July 7th, 2019

Sunday GunDay — 7mm WSM Hunter with Match-Grade Accuracy

wyoming 7mm wsm winchester short magnum elk rifle hunter hunting Win mag

Ric Horst’s 7 WSM is a game-slayer with serious long-range accuracy. Here’s a hunting rifle (with tactical trappings) that performs as well as some purpose-built benchrest rifles, delivering half-MOA ten-shot groups at 1000 yards–from bipod no less! That was noteworthy in itself. But Ric’s rifle, built to take game in Wyoming’s backcountry, also proves the viability of the 7mm Win Short Mag as a true precision cartridge. With the capacity to drive hard-hitting, ultra-high-BC bullets, the 7 WSM is a bonafied rival to the big 30s. This rifle sets a very high bar for long-range hunting rigs.

The Challenge: Creating the Ultimate Long-Range Hunting Rifle

Q: Tell us how you got interested in the 7 WSM and how you got started on this project?

Ric Horst: Chris Matthews and I were invited to help out with a new hunting show on a cable network. We wanted to showcase a rifle that wasn’t typical for the TV program which was about Antelope and Mule Deer hunting in Wyoming. We considered a variety of calibers, but then Sierra announced their new 175gr (.284) MatchKing and that got our attention. In Wyoming, the key thing in choosing a caliber is the availability of good high-BC bullets–the wind will own you out here. After seeing Sierra’s projected BC for the 175s this seemed to be a no brainer. So I told Chris to make the rifle a 7mm WSM.

Q: What were your objectives with this project rifle? Sounds like you wanted to build a state of the art long-range hunting rig?

Our goals were simple–we wanted a tack-driver with long-range capabilities, from 400 to 1000 yards. Really, at the time, the choice of the 7 WSM was easy–no one else was really doing it, and if they were, they weren’t talking about it. So we wanted to be the first make it work, one way or another. There were actually no real surprises or problems along the way, other than it was the first time I was shooting a 7mm and the accuracy of the 175gr bullets was better than I expected. I have total faith in Chris’s gunsmithing abilities. This 7 WSM is the sixth rifle he’s built for me–and they’ve all been tack-drivers.

Q: Give us your perspectives on living and shooting in Wyoming. What makes it such a great hunting ground? How do the game mix and terrain dictate your selection of a rifle?

My requirements for my rifles are, I guess, unique. I like tactical-style rifles. This “style” seems to fit my type of hunting here in Wyoming–tough, rugged terrain where you need to be able to make the long shot should one present itself. Living in Wyoming? Well, if you choose to live in the “out of town” places you need to be well-prepared and tough. Going to town means a 50-mile trip. You don’t just run to the convenience store if you need something. Plus the weather is hard in the winter and always windy. We joke that we have just two seasons, three months of summer and nine months of winter. Our spring and fall are each about two weeks long.

Despite the weather, Wyoming is a great place for a hunter. Game here is second to none: deer (whitetail and mulies ), antelope, elk, sheep, moose, plus varmints galore. What is great about my location is that I can shoot just about anytime I want. I have the ability to shoot as far as 3500 yards out my back door if I choose. Here’s a shot of my playground.

Putting It Together: Exceptional Components and Accurate Ammo

Q: Your 7 WSM has logged 10-shot groups at 1000 yards that could win many 1K benchrest matches. What kind of components does it take to deliver this kind of accuracy?

There is nothing super-exotic in this rifle, but it IS fitted out with some of the best components on the market. We did start with a factory action, however, a Remington 700 short action. Chris trued the action, added an SSG over-sized bolt knob, and fitted the action with a Broughton 5C, 9-twist #7 contour barrel finished at 24″. To reduce recoil we added a Badger brake. The stock is a fiberglass McMillan HTG (General Purpose Hunting) stock in Desert Camo. (This McMillan stock design replicates the original M40A1 Marine Sniper Rifle stock.) Since this is a repeater we added a Wyatts Mag Box. The gun features Badger bottom metal, Badger scope rail and Badger Rings. The Scope is a 4-16 Nikon Tactical, which, so far, has proven to be excellent. All the metal is Teflon-coated in Mil-Spec OD Green. I have a bubble-level mounted on the scope rail.

