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June 30th, 2009

Sierra Solicits Ballistic Technician Candidates

Here’s a great job opportunity for someone who enjoys interacting with other shooters, and helping them develop accurate loads. Sierra Bullets wants to hire another Ballistic Technician to answer questions about Sierra bullets and loads from Sierra’s reloading manual. The new Ballistic Technician will also appear at competition and trade shows from time to time. You’ll also have a chance to work with a great bunch of guys — the current team of six Ballistic Techninicians who currently respond to three to five thousand inquiries per month.

Job Description: Answer incoming phone calls and emails from customers looking for load data, ballistic software help, and miscellaneous firearms/shooting questions. Data entry to update customer’s information and profiles. Handle customer complaints including paperwork and filing. Develop load data and work on new product development as needed. Attend matches, tradeshows, and events as needed. Paid match attendance/mileage for competitive shooters. Other duties within the sales department as required.

Call 660-827-6300 with questions about this position. If you are interested in working for Sierra, please email your current resume to patknight [at], or mail your resume to:

Sierra Bullets
Attn. Human Resource Department
1400 West Henry Street
Sedalia, MO 65301

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June 28th, 2009

TECH TIP: Keep Your Rifle Level for Better Scores

Experienced marksmen know they should keep their rifles level when shooting. But they may not understand exactly what happens if they allow their rifle to be canted (tilted left or right), even a few degrees. While the physics are complicated to explain, here’s what you need to know: if you cant your rifle to the left, your shots will impact to the left, and lower, than your point of aim. Likewise, if you cant your rifle to the right, your bullets will impact low and right.

Effects of Rifle Canting
The effects of rifle canting are explained in great detail on the Long Shot Products Ltd. website. There, you’ll find a technical discussion of the Physics of Rifle Canting, plus a page with Sample Targets shot with canted rifles.

Referring to the above illustration, the Long Shot Products article explains: “Notice how the trajectory of the vertical hold stays within the vertical plane, so when the projectile drops, it drops into the line of sight and down to the center of the target. The trajectory of the cant hold does not achieve the same height as the trajectory of the vertical hold and the projectile diverges from the line of sight, thereby missing the target.”

The Long-Shot article makes two other important points. First, cant error increases with distance, and second, cant-induced windage errors are worsened by mounting your scope high above the bore axis:

“This component of cant error becomes more significant at more distant targets due to the increased original included angle between the line of sight axis and the bore axis (more elevation compensation) at the vertical hold.”

“Use of large-diameter objective scopes, mounted high off the barrel, exacerbates the cant error problem. To keep the scope elevation knobs centered for maximum adjustment, precision shooters sometimes use elevation-compensated scope mounting rings or bases. Although this solves the adjustment problem, it greatly exaggerates cant error because the distance between the bore axis and the line of sight axis increases and the included angle between the sight axis and the bore is larger, producing more windage error when canting.”

Test Targets Reveal Cant Errors
The Long Shot Products Ltd. website also displays actual Test Targets showing the effects of canting error. These targets were shot with air rifles and rimfire rifles, but the same effects can and will occur with centerfire rifles. Shown below is a target shot at 50 yards with a Feinwerkbau .22LR match rifle using RWS Match ammo (1012 fps MV). As you can see, canting the rifle 20 degrees to the left produced a huge movement of the point of impact. The shots from the canted rifle impacted 1.81″ Left, and 0.6″ below the point of aim.

CLICK HERE to view more Canted Rifle TARGETS.

Permalink - Articles, Optics 1 Comment »
June 28th, 2009

Australian Team Wins WBC10 — Bukys & Boyer Top Two-Gun

The underdog Australians came and conquered at the 10th World Benchrest Championship just concluded in South Africa. In Team competition, the Australia “A” squad took the Two-Gun Gold. Finishing second was the USA “A” Team, while Team Italy took third place. Congratulations to Australia’s winning team: Brendan Atkinson, Stuart Elliott, Paul Sullivan, and Craig Whittleton. James Kelbly has posted: “Australia has been knocking on the door for many championships. Just got off phone with Roland Thomsen in South Africa and he told me conditions were as tough as he has seen. I would like to congratulate the organizers from South Africa for putting on a great match.”

