March 19th, 2019

We’re Gobsmacked — Google Invites Gun Book Author to Talk

Chris Cheng shoot to win book interview

Chris Cheng, Top Shot TV Season 4 Champion, worked at Google from 2007-2012. A self-taught amateur turned pro, he beat 17 competitors to win the title of Top Shot, a $100,000 grand prize, and a professional marksmanship contract with Bass Pro Shops. After his Top Shot success, Cheng left Google to pursue a new career in the firearms industry. He is the author of Shoot To Win, now in its Second Edition (2018). The book is available from Amazon for $19.99 (or $14.99 Kindle). You can also get an eBook version for $14.95 through Google Play with a free sample.

What is pretty remarkable, given the current state of “political correctness” in our nation is that Google invited Cheng to discuss his book at a Google Authors event. Here is the video of that interview.

Chris explains: “Google invited me back to discuss the 2nd Edition of my book Shoot to Win and it was an honor to become a two-time Google @Authors talk guest.

Given the political climate and anti-conservative accusations levied on Google and other tech companies it was notable I got invited. But more notable was that Google employees voted on authors they wanted to come speak and my name floated to the top. It goes to show that Google is trying to balance things out and bring more divergent perspectives and increase intellectual diversity.

In the talk we discussed sacrifice, hard work, and the focus required to win at life. We also discussed my advocacy for gun rights, gay rights, and freedom and how there are folks who want gay people and gun people to not exist on this Earth.

The only way we’re going to find our way out is if we have more respectable, civil dialogue to find solutions. It isn’t about agreeing on everything, but finding common ground and moving quickly where we agree.”

Chris Cheng shoot to win book interview

After winning the Top Shot Season 4 title, Chris Cheng left his job at Google to pursue a new career in the firearms industry. Cheng now travels the country speaking professionally and sharing his passion for the shooting sports. He is a Certified Pistol, Rifle, and Shotgun Instructor. Cheng also serves as a Member of the NSSF’s Outreach and Inclusion Committee where he represents LGBT and Asian interests.

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March 15th, 2019

Super-Slow-Motion Firearms Highlight Reel

Bullet theory films slow motion slo-mo ultra high speed camera video

Here’s an stunning highlight reel created by Bullet Theory Films, a Los Angeles-based production company that specializes in capturing action that is too quick for the human eye to see. Using ultra-high-speed cameras, these talented film-makers have captured blindingly fast phenomena — things that happen in micro-seconds. The resulting video imagery can be used for R&D, scientific analysis, product marketing, or (of course) entertainment.

We recommend you watch this video full-screen in High-Definition:

This impressive slo-mo “sizzle reel” features many notable sequences, including:

00:18: .45 ACP leaving m1911 muzzle
00:27: Rifle bullet penetrating barrier with explosive ejecta
00:33: M1A cycling 7.62×51 cartridges
00:38: Pistol bullet disintegrating on steel
00:40: Huge muzzle flame from 12ga shotgun and lead shot on steel
00:45: 5.56 bullet in ballistics gelatin with secondary explosion
01:07: Handgun flame ring from muzzle
01:11: Massive shotgun blast with slug in midair

About the Film-Makers
Bullet Theory Films Co-Founders Matt Novello and Matt Drake first met on the set of History Channel’s highly successful competition reality show TOP SHOT. Throughout five seasons, the show set a benchmark in the art of capturing firearms and live ammunition in action, which has yet to be surpassed.

Utilizing the latest digital high speed technology, Bullet Theory Films offers a full range of production services; from concept development, to the final delivery of your vision. For more information, visit BulletTheoryFilms.com.

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December 24th, 2017

Junior Marksmanship Camps — Spring 2018 Openings Available

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

You may not know it, but Top Shot Champion Dustin Ellerman is not just a great shooter. He’s also a youth camp director. Dustin runs a Christian-oriented camp in Texas, Camp His Way. In spring 2018, the camp will offer weekend marksmanship camps for youngsters and teens. Dustin tells us that there are still a few spots available for the popular Kids’ Camp which offers a “Top Shot” type experience: “Dates are March 3-4, March 17-18 for kids ages 9-13. The Teen camp for April 7-8 only has one spot left.” The cost is reasonable — $270 per participant includes all meals, activities, gear and lodging for the weekend. The weekend programs are limited to 12 participants, which allows in-depth training.

Dustin Ellerman Camp His Way

Dustin says these camps have been very popular: “We’ve had great… positive feedback from the Marksmanship program — which you can see on our Facebook Page. And we have many happy campers who return each season. It is an experience to remember.”

