August 17th, 2019

Truing a Rem 700 Action — RifleShooter.com Shows the Process

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

You may have heard the phrase “blueprinting an action”, but do you know what that really means? Do you know what operations are done to an action during the blueprinting process? To help you understand, gunsmith Bill Marr of RifleShooter.com has created a helpful article showing a Rem 700 blueprinting job start to finish. This article spotlights how the procedures can be done with manual tools. Bill, who runs 782 Custom Gunworks Ltd., can also perform many of these operations with modern automated machinery. In fact, Bill has written a follow-up article on Truing a Rem 700 receiver with a Lathe.

READ Full Action Blueprinting Article HERE with 30+ Photos »

READ Blueprinting Rem 700 Action with Lathe Article HERE »

Bill explains: “Blue-printing, or truing a rifle action, ensures the receiver face, threads, lugs, bolt lugs, and bolt face are square to the center line of the receiver.” In Bill’s informative article, Bill shows how he blueprints a Remington 700 short action receiver with .308 Win bolt face. He covers the following procedures step by step:

Action Disassembly
Ream Minor Diameter of Receiver Threads
Square the Receiver Lugs
Square the Face of the Receiver
Lap the Bolt Lugs
Square the Bolt Face

Bill employed a variety of tools from Brownells to complete the blueprinting job, including: Remington 700 Armorer’s Kit; Manson Receiver Accurizing Kit; Bolt Lapping Kit; Bolt Face Truing Tool; Manson Receiver Ring Facing Cutter; Multi-Vise with Jaw Pads; Silicone Carbide Abrasive; and Do-Drill Cutting Oil.

Highlights from the Rifleshooter.com article:

1. Chasing the Threads

We use the bushings to guide the receiver tap. This chases the threads and ensures they are square.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

2. Truing the Receiver Face

Using the receiver facing tool, the front of the receiver is trued. The tool is placed over the tap and turned by hand. We used Do Drill to lubricate it.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

3. Lapping the Lugs

The bolt lapping tool screws into the front of the action and applies rearward pressure on the bolt face. A little bit of lapping compound is placed on the front of the receiver lugs. The bolt handle is then raised and lowered repeatedly. Note — it is critical that we do not get any lapping compound on any other surfaces.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

4. Truing the Bolt Face

On this bolt, the central part of the bolt face was low. After the truing operation, this Rem 700 bolt face is now completely square to the action.

Bill Marr Rifleshooter.com truing Remington Rem 700 action accurizing

IMPORTANT: Rifleshooter.com states: “This article highlights our project and is presented for information purposes only. This provides an overview of the process and should not be attempted without the guidance and supervision of an experienced gunsmith“.

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August 14th, 2019

Want to Shoot F-Class? Here’s a List of Active F-Class Ranges

Accurateshooter.com F-Class Excel range list

F-Class shooting (both F-Open and F-TR) is one of the fastest-growing forms of rifle competition. Each season many new shooters hit the line and attendance at the big matches increases every year. But if you’re new to the game, you may ask “Where can I shoot an F-Class match?”. Well, Forum member Rod V. (aka Nodak7mm) has compiled a useful list of 112 ranges throughout the USA where F-Class matches are held. With venues from Alabama to Wyoming — you should find an F-Class program not too far from home. The list, in Excel spreadsheet format, provides range locations and weblinks (where available). Click the link below to download the F-Class Range List (.xls file):

Download F-Class Range List, Revision 20 (.XLS file, right click to “save as”)

Note — this list, now in its 20th Revision, is a treasure trove for F-Class shooters. No claim is made that the list is comprehensive. But it still covers the the lion’s share of the important F-Class venues nationwide. If you know of a range that should be added to the list, please post the location on our F-Class Range List Forum thread. Rod will update the list as new range info is received. Rod writes: “Range information is wanted and welcomed. I would like your help on collecting specific info on Clubs/Ranges where known F-Class matches are held.” Here’s a partial sample from Rod’s list:

Accurateshooter.com F-Class Excel range list

Accurateshooter.com F-Class Excel range list

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August 11th, 2019

Sunday GunDay — Eye-Catching Rifles from America and the UK

sunday gunday Rem 700 .270 winchester win tye sims
Here is Tye Sim’s .270 Win Mountain Rifle: “This is off a trued and blue-printed Rem 700 action. I love it.”

For today’s Sunday GunDay feature, we thought we’d present a selection of rifles featuring both cool gear and scenic venues. We’ve got quite a mix — hunting rifles and competition rigs, full customs as well as factory rifles. And there are some interesting calibers including 6.5 Creedmoor, .270 Win, .308 Win, plus a couple WSM variants. Enjoy our Sunday lineup!

Gary Costello Blair Atholl Scotland F-Open F-Class .300 WSM

To begin, here is the beautiful Blair Atholl range in Scotland. Owner Gary Costello posted: “Great day today, weather was interesting but not as bad as we thought!” Gary, a top F-Class shooter in the UK who often runs a .300 WSM, has been featured in a previous Sunday GunDay spotlight story HERE

F-class F-Open Andrew Stone .284 Win Labradar

Andrew Stone is an F-Class shooter from the Southern USA. Here his F-Open rig is set up for load testing from the bench at his beautiful, tree-lined home range. Targets are at 600 yards. Andrew is using a SEB front coaxial rest and LabRadar chronograph mounted on an aftermarket tripod.

F-TR Brian Harder rifle F-TR

In the photo above is Brian Harder’s handsome .308 Win F-TR rifle. This features a Kelbly action, McMillan stock, and Vortex scope with level. Up front is a SEB Joystick Bipod (Joy-Pod) with accessory ski-type feet. Note that Brian runs a front scope extension tube (sunshade), and a mirage shield on the barrel. These items do make a difference, particularly on hot summer days!

F-Class 7mm 270 WSM hydro-dip Bartlein

Here’s another British Beauty. This is the 7mm-270 WSM F-Classer belonging to Forum member Ian B. (aka “Elwood”). It features a Stolle Panda F-Class action, 32″ straight-contour Bartlein barrel, and a custom Joe West stock, modified by Ian and then hydro-dipped in brilliant blue by Hydro Graphics in the UK.

Bergara B14 6.5 Creedmoor HMR

Factory rifles can be interesting too. That’s pretty impressive accuracy shown by Steven Castleman’s Bergara B14 HMR chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. On this day Steve was shooting Hornady factory ammo loaded with 147-grain ELD Match bullets.

Savage Stealth 10 BA Rifle hog hunting

Here’s a stunning silhouette of a Savage 6.5 Creedmoor. Ed Whipple posted: “Borrowing a Savage 10 BA Stealth from my buddy Ron. He wanted a 100-yard head shot on a hog. I’m not listening to Ron any more. Federal Fusion bullet ain’t messing around.”

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August 4th, 2019

Sunday GunDay — .22 LR Rimfire Silhouette Match Rifle

Erich Mietenkorte .260 Bobcat silhouette rifle Lilja

The Modern Smallbore Silhouette Rifle
Smallbore rifle silhouette is a shooting discipline that can really test a shooter’s ability and fundamentals. The saying in silhouette is “the bench proves the rifle, standing proves the shooter”. To be able to stand and shoot a rifle at targets ranging from 40 meters to 100 meters is no small feat, especially when the 100 meter ram target is just a little bigger than a large potato.

Of course, you need a good rifle. The CZ 455 has been at the top of the starter rifle list for a long time, however, a few newcomers such as the Tikka T1x are definitely challenging that spot. The gold standard in the silhouette discipline seems to be the venerable Anschutz 1712. With a fantastic two-stage trigger, smooth operation, great balance, and consistent accuracy it’s one of the most popular rifles, just look through the equipment survey from the U.S. Nationals and you will see what I mean. Even though the Anschutz is a great rifle, there are those competitors who want more. Enter Erich Mietenkorte, a Master silhouette shooter from Ellensburg, Washington and his P-51 Mustang-inspired .22 LR silhouette rifle.

