November 15th, 2019

Crazy But It Works — Log-Splitter Heavy Gun for IBS Competition

Can you really make a silk purse from a sow’s ear? Would you believe a winning benchrest rifle could be constructed with a stock fashioned from a cast-off log-splitter? Well it can.

Anyone who has attended an IBS benchrest match knows that this brotherhood of shooters includes some “backyard engineers” who can build amazing things with low-cost components. Consider Steve Jordan. He has built a winning Heavy Gun with a gunstock made out of a wood splitter. Check out the photo. The butt section is in the shape of a “V” like an ax. The “V” sits on an adjustable, flat rear sandbag. The flat shaft of the wood-splitter, running horizontally, serves as the main chassis and fore-end. The barrel block sits on top (with the action floated), while the flat, forward section of the shaft rides the front bag. Not only does this “log-splitter” stock work, but Jordan has won IBS matches with it! Sometimes simple and cheap beats expensive and fancy.

Sam Hall Says the Log-Splitter Has Been “Kicking Our Tails”
Sam Hall (multi-time IBS 600-yard champion) reports: “I was not at the first match (years ago) where Steve Jordan debuted his barrel-blocked, Heavy Gun stock made out of a wood splitter. From what I heard he cleaned house with it that day. When I first heard about this log-splitter rig, I thought guys were pulling my leg. But the log-splitter Heavy Gun really exists. In fact, over the past two years at Piedmont, Steve’s home-built log-splitter HG has won numerous Heavy Gun matches, out-performing nearly all the other Heavy Guns on the line, even those that cost thousands more to build.

Steve made the rifle as economical as possible. Steve’s entire stock is made from a metal wood splitter. From what I understand, Ray Lowman gave him the barrel block. This rides on the shaft of the wood splitter. With this inexpensive, simple rig Steve has kicked our tails at times! By the way, Steve’s Heavy Gun is chambered as a 6mm Dasher.” International Benchrest Shooters

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July 23rd, 2018

0.1 MOA at 1K — Amazing 1.068″ 50-5X Group at 1000 Yards

Mike Wilson IBS Hawks Ridge 1000-yard benchrest 1000 record 1.086 inches

Story based on report by Sam Hall
Look at that target by Mike Wilson. This is one of the most remarkable displays of accuracy (and precision) in the history of long range shooting. This past weekend, Mike (aka “GA. Dawg” in our Forum) drilled a truly spectacular 1.068-inch, 5-shot group at 1000 yards, all centered up in the X-Ring. Yes, you read that right, a group barely over an inch at 1000, shot in competition at an official IBS benchrest match on July 21, 2018.

How small is that in angular measurement? Well 1 MOA at 1000 yards is 10.47 inches, so Mike’s 50-5X masterpiece is 0.102 MOA! Yes that will be pending IBS group size (and score) World Records. This best-ever 1K group* was shot at an IBS registered 1000-yard match at Hawks Ridge Gun Club in North Carolina. Other records have been shot at Hawks Ridge in the past, but this is the most jaw-dropping.

Sam Hall, past IBS National Champion and IBS 600-Yard Shooter of the Year, was stunned by Wilson’s accomplishment: “This is a truely awesome marksmanship feat — one of the best in history. I think I would trade all 14 of my 600-yard records for that one!”. Mike’s amazing target will be submitted for approval as new Group Size and Score IBS World Records. Official approval is pretty much a certainty. The previous 5-shot, 1000-yard IBS record is 1.397″ (50 score) by Tom Sarver in 2007. (The NBRSA 1000-Yard 5-shot LG record is 1.473″ by Bill Schrader in 2002.)

Mike Wilson IBS Hawks Ridge 1000-yard benchrest 1000 record 1.086 inches

Mike Wilson IBS Hawks Ridge 1000-yard benchrest 1000 record 1.086 inches

Posting on our Shooters’ Forum, Mike wrote: “Thanks everyone for the kind words. As humbling as this game is, when it comes together makes it all worthwhile! A very special THANK YOU to my traveling buddy, my son, Blake, and my wife Debra for allowing me to enjoy this crazy game.” Mike also wanted to thank his smiths and component suppliers.

Mike Wilson IBS 1000-Yard Light Gun Specifications

Action: BAT ‘B’ 1.550 Melonited Action with Jewell Trigger
Barrel: Brux HV 28″ Finished Length, 1:8″ Twist Rate
Chambering: 6BRAW (6mmBR Ackley Improved Wilson), Chambered by Darrell Jones
Chamber Specs: 0.272″ No-turn Neck with 0.135″ Freebore
Stock: Shehane ST 1000 Fiberglass Stock (with stock work by Larry “Bullet” Archer)
Optics: Nightforce 12-42x56mm Benchrest NP-2 DD

Mike Wilson IBS Hawks Ridge 1000-yard benchrest 1000 record 1.086 inches
Leonard Baity front rest with Protektor Bag. Italian Lenzi bag in rear.

World Record-Setting Cartridge and Load
Mike was shooting a 40-degree Improved version of the 6mmBR Norma cartridge. Long popular with Benchrest and 300M shooters, the 6mmBR was the original inspiration for this website. Yep, we started as The Improved version has extra capacity, allowing about 100 FPS more velocity when chambered with a long throat. For his record group, Mike shot Vapor Trail 103-grain bullets in Lapua brass. He loaded Hodgdon H4895 powder with CCI 450 (small rifle magnum) primers.

Praise from Fellow Competitors
Here are some reactions to Mike’s amazing group by our Forum members:

“Amazing target Mike Wilson! Your group might last forever as ‘the goal’ of 1000-yard Benchrest! Heck that’s a great target even at 600 yards.” — Mike J.

“Unbelievable!! Doing that under chosen prime conditions is an amazing feat but to do that in competition and to have everything to come together is just unbelievable. Amazing how far skill, precision, knowledge, and the products of this sport have come. Never thought we would see a group this small and well placed especially in the hills of North Carolina where the wind always blows. Congratulations. A true lifetime achievement.” — Yote Hunter

“I think that one will stand for a while. Hard work does pay off, but it don’t hurt to be one of the givers in the sport. Mike, you are ‘The Man’!” — Bill Shehane

“Awesome, awesome, awesome. Now the goal is to shoot UNDER an inch!” — Alex Wheeler

For more comments, read this AccurateShooter Forum Thread.

