August 24th, 2019

Ray Gross & David Tubb Win ELR Titles — Wise Sets New Record

Ray Gross Paul Phillips Kelly McMillan ELR Central world record cold bore 33 XC David Tubb 33XC LM Camp Atterbury Indiana
Ray Gross (left) was humbled to take the stage with David Tubb (right), a living legend: “The first time that I ever made it up on to the stage at a National Championship was in 1997. Dave Tubb had already won about a dozen Nationals by that time and I was so nervous going up on stage with him[.] It was a huge honor to get to share the stage with him again this year.”

Two notable shooters took the stage at the end of the NRA ELR Championship at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. David Tubb, 11-time NRA Nat’l High Power Champion and 6-time NRA Nat’l Long Range Champion, won the Heavy Gun Division, while the talented Ray Gross won the 25-lb (and under) Division. Ray, 8-time Nat’l Championship coach and captain, coach, or shooter on five USA Rifle Teams, was shooting Paul Phillips’s new 33XC rifle. AccurateShooter featured this impressive rig in last week’s Sunday GunDay story. David was shooting an ELR TubbGun of his own design, chambered for the 37XC cartridge.

Ray Gross Paul Phillips Kelly McMillan ELR Central world record cold bore 33 XC David Tubb 33XC LM Camp Atterbury Indiana
L to R: Paul Phillips, Dan Pohlabel, Ray Gross, John Droelle, and Kelly McMillan

Ray won the Light Gun ELR National Championship with help from his McMillan/GPG teammates John Droelle and Daniel Pohlabel. Ray noted: “We shot targets from 1600 to 1950 yards and finished with the highest overall score of 88699. Paul Phillips of Global Precision Group, loaned me his 33XC rifle and ammo to compete with. The rifle shot outstanding and that is a tribute to Paul’s load development and expertise.” Ray also thanked Kelly McMillan for attending the event and supporting the competitors.

ELR light class Paul Phillips Global Precision
CLICK Image for full-screen version.

Randy Wise Sets New NRA ELR World Record

At the 2019 NRA ELR Nationals at Camp Atterbury, there were many impressive displays of Extreme Long Range marksmanship, but none better than Randy Wise’s remarkable three-shot string at 2158 yards that set a new ELR Central world record. Randy made a COLD BORE HIT and two follow-up hits on a steel target at 2158 yards. Remarkably, Randy set the new ELR record using a stock Savage action and Savage factory barrel chambered for the .338 Lapua Magnum cartridge. The Savage barreled action was mounted in an Accurate Rifles Systems chassis with Rempel bipod. Wise was shooting 300 grain Berger Hybrid bullets. Congrats to Randy on his new ELR World Record!

Randy Wise ELR Central world record cold bore .338 Lapua Magnum LM Camp Atterbury Indiana

Randy’s rifle had a factory stock 26″ 1:9″-twist barrel chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum. His load featured Lapua .338 LM brass, Berger 300gr Hybrid bullets, Federal 215M primers, and a stout charge of Hodgdon Retumbo powder. Ballistics solution by Applied Ballistics LLC. For optics, Randy used a Vortex 15-60x52mm Golden Eagle. The match was officiated by Clay Rhoden of TARGETVISION.

About the 33XC (eXtra Capacity) Cartridge

David Tubb invented the 33XC cartridge because he thought the CheyTac cases were too much trouble — requiring a larger action, oversize presses, and ultra-expensive dies. The 33XC was designed to fit .338 Lapua Magnum-size actions and use normal reloading presses.

The 33XC (eXtra Capacity) has 137.5 grains of H2O capacity with over 125 grains of usable powder capacity while leaving the 0.393″ neck unfilled for bullet seating.

The 33XC has a .338 Lapua Magnum lineage. Think of it as a better, 35°-shoulder .338 LM. David explains: “The 33XC uses standard reloading dies along with a 7/8″ x 14 TPI reloading press. There is no fire-forming — all case ‘improving’ has already been done with a production case that has 20 grains more powder capacity, 35-degree shoulder, and longer neck compared to a .338 Lapua Magnum. This puts the various .338 Lapua wildcats and the Rem Ultra Mag Improved into the ‘also ran’ category. They simply can’t compete with the velocities attainable with the 33XC.”

