October 22nd, 2020

2020 F-Class National Championships in Arizona NOTICE

2015 F-Class Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona James Crofts

The 2020 United States F-Class National Championships commence Sunday October 25, 2020 at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix. There’s a “hybrid” format this year. For 2020, the Nationals combine both Mid-Range and Long-Range competitions in one exended mega-match. The Mid-Range U.S. F-Class Nationals take place 25-28 October 2020, with shooting at 300, 500, and 600 yards. The Long Range National Championships then run October 21 through November 1st with all matches at 1000 yards. The competition consists of two different divisions: F-Open and F-TR (Target Rifle).

CLICK HERE for 2020 F-Class Nationals Match Program »

For health reasons, F-Class Nationals competitors will be required to follow a number of important health and safety protocols. This is to reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus. Here are the 2020 protocols as issued by the host Desert Sharpshooters club:

2020 NRA F-Class National Championships — Safety Protocols

We have had to implement several measures for the 2020 F-Class Nationals due to COVID-19. The Ben Avery Shooting Facility is owned by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, a state government agency. Therefore, all state and local guidelines and measures regarding COVID-19 must be followed on the property. Unfortunately, the local guidelines include a mask mandate, among other measures. We were hoping for the measures to be relaxed as the Nationals grew closer, but that is not the case. The COVID-19 measures that must be implemented during the match are below.

COVID-19 measures for the 2020 F-Class Nationals include:

– Reduce the total number of entries to 180.
– Use every other target for a total of 45 targets.
– Food and drinks, including water, will NOT be provided or for sale.
– Only one person pulling a target.
– Wearing mask/face cover is required when 6 feet distancing cannot be obtained. This includes:

    Using the restroom.
    During all team matches, except the shooters. Only the shooter and coach will be permitted on the firing line. All other team members must be 6 feet from the shooter and coach.
    On the people movers traveling to and from the pits.
    Walking up/down the ramps/stairs at the 1000 yard line, or traveling to or from one’s assigned firing point.

– No banquet dinners.
– Award ceremony will be held each day on the firing line, with shooters in the parking lot social distancing.
– While scoring, the scorer will be at least 6 feet from the shooter.
– Shooters on the firing line will set up on each side of their assigned target marker with 6 feet separating them.
– Shooters not pulling targets, scoring, or shooting must remain off of the firing line and in their vehicles or socially distancing in the parking lot.
– Only the scoring and shooting relays will be permitted on the firing line. During pit changes, the previous scoring and shooting relays must vacate the firing line before the next scoring and shooting relays approach the firing line.
– All scores and squadding will be posted online. Those with no access to the internet can obtain their squadding on the bulletin boards on the east and west side of the building. Only one person will be permitted to be at the bulletin board at a time.
– No one is permitted to enter the Berger Building.
– Refunds will be given to those that wish to not participate in the event.

Failure of individuals to follow any of the above guidelines may result in disqualification and being asked to leave. If we do not comply with these regulations, we risk the Ben Avery Shooting Facility canceling the event without prior notice.

We would also like to remind shooters that if they are feeling sick or have any symptoms to please not come to the range, and notify us immediately at fclassnationals@gmail.com.

Ben Avery Shooting Facility Coronavirus Health Covid-19

Located on 1,650 acres in north Phoenix, BASF is one of the nation’s largest publicly operated shooting facilities. A City of Phoenix “Point of Pride,” the facility has received a five-star rating from the National Association of Shooting Ranges.

Firing line at 2015 F-Class Nationals at Ben Avery Shooting Facility.
2015 F-Class Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona James Crofts


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October 17th, 2020

California Junior Lady Shooter Excels in High Power Game

California CA Grizzlies high power junior shooting team lauren sissy wood profile CMP
Lauren “Sissy” Wood (R) earned 3rd overall in July 2020 Talladega team event with teammate Dustin Carr.

Lauren “Sissy” Wood, 18, has been a member of the California Grizzlies Junior Rifle Team for the last five years. At the CMP Talladega High Power Regional Cup Matches in July 2020, she was a top performer. Sissy was High Woman shooter in the Cup Events and, with teammate Dustin Carr, she finished third overall in the 2-person Team match.

At previous big national matches, Sissy also earned honors. At the 2019 National Matches, Sissy was third overall in the High Civilian category and was the first overall junior in the Day 2 slow fire segment of the CMP Cup 1000 Aggregate. And she was second-place High Junior shooting with her CA Grizzlies team in the National Trophy Team match and National Trophy Infantry Team (Rattle Battle) event. That’s an impressive performance against very tough competition.

Question and Answers with Teen Shooter Lauren “Sissy” Wood

Q. How did you get into competitive shooting?

A. I originally started shooting .22s as an 8-year-old with my dad. Every month, he would take me to the local gun club’s junior day, and I would get to shoot. I did that until I was in about 7th grade. That’s when my dad also got me into High Power. Ever since then, I’ve been shooting High Power with the Grizzlies.

Q. What is one of your best memories from competitive shooting?

A. One of my favorite memories from shooting was my fourth year in Ohio — the 1000 CMP Cup Aggregate. I had shot my personal best at 600 two days in a row.

Q. What is your practice routine? How often, and what do you do?

A. I mainly practice after matches to help fix what I did wrong in that match; then practice at home.

Q. How do you prepare for a match on match day (mentally and physically)?

A. I don’t necessarily have a physical routine, but I do have a couple mental things that I do that are kind of quirky actually. I tell myself that all you need to do is focus on the next shot, and whatever you just shot is in the past. Focus on the next one. I just repeat that. And remember to breath.

Q. What’s the best shooting advice you’ve ever received?

A. “Think center, shoot center” from Jim O’Connell.


California Grizzlies team practicing with coach/mentor Jim O’Connell.

Q. What are your plans for the future (in and outside of shooting)? What goals do you hope to achieve?

A. My ultimate goal in shooting is to “leg-out” and get Distinguished. Once I achieve that, I’m not sure what’s next.

California CA Grizzlies high power junior shooting team lauren sissy wood profile CMP

About the California Grizzlies:
The California Grizzlies Rifle Team has been a part of the California shooting world for over two decades. The team consists of juniors between the ages of 13 and 20 from throughout the state of California. Many Grizzlies alumni have advanced to the Citadel, Air Force Academy, Army Marksmanship Unit, U.S. Rifle Team, and the Navy Academy. Each summer, the CA Grizzlies have traveled to Camp Perry, Ohio, to compete in the annual National Matches. Over the years, the Grizzlies have accrued countless junior team and individual wins in National Matches events. One of the team’s most notable accomplishments came in 2009, when the Grizzlies became the first junior team to win the century-old Rattle Battle. In fact, the CA Grizzlies were the first civilian team to win the match since 1930! To learn more about the California Grizzlies, visit TeamGrizzlies.org.

California Grizzlies shooting team

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October 15th, 2020

Big Talladega 600 Match in Alabama November 16-22, 2020

CMP Marksmanship program talladega park 600 match

Yes, the Pandemic is still here, but at least we are seeing major shooting events taking place again (with health precautions). One of the most popular multi-discipline matches in the Southeast, the Talladega 600, IS going forward in 2020. The CMP’s Talladega 600 kicks off Monday, November 16. A variety of matches and training sessions will run through Sunday, November 22, at the CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park in Alabama. CLICK HERE for registration info, entry forms, and complete match schedule.

CMP Marksmanship program talladega park 600 match
The Talladega 600 will include a mix of rifle and pistol competitions for all ages and experience levels.

Matches include Garand, Springfield, and Vintage/Modern rifle events, and versions of prestigious National Trophy Rifle Matches. A rifle Excellence-In-Competition (EIC) match, a 4-Man Team match, M1A Match and the retitled Congressional 30 and Dixie Double competitions add an elite level of competition. Additionally, Carbine, .22 Rimfire Sporter, and Vintage Sniper will be held at the Talladega 600.

CMP Marksmanship program talladega park 600 November match

NEW Garand Benchrest and Rimfire Sporter Benchrest Matches
New for 2020, two test matches will also be fired at the Talladega 600: a Benchrest Garand Match and a Rimfire Sporter Benchrest Match. Competitiors at these new events can use sandbags to support/stabilize their M1 Garands and .22 caliber rimfire sporter rifles. The use of sandbags should help competitors of any age, with increased ease and safety on the firing line.

Pistol Matches Are Always Popular
Those eager for pistol events will be able to look forward to .22 Rimfire EIC and Service Pistol EIC matches, along with As-Issued 1911 and Military & Police matches.

CMP Marksmanship program talladega park 600 match

Rifle Marksmanship 101 Class Is Open
For an educational experience, a Rifle Marksmanship 101 Class (which features an M16 EIC Match) is also open to both new and advanced individuals looking to enhance their marksmanship knowledge.

CMP Marksmanship program talladega park 600 match
State-of-the-art Kongsberg target systems are used at the CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park.

About Talladega Marksmanship Park
The 500-acre CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park is one of the most advanced outdoor shooting facilities in the Western Hemisphere. The facility includes a 600-yard rifle range, a 100-yard multi-purpose range, and a 50-yard pistol range, equipped with Kongsberg electronic targets and scoring monitors. Since the 54 targets at each line register hits and calculate the scores instantly, no pit duty is required at Talladega. The park regularly hosts rifle, pistol and shotgun events throughout the year.

CMP Marksmanship program talladega park 600 match

Safety Protocols in Effect
During the match, CMP staff will be monitoring and assuring safety guidelines are followed. Please note that Masks will be required when off of the firing line. Sanitation procedures will also be administered, along with other precautions to ensure the well-being of staff and guests.

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October 15th, 2020

Have Fun in October with FREE Halloween Targets

free halloween spooky target pumpkins
Click above image for full-size version.

