July 22nd, 2020

Accuracy Requirements for Prairie Dog Hunting Ammunition

Wyoming varmint hunt prairie dog Sierra Bullets Tommy Todd Reloading accuracy powder measure
Photo by Forum member R. Hardy. View Related Thread.

Summer’s here, so many folks will head to the hinterlands on prairie dog safaris. On a good P-Dog adventure, you may shoot hundreds of rounds over a long weekend. So you’ll need plenty of ammo. With these ammo volume requirements, you probably won’t have time to load to benchrest standards, and you may not have the budget for match-grade bullets. To save time you may throw (rather than weigh) your charges, or even load on a progressive press. This all raises the question of ammo accuracy — how good is “good enough”? A Sierra Bullets expert answers that question here — explaining how to efficiently load ammo for varmint work.

Ammunition Accuracy Requirements 101 — Varmint Ammo

Wyoming varmint hunt prairie dog Sierra Bullets Tommy Todd Reloading accuracy powder measure

This story based on article by Sierra Bullets Chief Ballistician Tommy Todd
I load and shoot ammunition for a living. In my duties here at Sierra I constantly test bullet accuracy for our production needs. Because of this, I shoot a variety of different calibers and cartridges on a daily basis and a large demand of this shooting is keeping the guns and loads tuned for optimum accuracy. I have a very narrow window of tolerances to maintain in order to provide our customers (you) with the most accurate bullets on the market.

I have learned many tricks and techniques over the years to tuning a load, prepping brass, and cleaning barrels to keep a gun shooting. I often utilize the things I have learned and take them to extreme levels when competing in a shooting event. I also often ignore most of these things (other than safety) and simplify the process if the shooting I will be doing does not warrant.

Recently I went on a prairie dog shoot in Wyoming with some good friends. The targets cooperated as did the weather with the exception of some challenging winds we experienced. We had a great time and make a lot of hits on those small rodents. When loading for the .223 Remington rifles and the TC Contender, I cut a few corners in the ammunition-loading process due to both time constraints and accuracy needed. When shooting at a prairie dog a miss is simply that, but when shooting at say the X-Ring at 1000-yard competition, a poorly-placed shot [harms your] placing in the match. Because of this, I can afford to miss an occasional shot at a varmint due to ammunition capability without worry but will not allow the same tolerances in my match ammo. For the Wyoming trip I utilized a powder measure and simply dumped the charges into primed cases that had been full-length sized and primed.

Wyoming varmint hunt prairie dog Sierra Bullets Tommy Todd Reloading accuracy powder measure

I had measured enough for length to know that while there was some variance all were under maximum length. I know there is some variation of the measure I utilized but not significant enough to warrant weighing every charge. When seating the bullets a competition seating die was used and I verified OAL on the occasional cartridge to make sure nothing changed.

This varmint ammo, with thrown charges, put TEN shots inside ONE inch at 200 yards. That’s half MOA. Good Enough? Absolutely!
Wyoming varmint hunt prairie dog Sierra Bullets Tommy Todd Reloading accuracy powder measure

The ammo produced shot under one inch at 200 yards in one of the guns I planned on taking on to Wyoming with me. [Editor: That was for TEN Shots — see above.] I knew I had loaded ammunition that was quite suitable for the task at hand which was evidenced by the number of hits I was able to make at fairly long range.

NOTE: The author, Tommy Todd, explains that, when loading ammo for F-Class matches, he uses more exacting methods. He weighs every charge and seats his bullets carefully with an arbor press. Todd adapts his methodology for his particular application. The lesson here is to load to the level of precision demanded by your discipline. READ Full Story HERE.

Varmint Prairie Dog hunting safari reloading powder measure Tommy Todd

Permalink - Articles, Hunting/Varminting, Reloading No Comments »
July 22nd, 2020

Pistol Laser Systems from Viridian — Instant-On Capability

veridian pistol green red laser night carry ccw

If you carry a handgun for self-defense after hours, you may want to equip your pistol with a laser beam aiming system. Pistol lasers can significantly improve your ability to get on target in low-light conditions. Watch this video to learn how to best use a laser-equipped pistol:

Viridian Weapon Technologies is one of the leading makers of laser aiming system, laser/light units, and compact gun-cameras. Right now Viridian is offering great savings on laser systems for Ruger pistols.

veridian pistol green red laser night carry ccw

Viridian makes lasers for a wide variety of popular handguns, including compact revolvers. You can choose between red lasers and green lasers. Experts say the green lasers have some advantages. The light is stronger and the green beam itself is more visible. Veridian lasers are the choice of leading pistol-makers for factory-installed frame- or grip-mounted laser systems. And Viridian offers an industry-leading 7-Year Warranty plus a 30-day Money-Back Guarantee.

Verdian Green Series ruger laser sights

Instant-On Laser System
INSTANT-ON® is now part of most Viridian products, offering ultra-fast laser activation when desired. Just pre-set the Viridian mode, slide your gun into your INSTANT-ON equipped holster, and the INSTANT-ON system is armed and ready. The instant the gun leaves the holster, the Viridian laser is illuminating. Yes, you can also de-activate this feature, so that the laser only comes on when you push a button.

The Viridian C Series, X Series Gen 2 and Gen 3, and Reactor Series are equipped with INSTANT-ON technology and activate

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July 21st, 2020

300 FREE PDF Targets for Precision Rifle Training

AccurateShooter Free downloadable tactical storm print targets shooting paper PDF

AccurateShooter’s Target Page provides over 50 FREE downloadable targets. You’ll find all types of targets — sight-in targets, varmint targets, rimfire targets, bullseye targets, tactical targets, load development targets and more. CLICK HERE for all our free targets, including our popular LOAD DEV target.

FREE Accuracy Precision Rifle Shooting Target

On this load development target, all your load data fits neatly in the boxes under each target. The diamonds have 1/2″ sides and you can align your cross-hairs on the horizontal and vertical lines. When we test, we crank in a little elevation, setting the point-of-impact higher. That way our shots fall in the gray circles, leaving the red diamonds intact for precise aiming.

Storm Tactical Targets — Hundreds of FREE, Printable Targets

AccurateShooter Free downloadable tactical storm print targets shooting paper PDFIf you want an even greater selection of targets, specialized for PRS and NRL shooters, Storm Tactical offers a vast collection of tactical targets, available in three different versions: MOA, MIL Yards, and MIL Meters. Storm Tactical also has a rimfire target set. This includes side-by-side target blocks for fun, one-on-one competition. Overall there are 299 Storm Tactical Targets in four downloadable sets.

CLICK links to launch each Storm Tactical target collection. Then you can click the download icon to save to your hard drive. OR, you can scroll up and down to select the target(s) you like which you can tell your printer to print. We do recommend downloading the complete archives. File sizes are listed.

Storm Tactical MOA TARGET PACK, 62 Targets, 28 MB PDF file.

Storm Tactical MILRAD Target Pack — YARDS, 174 Targets, 98 MB PDF file.

Storm Tactical MILRAD Target Pack — METERS, 57 Targets, 31 MB PDF file.

Storm Tactical RIMFIRE Target Pack, 6 Targets, 4.6 MB PDF file.

AccurateShooter Free downloadable tactical storm print targets shooting paper PDF

AccurateShooter Free downloadable tactical storm print targets shooting paper PDF

tikka t3 tactical
Here’s a Tikka T3 in Third Eye Tactical cerakoted chassis.

