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February 14th, 2024

PRS Rimfire Finale on Shooting USA This Week

PRS precision rimfire tactical NRL22 shooting usa tv smallbore .22 LR

Precision Rifle Series (PRS) Rimfire Finale on Shooting USA
This week Shooting USA showcases the PRS Rimfire Finale. This rimfire discipline is like Precision Rifle Series (PRS) centerfire competition, but shot with .22 LR rimfire rifles. Shooters can compete without the high cost of centerfire ammo and without the need for a 1000-yard range. The 2023 PRS Rimfire Finale, sponsored by Ruger, was held in Pennsylvania in October 2023. The big event drew over 200 competitors. SEE: PRS Rimfire Series Info.

Shooting USA SHOW TIMES: This Shooting USA Episode airs Wednesday, February 14, 2024 at 9:00 PM Eastern and Pacific; 8:00 PM Central. If you miss the regular broadcast, you can stream the show online at any time on Vimeo for $0.99 per episode.

PRS Rimfire Finale — Over 200 Competitors

The 2023 PRS Rimfire Series Finale drew over 200 competitors. The Finale Match was hosted last October by MKM Precision in Kennerdell, Pennsylvania. PRS and NRL tactical matches are among the fastest-growing competitive shooting disciplines. And rimfire tactical disciplines are actually growing even faster (than centerfire PRS/NRL) because .22 LR ammo is much cheaper than centerfire ammo, and there are many more ranges where rimfire matches can be held. PRS Rimfire offers the same kind of fun without the high cost of centerfire ammo and the time-consuming burden of hand-loading. Rimfire PRS also offers generally less expensive rifles, and a whole lot less recoil.

At the PRS Rimfire Finale in Pennsylvania match directors set out many unique courses of fire, and the target placements were certainly challenging. Many of the stages had cross-course target lay-outs. This makes wind-reading much more challenging, especially with the relatively slow, low-BC .22 LR cartridges used in PRS rimfire competition.

Tune in to Shooting USA TV on Wednesday, 2/14/24 to see the PRS Rimfire Finale. You’ll enjoy the coverage of this popular PRS rimfire sport, which we expect to grow significantly in 2024 and beyond. Notably, the National Rifle League (NRL) now conducts many more NRL22 matches than NRL centerfire matches. And competitors of course are drawn by the fun/challenge of a tactical match with much lower ammo costs — $0.10-$0.25/rd vs. $1.20/rd or more (counting brass, primer, bullets, powder, and barrel wear). And there are many more viable venues, because you don’t need a very big range to run a rimfire tactical match.

PRS precision rimfire tactical NRL22 shooting usa tv smallbore .22 LR

Getting Starting in PRS/NRL Rimfire Competition — The Rifle

Interested in getting started in PRS Rimfire competition? This MDT video explains the components you’ll need for a top-level .22 LR PRS rig.

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February 14th, 2024

Hornady Becomes Precision Rifle Series Title Sponsor for 2024

hornady a-tip match ammunition title sponsor Precision Rifle Series PRS

Hornady is now the official Title Sponsor of the Precision Rifle Series. This is a major step up in sponsorship levels for Hornady. Previously Hornady sponsored special events such as the Precision Rifle Challenge. Now Hornady will be the lead sponsor of all PRS centerfire events. Hornady Marketing Director Neil Davies stated: “We are excited for the opportunity to be the Title Sponsor of the Precision Rifle Series. Being the Official Bullet and Official Ammunition of the PRS and becoming the Title Sponsor solidifies our commitment to the sport and the PRS as an organization.”

Ken Wheeler, PRS Director, stated: “We are beyond thrilled to officially announce our 2024 partnership with Hornady as our Title Sponsor and the Official Bullet and Ammunition of the Precision Rifle Series. Hornady is an industry leader and very involved in the PRS community, their … award-winning match bullets and ammunition make them exceptional partners of the largest precision rifle organization[.]”

hornady a-tip match ammunition title sponsor Precision Rifle Series PRSHornady A-Tip Match Is Official Bullet of PRS
In connection with Hornady’s sponsorship, the Hornady A-Tip® Match has been named the official bullet of the PRS centerfire series. And Hornady MATCH ammo has been listed as the official PRS factory ammunition. NOTE: This does not make the use of A-Tips or Hornady Ammo mandatory in any respect, but these products will be promoted in connection with Hornady’s PRS sponsorship efforts.

