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February 6th, 2022

Sunday GunDay: Bart Sauter’s Tack Driver Match-Winning 6 BRA

Bart Sauter Tack Driver tackdriver II benchrest 6BRA 6mm BRA

The Tack Driver II Showdown

The Tack Driver Showdown is a 300 meter, one-of-a-kind match designed to determine the most accurate rifles in the world regardless of discipline or class. The 2021 Tack Driver II event had 80 of the world’s top competitors representing several disciplines (Short-Range for Group, Short-Range for Score, UBR, F-Class, 600-yd and 1000-yd Benchrest) with calibers/cartridge types ranging from .22 PPC to .300 WSM.

Bart Sauter Tack Driver tackdriver II benchrest 6BRA 6mm BRA

IMPORTANT: Folks, if you shoot competitive benchrest, please DO watch the First Video below. It is full of invaluable information and shooting tips. As Bart holds multiple world records, you should listen to what he says. This is, without question, one of most informative benchrest videos I have ever seen in 18 years of running this site. — EDITOR

This year the match was VERY challenging, with tough, very windy conditions and low temperatures. The overall winner of the Grand Aggregate was bullet-maker Bart Sauter, shown above. Bart was shooting his wickedly accurate 6 BRA rifle with 103gr bullets of his own making. Bart demonstrated that a 6 BRA cartridge with long bullets can beat a 6 PPC, at least at 300 meters when the wind is fierce.

Bart Sauter Tack Driver tackdriver II benchrest 6BRA 6mm BRA

Bart Sauter Tack Driver tackdriver II benchrest 6BRA 6mm BRA

Bart Sauter Tack Driver tackdriver II benchrest 6BRA 6mm BRA

Video of Bart Explaining Rest/Bag Set-Up and Showing Shooting Technique

WATCH THIS! Folks, if you are a benchrest competitor, you absolutely should watch this video. This offers very important insights you won’t find anywhere else. The first five minutes shows very important advice on setting up your rest and bags. Starting at the 10-minute mark, Bart shows how he shoots the rifle, with rapid manual reloads. At the very end, 15:55+ Bart runs five (5) shots in 9 seconds!

Match Results — What Cartridge Types Dominated

Bart reports: “It’s interesting to see the calibers/cartridges in the Top 10 of each category. The Group Match was in fact won by the 6 PPC. However, look at the top 5. Three of the Top 5 are NOT 6 PPCs — that’s notable. The Score Match was won with a .30 WW (I have no clue what that is). There were two .30 calibers in the Top 5 and three in the Top 10. The Grand Aggregate was won with a 6 BRA. I think it’s noteworthy the Top 5 had two 6 PPCs, two 6 BRAs and a .30 WW! That’s a pretty good mix. The Top 10 had a variety of 6MMs and one .30 caliber. That’s another surprise.”

Group Match Results
1st 6 PPC
2nd 22 PPC
3rd 300 WSM
4th 6 Dasher
5th 6 PPC
6th 6 BRA
7th 6 PPC
8th 6 BRA
9th 6 PPC
10th 6 PPC
Score Match Results
1st .30 WW
2nd 6 PPC
3rd 6 PPC
4th 6 BRA
5th 30 Dasher
6th 6 PPC
7th 30 BR
8th 6 BRA
9th 6 PPC
10th 6 PPC
Grand Aggregate
1st 6 BRA
2nd 6 PPC
3rd 6 PPC
4th 6 BRA
5th .30 WW
6th 6 BRA
7th 6 PPC
8th 6 Dasher
9th 6 PPC
10th 6 Dasher
Cartridges at Match
6 PPC — 31
30 BR — 23
6 BRA –6
6 Dasher — 4
6mm BR — 4
30 Dasher — 3
22 PPC — 1
6 BRDX — 1
6 GT — 1
6.5 CM — 1
6.5×284 — 1
.284 Win — 1
.30 WW — 1
30×45 — 1
.300 WSM — 1

Leveling the Playing Field — What Works Best at 300 Meters
Commentary by Bart Sauter
There has been a long standing debate in the shooting world as to whether mid-range/long-range cartridges such as the Dasher, 6 BRA, and 6mmBR are accurate enough to compete against the 6 PPC or 30 BR at shorter distances. The problem has been finding a format that allows the both short-range and longer-range cartridges to compete on a level playing field. The Tack Driver match addresses the problem by moving the distance to 300 meters (approximately 329 yards). This is a bit farther than short range group and score matches which are typically shot at 100 and 200 yards. While the mid-range/long range cartridges shoot primarily at 600 and 1000 yards.