Parents Can Participate in 2018
Dustin says parents can join the fun in 2018: “This year we are allowing parents to book to participate as well (extra fee applies). We had such heavy demand in years past, that we only allowed kids to participate. But this past fall we hosted some father/son camp experiences and it worked great.” For more information, visit Marksmancamp.com.

Marksmanship Training and Fun at Camp
By Dustin Ellermann
Fun, safety, and education are the main goals of Marksmanship Camp. As far as I know this is the only program available that allows kids and parents to experience such a vast array of marksmanship equipment and techniques. Marksmanship training helps kids not only master shooting accurately, but helps build life skills such as focus, patience, teamwork, communication, and critical thinking. We also include short life lessons with several of the shooting challenges that they can continue to apply personally.

Camp His Way Dustin Ellermann

Inspiration from our Marksmanship Program came from my time on the Top Shot TV show on the History Channel. After that I thought that it would be awesome to use our summer camp facilities for the same kind of experience for youngsters. So I built what I wanted to do, and just let the kids come and play. For instance, I wanted to shoot while flying down our camp zipline, so that’s our night-time activity — shooting a light- and laser-equipped paintball gun at targets while flying down the zipline.

The primitive and modern marksmanship challenges all include aspects of teamwork, accuracy, firearms handling, and strategy for your team to win.

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

At Camp His Way in Zavalla, Texas, Ellermann hosts weekend Marksmanship Camps for kids aged 9-13 and teens 14-18. The Christian-oriented camps focus on safety, marksmanship skills, and team building. Campers enjoy a host of fun skill-oriented activities: Airgun Shooting, Archery, Blowguns, Knife Throwing, Paintball Games, Slingshots, Tomahawk Throwing, and of course Rimfire Rifle Marksmanship with a variety of rifles.

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

The Kids’ (ages 9-13) Marksmanship Weekends cost $270. That fee includes all ammo, equipment, meals, lodging, team t-shirt, and one adult guest spectator. CLICK HERE to reserve a spot — a few openings are still available. And yes, this year parents can come along too.

Dustin Ellerman Camp His Way

Notice the young campers always wear ear and eye protection when shooting firearms. That’s as it should be. We wish adult shooters, including benchrest, smallbore, High Power, and F-Class competitors, followed this important safety practice.

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May 12th, 2017

Handgun 101: Diagnosing Accuracy Problems with Pistols

NSSF Chris Cheng Pistol Accuracy Handgun Shooting Skills

When shooting pistols do your shots normally land smack dab in the middle of the target? If not, you may have some technique problems that are causing your shots to move off center. Top Shot Champion Chris Cheng has produced a good video for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) that helps handgunners diagnose accuracy issues. By shooting 3-shot groups and looking at the pattern and location of the shots, you can see what you’re doing wrong (or right). Here are some examples. Note, this process works best for shooters whose shots fall typically in one target zone. If your shots are all over the target, your form is inconsistent and problems will be harder to diagnose.

1. Low Left — Jerking Trigger: Here we see three (3) shots at the 7 O’clock position. This shows that the shooter is jerking the trigger, meaning that the shooter is pulling the trigger too quickly and therefore forcing the barrel to drop when breaking the shot. This is a very common problem, particularly with novices who are reacting to the noise/recoil of the pistol.

NSSF Chris Cheng Pistol Accuracy Handgun Shooting Skills

2. 9 O’Clock — Too Little Trigger Finger: If we see three (3) shots at the 9 O’clock position, what this can be indicative of too little trigger finger on the trigger. And therefore with every shot, the shots are getting pushed to the left. Try moving your trigger finger on to the pad of your index finger. Also try dry firing drills.

NSSF Chris Cheng Pistol Accuracy Handgun Shooting Skills

3. High Left — Anticipating Recoil: In this next example, we see three shots around the 11 O’clock position. What could be happening here is that the shooter is anticipating the recoil, and is actually lifting the gun up when he shoots. We recommend slowing down, working on your breathing, and, again, do dry-firing drills.

NSSF Chris Cheng Pistol Accuracy Handgun Shooting Skills

4. 3 O’Clock — Too Much Trigger Finger: Finally, if you see three (3) shots at the 3 O’clock position, this can indicate that there is too much trigger finger on the trigger. Therefore when the shot breaks the shooter is pulling each shot to the right. Note: Each of these descriptions is for a RIGHT-handed shooter. If you are a left-handed shooter you’ll want to reverse those descriptions.