Erich Mietenkorte .260 Bobcat silhouette rifle Lilja
The P-51 Mustang artwork was masterfully painted by Perry Mallet of Spokane, WA from a basic theme sketched out by Erich. This is one of the coolest gunstock paint jobs we’ve ever seen. Bravo Mr. Mallet!

Erich’s Smallbore ‘Silhouette Slammer’

Report by Erich Mietenkorte
At the heart of my .22 LR “Silhouette Slammer” is a Sako P94s Finnfire action. I chose this action due to its incredibly fast lock time. Mated to that is a tight-bore Lilja 4-groove barrel finished at 24 inches. This has a Winchester 52D chamber. The barrel and chamber combination were suggested by Loren Peter of Vancouver, WA, a long time silhouette shooter and gunsmith, and it definitely works! The rifle easily and consistently shoots under one inch at 100 meters with good ammo.

Finnfire Fitted with Modified Anschutz 2-Stage Trigger
The Finnfire was originally equipped with a single-stage trigger but I decided that a two-stage works better for me. There weren’t any available options at the time so I took an Anschutz 5109 trigger from a model 1712 and machined a new sear and mated it up to the action.

CLICK to Zoom Photo
Erich Mietenkorte .260 Bobcat silhouette rifle Lilja
Click Image for large, full-size photo showing details of paint-work.

The rifle wears a Leupold FX-3 25-power optic, a scope favored by many silhouette shooters for its clarity, magnification, and relatively light weight. To make weight in Hunter Class, the rifle may weigh no more than 8.5 pounds total with optic! The last component that makes up this winning rifle is the amazing work of art that is the stock. All of these components rest in a custom fiberglass stock made specifically to push the limits of the NRA stock jig that all competition silhouette rifles must fit. The stock was constructed by Steve Wooster, a long-time silhouette shooter from Chehalis, WA. The P-51 Mustang artwork was masterfully painted by Perry Mallet of Spokane, WA from a sketch I did. Perry took an idea and used his artistic abilities to create a masterpiece that looks as good as it shoots.

Erich Mietenkorte .260 Bobcat silhouette rifle Lilja

Getting Started in the Silhouette Game
Erich’s advice for anyone wanting to get started in the fun and challenging discipline of silhouette is to take any .22 LR scoped rifle you have and simply show up at a silhouette match. On many occasions Erich has helped newcomers and has even loaned out his own rifle for novices to try. “One of the best things about silhouette is the generosity and friendliness of the competitors. Silhouette is a shooting sport that you don’t have to be intimidated, all shooting abilities are welcome and everyone has an opportunity to be successful.” To learn more about silhouette shooting, or locate a silhouette match near you, visit Steelchickens.com, a popular silhouette-centric web forum.

In this Video Erich Mietenkorte Shoots Rams at 100M with his .22 LR Silhouette Rifle:

Erich Mietenkorte .260 Bobcat silhouette rifle Lilja
Note the bullet impact locations on those 10 turkeys — that would be about a 1″ group. Great shooter with a great rifle. In Canada two weeks ago, Erich set a new Ram “long run” record, hitting 30 in a row.

The Three Amigos — Along with his P-51 paint job smallbore rifle, here are two of Erich’s centerfire silhouette rigs. Erich notes: “The green rifle is my High Power silhouette standard rifle (class weight limit 10 lbs. 2.0 oz.). This features a Defiance Machine Rebel action with a Lilja #6 Contour barrel finished at 26″. This rig is chambered in .260 Bobcat (aka 6.5×250, i.e. 250 Savage necked up to 6.5mm). This cartridge has the same energy as a .260 Remington but much less felt recoil. It is very efficient and makes a big difference when shooting a lot of rounds in a match.” Stock by Steve Wooster.

Erich Mietenkorte .260 Bobcat silhouette rifle Lilja

The brown rifle (upper right) is a blueprinted Remington 700 action with a Lilja #5 Contour barrel finished at 26″, also chambered in .260 Bobcat. Erich tells us: “I won Second Place at the U.S. National Championships last year with this rifle. Stock made by Wooster. This rifle is for the hunting rifle category (9-lb weight limit). For Hunter rifles in smallbore and High Power the trigger must have a safety and a pull weight at least two pounds. (By contrast, a Standard rifle may have any weight trigger with/without a safety.) Because you can shoot a Hunter rifle in the Standard rifle class, I started my High Power silhouette journey with this rifle and then added the Standard rifle later. I’ll be replacing this rifle this upcoming season with a Defiance Rebel action and barrel chambered in 6mm BR.”

Erich Mietenkorte .260 Bobcat silhouette rifle Lilja

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August 3rd, 2019

6mm Creedmoor Built with Howa Action and KRG Bravo Chassis

Gavin Gear 6mm Creedmoor Howa 1500 KRG Bravo chassis stock

The 6mm Creedmoor has become one of the most popular cartridges for PRS/NRL competition, and it also works great in the varmint fields. There are many 6mm Creedmoor factory rifle options now, such as the Savage Model 10 in GRS stock and the Ruger Precision Rifle (6mm Creedmoor).

Do-It-Yourself 6mm Creedmoor Rifle Project — UltimateReloader.com
Another cost-effective option for 6mm Creedmoor fans is to build your own rifle, starting with a Howa barreled action. The Howa 1500 is a mag-fed, flat-bottomed bolt action that ships with the excellent HACT 2-stage trigger. Howa barreled actions are available with a variety of barrel lengths and contours, starting at about $430.00 at Brownells. There are quite a few good stocks/chassis systems now offered for Howa 1500 actions, including the excellent KRG Bravo Chassis, which features an ergonomic composite outer shell over a precision-machined inner chassis.

Gavin Gear 6mm Creedmoor Howa 1500 KRG Bravo chassis stock
Gavin Gear fitted a KRG enclosed fore-end and Mystic Precision MPOD to his 6mm Creedmoor rifle.

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com has built a nice 6mm Creedmoor rifle using a Howa 1500 heavy-barreled action and KRG Bravo Chassis. This project has proven very successful. The rifle has shown impressive accuracy and outstanding reliability. Gavin hopes to use this rifle in practical/tactical competitions later this year.

In this video, Gavin fits KRG’s enclosed fore-end to the KRG Bravo chassis. This accessory fore-end features a top Picatinny rail and various attachment options on the sides and lower section. Here you can see the enclosed fore-end (upper right) next to the factory forend included with the KRG Bravo (lower left):

Gavin Gear 6mm Creedmoor Howa 1500 KRG Bravo chassis stock

Gavin then fits a Mystic Precision MPod from EGW. This stable, wide-base bipod uses a T-Slot rail for rifle attachment, and has legs that adjust independently for height. The video shows the rifle coming together step-by-step. This is something the average guy can do with simple tools — no gunsmithing is required, because the Howa barreled action is pre-chambered for the 6mm Creedmoor cartridge.

In the video above Gavin unboxes his Howa 1500 barreled action from Brownells. He then mounts the barreled action to the KRG Bravo stock, checking the torque levels. Next Gavin borescopes the hammer-forged barrel (5:55) noting: “What I saw I liked — there are practically no tooling marks. The finish on the lands and grooves looks really good”. Lastly, Gavin tested the trigger with his TriggerScan TS-11 (6:24), confirming a two-stage pull weight of about 2.25 pounds out of the box.

6mm Creedmoor Lapua cartridge brass

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July 31st, 2019

Updated 6mm Creedmoor Load Data from Sierra Bullets

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets
Sierra recently updated its LOAD DATA for the 6mm Creedmoor. Click image to get latest PDF.

CLICK HERE for Sierra Bullets 6mm Creedmoor LOAD DATA PDF »

Sierra Bullets has recently released load data for the 6mm Creedmoor cartridge, a necked-down version of the 6.5 Creedmoor, a popular PRS, tactical, and hunting cartridge. Sierra has released very comprehensive 6mm Creedmoor load data, covering fifteen (15) different bullets from 55 to 110 grains. NOTE: Hornady-brand brass was used for Sierra’s 6mm Creedmoor load tests, not the newer, stronger Lapua 6.5 CM brass with small primer pockets. Hand-loaders using Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor brass necked to 6mm may have to adjust their loads.