The 6mmBR Ackley Improved
Mike Wilson shot his spectacular group with a 40° Improved version of the 6mmBR cartridge with less body taper than a standard 6BR — the design is 0.463 at the body/shoulder junction (vs. 0.460 for standard 6BR). Mike calls his version of the 6BR Ackley a 6BRAW (“W” for Wilson). Sam Hall explained: “The 6BRAW is pretty much the same as a 6BRA or 6BR-AI (Ackley Improved). I sold the reamer to Mike last year. This has a 0.272 ‘No-Turn’ chamber with a 0.135 Freebore”.

6mmBR Ackley Improved 6BRA 6BRAI 6BRAW Mike wilson Tom Mousel

This photo shows a 40° 6mmBR Ackley Improved (6BRA), as used by Tom Mousel in Deep Creek, Montana. Mike Wilson’s 6BRAW may be very slightly different. For Mousel’s 6BRA with 28″ Krieger barrel, the accuracy node is about 2980-2990 fps, so this gives up only 30-50 fps compared to typical Dasher velocities. Mike Wilson’s load runs about 2980 fps also.

In the past couple of years, the 6BR Ackley-type cartridges have been hugely successful in 600-yard and 1000-yard Benchrest. Sam Hall notes: “This year the little 6BR-AI has shot the smallest groups ever fired in 600-yard and 1000-yard competition. Back in April 2018, Bart Sauter, using a 6BRA, shot a 0.282″ 5-Shot group at 600 yards.” Bart’s stunning 0.04 MOA group is a pending 600-yard IBS World Record. (Read Sauter Story). Now Mike Wilson has a pending 1000-yard World Record with his 6BRAW.

Mike Wilson IBS Hawks Ridge 1000-yard benchrest 1000 record 1.086 inches
Mike used an Italian Lenzi rear bag. Mike says the super-slick nylon on the ears of this high quality rear bag make for better tracking. The ears provide support but don’t “grab” the stock, reports Mike.

* There are two North American sanctioning bodies for 1000-Yard Benchrest, the IBS and the NBRSA. The previous 5-shot, 1000-yard IBS record is 1.397″ (50 score) by Tom Sarver in 2007. The existing NBRSA 1000-Yard 5-shot Light Gun record is 1.473″, shot by Bill Schrader in 2002.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, News, Shooting Skills 12 Comments »
January 1st, 2017

Solid Gold Shooting Tips from Sam Hall

At the request of many Forum members, we’re reprising this archived video from past IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year Samuel Hall. Without a doubt, Sam is one of the best mid-range benchrest shooters in the nation. While the video quality is rough (to say the least), Sam’s offers plenty of tips you can “take to the bank”. Even if you don’t shoot competitively, the techniques described here can improve your accuracy when shooting from a bench.

2008 IBS 600-yard National Champion Samuel Hall has prepared a 9-minute VIDEO showing his techniques for shooting from the bench. Sam covers a number of topics including bag set-up, body position, bolt manipulation, and loading skills. He also explains the importance of having a relaxed, comfortable posture and keeping your head in the same position shot to shot.

If you’re serious about accurate benchrest shooting, at ANY distance, you should watch this video. Sam’s tips can really help you. We guarantee it. While the video itself is grainy and wind noise affects the audio, you can still glean many great points from the video. From minute 8:00 on Sam shoots a 5-shot string on camera with his BAT-actioned, Leonard-stocked 6BR. Though he was fighting 20-mph winds Sam achieves a half-inch group at 200 yards. Quarter-MOA in such conditions is good shooting.

IBS Sam Hall Benchrest

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December 16th, 2015

Insane Accuracy — How to Craft Record-Breaking Ammo

Rodney Wagner Insane Accuracy IBS Record 6mm Dasher

Rodney Wagner shot the smallest 5-shot, 600-yard group in the history of competitive rifle shooting. First measured at a mere 0.349″, then certified on the IBS Record books at 0.336″, Rodney’s group is mind-blowingly small — and it was centered for a 50 score. This amazing group shows what can be done with a great gun, a talented shooter, and superb hand-loaded ammunition. Today’s Tech Tip reveals some of Rodney’s reloading methods that helped him put five shots you could cover with a dime into a target 600 yards away.

Creating Ultra-Accurate Benchrest Ammunition

Rodney takes great care in loading his brass, and he employs a few tricks to get superior consistency.

Fire-Forming — To prepare his cases for fire-forming, Rodney starts by turning his Lapua brass to just past where the new neck-shoulder junction will be: “I just cut enough for the 6mm Dasher neck. A little bit of the cut shows on the shoulder after forming.” Then Rodney runs a .25-caliber K&M mandrel through the whole neck, expanding the neck diameter. After the entire neck is expanded, Rodney re-sizes the top section with a Wilson bushing, creating a false shoulder. Then, as further insurance that the case will be held firmly in place during fire-forming, Rodney seats his bullets long — hard into the lands. When fire-forming, Rodney uses a normal 6mmBR load of 29.8 grains of Varget: “I don’t like to stress my brass before it has been hardened. I load enough powder to form the shoulder 95%. Any more than that is just wasted.” Rodney adds: “When fire-forming, I don’t want to use a super-hard primer. I prefer to use a Federal 205, CCI 200, or Winchester — something soft.” Using a softer primer lessens the likelihood that the case will drive forward when hit by the firing pin, so this helps achieve more consistent “blow lengths”.

Rodney Wagner IBS 600-yard Record

Ammo Loading — Rodney is fastidious with his brass and weighs his charges very precisely. Charges are first dispensed with an RFD manual powder measure, then Rodney trickles kernel by kernel using a highly-precise Sartorius GD-503 laboratory scale. He tries to maintain charge-weight consistency within half a tenth of a grain — about two kernels of Varget powder.

K&M arbor press bullet seating force accurateshooter.comOne important technique Rodney employs is sorting by bullet-seating force. Rodney batch-sorts his loaded rounds based on seating force indicated by the dial gauge on his K&M arbor press: “I use a K&M arbor press with dial indicator strain gauge. When I’m loading I pay lots of attention to seating effort and I try to batch five rounds that feel the same. For record rounds I try to make sure I get five of the same number (on the dial). When sorting based on the force-gauge readout, you need to go slow. If you go too fast the needle will spike up and down before you can see it.”

In practice, Rodney might select five rounds with a gauge value of 25, then another five with a gauge read-out of 30 and so on. He places the first five like-value rounds in one row of his ammo caddy. The next like-value set of five will go in the next row down. By this method, he ensures that all five cartridges in a five-round set for a record target will have bullets seated with very consistent seating force.