NSSF Chris Cheng Pistol Accuracy Handgun Shooting Skills

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December 13th, 2016

Unique Holiday Gift — Coloring Book for Firearms Fans

Here’s a cool Christmas Gift item — a high-quality 70-page coloring book featuring firearms. If you have kids or grandkids that enjoy shooting or hunting, this could be a fun, interactive gift. (Heck we know some adults who would enjoy it too.) Offered by Top Shot Champ Dustin Ellermann, Full Metal Coloring features quotes from famous people and shooting tips from ace shooters such as Jerry Miculek and Bryan Zins. The WideOpenSpaces Blog says: “Forget abstract designs or run-of-the-mill shapes. Instead, get your hands on this cool coloring book full of guns.” The price is $11.99.

Product Description: Filled with humor, history and iconic images, Full Metal Coloring appeals to military, veterans, shooting sports athletes and hunters. Amusing quotes by Aristotle, Walter Cronkite, Wyatt Earp and more. Shooting tips by Jerry Miculek, Brian Zins, Jim Henderson and more!

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December 10th, 2016

Marksmanship Camps for Youngsters — Openings Available

Dustin Ellermann Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

Top Shot Champion Dustin Ellermann is not just a great shooter. He also directs a Christian-oriented youth program in Texas. In the spring of 2017, Dustin’s Camp His Way team will be offering weekend marksmanship camps for youngsters and teens. Dustin tells us that there are still a few spots available for the Kids’ Camps on February 25-26 and March 25-26, as well as the Teen Camp on March 11-12, 2017. These two-day Camps make a great holiday gift for youngsters. The programs are conducted at Camp His Way outside of Zavalla, Texas. For more information, visit Marksmancamp.com.

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

These weekend Marksmanship Camps are specially designed for kids aged 9-13 and teens 14-18. The Christian-oriented two-day camps focus on safety, marksmanship skills, and team building. Campers enjoy a host of fun skill-oriented activities: Airgun Shooting, Archery, Blowguns, Knife Throwing, Paintball Games, Slingshots, Tomahawk Throwing, and of course Rimfire Rifle Marksmanship with a variety of rifles. The Rimfire Rifle Marksmanship program features Volquartsen Custom Rifles, S&W M&P 15-22s, Ruger 10/22s, Savage bBolt Actions, and Henry Lever Actions.

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

The Kids’ (ages 9-13) Marksmanship Weekends cost $270. Teen (ages 14-18) Camps are $300.00. These fees include all ammo, equipment, meals, lodging, team t-shirt, and one adult guest spectator. Parents are welcome to attend and spectate, but participation in marksmanship activities is limited to the kids at this time. CLICK HERE to reserve a spot — a few openings are still available.

Dustin Ellerman Camp His Way

Notice the young campers always wear ear and eye protection when shooting firearms. That’s as it should be. We wish adult shooters, including benchrest, smallbore, High Power, and F-Class competitors, followed this important safety practice.

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January 27th, 2016

Win $50,000 in New American Marksman Competition

American Marksman challenge Television outdoor channel

Here’s your chance to win $50,000 and become a TV star. The Outdoor Channel’s new television show, American Marksman, showcases a series of shooting competitions leading to a big-money National Championship. American Marksman gives amateur shooters the chance to win cash, gear and fame. The top shooter will win $50,000 and earn the title of “American Marksman”.

The competition begins with local qualifiers starting in March 2016 at locations across the country. There will be three stages: local qualifying matches, regional championships, and a National Championship. The entire process will be filmed for later broadcast on the Outdoor Channel beginning in December 2016. The nine regional championships will be revealed as locations are finalized.

American Marksman FAQ — Get Your Questions Answered

“If you ever wanted to enter a shooting competition and thought it was too intimidating or too expensive – then this is your chance to show the world what you’ve got,” said producer Michael Bane, Outdoor Channel. “For only $20 at the local level, you get the chance to try to qualify with other amateurs in a relaxed, safe environment and the best of you will meet in a … National Championship with TV cameras rolling. The person who earns the title of ‘American Marksman’ walks away with $50,000.”

How to Participate: To get involved in the American Marksman competition, you can Register Now at AmericanMarksman.com. You need to have your own .22 LR gun and 50 rounds of ammo for the local qualifier (you can rent a gun from the local range if needed). American Marksman will provide firearms and ammo for the Regional and National championships, should you advance. NOTE: American Marksman is an amateur-only event series with strict eligibility guidelines.

American Marksman challenge Television outdoor channel

Where to Compete: The local qualifying rounds begin in March, 2016 at nearly 200 ranges in 47 states. CLICK HERE for a list of Participating Ranges, which can be sorted by state.