Halloween (aka “All Hallows Eve”) is two weeks away. Why not head to the range and shoot some Halloween-themed targets this October amidst the fall foliage. The folks at the NRA Blog have created a series of “spook-tastic” Halloween targets. Writer Kyle Jillson says, “In addition to stocking up on candy and finding great costumes, we thought you might like to have some fun at the range, so we created these spooky targets for you to use.”

Just click an image to launch its full-size version. You can then download the target and print it out on regular 8.5″x11″ paper. Now you have fun Halloween-themed targets to bring to the range this week.

Pumpkin Patch Target | Pumpkin Antler Target | Turkey Target | Pig Target


CLICK EACH Target to Download Full-Size Version

free halloween spooky target pumpkins

free halloween spooky target pumpkins free halloween spooky target pumpkins
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October 14th, 2020

Rimfire Challenge and New Products on Shooting USA This Week

Shooting USA rimfire challenge world championship Arkansas

There’s a good episode of Shooting USA TV this week, featuring the Rimfire Challenge World Championships. This major match attracts hundreds of competitors from around the nation. It’s fast and fun with instant feedback from ringing plates indicating hits. The Rimfire Challenge Championships is family-friendly event that’s great for all skill and experience levels. This week Shooting USA will also feature two dozen new-for-2020 products, including new pistols, rifles, shotguns, optics, holsters, and more.

Shooting USA airs Wednesday 9:00 PM Eastern and Pacific, 8:00 PM Central on Outdoor Channel. You can also watch Shooting USA any time online via Vimeo.com.

The Rimfire Challenge World Championships

The Rimfire Challenge is just about the most fun you can have with .22 LR pistols and rifles. The Rimfire Challenge Championship drew 250 competitors to the Old Fort Gun Club in Arkansas. The competition is similar to the Steel Challenge, but a lower cost, family-friendly rimfire only event. And the steel target set up is different each time, with competitors only knowing how many targets to shoot, and in what order, when they step to the shooting box.

Shooting USA new products rifmire challenge

This Rimfire Challenge Championship featured 16 stages — 8 for pistol, 8 for rifle. On each stage, shooters engage 5, 6, or 7 targets, in five separate strings of fire, with the best four runs counting for record.

NSSF Rimfire Challenge Basics
The Rimfire Challenge is a two-gun event so you need a rifle and a handgun (either a semi-auto pistol, or revolver). There are two divisions: 1) Open — Any firearm (pistol or revolver in handgun class) with scopes, optical sights, light gathering scopes, battery powered optics or lasers; and 2) Limited — Pistols and rifles with iron sights, adjustable metallic sights, and/or fiber optic. Bolt-action rifles and lever-action rifles are allowed, but self-loading (semi-auto) rifles are most popular because they can shoot quickly.

rimfire Challenge

Many different stage designs can be employed at Rimfire Challenge matches. Shown above are two examples from the Rimfire Challenge Suggested Courses of Fire.

New-for-2020 Products Also Featured this Week

Shooting USA has assembled many of the new products which were to be unveiled at the NRA Annual Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee. Unfortunately that Nashville NRA event was cancelled due to the pandemic (there will be a smaller NRA Annual Meeting in Tucson, Arizona, October 24, 2020). Jim and John Scoutten review two dozen products that were going to be showcased at the NRA event in Nashville. Here are four of the new products reviewed in this episode:

Shooting USA new products rifmire challenge

Shooting USA new products rifmire challenge
Shooting USA is available On Demand via Vimeo.com. Watch a single episode for $0.99, or get a full-month subscription for $3.99 and watch as many shows as you like with limited commercial interruptions.

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October 11th, 2020

SunDay GunDay: .284 Shehane Team USA Raffle Prize Rifle

Blake machine Team USA Under-25 Katie Blakenship F-Class F-Open prize raffle rifle tickets Borden action

This SunDay GunDay story features a stunning rifle constructed as a raffle prize to benefit Team USA members who will be traveling to South Africa in 2021 for the upcoming F-Class World Championships. Raffle tickets purchased for this F-Open rig, as well as two other rifles, will help defray expenses for Team USA members, both adults and juniors. Along with the stunning F-Open rifle featured here, there are two other great prizes: A KW Precision-built .308 Winchester F-TR rifle with Borden Rimrock action, and a Kelbly Koda Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor with Nightforce scope.

Blake machine Team USA Under-25 Katie Blakenship F-Class F-Open prize raffle rifle tickets Borden action

.284 Shehane F-Open Prize Rifle with Superb Components

Report by Katie Blankenship
This eye-catching F-Open rifle was crafted by Blake Barrel and Rifle in Arizona. This prize rifle features all top-of-the-line components: Borden BRMXD Action, Cerus multi-laminate stock with forearm extension, R.A.D. recoil reduction system (hydraulic-damped buttpad), Bix ‘N Andy trigger, and Nightforce Competition scope. The stainless Blake barrel is chambered for the .284 Shehane wildcat, and sports an F-Class Products tuner on the end.

Blake machine Team USA Under-25 Katie Blakenship F-Class F-Open prize raffle rifle tickets Borden action
Blake machine Team USA Under-25 Katie Blakenship F-Class F-Open prize raffle rifle tickets Borden action

If you like this rifle, you can participate in a Team USA Contest with a chance to win this beauty. Team USA is running a raffle that supports all three divisions of the United States F-Class Team: F-Open, F-TR, and Under-25. After each member sells $250 dollars worth of tickets, the proceeds go into individual accounts to pay for trip expenses such as air travel, hotel, food, entry fees, uniforms, ammunition, and other costs.

Blake machine Team USA Under-25 Katie Blakenship F-Class F-Open prize raffle rifle tickets Borden action

The prize drawings will be held at Ben Avery Range in Phoenix, AZ in November 2020. All winners must comply with all Federal and State laws in order to take possession of firearms. $2,500 may be awarded in place of firearm. Entrants do not need to be present to win. Winners will be announced after confirmation of legal eligibility and with consent of the winner. Raffle tickets cost $10.00 each or you can get three tickets for $25.00. CLICK HERE for prize raffle details.

About the Under-25 F-Class U.S. Rifle Team

My sister Kaycie and I are both on the Under-25 United States F-Class Team. We both started out shooting F-Class on the Wickenburg High School Rifle team. I started in 2012 while Kaycie started in 2015. We went from using loaner guns with Wickenburg to shoot the F-Class sport, to now having a couple generous sponsors and making the Under-25 United States Team.

Blake machine Team USA Under-25 Katie Blakenship F-Class F-Open prize raffle rifle tickets Borden action

The raffle is for three different rifles. The one featured here is the sponsored F-Open rifle built by Blake Barrel and Rifle. For this special rifle, I was actually involved in the build process at Blake Machine in Phoenix, Arizona, where I work.

Blake machine Team USA Under-25 Katie Blakenship F-Class F-Open prize raffle rifle tickets Borden action
Blake machine Team USA Under-25 Katie Blakenship F-Class F-Open prize raffle rifle tickets Borden action

How Sisters Katie and Kaycie Got Involved in Rifle Competition
Kaycie and I grew up in a family that spent a lot of quality time together in the outdoors — hunting, shooting, and fishing. With my passion for hunting (inspired by my Dad), I wanted to further my shooting skills. So, I decided to join Wickenburg High School’s Rifle Team coached by Rex Powers. Upon joining, since I was a small, 90-lb girl, some people thought I would never be a top competitor on the team — not able to compete with the bigger boys on the team. But within my freshman year of high school I was the team’s top shooter and held that spot all 4 years of high school. I developed a passion for F-Class shooting. After graduating from HS, I continued to assistant-coach the team and compete in local matches. My sister Kaycie accompanied me in 2015 and also found a love for the sport. Now a senior in high school, Kaycie is still shooting with the high school team, while earning a sport on the Under-25 U.S. F-Class Rifle Team.

What Katie Likes about F-Class Competition
F-Class shooting has given me the opportunity to meet many influential people, to travel, and to work in a specialized job that I love. This sport has taught me patience, attention to detail, and discipline. And that, in turn, has had a positive impact on many other areas in my life. Kaycie and I’ve have also met many other junior shooters who have become great friends. It’s great to have that camaraderie at matches. The community behind this sport includes many very generous people with tons of knowledge — there is such a healthy competitive atmosphere at the range.

How Young Shooters Can Get Started in F-Class
If you are interested in F-Class we highly suggest going to your local range and watching an F-Class match being held. There are so many people willing to provide knowledge and guidance to help you get started in the sport and join the fun!

The Bryan Blake Connection — How He Helps Young Shooters
I met Bryan Blake (Blake Barrel and Rifle) in early 2018 at a local mid-range Championship. At the time I was shooting a 6.5×47 Lapua with a shot-out barrel and was just there for fun, knowing my scores would be low. Bryan loaned me one of his rifles for a string and offered to loan me a gun for the upcoming October State 600-yard championships. Since then I now have my own F-Class rifle build by Blake Barrel and Rifle and now work for Bryan’s family-owned business. Bryan has helped raise my shooting to the next level with his knowledge of the sport and his dedication to encouraging young competitors.

Get Rifle Prize Raffle Tickets to Support Team USA

Blake machine Team USA Under-25 Katie Blakenship F-Class F-Open prize raffle rifle tickets Borden action
Team USA Raffle Prize Drawing will take place in November 2020.


LINK for Raffle Tickets Page (All 3 Prize Rifles) »

Kaycie and I are proud to represent our country in the 2021 F-Class World Championships. We appreciate your support for F-Class Team USA by purchasing raffle tickets. You can purchase tickets on the webpage linked above. NOTE: When tickets are purchased through that page, the funds will go directly towards travel expenses Kaycie and I will incur going to the 2021 World F-Class Championships.

