Our friends, Ed Mobley and Steve Lawrence, aka the “6.5 Guys”, have written an excellent article on getting started in practical/tactical competition. If you are new to the game, these tips can help you save money, progress faster, and have more fun. Here are article highlights, but we recommend you read the full story,5 Tips for Attending Your First Precision Rifle Match, onwww.65guys.com.
We often meet people who are new to long range precision shooting, and want to improve their knowledge and skill level. However, they aren’t sure if they are ready to sign up to compete in a match. They often ask, “What knowledge or skills are necessary to compete in a match?” Others may state, “I need to purchase this gear or that gear before I can attend a match”. For those guys who have a strong interest in precision rifle shooting, and who wish to chec out a precision rifle match, below are Five Tips to make it a positive experience.
TIP ONE: Make Plans and Commit to Go
First you need to start by finding a match to attend. This may entail a little bit of research and investigative work on your part to find what matches are scheduled in the next few months. We recommend starting with any match that may be within a reasonable driving distance. This may likely be a local “club” match, many of which are held on a regular basis. These make great venues because it will provide an opportunity to meet some of the regular attendees as well as shooters that are from your geographic area. Additionally, most of the smaller matches are a little more relaxed in terms of level of competitiveness.
Once you decide on the match you want to attend, do your homework. This means finding out if you need to pre-register or pre-pay the match fee. Commit to going by registering for the match and putting it on your schedule. Be sure to find other useful information for questions such as:
— What time should I arrive?
— Is there a mandatory safety briefing for new shooters at that venue?
— What is the travel time required to get to the match site?
— How many stages will there be?
— Is there a description of the stages available before the match?
— How many rounds should you bring?
— Are there special equipment requirements? (E.g. do you need chamber flags, is there a pistol stage?)
TIP TWO: Bring What You Have
(Don’t Spend a Fortune at the Start)
Some new shooters often assume they need a custom match rifle or all of the miscellaneous shooting gear associated with long range precision shooting to compete in match. While having a Kestrel weather meter and a high quality laser range finder and other shooting accoutrements are invaluable kit, you will find other shooters at your first match that will provide you with the information and coaching you need to get on target.
In fact, the only gear you really need to bring is a scoped rifle with a bipod and ammo capable of consistently shooting within one MOA. Also, be sure to know the ballistic drops or have a ballistic drop table prepared for your rifle/ammo to dial the correct DOPE on your scope for different target ranges. Many of the other participants at the match will be willing to let you borrow a support bag, bipod, tripod or other gear if you need one — just ask. Don’t use the excuse of not having the right gear to delay getting out to a match!
One reason not to make a big initial investment in a new rifle and assorted gear before competing, is we’ve seen a number of people come into the sport and try it for a year and then make the decision to move on to something else.
TIP THREE: Be Prepared to Learn
As a new shooter at a match, there is no better opportunity to learn. We often look to our local club matches as a group ‘training’ session to prepare for the bigger matches. You will find competitors at all levels of skill and many of your fellow shooters will enthusiastically provide helpful advice once they learn you are new to the sport. Take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions if you would like ideas for how to engage a stage, but also be sure to do more listening than talking as you receive guidance and tips from more experienced competitors.
Watch and observe other shooters and how they approach and ‘game’ a specific stage or course of fire. You’ll begin to recognize which shooting positions work best for different scenarios, and maybe even come up with some new ones that no one has thought of before.
Seeing what the better shooters do is an invaluable instructional tool. You can use your smart phone’s video camera to record other shooters (with their permission). When you’re ready to shoot, ask another shooter to record your performance. Watching yourself will point out needed areas of improvement.
After each match conduct an informal after action review and summarize for yourself the things that went well and what you should continue to do. You should also identify the specific shooting skills you should develop and make a plan to integrate the appropriate practice drills into your practice sessions. Finally, if you maintain a shooter’s data book or journal you’ll want to note things such as:
After Action Review – How you did, what went well, things you need to work on in practice. Stage Observations – Successful methods used for specific courses of fire. Note barricades, positions used, specific gear used for stages. Gear Observations – How your rifle/gear performed, what new items you should add to your “buy list”.
TIP FOUR: Be Safe and Have Fun
You’ve all heard a parent or teacher say, “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.” The same can be said of the shooting sports. Safe handling of firearms is the number one rule at any match, and comes before the FUN part in terms of importance.