Q: To achieve the results you’re getting you must have exceptional hand-loads. What is your reloading procedure and do you have any “secret tips” to share?

I use Winchester-brand brass and Winchester Large Rifle Magnum primers. My current load is 64.0 grains of H4831sc for the Hornady 162s (2950 fps) and 61.0 grains of H4831sc for the Sierra 175s (2830 fps).

The only sizing dies I have used are the Basic Redding FL dies–I have since started using the Forester Ultra-Seater and used it when I shot the outstanding groups. My reloading technique is pretty basic. I full-length size and trim all to length. I use the RCBS powered Trim Mate™ station to do most of the brass prep. I do use the VLD case mouth deburrer. I uniform the primer pocket and chamfer as well. I then fire-form those prepped cases. I’ve noted that the new brass usually shoots just as well as fire-formed cases. I then use the FL die to bump the shoulder back .002″. I haven’t really noticed and major difference between Forester and Redding dies except price. I don’t have any “special” secret loading techniques. If you use quality components, I’ve found that you don’t need to weigh this weigh that etc. I tried that for years and it never really showed results to justify the time and effort. I quit doing all the weighing ( except for bullets ) and I shoot just as well. The two things I am anal about are the powder charge and seating depth–these all have to be exactly the same for each round!

I do take time to uniform the brass. First, when I get a bag of brass, I’ll check to make sure all the flash holes are centered, and I’ll pitch the ones that aren’t. Then I’ll measure the shortest case and trim all to that length (after ensuring that fits my chamber). Next, I’ll uniform the primer pockets, and debur and bevel the flash hole on both sides. Beveling both sides is one trick I think helps keep ES down. By beveling the flash side it basically takes the flash and tapers/funnels it to the hole. I think you get more consitency with the primer flash this way. Finally I’ll debur/champfer the inside and outside of the neck using a VLD chamferer.

After firing the cases once, I clean them all up and make one pass on the neck turner just to “clean” the necks to a consistient diameter. Note, I am not necessarily turning for a specific diameter because I have enough clearance to start with. I do this light turn just for consistency. Sometimes the neck turner might only shave a bit off one side.

Q: What’s your load-testing procedure? Do you have any special methods to evaluate/tune your loads?

Again, my methods are pretty simple. I start with the Sierra Load Manual, select the bullet weight, then find the max load for a recommended accurate powder. I like Hodgdon powders, so I start with an “H” powder with an appropriate burn rate, drop the “max” load about 0.5 grains and start there. Typically there is a sweet spot within half a grain up or down from that starting point. I usually seat my bullets to touch the lands or seat just in a bit. I feel this makes up for any bullet-run out when seating them.

When load-testing, I try to get 100-yard groups to be half an inch or less (quarter-MOA is pretty good for me, but not something I can count on regularly.) I then go to the 300- and 500-yard steel plates to see if the load holds its accuracy. If it does, then the load is good to go. However, I will shoot a 5-shot group every now and again to see if I am still in tune. In fact I was re-testing the 162gr A-Max and 175 gr SMK loads the day I shot the screamers at 1013 yards. Two great groups back to back.

Q: How does your 7 WSM perform in terms of recoil and accuracy? Has it met your expectations?

This rifle is by far one of the most fun rifles I have ever had. The recoil is very minimal with either of the loads and the rifle just plain flat-out shoots. The break-in took all of 21 rounds I think. This rifle shoots sub-2″ groups at 500 yards all day every day (often closer to 1″). Note that I don’t do any shooting from a bench and rests except for the initial load work up. The rest of the time I shoot from a bipod. I would really like to stress that I shoot exclusively with bi-pod and “sand-sock”. So many guys out there think that you have to shoot from a bench to get outstanding results. This simply isn’t true. If you are a disciplined shooter and have correct shooting techniques you can do amazing things from any shooting position. Long Range doesn’t have to be from a rest or bench!