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October 8th, 2020

Gary Anderson’s TEN LESSONS — How to Compete and Win

John Whidden high power national championship
The photo shows John Whidden, 5-time National Long Range HP Champion (2007, 2008, 2010, 2016, 2017). John exemplifies the traits of a great competitor — he is always positive, he knows how to handle pressure, and he always looks for ways to improve.

DCM CMP Gary AndersonIn the archives of On The Mark magazine, DCM Emeritus Gary Anderson, an Olympic Gold medal-winning shooter in his younger years, offers sage advice for competitive shooters.

In his article Ten Lessons I Wished I Had Learned as a Young Shooter, Anderson provides ten important guidelines for everyone involved in competitive shooting. Here are the Ten Lessons, but you should read the full article. Anderson provides detailed explanations of each topic with examples from his shooting career.

READ Full Article by Gary Anderson in On the Mark.

LESSON 1 – NATURAL ABILITY WILL NOT MAKE YOU A SHOOTING CHAMPION.
(You also need hard work, training effort and perseverance.)

LESSON 2 – ANGER IS THE ENEMY OF GOOD SHOOTING.
(The key to recovering from a bad shot is to stay cool, no matter what happens.)

LESSON 3 – BAD SHOTS CAN TEACH YOU MORE THAN GOOD SHOTS.
(Today, error analysis is one of the most powerful tools for improving scores.)

LESSON 4 – NEVER GO WITHOUT A SHOT PLAN.
(A shot plan is a detailed breakdown of each of the steps involved in firing a shot.)

LESSON 5 – PRACTICE IN BAD CONDITIONS AS WELL AS GOOD CONDITIONS.
(Most competitions are fired in windy conditions or where there are plenty of distractions.)

LESSON 6 – CHAMPIONS ARE POSITIVE, OPTIMISTIC PEOPLE.
(Negative shooters expect bad results; positive shooters expect to train hard to change bad results.)

LESSON 7 – IT’S NOT ABOUT WHETHER YOU WIN OR LOSE.
(It’s about how hard you try to win.)

LESSON 8 – YOUR DOG WON’T BITE YOU AFTER SHOOTING A BAD SCORE.
(Hopefully your coach, parents and friends won’t bite you either.)

LESSON 9 – YOUR PRESS CLIPPINGS CAN HURT YOU OR HELP YOU.
(Winning can go to our heads. We start thinking we are so good we don’t have to work hard any more.)

LESSON 10 — YOU NEVER SHOT YOUR BEST SCORE.
(Great champions are always looking for ways to improve.)

USAMU shooters on the firing line at the Wa-Ke’-De outdoor range in Bristol, IN.
smallbore national championships Wa-ke-de
Photo courtesy USAMU.

About Gary Anderson
DCM CMP Gary AndersonGary Anderson served as the Director of the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) from 1999-2009, and is now DCM Emeritus. As a Nebraska farmboy, Gary grew up hunting and shooting. Dreams of winning an Olympic Gold Medal in shooting led Gary to the U.S. Army. In 1959, he joined the elite U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit. Just two years later, he won his first national championship.

At the 1962 World Shooting Championships in Egypt, Anderson stunned the shooting world by winning four individual titles and setting three new world records. At the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Gary won the 300m free-rifle Gold Medal, setting a new world record in the process. At the 1966 World Shooting Championships in Germany, Anderson won three additional world titles. At the 1968 Olympics, Gary won a second gold medal in the 300m free-rifle event.

After his “retirement” from international competition, Gary competed in the National High Power Championships, winning the President’s National Trophy in 1973, 1975 and 1976. Over his competitive career, Anderson won two Olympic Gold Medals, seven World Championships, and sixteen National Championships. He is unquestionably one of the greatest American marksmen ever.

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October 7th, 2020

CMP Cancels 2020 Oklahoma Games Due to COVID Concerns

CMP 2020 oklahoma rifle games matches cancelled cancellation

The Civilian Marksmanship Program has announced the cancellation of the Oklahoma CMP HP Rifle & CMP Games Matches due to considerations brought on by the COVID-19 virus. The event was scheduled for 12-18 October at the Oklahoma City Gun Club in Arcadia.

CMP 2020 oklahoma rifle games matches cancelled cancellationAll OK Games Events Will Be Cancelled
The CMP had planned a full slate of events in Oklahoma, including CMP Games rifle, EIC service rifle, multiple pistol matches, M1 Garand, vintage sniper rifle, rimfire sporter rifle, and testing of a new benchrest M1 Garand rifle discipline.

“In seeking a sense of normalcy in its marksmanship event schedule for the balance of 2020, the CMP was looking forward to conducting match activities in Oklahoma,” said Judy Legerski, CMP Board Chairman. “Unfortunately, recent flare-ups of the COVID-19 virus have prompted us to cancel the event in the best interest of our competitors, Oklahoma City Gun Club staff and CMP personnel,” she said.

CMP 2020 oklahoma rifle games matches cancelled cancellation

“We look forward to renewing our Oklahoma rifle and pistol match series in brighter times in 2021,” Mrs. Legerski said. The next scheduled CMP highpower, pistol and games event, the Talladega 600 conducted at the CMP’s marksmanship park near Talladega, Alabama, is planned for 16-22 November.

The CMP continues to follow prudent health practices and is monitoring conditions of all future event locations. Event cancellations will be announced by the CMP on www.TheCMP.org and through social media.

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October 6th, 2020

IBS 1000-Yard Nationals at Vapor Trail Valley Range in Missouri

IBS international benchrest shooters 1000-yard 1K Nationals championship Vapor Trail range Missouri

2020 IBS 1K Nationals at Vapor Trail Range in Missouri

Report by Jim Bauer
“COVID Nationals” — That’s an unusual description for the IBS 1000-Yard Nationals, but it has been a very unusual year. On September 5th and 6th, 2020, Vapor Trail Valley Range held the IBS 1000-Yard National Benchrest competition. This year 63 shooters attended the event. While down from last year, that’s a good number considering the last-minute venue change. The IBS has worked hard this year to secure ranges where members can shoot and compete.

Vapor Trail Steps Up to Host 1K Nationals
When it appeared that holding the IBS 1K National event in North Carolina wasn’t going to be possible due to COVID-19 restrictions, Tom Jacobs, owner/operator of the Vapor Trail Valley Range in Spickard, Missouri stepped up. Along with Sara and Rory Jacobs, the Vapor Trail team accept the challenge of running a major National event. With only two months to prepare, the Jacobs hosted an outstanding event.

IBS international benchrest shooters 1000-yard 1K Nationals championship Vapor Trail range Missouri

CLICK for IBS 2020 1000-Yard Nationals Full Match RESULTS »

The precision with which this event was handled was impressive. Vapor Trail installed additional target frames to accommodate the larger attendance. A large TV screen streamed the scores, groups, relay winners and shooter positions as targets were measured. The Target Crew, managed by Sary and Rory Jacobs, had complete relay target changes done in less than five minutes. Tom Jacobs orchestrated the match from his newly constructed “Command Center” in the middle of the Firing Line and not once was there any confusion or time lost due to Shooter or Management Issues. Vapor Trail also supplied a BBQ lunch for all on Saturday and a ribeye steak lunch on Sunday. Nobody worried about going hungry.

Click then Scroll DOWN to View Light Gun and Heavy Gun Equipment Lists »

IBS international benchrest shooters 1000-yard 1K Nationals championship Vapor Trail range Missouri
This monitor showed immediate updates as the relays were scored. Jim Bauer notes: “it was really nice to see the scoring as it happened”.

Impressive Line-Up of 1000-Yard Competitors
The competition at this match was as tough as it gets. Competitors included IBS Long Range record-holders Mike Wilson, Tom Mousel, Bart Sauter, and Andy Ferguson. Past National Champions on hand included Glen Sterling Jr., Richard Schatz, Jason Walker, Glenn Hiett, and Carrol Lance. If you won a championship this year, you earned it. New IBS National 2-Gun 1000-Yard Champion Allan Carmichael can be very proud of his accomplishment this year.

IBS international benchrest shooters 1000-yard 1K Nationals championship Vapor Trail range Missouri

Match Started with Good Conditions, But Then Got Tough on Day 2
Day one started off with good weather and mild wind conditions, allowing some impressive groups and scores. Then, in typical Vapor Trail fashion, the wind started to shape the results. At the end of Day One, two of the three Light Gun (LG) relays had been shot and one of three Heavy Gun (HG) relays were completed. The second day menu was to start with a HG relay, finish the Light, followed by the third and final Heavy Gun relay.

30 to 40 MPH winds at End of Day 2
On Day Two, the first HG session had relatively nice conditions, but then things got interesting. The south wind, a head wind at Vapor Trail, had a steady increase all day. By the time the Light Guns started to shoot again the wind was 15 mph plus with a switch from head on to a quarter in from the southwest. Groups and Scores opened up and the leader board had many unpredictable changes.

After the Light Guns were done, the Heavies stepped up for the final Relay sequence. The wind started to howl with peak velocities in the 30-40 mph range. If you were one of the unlucky Heavy Gun shooters in that final HG Relay on Day Two, it was tough. Over half of the shooters on the line DQ’d in a couple of target sequences (sub-sets of final relay). The shooters watched the wind flip over clay targets, laying on the berm, used in the sighter period. When all was said and done, due to the high winds, approximately 40% of the competitors DQ’d during the match at some point.

IBS international benchrest shooters 1000-yard 1K Nationals championship Vapor Trail range Missouri
Top Competitors, left to right: Jason Boersma (HG Score + Overall), Glenn Hiett (HG Group), Allan Carmichael (2-Gun Champion), Jim Bauer (LG Group, Score, + Overall), and two of Jim’s grandsons.