Sierra writes: “As soon as the 6.5 Creedmoor was released in 2007, a 6mm version was being envisioned. After the 6mm Creedmoor demonstrated its worth at 1000 yards it began to catch the attention of Precision Rifle Series (PRS) competitors. The 6mm/6.5 Creedmoor is a great fit for those looking for an AR platform-friendly cartridge. It delivers velocities very similar to the .243 Win and yet fits the AR10 magazine length[.] The 30-degree shoulder makes this a very efficient case and helps prolong case life as well. The 6mm/6.5 Creedmoor works well with powders such as H4350, RE-17, and Ramshot Hunter for heavier long-range bullet weights. Slightly faster powders such as RE-15, Win 760, and Vihtavuori N540 work well with lighter weight bullets.”

Sierra Bullets Tested for 6mm Creedmoor Load Data
55gr BlitzKing (#1502)
60gr HP (#1500)
70gr HPBT (#1505)
70gr BlitzKing (#1507)
75gr HP (#1510)
80gr SBT (#1515)
85gr Spitzer (#1520)
85gr HPBT (#1530)
90gr FMJBT (#1535)
95gr HPBT (#1537)
95gr TMK (#7295)
100gr Spitzer (#1540)
100gr SBT (#1560)
107gr HPBT (#1570)
110gr HPBT (#1575)

In developing its 6mm Creedmoor load data, Sierra tested a very wide selection of propellants, two dozen overall. For the smaller bullets, fast-burning powders such as Benchmark, H4895, and CFE223 were tested. For the heavier 100+ grain bullets, Sierra tested a selection of medium-burn-rate powders including H4350, Reloder 16, Reloder 17, Varget, and Superformance. Sierra did a very thorough job. We know this information will be welcomed by 6mm Creedmoor shooters.

Don’t know what powder to try first? For the 107-110 grain bullets, if you want best accuracy and low ES/SD, our Forum members recommend Alliant Reloder 16 and Hodgdon H4350. If you are seeking max velocity with the 110-grainer, look at Hodgdon Superformance and Reloder 19.

Here are Sierra’s 6mm Creedmoor Load Data Charts for the 107gr MK and 110gr MK. There are a half-dozen other tables for lighter-weight bullets.

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets

Sierra Bullets Load Data 6mm Creedmoor reloading tips

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July 28th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: Tack-Driving .22 PPC Eliseo Tubegun

Gary Eliseo Competition machine John Pierce engineering tubegun tube-gun chassis rifle

We know that Competition Machine (Gary Eliseo) makes great chassis systems and Pierce Engineering (John Pierce) makes great actions. But sometimes a project comes together even better than one can imagine. The folks at Pierce Engineering recently completed an Eliseo Tubegun that displayed some mind-blowing accuracy during initial testing. This was a special rifle built to a client’s spec in .22 PPC.

Gary Eliseo Competition machine John Pierce engineering tubegun tube-gun chassis rifle

After his team completed the rifle, John Pierce took the Tubegun to the range to make sure everything was working right. The rifle was chambered for the .22 PPC, a known accuracy cartridge. Would this cartridge shoot in this gun? Heck yeah was the answer! The first two shots out of the gun were touching. That was promising enough. But then John drilled a five-shot group that was basically one hole! Here is that target. First two shots upper left, then the five-shot group below and to the right. Chassis-maker Gary Eliseo commented: “that’ll do just fine…”

Gary Eliseo Competition machine John Pierce engineering tubegun tube-gun chassis rifle

Gary Eliseo Competition machine John Pierce engineering tubegun tube-gun chassis rifleDisclaimer: John shot some more groups with this Tubegun that were definitely NOT one-holers. That first five-shot masterpiece could not be duplicated. However, we’re told that the rifle shot other groups in the 2s, 3s, and 4s — impressive performance for a rifle designed for prone and position shooting. This shows how well the Pierce action mates to the Competition Machine chassis.

And if the owner ever wants to show off a “wallet group” for his new rifle — well he’s got that, thanks to John’s great trigger-pulling and rifle-building. Using On-Target software we measured that five-shot group at 0.189″ (see photo at right). That’s crazy small for a new gun with zero load development. That’s also a testimony to the quality of the Norma .22 PPC brass.

Why the .22 PPC Chambering?
The customer owns other Eliseo Tubeguns, but wanted something that combined extreme accuracy with very low recoil. He also wanted to be able to shoot factory brass without fire-forming. Norma makes very high-quality .22 PPC cartridge brass that is an easy load and shoot solution. In fact the folks at Pierce Engineering custom-loaded a quantity of .22 PPC ammo for this Tubegun and shipped it off to the customer along with the new rifle. NOTE: Loading ammo is not something that Pierce normally does, but this was a special client request.

Norma .22 PPC Cartridge Brass is available from Grafs.com for $88.88 per 100 cases.

Gary Eliseo Competition machine John Pierce engineering tubegun tube-gun chassis rifle

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July 26th, 2019

Download a Dozen FREE Targets for Nat’l Shooting Sports Month

August 2019 National Shooting Shoot sports month celebration NSSF

Get ready folks! August, National Shooting Sports Month, is less than a week away. During August, we’d like to see all our readers introduce at least one new person to the shooting sports. To keep our freedoms and help the shooting sports thrive, we need to bring in new participants, particularly younger men and women.

An estimated 50 million Americans participate in target shooting sports, and millions more have expressed interest in learning about rifle, shotgun, and handgun shooting, according to NSSF research. But those numbers will shrink unless we bring new shooters into the game.

To help our readers have more fun during National Shooting Sports Month, here are a dozen FREE Targets from the NSSF. Along with Bullseye targets, there are some very cool specialty targets here, including a Golf Course Target, Baseball Diamond Target, Billiards Target, Light Bulb Target, Bowling Pin Target, and even a Windmill Target. Enjoy the myriad possibilities with these 12 fun targets.


CLICK HERE to Download 12 FREE Targets (1.2 mb ZIP) »

August National Shooting Shoot sports month celebration NSSF

August National Shooting Shoot sports month celebration

What Shooters Can Do to Promote National Shooting Sports Month:
The NSSF says: “As shooters, you serve a critical role in the continued growth of gun ownership and shooting sports participation. We urge you to join us this August for National Shooting Sports Month.” There are a variety of ways you can help this August:

— Introduce a family member, friend, or group of friends to the shooting sports by taking them to a local range that’s hosting an event.

— Spread the word to family/friends and encourage them to get out to the range in August.

— Encourage the ranges and retailers near you to host an event this August and add them to the official events calendar at www.ShootingSportsMonth.org.

August 2019 National Shooting Shoot sports month celebration

Find Shooting Sports Events Near You
The NSSF’s ShootingSportsMonth.org website offers a comprehensive, searchable database. This lets you search by state, to find ranges, events, and sales promotions near you. Search for activities, and learn more at www.ShootingSportsMonth.org.

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July 25th, 2019

Oh Canada! 2019 World Benchrest Championship in Alberta

World Benchrest Championship XV Alberta Canada Rosebud Silhouette

The most accurate shooters on the planet competed in Canada last week at the 2019 World Benchrest Championship. Conducted at the beautiful Rosebud Silhouette and Benchrest Club in Alberta, Canada, this major event drew shooters from 20+ nations. After some practice days, shooters assembled with National Flags for the Opening Ceremony on the 17th. The matches ran from the 17th through Sunday the 21st. Then competitors assembled at the McPhail Center, Canada Olympic Park, for the individual and team awards. Overall, it was a great event, but with one sad loss — Faye Boyer passed away this week after being hospitalized during the match.

