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February 8th, 2014

Birthday Surprise at Ben Avery (and Maybe Another Team Record)

When the targets rose for the 1000-yard relay at the Berger Southwest Nationals on Thursday, there was a surprise in store for two talented young lady shooters, Riley J. and Samantha Huhtala. Both juniors were celebrating a birthday on Thursday, and match directors had something special cooked up for the two girls.

Berger Southwest Nationals

On each the two girls’ targets (#60 and #62), a dozen or so brightly-covered balloons were attached. As the two birthday girls looked downrange — at first they didn’t know what to think. Samantha Huhtala, who had just reached the ripe old age of 18, turned to a fellow shooter and said “what’s that stuff on my target”? He replied: “Oh that’s chromatic aberration Samantha”. But she knew better — she broke out into a big smile realizing that she had been given a very special birthday surprise.

Berger SW Nationals Samantha Huhtala

This little diversion from an otherwise serious event was cooked up by Michelle Gallagher, Bryan Litz, and some other folks from Berger. By the way, the balloon birthday surprise may have brought good luck for Samantha (it certainly didn’t break her concentration). Sam finished as the high-scoring shooter (447-10X) for the 4-member Michigan F-TR team than may have established a new F-TR record for the 800/900/1000 yard Palma Course of Fire. The team total was 1764 – 63X. Match directors are now trying to confirm that Samantha and her Michigan team-mates have set a new team record. Stay tuned.

Balloon photo by Steve Fio.
Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
February 8th, 2014

Shooting Featured in Olympic Biathlon Competition

The winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia is not just about skiing, skating, sledding, and snowboarding. It’s also about shooting. The Biathlon competition, conducted over the course of 15 days, combines Nordic skiing with position rimfire shooting. It’s a challenging sport, requiring world-class fitness along with superior marksmanship skills.

“This year, the two favorites for gold are Martin Fourcade of France for the men and Tora Berger of Norway for the women. However, they still have stiff competition. Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Norway, nicknamed ‘The Cannibal,’ has already won 11 Olympic medals in the biathlon, 6 of which were gold. Russian competitors Anton Shipulin, Eygeny Ustyugoy, and Olga Zaitseva could enjoy a distinct home advantage. Overall, Norway is expected to take the medal lead in biathlon, with Russia and Germany as their toughest competitors.” — Chelsea Smith for

Biathlon is a hugely popular sport in Northern and Eastern Europe. Athletes from Norway, Germany, and Russia have dominated, winning over two-thirds of Olympic biathlon medals. has an excellent overview of the Olympic biathlon events and the U.S. biathletes that will be competing. CLICK HERE to read more.

Olympic biathlon Sochi Russia

Permalink - Articles, News 3 Comments »
February 8th, 2014

Do-It-Yourself PVC Pipe Bag-Rider Works Well, Costs Pennies

We know you guys like do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. And we also know that our readers like anything that helps a rifle sit more securely in the bags, and track better on recoil. Here’s a little accessory you can make yourself for pennies that will help rifles with conventional (non-benchrest) stocks ride the rear bag better.

This DIY Bag-Rider is simple in design and easy to make. The invention of Forum member Bill L. (aka “Nomad47″), this is simply a short section of PVC pipe attached to the bottom of a wood stock with a couple of screws. The back half of the PVC tube is cut at an angle to match the lower profile of the stock. Nomad47 painted the PVC Bag-Rider black for sex appeal, but that’s not really necessary.

PVC Pipe Bag-Rider sandbag

In the top photo you can see Nomad47’s bagrider attached to a Savage varminter. In the bottom photo, the PVC bag-rider tube is fitted to an F-TR style rig with a green, laminated thumbhole stock. This rifle also features a Savage action with a custom barrel and “wide-track” bipod. (Note: to be legal in F-Class competition, the muzzle brake would have to be removed.)

PVC Pipe Bag-Rider sandbag

To learn more about this PVC Bag-Rider and other similar gadgets for the rear of your stock, read this Forum Thread.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 2 Comments »