When the match was over and the wind quit blowing us around, the winners were announced. For the prestigious 2-Gun title Allan Carmichael is our new IBS 1K Champion. Allan is from Carter Lake, Iowa. Allan has been an active shooter at Vapor Trail for years but wasn’t able to compete last year due to the Midwest flooding that happened last year. Not bad shooting for a guy that hasn’t been able to compete for almost 2 years. Allan used the same gun in both Light and Heavy classes. Allan campaigned a 6 Dasher built with a BAT SV action, Krieger barrel, and Jewell trigger in a stock that Alex Wheeler trued for him. Allan was shooting Berger 105gr VLDs with Varget and CCI 450s. Allan deserves credit — h did some great shooting under tough conditions for sure.

IBS international benchrest shooters 1000-yard 1K Nationals championship Vapor Trail range Missouri

The Heavy Gun Overall Champion and HG Score winner was Jason Boersma from Sioux Falls, SD. Jason is a fierce competitor who has been winning since 2010. Jason is currently leading the IBS 1K Shooter of the Year race. Jason’s Heavy Gun is a .300 WSM with a Defiance action, 8″-wide forearm stock similar to a Maxi-Tracker, Krieger barrel, and Jewell trigger. He was shooting 215gr Berger Hybrids in Hornady .300 WSM brass filled with H4350 and Federal 210Ms.

Jason told us: “My Heavy Gun choice was pretty lucky, I brought both my HGs with me and on Thursday I shot them both and the WSM shot much better than my 6.5 Outlaw HG, so I decided to go with it. That’s why on the equipment list it has my 6.5 written down. I just finished my .300 WSM one week before the match and wasn’t even sure about bringing it along, but I’m glad I did. In Light Gun I was just trying to focus on not making a mistake and hope the conditions held each time. On Sunday the winds got pretty bad and strong gusts and I was just trying to get all the shots off quickly and hope they stayed on paper. The strong winds caused many DQs, but overall it was a great Nationals and a great time spent shooting with friends. You are only as good as the people you shoot against and the best were there that weekend.”

Jason’s Light Gun features a Borden action, Bix ‘N Andy trigger, and a stock he crafted himself. His LG cartridge was a wildcat, the 6.5 Outlaw. Jason said the case is essentially a 6.5×47 Lapua AI. The velocity is 2850 fps using 140gr Berger Hybrids, H4350, and CCI BR4 primers.

IBS international benchrest shooters 1000-yard 1K Nationals championship Vapor Trail range Missouri

Jim Bauer was was Light Gun Score, Group, and Overall champion [Editor: Mighty impressive trifecta Jim!] Jim’s rifle featured a BAT B action, Krieger barrel, Bix ‘N Andy trigger. The stock is a modified ST-1000 with truing and modifications by Gordy Gritters who has been Jim and Sally’s gunsmith for 15+ years. Jim’s cartridge is the 6 Dasher loaded with Varget powder and 103gr Vapor Trail bullets. Notably Jim was using CCI 550 Magnum PISTOL primers (yes FIVE-Fifty). Jim says some of the Deep Creek, Montana 1K shooters have also tried these CCI 550 pistol primers with success.

Glen Hiett was the Heavy Gun Group champion this year. A great competitor, Glen was the 2-Gun champion at Hawk’s Ridge last year AND he was also the 2019 IBS 1K Shooter of the Year. Remarkably, Hiett earned those major achievements in his rookie year. I think we are going to be seeing a lot more of Glenn in the winner’s circle. Glenn ran the 6 BRA cartridge (6mm BR improved). His rifle featured a BAT B action, Jewell trigger, Brux barrel, and Alex Sitman stock. He was using Vapor Trail 103gr bullets with Alliant Reloder 15 powder and CCI 450s.

IBS international benchrest shooters 1000-yard 1K Nationals championship Vapor Trail range Missouri
Ladies Champion Donna Matthews with Vapor Trail Range Owner Tom Jacobs (left).

The 2020 Ladies Champion is Donna Matthews from North Carolina. Donna was the Ladies Champion in 2019 as well. Along with her husband David, they are the IBS goodwill ambassadors.

Praise and Thanks for Vapor Trail Range and IBS Sponsors
There are lots of stories to be told from this year’s 1K Nationals. As confirmed in AccurateShooter Forum threads, the match ran flawlessly. Everyone was thankful that we had a place to shoot a game that we love. The food, the friendships, the camaraderie, all made for a fun, inviting environment. We thank the Jacobs family clan for hosting us. Give credit also to Mike McBride for the scoring program that he created for the 600-yard discipline and the modified version he built for this event. Thanks to all within the IBS who worked hard so that we could still hold this event in this Pandemic year.

We want to thank all of our sponsors that made the match and ample Prize Table possible. We certainly realize that 2020 has been a challenging year. We thank the guys from Hornady — Craig Anderson, John Potratz, Justin Morrow, Trampas Kluender, and Chad Donscheski. They have supported Vapor Trail Range for years and their contributions are appreciated. We also want to thank AMP annealing, Bench Source, 21st Century Shooting, Krieger Barrels, Hawkhill, Bart’s Bullets, and SEB Rests.

IBS international benchrest shooters 1000-yard 1K Nationals championship Vapor Trail range Missouri

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October 6th, 2020

New SEB Premium Bigfoot Rear Bag — Impressive Design

SEB coax lambang rear bag sandbag benchrest

Benchrest and F-Class shooters know that you need a very good rear bag to achieve optimal (and repeatable) accuracy with your rifle. The rear sandbag does more than just support the weight of the rifle in the rear. It also aligns the stock with the front rest, absorbs vibration/shock, and perhaps most importantly, guides the rearward travel of the stock during the recoil cycle.

A premium bag will be stable from shot to shot, not move on recoil, and also be a good match to the angles and width of the keel (bottom) of your stock. Modern rear sandbags also employ various types of synthetics on the contact surfaces. The idea is to reduce friction which still providing a stable “grip” on the stock.

We’ve learned that our friend Sebastian Lambang, inventor of SEB coaxial rests, has come up with an improved, second-generation Bigfoot Rear bag. The design looks very well thought-out and the craftsmanship is excellent. Seb welcomes comments on his Facebook Page. These will be available soon from SEB dealers worldwide.

Seb explains: “Here is the new/premium SEB Bigfoot Rear Bag. The photos show our Prototype bag model shown with nylon seat belt material on the ears.” Note that the bags sit perfectly flat — there is no bulge on the bottom even though the bags are “packed to the brim with sand”.

SEB coax lambang rear bag sandbag benchrest

SEB coax lambang rear bag sandbag benchrest

Dimensions: Standard spacings between ears: 3/8″, 1/2″, 5/8″, 3/4″, and 1″; standard height: 4″.
Customizing: Other spacing, bag height, for right- or left-handed available on request.
Accessories: The SEB doughnut (bag base/surround unit) is also available (sold separately).

SEB coax lambang rear bag sandbag benchrest

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October 6th, 2020

Mr. and Mrs. King Share a Martini — Mark III Variety

rimfire benchrest .22 LR mac tilton Martini Mark III husband wife
Here is gunsmith Richard King, with his updated Martini Mark III smallbore rifle.

This is the kind of family-friendly, “feel-good” story we like. A few years back, Texan Richard King created a rimfire benchrest rifle using a classic Martini Mark III smallbore action. He fitted the gun with a new flat, wide forearm and a new buttstock, allowing the gun to sit steady on the bags and track smoothly. The narrow action was also fitted with a cantilevered top rail to hold a high-magnification scope.

Here is Vicki King, with Martini Mark III and her trophy.
rimfire benchrest .22 LR mac tilton Martini Mark III husband wife

But here’s the best part. Back in 2014, Richard provided this updated classic to his wife Vicki, who proceeded to win a rimfire benchrest match (Vintage class) with the old Martini. Richard reports: “Here is my lovely wife with her High Overall Vintage trophy. That is a Martini Mark III that I re-stocked in walnut for 50-yard, .22-caliber benchrest matches. It’s great to have her shooting with me again.”

rimfire benchrest .22 LR mac tilton Martini Mark III husband wife

Bravo Richard — kudos to you AND to your lovely bride. It’s great to see a couple shooting together. It’s also great to see a classic rifle brought back to the winner’s circle with some inspired stock-work, new optics mount, and other smart upgrades. Old rifles never die… at least if they find their way to a great smith like Richard King.

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October 5th, 2020

CMP Home Range Appreciation Series — Matches Nationwide

CMP Home Range Series Matches 2020

2020 has been a pretty rotten year so far — with the Pandemic, shutdowns, riots, and, yes, cancellation of major shooting tournaments, including the big summer National Matches at Camp Perry.

But, not daunted, the CMP organized a series of shooting matches around the country, called the Home Range Appreciation Series. Over 1200 Rifle and pistol competitors shot Home Range matches in 32 states this year. In total, 11 smallbore events, 33 air rifle, 9 GSMM rifle, 13 Highpower Rifle Aggregate, 2 pistol and 4 Rimfire Sporter rifle events were fired in 32 states. Nearly 1,500 entries were recorded throughout the events, with competitors from 43 states.

CMP Home Range Series Matches 2020

Open to both adult and junior athletes, the Home Range Appreciation Series events were fired in local club matches and scored by the CMP to be compared against overall scores from participating marksmen around the nation. Matches included the White Oak 1600 Rifle Aggregate, a 200-Yard Reduced Course 800 Rifle Aggregate, a Garand/Springfield/Vintage/Modern Military Rifle Match, Rimfire Sporter Rifle, CMP Pistol 2700 (featuring .22 Rimfire, Center Fire and 45 Caliber pistols), Smallbore 3×20, Smallbore Prone 3200, and air rifle 3×20 and 60-Shot matches.