What makes this rifle special is that it has an identical twin, built by Chris for my hunting partner Steve. Both rifles shoot exactly the same–same accuracy, same velocity, same trajectories. I never shot a 1K group with Steve’s gun, but at other distances, including 500 yards, it has performed identically to mine. I shot a sub-moa group of 12 shots one day with the Twins. I shot six shots from each rifle, alternating rifles between shots. Remember this is from the prone position and off a bipod–same load, two different rifles–and it produced a single, sub-MOA group. Now that’s consistency. Both these rifles I call point and shoot rifles–point them on target and they’ll shoot it.

Q: What technique do you use when shooting from bipod?

I basically do Froggy’s technique when shooting from a bipod. I get my natural point of aim, then push forward a bit to pre-load the bipod legs. In gripping the stock, I use just my two middle fingers to apply firm pressure straight back into my shoulder. I’m careful not to torque with the thumb or pinky finger. With my focus on the intended point of aim, I’ll let the cross hairs blur a bit and gently press the trigger until it goes boom. Then follow through, watch for the impact, and chamber the next round.

Looking Out to 1000 Yards, and the Results from Ric’s 7 WSM

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June 25th, 2019

Weatherby Opening in Wyoming Draws Big Crowd

Weatherby Sheridan Wymoing

Rifle-maker Weatherby Inc. has finalized its move to Wyoming, after leaving the politically hostile, high-taxation state of California. On June 13th, Weather had its official ribbon-cutting ceremony at its brand new facility in Sheridan, Wyoming. An estimated 5000+ visitors were in attendance. Weatherby’s directors are pleased with the move to Wyoming, which has many advantages for the company — not the least of which is getting away from the anti-gun policies of California’s corrupt, one-party-controlled state government.

“When you see the words ‘Sheridan, WY’ stamped in the side of a Mark V action, it just looks right. We are excited to see the beginning of our manufacturing in Sheridan, Wyoming”, says Adam Weatherby.

Weatherby Sheridan Wymoing

Adam Weatherby made an opening statement at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, praising how Wyoming has welcomed his company. There were plenty of VIPs at the event, including First Lady of Wyoming Jennie Gordon, Former Governor of Wyoming Matt Mead, and Mayor of Sheridan Roger Miller. During the day, factory tours were conducted, and the Weatherby Visitor Center was filled with guests viewing Weatherby historical items. Food trucks provided meals for visitors.

Goodbye California and Its Extreme Anti-Gun Policies
Is Weatherby’s Wyoming move all about dollars and cents? Not entirely. California has become increasingly hostile to firearms manufacturers. TheFireamRack.com’s Dan Zimmerman observes: “[Weatherby] wanted to do business in a state that isn’t at war with the very products they make. A state that respects the Second Amendment and won’t try to claw back every single cent it can wring out of businesses located there. So Weatherby made the entirely rational choice to take their company to a place that values what they do.”

Weatherby Wyoming

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March 11th, 2019

It’s Wyoming For Weatherby Now — Good Riddance California

Weatherby Sheridan Wymoing

Rifle-maker Weatherby Inc. is finalizing its move to Wyoming, after leaving the politically hostile, high-taxation state of California. Weatherby’s directors are pleased with the move, which has many advantages for the company — not the least of which is getting away from the anti-gun policies of California’s corrupt, one-party-controlled state government.

Weatherby is nearing the final steps in the move to Sheridan, WY from Paso Robles, CA. Weatherby manufacturing has established residency in its new Sheridan, Wyoming facility effective March 1, 2019.

“When you see the words ‘Sheridan, WY’ stamped in the side of a Mark V action, it just looks right. We are excited to see the beginning of our manufacturing in Sheridan, Wyoming.”, says Adam Weatherby.