World Benchrest Championship XV Alberta Canada Rosebud Silhouette

Don’t be deceived by some of these beautiful photos — conditions were often very tough at this event, with stormy clouds and unpredictable winds. Joel Nader mastered those difficult conditions with a strong performance, securing the overall Two-Gun Title. Congratulations to Joel Nader the 2019 Two-Gun World Champion. Bill Mitchell was second overall in the Two-Gun. Team USA C (Harvey Baker, Gary Bristow, Jeff Graves, Jack Neary) won overall Two-Gun team honors, with Team USA A (Walt Berger, Wayne Campbell, Joel Nader, Bob Scarbrough Jr.) taking second. In third place was Australia Team A (Brendan Atkinson, Darren Parsons, Ean Parsons, Steve Sori). You can find complete day-by-day results, Overall Results, and Team Results on the WBC Website.

World Benchrest Championship XV Alberta Canada Rosebud Silhouette

World Benchrest Championship XV Alberta Canada Rosebud Silhouette

Here is the Top 20 Equipment List (Click Image for full-size PDF):

World Benchrest Championship XV Alberta Canada Rosebud Silhouette

World Benchrest Championship XV Alberta Canada Rosebud Silhouette

As you might expect, the top shooters favored BAT Actions, and cut-rifled barrels from Krieger and Bartlein. Vihtavuori N133 powder was used by almost all, as were Federal 205m primers. However, shooters employed a huge variety of bullet types. Two-Gun Winner Joel Nader shot his own Nader 68-grainers. About half of the Top 20 competitors in each class (HV and LV) used tuners.

Here are some of the 83 competitors at the 2019 World Benchrest Championships in Alberta, Canada.

World Benchrest Championship XV Alberta Canada Rosebud Silhouette

World Benchrest Championship XV Alberta Canada Rosebud Silhouette

Sad Loss of Faye Boyer after WBC
During the course of the WBC, Fay Boyer, a respected Hall of Fame competitor, and beloved wife of benchrest legend Tony Boyer, experienced a medical emergency. She was rushed to the hospital. Sadly, her condition worsened and she passed away on July 25th. All of us in the shooting community mourn her loss, and give our condolences to Tony and the Boyer family. IBS President Jeff Stover posted: “This is terrible news. Faye was a wonderful lady, and one of the nicest persons you would ever meet. So sorry for Tony and his family.”

World Benchrest Championship XV Alberta Canada Rosebud Silhouette
Faye and Tony Boyer, in younger days

Because of his wife’s medical emergency, Tony Boyer had to leave the competition. Filling in for Tony on one of the USA 4-man teams was Walt Berger (below), founder of Berger Bullets. Competing with borrowed equipment, Walt, now 90, did a great job, finishing 17th out of a field of 83 of the best in the world. On the last day, Walt concluded the event with a teen Agg at 200!

World Benchrest Championship XV Alberta Canada Rosebud Silhouette

World Benchrest Championship XV Alberta Canada Rosebud Silhouette

World Benchrest Championship XV Alberta Canada Rosebud Silhouette

World Benchrest Championship XV Alberta Canada Rosebud Silhouette

World Benchrest Championship XV Alberta Canada Rosebud Silhouette

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July 23rd, 2019

The Road to Camp Perry — Dennis Drives to Ohio

 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago travel National Matches California Ohio Route 66
All Camp Perry photos courtesy Dennis Santiago.

Our friend (and fellow Californian) Dennis Santiago recently drove across the country, all the way to Ohio. His mission? To attend the CMP National Matches at Camp Perry. This has become an annual pilgrimage for Dennis, who writes: “My goal is to spend time with as many of my friends as possible — the friends I’ve known and hang out with throughout the year, the ones I only see once a year at Camp Perry, and the many I’ve only conversed with on social media and will meet in person for the first time. More than anything, Camp Perry is where I come home to my shooting family. My mission is to celebrate my love of this sport with them.”

Here are some photos of Santiago’s successful journey across the USA to Ohio. He’s done the road-work, now it’s time to buckle down and shoot 10s and Xs across the course.

 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago travel National Matches California Ohio Route 66

 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago travel National Matches California Ohio Route 66
“Get your kicks on Route 66 — in Manuelito, New Mexico.” — Dennis Santiago

 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago travel National Matches California Ohio Route 66
“The heartland is an ocean of corn. It is an amazing thing to see how much food we make.” — Dennis

 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago travel National Matches California Ohio Route 66
“Arrived and I’m hungry… at Camp Perry National Rifle Competition, Port Clinton, Ohio.” — Dennis

 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago travel National Matches California Ohio Route 66

Advice for First-Time Visitors to Camp Perry

Dennis first competed at Camp Perry in 2016, writing about the experience in his Dennis Talks Guns Blog. Here are some of Santiago’s tips for first-time Perry competitors:

 Camp Perry Dennis Santiago travel National Matches California Ohio Route 661. Walk the Base. Do not drive around. Get used to walking. Walk from your hut to everything. Walk to the administration buildings. Walk to the ranges. Walk to commercial row. Walk to the CMP North Store. Walk to the CMP or Army trailer to have the triggers of your rifles(s) weighed. Walk. This is your primary mode of transportation while on base.

2. Go Shopping. It’s called Commercial Row. It is the best shopping mall for competitive shooters ever. The sale prices here are Black Friday quality. You stock up on supplies. You can buy elusive powders in quantity with the same lot number. Same with bullets and primers. I stocked up. Everything you need to keep making your pet loads — except brass. This is a service rifle tournament. Pretty much everyone is using LC or WCC cases.

3. Learn about the Perils of Perry. It rains at Camp Perry. Sometimes that rain comes with lightning. When that happens range controls issues an evacuation order. Depending on where you are and how much time you have, you either grab your stuff and make for a sheltered structure or leave your stuff under whatever rain cover you have and leave it there until the storm cell passes.

Coming Soon — The President’s 100 Match
In past years, Dennis has competed in the historic National President’s 100 Match, which takes place on Monday, July 29th this year. This is a huge event — in recent years there were over 1100 ranked competitors from throughout the nation, making this one of the biggest High Power events of the year.

Presidents 100 Match

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July 23rd, 2019

“Bully!” — Theodore Roosevelt’s Guns In NRA Museum

Theodore Teddy TR Roosevelt NRA museum bully

Theodore Teddy TR Roosevelt NRA museum bullyStory by Lars Dalseide for NRAblog.
Back in 2012, the National Firearms Museum received a shipment from Sagamore Hill — the ancestral home of President Theodore Roosevelt. While Sagamore Hill undergoes renovation, the National Parks Service was kind enough to lend a portion of the estate’s collection to the NRA Museum. For quite some time, that collection was displayed at the NRA Museum as an exhibit named “Trappings of an Icon”.

“Basically it tells you about the life of Theodore Roosevelt,” explains Senior Curator Phil Schreier (in photo above in coat). “Hunter, Statesman, Soldier. In the first case we had two firearms from his hunting career. First an 1886 Winchester rifle known as the tennis match gun because he used winnings from a tennis match to purchase the gun.”

The second firearm on display was a suppressed Winchester model 1894 rifle. This was favorite of the President’s when clearing the grounds of the local, pesky critters. Schreier explains: “Archie Roosevelt wrote that his father liked to shoot varmints around Oyster Bay with this gun so he wouldn’t disturb the Tiffany and Du Pont families that lived near by.”

President Theodore Roosevelt was a strong supporter of marksmanship competitions. In fact President Theodore Roosevelt could be called a “founding father” of the NRA National Matches*. Teddy Roosevelt believed that, to assure peace, America needed to be prepared to fight. At the 2011 NRA National Championships, Dr. Joseph W. Westphal, Under Secretary of the U.S. Army, echoed the views of Roosevelt: “The first step in the direction of preparation to avert war, if possible, and to be fit for war, if it should come, is to teach men to shoot.”

Theodore Roosevelt also has a strong connection to the “President’s Match” fired every summer at Camp Perry. The President’s Match was patterned after an event for British Volunteers called the Queen’s Match started in 1860 by Queen Victoria and the NRA of Great Britain. The tradition of making a letter from the President of the United States the first prize began in 1904 when President Roosevelt personally wrote a letter of congratulations to the winner, Private Howard Gensch of the New Jersey National Guard.

