

Shiraz: In individual matches, you are responsible for making all the wind calls, corrections on the scope and paying attention to all conditions before taking a shot. Sometimes the condition can change between the time you review the flags and the mirage, make an adjustment and take a shot.

In a team setting, the shooter is responsible for making a really good shot. He/she must be a really good trigger puller who has good equipment, good ammo, and who can follow directions. The coach makes all the calls, he often makes adjustments on your scope and all the shooter has to do is make the shot when asked by the coach. Shooters who second-guess a coach or think they can read the wind better than the coach did not make the team!

Q: Will Team USA Enjoy a ‘Home Court Advantage’ at Raton, NM?

Shiraz: Other than Trudie Fay, one of our coaches, we do not have any team members from the Raton area. We are a very large nation, in size, and our shooters come from all four corners and everywhere in between. Raton is not exactly “home court”, but we have trained there as a team several times. The Brits and the South Africans are no slouches either. The Brits spent a whole week in Raton last year in August to get a feel for the range, the temperature, the wind etc.; the Brits also tested loads for their team members. The South Africans came to shoot against us in September last year at the Stars and Stripes match and also shot at the US F-Class Nationals. The competition is certainly stiff and we can not let our guard down or be over-confident.

Q. Are there special skills and capabilities needed to be a successful team shooter?

Shiraz: To be a really good team member, the shoooter must have all these qualities:

1. He must be able to think in terms of what is best for the team rather than himself.

2. He must have really good equipment. That means a really good barrel, a smooth, trouble-free action, good optics, trigger, rest, etc.

3. He must have superior reloading skills, and be capable of producing really good ammo with bullets that perform consistently shot after shot.

4. He must possess the ability to take direction and put himself at the disposal of the coaches. What we look for in a shooter is consistency over a long period of time, not just a flash in the pan.

The shooters we have on our team have passed all the tests we have put them through and what we have today is, without a doubt, the best United States F-Open Team ever put together.

Support Need for Team Expenses
The U.S. F-Class Open Team may be about $3000.00 short on funds. Any donation will help. Please endorse checks to “US F-Class Open Rifle Team” and mail to P.O. Box 3110, Bellingham, WA 98227.

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November 19th, 2012

Registration Opens for 2013 F-Class World Championship

Register Now for the 2013 F-Class Worlds

Entry registration for the 2013 F-Class World Championships in Raton, New Mexico is now open on the Bald Eagles Rifle Club website. Beverly Bartholome notes: “Before registering for the 2013 FCWC please go to the F-Class World championships web site http://fcwc-usa.org/. Under ‘Entries’ read both the entire Program and the Information Packet.” You’ll find info on matches, awards and entry requirements. Plus links within the program take you to the FCWC and FCN entry forms.

CLICK BELOW for 2013 FCWC Program:
Program 2013 F-Class World Championship

CLICK BELOW for 2013 FCWC Info Packet:
Information Packet 2013 F-Class World Championship

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August 27th, 2012

Gullo wins 2012 Creedmoor Championship and ‘Iron Man’ Title

Story based on report by Kyle Jillson in NRAblog.
In 1874, the first Creedmoor match was shot at the Creedmoor range on Long Island, New York. Competitors lined up at 800, 900 and 1,000 yards in a match between the United States’ best shooters and a team from Ireland. The NRA has preserved that match throughout the years and the exact course of fire is shot today in the Creedmoor Championship, held most recently at Raton, New Mexico.

Raton Creedmoor Championship

After a two days of tough shooting conditions at the NRA Whittington Center, Dave Gullo received his fifth Castle Trophy after winning the Creedmoor Championship (for black powder cartridge rifles) with a score of 533-10X out of a possible 600. Gullo finished the first day of the championship in second, trailing Rick Moritz by just one point. But Gullo passed Moritz at the 800-yard relay. From that point on, Gullo didn’t look back.

Gullo’s spotting partner John Venhous finished second overall a 519-4X. For his role in Gullo’s Creedmoor victory, Venhouse also was recognized with the High Spotter award. Last year’s Creedmoor champion, Keith “Doc” Lay, finished third after a hard-fought defense of his title, shooting a 510-5X.

Raton Creedmoor Championship

Gullo also took the Iron Man title this year. The Iron Man Medal is awarded to the competitor with the highest overall score in all the NRA Black Powder Target Rifle matches: Position, Prone, and Creedmoor. Gullo, posting a 526-3X in Positon, 574-17X in Prone and his 533-10X in Creedmoor became the 2012 Iron Man with a total of 1633-30X, which was 15 points ahead of runner-up Doc Lay. An Iron Woman award is also given to the highest female shooter across all matches and this year’s winner was Kelly McNitt, who shot a 1438-11x.

Creedmoor Championship

1. Dave Gullo: 533-10x
2. John Venhous: 519-4x
3. Keith Lay: 510-5x
4. Bryan Youngberg: 498-5x
5. Rick Moritz: 491-11x

Iron Man Competition

1. Dave Gullo: 1633-30x
2. Keith Lay : 1618-21x
3. Rick Moritz: 1609-35x
4. John Venhous: 1563-26x
5. Jack Odor: 1554-24x

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August 21st, 2012

Smoke and Thunder — Black Powder Championship at Raton, NM

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

This week the NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championship is being held at the Whittington Center in Raton, NM. Top Black Powder Cartridge Rifle (BPCR) shooters from around the country have come to Raton to test their skills during a week-long event with targets set from 200 to 1000 yards. Today through Thursday, mid-range matches continue at 200 to 600 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 800-1000 yard Creedmoor matches will be held Friday and Saturday, August 24-25. 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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