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October 27th, 2012

Four Pending NRA Records Set at Missoula’s Deep Creek Range

Last month, the Montana Rifle and Pistol Association (MRPA) hosted the 3rd Annual Northern Rockies Long Range and F-Class Regional at the Deep Creek Range near Missoula, Montana. The match was a sell-out for the third straight year, and three competitors set pending NRA Long Range and F-Class National Records. If the pending records are recognized by the NRA, that will make a total of eight (8) NRA National records set at Deep Creek over the last three years.

MRPA Deep Creek Montana Regional

This year, the forest fires and resultant smoke conditions in the Intermountain West cast a ominous haze over the event. However, the haze did not prevent outstanding performances by many shooters in both F-class and sling divisions.

MRPA Deep Creek Montana Regional
All National Guard Shooter, SSG John Coggshall
SSG Coggshall is a member of the Connecticut Army National Guard’s 1-102 Infantry battalion and a member of the All National Guard marksmanship unit. Coggshall used an Eliseo Tubegun set up as a Palma rifle and used factory-loaded ammunition. Coggshall shot great, finishing with a 1091-59X out of a possible 1100 points. This should be a new national record for the Long Range Regional Aggregate in the Service Category. The previous record was set in Missoula by Allen Spiker, former member of the All National Guard team. While Coggshall is new to the Palma game, he has a lot of experience shooting smallbore as well as service rifle. He has been on a winning Whistler Boy team, and has been the High Junior during the President’s 100 at Camp Perry. His Team Coach described him as a hard-holder who can hold half the X-Ring with his iron-sighted Palma rifle.

MRPA Deep Creek Montana RegionalKen Nelson
Ken Nelson also had a record setting performance. Nelson fired a very impressive 1096-71X, as he dropped only four points to smash previous national record in the Senior Category. With this score he not only established a new NRA national record, he squeezed out the tournament win over second place finisher Allen Spiker. Both shooters fired 1096s, but Nelson surpassed Spiker by X-count. Nelson reported that he received some advice from his friend, German Salazar, before the match, and Nelson took that advice to heart. He noted that his thought process between shots really helped him on the line. Nelson splits his time between his native British Columbia and Phoenix, AZ where he shoots at Ben Avery. Nelson only began shooting long range four years ago, after many seasons as a smallbore shooter.

MRPA Deep Creek Montana RegionalLTC Donald Erpenbach – Montana ARNG
LTC Erpenbach set two pending F-TR records at the match. Erpenbach shot exceedingly well on day one of the tournament. In the first day’s Palma course Erpenbach shot a 442-14X besting the previous record held by USAMU shooter Sherri Gallagher. Erpenbach was on a roll and in the separate 1000-yard match he fired a 194-7X, edging ahead of the previous record. Erpenbach really put things together well for this match.

SGT Micheal Palagi – Montana ARNG
SGT Palagi received the MRPA’s new “Top M-24” shooter award. This award recognizes Montana Soldiers who shoot an issued sniper rifle with issued M118LR ammo. Palagi’s recent performance was outstanding and he is deserving recipient of the first Top M-24 award.

Deep Creek Range
The Deep Creek Range in Missoula, MT is one of the nicest places to shoot in the Intermountain West region. The range is located in the mountains within a few minutes drive of Missoula, and there is camping on-site. When conditions are good at Deep Creek, records get broken. The MRPA host 3 weekends of shooting there every year. To learn more about shooting at Deep Creek, contact Jamey Williams at jameydan[at]

The MRPA wishes to thank the 2012 Northern Rockies Sponsors:

Barnes Bullets
Berger Bullets
Sierra Bullets
BAT Actions
Bruno’s Shooter Supply
Carl Boettger Scope Mounts
Creedmoor Sports
Competition Machine – Gary Eliseo

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October 27th, 2012

Gear Review: Houle Bloop Tubes for Match Rifles

Houle Bloop Tube (Sight Extension) Gear Review by Robert Whitley
As a competitive shooter and a builder of custom AR-15 accuracy competition uppers, one of the frequent requests I have from shooters is for a recommendation for a good bloop tube. What people want is a bloop tube that is light and strong, one that has no detrimental effect on accuracy, one that works well with many of the existing front sights, and can be removed and re-attached quickly and easily with no loss of zero. For years finding a bloop tube that fulfills all these requirements has been a somewhat elusive exercise. I am pleased to report that I have found the Houle Bloop Tube to meet all my requirements. In my opinion, this is the best bloop tube on the market, by far. You can order a Houle tube from Norm’s Website, or e-mail Norm at topgunngh [at]

Norm Houle High Power Bloop Tube
Zoom picture

Norm Houle High Power Bloop TubeBloop Tubes Designed by a National Champion
Norm Houle is a High Power and long-range shooter who has used these tubes to win National High Power Rifle Championships multiple times in past years. This past summer at Camp Perry, Norm’s bloop tubes were used by top “podium level” shooters in various events, including David Tubb, who won the National Long Range Championship using one of Norm’s tubes. Rodrigo Rosa also used Houle tubes this year to place second in the National High Power Rifle Championship and third in the Long Range National Championship.