“The local qualifying level is designed not only to appeal to more seasoned shooters, but also to attract new people into the shooting sports by offering a low-cost and less intimidating way to get involved in competition,” explained show Producer Michael Bane.

Competition Categories: American Marksman offers four categories of competition: Men’s Open, Women’s Open, Junior (12-16) and Military/Law Enforcement. Pick the category that fits you. At the National Championship, the best shooters from each of the categories will be pitted against each other to compete for $50K and the “American Marksman” title.

Course of Fire: Each round will feature .22 LR rimfire courses of fire. As the competitors progress, they will be challenged with different calibers, targets and courses of fire. Advancing shooters will go to one of nine regional championships, which begin in June and proceed through August with the National Championship taking place in early 2017.

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January 24th, 2016

Dennis Santiago Shoots the Mad Minute with a Lee-Enfield

Dennis Santiago mad minute
British Lee-Enfield Model SHT’22/IV Rifle, courtesy www.iCollector.com.

This past week, at SHOT Show, we met up with our friend Dennis Santiago. We chatted about Dennis’s experiences as a technical advisor for History Channel’s Top SHOT TV show. One of the notable Top Shot episodes involved the “Mad Minute”, a marksmanship drill practiced by the British Army in the decades preceding World War I. Dennis observed that the Top Shot competitors didn’t fare too well in their “Mad Minute” attempts, not scoring many hits in the alloted one-minute time period. That prompted Dennis to give it a try himself — seeing how many hits he could score in one minute with an authentic Lee-Enfield rifle. So, a while back, Dennis ran the drill at a range in California.

Dennis Does the Mad Minute:

Dennis, an active high power rifle competitor and instructor, enjoyed his “Mad Minute” exercise, though he assures us that this takes practice to perfect. Dennis tells us: “Here is a ‘Mad Minute’ drill, done using a period correct Lee-Enfield (SMLE) No.1 Mk III rifle and Mk VII ammo. I got to the Queen’s Regulations (15 hits in one minute) on the second run and put a good group on the target at 200 yards. This is ‘jolly good fun’ to do every once in a while. This is ‘living history’ — experiencing a skill from a time when the sun never set on the British Empire.”

Lee Enfield Mad Minute Mark IVLee-Enfield No. 4 Rifle (1943), courtesy Arundel Militaria.

“Mad Minute” was a pre-World War I term used by British Army riflemen during training at the Hythe School of Musketry to describe scoring a minimum of 15 hits onto a 12″ round target at 300 yards within one minute using a bolt-action rifle (usually a Lee-Enfield or Lee-Metford rifle). It was not uncommon during the First World War for riflemen to greatly exceed this score. The record, set in 1914 by Sergeant Instructor Alfred Snoxall, was 38 hits. (From WikiPedia.)

History of the Mad Minute
Commentary by Laurie Holland
The original military requirement of the “Mad Minute” saw the soldier ready to fire with a round in the chamber, nine in the magazine, safety on. This course of fire is still followed by the GB Historic Breechloading Arms Association and other bodies in their recreated “Mad Minute” competitions.

The first 10 would go quickly, but reloads were critical, this not done by a magazine change as in a modern tactical or semi-auto rifle, but through slick use of ‘chargers’. It is this aspect which fouls so many of my colleagues up as it is very easy to cause a jam and a large part of 60 seconds can go in sorting it out!

Charger clips were selected for those that just held the rounds firmly enough to stop then falling out, were sand-papered and polished with a stove / fireplace polish called ‘Zebrite’ so that the rimmed rounds would slip through the clips like corn through a goose.

lee enfield 1916 rifle

If you’re unfamiliar with the cock-on-closing Enfield action, it seems clumsy. With intensive practice it is very smooth and can be operated incredibly quickly. The trick is to whip the bolt back onto its stop and initiate a rebound movement that takes it and the cartridge well into the chamber thereby reducing the effort required to close the bolt and chamber the round.

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December 26th, 2015

Spots Still Available for Texas Youth Marksmanship Camps

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

You may not know it, but Top Shot Champion Dustin Ellerman is not just a great shooter. He’s also a youth camp director. Dustin runs a Christian-oriented camp in Texas. This spring, the camp will be offering weekend marksmanship camps for youngsters and teens. Dustin tells us that there are still a few spots available for the popular Kids’ Camp which offers a “Top Shot” type experience: “We have openings for the Kids’ Camps on February 20-21 and February 27-28. These are for kids ages 9-13. Sorry but the March 5-6 Teen/Parent Camp is full.” For more information, visit Marksmancamp.com.