Before all matches start there will always be some form of a mandatory safety briefing. Make sure you know, understand, and follow any unique safety protocols for the match you attend. Some matches require all rifles have chamber flags inserted and are stowed in bags/cases while not on the firing line — other matches may not. If you run afoul of any safety rules, you risk the chance of being disqualified from a stage or worse, the entire match.
The second rule is simply have fun. This starts with having a good attitude throughout the day. Keep in mind that as a new competitor you should think of a match as a solid day of practice and training. If you blow a stage, use it as an opportunity to diagnose what you could have done differently or what you need to improve on — then smile and drive on.
Any day at the range or shooting is a good day. A match is an opportunity to hang out with like-minded people who are passionate about shooting and impacting targets far-far away. Life is great when you are doing what you enjoy!
TIP FIVE: Make Friends
There is no better way to meet lots of precision rifle shooters and make friends than at a match. The people that attend the tactical precision matches on a regular basis are those that have ‘fallen into the deep end of the pool’ and are really into the sport. As a result, they have become part of the local precision shooting community. As you strike up conversations at the match, find out if your new-found friends visit specific forum boards or social media outlets, or if there are other matches they attend.
Precision shooters tend to congregate and share information in different corners of the Internet. It will serve you well to meet some of the guys in person at matches and be able to connect a face to a screen name. As you develop your friendships and develop a level of trust, you will find opportunities become available to shoot with others in your local area, or get ‘read-in’ on a secret honey-hole of a spot to shoot long distance. Additionally, the local shooting community will often find it more convenient to sell or trade gear and equipment locally than deal with buyers/sellers that are out of state.
The Precision Rifle Series (PRS) is holding its season-ending Championship Match this weekend at a “top-secret” ranch location near Tehachapi, California. The nation’s top 75 PRS marksmen (plus 30 regionally-qualified shooters) have been invited to compete in a challenging series of stages, with targets from 100 yards to well over 1000 yards. This is supreme test of marksman and rifle. The PRS involves shooting from multiple positions, carrying all your hardware over considerable distances. This ain’t no belly benchrest match that’s for sure.
This video showcases the 2014 PRS Championship in Frost, Texas. This year’s PRS Finale will be held in California. (Video is well worth watching — with LOTS of action):
The PRS has attracted a host of sponsors, so the prize table will be huge for this event:
For those interested in learning more about the PRS game, Rich Emmons, one of the founders of the Precision Rifle Series (PRS), has written an insightful article about getting started in the tactical game. Here are highlights from Emmon’s PRS — Intro to Competition article.
Precision Rifle Series — Intro to Competition
by Rich Emmons, PRS President
Tactical Shooting with a precision rifle is not like other disciplines, there is no set course of fire or format. That is what makes it so fun! What I quickly learned from my first competition and the many that followed was there is so much to learn and shooting in competition put everything you thought you knew to the test.
Getting Started — What to Expect
If you’re reading this, you have probably already have been bitten by the long range shooting bug. It can seem quite intimidating to just jump in with a new bunch of shooters you don’t know and shooting lingo you don’t quite understand yet. But here is the key — show up and shoot! I guarantee you if you show up to a match as a new shooter, other experienced shooters will guide you along and give you help on anything you need.
AUDIO: Click Button to hear Rich Emmons Talk about the Precision Rifle Series.
Now, a couple things you should just expect. You’re not as good as you think you are. Don’t expect to come into your first match and beat all the veterans. That just doesn’t happen unless you have had some really good coaching or other shooting competition experience to get you ready for this type of competition. If possible, find a local rifle club that has monthly long range matches, or any type of match will help prepare you for a larger PRS event. Getting involved with a rifle club and starting out shooting monthly matches is definitely the way to jump into competition shooting.
The Gear You Need
The first question that many ask is: “What kind of rifle/caliber/scope do I need?” The easiest answer to this is, the best you can afford. It’s no secret the gear is expensive. It took me several years of buying sub-par gear and eventually trading up to figure this out. Now, a guy can get a real sense of pride of doing it on the cheap, or with a factory rifle. I’ve seen many old Savage 10FPs take down custom rigs that cost 10 times as much. And if that’s all you can afford, then eventually you will learn the limitations of yourself or your gear. As for choice of cartridge/caliber, the Precision Rifle Blog has analyzed three years worth of match results from the best tactical shooters in the nation. CLICK HERE to read an article that reveals what the “top guns” use.