We have shot Hornady A-Tip bullets in various platforms and have been impressed. The BCs are very good and A-Tips are capable of excellent accuracy if you inspect the tips for imperfections and sort the bullets by weight and base-to-ogive measurement. These A-Tips represent a significant design effort by Hornady: “Years of research and testing by the Hornady Ballistic Development Group, combined with advanced manufacturing processes and quality control measures, have led to the creation of the ultimate low-drag, high-performance A-Tip® Match bullet.”

hornady a-tip match ammunition title sponsor Precision Rifle Series PRS
In recent seasons, Hornady has sponsored PRS events such as the Precision Rifle Challenge.

Founded in 1949, Hornady Manufacturing Co. is a family-owned business based in Grand Island, Nebraska. Proudly selling Made-in-USA products, Hornady Manufacturing is a world leader in bullet, ammunition, reloading tool, accessory, and security product design and manufacturing.

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February 12th, 2024

Jumbo Cool-Looking Playing Card Targets — FREE Download

NRA Playing Card targets

Let’s face it, shooting the same bullseye or grid targets over and over again can get boring. Here’s a unique set of Playing Card Targets, courtesy of the NRA. With very cool graphics and a page-filling design, these eye-catching targets can work both indoors and outdoors.

At 100 yards, these are fun scoped rifle targets — you can aim at the small circles or dots on each target. Indoors, with a pistol, just aim for the larger graphic elements, such as the red hearts or black diamonds. If you have access to a color printer, these targets look great.

The NRA Blog published this nice set of super-sized playing card targets. These boast a variety of aiming points (large and small) so they work well for rifles as well as pistols. On the Queen of Diamonds, aim for the large bull-style designs in the “red zone” or aim for the smaller dots on the periphery. For a real challenge, try to shoot each one of the 26 small red diamonds in the curved, central white stripes.

On the Five of Clubs target, you can aim for the smaller club symbols, or shoot for the orange, purple, and green “dripping paint” bulls in the large, central club. The Ace of Spades target offers a colored bullseye in the center, plus a very small bullseye in the letter “C”. That should provide extra challenge for those of you with very accurate rifles. Enjoy these targets.

Click Any Image to Download Printable PDF Target:

NRA Playing Card target NRA Playing Card target
NRA Playing Card target NRA Playing Card target
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February 10th, 2024

Short-Range Benchrest Competition Captured on Video

Benchrest IBS 100 yards 6PPC Video

We know that many of our readers have never personally participated in a short-range (100/200 yard) benchrest match. That’s understandable — moving backers are required in registered 100/200 benchrest (for group) matches, yet only a small percentage of ranges have that equipment. If you’re curious about the “point-blank” benchrest game, but haven’t had the chance to see it first-hand, check out this video created by youtuber “Taofledermaus”. On his YouTube Channel, you’ll find many other interesting shooting videos, including slow-motion target impact clips. This video shows the LV and HV guns, the flags, the gun-handling, the reloading set-ups, and of course, tiny little groups on targets.

Registered 100/200 Benchrest Match

Viewer Comments on the Video:

“There is a lot more to this game than just pulling the trigger. Record targets are 5-shot groups, 5 averaged together for an Aggregate. Most times the winning Agg is under .250″ for 25 shots at 100 yards. Rifles weigh 10.5 pounds for LV class. Used rifles can be had for about $1500. Then add in another $1000 for rest, bags, loading tools, bullets, powder, not to mention windflags.” — Vmhtr

“Benchrest shooting is sort of an ‘academy of shooting’. Lots of academic thought and measurements, handloading made with anal attention at detail. It’s much more thought than action. Most of those people made their tools themselves. [There are] It’s plenty of seniors because it takes patience, lots of patience. Sure a teenager ain’t gonna bother it.” — THP

“I was surprised they did all their hand loading right there on the spot. — I think you nailed it. It’s a super-precise sport. It’s expensive, it’s slow, and it requires a lot of travel, so it’s well-suited for retired folks. It’s gotta beat golfing!” — Tao

“I used to shoot 6mm PPC in a BR rifle. I spent so much time at the reloading bench that I just gave up on it all and switched to 22 rimfire gallery matches. Saved a lot of my sanity doing that….” — Walt

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February 9th, 2024

CMP Purple Heart and Veterans Discounts and Awards in 2024

Cmp veteran purple heart discount benefits 2024 marksmanship program

Report by Ashley Dugan, CMP Staff Writer
The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) has announced redesigned discounts for Purple Heart recipients and Veterans at select competitions throughout the year.

Those who earned a Purple Heart during their military service will receive 50 percent off CMP administered events like the CMP Travel Games, CMP Highpower Warm-Up Events and the National Matches, while Veterans will receive 10 percent off entry fees.

