We congratulate Rebecca Richards of Australia for her incredible shooting in the recent RBA Benchrest Grand Prix at the Sydney International Shooting Centre. Consider this, out of the five (5) benchrest classes competing (two air rifle, and three rimfire) Rebecca won four classes outright while placing third in the fifth class. Wow — that represents complete and total domination. Remarkably, Rebecca dropped only 10 points in four days of shooting.
Rebecca’s amazing 4-day performance was near perfection. Overall, she scored 2740 out of a total of 2750 possible points. She shot four of 11 targets with perfect 250/250 scores, and six more with 249/250. Over the course of the event she hit 152 “dots” (center bulls) out of a total possible 275. That’s pretty amazing if you understand how small those center bulls really are. Take a look at the target photo below — the center dot is tiny.
All in all, this was a performance for the ages — one of the best combined airgun/rimfire benchrest performances in Southern Hemisphere history. Kudos to Rebecca for her brilliant performance.
Here’s the modern Sydney International Shooting Centre…
Report based on Story inNRABlog.
It’s official — Indiana is IN and Ohio is OUT. The Chief Wa-Ke-De Range in Bristol, Indiana, is now the permanent home of the NRA National Smallbore Rifle Championships. The Smallbore Championships will no longer be contested at the historic Camp Perry facility on the shores of Lake Erie near Port Clinton, Ohio. After the Smallbore Nationals were relocated to Indiana for the past two years to facilitate the 2015 World Long Range Championships, many competitors expected a return to Camp Perry. However, the NRA Smallbore Committee has decided to make Bristol, Indiana the permanent venue for the Smallbore Championships.
Situated about three hours west of Camp Perry, the Wa-Ke-De Range has some advantages over the Camp Perry facility. First, the 100-point firing line is covered in asphalt instead of grass. In addition, the range sits in a large grove of trees that provide a beautiful setting and shelter from the wind — practically the opposite of Camp Perry’s notorious wind and open fields.
Despite this, many smallbore competitors wished for the Nationals to return to Camp Perry. One poll of shooters ran roughly 3:1 in favor of returning to Perry. On his personal website, Bill Dutton has posted an Open Letter to the NRA which states many reasons why the Smallbore Championships should be returned to Camp Perry. Among other things, Bill notes: “The facilities are perfect for a large Regional but The Chief Wa-Ke’-De Rifle Range lacks the grand scale which a Camp Perry provides. Competitors and parents look forward to browsing vendor row at Camp Perry in order to replenish supplies for the coming season… in addition to trying out the latest shooting equipment. The nearest hotel [was] in Elkhart, about 15 minutes away. Camp Perry has sufficient onsite lodging for hundreds of competitors and their families. I personally had a bill for $1,400 for the hotel I and my daughter stayed in. Compared to a Hut at Camp Perry where four people can sleep for $12.50 per night, translating to equivalent cost of $175 per person for two weeks.”
View Photo Gallery from 2014 Smallbore Championships
2016 Championships Scheduled for July 10-18, 2016
The 2016 Smallbore Championships will be held 10-18 July, 2016, with registration opening on April 1, 2016. As before, the Metric and Conventional Position Championships will fall under the umbrella of the NRA Smallbore 3-Position Championship. Note: The Metric Prone Championship was removed but the 50-yard match was added to the NRA Smallbore Prone Championship. From these two main championships (3-Position and Prone), an overall NRA National Smallbore Rifle Champion will be crowned.
Team championships in both position and prone will still be awarded. 3-Position team matches will be shot as “paper matches,” meaning the scores will be taken from a shooter’s individual performance in the 3-Position Championship. Prone team matches will still be shot on their own and will be held following each day’s individual prone matches.
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The late Bill Myers was recognized as one of greatest rimfire smiths who ever lived. Myers crafted many match-winning, record-setting rimfire benchrest rigs. Here we feature one of Bill’s most interesting creations — a clamping action that allows a rimfire barrel to be indexed (rotated) around the bore axis.
Bill was a creative thinker, and his own exhaustive testing has convinced him that barrel indexing can enhance accuracy in rimfire benchrest guns. Myers did acknowledge that, particularly with a very good barrel, the advantages of indexing may be subtle, and extensive testing may be required. Nonetheless, Myers believed that indexing could improve rimfire accuracy.