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Surgeon Rifles makes excellent tactical actions and complete rifles. Now you can save 10% off all Surgeon products (actions, rifles, bottom metal, bipods, suppressors etc.) with Coupon Code SR10. The sale even includes optics (if purchased with a complete rifle).
Surgeon recently marked 10 years in business, and the company now has 10,000+ Facebook fans. To celebrate those milestones, Surgeon has announced a special Customer Appreciation Sale:
Now through August 31st, all Surgeon Rifles’ products* are 10% off MSRP! That means EVERYTHING! In-stock rifles, custom rifles*, actions, bottom metals, bolt knobs, bi-pods, small parts, apparel, and AWC suppressors** are all on sale. Surgeon is even extending 10% off MSRP to all optics that we offer when purchased with a rifle.
All you have to do is use coupon code SR10 during online checkout, or mention this sale to Surgeon’s sales reps. NOTE: Discount cannot be combined with any other offers, deals, or discounts including MIL/LE or dealer pricing. The 10% off does not include tax or shipping.
*Custom rifles must be ordered and deposit received by 5:00 pm MST, August 31st, 2015.
**Only valid on AWC Silencers’ PSR, THOR PSR, Thundertrap, THOR Thundertrap, Raider, and THOR Raider models.
Sale tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Larry Vickers is a respected firearms trainer who has served with the U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF). In the course of teaching classes he’s learned that many gun owners waste money on impractical gun accessories. In his recent Ammoland.com article, “Don’t Be a Tacti-Cool Fool”, Vickers examines today’s trend of over-accessorizing firearms, particularly AR-platform rifles. Vickers doesn’t mince words… he states that too many people are spending too much money on poorly-designed hardware that may be “useless” at best.
Equipment Selection Advice from Larry Vickers
Every class I teach I see and hear students talking about the realization that some things about their gear and shooting in general just doesn’t add up on the range. Everything looks good in a Brownells Catalog but a significant amount of the parts and accessories offered on the market today are: a) useless; b) poorly designed; c) of questionable value; or d) downright dangerous.
No one is better at taking fully-functional, factory-made firearms and turning them into junk than a certain segment of the American gun-buying public.
Some people really don’t apply the common sense approach of not messing with what is potentially a life-saving tool. Sadly some of those same people will get on the Internet and talk bad about how the firearm they modified no longer functions and therefore is junk. Or they will recommend to fellow shooters the same parts and modifications they have used to turn their gun into, at best, a range toy.
Some of this shows up in my classes and usually by lunch on the first day the obvious flaws of the equipment at hand become apparent for everyone in the class, most of all to the owner of said equipment. It may have cost the shooter some money but in turn he learned a serious life lesson –be careful what you read on the Internet about firearms modifications and there is no substitute for shaking out your equipment at the range in a structured class.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you’ll learn more about guns and shooting in one class than you could in a month on the Internet.
READ about guns, gear, and shooting on the Internet. LEARN about guns, gear, and shooting on the range during well-thought-out and useful training. This approach is proven and consistently produces results and shooter confidence.
Larry Vickers is a retired U.S. Army Special Operations Forces veteran with 20+ years of service. Vickers served in Panama, the Middle East (Desert Storm), Somalia, Bosnia, and other locations. During his time with Delta Force, Vickers worked on weapons R&D, and served as a combat marksmanship instructor training new operational members of Delta.
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We recently published our comprehensive 6.5×47 Lapua Cartridge Guide, researched by the 6.5 Guys. In case you’ve been wondering what kind of accuracy is possible for a tactical-type rifle chambered for this mid-sized cartridge, check out this tack-driver built by gunsmith Ryan Pierce. That’s a mighty impressive 0.206″ five-shot group fired with Berger 140gr Hybrids using a Brux cut-rifled barrel. The powder was Hodgdon H4350, a very good choice for this cartridge.
Ryan reports: “Here is a 6.5×47 I built for a customer. It features a trued Rem 700 action, Brux 1:8″ Rem varmint-contour barrel, Mcmillan thumbhole stock, Surgeon bottom metal, and 3-port muzzle brake. The customer’s preferred load is the same that has worked in the last couple dozen 6.5x47s I’ve built: 41.1-41.3 grains of H4350 with 140 hybrids .050″ off the lands. This should run about 2810-2815 fps from a 26″ barrel. The 3.128″ refers to length of a loaded round from the base to ogive including the Hornady ogive comparator tool.”