AccurateShooter Free downloadable tactical storm print targets shooting paper PDF


Rimfire Twin Target, for One-on-One Shooter Challenges

AccurateShooter Free downloadable tactical storm print targets shooting paper PDF

You’ll find this fun target on the third page of the Rimfire Target Pack. Just download the PDF file and instruct your printer to deliver page three. Or print out all six (6) rimfire targets if you like.

Permalink New Product, Shooting Skills, Tactical No Comments »
July 21st, 2020

Burris Signature Zee Rings — Great Value, Great Performance

Burris Signature Zee rings

Burris Signature Zee ringsMore and more folks are using Burris Signature Rings these days. These unique rings feature polymer inserts. That allows you to pre-load some elevation in your scope set-up, or you can center-up the windage. Additionally, the polymer inserts hold your scope securely without leaving marks on the tube. Lastly, some folks believe that Signature rings may offer advantages for benchrest competition. Rodney Wagner shot a world-record 600-yard group using Burris Signature Zee Rings (“Zee” denotes the Weaver-rail model). James O’Hara set multiple IBS 1000-yard records using Burris Signature Zee Rings. James will tell you he thinks “all his guns seem to shoot best with these rings”.

IBS World Record Set with Signature Zee Rings
Are Signature Zees good enough for competition? Absolutely. Some folks scoff at these Burris rings, given their low price. A set of 1″-diameter Sig Zees cost just $36.40 at Midsouth. But consider this, in 2013 Rodney Wagner shot the then-smallest 600-yard group in history, a 0.336″ 5-shot stunner, using Signature Zee Rings on his IBS Light Gun. It took five years for a smaller 600-yard group to be shot, a 0.311″ by bullet-maker Bart Sauter, using his IBS Heavy Gun. (See IBS 600-yard Records.) Here’s Rodney with his record-setting rifle, fitted with affordable Signature Zee 30mm rings.

Signature Zee Rings Burris

Vendors Have Burris Signature Rings in Stock Now
Various models of Burris Signature Rings are available from many online vendors. NOTE: You may have to check with more than one seller to get the exact size, height, and model you prefer. But right now these vendors have pretty good selections of Signature Zees, including the hard-to-find 30mm High and Extra High models. If you check all three sellers, you’ll probably find what you need.

Midsouth Shooters Grafs.com Amazon.com

Signature Zee Rings Burris

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Optics No Comments »
July 21st, 2020

New M1 Garand Book by Jim Thompson is Excellent Resource

Jim thompson m1 garand essential practical historical guide book

Do you own an M1 Garand, or have you always wanted to acquire one of these legendary semi-auto battle rifles? Well then here is a valuable new resource: The Essential M1 Garand: A Practical and Historical Guide for Shooters and Collectors. This new book by Jim Thompson covers the history of the M1 Garand, and offers practical advice for Garand owners, along with complete parts lists. The book includes annotated military and National Match manuals, a troubleshooting chart, and a section on hand-loading for the Garand. The final Section addresses common questions about the rifle and offers detailed instructions for maintaining this wartime classic. First published in February, 2020, The Essential M1 Garand is available in Print Paperback and Kindle eBook versions. View Table of Contents.

M1 Garand match instruction video War Department

Recommended M1 Garand Manual
Along with The Essential M1 Garand book by Jim Thompson, there are many other good M1 Garand print resources. Among the many M1 Garand manuals available, we recommend the CMP’s U.S. Rifle, Caliber .30, M1: ‘Read This First’ Manual. This booklet covers take-down, reassembly, cleaning, lubrication, and operation. The manual comes with CMP rifles or can be purchased for $3.25 from the CMP eStore. The CMP also offers many other M1 Garand print resources including:

M1 Garand Owner’s Guide (125 pages, Scott Duff)
M1 Garand Complete Assembly Guide (155 pages, Walt Kuleck & Scott McKee)
Complete Guide to M1 Garand and M1 Carbine (296 pages, Bruce Canfield)

Here are recommended M1 Garand commercial titles available through Amazon:

This Video (with 5.7 million views) Explains How to Load the M1 Garand Correctly.

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July 20th, 2020

Bargain Finder 252: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Sportsman’s Warehouse — $75-$200 Gift Cards with Spotters

vortex spotting scope sale

Deal of Year on Vortex Spotters — get $75, $100, or $200 gift cards

Vortex makes fine spotting scopes with rock-solid, unconditional warranties. Vortex spotters offer great performance for the price, so it is rare to see multiple Vortex spotter models on sale. But right now Sportsman’s Warehouse is running a Vortex Spotter Promo. Prices are slashed, PLUS when you buy a Vortex spotting scope you get a $75, $100, or $200 gift card. This is the best deal we’ve seen on Vortex Spotters in a long, long time. If you’re in the market for a new spotter, definitely check this promo offering discount prices PLUS valuable gift cards.

2. Grafs.com – Lapua Brass and Scenar Bullets Rebate

lapua brass sale rebate

SAVE 10% with Rebate Program for Lapua Brass and Bullets

Here is a great deal on great cartridge brass. Check out Graf’s full selection of Lapua brass. With the Lapua Summer Savings Rebate you can then save 10% on your purchases up to $200 max. This is a great deal on top of Graf’s already attractive prices. NOTE: You can also get a 10% summer Savings Rebate on the excellent Lapua Scenar bullets. We have found the Scenars to be extremely consistent in weight and base-to-ogive measurements. The Lapua Rebate Program covers purchases through August 31, 2020.

3. Midsouth — Hornady Precision Measurement System, $229.99

hornady precision measurement system

Versatile, performs many tasks, integrated concentricity checker

Precision reloading involves taking precise measurements, typically using many different tools. Hornady’s new Precision Measurement System allow multiple measurements to be taken with a single work-station. With this unit you can sort bullets, check cartridge base to ogive location, measure cartridge headspace location and OAL. You can also measure bullet run-out and case concentricity using an adjustable, bearing-equipped concentricity checker. This versatile system comes complete with five headspace bushings (.330, .350, .375, .400, .420), and seven bullet comparators (.224, .243, .257, .264, .277, .284, .308).

4. Amazon — RifleKuhl and BarrelCool Portable Cooling Units

barrel coolers

Get Barrel Coolers for hot summer months, extend Barrel Life

In summer it can be tough to keep your barrel at moderate temperatures. But a handy, compact cooling fan device can really help. Two of the best barrel coolers on the market are the RifleKuhl from Magnetospeed and the original Barrel Cool from BarrelCool. Both of these units can double as empty chamber indicators, feature high power fans and can cool your barrel down to a decent, usable temperature in about 10 minutes.

5. Bruno Shooters Supply — Nosler Brass Sale, Huge Savings

nosler brass sale

Wide selection of hard-to-find brass types at very good prices

Did you know that Nosler makes brass for more lesser-known cartridge types than just about any other domestic brass-maker? From .204 Ruger to 375 H&H, Nosler brass is a great choice for any handloader who reloads for specialized, “boutique” chamberings. Head over to Bruno’s for the Nosler Brass Sale and you can pick up hard-to-find brass varieties at remarkably low prices.

6. Brownells — SIG KILO Laser Rangefinders 1800/2200 BDX

Sig rangefinder sale

SAVE $150-$160 on quality Sig Sauer Laser Rangefinders

If you’ve been looking for a compact, feature laden and powerful rangefinder head over to Brownells where they are having a smoking Sig Sauer Rangefinder Sale. You can pick up the Kilo 1800BDX for only $249.99. This model is accurate to 1,000 yards off deer or 2,000 yards on reflective surfaces. If you’re looking for even more capability, grab the Kilo 2200 BDX for $339.99 on sale. The 2200 BDX ranges deer to 1300 yards off deer or reflective surfaces to 3400 yards.