Australia Benchrest Championship

In individual competition, Gene Bukys is the new Two-gun Grand Agg World Champion. Gene shot great throughout the match to finish at the top with a 0.2798 MOA Two-gun Agg. Second in the Two-gun was legendary Tony Boyer, and Australian Brendan Atkinson finished third. Bukys also won the LV Grand Agg.

You can download all the individual and team scores at the WBC10 website. Despite superb performances by Bukys and Boyer, the Aussies beat the favored Americans by more consistent shooting in very challenging conditions at 200m. If the Americans wish to get back on top, it may be time to experiment with higher-BC bullets for the 200m events, something Lester Bruno and other western-states Benchresters have been doing recently. Team USA was leading through Day 3, but the Aussies took the lead on Day 4 with superior team shooting in the HV 200m stage. Congrats to the winning Australian team!

Brendan Atkinson AustraliaTen Tips for Benchrest Shooters
Australian Brendan Atkinson has authored an excellent article, Ten Tips for Benchrest Shooters. Tip Number 10 is “Never, Ever, Give Up”. This positive attitude surely helped Brendan and his teammates achieve a come-from-behind victory at WBC10:

“You are only as good as your last group/aggregate. In 1980, I once started a 100-yard aggregate with a 1.026 group and then went on to win the overall match. I took the attitude that now that the A target was out of the way I was going to shoot nine very small groups. It was a very rough day, and took a lot of concentration to put shots together. In looking back, it was one of my most enjoyable wins. One should never give up –- even if a disastrous group does happen. Every shoot should teach you something –- even when you lose, don’t lose the lesson. Once a shot is fired on the business target, it is up there forever. There is nothing you can do about it, except get on with it. Do your very best, and curse about the lost shot later, in private.”

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June 27th, 2009

Barnard for Long-Range Benchrest? — You Betcha'

OGVC OjaiOur lead story on this week features Varmint Silhouette Matches at the Ojai and Pala clubs in Southern California. The Ojai Valley Gun Club Varmint Silhouette match starts off with a 600-yard, paper-punching stage using official 600-yard benchrest targets.

At Ojai, the calm, cool mountain air in the early morning often provides perfect conditions for long-range target shooting. Such was the case this past week. At the Father’s Day (June 21, 2009) Ojai Match, Bruce Duncan fired back to back 1.5″ groups with his Barnard-actioned, 6-6.5×47 match rifle. This rig was smithed by MTGuns, where Bruce works as Office Manager.

Bruce tells us: “The Barnard action is very popular with Palma, prone, and F-Class shooters of course, but I think we’ve demonstrated that Barnards can be very competitive in the long-range benchrest game as well.” Though both targets were shot in the early morning, Bruce acknowledged: “I got bit by a wind change both times — first right, then left.” Joking, he added: “But hey, my sighters were in the blue for both targets.”

Barnard 6.5x47

Target 1: 1.507″, 5 shots at 600 yards
Barnard 6.5x47

Interestingly, the Barnard “P” action is set in an aluminum V-block. The RBRP action features an MT Guns +10 MOA scope rail, with Barnard trigger. The barrel is a 1:8″ twist, 6mm Bartlein, measuring about .960″ at the muzzle. For optics, Bruce runs a Sightron 36×42 SII Big Sky with fine cross hair. Bruce tells us: “More power might be nice, but the 36X Sightron does the job.”

Target 2: 1.536″, 5 shots at 600 yards
Barnard 6.5x47

Bruce tried a variety of loads before settling on Hodgdon H4350 and CCI 450 primers pushing the tangent-ogive (non-VLD) Berger 108s seated about .020″ out of the lands. “I tested the Berger 105s in the lands, but this barrel preferred the 108s jumped”, Bruce observed. Bruce uses 6.5×47 Lapua brass necked down to 6mm. He turns the necks slightly for a PTG .270″ neck chamber. Rounds measure right around .268″ when loaded. For sizing, Bruce uses a standard Forster 6-6.5×47 full-length sizing die, with the expander ball in place.

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June 27th, 2009

Cowboy Action World Championship Concludes Today

The World Championship of Cowboy Action Shooting wraps up today at Founders Ranch in Edgewood, New Mexico. Today’s final matches will determine the winner of the week-long event, which commenced on June 22nd. Over 400 shooters from a dozen countries competed at the 28th Annual END of TRAIL World Championship of Cowboy Action Shooting and Wild West Jubilee produced by the Single Action Shooting Society, better known as SASS.