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

At Camp His Way in Zavalla, Texas, Ellermann hosts weekend Marksmanship Camps for kids aged 9-13 and teens 14-18. The Christian-oriented camps focus on safety, marksmanship skills, and team building. Campers enjoy a host of fun skill-oriented activities: Airgun Shooting, Archery, Blowguns, Knife Throwing, Paintball Games, Slingshots, Tomahawk Throwing, and of course Rimfire Rifle Marksmanship with a variety of rifles.

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

The Kids’ (ages 9-13) Marksmanship Weekends cost $270. That fee includes all ammo, equipment, meals, lodging, team t-shirt, and one adult guest spectator. Parents are welcome to attend and spectate, but participation in marksmanship activities is limited to the kids at this time. CLICK HERE to reserve a spot — a few openings are still available.

Dustin Ellerman Camp His Way

Notice the young campers always wear ear and eye protection when shooting firearms. That’s as it should be. We wish adult shooters, including benchrest, smallbore, High Power, and F-Class competitors, followed this important safety practice.

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August 24th, 2015

Whittington Ultra-Long Range — Ringing Steel at 2100 Yards

Dustin Ellermann NRA Whittington Mile Shot Long Range

Many of us dream of taking and making a shot at one mile (1760 yards). Well Top Shot Champion Dustin Ellermann pushed the envelope even farther during a recent ultra-long-range session at the NRA’s Whittington Center in New Mexico. On his Facebook page, Dustin wrote: “I earned the ‘One Mile+ Shot’ mancard this week with 1MOA Solutions. We reached out to 2,100 yards with the Barrett M99 .50 BMG out in the hills of the Whittington Center. You can see the target area marked in the center of the photo. This is a locked-down mountain range, with 30,000 acres.”

Bullet flight time was 3.7 seconds, drop was 94 MOA, velocity at target was only 1,100 fps. The 7,500′ elevation and a 5 degree down-slope helped the ballistics. Dustin reports: “About six seconds after impact you would hear the ‘ding’.” [Editor’s note: Yes it really takes roughly six seconds for sound to travel 2100 yards. The speed of sound at 7500′ elevation* is 1053.61 fps, or roughly 351.20 yards per second. The distance-to-target of 2100 yards divided by 351.2 works out to a 5.98 second time delay.]

One of Dustin’s friends commented: “We rarely think about what the bullet does after it exits, but seeing the 60% drop in velocity [over the trajectory] and how long it was actually in flight (3.7 seconds) makes these types of shots so amazing! Congrats to you making the One Mile + club!”

Dustin Ellermann NRA Whittington Mile Shot Long Range

*This is with temperature corrected -30° F below standard at sea level.

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August 19th, 2015

Dustin Dusts Wyoming P-Dogs with a 17 HMR

Dustin Ellermann Prarie Dog Wyoming Volquartsen 17 MHR Varmint Hunting

Dustin Ellermann Prarie Dog Wyoming Volquartsen 17 MHR Varmint HuntingTop Shot Champion Dustin Ellermann has been busy up in Wyoming slaying varmints. On his Facebook Page, Dustin wrote: “I’ve been helping some ranchers out with their prairie dog infestation in Wyoming. The 17 HMR Volquartsen Custom is amazing! The Meopta Sports Optics R1r is super nice as well. Can you guess how many prairie dogs I eliminated in two days?” (Facebook users post guesses HERE.)

Dustin says the effective range of the 17 HMR is farther than one might expect: “I made hits out to 300 yards. 200 yards was easy as long as the wind wasn’t too bad.”

Dustin was very impressed with the 17 HMR cartridge: “Never paid it much attention before now because the ammo is five times more expensive than .22 LR and I mostly target shoot. However, for prairie dogs, the 17 HMR is amazing!” Dustin is now a fan of the speedy rimfire round. Consider this — Hornady’s 17 HMR ammo pushes a 17gr V-Max bullet at 2550 fps, twice as fast as typical .22 LR rounds.

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December 16th, 2014

Youngsters Learn Outdoor Skills at Texas Marksmanship Camp

Wondering what to give a niece, nephew, or one of the grand-kids this Christmas? Well how about giving them something special — a 5-day camping experience, hosted by Top Shot’s Dustin Ellermann. Dustin reports that: “Youth Marksmanship Camp 2015 Spring Break Dates have been announced, and folks are grabbing them up as Christmas presents. Visit Marksmancamp.com to learn more….”