Indexing with the Myers’ Clamping Action
To index the barrel, Myers simply loosens the three clamping-bolts and rotates the barrel in the action. Because there is no thread to pull the barrel in or out, the headspace stays the same no matter how much the barrel is rotated. In other words you can rotate the barrel to any position on the clockface and the headspace remains unchanged.
The Challenge of Barrel Indexing
With a conventional barrel installation, employing a shoulder with a threaded tenon, it is difficult to index the barrel. Even with a cone breech (photo right) that eliminates the problem of extractor cuts, you’d have to use shims to alter the barrel index position, or otherwise re-set the shoulder each time you screwed the barrel in further.
Clamping Action Allows Barrel to Be Rotated to Any Position
Bill has come up with a masterful solution to barrel indexing. He designed and built his own prototype custom action that clamps the barrel rather than holding it with threads. The front section of the action is sliced lengthways, and then clamped down with three bolts. A special bushing (the gold-color piece in photos) fits between the barrel and the action. By using bushings of different inside diameters, Bill can fit any barrel up to an inch or so diameter, so long as it has a straight contour at the breech end. To mount the barrel, Bill simply places the fitted bushing over the barrel end-shank, then slips the “sleeved” barrel into the front end of the action. Tighten three bolts, and the barrel is secure.
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Here’s a feel-good story about a talented young man from Idaho. Sixteen-year-old Kolby Pavlock of Kuna, Idaho, won the NSSF Rimfire Challenge World Championship, held October 9-11 at the Old Fort Gun Club in Fort Smith, Arkansas. In winning the overall title (not just the junior class) Kolby out-shot many seasoned adult competitors, proving that youth and skill can in fact overcome “old age and treachery”, at least in this fun rimfire discipline. Kolby is blazing fast, as you can see in this video from the 2015 Idaho NSSF Rimfire Challenge Match. Check out the jaw-dropping speed at 1:20 time-mark.
Watch 16-year-old Kolby Pavlock in NSSF Rimfire Competition:
The 2015 Rimfire Challenge Championship was a great success. A record 200 competitors of all ages and skill levels took part. (By comparison only 150 or so shooters competed in the much-ballyhooed “NRA World Shooting Championship”). For many competitors, the Rimfire Challenge was very much a family affair — with mom, dad, and the kids all joining in the fun.
Fun and very affordable, the NSSF Rimfire Challenge appeals to all ages and skill levels. Here are youth competitors from last year’s Championship at the Old Fort Gun Club in Arkansas:
NSSF took over the Rimfire Challenge in 2014, replacing Ruger as the sponsoring organization. This popular competition is growing fast — in 2015, more than 400 Rimfire Challenge events were held across the country. The matches are designed to encourage family participation in a friendly, supportive atmosphere. Complete results from the world championship event will be posted at www.nssf.org/rimfire/championship.
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Larry Medler has come up with another smart little invention–a simple, inexpensive Empty Chamber Indicator for rimfire rifles. It is made from a section of plastic “weed-wacker” line and a wooden ball from a hobby shop.
Larry explains: “At all Highpower rifle matches, silhouette matches, and other shooting events I have attended, Open Bore Indicators (OBI), or what are now called Empty Chamber Indicators (ECI) have been mandatory. The NRA’s yellow ECI for Highpower rifles is easy to use and has been well-received by the shooters. However, I had not seen a truely workable ECI for 22 rimfire rifles–until I visited Michigan’s Washtenaw Sportsman’s Club where I saw juniors using ECIs for their 17 Caliber Air Rifles. Someone at the club made the empty chamber indicators by attaching an 8″ piece of weed wacker line to a 1″-diameter wooden ball, painted bright yellow. I now make similar ECIs for the 22 rimfire silhouette matches I run.”
Construction Method: First, drill a 7/64” diameter hole all the way through the 1″-diameter wooden ball. Then enlarge half of that 1″-long hole using a 13/64” diameter drill. Next insert an 8″ piece of heavy duty (0.095″ diameter) weed wacker line through the ball, leaving about 2″ on the side with the bigger-diameter hole. Then, with the short end of the line, fold over the last half-inch so the line is doubled-over on itself. Then slide the line into the ball, stuffing the doubled-over section through the 13/64″ (large) hole. Finally, pull the longer end of the line until the doubled-over section is flush with the outside of the ball. This gives you a sturdy line attachment without messy adhesives. When the assembly’s complete, hold the ECI by the tail and dip the ball in yellow paint. If you’re making more than one ECI, you can drill horizontal holes in a spare block of wood and use that as a drying rack.