7. Cabela’s — Ruger American Rifle Compact Rifle, $279.97

ruger american compact rifle

Great bargain hunting rifle, decent accuracy and Ruger reliability

Right now you can buy a Ruger American Rifle Compact Bolt-Action Rifle in .243 Winchester or 7mm-08 for just $279.97, an amazing price! These reliable compact Ruger rifles are great for smaller stature shooters or those with thicker clothing on because of their shorter length of trigger pull. However they still have all the features of the standard Ruger American Rifle. This would be a great first hunting rifle for a young person.

8. Amazon — Caldwell The Rock Deluxe Front Rest Combo, $67.99

caldwell rock rest
caldwell rock rest

Super deal for basic rest and rear bag

For plinking, varmint shooting, or sighting in a hunting rig, Caldwell’s The Rock Deluxe Front Rest Combo provides a functional basic setup for $67.99 — a true bargain. Consider that a quality rear bag such at the Protektor Rabbit Ear Hard Bottom model costs $71.65 by itself. But a better bag will improve stability and tracking. Still this Caldwell Combo is way better than what many folks use for sighting-in rifles.

9. Midsouth Shooters — Buy Green Get Green RCBS Rebates

Bergara B-14 HMR

Rebate Program for ALL RCBS products — presses, tools and more

RCBS Buy Green Get Green promo is simple — buy ANY RCBS products worth $100.00 or more and you qualify. There’s no restricted list of “qualifying” products. Buy from Midsouth or other retailer. The more you spend, the more you get back — up to $100.00 total. Buy at least $400 worth of RCBS Products and get a big $100.00 rebate. Spend $250-$399 to get a $75.00 rebate. Purchase $100-$249 and get $50 back. If you are considering purchasing a single-stage press, electronic powder dispenser, progressive press, or a reloading kit, save big with this promo. It’s good for purchases now through August 31, 2020. Submit RCBS Rebate Forms HERE.

10. Amazon — Hornady One Shot Spray Lube, $13.99

hornady one shot

Dry-Film Lube — not sticky, easy to apply, used by top shooters

If you’re looking for a mess-free way to lube cases before sizing give Hornady One Shot a try. It’s easy to apply and leaves a grease-free, friction-reducing film that works great for full-length case sizing. Here’s a good video that shows application methods with tips to ensure great results with your brass.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Handguns, Hot Deals, Optics 2 Comments »
July 20th, 2020

FREE Online Hunter Education Courses for Eight States

hunter education online NRA

The NRA now offers FREE officially-approved Hunter Education Courses in online format. Even if you’re stuck at home due to COVID-19 restrictions, these FREE online courses allow you to fulfill many basic requirements for game tags and hunting licenses. The online courses can be conveniently completed wherever you have a web connection, saving you time and money. Currently, there are online Hunder Education Courses for eight states:

Connecticut
Florida
Kentucky
New Mexico
Oklahoma
Oregon
Texas
West Virginia

hunting safety hunter education

Additional State Requirements — Field Days
The requirements and prerequisites for each course vary from state to state. Some states require officially-issued identification numbers before starting. Other states require additional “hands-on” instruction. For example, Florida mandates a Skills Day session, Oregon requires a separate Field Day qualification, and West Virginia has a mandatory Hands-on / written portion for hunter certification. For more information, visit the NRA Hunter Safety Education Page.

hunter education online NRA

hunter education online NRA

Permalink Hot Deals, Hunting/Varminting, Shooting Skills No Comments »
July 20th, 2020

New Berger Loaded Ammo with LR Hybrid Target Bullets

berger factory ammo ammunition 6mm 6.5mm creedmoor prs nrl loaded long range hybrid target bullets

Here’s good news for PRS/NRL shooters, and factory-class competitors at local bench and varmint matches. Berger is now offering factory-loaded ammunition with Lapua brass and Berger’s outstanding, match-proven Long Range Hybrid Target™ (LRHT) bullets. This new loaded ammo is offered for the 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor cartridges. Get the 109gr LRHT bullet in 6mm Creedmoor, or choose a 144gr or 153.5gr LRHT bullet in 6.5 Creedmoor.

Berger Long Range Hybrid Target ammunition features Berger’s high-BC, LRHT bullet, which is Doppler Radar-verified to less than 1% BC variation. LRHT ammo is assembled with Lapua cartridge cases and clean-burning, temperature insensitive propellants. These Berger cartridges are meticulously constructed to exacting tolerances — you will be pleased with the accuracy and low ES numbers.

Berger Long Range Hybrid Target™ Ammunition is available now in these offerings:

6mm Creedmoor 109 gr LRHT | 6.5 Creedmoor 144 gr LRHT | 6.5 Creedmoor 153.5 gr LRHT

This ammo will be available from leading retailers including Brownells, Graf & Sons, Midsouth Shooters, and Precision Reloading. Visit NoBSBC.com to learn more about Ballistic Coefficients (BC), and their effects on accuracy and precision. Visit Bergerbullets.com for general information on Berger loaded ammo.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Tactical No Comments »
July 19th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: SWN-Winning F-TR Rig of Champ Peter Johns

Peter Johns Berger SW southwest Nationals F-Class F-TR McMillan stock rifle champion winner

Talented F-Class shooter Peter Johns has been on a tear the last couple years. He won the F-TR Division at the 2020 Berger SW Nationals (SWN), after finishing second in 2019. His SWN win came on the heels of stellar performances in 2019. He won both the mid-range AND long-range Texas State championships last year. Along the way Peter set a new 600-yard NRA National F-TR Record (200-18X), and tied the 600-yard F-TR Aggregate Record with 600-47X. This Sunday GunDay story features Peter and his trophy-grabbing .308 Win F-TR rifle.

Peter Johns Berger SW southwest Nationals F-Class F-TR McMillan stock rifle champion winner

How to Campaign a Winning .308 Winchester F-TR Rifle

Report by Peter Johns
I started contemplating F-Class shooting after talking with Darrell Buell at SHOT Show a decade ago. My first F-Class match was with a Savage VLP with a 26″ Shilen 7mm SAUM barrel and a Harris bipod. After that initial match in Texas I knew I had a lot to learn. I decided that F-TR was the place to start. This story follows my development as an F-TR shooter and showcases the rifle that delivered multiple F-TR match wins in 2019 and 2020.

Watch Peter Johns Shoot his .308 Win F-TR Rig

Equipment Showcase — Key Components of Peter’s F-TR Rifle

Omar Alonzo (Alonzo Custom Rifles, (713) 283-4384, Gunbuilder284@gmail.com) does all my gunsmithing. I believe this is one of the major reasons I have been doing so well in the last couple years. He does a phenomenal job with rifle bedding. He also fixed the timing on my action. The first barrel he chambered has really helped me win matches and set records.

In this Video, Peter talks about his key rifle components and gear:

McMillan Kestros BR Stock — I switched to a Kestros BR stock when they first came out. I painted the stock myself. I am very grateful to Kelly McMillan for letting me be one of the first to try them. The Kestros BR tracks better than any stock I have tried. NOTE — the Kestros was so light that I had to add a steel bar under the forearm to get closer to the F-TR weight limit with a 30″ HV barrel. [Editor: That has the advantage of lowering the center of gravity and the bar can slide fore/aft to adjust center of balance]. I use a SEB Bigfoot rear bag with slick ears and 3/4″ spacing. When I got the Kestros I thought the rear bag spacing was too wide but it worked so well I didn’t change.