Norm Houle High Power Bloop Tube

I have a couple of Norm Houle’s bloop tubes that I have used with a couple of rifle projects. Here are some of my thoughts on installation and use of the Houle Bloop Tubes:

  • Accuracy with the tubes in place is excellent!
  • The tube assemblies are two piece clamp-on tube assemblies, and the bloop tubes can be removed and re-attached with no loss of zero (and I mean no loss of zero). This is a big one! Over the years I have had quite a few clamp on tubes, but few of them repeated like these.
  • The tubes are very light but also very strong and low profile. Some of the clamp-on bloop tubes I have had over the years were huge, heavy and provided a large side profile (crosswind sail factor for offhand, etc.).
  • Norm offers 2″, 4″, and 6″ bloop tube lengths. The tubes are made to work with a .750″ dia. muzzle turn down and both of the ones I have work perfectly with a minimum turndown of 1.625″ long which provides enough “front-back” distance to permit the locating ring and bloop tube to be properly mounted on the barrel at the same time and work as they should. The tubes are also set up to use front sights set up to mount on a .750″ diameter mounting.
  • Each tube assembly has a clamp-on locating ring plus a clamp-on bloop tube that positively indexes off a tapered pin that protrudes from the locating ring. The locating ring is light but very strong and absolutely stays put when you clamp it on the barrel end (clamps on with one screw using a common 7/64″ Allen wrench). The bloop tube part of the assembly has two clamp-on screws (use a common 7/64″ Allen to put on, mount and take off).

Norm Houle High Power Bloop Tube

Using Different-Length Tubes for Different Applications
You can buy one tube with two or more locating rings and set multiple rifles up so you can move your bloop tube (with front sight attached) from rifle to rifle. You can also use two different bloop tubes to mate up with one locating ring on the same rifle. Norm uses a 2″ tube (with a front sight attached) for offhand and rapid sitting at 200 yards (short tube minimizes crosswind sail factor). For 300-yard rapid prone and 600-yard slow prone, Norm takes off the 2″ tube and mounts a 6″ tube on the rifle (with a front sight attached to it). Norm switches back and forth as needed from match to match (a 4″ tube is also offered). Norm noted that Rodrigo Rosa also used the same Houle bloop tube set-up with two different tubes this year at Perry to take second overall.

The price of a Houle bloop tube assembly with locating ring is $125.00. That’s more than some other brands, but a good value considering the design, features, and high-quality construction of Norm’s bloop tubes. Just as with all sights and optics… you get what you pay for.

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October 27th, 2012

SFC Jason Parker Wins 3-Position Rifle Gold at ISSF World Cup

SFC Jason Parker ISSF GoldFour-time USA Olympian SFC Jason Parker won the ISSF World Cup Final, finishing ahead of Han Jinseop of South Korea and Olympic finalist Ole Krsitian Bryhn of Norway. Parker, a soldier serving with the USAMU, claimed the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Final trophy in the Men’s Three-Position Rifle event Thursday in Bangkok, Thailand.

Ranked ninth in the world, Parker earned his invitation to Bangkok after winning the Milan World Cup earlier this season. The 38-year-old Parker, no stranger to the World Cup Finals after six previous visits, made it to the final round with a head-start of four points after shooting an 1,171. Scoring 95.5 points during the final stage, Parker won gold with an overall score of 1266.5 points. Parker added. “”I have been competing in World Cup Finals since 1998, and dreaming of a gold medal since then. It’s finally around my neck, and it feels great!”

Three points behind him, Korea’s Han Jinseop pocketed the silver medal with an overall score of 1263.5 points. Making it to the final with 1166, Han overtook Norway’s Ole Kristian Bryhn to finish on the second step of the podium with a final score of 97.5 points. Bryhn landed in third, securing the Bronze medal with a total score of 1263.0 (1167+96.0) points.

Parker’s Olympic and USAMU teammate SFC Eric Uptagrafft took fourth in the World Cup Final Wednesday in the Men’s Prone Rifle event. (He finished .6 points away from second place). In other ISSF World Cup events in Bangkok, USAMU shotgunners did well. Josh Richmond earned the gold medal in Men’s Double Trap while Vincent Hancock shot his way to a silver medal in Men’s Skeet.

SFC Jason Parker ISSF GoldElite Field for ISSF World Cup
Starting with the London World Cup in April and then passing through Milan and Munich, the 2012 ISSF World Cup Series finished in Bangkok. Only the sport’s top performers were invited to compete in the World Cup Finals. Ninety (90) shooters from 34 countries, including Olympic medalists and past World Cup title holders, competed at the Thailand ISSF World Cup Match this year. (Shown at right is SFC Parker competing at the Milan World Cup.)

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