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July 7th, 2017

King of 2 Miles ELR Match — Derek Rodgers Takes the Crown

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics
Photos by Stephen Fiorenzo, courtesy Applied Ballistics.

The 2017 King of 2 Miles match has concluded, and we have a new monarch. F-Class Ace Derek Rodgers is the new King of 2 Miles. Shooting with Team Applied Ballistics, Derek delivered a dominant performance, scoring nearly twice as many points as his nearest rival, Ronnie Wright. And Derek was the first KO2M marksman in history to hit the target at the maximum 3368-yard (1.91 mile) distance.

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics
King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

With his McMillan-stocked .375 CheyTac rifle, Derek shot brilliantly from the start. He was perfect — without a miss — at the first three yardages: 1543, 1722, and 1888. He had some misses at 1953 and 2667 yards, but then he out-shot all competitors at 3028 yards, going two for five. No other shooter managed a single hit at 3028 yards. Then it all came down to the big one — the last (and greatest) challenge, the target at 3368 yards (1.91 miles).

This would require superior shooting skills, a masterful wind call (by Emil Praslick), and nerves of steel. Derek tried four shots without success. It looked like the two-mile hit would continue to be an impossible goal. But then, on his fifth and very last shot, Derek did it — he hit the 3368-yard target.

After Derek made the (nearly) two-mile shot, cheers erupted on the firing line — what an achievement! Derek is the first (and only) shooter to make the 3368-yard shot at K02M. Watch him do it in this video:

Derek Rodgers Hits Target at 3368 Yards on his Final Shot:

Derek Rodgers K02M-Winning Hardware and Ammunition

RIFLE COMPONENTS
Stock: McMillan ELR Beast
Action: Barnard Model P-Chey
Trigger: Barnard Two-Stage
Barrel: Bartlein, 36″ length
Brake: Piercision 5-Port Muscle Brake
Optic: Nightforce 7-35x56mm ATACR F1
Bipod: Phoenix Precision
Level: Holland’s Shooting

CARTRIDGE and LOAD
Cartridge: 375 CheyTac (standard chamber)
Brass: Peterson Brass Co.
Powder: Hodgdon H50BMG
Bullet: Cutting Edge 400gr Lazer-Tip MAX
Primer: FED 215

Factory Rifle Finishes in Second Place
With so many full-custom rifles on the firing line, many were surprised to see a factory rifle finishing second overall. Ronnie Wright shot superbly with his stock Barrett M99 chambered in .416 Barrett. Ronnie’s impressive second-place performance proved the effectiveness of the .416 Barrett cartridge (and the build quality of the M99). For ammo, Ronnie used Cutting Edge 472gr MTAC projectiles loaded in Barrett-stamped .416 cases. The powder was Alliant Reloder 50 ignited by CCI #35 50 BMG primers. The rifle had a Barrett factory 32″ barrel fitted with an Accuracy 1st level.

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

INTERVIEW with DEREK RODGERS:

Q: What do you believe contributed to your success at this match?

Derek: This match was truly a team effort from the entire Applied Ballistics Team. Emil Praslick and Paul Phillips are world class wind-readers and spotters. They have the ability to make decisive decisions and trust that I (as the shooter) will put a bullet on target every time a command is given. We posses a dynamic team background with a lot of history and experience under our belt. Our positive team synergy is hard to find. The addition of vital tools played a huge role in our success. A few of the tools we used were the AB Kestrel and Garmin Foretrex 701 AB Elite to give absolutely crucial and accurate ballistic solutions. The new McMillan ELR Beast stock was stable and the NF ATACR scope is robust and clear. The Bartlein barrel used was top notch! However, one of the most important pieces of the ELR puzzle and the only thing that separates the target is — the bullet. We chose Cutting Edge (CE) bullets due to their high level of precision. These bullets proved to be invaluable in connecting every piece of steel at the KO2M competition. The CE 400gr Lazer Max bullet was selected and was tremendously accurate. This bullet transitioned into a sub-sonic velocity without any loss of precision at ELR distances. Our success would not be possible if the projectile did not fly correctly for 7+ seconds of flight time. CE has outstanding designs and several quality choices to choose from.