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Shown above are bolts with TAC-6 Fluting and two-tone Vortex knobs. The fluting and knob installation are two different operations, priced separately.
Paul Fakenbridge of Pro Precision Rifles (PPR) is running a “Group Buy” promotion for AccurateShooter.com readers. For the next month, you can enjoy significant savings on a bolt-fluting job OR on the installation of a custom bolt knob. For Rem 700 bolts, the fluting is now $55 ($30 off), while a new custom PPR knob, installed, is $65 ($30 off). (NOTE: Knob installation does NOT include bolt fluting, and vice-versa.) Paul does excellent work, with a wide variety of fluting options. All fluting is done on a Haas TM1 with four-axis capability. Here is how the Group Buy, a limited-time offer, works:
For this Group Buy, PPR offers Bolt Fluting at $55.00 total (with $5.00/bolt going to AccurateShooter.com to help support the site.) The regular price for fluting Remington bolts was $85.00 so you save thirty bucks. You can choose from a variety of fluting styles for Remington bolts. While Group Buy terms apply to Rem bolts, ask about Savage and Tikka bolts — PPR has some options for them as well.
For this Group Buy, PPR offers a new bolt knob, installed, at $65.00 with $5.00 going to AccurateShooter.com. The $65.00 includeds the price of the new knob. The regular price was $95.00 including knob. Again, you save $30 with this Group Buy.
There’s no denying that 3-Gun competition is growing in popularity nationwide. Using a pistol, rifle and shotgun to shoot multiple targets at varying distances is exciting and challenging. Here are some pointers for performing better on the 3-Gun range by the USAMU’s SSG Daniel Horner, a two-time winner of Crimson Trace’s Midnight 3-Gun Invitational (M3GI) match.
Competing in Night-Time Stages
“I use the same gear all year long, so when it comes time for this match (the M3GI), I just adapt the guns, so they will work for the night time,” stated Daniel Horner. “I attach the Crimson Trace lasers and lights to the guns in whatever is the easiest way possible. Last year I just screwed a rail to my shotgun with wood screws. So, people can compete with pretty much whatever they have available and make it work.” Horner also recommends using a pair of head-mounted lamps. One can illuminate your firearms’ iron sights while the other headlamp is aimed at the targets.
A popular feature of our Shooters’ Forum is the long-running Pride and Joy thread. There you’ll find photos and descriptions of dozens of interesting rifles — from rimfire rigs to big-bore boomers. Forum member Ryan M. (aka “Dieselgeek”) posted a handsome .260 Remington tactical rifle built by Short Action Customs in Wellington, Ohio. The rifle features top-of-the-line hardware. The coated, stainless Alpha 11 action (from Defiance Machine) carries a Bartlein M24-contour 26″ barrel with muzzle brake. The stock is a thumbhole T5A from Manners Composites, fitted with APA bottom metal for AW magazines. On top is a Bushnell ERS 3-21x50mm scope with G2 reticle. Riding on an under-mounted rail is an Atlas bipod with quick-release lever.
The NRA America’s Rifle Challenge (ARC) is a new short-range rifle discipline designed to develop practical shooting skills using modern sporting rifles such the AR-15. NRA-ARC is designed for shooters of all skill levels. With all targets positioned at 100 yards or less, almost any outdoor centerfire range is capable of hosting ARC matches. No pits or swinging target holders are required.
The ARC is a close-range, action-oriented discipline. The course of fire features targets placed from seven yards to 100 yards. Some stages also incorporate magazine changes and the use of barricades. ARC matches involve movement, as competitors transition into multiple shooting positions: standing, kneeling/sitting, and prone.
NRA-ARC is NOT limited to AR-15s. Any semi-automatic detachable magazine-fed rifle can be used. There will be three classes of firearms: Iron Sights, Optics Limited (with one non-magnified optical sight), and Optics Open (maximum two optical sights, one of which may be magnified).
Tactical ace Zak Smith of Thunder Beast Arms employs a simple, handy means to store his elevation and wind dift data — a laminated data card. To make one, first generate a come-up table, using one of the free online ballistics programs such as JBM Ballistics. You can also put the information in an Excel spreadsheet or MS Word table and print it out. You want to keep it pretty small.