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People are still complaining that affordable .22 LR rimfire ammo can’t be found. Well folks, we found some. Just call Bullets.com or Midsouth Shooter’s Supply and get yourself some Norma Tac-22 or Match-22. This is good stuff, at reasonable prices. Check out this review of Tac-22 by rimfire specialist .22 Plinkster. This Norma ammo won’t win rimfire benchrest matches, but it is plenty good enough for fun shooting, offhand practice, and tactical rimfire games.
.22 Plinkster Review of Norma Tac-22 Ammunition
Summary by .22 Plinkster (see 4:30 time mark): “I’m pretty impressed with it … I think it’s a really good deal. For six dollars and fifty cents [per box] you can’t go wrong with a box of this ammo. Out of a good bolt gun, this ammo will drive tacks.”
For centerfire ammo, you can choose from dozens of flip-top boxes, storage bins, or milsurp-style ammo cans. For rimfire ammo, there are not so many good choices. Our preferred rimfire ammo carrier is the MTM SB-200 Small-Bore Fitted Ammo Box. This flip-top plastic box holds 100 rimfire rounds in 10×5 black grids on the left and right. In the center is a storage area that will hold another 100 rounds in factory boxes. MTM’s SB-200 box was recently re-designed so it will now hold 17 HMR rounds, as well as 17 Mach 2, 22 short, 22 Win Mag Rimfire, and of course 22 Long Rifle (.22LR)
MTM Case-Gard 200 Round Smallbore Box
This is really the only product of its kind on the market. It allows you to conveniently and securely hold 200 rimfire rounds, and also segregate your ammo by brand or bullet type. These boxes fit all types of popular rimfire ammunition. The vertical clearance of the lid is sufficient to hold the longer .22 WMR Rounds, and 17 HMR (as well as .22 LR naturally). The lid fits securely so you don’t have to worry about your rimfire ammo spilling out on the way to the range.
If you don’t have one of these boxes yet, we recommend you order one or two. They cost less than $15.00 and are available in Blue or “Rust” (a brick color).
“22 Plinkster” is an avid shooter who has produced a number of entertaining videos for his YouTube Channel. In the video below, he tackles the question “Why Do Misfires Occur in .22 LR Rimfire Ammunition?” This is the most common question posed to 22 Plinkster by his many viewers. He identifies four main issues that can cause .22 LR misfires or faulty ignition:
1. Damaged Firing Pin — The dry firing process can actually blunt or shorten the firing pin, particularly with older rimfire firearms. Use of snap caps is recommended.
2. Poor Ammunition — Some cheap brands have poor quality control. 22 Plinkster recommends using ammo from a manufacturer with high quality control standards, such as CCI and Federal.
3. Age of Ammunition — Rimfire ammo can function well for a decade or more. However the “shelf life” of rimfire ammunition is not infinite. You ammo’s “lifespan” will be shortened by heat, moisture, and humidity. You should store your rimfire ammo in a cool, dry place.
4. Mishandling of Ammunition — Tossing around ammunition can cause problems. Rough handling can cause the priming compound to be dislodged from the rim. This causes misfires.
Photo shows Bryan Litz (on right) and tester Mitchell Fitzpatrick. Bryan said: “Only 2,445 rounds to go! We’re testing over 50 ammo types in five different twist barrels… science can be exhausting!”
Do you know the actual BC (Ballistic Coefficient) of your rimfire ammunition? Well Applied Ballisitics will soon have answers for you. Bryan Litz and his team of testers have been working on a Herculean project. They’ve been testing over fifty types of .22 LR ammo, using five different twist-rate barrels.
The 17 Winchester Super Magnum Rimfire (aka Win Super Mag or WSM) is the fastest, most potent modern rimfire round you can buy. This cartridge, which uses a modified nail gun casing, drives 20gr bullets at 3000 fps. The 17 WSM offers superior ballistics to all .22 rimfires, and is a clear step ahead of the 17 HMR. That makes this round a potential “game-changer” in the varmint fields. To guage the capabilities of the 17 WSM, Varminter.com tested the cartridge in the new Ruger 77/17 bolt-action rifle. Click HERE for Varminter.com Ruger 77/17, 17 WSM Review.