ELR light class Paul Phillips Global Precision

The 33XC is based off of a .580″ bolt head. Tubb states that “A fired case will extract with little effort when using a properly-polished chamber with a maximum powder charge after resizing with the Superior Shooting Systems FL sizing die.” Tubb’s 33XC die reaches the case head which is important for accuracy. Peterson Cartridge produces the 33XC brass for Superior Shooting Systems. This high-quality brass costs $115 for 50 cases (or $2.30 per case), and can be purchased directly from Superior Shooting Systems.

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September 22nd, 2018

Best Ever — 1000-Yard Records Set at 2018 F-Class Nationals

F-class record raton new mexico f-class nationals Ray Gross Erik Cortina

200-22X New F-Open 1000-Yard National Record

200-22X — That’s a stunning score, at any distance, but to do that at 1000 yards, at the most important match of the year, in a notoriously tricky venue, is a remarkable achievement. This 200-22X, a pending new F-Class Open Division National Record, was shot by Norm Harrold of Team McMillan at the 2018 F-Class Nationals, running this week at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, NM. Norm’s brilliant 200-22X beat the existing F-Open record by five Xs.

Gun and Load: Norm’s F-Open rig features a McMillan stock and Bartlein barrel chambered for the .284 Shehane. Norm loaded Berger 184gr 7mm bullets in Lapua brass. Erik Cortina joked — “the minute this video goes live, the 184s will be hard to find”. Norm says “Stock up guys — they shoot good!”

Keep Shooting — Don’t Stop!
How can you have more than twenty Xs in a 20-shot string? Here’s how it works — when you shoot all Xs for the entire string of fire, you are allowed to keep shooting. 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.

A 200-17X was shot (twice) by David Gosnell in 2015 to set the previous F-0pen 1000-yard record, which was later tied in 2017, first by Keith Glasscock, and then by Pat Scully. But right now Norm Harrold’s 200-22X is the best ever. To beat the previous record by five Xs, and to do that at Raton, during the Nationals, is a great achievement. And to top it off, this new record was shot in the rain!

200-16X New F-TR 1000-Yard National Record

Ray Gross and Mike Plunkett Both Shoot 200-16X to Share New Record
In the F-TR class, two men, Ray Gross (Team McMillan) and Mike Plunkett, both set a new pending 1000-yard record with a 200-16X score. That’s a perfect 10 points for all twenty (20) shots, with 16 of them in the smaller X-Ring. This F-TR division is limited to two cartridge types, .223 Remington (5.56×45) and .308 Win (7.62×51), and F-TR rifles must be shot with a bipod (no front rest). F-TR Weight limit, including bipod, is 8.25 kgs (approximately 18.18 pounds).

Ray, along with the vast majority of other F-TR competitors, was shooting a .308 Win. His load included Berger 220X bullets, in Lapua brass, with Vihtavuori N140 powder and CCI 450 bullet. Ray’s rifle features a 28″ Bartlein Heavy Palma barrel, mated to a Kelbly Panda action in McMillan stock. Up front was a Phoenix bipod with lowering bracket. The scope was a Nightforce NXS 8-32x56mm.

Ray Gross Scorecard — 200-16X is mighty impressive, given Raton’s notorious conditions.
Ray Gross F-TR National Record F-Class Nationals Raton NM Team McMillan

The previous F-TR 1000-yard record was 200-14X shot by Derek Rodgers of Team McMillan. That record by Derek was also recorded at Raton, back in September, 2016.