*In February 1903, an amendment to the War Department Appropriations Bill established the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice (NBPRP). This government advisory board became the predecessor to today’s Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety, Inc. that now governs the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). The 1903 legislation also established the National Matches, commissioned the National Trophy and provided funding to support the Matches. This historic legislation grew out of a desire to improve military marksmanship and national defense preparedness. President Theodore Roosevelt, Secretary of War Elihu Root and NRA President General Bird Spencer were among the most important supporters of this act.

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July 21st, 2019

Sunday GunDay: Shiraz Balolia’s F-Class Lowboy Stock Project

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill

Lowboy F-Class Gunstock Conversion

Project by Shiraz Balolia, President of Grizzly Industrial
The lowboy stock you see above started as an experiment. I had an extra Masterclass F-Class stock that had gone through two actions, four beddings, and multiple modifications over the years. I figured that there was nothing to lose if the experiment did not work out.

After deciding on the design, the stock was carefully leveled in every direction and milled to the precise dimensions for attaching the side pieces, which would be glued to the original stock.

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill
Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill

Curly Maple and Bubinga wood were laminated to get the exact thickness of the side pieces so that the total width of the fore-end would be just under the total width allowed for F-Open stocks.

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill

Two guide pins made of Bubinga were drilled through each side so that the sides would not move when glued to the milled stock.

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill

Once the sides were glued to the blank, the stock was once again trued on the mill so it was perfectly flat and square with the back (see below).

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill

The stock was then sent to Keith Weill at KW Precision who did an incredible bedding job on the new BAT M action. The stock was then sent out for spraying a clear finish. Normally I spray my own stocks, but I did not have time for this stock, so that part was subbed-out. The finger grooves and “Shiraz” inlay had been done by me a few years prior during the old stock’s heyday.

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill

Modified Stock Has Significantly Lower Center of Gravity
The rifle was then assembled, a March 10-60x56mm High Master scope was installed, and break-in was completed on the new barrel. At the range, the stock performed great. The stock rides one-half-inch lower in the front bag and really feels good.

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill
CLICK HERE for full-screen photo.

Bartlein Barrel Is Chambered in .300 WSM
I was pleased to find that the Bartlein barrel I have on this gun cleaned up very well during barrel break-in and this “experiment” may turn into this being one of my best-performing guns. All of my F-Open match guns are .300 WSM (Winchester Short Magnum), and so is this one.

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly F-Class Laminated stock .300 WSM competition rifle gunsmithing gunstock lathe mill

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July 19th, 2019

Learn How the Human Ear Works — And Protect Your Hearing

hearing protection inner ear anatomy science hearing medical electronic muffs earplugs

hearing protectionAll shooters, even rimfire enthusiasts, should always wear ear protection when at the range. A typical rifle gunshot is very loud — in the region of 140 to 170 decibels (the pain threshold is 130-140 db). Without ear protection, you can permanently damage your hearing during a single shooting session. We all know older shooters who are partially deaf, or who suffer from Tinnitus, because they didn’t use earplugs or muffs when they were younger.

How Humans Hear Sounds — Amazing Video Reveals All
The human sense of hearing involves multiple delicate internal membranes, bones, organs, and nerves. Shooters understand the importance of protecting their hearing, but they may not understand the bio-mechanics of human hearing. We hear sounds through Auditory Transduction. Sound waves vibrate the ear drum (tympanic membrane), but that is only the beginning. These vibrations are passed along via tiny rocker-arm-like bones to be “processed” in a spiral chamber, the cochlea.

This remarkable VIDEO explains how humans hear sounds. We strongly recommend you take the time to watch and learn. The hearing you save may be your own!

Click Speaker Icon to turn on the video’s soundtrack.

Vibrations moving through the cochlea are separated into frequencies and then sent as neural messages to the brain. It is an astonishingly complex process, one that truly seems miraculous when you examine the bio-engineering involved. In the Video above, the process of human Auditory Transduction is explained and illustrated with 3D animation. You really should watch this amazing video. By the end you will have a new-found appreciation for your ability to hear.

hearing protection inner ear anatomy science hearing medical electronic muffs earplugs

Every shooter should own a pair of Electronic muffs, even if you prefer shooting with earplugs and/or standard muffs. Electronic muffs are great when you are spotting for other shooters or are working near the firing line. They let you hear ordinary conversations while still providing vital hearing protection. You can also wear ear-plugs under muffs for extra sound attenuation.

shooting ear protection nrr 33 ear plugs howard leightPlugs PLUS Ear-Muffs — The Benefits of “Doubling-Up” Your Hearing Protection
According to OHS Online: “The combined attenuation of an ear plug and an ear muff is not simply the algebraic sum of the performance of each individual protector. This is due to an acoustic and vibratory interaction between the ear muff and the ear plug that causes them to behave together as a system rather than as independent hearing protectors.

Generally speaking, when you combine two hearing protectors, ear muffs over ear plugs, you can expect an increase [in noise reduction] of between 3 and 10 dB over the higher-performing hearing protector. OSHA [now advises] 5 dB as the [typical] benefit offered by combining hearing protectors.” Source: OHSonline.com

Ear diagram courtesy Siemens Medical Solutions.

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July 15th, 2019

Design and Print Your Own Custom Color Targets

Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest

Are you a do-it-yourself kind of guy with a creative eye? Then you’ll love the Target Generator from the folks at ShooterShed.com. This free, interactive webpage allows you to design a variety of fun targets, including grids, benchrest-type Score Shooting targets, sight-in targets, and even playing card targets. Choose the paper size and orientation (vertical or horizontal), then select the number of target elements on the page. For example, you could have four (4) bulls or 52 playing cards. You can include a grid on the target, or tell the program to include load information blocks. For bullseye targets, you can control the number, color, and spacing (diameter) of the rings. LINK to TARGET GENERATOR.

Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest

The program provides a preview of each target you generate. If you like a particular design, save the file, and then print as many targets as you want. Check it out, this program is fun and handy to use. Here are four (4) targets your Editor created just for this article. With a bit of practice, you can be generating your own custom targets in minutes. Have fun.

Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest
Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest

About the Creator of the Target Generator
The Target Generator program was created by Rod Brown of Sheridan, Wyoming. Rod tells us: “I build custom rifles and coach shooters. I’ve got a 100-yard range out my back door. I shoot short- and long-range benchrest competitively around the country. I’m a full-time software development consultant and an FFL holder. When I’m not developing custom software for my clients, I’m usually fiddling in the shop, building a custom benchrest rifle, traveling to a match, chambering a barrel, or reloading some ammunition.

Story tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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July 14th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: “We the People” .284 Shehane F-Open Rifle

.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine
Jason Cohen’s “We the People” patriotic .284 Shehane F-Class rifle. It has already demonstrated great promise, scoring second place in its very first match, a 3×20 at 1000 yards in Wyoming.

Rifle Report by Jason Cohen
The rifle began its life as a Will McClosky Cerus stock. I approached Will at the Berger SW Nationals about a rifle I wanted to build. I wanted to do something different — PAINT it. He said he had just the stock that I could use, and sent that to Bryan Blake at Blake Machine. I chose Bryan for two reasons — first, I have shot with him a few times at National matches and he is approachable and very helpful. Second I visited his shop during the SWN in February and liked what I observed and how he approached things. Bryan never seems to be happy with the status quo. He is always trying new ideas.

I noticed that Bryan had been adding aluminum rails to the front of Cerus stocks to lower the center of gravity and improve tracking. I asked him to modify my stock and fit it with the new forearm rails, shown in the photo below. I sent him a Panda F-Class action with a +20 MOA Picatinny rail. Bryan did all the stock work and fitted the action, rails, and RAD recoil pad. Everything turned out flawless.

.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine

The barrel is a Blake Machine 1:8″-twist finished at 32 inches. It was fitted to my action by Dale Woolum of Woolum Accuracy. Dale chambers all my barrels on all my rifles. Dale also threaded the barrel for a Woolum Accuracy tuner. This has proven to be a valuable tool in my load development. On this build, I am trying a Bix’N Andy trigger for the first time.