Above is a sample of a data card. For each distance, the card includes drop in inches, drop in MOA, drop in mils. It also shows drift for a 10-mph cross wind, expressed three ways–inches, MOA, and mils. Zak explained that “to save space… I printed data every 50 yards. For an actual data-card, I recommend printing data every 20 or 25 yards.” But Zak also advised that you’ll want to customize the card format to keep things simple: “The sample card has multiple sets of data to be more universal. But if you make your own data card, you can reduce the chance of a mistake by keeping it simple. Because I use scopes with MILS, my own card (photo below left) just has three items: range, wind, drop in MILS only.”
Here’s an interesting product, offered by Creedmoor Sports. The innovative MOA Tactical Shooting Bag (MOA TSB) combines plastic pellets with an inflatable, inner air chamber to provide a very lightweight (and adjustable) rear support for your rifle, when shooting prone. Designed for “tactical” shooters, we think the MOA bag would work equally well for hunters and varminters. Costing $59.95, the MOA inflatable bag is priced competitively with basic rear sandbags, but it weighs much, much less than a leather or cordura bag filled with sand.
These MOA bags are built tough, with a durable inner air bladder, surgical-quality tubing, and rugged outer fabric. To help stabilize the bag, lightweight polymer (plastic) pellets are used inside. The air pump then inflates the air bladder to the degree of hardness/softness you prefer. An air valve allows you to deflate the MOA bag for more compact transport and storage.
Even in the “tactical” world, hand craftsmanship is not dead yet. Chad Dixon of Long Rifles Inc. (LRI) is building the lastest Sniper’s Hide Cup Trophy Rifle. These photos show the exquisite stock crafted by Chad and Jesse Kaufman of Black Hills Gunstocks & Engraving. Chad cut the stock on his CNC mill and Jesse did the final sanding and finishing on the wood. Here’s what master craftsman Kaufman had to say about the project: “We delivered the Long Rifles Inc. Mausingfield today! I was so very pleased that Chad and the staff at the shop thought it looked great. It means a lot to be able to support my family and household with the income I receive from my labor. May the Lord bless you all. — Jesse.”
Here’s a smart, versatile new product — a large-size rifle case that does double-duty as a shooting mat. Uncle Mike’s Long Range Tactical Bag quickly and easily converts to a 78″ shooting mat. Measuring 50″ in length, with a 15″-tall main compartment, this bag is big enough to handle most tactical and F-TR rifles with optics and Harris-type bipods attached. A 30″ flip-out forward section includes a front load strap that allows shooters to pre-load the bipod legs while shooting prone.
The Long Range Shooting bag has four self-adjusting magazine pockets, which will hold magazine sizes from .223/5.56mm to .308/7.62mm. Conveniently, this new 50″-long soft case will fit inside the popular Pelican model 1750 hard case (for those situations where you need greater protection).
Fits Long-Range and Tactical rifles up to 49″ in length
Fold out front section has bi-pod front load strap
Four self-adjusting magazine pockets
Fits inside a Pelican 1750 hard case
Tough 1000D nylon with waterproof backing
Opens up into 30″ x 78″ shooting mat
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By Dennis Santiago
Competition teaches you things. Compared to loading for benchrest bolt guns, producing ultra-reliable and accurate ammo for tight-chambered, semi-auto .308 target rifles requires a different approach to case prep. Smoothness of operation is much more important in a field course gun. Reliability trumps everything (even case life) for these types of guns.
In the photo below, there’s a Redding small base body die for bumping the shoulder and making sure the case body is at SAAMI minimum. This body die is not just nice to have. It is vital. There are also a full-length sizing die and a Lee Collet neck-sizer in that turret holder. One or the other gets used after the body size die depending on what rifle the ammo will be used in. The semi-auto rounds always go through the full-length sizing die. After that comes trimming and finally cleaning — then loading can begin. The cases are trimmed using a Gracey trimmer so everything’s the same each and every time. I use an RCBS Competition Seater Die to seat the bullets. One nice feature of this RCBS die is the open side slot that allows you to place bullets easily.
It’s a long path methodology but uniformity is accuracy. More important for safety, controlling “stack-up” errors in the system solution is how one achieves reliability. The chamber-hugging philosophies of benchrest bolt guns do not apply well to AR-10s. Like most things, the right answer is context-dependent. Success is about accepting and adapting.