CMP Home Range Series Matches 2020

The CMP conducted a Virtual Awards Ceremony on Friday, October 2, 2020, to honor the top competitors in various discpline. A drawing for all sponsor-donated items also took place during the Virtual Awards Ceremony. You can watch this virtual awards ceremony on YouTube:

The CMP thanks all participants, volunteers, clubs and others who helped to make this inaugural event a true success. To see the top performers, CLICK HERE for full list of Home Range Match Results.

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October 2nd, 2020

2020 GAP Grind Kicks Off Today in Tennessee

GAP Grind 2020

Considered the biggest PRS-type rifle match in the world, the 2020 GAP Grind/Bushnell Pro/Am kicks off today. The big GAP Grind runs for three days, October 2-4, at the K&M Shooting Complex in Finger, Tennessee. In association with the Precision Rifle Series (PRS), the format will again be a professional-amateur, individual and team match to promote sportsmanship and welcome new shooters to the competition scene. Competitors ranging from top professionals to those seeking their first taste of the sport are invited to attend.

The GAP Grind is held at the impressive K&M Shooting Complex in Tennessee:

Lots of Action, with 20+ Stages
The GAP Grind is a challenging, “high tempo” match with minimal down-time between stages. Over the course of 20+ stages, competitors will fire 200+ shots at a variety of steel, paper, moving, and reactive targets out to 1,200 yards. Targets vary in size/difficulty based on the shooter’s position, distance, and time allotted. Most stages include “stressors” — i.e. time limits or required movement(s).

GAP Grind 2020
Ramia Whitecotton Facebook photo.

The GAP Grind typically attracts over 300 competitors — half experienced shooters and the other half newcomers to the sport. The key to growing the shooting sports is attracting new shooters. The best way to bring in “new blood” seems to be the Pro-Am type format. At the GAP Grind, experienced shooters share their knowledge and guide the new shooters through the competition.

GAP Grind 2020

Bushnell Side Match on October 2, 2020
On Friday, October 2, Bushnell will sponsor a side match featuring the RXS-250, a new red dot optic. This is an impressive impact-resistant design, with 10 user-adjustable brightness and True Tone coatings for a sharp, distortion free image. Bushnell will provide prizes to competitors — a lucky amateur will receive a new Bushnell Elite Tactical optic. Plus range officers will receive product prizes to thank them for dedicating time to the event.

GAP Grind 2020 bushnell red dot side match rxc-250

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September 27th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Shelley Davidson’s Amazing “Tinker Toy” 30 BR

Shelly Davidson Tinker Toy 30 BR

Editor’s NOTE: Shelley Davidson passed away in 2008 after a courageous battle with cancer. He was one of the great innovators in benchrest rifle design. This article, written before Shelley died, showcases Shelley’s creative talents at their best. His “Tinker Toy” design will always be a tribute to Shelley’s fabricating skills and imagination.


Shelley Davidson — a brilliant innovator. R.I.P. Shelley — you will not be forgotten.

Shelley Davidson’s peers called his radical rifle the “Tinker Toy” gun. We call it revolutionary. Even now, 14 years after its creation, there’s nothing quite like it. This innovative, skeleton design threw conventional wisdom to the winds. Shelley readily concedes he “broke the rules” of benchrest rifle building. But this was inspired rule-breaking, because Davidson’s rifle shot like a house on fire. The Tinker Toy gun won its first matches, both for Score AND for Group. And this rifle also delivered many “zero groups” in Gene Begg’s Texas Tunnel. Hats off to Shelley for conceiving and building a truly radical rifle that was also wicked accurate and successful in competition.

tinker toy davidson 20 BR benchrest rifle

Tinker Toy 30 BR — Radical As It Gets

Report by Shelley Davidson
Although I’m not big on naming rifles, my shooting buddies have christened the gun “Tinker Toy.” I can live with that as it does kind of look as if it was made with a Tinker Toy set.

Origins of the Project
This project began with some wild ideas I had in the fall of 2006 about using magnets to tune a barrel. My idea was to use one magnet on the barrel and another on the stock so they pushed against each other to counter gravity-induced barrel sag (and possibly) tame barrel vibration in a beneficial manner. The only way to test these ideas was to build the device and mount it on a gun. That meant I had to build a new rifle because there was no place to mount a magnet on the stock of a conventional benchrest rig. I had a Kelbly-stocked heavy varmint stock with a Michael Kavanaugh paint job on it. I didn’t think Kav would ever forgive me if I started drilling holes in one of his works of art. My light varmint was in a carbon fiber Scoville stock that costs about a grand. Drilling into the Scoville for an experiment just smacked of bad judgment. So, the magnet thing was my first motivation for designing a new stock. As long as I was building from scratch I decided to offset the barrel and action 0.75″ to the right to counteract the spin/torque from the bullet.

Although there’s nothing new here, my second motivation was to build a 30BR that could shoot in the 10.5 lb light varmint class in NBRSA. The magnetic tuner will automatically make this gun illegal in the IBS. The IBS has declared all barrel attachments un-safe and have outlawed them. I personally feel that the IBS really outlawed all barrel attachments to prevent experimentation and innovation. But at least we have NBRSA matches.

Designing the New Gun — Thinking “Outside the Box”
Once I’d decided to build a lightweight stock that could support experimental devices out near the muzzle, I started drawing up some rough plans. I also took a trip to Jerry Stiller’s shop in Wylie, Texas for a brainstorming session with Jerry, the maker of Viper and other Benchrest actions. Jerry is a school-trained mechanical engineer and thinks differently than I do. I came away from Stiller’s shop with my design roughed out and sketched on paper. The design violated several covenants of conventional wisdom for building competition BR rifles. For instance, two-piece stocks stress the action. Stress reduction is why most BR rifles are glued into the stock. Another myth is that metal stocks vibrate too much so wood or foam-filled fiberglass or carbon fiber are used.

Tinker Toy Rifle DESIGN FEATURES

Shelly Davidson’s Rifle was so innovative, that almost every feature, except the bare action, is very different than you’ll find on most Benchrest rigs. Accordingly we felt it would be useful to isolate and describe the key design features, from stem to stern. Click thumbnails to view FULL-SIZE PHOTOS.

Front Bracket with Magnetic Tuner
The tuner consists of one rare earth magnet attached to the stock and another attached to a barrel sleeve with the magnets oriented so as to make the magnetic force repel each other. The purpose is to counter “barrel droop” and, hopefully, dampen barrel vibration. The lower magnet is carried on a threaded shaft (with lock ring), allowing the magnet to be raised up and down to adjust the “up push” on the barrel.

Tubular Fore-Arm Supported by Brackets
Three brackets support two tubes, one on either side of the barrel. The rear-most bracket is sandwiched between the barrel and the action. Four inches forward (max distance allowed for barrel blocks) a second bracket grips the barrel. Near the muzzle a third bracket secures the ends of the tubes and holds the magnetic tuner. To allow barrel offset, the left tube is 1″ diameter tube while the right tube is 5/8″ diameter.

Offset Barrel
The rifle rests on a 3″ wide plate attached to the underside of the two fore-end tubes. With the plate centered in the front sandbag, the barreled action is actually offset 0.75″ to the right (looking forward from the breech). The purpose of this offset is to keep more weight on the right side to counter the tendency of the rifle to torque counter-clockwise. Two different diameter tubes allow for the built-in offset.

Floating Action without Sub-Support or Bedding
On the Tinker Toy gun, the action serves as a load-bearing assembly, holding the barrel in the front, and the skeleton buttstock (or “keel”) in the rear. Shelley was told that accuracy would suffer if you stressed a benchrest action in this manner but that proved untrue. It is a very simple solution to building a rifle, and it eliminates the need to bed the action. The forearm attaches to the action via a bracket installed like a recoil lug.

Skeleton Rear “Keel” Affixed Directly to Action
Davidson’s Tinker Toy does not have a conventional rear buttstock. Instead there is low-profile, v-shaped metal “keel”, as Davidson calls it, that rides the rear bag. The keel is supported by a tubular backbone that attaches at the rear of the Diamondback action. At the butt end is an aluminum plate covered with bubble wrap that serves as a butt pad. The skeletonized rear section helps the rifle maintain a very low center of gravity.

Locked Scope with External Windage and Elevation Adjustment
Shelley ran an older Leupold 36X Benchrest Scope with front-adjusting objective. To eliminate slop or loose tolerances in the erector mechanism that could cause changes in point of impact, the internals have been locked up by Jackie Schmidt. To move the cross-hairs relative to the bore axis, Shelley has a special Jewell/Foster rear ring that allows a limited amount of lateral and vertical movement of the entire scope body.

TINKER TOY SPECIFICATIONS

Action: Stiller SS Diamondback Drop-Port (1/2″ short), with .308 Bolt Face.
Barrel: Shilen .308 caliber, 17-twist, HV.
Chambering: 30BR, .330″ neck, Pacific Tool & Gauge Robinett Reamer.
Stock: Davidson Custom Tubular Stock with 0.75″ Offset Barreled Action.
Tube Construction: 6061 Aluminum, 1″ diameter (left), 5/8″ diameter (right).
Load: H4198 powder and 118gr Ronnie Cheek bullets. Loaded to 2980 fps.
Trigger: Jewell, 2 ounce BR.
Tuner: Custom, Adjustable with Opposing Magnets.
Optics: Leupold 36X (locked by J. Schmidt).
Rings: Jewell Foster External Adjusting Rings.