CLICK HERE for current NRA F-Class and Long Range Records »

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February 10th, 2018

Chrono Report — Using the LabRadar from Bench and Prone

Bart Sauter Ray Gross LabRadar Benchrest Review Chronograph Bench tripod

Bart Sauter of Barts Custom Bullets owns a LabRadar chronograph. He was curious to see how his loads performed in actual match conditions, so he brought his LabRadar to a match and set it up right on his benchtop. What he learned was quite surprising. For one thing, Bart found that tuning for the best accuracy (in the conditions), was NOT simply a matter of maintaining velocity. Read all about Bart’s experience in this AccurateShooter Forum Thread.

Bart has competed in short range Benchrest matches with the LabRadar on the bench! Bart observed: “The benches were quite close, but the LabRadar was able to pick up my shots even with the other guns going off very close to it. This is a pretty impressive piece of gear.” Bart’s LabRadar unit had no trouble picking up shots when set on the bench, a bit behind the muzzle. Bart noted: “Yes it can go a long way back. You can be a lot farther behind the muzzle then advertised. At home I could get back up to around 8 feet and pick up the bullet. It’s more sensitive about the side distance. I had mine on level 4. You can also point it at your buddy’s target and get his velocity.” Bart set his LabRadar to be triggered by the sound of the gun.

RAV battery pack Amazon.comLong-Life Battery Power
Powering the LabRadar at the range is not a problem. Bart used a portable battery pack that can power the LabRadar for a long time: “I bought a RavPower battery pack from Amazon.com. It was the most powerful compact cell phone charger they had and [it costs about $30.00]. It was able to run the LabRadar for two full days without recharging and still had juice.”

The LabRadar is a pretty expensive piece of kit, but there’s nothing else like it on the market. Bart notes: “The LabRadar itself is about $560.00. The stand is $29.95 for the bench mount and the padded carry case is $39.95. So you’re around $630.00 plus shipping.”

High-Quality Portable Base for LabRadar

Labradar Swivel base

If you want to use your LabRadar when shooting prone, there’s a smart new accessory you should consider buying. Matt Owens, one of our Forum members, has created a new, compact base for the LabRadar that works better than the flat, orange baseplate offered by the manufacturer. This $75 folding base is especially useful when shooting prone (see photo above). Matt, aka “Arkcomatt”, explains: “The folding base will fit in the LabRadar case with the unit. No more having to take apart! Just fold the legs. It takes up less room on the bench and allows you to get it closer to the rifle. It is very stable and holds up very well in high winds.” Forum member Peterson1 agrees: “This is more stable than the Labradar base for my use–off a concrete BR bench, yet takes up less space. Also easier/quicker to set unit up and aimed at target. Never take the unit off for transport in LabRadar case.” ORDER BASE HERE.

LabRadar base swivel base chronograph unit

Forum Member SkiUtah02 uses the base with optional spiked feet: “I bought my base with spikes for the feet to put into the ground. I removed the rubber feet, and screwed in the four spiked feet, [and mounted] an old photography lighting stand swivel head to the base! Worked perfectly. Thanks Matt!”

Full LabRadar Field Test/Review by Ray Gross

If you are considering purchasing a LabRadar Chronograph system, we strongly suggest you read the very thorough and informative LabRadar Review by Ray Gross, past Captain of the USA F-TR team.

Bart Sauter Ray Gross LabRadar Benchrest Review Chronograph Bench tripod

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June 18th, 2016

Ray Gross Parts with a Cherished Old Friend…

Ray Gross M1A M14 service rifle .308 .30-06 Distinguished rifleman badge
Old “Number 2″ belonging to Ray Gross. Click Photo for full-screen Image.

Ray Gross is captain of the United States F-TR Team. While he’s mostly involved in F-Class shooting these days, that wasn’t always the case. Ray is an experienced service rifle shooter, who secured his Distinguished Rifleman Badge 21 years ago. Ray has shot many different rifles during his competitive shooting career, but the rifle above has a special place in Ray’s heart. This old semi-auto earned Ray his Distinguished Badge, and he’ll never forget that…

Ray Gross M1A M14 service rifle .308 .30-06 Distinguished rifleman badge

“I said goodbye to an old friend last week…

Affectionately known as ‘Number 2′, she is the rifle that I earned my Distinguished Rifleman Badge with in 1995 (#1159).