Weatherby Sheridan Wymoing

Weatherby Sheridan Wymoing

Weatherby Leaves Hostile Political Environment
Is Weatherby’s Wyoming move all about dollars and cents? Not entirely. California has become increasingly hostile to firearms manufacturers. TheFireamRack.com’s Dan Zimmerman observes: “[Weatherby] wanted to do business in a state that isn’t at war with the very products they make. A state that respects the Second Amendment and won’t try to claw back every single cent it can wring out of businesses located there. So Weatherby made the entirely rational choice to take their company to a place that values what they do.”

Gold and Silver Weatherby Commemorative Rifles
The first firearms built in the new facility in Sheridan will be two Wyoming Commemorative rifles, the Gold and the Silver (see photo at top). Both versions will be chambered in .300 Weatherby Mag and will feature the “Bucking Horse and Rider” engraved on the floor plate. The Gold version will feature highly-figured, exhibition-grade walnut while the Silver version will feature AAA walnut. Both Gold and Silver stocks will feature a mountain scene integrated into the fine line checkering. The receivers are highly decorated with beautiful engravings. The Gold version will also have gold and silver barrel bands and will include a custom leather case. The Gold Commemorative cost $10,000.00 MSRP with serial numbers starting at WY000001. The Silver Commemorative costs $6,500.00 MSRP with serial numbers starting at WY000501.

SEE Weatherby videos at Wby-TV.com. Here’s a video featuring Weatherby’s new home state of Wyoming.

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December 2nd, 2017

Timney Triggers Donates $500,000 to Cody Firearms Museum

Cody Firearms Museum Timney Triggers

Timney Triggers has stepped up to help preserve the history of American firearms. Recently Timney pledged $500,000 to the Cody Firearms Museum renovation project. The Buffalo Bill Center of the West recently announced its plan to fully renovate the Cody Firearms Museum, opening Summer 2019. Total project cost is estimated at $12,000,000 to house the 7000+ firearms in the Museum’s collection. The National Endowment for the Humanities and Institute of Museum & Library Services have provided large grants. Notably, however, the Timney Triggers’ donation is the first substantial contribution from a major gun industry company.

Cody Firearms Museum Timney Triggers

The CFM is planning a two-floor renovation that will cater to both firearms enthusiasts and the general public. Currently, there are approximately 3,000 firearms on display. After renovation, the museum will boast over 4,500 firearms on display, multiple shooting simulators, and hands-on inter-active displays. According to CodyEnterprise.com: “The plan is to produce a special exhibit of the collection’s top 75 guns and sprinkle other firearms exhibits throughout the rest of the 325,000-square-foot museum. That includes placing guns in the Buffalo Bill Museum, the Draper Museum of Natural History, the Whitney Western Art Museum and the Plains Indian Museum.”

Cody Firearms Museum Timney Triggers

John Vehr, Owner of Timney Triggers, stated: “Our industry must support and appreciate the benefits derived from having the finest gun museum in the world educate hundreds of thousands of people who visit AND are new to guns, on the historical importance and the positive aspects of our industry.”

Cody Firearms Museum Timney Triggers
Public domain photo from WikiMedia Commons.

Curator of the Cody Firearms Museum Ashley Hlebinsky commended Timney Triggers: “When we set out to plan the new museum, we wanted to make sure that not only our historic roots were fostered in the new museum, but that we would acquire representation from newer companies or companies whose stories haven’t been told previously in museums, solidifying their place in history.”

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June 22nd, 2015

Handguns at 500, 750, and 1000 Yards in Wyoming

MOA long-range handgun match

The MOA Long Range Handgun Match was held June 18-20, 2015 near Sundance, Wyoming. This three-day event features handgun shooting at 500, 750, and 1000 yards. Shooters start at 500 on the first day, and then move to 750 on Day 2, and 1000 on Day 3. Sierra Bullets Media Relations Manager Carroll Pilant joined the action this year (as he has every year since the event’s inception). Here is his report…

(more…)

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March 26th, 2015

If You Could Hunt Anything, Anywhere…. Where Would You Go?