UPDATE: Teenager Steve Rubert, aka Badlands Bud, was the Overall Champion at the 2009 END of Trail.

End of Trail SASS

Along with the 400+ competitors, END of TRAIL attracts thousands of spectactors with Wild West-themed exhibits and entertainment, including mounted shooting from horseback. Visitors can sample wares from hundreds of vendors or enjoy “living history” Wild West encampments spread over 50 acres.

But shooting (and lots of it) is what END of TRAIL is really all about. Competitors shoot multiple stages, employing single-action revolvers, rifles (mostly lever-guns), and shotguns (double-barrel, 1887 lever, or 1897 pump). On most of the stages, top competitors will fire 10 pistol rounds, 4-10 shotgun rounds, and 10 rifle rounds — all in well under one minute, and usually without a miss. Competition is fierce, and the action is fast and furious.

In the video below, multi-time SASS World Champion Spencer Hoglund aka “Lead Dispencer” sets a world-record time for a stage run. Spencer’s pistols and carbine are preloaded, but, per SASS rules, Spencer must handload each shotgun round. Spencer, the fastest shooter in the history of the sport, completed the stage in 12.81 seconds without a miss. He fired TEN (10) shots from his lever gun in about 4 seconds!

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More Speed Shooting with Lead Dispencer : Move and Shoot | Helmet Cam (Shooting USA).

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June 26th, 2009

How to Save $1400.00 on a .308 Tactical Rifle

We noticed that the shooting media has touted Wilson Combat’s announcement that it will sell the FN “Patrol” .308 rifle for $1995.00. This rifle, as built by FN, has a Hogue black or olive drab stock with an aluminum bedding block. The action is a Model 70 clone.

When we saw this rifle on Wilson Combat’s website we thought, “Hmm, that looks familiar….” Sure enough, CDNN Investments is now offering essentially the same FN rifle (but with non-fluted barrels) for nearly $1400.00 less.

Wilson Combat FN Patrol (with trigger adjustment) — $1995.00

FN Patrol rifle

Wilson Combat FN Patrol (no trigger adjustment) — $599.99

FN Patril rifle sale

CDNN is also selling an olive drab (green) version for $699.99. And if you don’t like either Hogue stock, you can buy the barreled action for $499.99, or the FN Patrol short action (complete with scope rail, bottom metal, and detachable magazine) for $349.99.

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June 26th, 2009

Ride-Sharing Makes Sense for Shooters

Sad to say, gas prices have topped $3.00 a gallon again. Many match directors have told us that, in the past 6 months, match attendance is down, particularly at regional and national events which require long drives. The main reason is fuel cost (although shortages of reloading components are to blame as well). With the price of gasoline soaring above $3.00/gallon, many shooters have decided to cut costs by attending fewer matches, or sticking to competitions closer to home.

While not traveling to a distant match will certainly save on gas (not to mention hotel bills etc.), we’d think there’s a compromise solution. We’ve observed that 95% of competitors at matches arrive solo — one to a vehicle. And, typically, most shooters drive big pick-up trucks or SUVs that may get less than 20 mpg on the freeway.

PROPOSAL: Car Pool to your next shooting match, and/or drive a vehicle with better mileage.

Whenever possible, this editor tries to “share my ride” with other shooters attending a match. I also drive an 9-year-old station wagon that gets an honest 29 mpg on the highway. Though it’s cheap to run, my vehicle has plenty of space for all the guns and gear 2 or 3 shooters would ever need.

Here is a chart showing how much you can save by carpooling and by driving a vehicle with better mileage. If you drive 5000 miles a year to shooting matches, a car getting 27 mpg will burn $349 less fuel than a vehicle getting 17 mpg. And even if you stick with your 17 mpg truck or SUV, ride-sharing with one other shooter can save you over $470 per year (if you drive 5000 miles to matches).