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

Q: How many hours would you say you practiced for this match?

Derek: It is hard to calculate practice time in hours. ELR is a program that we work on every chance we get — day and night for months prior to the event. We have an extremely strong background of team shooting and long range shooting. A lot of time has been invested on and off the range, but does not stop there. The combined range time from other disciplines really helped me to be successful in transitioning from long range to ELR. It really is a compilation of 10 years of trials and tribulations. Some would say, “the Devil is in the details”. Our team tries very hard to not overlook any small detail. Practice and training is always scrutinized for improvements. Our Applied Ballistics team has a love and passion that goes beyond measurable amounts of time. We were fortunate to get together for two days a month prior to the Ko2M event to review our program and practice as a team. Bryan Litz had a plan, and we discovered as a team we had flaws in our program. Each one of us contributed from years of experience on improving our technique until we had a winning solution.

Q: Why did you choose the .375 CheyTac cartridge?

Derek: When I was asked to join the AB Team, I needed to get an ELR rifle built in a short period of time. I was under a very tight time schedule to get the project complete. In an effort to eliminate variables, I decided to keep things standard and as simple as possible. I chose the .375 CheyTac for the ease of getting components. The larger rifles are more difficult to get components quickly and I felt like the .375 CheyTac had enough attributes to be competitive at ELR distances.

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics
The Cutting Edge 400gr bullets are milled from solid copper bar stock on a CNC Swiss-style lathe.

New ELR Hardware and Software on Display at K02M
This marks the second straight year that Team Applied Ballistics has won the K02M event. Last year, Team AB shooter Mitchell Fitzpatrick won the coveted “King of 2 Miles” title (Fitzpatrick finished fourth this year, just off the podium). In the past year, there has been considerable evolution in Extreme Long Range hardware and software, and projectiles are constantly being improved.

Bryan Litz (center) conferring with Team AB members Emil Praslick (L) and Doc Beech (R).
King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

We asked Bryan Litz, founder of Applied Ballistics, to summarize developments in the ELR game. Here are Bryan’s observations:

“Each year the KO2M sees advancements and shooters converging on those tools and processes that have proven effective in prior years. It’s rather apparent, for example, that spotting impacts is a crucial part of success in this match. This was improved by the match directors/organizers placing the targets in very good locations for spotting impacts. We’re seeing less set-ups with adjustable bases, and more with solid/fixed scope mounts. One of the exciting new pieces of equipment is the periscope device made by TACOMHQ (John Baker). This device provides an optical shift to the image which allows you to get more elevation for those long shots. Also, the refinement of fire control (ballistic) solutions has really played a role in getting shooters centered up for their first shots.”

“This tournament highly favors first-round impacts with the scoring system, so the approach of ‘walking the shots on’, isn’t a winning strategy. Those who employed accurate ballistics solvers were able to score more first round hits, and pile up the points. First and second place (at least) were using Applied Ballistics solvers to center their shots. We’re looking forward to even more advancements and making these ELR shots even out to two miles more commonplace in the future thru systematically applying the Science of Accuracy.”

The winning Applied Ballistics Team:
King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

Bonus Video — Interview with David Tubb at KO2M

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

King of 2 two Miles Raton NM New Mexico ELR Extreme Long Range Derek Rodgers Applied Ballistics

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, News 11 Comments »
July 1st, 2016

Applied Ballistics Shooters Dominate King of 2 Miles Finals

King of 2 two miles Raton New Mexico Berger Bullets Applied Ballistics Bryan Litz
Applied Ballistics team dominates the King of 2 Miles match: Mitchell Fitzpatrick (1st Place), Bryan Litz (2nd Place), and Paul Phillips (4th Place).

The King of 2 Miles event has come to an end, the scores have been tallied, and Team Applied Ballistics finished first, second, and fourth. That’s dominance. The “Top Gun” was young Mitchell Fitzpatrick, who blitzed the field with his impressive .375 Lethal Precision Arms LLC rifle shooting prototype solid 400gr Berger bullets. Mitchell built this rifle himself using a McMillan A5 Super Mag stock. Remarkably, Mitchell nailed first- and second-shot hits at the 2477-yard target, a full 1.4 miles away. That’s amazing shooting. The photo below illustrates the vast distance from firing line to target.