17 WSM shoots faster than the 17 HMR, so the 20gr bullets don’t drift as much in the wind:
Varminter.com reports: “The much-anticipated Ruger 77/17 chambered in the 17 Winchester Super Magnum (17WSM) has been released. Our Review Editor, William Chambers, put it through a full range test with all four currently-available ammunition loads. Afterwards, he took it on a short groundhog hunt[.] We put a lot of rounds through the guns we test, at targets, through chronographs and out in the field. This report includes all currently available 17 WSM ammunition and a sneak peek of the really nice Nikon Prostaff 5 riflescope.” READ REVIEW.
GUNS Magazine has just released a 180-page Special Edition dedicated to .22 Rimfire products — guns, accessories, and ammo. Rimfire fans may want to pick up the latest .22 Rimfire Book which covers all .22 rimfire types, from CB caps to the .22 WMR. The cover story features the new .22LR Charger handgun from Ruger. Varminters will enjoy the discussion of the .22 Magnum, a versatile round that is effective on squirrels and other small critters. Other features in this Special Edition include a review of the Volquartsen Custom Deluxe pistol, Dave Anderson’s take on the top .22 target pistols, and an article on Sig Sauer’s newest silencers.
Our favorite story was a history of High Standard’s .22 Match Pistols by contributor Robert Kolesar. High Standards are lovely guns, with a well-deserved reputation for accuracy. “Unlike a number of classic guns from the past, the High Standards I remember fondly are still in production,” Kolesar writes. “And they haven’t changed to keep the liability lawyers or bean counters quiet. Arguably, it’s a better pistol, with tighter quality control, sight upgrades not available previously and a good factory trigger — just too good a pistol to be forgotten.”
Any experienced varmint hunter knows the value of a good .17 HMR rifle, particular when used inside 150 yards on small critters such as ground squirrels. The .17 HMR is a great round, but for general plinking and target practice, we prefer shooting the venerable .22 Long Rifle. The .22 LR has less recoil and less noise. Importantly, .22 LR ammo (even with today’s shortages) remains much less expensive than .17 HMR ammunition.
Wouldn’t it be great if a single, affordable varmint rifle could shoot both .22 LR and .17 HMR? Well, CZ offers just such a rig — the CZ Model 455 American Combo, a versatile switch-caliber rifle priced at about $485.00 (MSRP is $531.00). The American Combo comes complete with both .22 LR and .17 HMR barrels, easily interchanged with a simple Allen wrench. As CZ explains: “The CZ 455 eliminates the need to spend the extra expense on a second rifle when you want to add another quality shooter to your rimfire battery”. For a bit more money, you can even purchase a .22 WMR barrel, making your CZ a triple-threat varmint-slayer.
Here’s a useful, cost-efficient product if you have a rifle with a 3/8″ dovetail on top of the action and you want to use a scope with Weaver-style rings. Kwik-Site offers three grooved receiver adapter products. The first is a two-piece set of short rails that clamp to a 3/8″-wide dovetail. Priced at just $13.50, this two-piece rail set, item KS-W22, is available in gloss black, matte black, and a stainless finish. If you prefer a one-piece rail, Kwik-Site offers the KS-W23 ($29.95) and KS-W24 ($30.95). Both are offered in matte black or silver (stainless-look) finishes. The KS-W24 will work with Romanian rifles.
These Kwik-Site products provide a low-cost solution if you want to take a scope from a rifle with a Weaver Rail and place the optic on a dove-tailed action without removing the scope from the ring set. Please note however, you’ll still need to re-zero the scope when you move it from one rifle to another. To order online, visit www.KwikSitecorp.com.