MPG Miles Driven Fuel Cost
@ $3.20/gallon
Ride-Share Savings
27 mpg 3000 $355.56 $177.79
22 mpg 3000 $436.36 $218.18
17 mpg 3000 $564.70 $282.35
27 mpg 5000 $592.59 $296.30
22 mpg 5000 $727.27 $363.64
17 mpg 5000 $941.18 $470.59

Toyota Venza Wagon — 29 MPG on Highway
If you want to replace an older, gas-guzzling vehicle, check out the new Toyota Venza. It’s roomy on the inside, but smaller on the outside than the typical SUV. And, with a rating of 29 mpg on the highway, it gets much better mileage than nearly any SUV or full-size truck. When we first saw the Venza TV ad we were skeptical, thinking “Yawn, just another noisy cross-over that gets 22 mpg on the highway”. However, having driven one we think Toyota has a winner. There’s tons of room in the back for gun cases and outdoor gear, and the Venza has decent ground clearance. It is much smoother and quieter than most SUVs.

Toyota Venza

Basically think of it as a lighter, more streamlined SUV that delivers a better ride and way better mileage. Front seats are very comfortable for a “full-size” American male and the back seats have lots of legroom. The Venza also looks better (sleeker) in reality than it does in photos. Base models start at about $26,000 MSRP. Engine options are a 2.7 liter, 182 hp, DOHC 16-valve four, or a 3.5-liter, 268 hp , DOHC 24-valve V6. Power is delivered through a 6-speed automatic with “intelligent shifting” and overdrive. Importantly, you can get HID (High-intensity Gas Discharge) headlights. Far superior to Halogen lights, HIDs are an important safety feature for any driver over 50. (Compared to 30-year-olds, older drivers need much more light to see well at night. That’s a scientifically-proven fact.)

Check out this Venza video review from

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June 25th, 2009

Early Results from World Benchrest Championship

The World Benchrest Championships are underway right now at the Krokodilspruit Range in Pretoria, South Africa. The 100m matches have been held and Team USA A is currently in the lead. Daily updates (with photos) are available on the website.

World Benchrest Championship

Today, the 25th, 200 meter competition begins. So far, Gene Bukys (USA) won the HV100 meter with Roland Igle (FRA) second and Chris Harris (USA) third. Gene also nailed a 2.74mm small group (0.108″). In the Team standings the USA A team leads with Australia A in 2nd place and Italy in 3rd place. In the 2-Gun competition, Gene Bukys (USA) now leads the field, with Wayne Campbell (USA) in 2nd place and George Carter from Canada in 3rd place.

Individual and Team match results are tabulated daily and posted online. You can download current results on the WBC10 Downloads page. Photos courtesy Renier,

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June 25th, 2009

Self-Resetting Steel Targets for Long-Range Shooting

California Varmint Silhouette matches are the focus of our current main feature story on After reading that story you might say: “Looks like fun, but how can I avoid going downrange everytime I knock down the targets?” Well, if your club already has a fixed steel plate or a gong at 500 or 600 yards, you can just shoot at it and look for the “splash marks” from bullet impact (if you can’t hear the hit). Bring a can of white paint and re-paint the target every so often. Shooting range steel is fun, but we’ve found most of the “semi-permanent” long-range steel targets at clubs are pretty large. You want something more the size of a varmint to provide a better challenge. You could set out some clay birds of course — but again that requires you to traipse down-range every dozen rounds or so.

Armored steel target

Affordable Self-Resetting Armored Poppers
To duplicate the fun of a varmint silhouette match, we recommend self-resetting pop-up targets. These are sold by LV Steel and other target makers. Contructed of “AR500″ hardened steel, the LV poppers are rugged and very durable. The armored LV Steel targets can stand up to repeated hits from a 300 Win Mag. Shown below is LV Steel’s #4 (10″ x 6″) spring-loaded “paddle” popper. The video shows it soaking up repeated hits from a 300 Win Mag at 100 yards. Such self-resetting poppers are small enough that you could carry 2 or 3 in your car or truck easily. That way you can set up your own long-range “steel challenge” whenever you go shooting. The same poppers can also be used for pistol practice. LV Steel’s #4 paddle, made of 5/8″-thick steel, costs $150.00 and is designed to ship in a UPS flat-rate box. LV Steel makes a wide variety of other metallic targets.

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June 24th, 2009

Lapua Offers Free Advanced Ballistics Software

Lapua has used sophisticated Doppler radar to calculate the actual air drag of its bullets throughout the course of bullet flight. Drag coefficients derived from these continuous field measurements make it possible to calculate bullets’ trajectories with great precision. By using Doppler-radar derived drag coefficients, trajectories can be predicted much more accurately than when using the simplified one-number BCs provided by most other bullet-makers.