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

At Camp His Way in Zavalla, Texas, Ellermann hosts weekend Marksmanship Camps for kids aged 9-13 and teens 14-18. The Christian-oriented camps focus on safety, marksmanship skills, and team building. Campers enjoy a host of fun skill-oriented activities: Airgun Shooting, Archery, Blowguns, Knife Throwing, Paintball Games, Slingshots, Tomahawk Throwing, and of course Rimfire Rifle Marksmanship with a variety of rifles. Spots are now available for three weekends in March 2015:

March 10-11, 2015 – Kids Marksmanship Camp, Ages 9-13
March 13-14, 2015 – Teen Marksmanship Camp, Ages 14-18
March 20-21, 2015 – Kids Marksmanship Camp, Ages 9-13

Dustin Ellerman Marksmanship Camp Shooting Zavalla Texas Christian

The Camp Weekend cost $270 for kids 9-13 and $300 for teens 14-18. This fee includes all ammo and equipment, meals and lodging, and a team t-shirt. CLICK HERE to reserve a spot this spring.

Dustin Ellerman Camp His Way

Notice the young campers always wear ear and eye protection when shooting firearms. That’s as it should be. We wish adult shooters, including benchrest, smallbore, High Power, and F-Class competitors, followed this important safety practice.

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August 27th, 2014

Shoot to Win Book by Chris Cheng Coming Soon

Top Shot Season 4 Champion Chris Cheng has written a new shooting skills book, Shoot to Win. This book is designed primarily for new shooters looking to master basic techniques. However, it also provides tips for all competitors, no matter what their skill levels. On the Top Shot TV show, Cheng was able to beat many more experienced marksman because he was smart, he trained methodically, and he had excellent fundamentals. He showed the world that a relative novice with proper training can prevail in head-to-head competition over more experienced shooters who may have acquired “bad habits” (technique flaws) over the years.

Shoot to Win book Chris Cheng Top Shot Amazon.com

Chris Cheng won the title of “Top Shot,” a $100,000 cash prize, and a professional shooting contract. How did a tech support guy with limited shooting experience beat out 17 other competitors — including military snipers, police officers, and seasoned shooting pros? Well, that’s the question this book answers. Cheng covers his approach to staying calm under pressure, teamwork, sportsmanship, and leadership.

Chris was excited about his new book: “Shoot to Win is coming out October 7th! This has been almost two years in the making….” The book is primarily a treatise on beginning rifle, pistol, and shotgun marksmanship. The book also how explains how Chris trained for, and then won the Top Shot competition. If you are interested in Shoot to Win by Chris Cheng, you can pre-order the hard copy book at Amazon.com right now (for October 7, 2014 release). An eBook version will be coming out later this fall as well.

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August 9th, 2014

“Firearm Science” Video Shows the Process of Zeroing Rifle

Most of us can figure out how to zero our rifles at 100 yards. But do you know how to get a solid zero at long range — as far as 1000 yards? You need to know your ballistics, otherwise you may waste a lot of ammo “sprayin’ and prayin'”. You definitely need to know your exact muzzle velocity, within a few FPS. This is not as simple as it seems, because it is not uncommon for chronograph results to be off by 10 to 20 fps or more, just through calibration error. Accordingly, you may want to test with a pair of chronos and record the results from each (you may be surprised at the variances).

scope turret elevation nightforceVideo Illustrates Zeroing Process
The process of zeroing rifles for long range is covered in a new “Firearm Science” video from the NRA. This video features George Reinas, a popular competitor on the Top Shot TV Show. George demonstrates how to adjust his scope to compensate for bullet drop at long range. Our friend Dennis Santiago was involved in the making of this video, which was filmed at the Burbank Rifle & Revolver Club in Southern California. The video is narrated by the talented Jessie Duff, one of America’s best action shooters.

scope turret elevation nightforceWhen zeroing at long range, you should first consult a good ballistics program. Select your baseline zero distance (such as 100 yards), then plug in the MV along with salient environmental factors: Altitude, Air Pressure, Temperature, Humidity. After you enter bullet BC, your ballistics program will calculate the drop to the target, expressed in MOA or Mils. Some programs will actually list the number of clicks up from your current zero.

You can print out the data from your ballistics solver as a “drop chart” that can be attached to your rifle stock. If you shoot at various altitudes you may need multiple drop charts.

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December 17th, 2013

Iain Harrison Explains How to Get Started in 3-Gun Competition

In his Guns & Ammo Blog, Top Shot (Season 1) Champion Iain Harrison explains how to get started in 3-Gun Competition. Iain begins with some very practical advice: “Don’t worry too much about the gear. Spending a ton of money to get into the game, only to discover a few months later that you want to head in another direction, is a surefire way to alienate your significant other…. Go shoot what you have, even if it’s not ideal; you’ll learn much more about what works and what doesn’t by shooting in a match than you ever will by reading blogs like this.”