To receive a discount, individuals must provide a one-time verification such as a Veteran (Retired) Military I.D. or a copy of military records. Once proof is given, the CMP will update each individual’s file for future reference. Those eligible for a discount may register for applicable events online through Competition Tracker but must call the office to apply payment information. Refunds for discounts will not be issued after registration and payment has been made.

Cmp veteran purple heart discount benefits 2024 marksmanship program

Cmp veteran purple heart discount benefits 2024 marksmanship programTo further express gratitude toward those with military backgrounds, the CMP has added new Veteran awards to the National Matches within the 2400 Rifle Aggregate, M1 Garand Match, National Trophy Individual Match for rifle and pistol along with the 2700 Pistol Aggregate — with the highest scoring veteran in each match earning special recognition.

For questions on CMP Veteran and Purple Heart discounts, please contact Christina Roguski at or 419-635-2141 ext. 714. Learn about upcoming CMP events by visiting

SGT Robert Evans distinguished rifleman wounded warrior
At the 2013 Western CMP Games, SGT Robert Evans attained what many shooters seek their entire shooting careers — a Distinguished Rifleman Badge. Evans earned his DR badge with just one hand, after losing his right hand while serving in Iraq with the U.S. Army.

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February 8th, 2024

Build Your Shooting Skills with Multi-Discipline Training

Michelle Gallagher Cross Training

Guest Article By Michelle Gallagher, Berger Bullets
Let’s face it. In the world of firearms, there is something for everyone. Do you like to compete? Are you a hunter? Are you more of a shotgun shooter or rifle shooter? Do you enjoy running around between stages of a timed course, or does the thought of shooting one-hole groups appeal to you more? Even though many of us shoot several different firearms and disciplines, chances are very good that we all have a favorite. Are we spreading ourselves too thin by shooting different disciplines, or is it actually beneficial? I have found that participating in multiple disciplines can actually improve your performance. Every style of shooting is different; therefore, they each develop different skills that benefit each other.

How can cross-training in other disciplines help you? For example, I am most familiar with long-range prone shooting, so let’s start there. To be a successful long-range shooter, you must have a stable position, accurate ammunition, and good wind-reading skills. You can improve all of these areas through time and effort, but there are other ways to improve more efficiently. Spend some time practicing smallbore. Smallbore rifles and targets are much less forgiving when it comes to position and shot execution. Long-range targets are very large, so you can get away with accepting less than perfect shots. Shooting smallbore will make you focus more on shooting perfectly center shots every time. Another way to do this with your High Power rifle is to shoot on reduced targets at long ranges. This will also force you to accept nothing less than perfect. Shoot at an F-Class target with your iron sights. At 1000 yards, the X-Ring on a long range target is 10 inches; it is 5 inches on an F-Class target. Because of this, you will have to focus harder on sight alignment to hit a center shot. When you go back to the conventional target, you will be amazed at how large the ten ring looks.

Michelle Gallagher Cross Training

Also, most prone rifles can be fitted with a bipod. Put a bipod and scope on your rifle, and shoot F-TR. Shooting with a scope and bipod eliminates position and eyesight factors, and will allow you to concentrate on learning how to more accurately read the wind. The smaller target will force you to be more aggressive on your wind calls. It will also help encourage you to use better loading techniques. Nothing is more frustrating than making a correct wind call on that tiny target, only to lose the point out the top or bottom due to inferior ammunition. If you put in the effort to shoot good scores on the F-Class target, you will be amazed how much easier the long-range target looks when you return to your sling and iron sights. By the same token, F-Class shooters sometimes prefer to shoot fast and chase the spotter. Shooting prone can help teach patience in choosing a wind condition to shoot in, and waiting for that condition to return if it changes.

Benchrest shooters are arguably among the most knowledgeable about reloading. If you want to learn better techniques about loading ammunition, you might want to spend some time at benchrest matches. You might not be in contention to win, but you will certainly learn a lot about reloading and gun handling. Shooting F-Open can also teach you these skills, as it is closely related to benchrest. Benchrest shooters may learn new wind-reading techniques by shooting mid- or long-range F-Class matches.

Michelle Gallagher Cross TrainingPosition shooters can also improve their skills by shooting different disciplines. High Power Across-the-Course shooters benefit from shooting smallbore and air rifle. Again, these targets are very small, which will encourage competitors to be more critical of their shot placement. Hunters may benefit from shooting silhouette matches, which will give them practice when shooting standing with a scoped rifle. Tactical matches may also be good, as tactical matches involve improvising shots from various positions and distances. [Editor: Many tactical matches also involve hiking or moving from position to position — this can motivate a shooter to maintain a good level of general fitness.]