.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine

The 284 Shehane has a proven record of accomplishments and that is why I have chosen it. I use Lapua brass (6.5-284 necked-up), CCI BR-2 primers, Hodgdon H4350 powder, and Berger 184gr bullets. All these components have been a successful combination that has worked flawlessly in my other rifle.

.284 Shehane Load Development
Load development for me starts with each new barrel. I screw on the new barrel, fire 25 rounds of whatever I have left over and then clean it. I push out to 600 yds and do a ladder test in round-robin format. I start 0.6 grains lower than my last charge that worked. I work up from that reduced charge weight in increments of 0.3 grains. The paper tells the rest of the story. Once I get something that works well at 600 yards I go back in work around that by 0.1 grains. After that I play a little with seating depth and look for a change. I will occasionally mess with the tuner and tighten things up if possible.

.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine

About the Patriotic Paint Job
So I had the idea of painting the stock because there are so many wood stocks with clear coat these days. Unless you really get some exotic woods they all seem to blend together. I have nothing against clear-coated wood, but I wanted something different, as this was my first all-wood rifle. (For short-range benchrest, I was shooting a Bob Scoville carbon stock and Terry Leonard laminate).

We started with all white on the stock and came up with the idea of an American Flag on the buttstock. I was thinking of ribbons on the front in red and blue but we could not get the layout right. Then the idea of “We the People” popped into the head. My painter said “awesome!” and he was able to airbrush the stock with a little yellow and brown to give it that vintage paper look.

.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine

The front rest is a SEB Max (see above). I chose the Max because I was shooting Group Benchrest first then made the transition to F-Class. This rest proves to be versatile in all my shooting — Short- and Long-Range Benchrest AND F-Class. The rear bag is a Edgewood EDGEbag Gator. The gun gets transported in a Pelican Hard case when I travel. Locally, I use a Champions Choice soft bag.

Jason Jumped to Open Class after Starting with F-TR
This “We the People” rifle will be one of my primary rifles for F-Open competition. I will run it through its paces shortly and see how well it does. I have high hopes of it being an great gun. I shoot primarily local and regional matches — Colorado, Wyoming, and possibly Nebraska this summer. I will travel to the F-Class Nationals in Raton as well. I used to shoot F-TR before this and made the transition to Open last season. This is my second season shooting F-Open. 2018 was my first National event and was a learning experience for me. But I was hooked after that match.

Tips for F-Class Competitors
Get some good equipment and eliminate having issues that can be caused by budget builds. It’s OK to be frugal, but sometimes cutting corners will cause you more problems and have you chasing your tail. If you’re looking for the “recipe for success”, get a good action plus a top-tier barrel and great glass.

.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine

The .284 Shehane — Accurate and Forgiving Wildcat
The 284 Shehane is amazing, very forgiving and not temperamental. I choose this because I really did not know otherwise and was steered to the Shehane by a friend. Its proven track record helped as well. Straight .284 or Shehane — you cannot go wrong. I run a 184gr Berger at about 2850 FPS and get great brass life in my other rifles. I usually start to consider tossing the brass around 15 firings. Primer pockets start to get a little looser and the brass seems to need more sizing than the newer brass with less firings.

.284 Shehane Win Winchester F-class F-Open wildcat load development

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July 13th, 2019

Honor & Glory in Stunning Silver — The NRA Perpetual Tropies

Leech Cup Wimbledon Trophy Cup NRA SSUSA.org
Michelle Gallagher with Leech Cup in 2013.

Shooting Sports USA has a fascinating article about the Perpetual Trophies awarded in national-level NRA matches. The story recounts the history behind the elaborate trophies, some from the 1870s. SSUSA’s Jennifer Pearsall writes: “The pieces of wood, stone and precious metal … are more than just instant recognition of achievement. They are the link of the American shooter’s present to his or her patriotic past. As you read this legacy of the NRA ranges, their founders, and the long list of cups, bowls, and plaques, realize that the history of competitive shooting is undeniably a significant part of the foundation of this country”. Read Full Trophy Story HERE.

Leech Cup Wimbledon Trophy Cup NRA SSUSA.org
Stunners in silver. Above are the NRA Leech Cup (left) and Wimbledon Cup (right).

The NRA was co-founded by Col. William Church and Gen. George Wood Wingate (ranked Captain at the time). Both Church and Wingate hoped to improved the marksmanship skills of American soldiers. One of the newly-formed NRA’s first actions was to issue: “An Act to Establish a Rifle Range and Promote Skill in Marksmanship”. That led to the opening of the famed Creedmoor Range, with a special inaugural match in June of 1873.

Many of the awards presented in the first NRA matches were cash or firearms. Some of these firearms were heavily embellished works of art. In the very first match, a member of the 22nd New York Regiment took home a gold-mounted Winchester Model 1866 valued at $100 — big money for the time.

Leech Cup Wimbledon Trophy Cup NRA SSUSA.org
In the 1870s shooting competitions were social as well as sporting events. Ladies and gentlemen came to watch and cheer the winners. This illustration, originally from Harpers Weekly, portrays the shooters and the viewing gallery at the 1876 Grand Centennial Championship—the “Palma” Match.

The Leech Cup — A Gift from Ireland
The Leech Cup was created for the first meeting of the American and Irish shooting teams. The elaborate cup was presented by Major Arthur Leech, captain of the the Irish team, to the Amateur Rifle Club of New York. This masterpiece of Irish silver-smithing was later given to the NRA in 1901 by the New York Club. Today, the Leech Cup is the oldest trophy offered in overall NRA competitive target shooting, awarded through the National High Power Long Range Championships.

The Wimbledon Cup
The Wimbledon Trophy was a gift from the NRA of Great Britain. It was given, as a gesture of sportsmanship, after the the U.S. Team was denied the ability to compete in England’s Elcho Shield match, then limited to Britain, Scotland, and Ireland. To maintain friendly competitive relations, the British presented the Americans with a large, engraved, lion-footed tankard trophy to be awarded each year to the Champion U.S. long-distance rifleman.

Wimbledon Trophy Cup NRA SSUSA.org

Palma Trophy Facts Team Match National Camp Perry Tiffany'sThe Palma Team Trophy
Originally named the Centennial Trophy, in honor of the Centennial celebration of the independence of the United States of America, the Palma Trophy was commissioned from Tiffany’s at a cost of $1,500. The trophy was a full-sized replica of a Roman Legion standard, executed in bronze with silver and gold inlay. On the banner of the standard was the legend, “In the name of the United States of America to the Riflemen of the world”. Above the banner was an eagle, bearing in its talons a wreath of palm leaves and a plaque on which was the single word, “PALMA”, the Latin word for palm tree, which was used by the Romans to signify victory, or the ultimate in excellence.

Because the word Palma was so easily seen, the trophy soon became known as the “Palma Trophy”, and by 1878 was referred to officially by that name. The original seven and one-half foot trophy is now lost, having not been seen since at least 1954. Serving in its place is a copy which was commissioned by Dr. Herbert M. Aitken of Eau Claire, WI. The copy was made from the original Tiffany blue-prints at a cost of $32,500. Dr. Aitken has given this copy of the Palma Trophy to the NRA for use in the Palma Match. The trophy is retained by the winning team until the next Palma Match.

In 2008, the Palma Trophy was returned to the NRA, and it was decided that the trophy, once refurbished, will travel to the host nation for the match every four years, then returned to the NRA for safekeeping.

The first competition for the Palma Team was a challenge match for which the British Commonwealth nations were invited. The match was fired in 1876 at the old Creedmoor Range on Long Island as part of the Centennial celebration of the United States. Teams representing Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and the United States took part. The match is currently fired on a four-year interval.