Unlike some top shooters, Rodney does not regularly anneal his cases. However, after every firing, he does tumble his Dasher brass in treated corncob media. After sizing his brass, before seating the bullets, he runs a nylon brush in the necks: “The last thing I do before firing is run a well-worn 30 caliber nylon brush in the necks, using a small 6-volt drill for power. This is a quick operation — just in and out the neck”. Sometimes, at the end of the season, he will anneal, but Rodney adds: “If I can get 10 firings out of the case I’ve done good.” He usually makes up new brass when he fits a new barrel: “If it is a good barrel (that I may shoot at the Nationals), I’ll usually go ahead and prepare 200 pieces of good brass.”

Tips for 600-Yard Shooters New to the Game
In the course of our interview with Rodney, we asked if he had any tips for shooters who are getting started in the 600-yard Benchrest Game. Rodney offered some sensible advice:

1. Don’t try to go it alone. Find an old-timer to mentor you. As a novice, go to matches, watch and ask questions.

2. Go with a proven cartridge. If you are shooting 600 yards stick with a 6mmBR or one of the 6BR improveds (BRX or Dasher). Keep it simple. I tried some of the larger cartridges, the 6XC and 6-6.5×47 Lapua. I was trying to be different, but I was not successful. It wasn’t a disaster — I learned something. But I found the larger cases were not as accurate as a 6BR or Dasher. Those bigger cartridges are competitive for score but not for group.

3. You don’t have to spend a fortune to be competitive. Buy a used rifle from somebody and find out if you like the sport. You can save a lot with a used rifle, but do plan on buying a new barrel immediately.

4. Don’t waste weeks or months struggling with a barrel that isn’t shooting. My best barrels, including this record-setting Brux, started shooting exceptionally well right from the start.

Rodney Wagner 600 yard record

Rodney’s record group was measured at 0.349″ at the match, then IBS record-certified at 0.336″.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 5 Comments »
September 13th, 2015

IBS Gear Spotlight: Steve Jordan’s “Log-Splitter” Heavy Gun

Can you really make a silk purse from a sow’s ear? Would you believe a winning benchrest rifle could be constructed with a stock fashioned from a cast-off log-splitter? Well it can.

Anyone who has attended an IBS benchrest match knows that this brotherhood of shooters includes some “backyard engineers” who can build amazing things with low-cost components. Consider Steve Jordan. He has built a winning Heavy Gun with a gunstock made out of a wood splitter. Check out the photo. The butt section is in the shape of a “V” like an ax. The “V” sits on an adjustable, flat rear sandbag. The flat shaft of the wood-splitter, running horizontally, serves as the main chassis and fore-end. The barrel block sits on top (with the action floated), while the flat, forward section of the shaft rides the front bag. Not only does this “log-splitter” stock work, but Jordan has won IBS matches with it! Sometimes simple and cheap beats expensive and fancy.

Sam Hall Says the Log-Splitter Has Been “Kicking Our Tails”
Sam Hall (multi-time IBS 600-yard champion) reports: “I was not at the first match where Steve Jordan debuted his barrel-blocked, Heavy Gun stock made out of a wood splitter. From what I heard he cleaned house with it that day. When I first heard about this log-splitter rig, I thought guys were pulling my leg. But the log-splitter Heavy Gun really exists. In fact, over the past two years at Piedmont, Steve’s home-built log-splitter HG has won numerous Heavy Gun matches, out-performing nearly all the other Heavy Guns on the line, even those that cost thousands more to build.

Steve made the rifle as economical as possible. Steve’s entire stock is made from a metal wood splitter. From what I understand, Ray Lowman gave him the barrel block. This rides on the shaft of the wood splitter. With this inexpensive, simple rig Steve has been kicking our tails! By the way, Steve’s Heavy Gun is chambered as a 6mm Dasher.” International Benchrest Shooters

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing 3 Comments »
June 27th, 2013

IBS Match Report: Piedmont 600-Yard Benchrest Match

In the spring of 2004, IBS 600-yard benchrest competition was born. Piedmont Gun Club in Rutherfordton, NC was one of the three initial ranges across the country to host this new competition. Bridgeville (DE) and the Bench Rest Rifle Club of St. Louis (MO) were the other two. 600-yard benchrest was the brainchild of several IBS and club officers, Dave Tooley and Joe Goforth among them. The idea was to have a new competition at a distance far enough that short-range cartridges would not dominate, but not so far that the new mid-range discipline would duplicate 1000-yard competition. After initial “test matches” at 500 yards, in late 2003, officers at Piedmont Gun Club decided to push the targets out another 100 yards. That was the beginning of the 600-yard benchrest game.

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

IBS 600-Yard Match at Piedmont Gun Club (June 8, 2013)
Report for IBS by Sam Hall
Piedmont Gun Club is a legendary venue in the 600-yard Benchrest game because so many records have been set at this range. Throughout the 600-yard seasons at Piedmont Gun Club, June has been one of the best months for shooting small groups and high scores. Most all records have been shot there in the summer months of June, July, and August. And speaking of records, more records have been set, broken, and re-broken at Piedmont than all other IBS 600-yard ranges combined! I know of 29 separate records that have been set by just three shooters. Joel Kendrick, Terry Brady, and myself, Sam Hall. Many, many more records have been broken there also.

After a couple of rainy days, the weather cleared up for our June 8, 2013 match. It was to be one of Piedmont’s IBS 600 Yard “Shooter of the Year” points matches also. 35 seasoned veterans showed up… plus a new shooter, Jimmy Norman. There were high expectations for more records to fall. Although the weather was fair with sun and the occasional cloud, a light wind, switching from right to left, kept any records from being set this day. Many small groups were shot in the morning in the Heavy Gun session, but the switching wind picked up in the afternoon during the Light Gun competition and the groups showed it.

Piedmont Match Results 6/8/13 (.XLS, 133kb) | Piedmont Results with Photo (.XLS 1.9 MB)

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

Thomas Parker Wins HG with a Rem-Actioned Rifle
The day started with Heavy Gun shooting first at 09:00 sharp. The wind was very light from left to right at 2-3mph with temps about 70 degrees. Thomas Parker showed us that a Remington actioned benchrest rifle can still whip the all-out custom “Race Guns” in the hands of a good shooter. Thomas won the Heavy Gun overall placing first in score (193) and second in group (1.965″) for four targets. Note: a group Agg (or aggregate) is the 4 target groups added together and averaged (divided by four). Sam Hall snuck in the small group of the day 0.986″ to help him win the HG Group Aggregate with a 1.820″. This was the only first place that Thomas did not capture. Thomas shot the standard 6mmBR cartridge, pushing Berger 105gr Hybrid bullets. His rifle featured a Remington 700 action, Brux barrel, and a custom wood benchrest stock.

