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October 25th, 2007

Mirage Shields–For Varminters as Well as Benchrest Shooters

A quality mirage shield reduces the amount of optical distortion caused by heat waves rising from the barrel directly in front of the scope. On a hot day, after many rounds through the barrel, the benefit of a mirage shield can be quite dramatic. Benchrest shooters have used mirage shields for many years. Mirage shields can be just as beneficial for the serious varmint shooter. But, curiously, most varminters we know don’t employ mirage shields. We think they should. A mirage shield is a low-cost accessory that helps you get more hits and fewer misses.

As our friend Boyd Allen observed: “Varminters should use mirage shields. Think about it. You’ve invested thousands of dollars in a fancy varmint rifle and quality scope. You may have spent hundreds of dollars traveling to the varmint fields and spent dozens of hours loading up your ammo. Without a mirage shield on your barrel, once that barrel gets hot, you WILL get mirage effects that can make you miss a shot. A mirage shield costs just a few dollars. It really doesn’t make sense to go out to the varmint fields without one, if you plan on shooting lots of rounds. Barrel heat mirage can cause you to miss that critter, even if you have the most accurate rifle in the world.”

Dan Lilja offers a nice, wide mirage shield for $10. Dan notes: “Our benchrest mirage shield also works very well for field varmint rifles if there is a lot of action and the barrel is getting hot. The shield deflects image-distorting heat waves that come off of a hot barrel. The heat flows out past the edge of the shield and out of the line-of-sight of the rifle scope. These shields are 18” long, made of thin painted steel (like window blind material) and can be easily trimmed to length.”

Lilja Mirage Shield

Sinclair International also offers a 2″-wide venetian-blind style Mirage Shade, that costs just $3.95. It is available in two lengths, 18″ for BR barrels (item 06-7200), and 24″ for longer varmint barrels (item 06-7300). The Sinclair Shade is made of aluminum and can easily be trimmed to a shorter length. Like the Lilja shield, the Sinclair Mirage Shade attaches with adhesive-backed Velcro fasteners.

Sinclair Int'l Mirage Shade

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October 25th, 2007

Bernosky Sets New National High Power Record

2007 Camp Perry National High Power Champion Carl Bernosky added another milestone to his list of achievements this past weekend. Shooting the same AR15-platform rifle that carried him to victory at Camp Perry, Carl shot an 800-41X score on the New Holland (PA) 200, 300, 600-yard National Match course. When certified, that will be a new National record. The previous record was an 800-38X (shot by T. Lawton in 2005). Carl, modest as ever, downplayed his achievement: “This time the close ones were on the inside instead of the outside [of the scoring lines].”

In High Power matches, competitors shoot in three different positions — standing, sitting, and prone — and iron sights are used. This makes High Power one of the most challenging of all rifle disciplines. Carl feels that his AR-platform gun does give him some benefits over other rifle designs. Carl noted: “For me, I shoot better standing scores with the AR. I can’t tell you why exactly, but certainly the self-loading feature of the rifle allows me to maintain position better shot to shot. The other advantage is in rapid-fire prone. There I think it is a real plus not to have to work the bolt.”

Carl Bernosky’s rifle features a custom upper built by John Holliger on a Smith & Wesson M&P15 lower with Geissele trigger. The upper has a 26″ Krieger barrel chambered in the 6mm Hagar. This is a new wildcat cartridge based on the 30 Remington case, necked down to 6mm. The 6mm Hagar resembles a 6.8 SPC with a .100″ longer body, 30-degree shoulder, and greater case capacity. It has a .420 rim diameter, and is formed from .30 Remington brass.

At New Holland, Carl shot alongside Robert Whitley. Carl said he was impressed by Robert’s new 6mmAR Turbo round. The 6mmAR Turbo is based on 6.5 Grendel cases necked to 6mm with the shoulder blown forward slightly. Carl told us: “If Robert’s 6mmAR Turbo can really shoot the 105s at 2880+ fps, then it should be competitive with the 6mm Hagar, and the brass is available right now. Whitley’s cartridge looks like it has great potential.”

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