This article originally appeared in the Sierra Bullets Blog
Get the Sierra Bullets tech staff together and you have an impressive brain trust, with a vast amount of knowledge about all things shooting- and hunting-related. We asked a variety of Sierra Bullets staffers, all avid hunters, about their favorite hunting venues. Here are their answers to the question: “If you could hunt anything, anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you hunt?”

Photo courtesy Kirabo Safaris, South Africa.
Namibia Hunting safari

Africa topped the list of “dream hunting locations” by a landslide. Canada and Alaska were both picked twice, with other destinations each favored by one staffer:

Africa 6 votes (Kudu, Eland, Cape Buffalo, Leopard, Lion, Plains Game)
Canada 2 votes (Moose, Black Bear)
Alaska 2 votes (Dall Sheep)
Wyoming 1 vote (Antelope)
US Rocky Mountains 1 vote (Elk)
Argentina 1 votes (Doves)
Australia 1 vote (Non-specific)

Carroll Pilant (Ballistics Technician): “Back to Africa for kudu and eland.”

Rich Machholz (Ballistic Technician): “African Cape Buffalo with my longtime friend Lloyd in Zimbabwee.”

Tommy Todd (Chief Ballistician): “Free Range African plains game”

Matt Reams (VP Sales & Marketing): “Probably a leopard. Africa is cool to see and that is a pretty scary/dangerous hunt that would be very thrilling.”

Photo courtesy Namibia Hunting Safaris.
Namibia Hunting safari

Dan Mahnken (Production Resource Mgr.): “Africa and the African lion. More exciting that way it’s a 50/50 chance for both of us.”

Brad Vansell (Toolsetter): “Anything in Africa, or Australia.”

Philip Mahin (Ballistic Technician): “Canadian Moose”

Duane Siercks (Ballistic Technician): “What? I can’t make a list! My next hunt that I dream about would be to go to Canada for a very large black bear.”

Photo courtesy Alaska Dall Sheep Guides.
Namibia Hunting safari

Paul Box (Ballistic Technician): “Alaska – Dall Sheep.”

Craig Westermier (Machine Shop Lead): “Dall Sheep in Alaska.”

David Palm (Process Engineer): “Elk anywhere in the Rockies.”

Gary Prisendorf (Ballistician): “Doves in Argentina.”

Chris Hatfield (Production Manager): “Anything in Australia would be cool.”

Darren Leskiw (Plant Engineer): “I’ve been hunting one time near Douglas, Wyoming and it was beautiful country. I’d love to go back and spend more time there and tag another antelope.”

Hunting in Wyoming

SNS Outfitters & Guides is the largest pronghorn antelope outfitter in North America with over 750,000 acres of leased land. SNS boats a 96% success rate on antelope hunts.

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April 8th, 2014

NRA Long Range Hunting/Shooting School in Wyoming

The NRA Outdoors Long Range Hunting/Shooting School returns to the Queen Mountain Ranch in Evanston, Wyoming for three sessions (two in May and one in June). The Long Range Hunting One course teaches proven long range shooting techniques for long-range hunters. There are still a few spots offered for the May sessions, and a June session just openeed. Cost of the class, which includes meals and accommodation, is $2,000.

Video Shows 2013 Long Range Hunting/Shooting School

The Course will cover: Ammo selection, Range Estimation, Zeroing, Ballistics, Effects of Weather, Reading the Wind, MOA and other Reticle Calibration, Bullet placement on big game for high kill percentage, Alternate Shooting Positions, trigger control, Spotter Skills, When to engage a moving target. The course will also cover some general topics, such as: Firearms maintenance, Range Safety, Rifle Building, and Scope Theory.

NRA Outdoors Hunting Class Queen Mountain Wyoming

“The success of the first NRA Outdoors Long Range Hunting/Shooting School was a result of the combination of our excellent instructors [and] the first-class facilities at the Queen Mountain Ranch that made this class unlike anything else in the industry and a must for any serious western big-game hunter and shooter,” said NRA Outdoors President Greg Ray. The course offers access to a wide variety of terrain from the base location of Queen Mountain Ranch: “We have 1 million acres of terrain spread out over Wyoming and nearby Utah. We have all the angles covered: high desert, mountains, cross canyon and all points in between.”