Bart Sauter Tack Driver tackdriver II benchrest 6BRA 6mm BRA
Cartridges Left to Right: 6 PPC, 30 BR, 6mmBR, 6 BRA, 6 DASHER. Those five cartridges represent 85% of cartridge types used at the Tack Driver II match.

Another piece of the puzzle is the type of match — group vs. score. Short Range matches consist of either a group or score match. In group shooting you’re trying to shoot as small of a group as possible (5- or 10-Shot group). Unlike score it doesn’t matter where the group forms on the target. However, in score competition the goal is to hit five individual bullseyes per target, preferably dead center. Score matches are won by the highest point total while group matches are won by the smallest aggregate (smallest average of total groups shot).

Things are different for longer range competitions. 600-yard and 1000-yard Benchrest competitors shoot for score AND group simultaneously on the same target. In other words competitors are trying to shoot the smallest group in the middle of the bullseye for the highest point total. The Tack Driver addresses this problem by having an equal number of score targets and group size targets. Tack Driver II had 5 score targets and 5 group targets at 300 meters, so neither discipline is favored.

6 BRA Wins Tack Driver II Match

The winning combination this year was a 6 BRA (6mmBR Ackley Improved) shot by Bart Sauter. Below are the particulars on Bart’s winning rifle and load information. Watch the following video to learn more about Bart’s very accurate rifle.

Action – BAT DS, Melonited
Picatinny Rail – BAT +20 MOA
Stock – Scarbrough HV
Stock Paint — Brett Childress (Bc’z)
Scope – Valdada 10-60x56mm 40mm tube
Rings – Valdada Low Rings
Stocker – Billy Stevens
Gunsmith – Dean Stroud
Trigger – Jewell
Barrel Tuner – Ezell
Barrel – Lederer 1:8″-Twist, 28″
Barrel Bore Diameter – 0.237″
Neck – .272″ NO TURN
Bullets – 103gr Bart’s Hammers
Case – Lapua 6mmBR parent
Primers – CCI BR4 sm rifle
Powder – Hodgdon H4895
Seating Pressure – 22 to 25 lbs. on gauge
Bullet Seating Depth – .009″ into the rifling from first touch.

Tack Driver II-Winning 6 BRA Rifle — Components Explained

Questions and Answers with Bart Sauter

Match Prep, Cartridge Choice, Comparative Wind Drift, Reloading Gear, Wind Conditions and more…

Q: How did you prepare for the match?

Bart: My good friend and shooting buddy, Jim Chaney, built a target frame which was placed at 300 meters for practice before the match. Our two biggest concerns about the match were: 1) staying competitive during the score portion; and 2) being able to see bullet holes during heavy mirage. The range is mostly South Carolina sand and faces southeast (you can get sun in your eyes). It has a notorious reputation for heavy mirage. So much so that seeing bullet holes can be an issue. Many shooters were swayed to shoot .30 calibers because the holes are easier to see. In fact, when the sun came out for the last couple of targets, several shooters complained they couldn’t see their shots on paper.

Q: I know you’ve shot a 6 PPC for years? What made you decide to go with a 6 BRA?

Bart: Well several things. During practice I bounced back and forth, playing with the 6 PPC and the 6 BRA. My shooting buddy Jim shot his 6 PPC. One of the things I noticed was my 6 BRA consistently edged my 6 PPC and and Jim’s 6 PPC in group size.

The Drift Test — The real eye-opener came when Jim and I conducted a drift test at 200 yards comparing the 6 PPC with 68gr Boattail Avengers to my 6 BRA with 103gr Bart’s Hammers. For the test both rifles were tuned as well as possible. The idea was for both shooters to hold the same point of aim for each shot (total of 5 per sequence). The shots were fired simultaneously by conducting a count down for example “One, Two, Three, FIRE!” Winds were 7 to 10 mph.