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

Watch Heavy Gun Winner Thomas Parker Shoot at Piedmont

Mike Hanes Captures Light Gun and Sam Hall Takes the Two-Gun
After the Heavy Gun segment concluded, as always, a great lunch was served by a local church group. Lunch is held in Piedmont’s new club located just beside the 600-yard range.The club house also has bathroom facilities for men and women, a kitchen and large banquet room. Light Gun (LG) started just after the break for lunch. The winds had picked up to 5-8 mph and switching left to right now. Temps were 80-84 degrees for the rest of the day. Groups were sure not as good as they were in the morning for Heavy Gun. Mike Hanes (2012 IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year) had small single target group of 1.423″ in LG to help him win LG Group Agg with a 2.371. Mike had second place in score with a 184 to help give him the “Overall” LG win. Mike was shooting a custom 6mm Dasher “Race Gun”. It featured a BAT dual port action, Shehane fiberglass ST-1000 stock, Jewell 2 oz. trigger, Brux barrel.

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

Sam Hall won the Two-Gun Overall with 8 rank points. Thomas Parker finished second in the Two-Gun with 29 rank points with Steve Jordan finishing a close third with 30 rank points. Sam said the match was great, and he invites readers to join the fun: “Come on out to Piedmont with us and give 600-yard benchrest a try. I guarantee you will be welcomed and will have a great time!”

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

Piedmont Gun Club — Home of the Record-Breakers
Piedmont has seven IBS 600-yard matches a year from March though September. Five matches are IBS “Shooter of the Year” matches where IBS points can be accumulated. Piedmont also has its own Shooter of the Year. All Piedmont’s 600-yard matches count toward it. They give a very nice standing trophy to the winner at the end of the year. Attendance at Piedmont for 600-yard competition is usually 30 to over 40 shooters. Most guys are regulars and have been at the 600-yard game for years. The competition is tough! I have heard many shooters say that shooting at Piedmont is like shooting at the Nationals every match. The atmosphere is very friendly though. We welcome new shooters. There is always someone there to help you when needed, whether it be a fellow shooter or range officer. On many occasions I have witnessed a fellow shooter lend his own rifle to a new shooter who wants to give it a try, someone who forgot ammo, or had equipment failures.

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

Not only does Piedmont Gun Club have IBS 600-yard competition, but the Club also hosts several other shooting disciplines. Piedmont has a 50-yard pistol range, trap and skeet range, 25-50-75-100 meter small bore silhouette rifle range and 50-600 yard rifle range. Piedmont hosts NRA Smallbore Rifle and 22 Cowboy Silhouette matches in March and ending in October. Piedmont also hosts three IBS 100/200 yard VFS (Varmint For Score) Benchrest matches a year including a NC State match in September 2013. They have 16 covered benches at their VFS range and 16 separate covered benches for their 600 yard range. Tommy Williams is the Club President and also is match director of the 600-yard matches to boot! Piedmont Gun Club is located in the beautiful foothills of western North Carolina.

Hardware Choices — Sam Hall Talks about 600-Yard Rigs
Over the years, 600-yard equipment has evolved. We now have a good idea of what works the best in 600-yard competition. Several varieties of long-range stocks work well so long as the geometry of the key surfaces in the fore-end and butt are parallel (or very close). Custom actions are desirable, with dual port (right bolt, left load port, right eject) or drop-port for faster shooting. The standard 6mm BR or any of its improved versions seem to be equally competitive and accurate at 600 yards. You’ll want a match-grade, stainless barrel, 26-30 inches in length, with a 1:8″ to 1:8.5″ twist rate (depending on your bullet and velocity).

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

Do you really need a true Heavy Gun? Both Mike Davis and I experimented with true Heavy Guns in 2007. Mine was a 61-pound, 6 Dasher built with a Shehane Aluminum Maxi-Tracker stock. Mike shot a 50-pound, 6 BRX in a massive, aluminum Bruce Baer stock. Both these “true heavies” (Mike’s and mine) had dual-port BAT actions and Brux 1:8″-twist barrels. Mike set the HG 4-target group aggregate record that year with a 1.467″ Agg and I set the HG 4-target score record with a 197. These true Heavy Guns shined when the mirage and/or wind were really bad. If they are tracking back on target well, you can rip off 5 shots in mere seconds! That said, I don’t think a “true heavy” is needed to be competitive.

Folks have certainly experimented with exotic equipment in the 600-yard game. But, for a new shooter it is good to know that fancy, ultra-expensive rifles are not necessary to win at 600 yards. You can shoot one rifle and do just as well as the man with several long-range rifles. You don’t need a separate rifle for Light Gun and Heavy Gun. Just look at what Richard Schatz has done over the years with one rifle. As the saying goes, beware of the man with one gun! To boot, matches are still being won with affordable, factory-actioned rifles. Never count out a skilled shooter with an accurate Remington- or Savage-actioned benchrest rifle — he may beat you! That was the case at our most recent match at Piedmont.

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November 28th, 2012

SEB MAX Coaxial Front Rest — Field Test by Sam Hall

[haiku url=”″]Click PLAY to hear Sam TALK about SEB MAX
coaxial joystick rest.

“It’s a keeper” — that’s what Sam Hall, 4-time IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year, told us after he test-drove the new SEB MAX coaxial front rest. Over the past two months, Sam has been testing the new SEB MAX with his competition benchrest rifles, with a variety of forearm widths from three inches to eight inches, and weights from 17 to 61 pounds.

Did Sam like the SEB MAX? He did indeed — in fact he was so impressed with the MAX rest that he is selling his current front rest and he will be using the SEB MAX for both LG and HG matches.

SEB Coaxial MAX Rest Sam Hall

In designing the SEB MAX rest, Sebastian (“Seb”) Lambang set out to build a rest that would handle true heavy guns up to 45kg and also adapt to lighter rifles with a variety of forearm widths. This was quite a challenge, but he pulled it off. The SEB MAX quickly adapts to fit narrow, medium, and wide forearms, with a simple adjustment of the side plates on the three-piece front bag. You can change from 3″ to 5″ to 8″ width in seconds. If you prefer a conventional one-piece front sand-bag, SEB offers one-piece bags sized to fit various forearm widths from 2.5″ to 8″.

