May 6th, 2009

Amos Sets 600-Yard Record with 'Universal' Benchrest Rifle

Roger Amos (aka Expiper) is a long-time friend of this website and member of our Shooters’ Forum. We were pleased to see that, while competing at the NBRSA 600-yard Nationals, Roger set a new NBRSA Light Gun 3-target score record of 145-4X. Roger set the record with his 13.4-lb Panda-actioned, 8-twist 6BR, the same gun he shoots in 100/200 yard benchrest matches. Roger has demonstrated that a single gun can be competitive at multiple distances. This concept of a “universal benchrest rifle” is something we’ve advocated for quite some time, as we would like to see more 600-yard shooters compete at 100/200 and vice-versa. Also, with the tough economic times, it makes good sense to have one rifle that can do double-duty. Roger explains that his record-setting rifle “is typical of what I [now shoot] because of the high cost of building a target gun that is only legal/shootable at one distance or discipline. I am disabled and can’t carry a heavy gun because of my back. Out of necessity came up with this ‘universal rifle’ solution.”

Amos Universal BR rifle

Roger’s record-setting 6BR features a 28.5″ Krieger barrel (UHV profile), with a .237″ bore, .271″ no-turn neck, and .040″ freebore. That freebore length is much shorter than on most 600-yard guns, which typically have .090″-.120″ freebore. With an .040″ freebore, Roger can shoot both the 100+ grain bullets as well as the 62-68 grainers. At 600 yards, Roger runs Berger 105gr VLDs, .015″ into the lands, pushed by Reloder 15 and Fed 205M primers.

Amos Universal BR rifle

Fast-Twist Barrels at Short Ranges
Roger tells us that: “I have been shooting 8-twist barrels for several years now at 100-200-300 and they will shoot just as well as a traditional 14-twist (point blank) barrel … IF you use GOOD bullets. I have found that Barts and Fowler 62-68s will stand the extreme rotation associated with 3600+ fps and 1:8″ twist. Some bullets can’t take it. You just gotta try whatever you have and see for yourself. I have found the most accuracy at 100-200 with the 66-80 grain Fowler bullets or the 80gr Bergers. At 300 yards the 80gr Berger or 90gr Berger BT are excellent! At 600-1000 yards, the Berger 95gr VLDs can outperform the 105s because of their extra speed (although the 95s have a lower BC, their greater velocity can offset the BC advantage of the heavier bullet.)

Most of my stocks are around 22 ounces and give a finished weight of approximately 12 pounds. My Kelbly Klub stock on this gun is 48 ounces, for an all-up weight of 13.4 pounds. To help with balance, this particular stock has extra matrix in the fiber and is heavier than normal for point-blank guns. This gun can make weight as a Heavy Varmint but not as a Sporter — even if I used a 5-lb barrel.”

Pre-loading vs. Loading at the Match
Roger often loads at the range, but this wasn’t feasible at the NBRSA 600-yard Nationals. Roger explains: “When shooting ‘point blank’ (100/200) events, I usually load at the match like the majority of shooters. However this 600-yard event in Sacramento required airplane travel. These days, when flying, you are very limited as to cargo weight. Also you can NOT carry gun powder or primers. In your checked luggage, you are limited to 5 kilos (11 lbs.) of LOADED ammo and two long guns (or 5 pistols). Accordingly, I couldn’t take my dies/press/etc. with me, so I preloaded for the 600-yard Nationals.”

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