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Some folks think you need a new (or nearly-new) barrel to win a benchrest match. That may be true in the centerfire game, but in the world of rimfire benchrest, things are different. Good barrels can remain accurate for a long, long time. That was demonstrated by our friend Joe Friedrich who recently set a new ARA 4-target Aggregate record. Joe was shooting his trusty old “Sweet Pea” rifle with a very well-worn barrel. In fact, Joe’s record-setting Benchmark barrel has logged well over 100,000 rounds. That’s right, a barrel with over 100K rounds shot the best 4-target ARA Agg ever. Will wonders never cease…
In this video, Joe talks about his rifle, the amazing longevity of his Benchmark barrel, and the ELEY ammo he used to shoot two 2500s on the same day (with a 2475 average for four targets):
Editor’s Comment: This is not the only way to clean a rimfire barrel. There are other procedures. This is the method recommended by ELEY based on decades of experience with the top smallbore shooters in the world, including many Olympic Gold Medalists. Some shooters have been very successful cleaning less frequently, or using different types of solvents. The ELEY method is a good starting point.
Rimfire Barrel Cleaning
1. Clean the extension tube with a 12 gauge brush and felt or tissue moistened with solvent.
2. Smoothly insert a cleaning rod guide into the receiver.
3. Apply a dry felt to the cleaning rod adapter and push it through the barrel to the muzzle in one slow steady movement. As the felt is dry it may feel stiff.
This is the kind of family-friendly, “feel-good” story we like. Texan Richard King created a rimfire benchrest rifle using a classic Martini Mark III smallbore action. He fitted the gun with a new flat, wide forearm and a new buttstock, allowing the gun to sit steady on the bags and track smoothly. The narrow action was also fitted with a cantilevered top rail to hold a high-magnification scope.
Here is Vicki King, with Martini Mark III and her trophy.
But here’s the best part. Richard provided this updated classic to his wife Vicki, who proceded to win a rimfire benchrest match (Vintage class) with the old Martini. Richard reports: “Here is my lovely wife with her High Overall Vintage trophy. That is a Martini Mark III that I re-stocked in walnut for 50-yard, .22-caliber benchrest matches. It’s great to have her shooting with me again.” FYI, last summer Richard and Vicki celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary!
Bravo Richard — kudos to you AND to your lovely bride. It’s great to see a couple shooting together. It’s also great to see a classic rifle brought back to the winner’s circle with some inspired stock-work and other upgrades.
Here is Richard King, with his handiwork — an updated Martini Mark III smallbore rifle.
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Ruger 10/22 owners should cheer. Victor Company USA has finally started shipping its new Titan 1022 stock for Ruger’s popular 10/22. We like Victor’s new stock, and we think it will be a great for tactical rimfire matches and cross-training. We bet a lot of varmint shooters will grab one of these Titan 1022 stocks as well. At just $169.99, it’s quite affordable. (MSRP is $189.99, but Victor Company’s website currently shows “Introductory Pricing” of $169.99.)
CLICK Image for full-screen version
Victor’s Titan 1022 Precision Rimfire Stock features a vertical-style grip and a wide, beavertail forearm with molded nibs for enhanced grip (max barrel diameter is 0.920″). In the rear, the buttstock features a cut-out for the user’s off hand with a deeper “keel” for riding the bags. With “Introductory Pricing” of just $169.99, the stock is available in two colors: Flat Dark Earth (above) or Matte Black (below). A Ruger 10/22 never looked so good. Visit www.victorcompanyusa.com for more details.
Victor Company 1022 Precision Rimfire Stock (CLICK photo for full-size image.)
Cross-training with a .22 LR
Shooters can improve their centerfire skills by cross-training with a .22LR rimfire rifle. In terms of wind drift, shooting a .22LR at 150 yards is equivalent to shooting a .308 at 330 yards. (See Chart)
.22 LR vs. .308, Distances for Equal 10 MPH Wind Drift
This table shows the corresponding distances at which a 10 mph full-value crosswind pushes a .22 LR bullet and .308 projectile roughly the same amount. Values are based on 0.130 BC for a 40gr .22 LR bullet, and 0.496 BC for 175gr .308 bullet.
22 LR 40gr 1050 fps
50 yd Wind 1.0″
75 yd Wind 2.2″
100 yd Wind 3.8″
125 yd Wind 5.8″
150 yd Wind 8.2″
175 yd Wind 11.0″
200 yd Wind 14.3″
.308 Win 175gr 2650 fps
130 yd Wind 1.07″
180 yd Wind 2.15″
230 yd Wind 3.68″
280 yd Wind 5.63″
330 yd Wind 7.98″
380 yd Wind 10.71″
440 yd Wind 14.56″
Along with the training benefits, rimfires are fun to shoot, with less noise, less recoil, and a much lower cost per shot. If you like competition, many clubs around the country offer rimfire tactical matches, or something similar (multi-distance matches shot from a variety of positions). With paper and/or reactive targets from 25 to 150 yards, tactical rimfire matches are fun and challenging.
