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August 26th, 2007

Nat'l Champ Reveals Winning Formula

Though he is busy shooting with the U.S. Palma Team in Canada this week, recently crowned NRA Long-Range Champion John Whidden emailed us this exclusive commentary on his recent achievements. We asked John about the stresses and mental challenges involved in a big match such as the National LR Championship. We also requested details about the rifles John shot at Camp Perry. Read John’s comments below.

John Whidden National Champ

Winning Camp Perry and the Mental Game
Winning the National Championship is a long time goal realized. For me, being the National Champion was the single biggest shooting goal I had. I’m not sure exactly what will be my next shooting goal yet.

If I had to summarize the mental game at this level of competition in one word, I would probably choose the word “Confidence”. You have to have the highest level of confidence in your skills, your rifle, and your ammo. There can’t be even a shadow of a doubt that all of your equipment is the best there is. No detail can be left undone.

Confidence is a far reaching idea. It includes little things like making sure you have all of your equipment with you through the use of a checklist. Anything you can do to give yourself a higher level of confidence is worth doing.

Long-Range Hardware
In NRA Long Range, we shoot “Any Sight Rifles” and Palma rifles. The Palma rifles have to be .308s and they have to use Iron sights. The Any Rifles are used at different times with iron sights or scopes. They are also fairly unrestricted, as long as they are safe, .35 cal or under, and have no muzzle brake.

For the Any Rifle matches, I shot rifles chambered in .243 Win. My iron sight gun is a Winchester M70 action, Broughton 1-8 twist 5C barrel, Anschutz trigger, Robertson Original stock, and Warner rear sight. My scope gun is a Stolle Panda action with an Anschutz trigger, Broughton 1-8 twist 5C barrel, Roberston Composites Original stock, and a Nightforce 8-32x BR scope. All of my rifles are proud products of the Whidden Gunworks custom shop. I shoot the same load in each: Berger moly coated 105 grain VLDs, Vihtavuori N160, Lapua brass, and PMC (Russian) primers.

My Palma rifle is the same one I used to win the Palma Team Tryouts back in 2005 (Gun of the Week #59). It’s much like the aforementioned sight gun, except that the barrel is a Broughton 10-twist 5C. I shot the Berger 185 grain VLDs using Varget for powder, Lapua brass, and PMC (Russian) primers. The barrel is getting a little long in the tooth and I plan to replace it this winter.

The accuracy of these guns is simply amazing. The benchrest shooters pioneered this kind of technology, but their accuracy isn’t as far ahead of the rest of us as they think.

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August 26th, 2007

K&M Tools at

K&M Arbor PressIf you’ve been looking for the specialized reloading tools from K&M, contact Precision Reloading, 1-800-223-0900, a catalog and online vendor located in Mitchell, South Dakota. Precision Reloading recently started stocking the excellent K&M Arbor Press, which can measure bullet seating pressure with an optional Force Gauge. K&M’s neck-turning tool (item KMMACN) is a favorite of serious reloaders, and the Primer Seating Tool with depth gauge (item KMPST975, below) is perhaps the most sophisticated device of its kind. This gives a positive read-out confirming that your primers are all seated to the same depth.

Bruno Shooters’ Supply also carries K&M products at very attractive prices. Shown below is the Neck-turning Tool with optional Pilot Jack, Carbide “doughnut-cutter” mandrel and indicator for neck-wall thickness.

K&M Neck-turning tool

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