It’s obvious that you’ll need three firearms — pistol, carbine/rifle, and shotgun. But Harrison explains you don’t have to go out an get the most expensive (or complex) weaponry. For the rifle/carbine segment, Harrison says: “A vanilla AR15 with a low-power variable scope is a good place to start. Pretty much any flat top AR15 [will do].” For a scattergun, yes it would be nice to have an exotic Benelli M1 Super 90, but a low cost semi-auto from Remington, Winchester, or Mossberg will be competitive. And many guys start off with their “old reliable” Rem model 870 pump shotgun. Harrison explains: “Add an extended mag tube to the Remington 1100 lurking in the back of the safe and you have the shotgun component covered, though if you’d rather run your trusty pump gun… that’s cool too.”

3-Gun competition shotguns, Benelli Remington
Choice of Pistol and Caliber
The best handgun brand and caliber is really a matter of personal choice. You want a “dead-nuts” reliable pistol, for which you can get affordable accessories (holster, mag pouches, high-cap magazines). Glocks, 1911s, HKs, Sigs, S&W M&Ps are all popular. As for caliber choice, Harrison notes: “Most guys run 9 mm handguns as the capacity advantage over a .40 or .45 is significant, but whatever you choose, your holster is as important as the piece it contains. Bump a loaded pistol out of your holster in the middle of a stage and you’ll be going home early.”

Video Shows Highlights from 3-Gun Nation 2011 Championship

In his Guns & Ammo Blog post, Harrison also give advice about 3-Gun optics and he lists particular firearms models that are favored by competitors. Learn more about these topics by visiting the 3-Gun Nation website. When it comes to gun shopping, Harrison does advise to “buy new” — that’s because active 3-gunners fire so many rounds in practice and competition that they really can wear out their firearms. Click Here to read Harrison’s full Getting Started in 3-Gun Blog article. While visiting GunsandAmmo.com, check out Harrison’s amusing Top Five Reasons to Try 3-Gun. Here’s Reason Number One: “It’s sexy. So sexy in fact, it’s the only shooting sport with its own TV show!”

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September 9th, 2013

Top Shot Champ Trains Youngsters at Marksmanship Camp

camp his way marksmanship camp Dustin EllermannYou probably know Dustin Ellermann from the Top Shot TV show. Dustin, a self-trained “natural” marksman, was the Season 3 Champion. You may not know that Dustin also runs a Christian Camp for young people, Camp His Way. One of the Camp’s special programs is a weekend marksmanship camp taught by Dustin.

Multi-Activity Marksmanship Camp
At these sessions, the young campers get to shoot, practice archery, throw tomahawks, ride horses, and even try out blow-guns. Dustin reports: “This past weekend we had another amazing Marksmanship Camp. We had a great group of campers and of course lots of fun shooting/throwing/riding/slinging! Thanks to all our sponsors for helping us make this weekend awesome: 5.11 Tactical, Elzetta Design, NextLevel Training, Volquartsen Custom, GhostTargets.com, Cold Steel and more.” CLICK for equipment list.

camp his way marksmanship camp Dustin Ellermann

camp his way marksmanship camp Dustin Ellermann

camp his way marksmanship camp Dustin Ellermann

camp his way marksmanship camp Dustin Ellermann

Notice the young campers always wear ear and eye protection when shooting firearms. That’s as it should be. We wish adult shooters, including benchrest, smallbore, High Power, and F-Class competitors, followed this important safety practice.

camp his way marksmanship camp Dustin Ellermann

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August 23rd, 2013

Top Shot Champ Demonstrates Long-Range Tomahawk Accuracy

Here’s a remarkable feat of accuracy. But this “trick shot” is not made with a rifle — it’s performed with a Tomahawk. Top Shot Season 3 Champion Dustin Ellermann shows off his “Tomahawk Sniper” skills by hitting a target at 60 feet. Flying over that distance, the Cold Steel Norse Hawk makes five full rotations before hitting the wood target. Dustin’s first throw planted solidly in the wood. That was impressive enough. But Dustin’s second throw hits dead-center, bursting the blue balloon. Ellermann’s tomahawk-tossing skills are impressive, but we do wonder what the Ballistic Coefficient (BC) of that spinning long-handled ‘hawk would be. Watch the video — we bet you’ll enjoy this.