To enable shooters to calculate trajectories (with the Doppler bullet data) more effectively, Lapua now offers a FREE special edition of QuickTarget Unlimited (QTU) software tailored for Lapua bullets. QTU is a very sophisticated program that allows you to choose among 12 different drag models. QTU also allows you to compensate for rifle firing angle, rifle cant, wind speed, atmospheric pressure, temperature, and humidity.

Lapua QuickTarget

Using this free software, you can calculate the trajectories of Lapua bullets to a great degree of certainty. With the QTU Program, as starting values, you need only bullet type and muzzle velocity (add windspeeds if known). The software will calculate bullet drop, velocity and energy as a function of distance and flight time. Complete QTU instructions are in the QTU Manual.

CLICK HERE to download QTU Software Manual. (Read the manual. QTU is complex with many variables and uses metric values by default. The manual explains how to set everything for yards and MOA, and how to input data for wind, temperature, rifle angle and other variables.)

How to Get the Software
To get the FREE QuickTarget Lapua Edition software, first go to the Lapua Ballistics Start Page. On that page, click the “Register” link. Fill in ALL the required info (user name, password, email etc.), and hit the “Create Account” button. Validation: Lapua will send a message to the email account you listed. Open that email and click the internal link to verify that you have an active, valid email account.

OK, now go back to the Ballistics Start Page. Fill in your user name and password, and click the “Login” button. A new page should open with the heading: “About QuickTarget Unlimited (QTU) Lapua Edition”. OK, now move your mouse pointer left and click on the words “Download Lapua Edition”. Now a new page will open.

Almost done. Scroll down and you’ll see a blue “Download Now” button at the bottom. Click that, then click “Agree” on the software license screen that comes next. After you click “Agree” a new page appears showing: “QuickTarget Unlimited Lapua Edition”.

Lapua QuickTarget

Click the link for “” and a 6.1 megabyte .zip archive file will be downloaded to your computer. Open that .zip file and click the “SETUP.EXE” file to install the software.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 6 Comments »
June 23rd, 2009

Remington CEO Attacks Micro-Stamping

microstampingJoe Gross, chief operating officer for the Remington Arms Company, takes on microstamping in an op-ed piece published in the Utica Observer-Dispatch. “Microstamping,” writes Gross, “is a concept where a manufacturer incorporates the firearm serial number onto the firing pin of the firearm such that the serial number is imprinted on the cartridge when it is fired. The objective is to aid law enforcement in investigations to trace firearms used by criminals. Simply put, microstamping does not work. Microstamping is an idea put forth by those who wish to legislate burdensome, unreliable and unproven controls on an industry to drive up costs, increase burdens and force manufacturers out of business. They do this under the guise that this will help solve crimes.” Remington has a manufacturing plant in New York state, where anti-gun legislators have introduced and strongly support microstamping legislation.

CLICK HERE to read full article by Remington CEO.

In the video below scientists and leading Forensic Examiners explain the shortcomings of what the media has called “ballistic fingerprinting”. The experts conclude that the creation of a national database of firearms’ markings would not only be impractical, but it would also make it MORE difficult to identify guns actually used in crimes. Why? Because the amount of data would overwhelm those tasked with evaluating it.

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This report courtesy NSSF

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June 23rd, 2009

NRA Offers Shooting Club Management Info

NRA Club ConnectionThe NRA has released the latest edition of the Club Connection, a publication aimed at helping shooting club managers run their programs more effectively. This issue of the Club Connection, available as a free, downloadable .pdf (Adobe Acrobat) file, has many useful articles. Highlights include:

– Answers to Common Club Range Liability Insurance Questions.

– An NRA-endorsed Credit Card program that can reduce processing fees by 30%.

– Guide to the NRA/Winchester Marksmanship Qualification Program.

– Explanation of how to apply for the NRA Range Grant Program which offers qualifying clubs up to $5000.00 per year in direct funding.

– NRA Business Alliance programs (Fedex shipping etc.).

If you are involved in running a shooting club or gun range, you should definitely download the Club Connection. The information in this issue could save your clubs hundreds of dollars annually, and improve your insurance coverage for club members and guest.

This report courtesy the NRA Blog. Forum member Tim B. notes that: “I just wanted to brag a little. That fine-looking young man on the cover of the Club Connection online magazine is my son Carl. PHoto taken last year at the Camp Perry Junior Pistol Camp.”

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