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July 12th, 2019

Shooting Brain Trust — Wind Wisdom of Emil Praslick III

Berger Bullets Applied Ballistics Wind Reading Zero direction speed windy

Emil Praslick III is widely recognized as one of the greatest wind wizards on the planet — a master at identifying wind value and direction, and predicting wind cycles. As coach of the USAMU and top civilian teams, Emil has helped win many high-level championships. In the three videos we feature today, Emil, who works with Capstone Precision Group (Berger, Lapua, SK, Vihtavuori) and Team Applied Ballistics, explains how to determine wind direction and velocity using a variety of indicators. Praslick, now retired from the U.S. Army, was an 18-time National and 2-time World Champion coach with the USAMU.

Video ONE: Wind Theory Basics — Understanding “Wind Values”

In this video from UltimateReloader.com, Emil explains the basics of modern wind theory. To properly understand the effect of the wind you need to know both the velocity of the wind and its angle. The combination of those variables translates to the wind value. Emil also explains that the wind value may not be constant — it can cycle both in speed and velocity. Emil also explains some of the environmental conditions such as mirage that can reveal wind conditions.

Emil Praslick III Berger SWN Wind calling reading

Video TWO: Determining the Direction of the Wind

Key Point in Video — Find the Boil
Emil explains how to determine wind direction using optic. The method is to use spotting scope, riflescope, or binoculars to look for the “Boil” — the condition in mirage when the light waves rising straight up. The wind will generate that straight-up, vertical boil in your optics when it is blowing directly at you, or directly from your rear. To identify this, traverse your scope or optics until you see the boil running straight up. When you see that vertical boil, the direction your optic is pointing is aligned with the wind flow (either blowing towards you or from directly behind you).

Video THREE: The No Wind Zero Setting

In this second video, Emil defines the “No-Wind Zero”, and explains why competitive shooters must understand the no-wind zero and have their sights or optics set for a no-wind zero starting point before heading to a match. In order to hit your target, after determining wind speed and direction, says Emil, “you have to have your scope setting dialed to ‘no wind zero’ first.”

Emil Praslick III KO2M

Coach of Champions — Emil Praslick III
SFC Emil Praslick III, (U.S. Army, retired) works with Berger Bullets and Applied Ballistics. Emil served as the Head Coach of the U.S. National Long Range Rifle Team and Head Coach of the USAMU for several years. Teams coached by Emil have won 33 Inter-Service Rifle Championships. On top of that, teams he coached set 18 National records and 2 World Records. Overall, in the role of coach, Praslick can be credited with the most team wins of any coach in U.S. Military history.

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July 11th, 2019

Get Smart — Read FREE Applied Ballistics TECH Articles

Want to improve your understanding of Ballistics, Bullet Design, Bullet Pointing, and other shooting-related tech topics? Well here’s a treasure trove of gun expertise. Applied Ballistics offers three dozen FREE tech articles on its website. Curious about Coriolis? — You’ll find answers. Want to understand the difference between G1 and G7 BC? — There’s an article about that.

“Doc” Beech, technical support specialist at Applied Ballistics says these articles can help shooters working with ballistics programs: “One of the biggest issues I have seen is the misunderstanding… about a bullet’s ballistic coefficient (BC) and what it really means. Several papers on ballistic coefficient are available for shooters to review on the website.”

Credit Shooting Sports USA Editor John Parker for finding this great resource. John writes: “Our friends at Applied Ballistics have a real gold mine of articles on the science of accurate shooting on their website. This is a fantastic source for precision shooting information[.] Topics presented are wide-ranging — from ballistic coefficients to bullet analysis.”

READ All Applied Ballistics Articles HERE »

Here are six (6) of our favorite Applied Ballistics articles, available for FREE as PDF files. There are 31 more, all available on the Applied Ballistics Articles Webpage.

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July 7th, 2019

Sunday GunDay — 7mm WSM Hunter with Match-Grade Accuracy

wyoming 7mm wsm winchester short magnum elk rifle hunter hunting Win mag

Ric Horst’s 7 WSM is a game-slayer with serious long-range accuracy. Here’s a hunting rifle (with tactical trappings) that performs as well as some purpose-built benchrest rifles, delivering half-MOA ten-shot groups at 1000 yards–from bipod no less! That was noteworthy in itself. But Ric’s rifle, built to take game in Wyoming’s backcountry, also proves the viability of the 7mm Win Short Mag as a true precision cartridge. With the capacity to drive hard-hitting, ultra-high-BC bullets, the 7 WSM is a bonafied rival to the big 30s. This rifle sets a very high bar for long-range hunting rigs.

The Challenge: Creating the Ultimate Long-Range Hunting Rifle

Q: Tell us how you got interested in the 7 WSM and how you got started on this project?

Ric Horst: Chris Matthews and I were invited to help out with a new hunting show on a cable network. We wanted to showcase a rifle that wasn’t typical for the TV program which was about Antelope and Mule Deer hunting in Wyoming. We considered a variety of calibers, but then Sierra announced their new 175gr (.284) MatchKing and that got our attention. In Wyoming, the key thing in choosing a caliber is the availability of good high-BC bullets–the wind will own you out here. After seeing Sierra’s projected BC for the 175s this seemed to be a no brainer. So I told Chris to make the rifle a 7mm WSM.

Q: What were your objectives with this project rifle? Sounds like you wanted to build a state of the art long-range hunting rig?

Our goals were simple–we wanted a tack-driver with long-range capabilities, from 400 to 1000 yards. Really, at the time, the choice of the 7 WSM was easy–no one else was really doing it, and if they were, they weren’t talking about it. So we wanted to be the first make it work, one way or another. There were actually no real surprises or problems along the way, other than it was the first time I was shooting a 7mm and the accuracy of the 175gr bullets was better than I expected. I have total faith in Chris’s gunsmithing abilities. This 7 WSM is the sixth rifle he’s built for me–and they’ve all been tack-drivers.

Q: Give us your perspectives on living and shooting in Wyoming. What makes it such a great hunting ground? How do the game mix and terrain dictate your selection of a rifle?

My requirements for my rifles are, I guess, unique. I like tactical-style rifles. This “style” seems to fit my type of hunting here in Wyoming–tough, rugged terrain where you need to be able to make the long shot should one present itself. Living in Wyoming? Well, if you choose to live in the “out of town” places you need to be well-prepared and tough. Going to town means a 50-mile trip. You don’t just run to the convenience store if you need something. Plus the weather is hard in the winter and always windy. We joke that we have just two seasons, three months of summer and nine months of winter. Our spring and fall are each about two weeks long.

Despite the weather, Wyoming is a great place for a hunter. Game here is second to none: deer (whitetail and mulies ), antelope, elk, sheep, moose, plus varmints galore. What is great about my location is that I can shoot just about anytime I want. I have the ability to shoot as far as 3500 yards out my back door if I choose. Here’s a shot of my playground.

Putting It Together: Exceptional Components and Accurate Ammo

Q: Your 7 WSM has logged 10-shot groups at 1000 yards that could win many 1K benchrest matches. What kind of components does it take to deliver this kind of accuracy?

There is nothing super-exotic in this rifle, but it IS fitted out with some of the best components on the market. We did start with a factory action, however, a Remington 700 short action. Chris trued the action, added an SSG over-sized bolt knob, and fitted the action with a Broughton 5C, 9-twist #7 contour barrel finished at 24″. To reduce recoil we added a Badger brake. The stock is a fiberglass McMillan HTG (General Purpose Hunting) stock in Desert Camo. (This McMillan stock design replicates the original M40A1 Marine Sniper Rifle stock.) Since this is a repeater we added a Wyatts Mag Box. The gun features Badger bottom metal, Badger scope rail and Badger Rings. The Scope is a 4-16 Nikon Tactical, which, so far, has proven to be excellent. All the metal is Teflon-coated in Mil-Spec OD Green. I have a bubble-level mounted on the scope rail.

Q: To achieve the results you’re getting you must have exceptional hand-loads. What is your reloading procedure and do you have any “secret tips” to share?