Cold Steel Norse Hawk Tomahawk

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August 8th, 2013

Chris Cheng Tours Leupold Optics Plant in Oregon

Chris Cheng, Top Shot’s Season 4 Champion, recently toured the Leupold factory in Beverton, Oregon. You can read about his experiences on The Firearm Blog. Chris was impressed with the scale of Leupold’s operation, particular the huge CNC machines “all cranking out parts for Leupold products. The machines run 24/7, and even at that rate Leupold says they cannot keep up with demand at this time.”

Read Full Leupold Factory Tour Report by Chris Cheng

Ranks of CNC Machines at Leupold Factory

Chris happened to be visiting the Leupold factory while members of the U.S. Marine Rifle Team were present. Here is a photo of Chris (far right) with the Leatherneck marksmen:

While Leupold’s production line is highly automated, Chris said that humans are still vital to the production of modern optics: “I was most impressed with the hand assembly line[.] No matter the industry, slowing things down for TLC usually increases the quality of the product. Additionally, the need for hand assembly produces jobs to help support the local community.”

Cheng was wowed by Leupold’s testing procedures: “Leupold has an intense stress test room where they push not only their products, but their competitors’ products to the limits. The details of their tests are proprietary information, but the lead tester told us stories about how he literally ‘sweeps up the floor’ when competitor’s products fall apart during stress tests.” By contrast, Leupold scopes are tough. Check out this video which shows a Leupold scope which “takes a licking and keeps on ticking” after being strapped to a running jack-hammer for 30 minutes:

Jack-Hammer Testing of Leupold Scopes

Photos by Leupold & Stevens
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July 11th, 2013

Top Shot Does It at One Mile with .338 Lapua Magnum Barrett

If you missed Top Shot All-Stars last night on the History Channel, don’t fret — you can watch the latest full episode online HERE. This week competitors faced the ultimate long-range challenge — shooting a 40″ exploding target at ONE MILE — the longest distance ever attempted on Top Shot. The rifle was a Barrett MRAD chambered for the .338 Lapua Magnum. Whoever hit the target the quickest (and with the least number of shots) won a prize (an Oculus rifle scope). The top seven shooters were “safe” from the elimination round. The four who faltered faced possible elimination. This wasn’t easy. At one mile (1760 yards) a 10 mph wind shift can move the bullet nearly twenty FEET laterally. And a lot can happen in the 3+ seconds it takes the bullet to hit the target. (Ballistics based on a 250gr Lapua Scenar launched at 2900 fps, with full value wind vector. Lapua factory .338 LM ammo was used during this episode.)

CLICK to watch Mile Shot Full Episode on History.com
Top Shot All-Stars Mile Shot epsode .338 Lapua Magnum accurateshooter.com

Some competitors did remarkably well — hitting the one-mile target with ease. However, challenging winds sent others to elimination, where they faced off using a prehistoric weapon, the Atlatl. To see who did well and who was eliminated, visit the Top Shot All Stars Video Archive.

Top Shot All-Stars Mile Shot epsode .338 Lapua Magnum accurateshooter.com

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May 1st, 2013

Top Shot ALL STARS Premieres May 29 on History Channel

top shot all starsThe hit History Channel TV series Top Shot returns for an ALL STAR season Wednesday, May 29 at 10:00 pm Eastern, 9:00 pm Central. This season will feature a All-Star crew of competitors. The show’s producers say: “This season, it’s all about skill. No teams. No nomination range. Politics and alliances are a thing of the past.”

Past Top Shot champions Iain Harrison, Chris Reed, Dustin Ellermann, and Chris Cheng will also take part in the All-Star season. Colby Donaldson returns as host. And yes our buddy Kelly Bachand is back behind the trigger. Kelly tells us: “I can’t reveal what happens, but rest assured, this will be an exciting new series — there’s some serious talent in this line-up”. Donaldson agrees: “We brought back the best of the best — All Stars, All Skills.”

top shot all stars

Check out the Top Shot All-Stars sneak peek below:

What You’ll See in Season Five of Top Shot
Season Five comes fully loaded with formidable, history-inspired challenges and a vast array of weapons. The first episode calls for mastery of a Soviet semi-automatic rifle, which was used in the 1941 Nazi invasion; a Tactical OBR with 20-round magazines; the Milkor M32A1 grenade launcher; and an FN-FAL self-loading selective-fire battle rifle, popular among NATO troops. In addition, competitors must conquer a mortar-rigged barbed wire fence, an unstable platform and a bull’s eye target, where elimination is just a fraction of an inch away.

top shot all stars

Top Shot fans are excited about the new All-Star format. But, not all fan-favorites from the past will be returning this season. One Facebook commenter noted: “I’m definitely excited, but they should have brought back JJ Racaza (probably best shooter not to win) and Tara (only female to not get eliminated).”

top shot all stars

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