Dennis Talks About Using a Semi-Auto in Tactical Competitions
I have succumbed to the Dark Side — deciding to put an AR-10 together. For tactical competitions you want a bolt gun most of the time but there are times the course of fire favors the use of a semi-auto. I was using an M1A that gives me 0.75 MOA performance but I heard people were getting almost bolt-gun-level, half-MOA accuracy out of their AR-10s — so I wanted to see if that was really achievable. A quarter-MOA difference in accuracy potential may seem tiny in practical terms but it will make a difference in competition. In a match, the difference between 3/4-MOA and 1/2-MOA can alter your hit probability on a small target by 20-30%.
The AR platform also lets you tinker with triggers, stock ergonomics and muzzle brakes that help in managing the dynamics of a long distance shot better. Well I found out you can get the incremental accuracy but there’s more work to do to get the same reliability. Being a curious sort, it’s worth it to me to explore it. It’s a far cry from as-issued M-1 shooting with whatever HXP is handy. This is definitely swimming in the deep end of the pool.
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It’s not easy to place a first shot on target at 1500 yards. You must measure the wind speed with precision, know your exact muzzle velocity, and have a sophisticated ballistics solver. In this short video from Ryansrangereport.com, the shooter manages a first-round hit on a steel silhouette at 1500 yards. He used a Kestrel 4500 NV Weather Meter with Applied Ballistics software to figure out the trajectory for his 6.5 Creemoor rounds.
The Kestrel recorded a wind velocity, and the internal software calculated a solution of 17 Mils elevation (that’s 928 inches of drop) with 2.5 Mils windage. “Bang” — the shooter sends it, and 2.6 seconds later “Clang” he had a hit (flight time was 2.6 seconds). Bryan Litz observes: “This is the science of accuracy (in the form of an Applied Ballistics Kestrel) being put to good use at 1500 yards”.
Later in the video (1:05-1:15) the shooter places three rounds on steel at 1000 yards in just 10 seconds. The three shots all fall within 10″ or so — pretty impressive for rapid fire. The shooter reports: “[In my 6.5 Creedmoor] I’m using a 136gr Lapua Scenar L. This bullet has impressed me. It screams out of my barrel at 2940 fps and holds on all the way out to 1,500 yards.”
The rifle was built by Aaron Roberts of Roberts Precision Rifles (RPRifles.com). Chambered for the 6.5 Creedmoor, it features a Leupold Mark VI 3-18x44mm scope.
These days, everything is “tactical”. Along with tactical rifles, there are tactical shoes, tactical lunch-boxes, tactical seat-covers, and yes, even tactical bacon. So we guess it’s no surprise that the tactical community now has it’s own pay-to-play talkline, 1-900-TAC-TALK, modeled after those “adult” chatlines where you pay by the minute for a little aural stimulation. With the new Operator Hotline you won’t hear sexy girls talk. Instead the “operators standing by” are, well, “operators” in the tactical sense. For just $3.99 per minute you can talk about tactics, weapons, and gear. On special request, the chat hosts will even work the actions of real weapons. The Operator Hotline claims that all comms are secure so you can reveal your “deepest, most secret tactical fantasies”.
Preview the Operator Hotline in this Video (No Charge)
The Operator Hotline is a pay-per-minute interactive phone service. For just $3.99 per minute you can “talk tactical” with real operators decked out in full tactical gear. Why anyone would want to do that is beyond us. But this new service has proven very popular with young American males.
Tactical Products — Why They Appeal to Men
Tom Clopin, a product designer for a major outdoor company, wasn’t surprised that a fantasy chat-line has been launched, given the fact that tactical products are sold to fulfill macho role-playing fantasies. The designer told us: “You have to understand something. Most products are sold on image not function. Tactical gear is no different. In fact this market is more about costume play and gear fetishism than it is about function or utility. Make something look sort-of milspec, put a bunch a useless loops on it and call it tactical, and it will sell. Selling Molle gear to wannabee operators is just like selling leather chaps to Harley-riding, wannabee land pirates.”
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Guest Article By Michelle Gallagher, Berger Bullets
Let’s face it. In the world of firearms, there is something for everyone. Do you like to compete? Are you a hunter? Are you more of a shotgun shooter or rifle shooter? Do you enjoy running around between stages of a timed course, or does the thought of shooting one-hole groups appeal to you more? Even though many of us shoot several different firearms and disciplines, chances are very good that we all have a favorite. Are we spreading ourselves too thin by shooting different disciplines, or is it actually beneficial? I have found that participating in multiple disciplines can actually improve your performance. Every style of shooting is different; therefore, they each develop different skills that benefit each other.