That rifle was also responsible for a fair amount of Venison in the ’90s, as well. But since then, she has spent a lot of time in the closet. Last time I got her out was to destroy a bunch of hard drives containing evidence collected during my Computer Forensics days. She deserved better than that.

I will miss the beautiful sound of all that American steel slamming into battery when I tripped her bolt.” – Ray Gross

Ray Gross M1A M14 service rifle .308 .30-06 Distinguished rifleman badge

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April 12th, 2016

Bart Goes High-Tech: LabRadar at a Benchrest Match

Bart Sauter Ray Gross LabRadar Benchrest Review Chronograph Bench tripod

Bart Sauter of Barts Custom Bullets has acquired a LabRadar chronograph. He was curious to see how his loads performed in actual match conditions, so he brought his LabRadar to a match and set it up right on his benchtop. What he learned was quite surprising. For one thing, Bart found that tuning for the best accuracy (in the conditions), was NOT simply a matter of maintaining velocity. Read all about Bart’s experience in this AccurateShooter Forum Thread.

LabRadar Report by Bart Sauter

Bart posted: “I shot a short range NBRSA match [in March] with the LabRadar on the bench! The benches were quite close, but the LabRadar was able to pick up my shots even with the other guns going off very close to it. This is a pretty impressive piece of gear.”

It’s great for tuning. I can’t say for sure but what I saw with the PPC is that just maintaining a certain velocity will not keep the gun in tune.”

One Forum member asked: “Was the LabRadar able to pick up shots that far back (behind the muzzle) and to the side? What setting did you have it set at?”

Bart’s LabRadar unit had no trouble picking up shots when set on the bench, a bit behind the muzzle. In fact, Bart noted: “Yes it can go a long way back. At home I could get back up to around 8 feet and pick up the bullet. It’s more sensitive about the side distance. I had mine on level 4. You can be a lot farther behind the muzzle then advertised. You can also point it at your buddy’s target and get his velocity.”

Bart set his LabRadar to be triggered by the shot: “I had a tuner on the gun but no muzzle brake. [The Chrono] was set to be triggered by the sound of the gun. When you move back you have to play with the trigger level. I put mine on a tripod and was able to pick up projectiles 8 feet back, but from the side had to be within 18 inches.”

RAV battery pack Amazon.comLong-Life Battery Power
Powering the LabRadar at the range is not a problem. Bart used a portable battery pack that can power the LabRadar for a long time: “I bought a RavPower battery pack from Amazon.com. It was the most powerful compact cell phone charger they had and [it costs about $30.00]. It was able to run the LabRadar for two full days without recharging and still had juice.”

The LabRadar is a pretty expensive piece of kit, but there’s nothing else like it on the market. Bart notes: “The LabRadar itself is about $560.00. The stand is $29.95 for the bench mount and the padded carry case is $39.95. So you’re around $630.00 plus shipping.”

LabRadar Field Test by Ray Gross
Bart Sauter Ray Gross LabRadar Benchrest Review Chronograph Bench tripod

If you are considering purchasing a LabRadar Chronograph system, we strongly suggest you read the very thorough and informative LabRadar Review by Ray Gross, Captain of the USA F-TR team.

LabRadar Chronograph Bart Sauter

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August 9th, 2015

World Fullbore Rifle Championships Commence at Camp Perry

Palma Target Rifle F-TR World Championships Camp Perry .308 Winchester Sherry Jo Gallagher

The Fullbore (Target Rifle) World Championships are now underway at Camp Perry. Held every four years (like the Olympics), the ICFRA World Target Rifle (Fullbore) Championships event is quite possibly the most important long-range rifle competition on the planet. This year the World Championships take place in the USA, at Camp Perry, Ohio. Teams from 11 countries are competing. Here we have some early reports from the August 8th Opening Ceremony…


Report by Ray Gross, Captain U.S. F-TR Team, 8 August, 2015
The U.S. Army Golden Knights parachuted in as part of the opening ceremony for the World Long Range Championships being held at Camp Perry, Ohio. Three of our sister teams, the U.S. Palma Team, the U.S. Veterans Team and the U.S. Under-25 Team will be competing against teams from around the world. Several members of our team, Ray Gross, Steve Hardin, Bryan Litz, and Lane Buxton, are part of the U.S. Palma Team.