These are just a few ways that you can benefit from branching out into other shooting disciplines. Talk to the other shooters. There is a wealth of knowledge in every discipline, and the other shooters will be more than happy to share what they have learned. Try something new. You may be surprised what you get out of it. You will certainly learn new skills and improve the ones you already have. You might develop a deeper appreciation for the discipline you started off with, or you may just discover a new passion.

This article originally appeared in the Berger Blog. The Berger Blog contains the latest info on Berger products, along with informative articles on target shooting and hunting.

Article Find by EdLongrange.

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February 4th, 2024

Sunday GunDay: F-Open Rifle with McMillan Kestros ZR Stock

F-Class John AccurateShooter McMillan Kestros ZR gunstock stock review test F-Class

The Southwest Nationals (SWN) is right around the corner. Hosted by the Desert Sharpshooters Rifle Club at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility outside Phoenix, the 2024 SWN takes place February 14-18, 2024. One of the major F-Class matches of the year, the SWN will feature top F-Open and F-TR rifles. And many of those F-Open rigs will be running McMillan stocks. Today’s Sunday GunDay story is about the most sophisticated F-Open stock in McMillan’s line-up, the Kestros ZR.

Kestros ZR Stock — Impressive Design for Competition

Review by F-Class John
Walk the line at just about any rifle competition and you’ll see your share of McMillan stocks. Known for crafting high-quality fiberglass/composite stocks, McMillan has long been at top choice for competitive shooters, hunters, and tactical marksmen. McMillan’s latest top-of-the-line F-Open stock is the impressive Kestros ZR which features an extended front bag-riding Z-Rail. McMillan notes that the ZR’s “extended rail system, which extends the fore-end of the stock, provides all the benefits of the rails on the Kestros R stock while also lowering the center of gravity.” In addition, “the bottom of the buttstock is perfectly parallel to the rail with a 5/8″ flat for improved performance in a rear sandbag.”

The Kestros line features several models, but the ZR represents the pinnacle of craftmanship. Each one is finished off by a single craftsman and takes roughly four times longer to create than any other Kestros. So when McMillan offered me a chance to test one out, I jumped at the opportunity.

F-Class John AccurateShooter McMillan Kestros ZR gunstock stock review test F-Class

The aluminum Z-Rail extends nicely from the front of the stock and has a nice contrast of metal against the matte finish of the stock. I inspected the rails and noticed that they are very cleanly machined — all the corners and rails were precise and sharp. As a result, I grabbed some 1000-grit sandpaper and just lightly knocked the edges and corners down just to keep from accidentally scratching myself or my gear.

F-Class John AccurateShooter McMillan Kestros ZR gunstock stock review test F-Class

When I was ordering the ZR, lead time was about 6-9 months. I was like a kid on Christmas when mine arrived after seven months. Holding a Kestros ZR is definitely a unique experience compared to a traditional wood stock and you can’t help but feel like you’re holding something special. I chose three shades of blue that transitioned dark from the butt stock to lighter on the fore-end in a spectacular flame pattern. With McMillan, there are thousands of possible color and pattern combinations. These color/pattern options are outlined on McMillan’s Gallery Page.

The Kestros ZR comes fully inletted with pillars. I was able to bolt my Defiance action right into the stock “as is” without a bedding job. (McMillan states bedding is not required, though this is certainly something most Kestros owners will do). I threw in my action, fit a couple action screws and tightened it all down. I was amazed at how nicely it all fit together with even the little details like the port cutout being perfectly smooth with my action port. I loaded up some .284 Win rounds and headed to the range to test the new stock at 100 yards.

F-Class John AccurateShooter McMillan Kestros ZR gunstock stock review test F-Class
Here are examples of targets shot with the Kestros ZR at 100 yards.

During initial range testing (see above) I shot nine groups for vertical and all of them were under 0.40″ with the smallest being .08″ of vertical. I topped off the testing by shooting a 200-11X the next week at my club match. The thing that really stood out was how smoothly the stock tracked with its lower center of gravity while shooting free recoil and ultimately this translated to success on target.

F-Class John AccurateShooter McMillan Kestros ZR gunstock stock review test F-Class
Low-Rider — You may find that because of how low the Kestros rides as well as its additional length due to the Z rail, you may require an extension for your front rest.

CONCLUSION — Great Modern Low-Profile F-Class Stock
Overall the Kestros ZR exceeded my expectations. After a small learning curve, it was a joy to shoot and it performed great. As someone who believes in the power of muscle memory, I found each time I transitioned between the Kestros and my traditional wood stocks there was a slight adjustment period but not enough to impair accuracy in any way. Something to consider is that because every Kestros is made to the same dimensions, it makes owning multiples an easy process of switching between guns without any need for readjustment.