Stiller Diamondback Action and Shilen 17-Twist Barrel
I had wanted to use an aluminum Stiller Cobra drop port with a 6mmBR bolt face but Jerry had none in stock and he estimated it would be a year before one was available. Although I’ve waited for up to a year for an action in the past, I wanted to build this rifle during the fall of 2006 while the weather was pleasant enough to work in my unheated and un-air-conditioned garage shop. Jerry did have a 1/2″ short stainless steel Diamondback in stock so I purchased it even though it would add 3 ounces to the gun compared to the aluminum Cobra. Three ounces is a lot of weight when you’re working with a 10.5-lb limit. I had a heavy varmint contour Shilen 17-twist barrel that would work nicely and I had a Jewell trigger on a rifle that I wasn’t using at the time. I also decided to use my Leupold 36X (locked-up by Jackie Schmidt) with the Jewell/Foster adjustable rings.

Building the Tube Fore-Arm and Brackets
I took a wild guess as to tubing thickness and settled on .035″ for the 1″ left fore-arm tube and .058″ for the 5/8″ right fore-arm tube. All of the flat stock and tubes are 6061 Aluminum. I did the lathe work and the mill work and every evening I’d put the parts together and think about the proper way to proceed.

tube benchrest rifle

When the parts were mostly made, I started thinking that this was a truly ugly rifle. I thought about painting it but that wasn’t a good option as many of the parts are designed to slide over others and glue together. Anodizing was the best answer so while looking on the Internet for local anodizing shops I Googled “Home Anodizing”. Sure enough there were a few sites that told about how to anodize at home. I picked up some battery acid from NAPA Auto Supply, some Rit Clothes Dye from Wal-Mart, and a bunch of distilled water from the grocery store. Using an old battery charger as my dc power supply I started anodizing and dying the eighteen parts that went into the stock. Although I had to strip and re-anodize some of the parts, the work turned out acceptable.

Putting it All Together–Lug-Mounting the Fore-Arm and Lots of Epoxy
The barrel contour had to be modified to work with the stock which attaches by way of a rear plate which mounts like a recoil lug and a plate that ties the barrel and the stock tubes together 4″ forward of the bolt face. The four-inch maximum distance is a NBRSA rule concerning barrel blocks.

Davidson Benchrest 30BR

Davidson 30BR group targetThe recoil lug-style stock mount is probably the only truly innovative thing I did other than the opposing-magnet tuner. Basically, the rear bracket is sandwiched between the receiver face and the barrel shoulder–positioned where a conventional recoil lug would go. I also added a brass ring (visible in photo) between the anodized bracket and the barrel. This was done to distribute loads over a wider surface area. (I was concerned that the bracket material was fairly soft and I didn’t want to crush it as I torqued the barrel in place.) After fitting the barrel and plates I glued the entire gun together using epoxy and various LocTite adhesives. The rest of the parts were assembled but I did not Loctite the scope bases since I thought I’d be disassembling the rifle for re-work after the first trials. That came back to bite me during later testing when the gun started shooting erratically and I went down a couple of blind alleys before finding the loose bases.

Range Testing–Results Are Very Positive
The first range session was a real shocker. Even though the wind was up to 10mph and twitchy, the rifle showed promise from the very first shot. I really didn’t expect that kind of performance without, at least, some rework. After sighting in, I shot five, 5-shot groups that, when averaged together, measured .223″. That’s good enough to win some benchrest group matches. But I wasn’t finished with the gun yet–I still wanted to try out my magnetic tuner concept.

Magnetic Benchrest Tuner Davidson

The Magnetic Tuner
Next, I built the magnetic tuner. The tuner consists of one rare earth magnet attached to the stock and another attached to a barrel sleeve with the magnets oriented so the magnetic forces repel each other. In order to test the magnets and to determine if the rifle really shot as well as it seemed to, I took it to Gene Beggs’s shooting tunnel in Odessa, Texas. I spent two days at the tunnel testing loads and then installed the magnetic tuner. The gun shoots well with the magnets and shoots well without them. I suppose I can’t make any claims as to how much, if any, improvement the magnets make. Gene said that my gun was the most accurate rifle to be tested at his one-year-old shooting facility: “Shelley Davidson brought one of the most unusual rifles I had ever seen; he called it his ‘Tube Gun.’ And boy, did it ever shoot! It still holds the record in the tunnel as the rifle that shot more zeros than any other to date.” I definitely recommend Gene’s facility for testing and refining shooting techniques and loads.

Competition — Tinker Toy Won Both Score and Group Matches

Finally the big day arrived when I’d shoot the first match with my new gun. The North Texas Shooters Association was holding its first club match of the 2007 season. At the Denton, Texas matches we shoot a Score Match in the morning and a Group Match in the afternoon. The March event was at 100 yards and the April match will be at 200 yards and so on alternating throughout the benchrest season.

Davidson tube BR rifle Score MatchMatch One–Tinker Toy Wins Score with a 250 – 17X
Since the gun is chambered in 30BR and that chambering is almost immune to tuning woes, I preloaded 130 rounds with H4198 powder and 118gr Cheek bullets. I used my SEB front rest and rear bag which are made by Sebastian Lambang in Indonesia. Everything came together, and Tinker Toy demonstrated that the accuracy it showed in the tunnel was no fluke. The gun shot great and I won the morning match with a 250, 17X. The day was quite windy and the next best shooter scored a 250, 15X. So I’d chalked up my first win.

Match Two–Tinker Toy Wins Group with a .2282″ Agg
Tinker Toy won the afternoon group match I entered with a five-group Aggregate of .2282″. (The second place score was .2568″.) My groups were .149″, .197″, .243″, .302″ (oops), and .250″. You know how some folks say a 30BR can’t be competitive with a PPC? Well that .2282″ Agg won’t break any records, but it is good enough to win some regional registered BR matches. So this rifle has demonstrated an ability to win in both Score and Group matches. Obviously I have a very good Shilen barrel, great Cheek bullets and the rest of the components are doing their jobs as well. But, the stock is also working well.

Score Shooting vs. Group Shooting–The Rules
In a score match, the shooter shoots one bullet at each of five record targets, which are clustered on one target sheet. The Aggregate score of five of these targets determines the winner. If the shooter touches the 10 ring on all of his 25 targets he can score a “clean” 250 score. Usually there will be more than one shooter who scores a 250 so the winner is determined by the X-count. The 1/2″ 10-point ring has a 1/16″ dot in its center. Touching the X dot adds to the shooters X count. In short-range group matches, the shooter must try to put five bullets through the same hole. At each distance (100 or 200), five, 5-shot matches are scored, the group sizes are added together (MOA equivalent at 200) and the total is divided by five to arrive at an Aggregate score.

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September 25th, 2020

Competition Returns to Camp Perry with September GSSM Match

CMP GSMM Petrarca Range Camp Perry Ohio

This is heartening — folks are shooting at Camp Perry again. Some normalcy has returned to the world (despite the ongoing pandemic). Though the CMP National Matches were cancelled in summer 2020, shooting returned, on a smaller scale, in the fall. The CMP hosted a Garand-Springfield-Modern and Vintage Military (GSMM) Rifle Match on Camp Perry’s Petrarca Range on September 14th.

CMP GSMM Petrarca Range Camp Perry Ohio

CLICK HERE to See 200+ GSMM Match Photos »

Competitors on the line greeted each other with warm smiles and swapped stories of missed competition over the last few months – some traveling from as far as Virginia with the hopes of enjoying Camp Perry after the cancellation of the National Matches (typically an annual tradition for marksmen). Others admitted the Petrarca Match was their first time in competition since last year’s National Matches. So, for those in attendance, this event did represent a positive return to normalcy during this challenging year.

CMP GSMM Petrarca Range Camp Perry Ohio

The GSMM Match was subject to strict health and safety guidelines. Participants practiced social distancing and wore masks when not firing. The CMP team also employed sanitation procedures for the facility.

CMP GSMM Petrarca Range Camp Perry Ohio
CMP GSMM Petrarca Range Camp Perry Ohio

The morning started off soggy as rain moved through the range area along the shores of Lake Erie, clearing off before the first relay to leave a gray backdrop. The weather quickly improved through early afternoon as the sun appeared and warmed the air, making for a pleasant return to the firing line for later relays.

CMP GSMM Petrarca Range Camp Perry Ohio

Winning overall in the Garand competition was Jeffrey Cramer, 66, with a 266-3X Aggregate. Jace Diezman, 59, led the Springfield category with 266-2X, as SFC Charles Novak, 55, won the Vintage Military class, with a score of 254-1X. Joe Rondon, 53, won Modern Military with a score of 281-5X over the day.

Modern Kongsberg Electronic Targets for Rapid Scoring
Petrarca Range is home to CMP Targets, powered by the Kongsberg Target Systems (KTS) of Norway. The lineup of electronic targets utilized on the range allows competitors to watch their shots on monitors located at each firing point eliminating the need for pit duty and dead range time.

CMP Petrarca Range Camp Perry Ohio
Camp Perry 2016 Natinoal CMP Matches Regisatration Open

Directions to Camp Perry:

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September 20th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Old “Number 2″ — Cherished M1A of Ray Gross

Ray Gross M1A M14 service rifle .308 .30-06 Distinguished rifleman badge
Old “Number 2″ belonging to Ray Gross. Click Photo for full-screen Image.

Ray Gross, one of America’s great rifle competitors, has served as captain of the United States F-TR Team. While Ray is best known for his F-Class shooting and leadership, Ray is also an experienced service rifle shooter, who secured his Distinguished Rifleman Badge 25 years ago. Ray has shot many rifles during his competitive shooting career, but the M1A rifle above held a special place in Ray’s heart. This old semi-auto earned Ray his Distinguished Badge, and he’ll never forget that, though he parted with the rifle in 2016.

Ray Gross M1A M14 service rifle .308 .30-06 Distinguished rifleman badge

Posting back in 2016, Ray told us:

“I said goodbye to an old friend… Affectionately known as ‘Number 2′, she is the rifle that I earned my Distinguished Rifleman Badge with in 1995 (#1159).