SEB Coaxial MAX Rest Sam Hall

The SEB MAX also adapts to different rifle weights through the use of a front counter-weight for the heavy big boomers. With a standard 17-lb Light Gun, you can run the MAX with no counterweight. The joystick control movement is very smooth and with the internal springs tuned right, you can shoot with your hand off the joystick. When you want to switch to a true Heavy Gun, simply attach the counterweight arm to the front of the gun. SEB can supply custom counter-weight “donuts” tuned to your specific Heavy Gun. Sam Hall reviews the features of the SEB MAX in the video below.

Watch SEB MAX Video Review (Part 1 — Light Gun)

Does the SEB MAX retain its smooth movement even with a true Heavy Gun on the front bags? Absolutely. Sam reports that “When shooting my 61-pounder, with the counter-weight in place, the joystick movement is smooth and predictable — it feels just like the Light Gun”.

To prove how well the counter-balancer works with a true Heavy Gun, Sam put his 61-lb Maxi-Tracker on the SEB MAX, attached the appropriate counterweight, and then shot a group at 600 yards without touching the joystick during a four-shot string. To Sam’s amazement, the gun produced a 4-shot group under 1.5″. Sam says: “That was in mid-day with some mirage. That’s about the best this gun can do in those conditions. It was impressive to be able to run a string with a 61-pounder and not touch the joystick.” You can see this in the Part 2 Video below.

Watch SEB MAX Video Review (Part 2 — Heavy Gun)

Superior Build Quality, Unique Versatility, and Outstanding Performance
Sam had high praise for the workmanship, fit, and finish of the SEB MAX: “This rest is a work of art. I’m not easily impressed by most products, but this is one fine machine.” Sam added that the SEB MAX is not just pretty — everything functions very well: “The sideplates have quick-release handles so you can change widths quickly. The course elevation control is very smooth and easy to use. With the course elevation locked, there is plenty of vertical travel (elevation) and plenty of side-to-side travel with just the joystick.” Sam was also impressed with how well the 61-pounder tracked on the SEB MAX: “I’ve been playing with it… and the gun seems to track perfect.”

SEB Coaxial MAX Rest Sam Hall

SEB Coaxial MAX Rest Sam Hall

SEB Coaxial MAX Rest Sam Hall

SEB Coaxial MAX Rest Sam Hall

Sam also praised the micro-fiber fabric SEB uses for both the three-piece and conventional one-piece front bags: “This micro-fiber is great. You don’t need to use any silicon or powder or anything to slick it up, yet the forearm slides on it better than anything I’ve ever seen.”

Sam likes the modular construction of the SEB MAX. Sam found that, when he was just shooting a Light Gun, he could remove the rear foot, making the rest easier to move around. Like the SEB NEO rest, the MAX rest breaks down into flat modules so it packs more compactly for shipping.

SEB MAX rests are currently in the final stages of production. Price for the USA market has not yet been set. You can get on the pre-order waiting list by contacting Ernie Bishop in Gillette, Wyoming. Call (307) 257-7431, or email ernieemily [at] For other markets consult dealer list on

Weight: The MAX weighs approximately 18.4 kg (40.5 lbs) without the counter-weight, with bags empty. Sam’s rest with full bags and counter-weight is about 45 pounds.

Rest Size: Side to side footprint (center to center of leveling screws) is approximately 13.78″. Dimension from back to front is about 14.17″.

SEB Coaxial MAX Rest Sam Hall

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September 30th, 2012

Richard Schatz Wins IBS 600-Yard Nationals Two-Gun

Richard Schatz won the Two-Gun Overall Title at the 2012 IBS 600-Yard Nationals held this weekend in St. Louis, Missouri. Congratulations to Richard for this big win against very capable competition! This marks two Overall wins for Richard in the past three years (Schatz also won in 2010). The match was well-attended, with 81 shooters in Light gun and roughly 60 shooters in the HG division. Winds were challenging at the Match, particularly on Saturday. Sam Hall stated: “Richard [showed us] some fine shooting shooting in those switchy St Louis winds. Richard didn’t do anything spectacular but he was very consistent in all categories — he rarely makes a mistake. Congratulations on the Overall 2-Gun Championship! It could not have happened to a finer fellow!” We are still awaiting the final, official scores to be posted.

Richard Schatz IBS 600-yard champion

Here are tentative Top 10 Two-Gun Overall Rankings (not official) Forum member LMMike obtained by phone from Match Director Jerry Kloppell (there may be spelling mistakes):

Two-Gun Overall Standings
1. Richard Schatz
2. Mike Hanes
3. Stephen Hall
4. Sally Bauer
5. John Powers
6. Sam Hall
7. Tod Soeby
8. Darrel Daucus
9. Chad Jenkins
10. Rodney Wagner

IBS 600 yard nationals schatzTim Claunch photo

Posting in our Shooters’ Forum, Sam Hall and Chad Jenkins provided these preliminary (non-official) Light Gun (Day 1) and Heavy Gun (Day 2) results:

Light Gun Overall
1. Mike Hanes
2. Sam Hall
3. Richard Schatz
4. Sally Bauer
5. Chad Jenkins
Light Gun Group
1. Mike Hanes, 2.124″
2. Tim Claunch, 2.138″
3. Sam Hall, 2.198″
Light Gun Score
1. Mike Hanes, 384
2. Sam Hall, 376
3. Chad Jenkins, 376
Heavy Gun Overall
1. Stephen Hall (5 pts)
2. Richard Schatz (8 pts)
3. Tom Jacobs (9 pts)
4. John Powers (11 pts)
5. Tod Soeby (15 pts)
Heavy Gun Group
1. Rodney Wagner, 2.0159″
2. John Powers, 2.1500″
3. Steve Hoskin, 2.1510″
Heavy Gun Score
1. Stephen Hall, 384 (2.1574″)
2. Tom Jacobs, 382 (2.3796″)
3. Richard Schatz, 381 (2.2241″)

Richard and Rory — A Living Legend and a Bright Young Talent
Richard Schatz IBS Nationals Rory Jacobs

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May 13th, 2012

Chad Jenkins Sets IBS 600-Yard LG Record with 1.495″ Aggregate

Piedmont Gun Club RutherfordtonThe regular, monthly 600-yard benchrest match at the Piedmont Gun Club in Rutherfordton, NC rivals a National event in terms of the quality of the shooters and the rifles. And just yesterday, a pending new IBS 600-yard, four-target Light Gun Group Aggregate Record was shot. Chad Jenkins put together a stunning 1.495″ Aggregate shooting a Light Gun with Shehane Tracker stock and Krieger barrel. Chad’s smallest group was a 1.033″. The caliber was a ‘Plain Jane’ 6mmBR. Chad’s 1.495″ Agg breaks the existing 1.6068″ record set by Sam Hall in 2011.