How can cross-training in other disciplines help you? For example, I am most familiar with long-range prone shooting, so let’s start there. To be a successful long-range shooter, you must have a stable position, accurate ammunition, and good wind-reading skills. You can improve all of these areas through time and effort, but there are other ways to improve more efficiently. Spend some time practicing smallbore. Smallbore rifles and targets are much less forgiving when it comes to position and shot execution. Long-range targets are very large, so you can get away with accepting less than perfect shots. Shooting smallbore will make you focus more on shooting perfectly center shots every time. Another way to do this with your High Power rifle is to shoot on reduced targets at long ranges. This will also force you to accept nothing less than perfect. Shoot at an F-Class target with your iron sights. At 1000 yards, the X-Ring on a long range target is 10 inches; it is 5 inches on an F-Class target. Because of this, you will have to focus harder on sight alignment to hit a center shot. When you go back to the conventional target, you will be amazed at how large the ten ring looks.
Also, most prone rifles can be fitted with a bipod. Put a bipod and scope on your rifle, and shoot F-TR. Shooting with a scope and bipod eliminates position and eyesight factors, and will allow you to concentrate on learning how to more accurately read the wind. The smaller target will force you to be more aggressive on your wind calls. It will also help encourage you to use better loading techniques. Nothing is more frustrating than making a correct wind call on that tiny target, only to lose the point out the top or bottom due to inferior ammunition. If you put in the effort to shoot good scores on the F-Class target, you will be amazed how much easier the long-range target looks when you return to your sling and iron sights. By the same token, F-Class shooters sometimes prefer to shoot fast and chase the spotter. Shooting prone can help teach patience in choosing a wind condition to shoot in, and waiting for that condition to return if it changes.
Benchrest shooters are arguably among the most knowledgeable about reloading. If you want to learn better techniques about loading ammunition, you might want to spend some time at benchrest matches. You might not be in contention to win, but you will certainly learn a lot about reloading and gun handling. Shooting F-Open can also teach you these skills, as it is closely related to benchrest. Benchrest shooters may learn new wind-reading techniques by shooting mid- or long-range F-Class matches.
Position shooters can also improve their skills by shooting different disciplines. High Power Across-the-Course shooters benefit from shooting smallbore and air rifle. Again, these targets are very small, which will encourage competitors to be more critical of their shot placement. Hunters may benefit from shooting silhouette matches, which will give them practice when shooting standing with a scoped rifle. Tactical matches may also be good, as tactical matches involve improvising shots from various positions and distances. [Editor: Many tactical matches also involve hiking or moving from position to position — this can motivate a shooter to maintain a good level of general fitness.]
These are just a few ways that you can benefit from branching out into other shooting disciplines. Talk to the other shooters. There is a wealth of knowledge in every discipline, and the other shooters will be more than happy to share what they have learned. Try something new. You may be surprised what you get out of it. You will certainly learn new skills and improve the ones you already have. You might develop a deeper appreciation for the discipline you started off with, or you may just discover a new passion.
This article originally appeared in the Berger Bulletin. The Berger Bulletin blog contains the latest info on Berger products, along with informative articles on target shooting and hunting.
Article Find by EdLongrange.
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At SHOT Show 2015, SIG Sauer showcased a host of new optics products. SIG’s new Electro-Optics division will market a complete line of riflescopes, battle sights, red dot/reflex sights, rangefinders, binoculars, and spotting scopes. For ALL the new Electro-Optics products, SIG will be offering a lifetime transferable warranty. That’s impressive. SIG’s new electro-optical offerings, which are named after radio alphabet words (such as “Bravo” and “Tango”), are revealed in this video:
The “Whiskey” riflescope series is marketed as a rugged, affordable optical solution for hunters. Designed for law enforcement and tactical shooters, the “Tango” series of riflescopes feature 6X zoom ratios and meet MILSPEC requirements. Shown below is the 3-18x44mm Tango.
The “Bravo” series of prismatic battle sights (illustration below) are pretty remarkable. An innovative new lens design provides an exceptionally wide field of view. SIG claims that Bravo battle sights offer a 50 percent greater field-of-view than similar battle sights.
The “Romeo” series of red dot sights are designed for tactical carbines. The miniature “Romeo1″ Reflex Sight is designed to be slide-mounted on a pistol, and SIG will offer several pistols with the Romeo1 pre-installed. For big game hunting or extreme long-range shooting, SIG developed the “Kilo” rangefinder series, the “Victor” spotting scope line and the “Zulu” binocular series. The “Kilo” rangefinder (bottom photo) can reach out to 1600 yards and features an auto-dimming display. It is about the same size as a Leica CRF, but it is easier to hold. There are molded, rubberized finger grooves on the top and the whole unit has a nice feel in the hand.