Peter Johns Berger SW southwest Nationals F-Class F-TR McMillan stock rifle champion winner

Kelbly (Stolle) Panda Action and Krieger Barrel — My rig has a Kelbly Panda F-class action with a Bix’N Andy trigger. At the Berger SWN, I used a Krieger 1:10″-twist 30″ HV 4-groove barrel. It is superbly accurate. I have been bouncing between Krieger and Bartlein for barrels for the last few years. The best barrel I have had is a 30″ Krieger 4-groove HV, however the Bartleins have been very good as well.

Duplin Bipod with Articulating Feet — I really liked the Pohlabel articulating feet that are available for the SEB JoyPod so I asked Dan Pohlabel for permission to copy his feet. I bought some aluminum and made the best copy I could. Since SWN, Duplin has coming out with a new bipod with articulating feet which are considerably better than the feet I made. I use a board and a piece of stall mat with carpet glued on it for the bipod to sit on.

Vortex Golden Eagle Scope — I use the 15-60x52mm Vortex Golden Eagle on all my F-Class rifles. I see the mirage better with the Golden Eagle than any other scope and it tracks perfectly. I also use a Vortex Razor spotting scope with long eye relief lens on the line to help watch mirage and flags. I also use the Razor spotting scope to call wind for Team Texas.

Cleaning Procedure — Less is More — No Cleaning During SWN Long Range Event
Peter has learned that he can go for long round counts without cleaning: “I have found that my .308 Win rigs, for the most part, shoot really well dirty. I can usually get 300 or more rounds before cleaning. I cleaned my barrel at the 2020 SWN after the mid-range event and fouled it before the long-range. I did not clean my barrel again until I got home from the match.”

Peter does clean thoroughly when he gets home: “After a big match I clean my rifles with Boretech Eliminator and a bronze brush followed by Iosso until the majority of carbon is removed from the barrel, as verified with a Lyman borescope. After a thorough cleaning, I find that I need to shoot a bunch of foulers. I will usually go to my practice range and shoot a 20-shot practice match and I will see the accuracy tighten up in the back half.”

Peter Johns Berger SW southwest Nationals F-Class F-TR McMillan stock rifle champion winner
600-yard practice target on left. On right is 600-yard record match target shot at 2019 TX State Championships (on ShotMarker targets). This 200-18X is a NRA National Record for F-TR division.

Peter Johns Berger SW southwest Nationals F-Class F-TR McMillan stock rifle champion winner

Peter’s Match Load and Reloading Methodology

Loading for .308 Win F-TR — Do What Matters
My loading technique has evolved almost full circle from where I started. I went from the basics to doing every step a person could conceive. Then I decided to start testing all the different steps to see what didn’t matter or made things worse. I am now back to almost no steps in my reloading process. I don’t clean brass anymore. I just wipe the case off, lube, size, prime, and load. I anneal when I feel the necks getting inconsistent when seating the bullets. I pre-load all my ammo for matches. I tried seating them at the match but I didn’t find it to matter on the score card and it takes my focus away from conditions.

Peter Johns Berger SW southwest Nationals F-Class F-TR McMillan stock rifle champion winner

Peter’s 2020 SWN-winning .308 Win load consists of Berger 200.20X bullets, Lapua Palma brass, Federal 205M primers, and Varget powder. Peter revealed: “The Berger 200-grainers are running in the mid-2600 fps range. I have tried them much faster but found the best consistency at this speed.”

Peter measures powder to the kernel and also weighs/sorts other components. He runs Berger 200.20X bullets slightly off the lands in a 0.170 freebore chamber. Notably he tests a variety of powders, ascertaining each barrel’s particular preference: “In the last few years I have tried N140, N150, H4895, and Varget. I think they are all good powders for F-TR and the 200.20X bullet. This year I was using Varget. At the 2018 SWN I placed 4th with H4895, in 2019 SWN I got 2nd with N140. I find what powder my particular barrel likes best. I also test CCI BR4 and Fed 205M to see which my rifle likes best. This year I was using Fed 205M. I have been using Lapua Palma brass and it seems to last forever.” Peter full-length sizes with a Redding bushing FL die. He seats his Berger bullets with a Wilson inline seater.

Q & A with Peter Johns, F-TR Ace

Q: What was your biggest challenge at the 2020 Berger SW Nationals?

Peter: I think the biggest challenge was staying focused on conditions. I think the hardest thing for me to do is to stop shooting when the wind conditions are out of my ability to call accurately. I focused hard on this aspect of my game this year and it has paid off. This match is super well run and staff does an excellent job which allows the shooters to maintain their focus.

Q: What gear/hardware items give you an edge over the competition?

Peter: The Kestros BR stock (below) is not used by many F-TR shooters and I think it gives me a huge advantage over the competition. This stock fits me perfectly and tracks in such a manner that I can shoot fast and accurately when conditions are right.

Peter Johns Berger SW southwest Nationals F-Class F-TR McMillan stock rifle champion winner

Q: What is your advice for newcomers in F-Class and Long Range competition?

Peter: Go to a top gunsmith building F-Class rifles and do what he says. Competition is the best way to get better. So shoot as many matches as you can. Find top shooter rivals and strive to beat them.

Q: Do you have any specific Gun Handling Tips for F-TR shooters?

Peter: I shoot better with a really light grip and cheek pressure. I can shoot well with a heavier grip and cheek pressure but when the tension of a big match is going my pressure will vary and cause poor accuracy. The most consistent I can shoot is with light gun handling. I also focus on trying to watch the bullet hit through the scope to ensure good follow through and this prevents me from jerking the trigger. There are a bunch of ways to hold a rifle that have proven to be successful. I think a shooter needs to test and find what works best for them.

Peter Johns Berger SW southwest Nationals F-Class F-TR McMillan stock rifle champion winner

Q: What do you like most about F-Class and Long Range competition?

A. I really like technical things. F-Class is right in my wheel house for technical stuff. Also, the people in the shooting world are top notch. I enjoy talking with other shooters.

Q: Do you prefer individual events or team matches?

Peter: I prefer the team matches by far because it is a social event with collaboration and there is a lot more pressure. I put a lot of effort into learning the wind for the team matches which in the long run helps me with individual matches. [Editor: Below Peter is calling wind for Team Texas at the 2018 F-Class Nationals in Raton, New Mexico.]

Peter Johns Berger SW southwest Nationals F-Class F-TR McMillan stock rifle champion winner
Peter Johns calls wind for Team Texas at 2018 F-Class Nationals in Raton.

Overcoming Serious Injury in U.S. Navy to Become a Top-Level Marksman

Peter Johns is a U.S. Navy veteran, rank Chief (E7). In 2006, during his duty aboard the U.S.S. Nimitz, Peter sustained very serious and extensive burns in a massive electrical fire. Showing great strength of character, Peter went through a tough, 4-year program of surgeries and rehab. The photo below shows Peter doing therapy during his recovery process.

Peter Johns Berger SW southwest Nationals F-Class F-TR McMillan stock rifle champion winner

Peter tells us: “As many of you know I was badly burned on board the U.S.S. Nimitz in 2006. That has limited me in my ability to compete in physical activities that I used to enjoy but F-Class has filled the gap for my competitive nature. I medically retired from the Navy as a Chief (E7) in 2010 after four years of surgeries and physical therapy. I was very surprised to find how accepting and nice people have been in the shooting community. I think the shooting community is comprised of the best people in the world.”

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July 19th, 2020

Mystery Malfunction and Then Kaboom! What is Your Call?