Bart Sauter Tack Driver tackdriver II benchrest 6BRA 6mm BRA
Bart (foreground) and Jim Chaney conducting comparative wind-drift tests with 6 PPC and 6 BRA prior to Tack Driver II Match.

Each shot was intentionally fired in a different wind condition over flags. The first 3 shots from the 6 BRA formed a nice 0.300″ group while the 6PPC spread out to a 0.650″. The final two shots were fired in a hard crosswind pushing to the right then a hard crosswind to the left. The 6 PPC was pushed to over a 1.6 inch group while the 6 BRA kept them to around an 0.850″. The test was so conclusive that during the drive to the match Jim abandoned his 6 PPC, and we doubled up on my 6 BRA.

Comparative Wind Drift Explained — 6 PPC vs. 6 BRA

Q: That explains why you chose the 6 BRA, but how did you meet the challenge of seeing 6mm bullet holes despite bad mirage?

Bart: Jim and I played with several different scopes trying to see what would work best. The mirage at my place can be substantial. Around September I purchased the new Valdada 10-60x56mm Precision scope with 40mm tube. This scope is amazing, not only optically, but rock solid accuracy-wise. So if anything was going to work to see bullet holes, it’s this scope. As it turned out, I had no problem seeing my shots on the Tack Driver II targets while others struggled on the last couple of targets.

Q: Did you preload for the match?

Bart: No. I’ve never been to this range so I wasn’t sure where I needed to be load-wise. Also the forecast was calling for cool temperatures and rain, so I had no clue. The plan was to get there early and start tuning soon as the range opened for practice on Friday. It took about 15 shots to verify that the same velocities and load that I ran at a previous Memphis match would work for the Tack Driver II.

Q: If you weren’t preloaded, did you load at the range?

Bart: Not exactly, I didn’t preload for the match at home but I did preload at the hotel. I brought 300 sized and primed cases and everything needed to reload. So after practice, it was back to the hotel to load. Below is my set-up at the hotel.

Bart Sauter Tack Driver tackdriver II benchrest 6BRA 6mm BRA
Reloading setup at hotel: K&M Arbor Press with seating pressure gauge, Wilson Bullet Seater, AutoTrickler V3 Powder trickler/scale housed in a portable, wind-proof loading box.

I loaded cases with Hodgdon H4895 in one-tenth grain increments (0.3 grains total spread) to shoot over the course of the day. I expected that a three-tenth spread would be enough to keep the rifle in tune over the forecast 20-25 degree temperature range. As a backup plan in case the load went completely sideways we hauled all the loading gear to the range each morning. I kept 100 sized and primed cases ready if needed. Fortunately we did not have to use them. We were able to use the three different, prepared loads throughout the day, changing as the ambient temperature rose (highest charge in morning).

Bart Sauter Tack Driver tackdriver II benchrest 6BRA 6mm BRA

Q: What were conditions like?

Bart: The conditions at Tack Driver II for both days were tough! We had switchy head winds ranging from 15 to 25 mph with occasional gusts to 30 mph. Temperature started with morning lows in the high 30s and warmed to a high around 50. The forecast called for rain both days but fortunately it didn’t materialize during the competition.

Bart Sauter Tack Driver tackdriver II benchrest 6BRA 6mm BRA
Bart Sauter checks out conditions during the match. Winds were switchy with gusts to 30 MPH.

Q: Do you have any observations or take-aways from the match?

Bart: Yes, I do! Jim Cline and crew puts on one hell of a match — very well organized and professionally run. And, most of all, the Tack Driver II was fun. Jim keeps things rolling and he has a gift for winding shooters up and getting the competitive juices going. For example he told three of the Top 6 PPC shooters, “If Bart beats you with that 6 BRA, all of you are getting autographed T-shirts at the award ceremony”.

Bart Sauter Tack Driver tackdriver II benchrest 6BRA 6mm BRA
True to his word, Jim Cline presents (L to R) Roy Hunter, Jeff Pineheart, and Wayne Cambell, with their Bart Sauter-autographed Tack Driver T-shirts. (Cline stands behind the trio.)