I use Winchester-brand brass and Winchester Large Rifle Magnum primers. My current load is 64.0 grains of H4831sc for the Hornady 162s (2950 fps) and 61.0 grains of H4831sc for the Sierra 175s (2830 fps).

The only sizing dies I have used are the Basic Redding FL dies–I have since started using the Forester Ultra-Seater and used it when I shot the outstanding groups. My reloading technique is pretty basic. I full-length size and trim all to length. I use the RCBS powered Trim Mate™ station to do most of the brass prep. I do use the VLD case mouth deburrer. I uniform the primer pocket and chamfer as well. I then fire-form those prepped cases. I’ve noted that the new brass usually shoots just as well as fire-formed cases. I then use the FL die to bump the shoulder back .002″. I haven’t really noticed and major difference between Forester and Redding dies except price. I don’t have any “special” secret loading techniques. If you use quality components, I’ve found that you don’t need to weigh this weigh that etc. I tried that for years and it never really showed results to justify the time and effort. I quit doing all the weighing ( except for bullets ) and I shoot just as well. The two things I am anal about are the powder charge and seating depth–these all have to be exactly the same for each round!

I do take time to uniform the brass. First, when I get a bag of brass, I’ll check to make sure all the flash holes are centered, and I’ll pitch the ones that aren’t. Then I’ll measure the shortest case and trim all to that length (after ensuring that fits my chamber). Next, I’ll uniform the primer pockets, and debur and bevel the flash hole on both sides. Beveling both sides is one trick I think helps keep ES down. By beveling the flash side it basically takes the flash and tapers/funnels it to the hole. I think you get more consitency with the primer flash this way. Finally I’ll debur/champfer the inside and outside of the neck using a VLD chamferer.

After firing the cases once, I clean them all up and make one pass on the neck turner just to “clean” the necks to a consistient diameter. Note, I am not necessarily turning for a specific diameter because I have enough clearance to start with. I do this light turn just for consistency. Sometimes the neck turner might only shave a bit off one side.

Q: What’s your load-testing procedure? Do you have any special methods to evaluate/tune your loads?

Again, my methods are pretty simple. I start with the Sierra Load Manual, select the bullet weight, then find the max load for a recommended accurate powder. I like Hodgdon powders, so I start with an “H” powder with an appropriate burn rate, drop the “max” load about 0.5 grains and start there. Typically there is a sweet spot within half a grain up or down from that starting point. I usually seat my bullets to touch the lands or seat just in a bit. I feel this makes up for any bullet-run out when seating them.

When load-testing, I try to get 100-yard groups to be half an inch or less (quarter-MOA is pretty good for me, but not something I can count on regularly.) I then go to the 300- and 500-yard steel plates to see if the load holds its accuracy. If it does, then the load is good to go. However, I will shoot a 5-shot group every now and again to see if I am still in tune. In fact I was re-testing the 162gr A-Max and 175 gr SMK loads the day I shot the screamers at 1013 yards. Two great groups back to back.

Q: How does your 7 WSM perform in terms of recoil and accuracy? Has it met your expectations?

This rifle is by far one of the most fun rifles I have ever had. The recoil is very minimal with either of the loads and the rifle just plain flat-out shoots. The break-in took all of 21 rounds I think. This rifle shoots sub-2″ groups at 500 yards all day every day (often closer to 1″). Note that I don’t do any shooting from a bench and rests except for the initial load work up. The rest of the time I shoot from a bipod. I would really like to stress that I shoot exclusively with bi-pod and “sand-sock”. So many guys out there think that you have to shoot from a bench to get outstanding results. This simply isn’t true. If you are a disciplined shooter and have correct shooting techniques you can do amazing things from any shooting position. Long Range doesn’t have to be from a rest or bench!

What makes this rifle special is that it has an identical twin, built by Chris for my hunting partner Steve. Both rifles shoot exactly the same–same accuracy, same velocity, same trajectories. I never shot a 1K group with Steve’s gun, but at other distances, including 500 yards, it has performed identically to mine. I shot a sub-moa group of 12 shots one day with the Twins. I shot six shots from each rifle, alternating rifles between shots. Remember this is from the prone position and off a bipod–same load, two different rifles–and it produced a single, sub-MOA group. Now that’s consistency. Both these rifles I call point and shoot rifles–point them on target and they’ll shoot it.

Q: What technique do you use when shooting from bipod?

I basically do Froggy’s technique when shooting from a bipod. I get my natural point of aim, then push forward a bit to pre-load the bipod legs. In gripping the stock, I use just my two middle fingers to apply firm pressure straight back into my shoulder. I’m careful not to torque with the thumb or pinky finger. With my focus on the intended point of aim, I’ll let the cross hairs blur a bit and gently press the trigger until it goes boom. Then follow through, watch for the impact, and chamber the next round.

Looking Out to 1000 Yards, and the Results from Ric’s 7 WSM

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July 7th, 2019

Gun Range Etiquette — Key Advice for Safe Shooting Sessions

Gun Range Safety etiquette NRA Blog Eye Ear Protection Rules

There are important safety and behavior rules you need to follow at a gun range. Sometimes bad range etiquette is simply annoying. Other times poor gun-handling practices can be downright dangerous. The NRA Blog has published a useful article about range safety and “range etiquette”. While these tips were formulated with indoor ranges in mind, most of the points apply equally well to outdoor ranges. You may want to print out this article to provide to novice shooters at your local range or club.

8 Tips for Gun Range Etiquette

Story by Kyle Jillson for NRABlog
Here are eight tips on range etiquette to keep yourself and others safe while enjoying your day [at the range]. Special thanks to NRA Headquarters Range General Manager Michael Johns who assisted with this article.

1. Follow the Three Fundamental Rules for Safe Gun Handling
ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

This NSSF Video Covers Basic Gun Range Safety Rules:

2. Bring Safety Gear (Eye and Ear Protection)
Eye and Ear protection are MANDATORY for proper safety and health, no matter if “required” by range rules or not. It is the shooter’s responsibility to ensure proper protection is secured and used prior to entering/using any range. Hearing loss can be instantaneous and permanent in some cases. Eyesight can be ruined in an instant with a catastrophic firearm failure.

Gun Range Safety etiquette NRA Blog Eye Ear Protection Rules

3. Carry a Gun Bag or Case
Common courtesy and general good behavior dictates that you bring all firearms to a range unloaded and cased and/or covered. No range staff appreciates a stranger walking into a range with a “naked” firearm whose loaded/unloaded condition is not known. You can buy a long gun sock or pistol case for less than $10.

4. Know Your Range’s Rules
Review and understand any and all “range specific” rules/requirements/expectations set forth by your range. What’s the range’s maximum rate of fire? Are you allowed to collect your brass? Are you required to take a test before you can shoot? Don’t be afraid to ask the staff questions or tell them it’s your first time. They’re there to help.

5. Follow ALL Range Officer instructions
ROs are the first and final authority on any range and their decisions are generally final. Arguing/debating with a Range Officer is both in poor taste and may just get you thrown out depending on circumstances.

6. Don’t Bother Others or Touch Their Guns
Respect other shooters’ privacy unless a safety issue arises. Do NOT engage other shooters to correct a perceived safety violation unless absolutely necessary – inform the RO instead. Shooters have the right and responsibility to call for a cease fire should a SERIOUS safety event occur. Handling/touching another shooter’s firearm without their permission is a major breech of protocol. Offering unsolicited “training” or other instructional suggestions to other shooters is also impolite.

7. Know What To Do During a Cease Fire
IMMEDIATELY set down your firearm, pointed downrange, and STEP AWAY from the shooting booth (or bench). The Range Officer(s) on duty will give instructions from that point and/or secure all firearms prior to going downrange if needed. ROs do not want shooters trying to “secure/unload” their firearms in a cease fire situation, possibly in a stressful event; they want the shooters separated from their guns instantly so that they can then control the situation as they see fit.

8. Clean Up After Yourself
Remember to take down your old targets, police your shooting booth, throw away your trash, and return any equipment/chairs, etc. Other people use the range too; no one wants to walk up to a dirty lane.

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