AR kaboom detonation over charge ammo 3-Gun

What happens when a round goes off unsafely in an AR? Watch this video and see. At about the 00:40 time-mark the shooter has a malfunction (click no bang), with a round. He then removes the magazine, and clears the chamber (we think). On the next round, at 00:53 you hear a “Bang” and see a big puff of smoke coming out of the upper receiver (see photo at right). This has been called a “detonation” by the video-maker, but we’re not 100% sure what happened. What do you guys think? Watch the video carefully, and state your conclusions in the comment section if you wish.

What Caused this Malfunction? Watch Video…

In any event, the shooter is fortunate his upper did not completely fracture, launching shrapnel into his face or other body parts. This could have turned out much worse. Here are screen-shots from the video, showing details of the gun after the accident, along with the recovered brass case, which separated near the case-head.

AR kaboom detonation over charge ammo 3-Gun

AR kaboom detonation over charge ammo 3-Gun

AR kaboom detonation over charge ammo 3-Gun

AR kaboom detonation over charge ammo 3-Gun

AR kaboom detonation over charge ammo 3-Gun

AR kaboom detonation over charge ammo 3-Gun

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July 18th, 2020

Tuner TECH — POI Shift with Barrel Tuner Position Changes

Tuner Pascal Bukys Point of Impact shift test 6 PPC benchrest

6PPC Pascal Fischbach Bukys Barrel Tuner sine waveHave a good look at the photos below — this may be one of the most noteworthy target strings we’ve ever published. What you can see is the effect of barrel tuner position on point of impact (POI). You can clearly see that the tuner position alters the up/down POI location in a predictable fashion.

This remarkable 15-shot sequence was shot by French benchrester Pascal Fischbach using his 6 PPC fitted with a CG (Carlito Gonzales) action and a Bukys barrel tuner.

Pascal reports: “After [bullet] seating and load validation, I put the Bukys tuner on, screwing it out 10 turns. According to Carlito, the CG’s super stiff action-to-barrel fit gives a faster vibration modulus that is detrimental below 10 turns [position of the tuner].” Pascal’s procedure was to screw out the tuner 1/4 turn progressively from one shot to the next. He shot one bullet at each tuner position, with a total of 15 shots.

15-Shot Sequence with Tuner Changes
6PPC Pascal Fischbach Bukys Barrel Tuner sine wave
CLICK HERE to SEE Large Version of Complete Test Strip (All 15 shots in a row).

Left Half of Target Strip (shots with 1/4 rotation change of tuner in sequence)
6PPC Pascal Fischbach Bukys Barrel Tuner sine wave

Right Half of Target Strip (shots with 1/4 rotation change of tuner in sequence)
6PPC Pascal Fischbach Bukys Barrel Tuner sine wave

Pascal observed: “Note the point of impact displacement [from shot to shot] tracks clearly along a sinusoide (sine wave curve).” This is indeed notable and significant! This shows how the tuner’s ability to change barrel harmonics can alter the position of the muzzle as each bullet exits, resulting in a higher or lower POI. Pascal sent his results to Carlito Gonzales in Argentina for analysis.

Pascal poses this question to readers: “Guess which three positions Carlito recommends to try?”

Editor’s Note: While this target sequence clearly shows how tuner position can alter bullet point of impact, this, by itself, does not tell us which tuner position(s) are best for accuracy. That will require further multi-shot group testing, involving careful experimentation with tuner position (and powder charge weights). But for those folks who doubt that a tuner can make a difference on a short, fat barrel, just take another look at the photos. The up/down changes are undeniable, and noteworthy in the wave pattern they follow.

Shooting Set-up and Test Conditions:
Pascal did this test at an outdoor range under very good conditions: “This was shot at my home range, outdoors, with four Smiley flags. The range is a narrow cut in high woods. Wind was consistent with readable flags. I started testing the tuner from 10 turns out and on to 15. I recently… found a sweet spot very close to the rearmost position of the tuner, so the rigidity provided by this super long tenon (just short of 70mm) was not a reason to overlook the recommended Bukys tuning procedure.”

6PPC Pascal Fischbach Bukys Barrel Tuner sine wave

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July 18th, 2020

39th Annual BLADE Show in Georgia Cancelled

Alanta GA blade show 2020 covid-19 cancelled cancellation knife trade event

Another major outdoor industry event falls to pandemic pressures. The 39th Annual BLADE Show, scheduled for August 7-9 in Atlanta, Georgia, has been officially cancelled. The organizers hope to hold the event June 4-6, 2021 (next year), at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta, Georgia. IMPORTANT: Current Exhibitors and Ticket Holders will receive further instructions via email.

Posting on BladeShow.com, event organizers declared:

Unfortunately, we have reluctantly come to the conclusion that it is in the best interest of all concerned to cancel BLADE Show 2020.

Please know that we did not reach this decision lightly. Having been in daily contact with guests, exhibitors, local officials and the show venue for the past two months, it has become apparent that we cannot present a 2020 event that meets exhibitor and attendee expectations and BLADE Show standards.

While the state of Georgia continues to grapple with decisions about new guidelines and restrictions to deal with the pandemic, BLADE Show too recognizes its responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of all attendees. BLADE Magazine and the BLADE Show staff appreciate the support we received from our many industry friends who worked with us to plan for the alternate August dates after we were forced to cancel the original June event.

What will blade and knife fans be missing? Check out this video from Blade Show 2019:

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July 17th, 2020

Traveling by Air with Firearms — What You Need to Know

Airport security travel bag check-in O'hare TSA

Despite the COVID-19 Pandemic, we know that many readers will be traveling by air this summer to attend major matches. If you plan to fly commercially in the weeks ahead, you need to be careful when transporting firearms through airports both in the USA and in other countries. It is important that you comply with all Homeland Security, TSA, and Airline policies when transporting guns and ammunition. Following the rules will help ensure you (and your gear) make it to your destination without hassles, delays or (God forbid), confiscations.

TSA Air transport safety locked bag declare firearm

You’ll want to visit the TSA Firearms and Ammunition webpage, and read it start to finish. In addition, before your trip, you should check the regulations of the airline(s) with which you will fly. Some airlines have special requirements, such as weight restrictions.

TSA Guidelines for Travel with Firearms

Firearms Guidelines
• When traveling, comply with the laws concerning possession of firearms as they vary by local, state and international governments.

• If you are traveling internationally with a firearm in checked baggage, please check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for information and requirements prior to travel.

• Declare each firearm each time you present it for transport as checked baggage. Ask your airline about limitations or fees that may apply.

• Firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container and transported as checked baggage only. As defined by 49 CFR 1540.5 a loaded firearm has a live round of ammunition, or any component thereof, in the chamber or cylinder or in a magazine inserted in the firearm. Only the passenger should retain the key or combination to the lock unless TSA personnel request the key to open the firearm container to ensure compliance with TSA regulations. You may use any brand or type of lock to secure your firearm case, including TSA-recognized locks.

• Firearm parts, including magazines, clips, bolts and firing pins, are prohibited in carry-on baggage, but may be transported in checked baggage.

• Replica firearms, including firearm replicas that are toys, may be transported in checked baggage only.

• Rifle scopes are permitted in carry-on and checked baggage.

Ammunition Guidelines
• Ammunition is prohibited in carry-on baggage, but may be transported in checked baggage.

• Firearm magazines and ammunition clips, whether loaded or empty, must be securely boxed or included within a hard-sided case containing an unloaded firearm. Read the requirements governing the transport of ammunition in checked baggage as defined by 49 CFR 175.10 (a)(8).

• Small arms ammunition (up to .75 caliber and shotgun shells of any gauge) must be packaged in a fiber (such as cardboard), wood, plastic, or metal box specifically designed to carry ammunition and declared to your airline.