For those willing to put in the practice, your patience will be rewarded, and I think most shooters will find the Kestros ZR could become their new favorite stock. If you’re in the market for a new F-Open stock, the Kestros ZR is definitely one to consider.

McMillan Kestros — Proven National Championship-Winning Stock

F-Class Open F-Open Norm Norman Harrold Champion Championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico 284 Shehane Berger Bullets

Norm Harrold (above) won the 2018 USA F-Open National Championship shooting a .284 Shehane. Norm’s F-Open rig features a McMillan Kestros ZR stock and Bartlein barrel chambered for the .284 Shehane, which has a bit more case capacity than a standard .284 Winchester. Norm loaded Berger 184gr 7mm bullets in Lapua brass. Norm revealed his load in an Erik Cortina YouTube Video.


Tips for Ordering a Kestros ZR
You can order a Kestros ZR and other Kestros stock models via McMillan’s Competition Stocks Page. While there are a number of options available, McMillan has a helpful guide that walks you through each one to ensure you get exactly what you need. F-Class John notes: “While filling out my form I realized that because I have a custom-designed action, I needed some help, so I gave McMillan a call. The staffers were incredibly helpful and their knowledge of all the major actions out there made answering my questions a snap. I liked the fact that there is no set, fixed price on any of the stocks. The pricing system allows customers to get just what they want (within limits) and not have to pay for anything they do not want or need.”

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February 1st, 2024

Improve Your F-Class Shooting with 300-Yard Training Targets

F-Class Target center NRA training reduced size
Ben Avery Match Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.

The Southwest Nationals (SWN), one of the biggest F-Class competitions in the USA, is coming up soon in Phoenix, Arizona. Hosted by the Desert Sharpshooters Rifle Club at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility, the 2024 SWN takes place February 14-18, 2024. CLICK HERE for SWN Match Program.

F-Class Target center NRA training reduced size

Practice at 300 Yards with Reduced Size Target Centers
If you’re headed to Phoenix in a couple weeks but want to practice for the big F-Class match, here’s a handy training option. Forum member SleepyGator is an F-Class competitor, but there are no long-distance ranges close to his home. Accordingly, he wanted some “reduced-distance” targets he could use at 300 yards for practice. There IS an official reduced-distanced standard for 300-yard F-Class matches. This utilizes the NRA No. MR-63FC – F-Class Target Center which is pasted over the MR-63 target. It provides a 1.42″ X-Ring, 2.85″ 10-Ring, and 5.85″ Nine-Ring. We offer some free targets you can print out for use at 300 yards. The dimensions of F-Class targets are found in the NRA High Power Rules, Sec. 22, part 4, page 70-71 — see sample below.

Training Targets for 300-yard F-Class

F-Class Reduced Target Centers

CLICK HERE to Download F-Class 300-yard Target Centers (.Zip archive with three targets)

To duplicate the 300-yard target, SleepyGator made a printable version of the MR-63FC Target Center, along with a pair of training targets with two bulls and five bulls. The two-bull and five-bull targets mirror the scoring rings on the MR-63FC, but they display only the innermost three rings and two rings respectively. All three targets are Adobe PDF files that can be easily printed.

NOTE: You may need to adjust the scale (sizing) on your printer to get the dimensions exactly correct. As noted above, when printed, the 10-Ring on all three targets should measure 2.85″. This should provide some handy practice targets you can use between matches. Thanks to SleepyGator for providing these targets. You can download all three as a .Zip archive. After downloading the .Zip file, just click on the .Zip archive to extract the individual targets.

CLICK HERE to Download NRA High Power Rules with F-Class Target Dimensions (Page 70-71)

F-Class Target Paste Center

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January 28th, 2024

Sunday GunDay: Way’s Wicked Accurate Rimfire Benchrest Rifle

tuner lapua super long range .22 LR wheeler rifle rimfire accuracy

Most folks would be very impressed with a centerfire rifle that can shoot a quarter-inch group at 100 yards. But to do that with a rimfire rifle, shooting little .22 LR cartridges, that’s quite an accomplishment. Today’s Sunday GunDay story spotlights a superbly accurate new .22 LR Benchrest gun belonging to Forum member Dave Way. This rimfire tack-driver was crafted by respected gunsmith Alex Wheeler of Wheeler Accuracy. Check out this five-shot group Dave shot once he had figured out his optimal tuner position. That is mighty impressive for a rimfire rifle!