CLICK HERE for more reports from U.S. F-TR Rifle Team Blog

Palma Target Rifle F-TR World Championships Camp Perry .308 Winchester Sherry Jo Gallagher

The format is very similar to our own World Championships. Everyone entered in the Individuals will shoot 15 shoots for record at 800, 900, and 1000 yards and they will complete that course of fire three times over the next several days. The team event fires the same course twice.

The main difference from our style of shooting is that they will compete using aperture-type target sights and will be using an arm sling as support compared to the scopes and bipods that we use. The rings on our target are substantially tighter to account for the the greater stability and accuracy of the type of rifles that we use.


Report from Anette Wachter (aka 30CalGal), 8 August 2015
Day One of the World Long Range Championships — we had Opening Ceremonies this morning which had our U.S. Army Golden Knights jumping in and the flag raising of each participating country. Sherri Gallagher, former USAMU shooter and now a Golden Knight, led the team as the first and solo jumper. I was sort of hoping she would land in the prone position with a rifle and start the competition. The rest of the Knights fell from the sky and landed perfectly on the X.

CLICK HERE for more reports from 30CalGal.com

Palma Target Rifle F-TR World Championships Camp Perry .308 Winchester Sherry Jo Gallagher

The U.S. Fullbore Nationals consisted of individuals and various team events as well as the biggest event, the America’s Match. The USA has never lost the America’s Match at home. We won it three years ago here at Perry and last summer up in Canada. Yesterday was not in the cards. First let me congratulate Great Britain for some outstanding shooting. They lost a total of 17 points for 8 shooters all day and took the Gold. Australia came in second, South Africa 3rd and the USA in 4th. Very humbling yes. One of our coaches had to leave at the middle of the match for a family emergency as well. So I believe the kinks are done and we can move on successfully for this coming week of Worlds. We have the best shooters in the U.S. on our team. Things will turn around. Three women were in the top 25 of the Fullbore Nationals: Michelle Gallagher, Trudie Fay, and Jane Messer. Our Veterans and Under 25s had their World Championship team events as well. Our Veterans took the Gold and the USA Under 25s took the Bronze. The GB kids shot very well and received Gold and Silver medals.

Click HERE for Full-Bore Nationals Results

Palma Target Rifle F-TR World Championships Camp Perry .308 Winchester Sherry Jo Gallagher

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July 23rd, 2015

U.S. Shooters Help South Africans After Match Ammo Seized

Palma Long Rnage World Championships US Customs ATF South Africa Ray Gross

Story Based on Report by NSSF
American shooters, along with Brownells and Redding, are providing help to the South African Palma (Target Rifle) team members, who will be competing at the Long Range World Championships at Camp Perry in early August, 2015. The ability of the South Africans to compete has been jeopardized by the unexpected seizure of their pre-shipped match ammo by U.S. Customs and ATF. We don’t know why the Feds seized the South Africans’ match ammo, but without it, the South African Team’s ability to participate in the Long Range World Championships has been threatened.

To rectify this situation, American F-TR and Palma shooters, backed by Brownells and Redding, have secured reloading equipment (presses, dies) and ammo components (brass, bullets, powder) so that the South Africans can assemble the needed .308 Win ammo on their arrival in the USA at the end of July.

F-TR Palma World Championships US Customs ATF South Africa Ray GrossAccording to industry sources, the shipment of match ammo for the South African Palma team was seized at the U.S. port of entry by U.S. Customs and ATF agents. When Ray Gross, captain of the U.S. F-TR rifle team, learned about this, Ray contacted Geoff Esterline, Product Category Manager at Brownells. Esterline immediately turned to Robin Sharpless, Executive VP of Redding Reloading, for help.