• Ammunition may be transported in the same hard-sided, locked case as a firearm if it has been packed as described above. You cannot use firearm magazines or clips for packing ammunition unless they completely enclose the ammunition.

• Firearm magazines and ammunition clips, whether loaded or empty, must be boxed or included within a hard-sided, locked case.

• Please check with your airline for quantity limits for ammunition.

NOTE: The above TAS guidelines are reprinted directly from the TSA web page here: TSA.gov/traveler-information/firearms-and-ammunition.

Important TSA Tips on Firearms and Flying

Good Advice from an Airport Police Officer

To help our readers comply with rules and regulations for air travel, we offer these guidelines, courtesy “Ron D.”, a member of our Shooters’ Forum. Before he retired, Ron D. served as a Police Officer assigned to Chicago’s O’Hare airport. Here Ron offers some very important advice for shooters traveling with firearms and expensive optics.

gun transport caseFirst, Ron explains that airport thieves can spot bags containing firearms no matter how they are packaged: “Don’t think you’re safe if your guns are placed in cases designed for golf clubs or trade show items. Baggage is X-Rayed now and cases are tagged with a special bar code if they contain firearms. It doesn’t take long for bad guys to figure out the bar coding for firearms.”

Carry-On Your Scopes and Expensive Items
Ron advises travelers to avoid placing very expensive items in checked baggage: “When traveling by air, carry on your rangefinder, spotting scope, rifle scope, medications, camera, etc. You would be surprised at the amount of people that carry-on jeans and shirts, but put expensive items in checked baggage. Better to loose three pairs of jeans than some expensive glass.”

Mark Bags to Avoid Confusion
Ron notes that carry-on bags are often lost because so many carry-on cases look the same. Ron reports: “People do accidentally remove the wrong bag repeatedly. I frequently heard the comment, ‘But it looks just like my bag.’ When de-planing, keep an eye on what comes out of the overhead that your bag is in. It’s easy to get distracted by someone that has been sitting next to you the whole flight. I tie two streamers of red surveyors’ tape on my carry-on bag.” You can also use paint or decals to make your carry-on bag more distinctive.

General Advice for Air Travelers
Ron cautions: “Keep your hands on your items before boarding. One of the most often heard comments from theft victims was, ‘I just put my computer down for a minute while I was on the phone.’ Also, get to the baggage claim area quickly. If your family/friends can meet you there, so can the opportunists. Things do get lost in the claim area. Don’t be a Victim. Forewarned is forearmed.”

Choosing a Rifle Transport Case
Ron advises: “Buy the best [rifle case] that you can afford. Don’t cry when your $3,000+ Benchrest rifle has a cracked stock or broken scope. Think about what it would be like to travel across the country (e.g. to Montana or the Cactus Classic) and arrive with a damaged rifle. Remember the Samsonite commercial. (For you younger shooters, it shows a monkey throwing the suitcase around in his cage at the zoo.) Baggage handling is NOT a fine art. There is no guarantee that your rifle case will be on top of all the other baggage. Then there is shifting of baggage in the belly of the plane. Ponder that for a while. Rifle and pistol cases must be locked. It doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist to figure out that a simple pry tool will open most case locks. There is not much that you can do to disguise a rifle case. It is what it is, and opportunists know this. Among thieves, it doesn’t take long for the word to get around about a NEW type of case.”

Plano Two-Gun Tactical Case

Plano Double Rifle Case Amazon Airport security travel bag check-in O'hare airline approved AW2TSA
This Plano Double Scoped Rifle Case offers the functionality and durability of an SKB-type hard case for HALF the money. This is now just $116.65, while the equivalent SKB is around $300.00.

This Plano AW2 two-gun case is Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in wheeled, heavy-duty firearms cases. This is offered in three sizes: 36″, 42″, and 52″. We like the biggest 52″ version, as it is long enough inside to fit most scoped match rifles. Alternatively, if you have a really long F-Class, ELR, or Palma rig, you can detach the barreled action from the stock, and run the two sections in the shorter 42″ case. This case is strong enough for airline travel, meeting FAA requirements for checked baggage. This Plano case offers a good balance between strength and weight, all for a reasonable cost — $116.65 on Amazon

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July 17th, 2020

Summer’s Here — Monitor Barrel Heat with Stick-on Temp Strips

Barrel Heat Temp Temperature gauge strip McMaster Carr

You never want your barrels to get too hot, which can happen more quickly in summertime. Accuracy suffers when barrels over-heat, and excessive heat is not good for barrel life. So how do you monitor your barrel’s temperature? You can check if the barrel is “warm to the touch” — but that method is not particularly precise. There is a better way — using temperature-sensitive strips. McMaster.com (an industrial supply house) offers stick-on temp strips with values from 86° F to 140° F. A pack of ten (10) of these strips (item 59535K13) costs $12.77. That’s a mere $1.28 per barrel for strips — cheap insurance for your precious barrels. For best barrel life, try to stay under 120 degrees F.

Barrel Heat Temp Temperature gauge strip McMaster Carr

NOTE: On the McMaster.com website, you’ll need to scroll down to the multi-use “Temperature Indicating Labels”. Then click on the horizontal label and select item 59535K13, as shown below.

Barrel Heat Temp Temperature gauge strip McMaster Carr
Click image for large view.

Forum member Nomad47 says: “I have temperature strips (bought at McMaster-Carr) on all my barrels. I try not to shoot when the barrel gets to 122 degrees or higher[.]” Here are photos of the McMaster-Carr temp strips on Nomad47’s customized Savage.

Barrel Heat Temp Temperature gauge strip McMaster Carr

Bad things can happen if your barrel gets too hot. First, with some barrels, the point of impact (POI) will shift or “walk” as the barrel heats up excessively. Second, even if the POI doesn’t change, the groups can open up dramatically when the barrel gets too hot. Third, if the barrel is very hot, the chamber will transfer heat to your loaded cartridge, which can lead to pressure issues. Finally, there’s considerable evidence that hot barrels wear out faster. This is a very real concern, particularly for varmint shooters who may shoot hundreds of rounds in a day. For this reason, many varminters switch among various guns, never letting a particular barrel get too hot.

Neconos.com offers Bar-L Temp Strips that visually display heat readings from 86 to 140 degrees. Think of these strips as compact, unbreakable thermometers. With adhesive backing, they can also be used to monitor barrel heating.

Put a strip on the side of the barrel and the barrel’s temp will be indicated by a stripe that changes from black to green. There is also a “general purpose” strip that reads to 196 degrees (see bottom row). The Benchrest strip (86°F to 140°F) is in the middle. These Bar-L temp strips cost $9.00 each, or $25.00 for a 3-pack.

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July 17th, 2020

New Carbon-Fiber Bipod with Balljoint (Pan, Tilt, Roll)

Truglo carbon fiber tacpod tilting bipod

Here is a new bipod with very useful features for hunters and tactical shooters. The new TruGlo TAC•POD™ Carbon Pro Bipod is lightweight and compact. With carbon fiber legs, it is lighter than typical metal bipods. Additionally, it employs a universal balljoint at the top. This allow the user to pan, tilt, and/or roll with one movement, and then lock the bipod in place. So, you can traverse left/right, AND adjust the barrel angle up down, AND rotate around the bore axis (to adjust for uneven ground). The new bipod is quite affordable, with MSRPs of $82.99 for 6-9″ model and $94.99 for 9-13″ model. NOTE: This bipod is so NEW that it is not yet in stock at retailers. But be patient — it should arrive later this summer.