A sub-quarter-MOA group at 100 yards is impressive for a centerfire rifle. But for a rimfire rifle, it is truly stunning. Check it out — this rifle hammers!
tuner lapua super long range .22 LR wheeler rifle rimfire accuracy

I tested three lots of Lapua Super Long Range today. This lot looked really good so I bought a case. It’s a blast shooting this rifle over wind flags. It’s amazing how little wind it takes to move the bullet at 100 yards. I was having to hold off today to finish up groups. That’s when it’s the most fun. — Dave Way

Dave posted in our Shooters’ Forum: “To say I was impressed with the quality of the action and the accuracy of the rifle would be an understatement. I shot five different lots of Lapua Midas, Lapua Long Range, and Lapua Super Long Range ammunition. At 50 yards all the groups were pretty tight. I was shooting in some wind, using flags. One lot seemed to stand out so I put a target at 100 yards and shot three rounds in it as aiming points. I shot three five shot groups with the last 15 rounds of that lot that I had with me. All three groups were under 1/2″ and they were getting tighter as I moved the tuner!”

tuner lapua super long range .22 LR wheeler rifle rimfire accuracy

Above are initial 100-yard, 5-shot groups Dave Way shot with his rifle, while experimenting with different tuner positions. The largest group (on left) was a 0.416″, while the smallest (on right) was 0.296″. The average of the three groups was a stellar 0.369″ (0.352 MOA).

tuner lapua super long range .22 LR wheeler rifle rimfire accuracy

Dave Way treasures this rifle and praised Alex Wheeler’s skills as a gunsmith: “I have never received a rifle from Alex that didn’t shoot incredibly well and this one is no exception. I’m just getting into the .22 world so I don’t know if this is good, great, or excellent accuracy but it seems pretty accurate to me.”

Lot Testing and Tuner Experimentation Pays Off
Here are some initial groups Dave Way shot during initial ammo testing. They are all under half-inch at 100 yards. That’s pretty impressive — but read on. When Dave optimized his tuner position and found a great lot of Lapua Super Long Range .22 LR ammo — his groups got even smaller. Dave notes: “They could have been better but I was just getting used to the trigger and everything.”

Here are a series of three-shot, 50-yard groups. You can see this rifle is quite consistent. This is with five different lots of Lapua .22 LR ammunition.

Lot Testing with Lapua Ammo — Three-Shot Groups at 50 Yards
tuner lapua super long range .22 LR wheeler rifle rimfire accuracy

Rifle Components

Holeshot 2500X Right Bolt, Left Port Action
Muller Works 1:16″-twist, 8-groove Barrel
Holeshot Barrel Tuner
Bix-N-Andy Trigger
Rotex Stock
Leupold 40x45mm Competition Scope
Talley Rings
Gunsmith: Wheeler Accuracy
Holeshot 2500X actions and Holeshot tuners are now produced and sold by Precision Quest Products.

Have questions about this ultra-accurate rig? You can discuss this Wheeler-built rimfire rifle in a current AccurateShooter Forum Thread.

tuner lapua super long range .22 LR wheeler rifle rimfire accuracy
tuner lapua super long range .22 LR wheeler rifle rimfire accuracy

Three 50-Yard Groups, All Under 0.180″ — That’s Consistency!

With the right ammo, this rig is wicked accurate. Here are three groups shot at 50 yards one after another. Dave shot these three 5-shot groups consecutively while optimizing his tuner: “Working with tuner the last two trips to the range. [It was] very consistent and pretty tight at tuner setting 162. Here are three consecutive 50-yard groups (5 shots each).” The biggest group (at bottom) measured 0.175″ (0.334 MOA), while the smallest group (middle) was a stellar 0.154″ (0.294 MOA) — that’s mighty impressive!

tuner lapua super long range .22 LR wheeler rifle rimfire accuracy

tuner lapua super long range .22 LR wheeler rifle rimfire accuracy

Alex Wheeler Crafted His Own Superb Rimfire Rifle First
Gunsmith Alex Wheeler of Wheeler Accuracy has, over the years, concentrated on ultra-accurate mid-range and long-range centerfire benchrest rifles, along with some stellar long-range hunting rifles. But Alex has started to venture into rimfire shooting. Prior to building the Dave Way rimfire rifle featured here, Alex built a “sister rifle” for himself with similar components. That gun turned out so well that Dave asked Alex to build another. And, as you can see, Dave’s new Wheeler-built rimfire rifle turned out to be a true tack-driver.

Alex credits Dave’s shooting skills: “I don’t think its possible for anyone to send a rifle to Dave that doesn’t shoot. He just has a knack for it. I’m glad I got into the rimfire stuff. I don’t have any interest in rimfire competition but it’s taught me a lot about bench manners and I get a lot more trigger time. It’s a great tool to learn wind flags with as well. It should make me a better centerfire shooter. That was really why I built mine. I normally sell every gun I build eventually and Dave was going to get mine but I said you should start gathering parts, I think I’m keeping this one!”