Sam Hall reports: “Congratulations goes out to Chad Jenkins today at Piedmont Gun Range, Rutherfordton, NC. Chad shot a 1.495″ four-target aggregate in LG this morning! The old record (1.6068″) was shot by yours truly last July. That is some kind of great shooting! Chad has been shooting great and kicking our tails for two years now. You will probabbly be hearing more from him. What I know is: he was shooting 105gr Berger VLDs (with Varget and CCI Primers) in a standard 6BR, with BAT action, ST-1000 stock, and 1:8″-twist Krieger barrel. I think it is safe to say it is a ‘hummer’!”

Piedmont Gun Club Rutherfordton

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April 2nd, 2012

Like Father, Like Son — Another Hall Behind the Trigger

Sam Hall is a multi-time IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year, who holds many IBS mid-range records. It’s tough to beat Sam when he’s on his game. But it looks like Sam may have a worthy challenger in a few more years. Sam’s 6-year-old son Hunter Hall has already showed an interest in his father’s shooting hobby. It turns out Hunter has the God-given talent for hitting the target. There could be another champion in the Hall family someday….

Hunter Hall Sam Hall IBS 6 BRDX

Like Father, Like Son…
Sam told us: “Future Shooter? I wanted to share this with everyone. My son Hunter has taken interest in what I do. Above he is pictured shooting my competition rifle, which had just received a new barrel chambered in 6 BRDX. Hunter helped me get zeroed.”

Sam explained: “This weekend we practiced freehand shooting with his BB gun at cans and then did some archery practice. After that I was needing to zero my Light Gun and get started with a few loads at 100 yards. To my amazement my 6-year-old wanted to accompany me. I could not believe it when he wanted to shoot my competition rifle. I had just put a new barrel and scope on it and needed to zero it. After two shots to get it zeroed he hit a .25 inch dot at 100 yards. I let him do everything from loading it, ejecting rounds and even working my Farley joystick rest.

By the way, this 6 BRDX gun looks like it’s going to shoot and my boy did great operating and shooting the rifle and Farley rest! It won’t be long before he is going with me to competition. Look out, he is more coordinated and athletic than his Daddy.” — Samuel Hall

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March 20th, 2012

Wow — Claunch Shoots 0.156 MOA, 0.981" Group at 600 Yards

Tim Claunch 6BRX“Holy Mother of Mercy…” was this Editor’s reaction when I saw the “screamer” group shot by Forum member Tim Claunch this weekend in Memphis, at the inaugural MSSA 600-yard IBS match. Shooting his amazingly accurate 6BRX Light Gun, Tim nailed a 0.981″ group, centered up for an impressive 50-2X score. Conditions were favorable, with a light 3-5 mph wind and 70° temps. Shooting on the first target, first relay, Tim took his final sighter with 10 seconds to go, then drilled five shots “right down the middle” in about 20-25 seconds. The results were spectacular. Tim’s 0.981″ group works out to 0.156 MOA, and three of the shots clustered in about half an inch! This isn’t a new IBS small group record (Sam Hall holds that record with a mind-blowing 0.699″/50 shot in 2010), but it is still one of the best centered-up groups ever shot in IBS 600-yard competition.

Tim was shooting the same 6BRX we featured last month in the Daily Bulletin. It has a 26″ Bartlein 1.250″ straight contour barrel fitted to a Borden action in a Shehane fiberglass Tracker stock. Tim was running Varget powder with CCI 450 primers and pointed Berger 105gr VLD bullets. Tim anneals his Lapua brass after every firing though he does NOT uniform his primer pockets or ream flash-holes.

Just how impressive was Tim’s 0.981″, 50-score-value group?
Well, consider this comment from Forum member JeffG

A .981″ group at 600 yards = .981/6.2832 = (H#LY $H*T) = .156 MOA…

Try doing that at 600 yards with wind and mirage and who knows how many little flying insects that might potentially disrupt the bullet… pulling the trigger when the crosshairs are at EXACTLY the same spot (give or take 1/10th the thickness of the crosshairs) EVERY TIME.

CLICK Buttons to HEAR Tim Claunch Talk about Shooting his 0.981″ group.
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With his 0.981″ small group, Tim did take top honors for Light Gun Group. However, he had one shot go wide on another target that raised his Light Gun Group Agg to 2.335″. You’d think that would be good enough to win, but a shooter from Birmingham, Alabama posted a 2.299″ Agg to claim the best Light Gun Agg for the day. Charlie Macke won Heavy Gun group and HG score. The Two-Gun Overall winner was Forum member Stephen Hall. Congrats to all the great shooters at the inaugural MSSA event.

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October 5th, 2011

Hall Wins IBS 600-Yard Nationals with Rookie Ryan Hunt Second

Ryan Hunt Sam HallThe IBS 600-Yard Nationals was held this past weekend at the Midwest Benchrest Range in Yukon, Missouri. There was a good turn-out for the match, with 70 Light Gun (LG) entries and 68 Heavy Gun (HG) entries from all over the USA. Despite tough conditions (high winds on Friday, wicked mirage on Saturday), the top shooters turned in some impressive performances, including a 16-target average group size of 2.327 inches by overall Two-Gun Winner Sam Hall of North Carolina. No one was surprised to see Sam, a multi-time 600-yard Champ, come out on top. When he’s on his game, Sam’s hard to beat.

But the big story of the match was the superb shooting of Ryan Hunt from Missouri, a relative newcomer to the 600-yard benchrest game. Ryan finished second overall in the Two-Gun after finishing second in Light Gun (LG) group, third in LG score, and third in Heavy Gun (HG) group. Ryan’s average group size, for the entire match (both LG and HG) was 2.629 inches. That’s amazing marksmanship for a rookie… using a borrowed rifle!

CLICK HERE for Complete 2011 IBS 600-Yard Nationals Results with Equipment List (PDF).