To learn more about other SIG Sauer products for 2015, visit the Shooter’s Log, presented by Cheaper than Dirt. For 2015, along with new handguns and rifles, SIG Sauer has rolled out a branded line of suppressors. SIG’s new cans should be popular with both tactical shooters and hunters (where suppressor use is allowed).
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Our friends Ed and Steve, aka the 6.5 Guys, were prolific last week in Las Vegas, visiting dozens of vendors at SHOT Show. Here are Ed and Steve’s video reports for Ashbury Precision Ordnance (APO), Vortex Optics, and Thunderbeast Arms. (If you’re thinking about buying a suppressor definitely check out the new Ultra series from Thunderbeast, featured in the third video below). You can see more SHOT Show videos by Ed and Steve at 6.5Guys.com.
Ashbury Precision Ordnance
Here Precision Rifle Series (PRS) Competitor Melissa Gilliland talks about the modular chassis systems offered by Ashbury Precision Ordnance (APO). With adjustable buttplate, cheekpiece, and grip, these systems can be adapted for a variety of shooting disciplines. APO even offers a modular chassis for Savage barreled actions. Melissa shoots a tricked-out 6.5 Creedmoor rig with a Titanium APO action.
New Precision Rifle from APO
SABRE Chassis System for Savage Actions
Vortex continues to grab a larger share of the tactical and long-range hunting markets. This video features the Vortex Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27x56mm and 3-18x50mm scopes. These Gen II Razors feature apochromatic objective lenses, rugged 34mm single-piece aluminum main tubes, and versatile 6X zoom range. Both MOA-based and Milrad-based reticles are offered. Vortex scopes have large, user-friendly controls, and a good feature set for the price.
Thunder Beast Arms
Thunder Beast Arms’s suppressors, built by shooters for shooters, are tough yet light. Thunder Beast developed a strong following for its titanium cans that offered excellent performance with light weight. In this video, Thunder Beast unveils its new “Ultra” series of suppressors. Compared to Thunder Beast’s previous CB-series suppressors (of like size), these Ultras are 4 to 5 ounces lighter, yet provide 4 to 5 decibels of additional noise reduction. That represents a major gain in suppressor performance.
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Gear Report by Kip Staton Magpul jumped feet-first into the bolt-action precision rifle market by dropping a teaser video of their Hunter 700 chassis/stock system. Feast your eyes on this video that shows Magpul’s new chassis system in action:
The Hunter 700 (MSRP $259.95) is built around a ruggedly anodized aluminum bedding block, and utilizes a standard Magpul SGA cheek riser and spacers (from the shotgun line). It also features forward M-LOK slots, as well as multiple points to mount swivel studs and QD sockets. Weight is a svelte 2.9 pounds, and the system is compatible with factory Remington 700 bottom metal. And that’s not all.
By removing a spacer in the stock, end-users can convert the rifle to feed from the company’s new steel/polymer Bolt Action Magazine Well, which accepts standard AICS pattern magazines. MSRP for the conversion is an impressive $69.95, and that price even includes a mag. But — hold on — it gets even better (look at the photo carefully).
Yup. It feeds from PMAGs. New, AICS-compatible PMAGs. The PMAG-5 7.62 AC is a fully-featured polymer magazine, with an anti-tilt follower and MSRP of $34.95. Interestingly, the magazine holds five (5) rounds to comply with hunting regulations, but the follower features a trimmable, pre-scored stop that allows users to increase capacity by a single round for other purposes.
Magpul promises that this is just the beginning for their precision rifle accessory line, hinting at a larger-capacity PMAG-10 7.62 AC in the future, as well as other calibers. Anybody running AICS pattern mags (and that’s quite a few serious precision rifle guys) should be stoked about these new products.
About the Writer
Kip Staton is a freelance gun writer based in North Texas, and loves to blog about news within the firearms industry and his perceptions on marksmanship at KipStaton.com. He served as the weekend range manager of the North Texas Shooter’s Association from 2010-2012, at which point he began performing sales consultations for a major online firearms retailer. Currently, Kip is a content marketer, copywriter and digital strategist for an award-winning Dallas marketing agency.