“I won’t go into the full list of presses and accessories we’ve gathered up, but I can say it’s extensive,” Sharpless told NSSF. “A member of the U.S. F-TR team who lives near Camp Perry has agreed to take our shipment and those from Brownells and the other companies providing brass, powder and bullets so that, when the South African team arrives in the U.S. during the last days of July, they can get started immediately on hand-loading. The U.S. team is even building benches for the press setups, so the South African team should be able to knock this out and get to the more important task at hand, and that is shooting at Camp Perry.”

The 2015 Palma Match and Long Range World Championships will be held August 3-15, in conjunction with the annual NRA National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio.

Ray Gross reports: “The folks who deserve credit for this are the members of the U.S. Palma Team, Ryan Henning, Geoff Esterline of Brownells, and the folks at Redding. Members of the Palma team had donated much of the needed equipment within hours of U.S. Palma Team Captain Dennis Flaharty putting the word out.

My contribution was limited to a few emails to Brownells. They coordinated with Redding to provide the remaining equipment. This is a great example of international shooting camaraderie, but my part in it was very small.”

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February 13th, 2015

Team Match at Berger Southwest Nationals

Thursday at the Berger Southwest Nationals was Team Match day. Teams of sling shooters as well as F-TR and F-Open marksmen competed at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. Conditions on Thursday (Feb. 12) were much better than on Wednesday (Feb. 11) when strong, fish-tailing winds created big problems for the shooters. For the Thursday Team Match, the winds were variable, but generally the mirage was a good indicator of speed, and the flags were showing the angles. The wind coaches for the teams told us that the conditions “were quite readable”.

Here is AccurateShooter.com’s video wrap-up of the Team Match on Thursday. F-TR shooters should watch carefully — Ray Gross, captain of the F-TR USA Team. talks about the latest equipment used by the top shooters. In addition, Ray announced a Team Try-Out Session on Monday February 16, 2015.

In team competition, the shooter relies on his coach and spotter.
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

This could be the most beautiful F-Open rifle we’ve ever seen. Look at the figure in that wood.
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

Nancy Tompkins dials wind for Anette Wachter (aka “30 Cal Gal”).
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

Matt Schwartzkopf excels despite lacking two lower legs. He works as a range manager at Ben Avery.
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

Tube-gun chassis-maker Gary Eliseo shot in the Sling Division. His company, Competition Machine, is now based in Cottonwood, Arizona.
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

Dan Polabel’s F-TR Rifle with Flex Bipod.
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

Walt Berger enjoyed the Team Match. “Seems like the wind’s a bit better today” he joked.
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

It was just a warm, beautiful day at Ben Avery….
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

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April 14th, 2014

Ray Gross Named Captain of U.S. F-TR Team

The NRA, on the recommendation of the NRA High Power Committee, has appointed Ray Gross as the new United States F-TR Team Captain, to serve through the 2017 World Championship cycle. Ray brings a wealth of experience in both national and international competition. As a member of the World Championship-winning 4-person U.S. F-TR team, and the hugely successful Team Sinclair F-TR squad, Ray is a skilled coach, a top-flight shooter, and a great guy who is respected by his peers. Ray brings a unique combination of skills to the team as its new leader.

Ray Gross (center with gray hat), with fellow Team USA F-TR Shooters at Raton, NM.
James Crofts F-Class Team F-TR T/R

Ray has asked James Crofts to serve as US F-TR Vice Captain. James comes from a military background, having served 20 years in the US Navy aboard fast attack submarines. James has also been a shooting member of the 8-man F-TR Team USA, and he is always one of the top shooters in any F-TR competition.

James told us: “It’s official, I have been named the new Vice Captain for the USA F-T/R National Team. Now the work begins but with Ray Gross as Captain I think we can handle it. Tough act to follow, Darrell Buell and Mike Miller set the bar extremely high with back to back world championship gold medals.”

James Crofts — Photo by Kent Reeve.
James Crofts F-Class Team F-TR T/R

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