About Bart Sauter and Bart’s Custom Bullets

Bart's Custom Bullets logoOur philosophy at Bart’s Custom Bullets is to take care of our customers, don’t cut corners, test everything, and never sell a bullet I wouldn’t be proud to take to a match. We started making bullets in 2000, while I was still in the Army. From the beginning Kim (my wife) and I decided to spend whatever It would take to get the best equipment available. We built a range for testing at every location the Army sent us. It’s been a successful combination.

Our bullets have set well over 50 world records and have won every major competition in short range. Now we are making strides to accomplish the same thing in Long Range.

Bullet Design — What Does the Future Hold? We have come a long way in the design and manufacturing of bullets. Everything has improved to include high-quality presses, jackets with close to zero run-out, and bullet dies that are straighter and more concentric than ever before. I believe we are close to the apex of designing bullets that shoot from 100 out to 1000 yards. Any improvement at this point will be incremental. In my opinion, the bullets we make right now are capable of shooting a 0.500″ group at 1000 yards (without wind effects). That probably sounds crazy to a lot of shooters. But I think the capability currently exists. It’s just going to take a special gun, barrel, shooter and condition combination to see it. Now bullets for Extreme Long Range (ELR) could be a new frontier for bullet design.

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February 6th, 2022

Shoot Better with Focus, Motivation, and Mental Training

olympic prone smallbore shooter mental preparation Eley ammo
U.S. Olympic shooter Eric Uptagrafft in prone position, LARRC 2012. CC photo by Tony Chow.

Eley sponsors many of the world’s top rimfire shooters, who have shared their Tips from the Top. Five ace smallbore shooters provide advice on how to shoot better, how to train more effectively, and how to stay motivated even when “the going gets tough”. If you’re a competitive shooter (in any discipline) you can benefit from reading these words of wisdom from world-class shooters.

Eley champions shooting tips

Henri Junghaenel, Past #1 ranked, 50M prone rifle shooter.

    Focus on Fundamentals: Good performance requires a solid technical foundation. One can hunt after personal bests or one can try to work on the technical basics. The latter will probably lead to better results sooner.

    Stay Motivated Over Time: Be persistent and don’t lose your motivation on your way to success. Shooting, like every other sport, requires a learning process which takes a lot of time.

    Don’t Yield to Outside Pressures: Don’t let the expectations from others impact yourself. If some people try to put pressure on you (consciously or unconsciously), don’t let them!

Bill Collaros, 2013 Australian WRABF World Cup (Benchrest) and RBA team captain.

    Don’t Skimp on Hardware: Ensure your equipment is a good as you can buy. This includes: rests, bags, rifle, scope, and ammunition.

    Tune to Your Ammo: Ensure that the ammunition you have is tested and your rifle is tuned to it, to get the smallest possible group.

    Train in All Conditions: Train in all sorts of wind and conditions so you know how your rifle and ammunition react in all circumstances.

Stine Nielsen, 2012 Olympic finalist for 3-Position Smallbore Rifle.

    Eley champions shooting tips

    No Excuses: When I train, I train by my motto: “A loser has excuses. A winner has a plan.” And when I shoot in competitions I think about that mantra.

    Stay Focused: When I stand at a shooting range, I have a good focus on my shooting and myself. I also have a good will to want to shoot 110%.

Zorana Arunovic, Past world #2 ranked, 25M women’s pistol shooter.

    Never give up: No matter how hard it is you should always find something that will inspire you to keep going further. I find my inspiration in the success of other athletes. They inspire me to work more and harder. I would say to any young athletes, never give up, no matter how hard it is.

João Costa, Past world #2 ranked, 50m pistol shooter.

    Breathing is Key: In shooting as in life, breathing is of paramount importance. So, when shooting try to be calm and quiet. On the bench in front of me I have my pistol, the scope, the magazine and my choice ammo then I count:

    1… Eley – breathe
    2… Eley – breathe
    3… Eley – breathe
    4… Eley – breathe
    5… Eley – breathe

Story find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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