King of 2 two miles Raton New Mexico Berger Bullets Applied Ballistics Bryan Litz

Mitchell gave credit to his team-mates: “We had the best ballistic solutions possible thanks to the work done at Applied Ballistics LLC by the one and only Bryan Litz. Bryan is also a world-class wind coach and world champion shooter. Paul Phillips, also a world-class wind coach, world champion shooter, and just an all-around class act. Paul was invaluable to making the wind calls we needed to win this match. One of the most important parts of any rifle system is the projectile… Berger’s new prototype .375-cal 400gr projectile we have been developing gave us a monumental ballistic advantage. [It was] without a doubt, a key to our success.”

Berger Ballistician Bryan Litz took second place shooting a .338 Edge (the only .338 rifle in the Finals). Durvin Wick finished third, while Paul Phillips, shooting Bryan’s rifle, placed fourth overall.

King of 2 two miles Raton New Mexico Berger Bullets Applied Ballistics Bryan Litz

Report by Bryan Litz, Team Applied Ballistics
The 2016 King of 2 Miles event is in the books. Today the Top 10 teams engaged targets at 2011 yards, 2477 yards, and 3375 yards. All three Applied Ballistics teams had hits at 2011 yards, and two out of three of us scored first-round hits at 2477 yards! Note that no competitor (from any team) hit the two-mile (3375-yard) target, but that gives us a goal to shoot for next year. Many factors contributed to the success of the Applied Ballistics shooters in this event:

1. Teamwork. We shoot together on the U.S. Rifle Team. The standardized communication protocols between coaches and shooters was a big advantage in this timed event. We had excellent team-work, and are already discussing ways to improve and adapt our approach to ELR events.

2. Science. Applied Ballistics specializes in the science of accuracy. First round hits in this event are scored highly and you can get more first round hits if you know your ballistics. The top two shooters in this event both had first round hits at 2477 yards today which was key, and is not possible without highly accurate ballistic solutions.

3. Ballistic Performance. The performance of Mitchell Fitzpatrick’s .375 Lethal Precision Arms LLC rifle with the prototype 400 grain Berger Bullets solid is unmatched (G7 BC of 0.56 at over 3000 fps). This performance helped Mitch win the match by a sizable margin. The other two Applied Ballistics teams were shooting Bryan Litz’s .338 Edge with the Berger Bullets 300 grain Hybrid. Despite being a smaller caliber (compared to the .375s, .416s, and .50-calibers), the .338 Cal 300 grain Berger Hybrid proved to be a great performer.

There were quite a few big .50 Cals on the line, but a .375 topped the field. Sheri Judd photo.
King of 2 two miles Raton New Mexico Berger Bullets Applied Ballistics Bryan Litz

Thanks to Eduardo Abril De Fontcuberta, Founder of the KO2M Event
We would like to thank all those who worked hard to make this event happen especially Eduardo Abril De Fontcuberta (shown below with Mitchell Fitzpatrick and Paul Phillips). Eduardo has worked hard to organize a great event that pushes the limits of ELR shooting in a fun and competitive way. We’re very grateful for the chance to participate and look forward to competing in the King of 2 Miles event next year. Also, thanks to Kelly McMillan for his support of our team. Kelly has been an awesome sponsor of our efforts here, as well as the U.S. Rifle Team, and the shooting community in general.

King of 2 two miles Raton New Mexico Berger Bullets Applied Ballistics Bryan Litz

Permalink Competition, Tactical 2 Comments »
June 29th, 2016

Report from Raton: King of 2 Miles Match, Day 1 and 2

Raton New Mexico King of 2 Two Miles

The King of 2 Miles Extreme Long Range (ELR) competition is underway at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico. Many of the nation’s top shooters are competing — aiming for hits on targets as far out as 3500 yards.