Hunt Makes the Most of “Loaner” Rifle
What makes Hunt’s runner-up finish even more impressive is that, in both LG and HG, he used a borrowed gun, a 6mm Dasher in a new, 5″-wide Precision Rifle & Tools stock. Now get this — the very first time Ryan shot that gun was the day before the Nationals! Ryan told us the 5″-wide stock really tracked well, allowing him to shoot fast and accurately. Will we see more extra-wide stocks in Light Gun in the future? Ryan Hunt thinks so: “I think 5″ is the way to go. That’s all I’ll be shooting next year. The extra width really makes a difference in the way the gun tracks. You don’t have to worry about rolling or hopping. Just pull the trigger, slide her back and you’re on target. The biggest benefit from these 5″ stocks is that a Light Gun’s going to track like a Heavy Gun. When the mirage picks up, instead of following the dot, you can just trust the gun, the way it’s tracking. It really paid off last weekend.” It’s worth noting that Ryan did not use the old standby powders, Reloder 15 or Varget. In his Dasher, Ryan loads IMR 8208 XBR powder with Spencer bullets.

Ryan Hunt Sam Hall

Sam Hall with his Heavy Gun
Sam Hall Heavy Gun

Match Winner Sam Hall, like most of the top performers at the 2011 Nationals, shot a 6mm Dasher in both classes. But unlike Ryan Hunt, Sam used a “true heavy” in HG class. Sam’s mammoth Heavy Gun, dubbed “Black Max”, is featured in a Gun of the Week Article in our archives. You can see Sam practicing with this rig above. Sam hauls out his “heavy artillery” once a year for the Nationals: “This rig won’t see daylight again until the next Nationals.” In Light Gun, Sam used the same 17-pounder he’s used to win previous championships. It features a BAT action, Krieger Barrel and Shehane ST-1000 fiberglass Tracker stock. Sam shoots Berger bullets with Alliant Reloder 15 powder.

Tough Conditions Both Friday and Saturday
Sam told us: “All eight LG targets were shot Friday. And the Heavy class shot all eight on Saturday. Friday had winds of 13 to 18 mph with gusts up to 25 mph. Saturday was less windy, but was switchy. Mirage was some of the worst I’ve ever encountered. These conditions caused vertical groups.”

We asked Sam if he had any special strategies for the match: “My only strategy was to make sure I got my sighters right. Last year I misjudged some sighters on a gong. I thought I was centered but I was actually way high and right. I ended up shooting a small group, but the score was really bad. This year I made sure I knew where the sighters were actually hitting.” You can learn more about Sam and his rifles in a Gun of the Week Article from our archives.

Dashers and Cut-Rifled Barrels
6mmBR 6mm DasherA quick glance at the above equipment list for the Top 10 Two-Gun finishers, reveals the winning formula: 6mm Dasher in a cut-rifled barrel. Eight of the Top 10 competitors shot 6 Dashers in both classes, while another shot a 6 Dasher in HG and a 6 BRX in LG. That’s “Dasher Dominance” for sure. Among the barrels, cut-rifled tubes from Bartlein, Brux, and Krieger were favored by most of the top shooters. It’s hard to argue with success.

CLICK HERE for Complete 2011 IBS 600-Yard Nationals Results with Equipment List (PDF).

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December 25th, 2010

Sam Hall Named IBS 600-Yard Shooter of the Year for 2010

Sam Hall Shooter of Year IBS2010 IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year honors have just been announced. Sam Hall of Boonville, NC stole the show again this year, securing 100 points to earn another Shooter of the Year (SOY) Title. Congrats Sam! Not far behind was Dasher Ace (and a former Shooter of the Year) Richard Schatz with 86 Points. Brenda Hobbs was the Female Shooter of the Year with 7 Championship points, while Stanley Clarke’s 6 points him earned him “Rookie SOY” honors.

Here are the final standings, courtesy Dick Grosbier of the IBS:

IBS Shooter of the Year Rankings
1. Samuel Hall – 100 points
2..Richard Schatz – 86 points
3. Dan Hobbs – 50 points
4. Glen Sterling – 39 points
5. Rich Griffin – 32 points

Female SOY: Brenda Hobbs (7 points)
Rookie SOY : Stanley Clark (6 points)

Some months ago, Sam Hall revealed many of his shooting secrets and gun-handling tips in a short video. Because of windy conditions, the audio track is pretty poor, but if you pay attention you can learn some very valuable lessons from Sam:

YouTube Preview Image
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June 13th, 2010

Hall Breaks IBS Records with 0.686″ (50 pt.) Group at 600 Yards

On June 12, 2010, at the Piedmont Range in Rutherfordton, NC, Sam Hall, shooting a 6mm Dasher, set TWO new pending IBS 600-yard world records with a stunning 0.686″ five-shot group. The group was centered up in the Ten Ring for 50 points with two doubles! This group should give Sam both the single target IBS Light Gun small group record AND the Light Gun score record. Sam’s 0.686″ beats Paul Wagoner’s 0.711″ previous small-group record set in 2008 with a 6 BRX. Larry Isenhour previously held the IBS score record with a 50-3X (0.944″) group shot in August, 2007, also with a 6 BRX. NOTE: Sam had only one X, but the official tie-breaker for the score record is group size, not X-count. Therefore, if approved, Sam’s 0.686″ group establishes both new group size and score records. (We wish the IBS had some other official recognition for high X-count.)

Sam Hall 600-yard IBS record

Sam Hall 600-yard IBS record

Record-Setting Chambering, Load, and Hardware
Sam was shooting a 6mm Dasher with 32.0 grains of Norma 203B powder, Berger 105gr VLD bullets (unpointed), CCI 450 primers and Lapua brass, neck turned to 0.266″ for a 0.268″-necked chamber. Regarding the choice of powder, Sam says Reloder 15 gives the same accuracy and speed as 203B but he “just happed to have 8 pounds of [203B] and decided to use it in this rifle.” Interestingly, Sam was jumping his 105s about forty thousandths. That’s right, .040″ OFF the lands. The record gun has a BAT MB action, Shehane Tracker stock, and Krieger 29″, .237″ bore, 1:8″ twist HV barrel.

Here is Sam’s report from Piedmont:

Shooting the Record — Conditions and Strategy
The afternoon was slightly overcast with mild mirage. Winds were running left to right at approximately 5 mph. During the afternoon I noticed the wind would stay in one direction for several minutes then would make a complete reversal. On my record round I had made four (4) shots when I noticed the wind picking up in intensity slightly from left to right. I knew this because I saw my wind flag Daisy wheels start spinning faster. For the fifth shot I held left one inch from my previous four shots and let it fly. I was shooting the string as fast as I could and stay smooth. I was expecting a reversal because the wind has stayed constant for too long — it was about time for a reversal.