NRA Outdoors Hunting Class Queen Mountain Wyoming

Available Course Dates
May 22-25 (1 spot open) (2 days of instruction)
May 26-29 (3 spots open) (2 days of instruction)
June 19-22 (14 spots open) (2 days of instruction)
Exact curriculum will be provided before the school starts along with the announcement on details of a shooting competition (at the request of 2013 students) at the end of the course!

Course fee of $2000.00 per student includes:
Airport Pickup (Salt Lake City)
Lodging at Queen Mountain Ranch
All Meals
Majority of optics gear
2 days of instruction

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January 12th, 2014

Magpul Moves Manufacturing Operations to Wyoming

Magpul leaves Colorado for WyomingAfter Colorado banned full-capacity magazines, Magpul Industries began looking for a more gun-friendly location. After considering various options, Magpul Industries has decided to move its manufacturing, distribution, and shipping operations to Cheyenne, Wyoming. The company said it plans to lease a 58,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility while a new 100,000-square-foot facility is being completed in Cheyenne. Magpul also plans to move its corporate headquarters to Texas. Magpul Industries currently employs over 200 people in Colorado, contributing over $80 million annually to Colorado’s economy. Colorado can kiss that $80 million goodbye, as Magpul plans to move virtually all operations to Wyoming or Texas.

Richard Fitzpatrick, Founder, President, and CEO of Magpul Industries, said that Magpul had no choice but to leave when Colorado outlawed Magpul’s “core products”. The company began a nationwide search for a new base of operations after legislation was enacted in Colorado that restricted the sale of firearms accessories — the core of Magpul’s business.

Magpul plans to transition 92% of its current workforce outside of Colorado within 12-16 months and will maintain only limited operations in Colorado. “Moving operations to states that support our culture of individual liberties and personal responsibility is important,” explained Fitzpatrick, who added: “This relocation will also improve business operations and logistics as we utilize the strengths of Texas and Wyoming in our expansion.”

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May 29th, 2013

7th Annual MOA Long Range Handgun Match in Wyoming

The 7th Annual MOA Cold Turkey Long Range Handgun Match will be held June 20-22 in Sundance, Wyoming. This is a 3-day Specialty Handgun competition with targets at 500, 750, and 1,000 yards. On the firing line, you’ll find a variety of precision handguns including the Remington XP-100, Savage Striker, MOA Maximum, Freedom Arm’s New Single-shot, as well as numerous custom and semi-custom rigs (typically set up with a 14″ to 18″ barrel, and muzzle brake). Popular cartridges include .243 AI, 6×47 Lapua, 6mm-284, and 6.5-284 Win. While many shooters use pistol scopes, in recent years, many competitors have switched to igher magnification rifle scopes. Sundance-based lead sponsor MOA Corporation is a respected maker of Specialty Handguns for hunting and target shooting.

CLICK HERE for Specialty Handgun Shoot INFO Flyer

MOA Specialty Pistol Shoot Wyoming

MOA Specialty Pistol Shoot Wyoming

Over the years, the MOA Specialty Handgun event has expanded to include new disciplines. There is now an IHMSA-style Freestyle pistol event, shot for group at 500 yards with categories for both iron (metallic) sights and scoped optics. In addition there is a popular “Roving Field Course” competition. This is a hunting-stalking-tactical style event shot on steel at distances generally from 300 to 600 yards. This Roving Field Course event is open to both individual and two-man shooter/spooter teams. You can use ANY handgun or optics type and any technologies to range targets and gauge wind speeds.