That rifle was also responsible for a fair amount of Venison in the ’90s, as well. But since then, she has spent a lot of time in the closet. Last time I got her out was to destroy a bunch of hard drives containing evidence collected during my Computer Forensics days. She deserved better than that.

I will miss the beautiful sound of all that American steel slamming into battery when I tripped her bolt.” – Ray Gross

M14 rifle Springfield M1A camp perry Shooting Sports USARay Gross was profiled in Shooting Sports USA last year. He explained how he started his competitive shooting career with an M1A rifle:

How did you begin in competitive shooting?

I began competing in 1991, at age 27. I bought an M1A and joined the Midland County Sportsman’s Club. One day I was at the club shooting the M1A when a member, Rich Koskela, came over and invited me to join them shooting competitions. Up until that point, I had no idea there was such a thing as NRA Competitive Shooting and I had been a member since 1986. Anyway, Rich and some of his friends showed me the basics and at my first match, I finished in the top half and first MU.

What are your major accomplishments in the shooting sports?

In 1995, I earned the Distinguished Rifleman Badge and a few years later switched to Palma rifle. On the way to making my first Palma team in 2003, I won the Army Cup, the Andrus trophy twice and the Sierra Trophy once. As a coach, I won the Herrick match, and seven F-TR National Championship team matches. Internationally, I’ve coached three gold medal America Match teams (The USA has only won four in Palma Rifle), and earned a Silver and Bronze coaching on the Palma Team in 2015 and 2019. In 2017, I led the U.S. F-TR Team to a World Championship. This year (2019), I also won the NRA ELR National Championship (25-lb max Division).”

Ray Gross M1A M14 service rifle .308 .30-06 Distinguished rifleman badge

M14 rifle Springfield M1A camp perry Shooting Sports USA

“Descended from the M1 Garand, the M14 utilized multiple improvements that made it a far superior firearm for combat and a much better rifle for competition.” — Dick Jones, Shooting Sports USA.

In the April 2018 issue of Shooting Sports USA, you’ll find a good article on the civilian version of the M14, now sold commercially as the Springfield M1A. An evolution of the battle-proven M1 Garand, the M14 was designed to shoot the 7.62×51 (.308 Win) round instead of the larger .30-06 Springfield cartridge used in WWI, WWII and Korea. While the vast majority of today’s M1As are chambered for .308 Win/7.62×51, Springfield Armory also produces a 6.5 Creedmoor version.

Ray Gross M1A service rifle

Dick Jones reports that accurized M14/M1As could post remarkable scores: “The accuracy potential of the M14/M1A is unquestionable. During their reign as service rifles, they produced multiple perfect 200 scores at 600 and 1000 yards in the hands of top shooters. This is a difficult feat with a modern, scoped, magnum-caliber rifle and remarkable with an iron-sighted battle rifle. Good competition rifles can group 10 shots under one MOA, and the meticulously-massaged rifles used by the top shooters during my career would consistently put up 10 shots under an inch at 200 yards off a test cradle.”

M14 rifle Springfield M1A camp perry Shooting Sports USA

For many years, the semi-auto version of the M14 was “top dog” in iron sights Service Rifle competition. Now that discipline is dominated by .223 Rem (5.56×45) AR-type rifles, but the bigger .308-caliber rifle, now sold as the M1A, remains popular. And in non-pandemic years, the CMP hosts a major M1A Match at Camp Perry, sponsored by Springfield Armory. This is a very popular event with 100+ competitors and significant cash prizes.

See how the modern M1A is built in this Springfield Armory Video:

As racing improves automobiles, competition improves firearms, and the current crop of Springfield M1As, from the Basic to the top-of-the-line Super Match and Loaded models, reflects the years of development. The M14 and its variants are … still considered by many to be the best battle rifle in the history of the U.S. Military. — Dick Jones, Shooting Sports USA

Military Version Operation Revealed — M14 Training Film

The original military version of the M1A was the select-fire M14. The 27-minute official U.S. Army video below demonstrates the operation of the M14. Field-stripping is shown from the 5:13 time-mark through 8:30. Cut-away drawings show the M14’s gas operation at 8:40.

Watch M14 Functioning Cycle Starting at 9:25 Mark:

The M14’s complete 8-step functioning cycle is demonstrated from the 9:25 time-mark through 22:41. These eight operations are: 1) Feeding; 2) Chambering; 3) Locking; 4) Firing; 5) Unlocking; 6) Extracting; 7) Ejecting; and 8) Cocking. This movie is fairly long, but fans of battle rifles will find it well worth their time. Every M1A owner should definitely watch this video start to finish.

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September 16th, 2020

Precision Hunter Steel Challenge on Shooting USA Today

Hornady Precision Hunter Steel Challenge Cameo Grand Junction Colorado CO PRS

This week Shooting USA TV features an innovative rifle competition in Colorado, the Hornady Precision Hunter Steel Challenge. This is a unique match set in 2000 acres of natural terrain at the Cameo Shooting Complex in Colorado. The match replicates long-range hunting challenges, with steel targets sized to simulate the vitals of western game animals. Some 135 competitors engaged steel targets in 20 challenging stages.

Match Director Scott Satterlee says, “This is as close as it can get to mountain hunting. We have vital-sized targets out there. They are 12-inch squares turned to diamonds which are really difficult to hit”.

SHOOTING USA TV Air Times
View Shooting USA on the Outdoor Channel: Wednesdays 9:00 PM (Eastern and Pacific); 8:00 PM Central.
NOTE: If you miss today’s broadcast, you can still view the show on Vimeo for a small 99-cent fee, or just $1.99 per month unlimited. LINK HERE: Shooting USA on Vimeo.

Hornady Precision Hunter Steel Challenge Cameo Grand Junction Colorado CO PRS

The inaugural Hornady Precision Hunter Steel Challenge took place in Colorado August 8 and 9. This unique competition involved lots of hiking with various shooting positions in challenging natural terrain. The unique match was hosted at the Cameo Shooting Complex near Grand Junction, CO.

Hornady Precision Hunter Steel Challenge Cameo Grand Junction Colorado CO PRS

There were 135 registered competitors — quite a turn-out for a physically demanding match in a fairly remote location. Congrats to Heavy Class and Overall Winner Brian Black who topped the field with 140 Match points (100% of possible). Brian shot a 6.5×47 Lapua with Berger 6.5mm 140gr Hybrids. Brian’s winning rig featured a Lone Peak Arms Fuzion action, Benchmark barrel, and XLR Element chassis.

Hornady Precision Hunter Steel Challenge Cameo Grand Junction Colorado CO PRS

The Hornady Precision Hunter Steel Challenge tests a rifleman’s fitness and skills as marksman and hunter. The stages were blind with a 4-minute time limit to move to the shooting area, locate, range, and engage targets. Shooters could choose between two rifle weight classes (light or heavy) and had to meet a minimum power factor cartridge requirement that helped even the playing field. The match featured a diverse course of fire with a good mix of prone and natural terrain shooting positions.

Hornady Precision Hunter Steel Challenge Cameo Grand Junction Colorado CO PRS

Hornady Precision Hunter Steel Challenge Cameo Grand Junction Colorado CO PRS

CLICK HERE for 100 More Match Photos (Facebook Album) »

hornady hunting ammoHunting Ammo Tested by Shooting USA
In this same episode, Shooting USA tests a variety of Hornady hunting ammo offerings on the G.A. Precision private gun range in Missouri. (We’d love to have our own private range like that!) Jason Hornady says his company starts the design of all hunting ammunition with bullet selection: “For us it started with the bullet … for us the bullet still makes the cartridge.”.

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September 15th, 2020

Getting Started in PRS/NRL Competition — Guns, Gear, & Ammo

Tactical Competition Precision Rifle Series

Many of our readers are thinking of trying out PRS-type competition. Tactical matches are becoming more popular every season. Along with F-Class, tactical/practical disciplines are the fastest-growing forms of competitive rifle shooting. Rich Emmons, one of the founders of the Precision Rifle Series (PRS), has written an insightful article about getting started in the tactical game. This will help PRS novices pick the right equipment and understand the game. Here are highlights from Emmon’s “PRS — Intro to Competition” article, originally published on the PRS website. You may also want to read the current PRS FAQ Page.

Precision Rifle Series — Intro to Competition

by Rich Emmons, PRS President
Tactical Shooting with a precision rifle is not like other disciplines, there is no set course of fire or format. That is what makes it so fun!

GAP Grind PRS series
Photo from Ramia Whitecotton’s GAP GRIND 2016 photo album.

First, you have to ask yourself what do you want to accomplish. When I was introduced to long range shooting, immediately a light turned on for me, once I saw how easy it was to hit 300–600 yard targets. What I quickly learned from my first competition and the many that followed was there is so much to learn and shooting in competition put everything you thought you knew to the test. So back to the question: “What do YOU want to accomplish?”. The reality is you may not know yet, you just think it is cool to have a bad ass rifle and scope that can make almost any shot. Now if you’ve got that rifle and scope, it’s time to take it to the next level.

Watch PRS 2016 Championship

Getting Started — What to Expect
If you’re reading this, you have probably already have been bitten by the long range shooting bug. It can seem quite intimidating to just jump in with a new bunch of shooters you don’t know and shooting lingo you don’t quite understand yet. But here is the key — show up and shoot! I guarantee you if you show up to a match as a new shooter, other experienced shooters will guide you along and give you help on anything you need.

AUDIO: Click Button to hear Rich Emmons Talk about the Precision Rifle Series.