Raton New Mexico King of 2 Two MilesBryan Litz of Applied Ballistics offered this report:

Day One went well. I was the third shooter this morning. Started out good with 4/5 hits at 1454 yards including a first-round hit which is worth a lot of points. The second target was only 100 yards further, but the wind cycled and I missed the first two shots. If you miss three shots on any target after the first, you’re out! So cautiously, and with help from my teammates/spotters Paul Phillips and Mitchell Fitzpatrick, I scored a third round hit at 1550 and was able to advance to the 1720-yard target. I manage to hit that 1720-yard target three out of three times.

The final target on Day One was at 2011 yards. Unfortunately I had three close misses. (Editor: Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, Bryan…)

Twenty teams shot today and about 15 more will shoot the qualifying stage tomorrow then the top 10 from the two days will shoot on Thursday at over 3300 yards for the crown. My score of about 29,000 points is good. But I won’t know for certain if I’ve made the Top 10 until all tomorrow’s teams fire.

Raton New Mexico King of 2 Two Miles
Mitchell Fitzpatrick hit every target on his first two shots and finished with 40,000 points on Day One. His farthest shots were just over 2000 yards.

So that’s my story so far, but that’s not THE story. Teammate Mitchell Fitzpatrick (with rifle above) topped the field today with a monster score, hitting all targets and racking up over 40,000 points! The prototype Berger .375-caliber, 400gr bullets and Mitch’s .375 Wildcat from Lethal Precision Arms LLC are a super high-performance combination that made short work of the ELR course.

Also, teammate Paul Phillips, who originally was only here to spot, has entered the competition. He’ll be shooting my .338 Edge tomorrow. Luckily I brought plenty of ammo!

Picture below is the full Applied Ballistics team with sponsor Kelly McMillan. Kelly has been great to our team and we’re looking forward to some future projects with him in ELR.

Raton New Mexico King of 2 Two Miles

In all the King of 2 Miles event is very enjoyable. It’s a great place to come and learn from fellow ELR shooters what works and what doesn’t work at these ranges. The spirit of the match is education and growing the knowledge base and I think it’s doing a great job at that. We’re thrilled to be a part of it!

DAY 2 UPDATE: Top TEN Shooters

Results of King of 2 Miles After Day Two
The Top 10 listed below continue to Day Three. On this final day, the ten remaining competitors will engage targets from 1-2 miles. Paul Phillips reports: “I managed to finish today with the highest score of the day. That placed me 7th overall and allows me into the shoot-off tomorrow. Team Applied Ballistics place three shooters in the 10 Final: Michael Fitzpatrick, Bryan Litz, Paul Phillips.”

King of 2 Miles Raton New Mexico

Permalink Competition, Tactical 2 Comments »
May 19th, 2015

King of Two Miles Event in New Mexico

Long Range 2500 yards Whittington King of Two Miles

Long Range 2500 yards Whittington King of Two Miles1000 yards? Heck, for these KO2M guys, that’s just a warm-up — they plan to shoot out to 2500 yards and beyond. A new ultra-long-range event will be held this summer in New Mexico at the NRA Whittington Center. The King of Two Miles (KO2M) match will be held on July 1-2, 2015, right before the Fifty Caliber Shooters Assocation (FCSA) 1000-yard World Championships. If you like hurling big projectiles at very long ranges, Whittington is the place to be in July. The KO2M event is “wide-open” — any caliber is allowed and rifle size/weight is limited only by the shooter’s ability to lift the gun himself. Rifles will be shot prone with bipod.

Two Miles (Well Not Quite)
The name of the event is a bit of a misnomer, as the max range will be roughly 2500 yards. That’s WAY less than a full two miles (3520 yards). KO2M organizers do plan to go all the way out to two miles in the future, but they say their target and spotting technology isn’t up to that yet. Accordingly, the 2015 course of fire will include steel and electronic targets placed at known distances from 1000 to roughly 2500 yards. Next year, hopefully, the max range will be extended to over two miles, but, for now: “Current optical systems do not allow that.”

(more…)

Permalink Competition, News 2 Comments »