MOA Specialty Pistol Shoot Wyoming Prairie Dog

MOA Specialty Pistol Shoot Wyoming Prairie Dog

Two-Day Prairie Dog Shoot Before MOA Handgun Match
In conjunction with the MOA Shoot, on June 17-18, Ernie Bishop will host a two-day Prairie Dog shoot near Gilette, Wyoming. Located on a private ranch with a large prairie dog population, this shoot will afford a target-rich environment that is only occassionally hunted. This is open to pre-registered, paid participants for the MOA Long Range Handgun Match. The donation of $50 per shooter (covers both days) goes entirely to the landowner, as our token thank you for his generosity in allowing us access for this 2-day event. This is a fraction of what it would cost to go on a two-day PD Safari with a professional guide service. For more info, send email to ernieemily[at]yahoo.com or call Earnie at (307) 257-7431 (9:00 am – 6:00 pm Mountain Time).

MOA Specialty Pistol Shoot Wyoming Prairie Dog

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January 22nd, 2012

SHOT Show: Stukey Sturdy Shooting Bench

Stukey Shooting Bench

If you want a good, solid portable bench that doesn’t wobble, or move unpredicatbly from shot-to-shot, consider the Stukey Sturdy Shooting Bench. No it doesn’t spin, and it doesn’t have an attached seat. But the very simplicity of the Stukey bench is why it works so well. The legs lock up absolutely solid, and there is no attached seat to bounce the bench. As Royal told us: “I don’t like hookin’ my butt to my reticle”. If you have a seat attached to your bench, a slight movement of your body on the seat can impart a wobble to the bench top. That’s no good if you’re trying to shoot 1/4-MOA groups or hit varmints at very long range. As Royal says: “You’re never going to tag that 900-yard prairie dog is you have any wiggle in your bench. It just translates to too many minutes of angle out there.” Makes sense.

The Stukey bench has a patented leg attachment system — a floating nut plate/socket/collar arrangement that assembles quickly without tools. The patented connection provides a rock-solid lock-up between the legs and frame. And these benches are strong — check out the photo of Royal’s pick-up truck supported by four of his benches.

Stukey Shooting Bench

Currently, the Stukey bench does not have adjusting leg heights. However Royal says that the triangle leg design accommodates most terrain. He just takes a level with him into the field and adjusts the bench orientation until the top is not tilted. Stukey benchtops have cut-outs on both sides, so they fit both right- and left-handed shooters. Simply move the seat to your preferred side. Total bench weight is roughly 65 pounds (30 lbs. for the top and 35 lbs. for the legs.) For more info, visit Royal’s website, www.ShootingBenches.com. The Stukey bench costs $545.00 (without shooting stool).

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November 2nd, 2009

Hornady Team Wins Int'l Tactical Rifleman's Championship

Cooley Voight ITRC WyomingLate this summer, the International Tactical Rifleman’s Championship (ITRC) was held in Gillette, Wyoming at the Surefire Training Facility run by Dave Lauck. Team Hornady shooters Bennie Cooley and Michael Voigt captured their sixth ITRC win, besting 27 other teams, including Special Forces, law enforcement, and military personnel.

The match is a grueling three-day event held for teams of two marksmen. The event challenges each two-man team with multiple scenarios involving pistol targets to 50 yards, carbine targets to 500 yards, and precision rifle targets to 1,000 yards. One partner ranges and calls shots while the other shoots, with roles interchanged during the stages. Typically, the long-range rifle targets are at “unknown” distances, requiring ranging skills and excellent communication between spotter and shooter.

This year, the long-range field courses involved pistol, carbine, and rifle targets. First one or both team members engaged pistol targets out to 50 yards. Then, one shooter engaged the medium range (0-500 yards) carbine targets. Next his partner shot bolt-action rifle at targets from 0-1000 yards. In addition to the long-range stages, this year’s IRTC included a shorter-range (Gully) pistol + rifle event, a “Scramble” event for carbines with targets out to 550 yards, a timed Team vs. Team event, plus a 500-yard ‘Egg Shoot’ for bolt rifle.

CLICK HERE for a full ITRC Course of Fire and Rules

Cooley Voigt ITRC WyomingZak Smith of Thunder Beast Arms, who has competed at the ITRC, explains: “The D&L Sports Int’l Tactical Rifleman Championships (ITRC) is a 3-Gun match unlike conventional 3-Gun matches. The ITRC has field courses from 1 to 2.5 miles long which must be finished in times from 45 minutes to two hours by teams of two: a bolt rifle shooter, and a carbine shooter”.