Alex Wheeler accuracy rimfire benchrest long range

Lapua Long Range and Super Long Range .22 LR Ammunition
tuner lapua super long range .22 LR wheeler rifle rimfire accuracy

Dave Way had great results with his Lapua .22 LR ammo. Lapua Long Range and Super Long Range ammunition comes from Finland, and is designed for the growing long-range rimfire disciplines with targets at 100-300 yards. This ammo delivers very low ES and SD numbers. Our friend F-Class John tested this ammo and confirmed it performs very well (SEE Test Video).

Capstone’s Marketing Director, Geoff Esterline, explains: “Each production lot of Lapua’s [LR and Super LR] are test-fired in 50-round groups for dispersion. The results determine whether it makes Super Long Range or Long Range packaging.”

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January 21st, 2024

How to Sort Bullets: OAL vs. Base-to-Ogive vs. Weight

Bullet, Sort, Jacket, Sierra, USAMU, Sort, Bell Curve, Distribution, OAL

The USAMU has published a “how-to” article about bullet sorting. While many of us may sort bullets by base-to-ogive length (and/or weight), the USAMU story explores the “how and why” of sorting bullets by Overall Length (OAL). Read the article highlights below, and make your own decision as to whether OAL sorting is worth the time and effort. Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics says that sorting by OAL is not a bad idea, but base-to-ogive bullet sorting probably represents a better investment of your time.

USAMU bullet sorting tips

Bullet Sorting by Overall Length

We’d like to share a specialized handloading technique which we’ve long found beneficial to our long-range (600 yards and beyond) accuracy. Sorting of bullets for extreme long range (LR) accuracy is not difficult to do, but some background in theory is needed.

Here at USAMU’s Handloading Shop, we only sort individual bullets for the most demanding Long-Range applications and important competitions. Only the most accurate rifles and shooters can fully exploit the benefits of this technique. The basic sorting process involves measuring the Overall Length (OAL) of the bullets, and grouping them in 0.001″ increments. It’s not unusual to find lots of match bullets that vary as much as 0.015″-0.020″ in length throughout the lot, although lots with much less variation are seen as well. Even in bullet lots with 0.015″ OAL variation, the bullet base-to-ogive length will show much less variation. Hence, our basic sort is by bullet OAL. One obvious benefit of sorting is easily seen in the attached photo. The few bullets that are VERY different from the average are culled out, reducing probable fliers.

How does one know what OAL increments to use when sorting? The answer is simple. As each lot of bullets is unique in its OAL distribution, it’s best to sample your bullet lot and see how they are distributed. In the attached photo, you will see a set of loading trays with a strip of masking tape running along the bottom. Each vertical row of holes is numbered in 0.001″ increments corresponding to the bullets’ OAL. A digital caliper makes this task much easier. As each bullet is measured, it is placed in the line of holes for its’ OAL, and gradually, a roughly bell-shaped curve begins to form.

Note that near the center, bullets are much more plentiful than near the edges. At the extreme edges, there are a few that differ markedly from the average, and these make great chronograph or sighting-in fodder. We recommend using a sample of 200 bullets from your lot, and 300 is even better. Some bullet lots are very consistent, with a tall, narrow band of highly-uniform bullets clustered together over just a few thousandths spread. Other lots will show a long, relatively flat curve (less uniform), and you may also see curves with 2 or more “spikes” separated by several 0.001″ OAL increments.

Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics Bullet Sorting

Bullet Sorting — OAL vs. Base-to-Ogive vs. Weight

Expert advice from Bryan Litz, Applied Ballistics
I’m often asked what is a the best measure to sort bullets by, and the answer (to this and many other questions in ballistics) is: it depends.

Choosing to sort by overall length (OAL), base to ogive (BTO), bearing surface, weight, etc. can get overwhelming. Shooters typically look for something they can measure, which shows a variation and sort by that. It’s common for dimensional variations to correlate. For example, bullets which are longer in OAL are typically also shorter in BTO, and have longer noses. All these are symptoms of a bullet that was pushed a little further into the pointing die, or possibly had more than average lube while being swaged. So in essence, if you sort by BTO, you’re measuring one symptom which can indicate a pattern in the bullets shape.

So, the question still stands — what should you measure? You’ll always see more variation in OAL than BTO, so it’s easier to sort by OAL. But sometimes the bullet tips can be jagged and have small burrs which can be misleading. Measuring BTO will result in a lower spread, but is a more direct measure of bullet uniformity.