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Got a 1911-style centerfire pistol? Would you like to cross-train with an ergonomically-identical rimfire version that lets you shoot less-expensive .22 LR ammo and not worry about recovering your brass? Well check out Kimber’s Rimfire 1911s. We think John Moses Browning would smile at this adaptation of his classic 1911 design.
Kimber’s line-up of rimfire pistols includes matte black and silver-tone Rimfire Target models ($871 MSRP), plus a deluxe, two-tone Rimfire Super model ($1220 MSRP) with Rosewood grips, front strap checkering, and KimPro II finish. Shown above, the Rimfire Super model is guaranteed to put five shots in 1.5″ or less at 25 yards. Both standard and deluxe models feature aluminum frame and slide, steel barrel, and adjustable match-type sights.
What’s That Pistol?
While viewing Panteo’s Training with a 22 DVD, we noticed a sweet-looking, silver-tone m1911-style rimfire pistol in the hands of host Michael Bane. At first, we thought this might be a new stainless version of Sig Sauer’s popular 1911-22. But, in actuality, Bane was shooting a Kimber Rimfire Target pistol. Michael’s aluminum-framed Kimber performed great in rapid-fire drills. See one in action below.
Watch Slow-Motion Video of Kimber Rimfire Target (Black Version)
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They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case a video is way more illuminating than anything we can write. The video below, produced by Savage, demonstrates how the new 17 HMR Savage A17 rifle works. The video includes nicely-done 3D Graphics that illustrate the function of the A17’s delayed-blowback action with “interrupter lug”. Using “X-Ray View” animation, the video shows what happens INSIDE the chamber as rounds are fired. The video also explains how the 17 HMR presents a tougher engineering challenge than the lower-pressure .22 LR cartridge.
Watch this Video — You’ll Learn Something about Semi-Auto Rimfires
NOTE to Readers: Watch the video! If you have any interest in how guns work, check this out (full-screen if possible). For some reason (maybe slow connections), most readers skip over the videos we embed in our stories. In this case, take 3 minutes to watch. Click arrows button to view Full-Screen.
Savage officially launched the A17 this month, after previewing the new 17 HMR rifle at SHOT Show in January. We tested the gun on Media Day and came away very impressed. The A17 fed and functioned flawlessly. It is fun to shoot, and it will be affordable. MSRP is $469.00 so street price should be about $425.00. READ AccurateShooter A17 Report.
We plan to test one of these very soon. If the field test goes as well as I expect, your Editor will probably buy one of these rifles. The A17 has a barrel nut system just like centerfire Savage rifles. This means it will be easy to fit an aftermarket custom barrel to the A17. We already have some ideas for a suppressed A17 project gun with upgraded stock and barrel(s). Stay tuned….
The Magic Chicklet
Look below at the A17 bolt. The little black hardened metal piece (called a “chicklet” by the Savage engineers) is the secret ingredient. This “Interrupter Lug” retracts, allowing the A17 to operate in delayed blow-back mode. That permits the A17 to function flawlessly with the 17 HMR cartridge.
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In the hit Hollywood movie “The Patriot”, the hero Benjamin Martin (played by Mel Gibson), tells his sons: “Aim small, miss small”. That advice was given to help his sons survive encounters with the British redcoats, but the “aim small, miss small” mantra can benefit target shooters as well.
We have found that novice and intermediate shooters can often improve their accuracy simply by using targets with smaller, more precise aiming points. Inexperienced shooters can benefit by starting with a large-size aiming circle, and then progressing to smaller and smaller target dots. This lets the shooter increase the challenge as his gun-handling becomes more steady and his aim improves.
Here are two rimfire training targets with “big to small” target circles. Start with the largest circles, then move to the smaller ones in sequence. This systematic drill provides increasing challenge shot-by-shot. Novices often are quite surprised to see their accuracy improve as they move from bigger to smaller aiming points. That provides positive feedback — always a good thing.
Right Click and “Save as” to download printable PDF versions of these targets.
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