Evidently holding off was smart — otherwise the group might have been a 1.686″! This year I have been concentrating on learning more on wind and mirage reading. This game is getting more competitive every year. I figure the only way I can stay ahead is to work on my wind reading. If you don’t read the wind, you are eventually going to get bit.

About my Light Gun
I was shooting a BAT 1.550″ round, dual-port MB action with non-fluted bolt. The stock is a Shehane fiberglass ST-1000, pillar-bedded by Tom Meredith. Tom epoxied lead shot in the butt to bring it up to 16.94 lbs. with a Leupold 40x competition scope. The barrel is a 29″, 8-twist, .237″, HV contour Krieger with a Vais muzzle brake. This barrel, purchased three years ago from Brunos, came off the Terry Leonard-stocked rifle that earned me a lot of Shooter of the Year (SOY) points in 2009. It has about 700 rounds on it. It started life as a 6BR, but my reamer had gotten dull and left a rough chamber. So I gave the barrel to Mike Davis and told him this was a perfect excuse for me to try a 6mm Dasher. The barrel is now chambered as a 6mm Dasher with a .268″ neck with .124 freebore, the same as my Maxi-Tracker 6 Dasher.

Sam Hall 600-yard IBS record

Load Details — Yes I Was Jumping Berger VLDs a Country Mile
Last year, I could not get the Berger 105 VLDs to shoot like I wanted in this barrel, so I used Berger 108 BTs, jumped .015″. After last season, I tried the 105 VLDs again. I think they have a slight advantage in the wind compared to the 108s. But again the 105s would not shoot well at 600 jammed in the rifling as I normally do. I noticed this barrel was shooting better off the rifling. I kept backing the bullets off the rifling. I found a sweet spot 40 thousandths off the rifling. The gun was shooting 1 to 1.5 inch groups pretty consistently at 600 yards at my home range. The day I shot the record was the first time I had shot this load and rifle in competition. I believe it is a keeper! — Sam Hall

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March 1st, 2010

SamWOW — Hall Gets Great Accuracy with 6.5×47

IBS 600-yard National Champion and recent 600-yard Shooter of the Year Sam Hall has been hard to beat when he’s got his 6BR or his Dasher dialed in. Sam recently told us that he’s been experimenting with the 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge, thinking that a larger, higher-BC bullet might perform better in the wind.

Sam Hall HG

Sam Hall HG

Sam’s competitors are probably hoping we’ll report that Sam is struggling with the new cartridge, and can’t get his new 6.5×47 to shoot. Well, guys… no such luck. Sam recently took his 6.5×47 Heavy Gun out in some fairly windy conditions, but still returned a spectacular four-shot group at 600 yards. Sam measured the group at 0.357 inches. We measured it at 0.371″ with OnTarget software, but that was going off a photograph, which can be less precise. Either way, 4 shots in well under 0.4 inches at 600 yards is spectacular.

As Sam told us, however, “I just wish I’d shot that in competition… with a fifth shot of course.” Even though Sam’s group was shot in practice, it’s still an amazingly small group — one that suggests that the 6.5×47 Lapua may have great potential as a Benchrest cartridge. The group size, in MOA, is 0.059!

Sam Hall HG

Sam’s load was 37.0 grains of Reloder 15 with 130gr Berger VLDs and CCI BR4 primers. The gun is a Bat-actioned, 47-lb “true heavy” built by Leonard Baity using a McMillan 50BMG stock. The barrel is a 29.5″ Brux, 1.25″ straight contour, with a 1:8.5″ twist. Sam reports:

The gun has a BAT MB 1.55″ round action. The reamer was a Kiff (PTG) .290 neck with .160 freebore. The loaded round is .288 at the neck. I made a mistake labeling the target. The primers were CCI BR4s, not 450s. The 130gr Bergers VLDs are lot 0225 (the early ones). They are in the rifling as far as I can get them (jam). I use a .287 Redding bushing in my Redding “type S” FL dies. I seat with a Wilson seater. The stock is a McMillian Light 50 BMG stock full of lead from McMillian. With the 40x Leupold it weighs 47 pounds. The fore-end is 3.5 inches wide. Leonard Baity did the complete rifle. I had him to put a rail (3 inches wide) on the back so I could use my adjustable rest Leonard made me a few years ago for my Shehane Maxi-Tracker stock. Even though this rifle is only 14 pounds lighter than the 61-pound aluminum stock Maxi-Tracker 6mm Dasher I shot last year, it feels like it is 25 pounds lighter. It is much, and I mean MUCH more manageable carrying this rifle around than the Maxi-Tracker. I can actually use my Farley, joy-stick rest with the rifle. I just replace the 3 inch bag with a 3.5 inch wide bag. I can make adjustments much faster with the Farley than I can twisting knobs.

The reason I built the 6.5×47 Lapua is to try to beat the wind we have here in NC in the spring. Plus, the fact I love to shoot and experiment. The 6.5 bullets are not affected as much by the wind as the 6mms. I started shooting 600-yard competiton with a 6.5-284. I could predict where the bullet was going to hit much better with it than the 6mms I shoot now. In windy conditions, the 6mms seem to “dance around” when sighting in. The heavy 6.5 seems to say on track and Point of Impact is more predictable. In 600-yard competition, score is half the game. I figured if I could get a 6.5 shooting somewhere close to a 6BR or 6BR Improved, I would be ahead of the game in the wind. So far this rifle is agging at 600 yards pretty close to my Dasher and BRX, but not better. After I found this load that shot the 0.357 inch 4-shot group, I went out and shot four more, 4-shot groups in some wind of 10-20 mph and the rifle agged 2.08 inches.

I am still haunted by a “flier” in each group. I am still trying to work that out. The 0.357 group I will say was a fluke because it is the only group I have shot that did not have a flier. The rifle sure won’t group like that every time, but that one time sure was pretty! You may ask why I shoot 4-shot groups during load development and practice. Three is not enough, but four will tell you what the rifle will do, plus I can shoot more groups before the barrel gets too warm.

Our first match is next month at Piedmont. I am going to give this rifle a try. Time will tell if I will stick with this round for serious 600-yard competition or back to the 6mms. — Samuel Hall

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