Constructed from carbon fiber and aluminum, the TAC-POD Carbon Pro offers maximum strength with minimum weight. The mount quickly attaches to Picatinny-style rails and has a rotating design for easy shooting angle adjustment without repositioning the legs. Padded rubberized feet provide positive grip and the pivoting base offers quick leveling on uneven surfaces.

The ball-joint design allows the TAC-POD Carbon Pro to pan, tilt, and roll for various shooting positions. Users can then lock the bipod in place to maintain its position. A push-button leg lock provides smooth deployment — locking the legs in the up or down position. A twist-lock length adjustment allows each leg to independently extend. Padded rubberized feet provide positive grip retention and the pivoting base offers precision leveling on uneven surfaces.

TRUGLO TAC-POD Carbon Pro Bipod Specifications:

Model: TG8903S (6-9 inch legs, MSRP $82.99)
Model: TG8903L (9-13 inch legs, MSRP $94.99)
Pivoting base for precision leveling on uneven surfaces
Rapid, Easy Deployment/Movement with Balljoint
Carbon fiber and aluminum construction
Mounts to Picatinny rail
Padded rubberized feet

Truglo carbon fiber tacpod tilting bipod

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, New Product No Comments »
July 16th, 2020

Sniper’s Hide Cup 2020 — Tac Match in Pacific NW Backcountry

Sniper's Hide Cup colville washington frank galli facebook

The Sniper’s Hide Cup competition went forward this year, despite challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The event took place June 20-21, 2020 in Colville, WA. This was a backcountry match, set in beautiful green mountain scenery. Here are images from the 2020 SH Cup as posted on the Sniper’s Hide Facebook Page. Congrats to Frank Galli (aka “Lowlight”), founder of Sniper’s Hide, and all the participants in the event. Looks like a great two days of shooting.

Sniper's Hide Cup colville washington frank galli facebook

Sniper's Hide Cup colville washington frank galli facebook

Sniper's Hide Cup colville washington frank galli facebook

Sniper's Hide Cup colville washington frank galli facebook

Sniper's Hide Cup colville washington frank galli facebook

The Everyday Sniper Episode 260: Sniper’s Hide Cup 2020

After the 2020 SH Cup event, Frank Galli hosted an informative podcast:

Topics include: Stages, Targets, Equipment, Mindset, First-Time Competitors
Frank: “I’m back from the Sniper’s Hide Cup in Colville, Washington. I’ll be breaking down some lessons learned and give you my observations from the field and competitors with whom I spoke. [We cover] the experience of attending a match and helping new shooters — the juniors, the first time competitors, and how you work with them. Thanks for listening, sharing, and commenting on the Everyday Sniper Podcast.”

Sniper's Hide Cup colville washington frank galli facebook

Sniper's Hide Cup colville washington frank galli facebook

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July 16th, 2020

Lapua 10% Rebate on Brass and Bullets — Get Up to $200 Back

Lapua bullet scenar brass summer savings rebate capstone

Lapua has kicked off its 2020 Sizzling Summer Savings Rebate Program. From July 15 through August 31, 2020 you can get 10% Cash Back on qualifying Lapua Scenar bullets and rifle cartridge cases. With this Summer Rebate you can get up to $200 back on your Lapua bullet and brass purchases.

This is quality stuff. Lapua brass is used by top shooters in all disciplines, and Lapua Scenar bullets show outstanding accuracy and consistency. We’ve had superb results with Scenar bullets in multiple rifles and even set a local range record with the 6mm 105s.

Lapua Scenar bullets have a proven record on the range and the battlefield. They’re a popular tangent ogive, HPBT design that is extremely accurate with excellent base-to-ogive and weight uniformity.

Lapua bullet scenar brass summer savings rebate capstone

Lapua cartridge cases set the standard for quality, uniformity, and long life. Strong primer pockets, superior annealing processes, and dimensional uniformity deliver superior accuracy and longevity. There is a reason winning shooters use Lapua.

Lapua bullet scenar brass summer savings rebate capstone

To get your rebate, complete the online form at Capstonepg.com/LapuaRebate or fill out an order form from your favorite retailer. You will need the original online order receipt or the retailer cash register receipt showing the retailer name and date of qualifying product purchase.

About Lapua — Renowned for Quality
Lapua is world-renowned for producing the finest bullets and cartridge cases. Starting with the highest-quality raw materials and state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques, Lapua components are highly sought-after by competitive shooters, Mil/LE operators and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Lapua is a part of the Capstone Precision Group, exclusive U.S. distributor for Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori and SK-Rimfire products. For more information, visit .

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July 15th, 2020

Great Video Series with Bryan Litz Explains Long Range Shooting

Bryan Litz Elements Long Range Shooting NSSF Ballistics Coeffecient Atmospherics

Want to learn more about Long Range Shooting? Check out the “Elements of Long Range Shooting” videos from the National Shooting Sport Foundation (NSSF). In this multi-part series, Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics covers a variety of topics of interest to precision shooters. Today we feature three of these videos. There are five other videos in this series. Watch the entire 8-video “Elements of Long Range Shooting” series on the NSSF YouTube Channel.

Litz NSSF Video Elements long range shooting Raton NM ELR

Atmospherics and Density Altitude

Bryan Litz explains: “An important element in calculating an accurate firing solution for long-range shooting is understanding the effects of atmospherics on a projectile.” Atmospherics include air pressure, air temperature, and humidity. Bryan notes: “Temperature, pressure, and humidity all affect the air density… that the bullet is flying through. You can combine all those factors into one variable called ‘Density Altitude’.” Density Altitude is used by the ballistic solver to account for air density variables that affect bullet flight.

Bullet Ballistic Coefficients

A bullet’s ballistic coefficient (BC) basically expresses how well the bullet flies through the air. Higher BC bullets have less aerodynamic drag than lower BC projectiles. You will see BCs listed as either G1 and G7 numbers. These correspond to different bullet shape models. Generally speaking, the G7 model works better for the long, boat-tail bullets used for long-range shooting. Notably, a bullet’s drag is NOT constant in flight. The true BC can vary over the course of the trajectory as the bullet velocity degrades. In other words, “BC is dynamic”. That said, you can make very accurate drop charts using the BCs provided by major bullet-makers, as plugged into solvers. However, long-range competitors may want to record “real world” drop numbers at various distances. For example, we’ve seen trajectories be higher than predicted at 500 yards, yet lower than predicted at 1000.

Ballistics Solvers — Many Options

Bryan Litz observes: “When we talk about the elements of long range shooting, obviously a very important element is a getting a fire solution, using a ballistic solver. There are a lot of ballistic solvers out there… Applied Ballistics has smartphone Apps. Applied Ballistics has integrated the ballistic solver directly into a Kestral, and the same solver runs (manually) on the Accuracy Solutions Wiz-Wheel. The point is, if it is an Applied Ballistics device it is running the same solutions across the board.”

About Bryan Litz
Bryan began his career as a rocket scientist, quite literally. He then started Applied Ballistics, the leading company focusing on ballistics science for rifle shooting. A past F-TR Long-Range National Champion and Chief Ballistician for Berger Bullets, knows his stuff. His Applied Ballistics squad was the winning team at the 2017 King of 2 Miles event, and Applied Ballistics recently received a major U.S. defense contract to to execute Phase 1 of the Extreme Sniper Strike Operations (ESSO) project.