Then there’s the question of; how much variation is too much, or, how many bins should you sort into? Shooters who see 0.025” variation in BTO may choose to sort into 5 bins of 0.005”. But if you have only 0.005” variation in the box, you’ll still sort into 5 bins of 0.001”. What’s correct? You have to shoot to know. Live fire testing will answer more questions, and answer them more decisively than any amount of discussion on the subject. The test I recommend is to identify bullets on the extreme short end of the spectrum, and some on the extreme long end. Load at least 10 rounds of each, and take turns shooting 5-shot groups with them. If there is a difference, it will be evident. The results of the testing will answer your question of: should I sort based on X, Y, or Z?”

You can read more discussions on this and other similar subjects in our Shooters’ Forum. Here’s a link to a thread discussing bullet sorting: Bullet Sorting Thread

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January 15th, 2024

Wind Speed or Wind Direction — What Is Most Important?

Wind reading bryan litz speed direction

Wind-Reading Lesson from Bryan Litz

Q: What’s more important — wind speed, or direction?

A: Obviously they both matter, but they do trade dominance based on direction. For example, a 10 mph wind between 2:30 and 3:30 is only changing its value from 9.7 to 10 to 9.7 mph (bracket of 0.3 mph). However a 10 mph wind between 11:30 and 12:30 is changing its cross wind component value from 2.6 mph left to zero to 2.6 mph right (bracket of 5.2 mph). There is the same 30° change in direction, but this results in a massively different bracket.

Point being, in this case, a direction change is far more critical if it’s near 6 or 12 o’clock. A small direction change when it’s close to 3 or 9 o’clock is negligible.

On the contrary, a change in wind SPEED when it’s near 3 or 9 affects your crosswind component directly. But for a near head or tail wind, a fluctuation in wind speed only causes a small fraction of a change to the crosswind component.

SUMMARY: If you’re in a near full-value wind, pay more attention to wind SPEED. If you’re closer to a head- or tail-wind, nailing the exact DIRECTION will be more important.

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Bryan Litz coaching Team USA in Canada using a WIND PLOT.

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January 14th, 2024

Work on Your Breathing to SEE Better and SHOOT Better

Vision Eye Target Scope Relaxation Oxygen Target

Do you find that the crosshairs in your scope get blurry after a while, or that you experience eye strain during a match? This is normal, particularly as you get older. Focusing intensely on your target (through the scope or over iron sights) for an extended period of time can cause eye strain. Thankfully, there are things you can do to reduce eye fatigue. For one — breathe deeper to take in more oxygen. Secondly, give your eyes a break between shots, looking away from the scope or sights.

In our Forum there is an interesting thread about vision and eye fatigue. One Forum member observed: “I have noticed recently that if I linger on the target for too long the crosshairs begin to blur and the whole image gradually darkens as if a cloud passed over the sun. I do wear contacts and wonder if that’s the problem. Anyone else experienced this? — Tommy”

Forum members advised Tommy to relax and breath deep. Increase oxygen intake and also move the eyes off the target for a bit. Closing the eyes briefly between shots can also relieve eye strain. Tommy found this improved the situation.

Vision Eye Target Scope Relaxation Oxygen Target

Phil H. explained: “Tom — Our eyes are tremendous oxygen hogs. What you are witnessing is caused by lack of oxygen. When this happens, get off the sights, stare at the grass (most people’s eyes find the color green relaxing), breath, then get back on the rifle. Working on your cardio can help immensely. Worked for me when I shot Palma. Those aperture sights were a bear! The better my cardio got the better and longer I could see. Same thing with scopes. Try it!”

Keith G. noted: “Make sure you are still breathing… [your condition] sounds similar to the symptoms of holding one’s breath.”

Watercam concurred: “+1 on breathing. Take a long slow deep breath, exhale and break shot. Also make sure you take a moment to look at the horizon without looking through rifle or spotting scope once in a while to fight fatigue. Same thing happens when using iron sights.”

Arizona shooter Scott Harris offered this advice: “To some extent, [blurring vision] happens to anyone staring at something for a long time. I try to keep vision crisp by getting the shot off in a timely fashion or close the eyes briefly to refresh them. Also keep moisturized and protect against wind with wrap-around glasses”.

Breathing Better and Relaxing the Eyes Really Worked…
Tommy, the shooter with the eye problem, said his vision improved after he worked on his breathing and gave his eyes a rest between shots: “Thanks guys. These techniques shrunk my group just a bit and every little bit helps.”

Read more tips on reducing eye fatigue in our Forum Thread: That Vision Thing.

To avoid eye fatigue, take your eyes away from the scope between shots, and look at something nearby (or even close your eyes briefly). Also work on your breathing and don’t hold your breath too long — that robs your system of oxygen.

eye vision Vince Bottomley

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