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July 11th, 2007

High Power Silhouette On ShootingUSA TV

This week, ShootingUSA (hosted by Jim Scoutten) features the 2006 NRA High Power Silhouette Nationals, filmed at the Ridgway Rifle Club in Pennsylvannia. High Power Silhouette is one of the most challenging (yet rewarding) of centerfire disciplines. While standing, silhouette shooters try to hit lunch-box-sized metallic Rams, Turkeys, Pigs and Chickens at distances up to 500 meters. Scoring is simple–the target either falls or it doesn’t. Most competitors use 20- to 36-power scopes. Big scopes make it easier to see the targets, to be sure, but only if you can maintain a super-steady hold. If you think it’s easy… just try holding on a 12″ bullseye at 100 meters with a 30-power scope from a standing position. Chances are your scope picture will be dancing all over the target–and that’s only at 100 meters, not 500.

NRA High Power Silhouette ShootingUSA

In High Power Silhouette, competitors alternate shooting and spotting for each other. The spotter calls wind and mirage, while keeping tracking of time during each 2.5-minute, 5-shot relay. Choice of calibers–you need a round with enough energy-on-target to knock down the big rams at 500 meters. At the same time you want to maximize accuracy and minimize recoil. Right now the “sweet spot” seems to be a 130-160 grain bullet moving at least 2650 fps. Favored chamberings include .260 Remington, 7mm-08 and 7mmBR. (A few guys have tried 6BRs, but 100gr 6mm bullets won’t reliably take down the 500m rams).

NRA High Power Silhouette ShootingUSA

This Shooting USA episode on the Outdoor Channel features many of the nation’s top centerfire silhouette marksmen. It’s a rare treat to see this kind of precision rifle shooting on television. Broadcast times for Wednesday, 7/11/2007 are: Eastern Time – 5:00 PM, 9:00 PM and 1:00 AM; Central Time – 4:00 PM, 8:00 PM and 12:00 Midnight; Mountain Time – 3:00 PM, 7:00 PM and 11:00 PM; Pacific Time – 2:00 PM, 6:00 PM and 10:00 PM. (Check local listings for repeat showings.)

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July 11th, 2007

Bushing Firing Pin Holes for Less Cratering, Better Ignition

Shooters who convert factory actions to run 6BRs or 6PPCs should consider having the firing pin bushed. These small-cased cartridges like to run at high pressures. When running stout loads, you can get cratering caused by primer flow around the firing pin hole in the bolt face. The reason is a little complicated, but basically the larger the hole, the less hydraulic pressure is required to crater the primer. A limited amount of cratering is normally not a big issue, but you can reduce the problem significantly by having a smith fit a bushing in the firing pin hole. In addition to reduced cratering, bushing the firing pin often produces more consistent ignition.

This is a highly recommended procedure that our editors have had done to their own rifles. Greg Tannel (Gre-Tan Rifles) is an expert at this procedure, and his turnaround time is fast–usually 1-3 days (shop time). Current price for a bushing job, which includes turning the firing pin to .062″, is $60 including return shipping.

Gre-Tan Rifles firing pin bushing

If you have a factory rifle, a bushed firing pin is the way to go if you are shooting the high-pressure cartridges such as 6PPC, 6BR, and 6.5×47. This is one of the most cost-effective and beneficial upgrades you can do to your factory rifle.

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