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July 14th, 2020

In Memoriam — Donald “Stick” Starks, Rest in Peace

Donald Stick starks gunsmith texas memorial RIP

We’re saddened to announce that noted gunsmith Donald “Stick” Starks passed away last Wednesday. He succumbed to COPD, a disease he’d struggled with for many years. Stick Starks was respected as a knowledgeable gunsmith who built very successful competition rifles, and help popularize many innovative smithing techniques. As proprietor of S&S Precision Rifle in Texas, Stick built great rifles, and helped many folks get their start in competitive rifle shooting. In this Forum Thread, many folks recounted memories of Stick and expressed their sadness at his passing…

“Stick was a great friend and gunsmith. He will be missed.” — Chris Covell

Donald Stick starks gunsmith texas memorial RIPOnline Memorial for Donald “Stick” Starks
There will be an online memorial service for Stick Starks on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. This will work via the Zoom video meeting service. This may require you to install some software.

Memorial Service for Don “Stick” Starks

Time: July 15, 2020 at 10:00 AM Central Time

Zoom Meeting LINK:
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/77118997881?pwd=R0pwWG9ZTFJjVEJXYlF2TGhIQnJjQT09

Zoom Meeting ID: 771 1899 7881

Zoom Meeting Passcode: stickman

This video shows Stick Starks at his very best, building a rifle with great attention to detail. He did superb chambering and metal work and his bedding jobs were as good as it gets.

Remembering Donald “Stick” Starks…

Eric Kennard posted: “I learned my good friend Don “Stick” Starks died … after a several year battle with COPD. Stick was an amazing and innovative gunsmith. He was a Master Machinist who built engines for dragsters and race boats in his past years. Stick was ornery as all get out. I will truly miss him. He built all of Kenny Adams’ rifles that led Kenny to becoming the 2013 World F-Class Champion. God Speed Stick.”

Donald Stick starks gunsmith texas memorial RIP

Forum member Thud added: “My best recollections of Stick is his helping both new and seasoned shooters. They would see him at the range or a match and make a bee line to talk to him. He would listen to their problems or ideas and comment on them. There were customers that would call several times a day just to talk, He always made a few minutes available to them so they flounder. For anyone who had a problem with their rifle — he was always will to help both at the range or in the shop. He was a easy-going guy yet a serious guy who would help anyone if you needed it.”

Forum member Bill (Boiler_House 7) praised Starks’ skills: “Don was such a nice guy and a super good friend. Some may not know this but he was a super talented automotive machinist back in the day as well. He turned out a lot of quality work on race motors at ABC performance in Odessa, Texas. Don is going to be missed by a lot of people he influenced with his knowledge through the years. RIP my friend.”

“Stick was the one who shoved me off the bank into the deep water of accurate rifles, and competitive shooting. The stainless steel Stiller Viper and red Robertson-stocked gun he built [for me] is truly a prized possession. I am really sad to see him go. May his breathing be easy now.” — D. Martin

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July 14th, 2020

What is Your #1 Favorite Reloading Equipment Item?

Wilson hand die arbor press Sierra Bullets

Sierra Bullets asked a few hand-loaders to reveal their favorite reloading tool or accessory: “What is your favorite ‘don’t know how you ever lived without it’ piece of reloading equipment?” Some of the answers are listed below. We were interested to see some high-tech, micro-processor items mentioned, such as the AMP Annealer, and the AutoTrickler powder dispenser. Old standbys, such as the rugged RCBS Rockchucker and Dillon 650, also made the favorites list. You can nominate your own favorite reloading hardware in the comments section of the Sierra Bullets Blog.

Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Philip Mahin answered: “A comparator gauge to measure from the base of a case to the ogive of the bullet. This bypasses the tip of the bullet, so I can repeat the same seating depth the next time I visit a specific combination.”

Forster Co-ax press

Bill, Editor of Rifleshooter.com, answered: “I have so many favorite reloading tools, it’s hard to pick one. But if I had to, it would be my Forster Co-Ax press. I like the ease [with which] you can change dies and that it doesn’t require traditional shell holders. It’s a great tool to have!”

Forster Co-Ax Press

Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks answered: “I don’t know that you would actually call this equipment, but the item that comes to mind would be my reloading room/shoot house. I had always had to squeeze everything into a corner or even an unheated shed. After we bought our current house, I built a garage and placed it so that I had a window looking down a 250-yard range. I built a dedicated room with heat and A/C. It contains my reloading bench and a shooting bench. The shooting bench lets me slide open the window and shoot down the range. It is very handy to not have to load everything up to go to the range. It also makes load development a lot simpler and efficient. I don’t know how I ever got along without it.

I also wonder what I did before I acquired the Lyman 1200 DPS Powder Dispenser. This has made the process so much simpler and much easier. I also have a Lee Precison Universal Decapping Die that I would gladly spend the money on again. This may be a small thing, but it certainly is handy. The Lee would accommodate some very large cases that some of the others were too small for.”

Jon Addis answered: “Putting an A&D FX-120i scale with AutoTrickler and Auto-Throw on the bench has changed the way I reload. It’s kernel accurate in about 15 seconds. Saves time and reduces a variable. And of course, the system is made better by the Area 419 Billet Adjustable base for the trickler and Billet Powder Cup.”

This video shows the AutoTrickler V2 and Auto-Throw Combo:

Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Carroll Pilant answered: “Dillon 550 and 650 presses.”

Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Paul Box answered: “The Lee Precison hand priming tool.”

Sierra Bullets Chief Ballistician Tommy Todd answered: “A brass annealing machine and a RCBS Chargemaster complimented with a Sartorious scale.”

RCBS RockchuckerSierra Bullets Ballistician Gary Prisendorf answered: “RCBS Rock Chucker Press, it’s built like a tank, and it will last me a lifetime.”

Sierra Bullets Production Manager Chris Hatfield also answered: “RCBS Rock Chucker single-stage reloading press.”

Jeremy Kisner answered: “My Giraud trimmer has taken [three operations] and combined them into one easy task. I can now size my brass and then sit down and trim, chamfer, and debur to a 0.001″ tolerance in one motion.”

Dan Blake answered: “My Annealing Made Perfect (AMP) annealer. With consistent neck tension being one of the largest contributions to small Extreme Spread on muzzle velocities, I believe this induction annealer is truly the best on the market.”

This manufacturer-produced video shows how the AMP annealing machine operates:

Trevor Aldinger answered: “Area 419 Master Funnel Kit. In the past I’ve used plastic funnels and even other metal ones. This system fits case necks and flows much better than any others I’ve used, and there is no static since it’s metal. We spend a lot of time and money to get precise charges, I don’t want to lose or miss a kernel because of a cheap funnel.”

Area 419 Master Funnel kit

Tyler Riley answered: “My RCBS bench primer (priming tool). It has a lot more leverage than a hand primer and still has a good feel to how tight primer pockets are. Makes it much easier on my hands to prime large runs, especially new brass with tight pockets.”

Craig Arnzen answered: “My Annealeez [annealing machine] is one of the best tools in my reloading room. Neck tension is SO important, and annealing every firing really helps with that. This is an inexpensive tool that can anneal a lot of cases at once, and help me produce more consistent ammo.”

Josh Temmen answered: “Time is critical for me so my RCBS Chargemasters are indispensable (pun intended.) They cut down on time at my reloading bench while maintaining the weight tolerances required for long range shooting.”

Josh Bartlett answered: “I have my Dillon 650 set up with Whidden floating tool heads to do decapping and sizing on my match ammo. The case feeder and progressive function of the press save me a TON of time when doing lots of several hundred rounds.”

Ryan Brandt answered: “… A quality set of calipers. My reloading room is full of very nice equipment but little does more to satisfy my perfectionism than a good check with the calipers.”

Sierra Bullets

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