Now, a couple things you should just expect. You’re not as good as you think you are. Don’t expect to come into your first match and beat all the veterans. That just doesn’t happen unless you have had some really good coaching or other shooting competition experience to get you ready for this type of competition. If possible, find a local rifle club that has monthly long range matches, or any type of match will help prepare you for a larger PRS event. Getting involved with a rifle club and starting out shooting monthly matches is definitely the way to jump into competition shooting.

PRS equipment gear AREA 419 gear changer bag

The Gear You Need
The first question that many ask is: “What kind of rifle/caliber/scope do I need?” The easiest answer to this is, the best you can afford. It’s no secret the gear is expensive. It took me several years of buying sub-par gear and eventually trading up to figure this out. Now, a guy can get a real sense of pride of doing it on the cheap, or with a factory rifle. I’ve seen many old Savage 10FPs take down custom rigs that cost 10 times as much. And if that’s all you can afford, then eventually you will learn the limitations of yourself or your gear. As for choice of cartridge/caliber, the respected Precision Rifle Blog has analyzed five years worth of match results from the best tactical shooters in the nation. CLICK HERE to read a PRB article that reveals what cartridge types the “top guns” use.

Tactical Competition Precision Rifle Series

Craig Arnzen of Area 419 has created a useful article reviewing the gear PRS shooters need, including support bags, hearing protection, and other key accessories such as muzzle brakes. This helpful article also covers factory ammunition options.

Area 419 Game Changer bag PRS tactical matches

Making Good Ammo
Producing quality reloads is something you have to master. It’s not hard at all, you just have to pay attention to detail, and eventually you are going to do something stupid like mis-priming your brass, or skip a row of brass when dumping your powder. Everybody has their own horror story of some reloading failure that cost them a stage or even a match. So load to perfection, work with your rifle to find what load it likes the best, then start your practice.

Tactical Competition Precision Rifle Series

Practice Makes Perfect
You want to become ONE with your rifle, learning everything you can about its functionality. Getting comfortable with the operation of your rifle is key. Learn the feel of your trigger, dry-firing until you wear the paint off your bolt handle. Learn how the rifle works best — pay attention to little things like the sound and feel of the bolt feeding a round from the mag (or when it doesn’t). Learn how to remove a jammed round quickly, learn how to reload a magazine quickly. Learn to scan across a field and find targets in a quick manner, seeing the targets with your eye and coming into the scope on target. These are some of the basic practices that separate the new shooters from the seasoned ones.

Tactical Competition Precision Rifle Series

Tactical Competition Precision Rifle Series

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September 7th, 2020

New Hybrid-X Front Rest from 21st Century Shooting

21st Century Shooting Hybrid-X front rest f-class benchrest swingarm coaxial

Introducing the Hybrid-X Shooting Rest
The new, patent-pending Hybrid-X front rest from 21st Century Shooting is a true hybrid between a joystick and a traditional “wheel” rest. Windage (left/right point of aim) changes are made via a control stick that extends back to the shooter. This control stick travels on a horizontal plane. Elevation is controlled through a knob on the end of the control stick, OR a large, traditional wheel on the post. So you have TWO elevation control options — the Big Wheel or the smaller knob on the end of the control rod.

The entire central assembly of the rest is mounted on a circular plate that is mounted in the base plate. This central assembly and plate is called the Target Acquisition System or “T.A.S”. This allows the user to easily self-align the rifle and rear bag by simply loosening a few levers. Self-alignment will help minimize set-up time and improve repeatability by eliminating binding of the rifle in the shooting bags. In addition, this will allow for rapid windage adjustment if needed to acquire a target. This really is an important advancement — you can simply place the rest on bench or ground, and then use the T.A.S. function to get perfect target alignment. No more trial and error placing the rest multiple times to get the correct orientation to the target.

21st Century Shooting Hybrid-X front rest f-class benchrest swingarm coaxial
 
The Hybrid-X design team tells us: “Smooth operation and ease of control are what this rest represents. The utilization of a ball screw plus bearing block provides glass-smooth elevation adjustment. And the elevation is stable.” Guys, this is important. Unlike some joystick rests which move when you release the joystick, on the Hybrid-X, the cradle holding your rifle does not “droop” when you release the Hybrid-X control stick. Repeatability from shot to shot is provided by the rock-solid platform and the fact that elevation does NOT change when you let go of the control stick.

21st Century Shooting Hybrid-X front rest f-class benchrest swingarm coaxial
The entire center section of the rest rotates as one unit for fast, perfect alignment to target.
 
Key Features of New Hybrid-X Shooting Rest
 
1. Weight of rifle is not a factor in ease of controls due to the use of ball screws/bearing blocks in the post.
2. Windage range is more than you would ever need — more than other rests on the market.
3. Elevation is not lost from shot to shot even if you release control stick.
4. Total weight of Hybrid-X prototype is 28 pounds.
5. Designed, machined and built in the USA!

21st Century Shooting Hybrid-X front rest f-class benchrest swingarm coaxial
 
How does it work? Very well indeed! The folks at 21st Century report: “Everyone that has shot off this rest so far is blown away with the repeatability, smoothness, and the ease of the controls.” The innovative Hybrid-X rest is Patent Pending, and is 100% made in the USA. Priced at $1950.00, the Hybrid-X is in production now. You won’t see it (yet) on the 21st Century website, but you can email or call (260) 273-9909 to order. Currently, expect a 60-day wait from time of order to delivery. The rest includes a front bag.

21st Century Shooting Hybrid-X front rest f-class benchrest swingarm coaxial

Field Test of New 21st Century Rest in Competition

Report from F-Class Competitor Bret Solomon
I would like to first start out by saying “Thank You” to all the persons involved at 21st Century Shooting for getting me this new rest. I used the new rest for the first time on Friday, August 7, 2020 for a team match in The Michigan State Long Range Team Match Championship. My team took first in the F-Open Division and I had a very quick learning curve with the rest. Saturday, I again used the rest for the Michigan Long Range/F-Class Regional individual matches. We shot one match and called the rest of the day due to weather concerns. Sunday we came back for three matches.

21st Century Shooting Hybrid-X front rest f-class benchrest swingarm coaxial

As the day progressed, the winds came up and starting switching considerably more and I put the new rest to work. I was able to concentrate on wind switches, feeling very confident that the gun was staying where I put it in the rest and on target. Adjustments were very smooth and I was able to shoot multiple shots with no elevation changes. The controls are in a position where you can get behind the gun and not have to reach out for changes. Yes the rest performed great — I was able to come from behind to take a one-point win in the F-Open Division. I believe the new rest from 21st Century Shooting made a significant difference for me. In the future, I hope the Hybrid-X rest will help advance my shooting game.

Once again, thank you to 21st Century Shooting for a great addition of technology, innovation, craftsmanship, and customer service to the shooting community. — Bret Solomon

21st Century Shooting Hybrid-X front rest f-class benchrest swingarm coaxial

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, New Product, News 2 Comments »
September 3rd, 2020

Go Big or Go Home — Big Presses Needed for Big ELR Cartridges

Ko2m king two miles ELR .416 Barrett cheytac .50 BMG Extreme long range press

In the ELR game, particularly the King of 2 Miles (KO2M), it’s “go big or go home”. The top shooters run large-capacity cartridges that push large-caliber, ultra-high BC bullets at very high velocities. Bullets launched by cartridges such as the .416 Barrett can sustain supersonic velocities at Extreme Long Ranges — and that’s what it takes to win. The .416 Barrett can launch a 550-grain solid bullet at 3000+ FPS.

.416 Barrett cartridge ELR .50 BMG RCBS press
Photo from ELR Competitor Corbin Shell.

2018 and 2019 Kings of 2 Miles Loaded on RCBS Presses
So how do you load jumbo cartridges such as the .416 Barrett? It takes a big, heavy, super-strong reloading press. We’ve learned that the last two Kings of 2 Miles, Paul Phillips (2019) and Robert Brantley (2019) both loaded their KO2M ammo on RCBS AmmoMaster .50 BMG presses. Phillips loaded .416 Barrett ammo, while Brantley loaded custom .416 MCS rounds.

In 2018, Robert Brantley topped the field using his custom .416 MCS loads perfected on the AmmoMaster .50 BMG Press. This year, Brantley took a close second to 2019 KO2M winner Paul Phillips. Both Phillips and Brantley use the AmmoMaster .50 BMG single stage press kit and RCBS .416 Barrett dies to hand-load for extreme long-range. “My ammo has been much more consistent after switching to the RCBS press and dies,” remarked Phillips, who runs the Global Precision Group. Brantley said he uses RCBS products for most of his reloading needs — from the dies and AmmoMaster, to the ChargeMaster and Brass Boss. His custom .416 MCS loads launch a 550-grain bullet more than 3,100 fps.

Ko2m king two miles ELR .416 Barrett cheytac .50 BMG Extreme long range press

Loading with RCBS AmmoMaster .50 BMG Press
This video shows reloading with the RCBS AmmoMaster .50 BMG press. While this video shows .50 BMG cases being loaded, the principles are the same for loading the .416 Barrett used by both Brantley and Phillips. Big cases need big presses!

Derek Rodgers Shooting the .375 CheyTac at K02M in 2017
Another ELR ace, 2017 King of 2 Miles champion Derek Rodgers, favored the .375 CheyTac cartridge. For his successful K02M quest, Derek ran Cutting Edge Bullets in Peterson brass with Hodgdon H50BMG powder. The video below shows Derek in action at the 2017 KO2M event.

The KO2M competition is a two-day extreme long-range (ELR) match held at the NRA Whittington Center outside Raton, New Mexico. Teams consist of one shooter and up to two wind coaches/spotters, who fire on steel targets ranging from about 1,500 to 3,500 yards.

KO2M .375 CheyTac AmmoMaster Derek Rodgers

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