All ITRC courses of fire demand movement from the team across varied rugged terrain and even obstacle courses. ITRC matches typically offer “shoot while moving” stages, which can include shooting from a raft on a lake, shooting from a helicopter in flight, or shooting from the back of a moving Humvee. Overall, the ITRC is a very challenging event that places exceptional demands on both equipment and shooter skills. Below is an ITRC highlight video showing event stages.

YouTube Preview Image

DISCLAIMER: This video (@ 4:00) shows two pistols that are covered in dirt or mud and then fired before the barrels were carefully checked for obstructions. This is a UNSAFE practice.

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February 12th, 2009

TechShooter's Black Hills Prairie Dog Adventure

Site contributor Chris Long (aka “TechShooter”) has crafted a report about his July, 2007 Prairie Dog Expedition in Wyoming. Ralph and Lenora Dampman of Trophy Ridge Outfitters served as guides for the trip. Trophy Ridge runs ‘Dog hunts near the town of Carlile in the NW range of the Black Hills, near Devil’s Tower National Monument. Primarily big game outfitters, Ralph and Lenora have access to thousands of acres of private ranch land. They run guided prairie dog hunts during their off-season. Chris reports “The terrain is beautiful, a welcome change from the South Dakota prairie, with lots of hills and Ponderosa pine trees. [These] ranch lands are home to some prodigious dog towns.”

Chris continues: “The goal of this trip (besides having a great time) was to get in some long range (1000+ yard) opportunities, and possibly even a shot over 1500 yards, in order to qualify for the VHA 1500 yard certification. I had worked up some really good loads for the 6.5-284 TubeGun and the .260 AI using the new 130 grain Berger VLDs, and wanted to see how they performed at these extreme ranges. I also wanted to see how the trusty 6 Dasher performed as a long range varmint cartridge.”

Black Hills Prairie Dog Hunt

Chris Long was joined by two friends who came all the way from Virginia. Chris reports, “Our plan was to get in four days of intense, long-range shooting. We were not disappointed! The shooting was from 100 to over 1000 yards, and the dogs were everywhere. There were plenty of targets close in, so there was a lot a variety. It is especially challenging to move in and out in range by these extreme amounts. It gave me a lot of practice estimating range and wind conditions, then seeing if I could get the come-ups and windage right on the scope for the first shot at the new range. By the end of the trip, I was getting it pretty close, with some 1-shot hits out to about 600 yards.”

Black Hills Prairie Dog Hunt

Chris’s primary long-range rifle was his 6.5-284 Tube-gun (photo above) running 130gr Berger VLDs at 3165 fps. Chris reports the 130s can be shot at 3165 fps with no excessive pressures, and “scary, one hole, 5-shot 100-yard group accuracy.” With a B.C. of about 0.6, the 130s shoot flatter and exhibit less wind drift than the 140gr class bullets at 2950 FPS.

Chris’s second gun was a more conventional bolt-action in a Franklin LowRider stock, set up with both 6mm Dasher and .260 AI barrels. Chris notes: “The Dasher has proven itself in spades as an extremely accurate cartridge for F-Class Open competition, and I was anxious to see how it performed as a varmint cartridge. The performance was excellent, with many hits out past 1000 yards. This rifle is set up as a switch-barrel rig, and is the platform for the 260 AI. I made a portable barrel vise that mounts in the trailer hitch receiver on the Suburban. That, with a rear entry action wrench, makes barrel changes a 5 minute affair. I would shoot until the barrel got a bit hot, then switch and proceed with the other caliber.”

CLICK HERE to read the complete story. It contains more load data, details of hits made out to 1330 yards, and many great photos of the Wyoming scenery. For .260 AI and 6 Dasher tech tips, visit TechShooter’s Shooting Pages.

Black Hills Prairie Dog Hunt

Photos and quotes copyright © 2007 Chris Long, All Rights Reserved, used by permission.

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