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April 23rd, 2007

NBRSA 600-Yard Nationals Results

The NBRSA 600-Yard Nationals (Sloughhouse 600) wrapped up yesterday in Sacramento, CA. The top performers were Don Nielson (overall champion), Ron Tilley (Second Overall), and Lou Murdica (Third Overall). Conditions were fairly challenging during the match. On Friday the first relay started very calm, but then the winds picked up later in the day. It was windy Saturday and Sunday, and a big storm on Saturday night actually carried away the cover over the shooting benches. Don truly shot a great match, leading right from the start. After the first day he shot his 6.5×47 in both light and heavy classes. Don was worried about the increased winds on Sunday but “despite my fears, I shot 90s on Sunday which is what I needed to win.” In addition to winning the overall Championship, Don took top honors in Two-Gun Score, Two-Gun Group, Heavy Gun 3-Target Score, and Heavy Gun 3-Target Group. Don also posted the Heavy Gun single target High Score for the match (98-3X). That same target produced the Heavy Gun Small Group, 1.776″, which is a new NBRSA 10-shot record. During the match, Don established three other new score records for the new, smaller 600-yard target.

Ron Tilley ruled the Light Gun Class, finishing first in both Score (276-5X), and group (2.414″ Agg), and Ron had the best LG 3-target Group Agg. (2.023″). Ron was shooting a 6BR smithed by Stu Harvey. Bert Seltzer nailed the Light Gun Small Group, a 1.7″ (49-2X). Lou Murdica, shooting a 6BR with 95gr Bergers, shot the Light Gun High Score (50-3X) on a target which also produced an impressive 1.745″ group. (Lou shot a 6.5×55 in Heavy Gun.) In Heavy Gun class L. Dragoman Sr. shot well as did Billy Copelin.

Don Pumpkin NielsonWe spoke to Don Nielson this morning and he had some interesting observations. He started off the match shooting his 6.5×47 in Heavy Gun and 6-6.5×47 in Light Gun. Both rifles weigh 17 lbs. and use Panda actions in Kelbly 1M stocks. But, after his 6.5×47 produced the 1.776″ group on Day 1, he shot that Hart-barreled rifle in both classes for the rest of the match. On Sunday it was very windy and Don had two larger-caliber rifles in his truck, a 280 Rem Improved and a big 30. Don thinks “the 6.5×47 is the ideal cartridge for 600 yards, but when it really blows you may want something bigger.” Don attributed the accuracy of his rifle to careful brass prep: “If you don’t have perfect brass, you might as well go home.” Don reamed the 6.5×47 flash holes to .0625″ with a Ron Hoehn tool, and turned the necks to .010″ wall thickness using his Pumpkin neck-turning tool. In the 6.5×47 he shot a “moderate” load of RL15 with new JLK 130gr bullets from He uses Federal 205m primers and he says he has had absolutely no ignition problems. In the 6-6.5×47, Don used H4350 with original, Jimmy Knox produced 105gr JLKs. FYI, if you want some of those Swampworks’ 130s, you better get in line. Don just ordered another 3000.

We noted that Don and Lou Murdica are both veteran short-range benchrest shooters. We asked Don if his short-range experience gave him an edge in the 600-yard game. He replied: “Well both Lou and I are used to holding off as the conditions change. I never clicked once I had a group going–I held off as conditions dictated. I also tried to shoot sighters in all conditions that might occur during record fire, and noted how these impacted on the target. That way I felt I knew how to compensate with my hold no matter which way the conditions went.” Lou Murdica noted that his new March 40X ED scope made it easier to hold off: “Most of the time I had no trouble seeing 6mm bullet holes at 600 yards in both the white and blue areas of the target. Most of the other guys had trouble seeing their bullet holes with other scopes.”

Congratulations to all the competitors. We also credit Ed Eckhoff and his crew, who, as usual, did a great job running the match at the Sacramento Valley Shooting Center.

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April 23rd, 2007

Bullet Test Tube Reveals Bullet Performance

The Bullet Test Tube (BTT), an innovative product from Ballistic Technology, allows hunters to test the terminal performance of hunting bullets. This $69.95 unit contains a re-usable wax-like compound that simulates how a bullet penetrates and expands when shot into a game animal. With the BTT, you can measure the wound channel volume (with water), then split the medium in half to measure the wound channel’s length and width. To re-use the BTT, simply melt the core material in a crock-pot or large pan and pour it into a new cardboard tube. Click the screenshot below to watch a QuickTime Video that demonstrates the whole process.

Bullet Test Tube

To learn more about the Bullet Test Tube, read this Product FAQ or this Test Tube Review from Handloader Magazine. The Bullet Test Tube has earned the NRA Publications 2007 Golden Bullseye Award and Field & Stream’s 2006 “Best of the Best” Accessories Award.

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