May 24th, 2021

Official High Power and F-Class Targets + Repair Centers

Official Targets Creedmoor sports

Are you a High Power or F-Class marksman looking for official bullseye paper targets? Here are bulk sets of 25, 50 and 100 targets from Creedmoor Sports. All these can can be used for general practice, fun matches, or official sanctioned events. Choose the official 200-yard SR target with all scoring rings (X,10,9,8,7,6,5), priced at $49.95 for 50. For long-range practice, try the NRA Official 600-yard High Power Target ($58.95 for 25ct), or the Official “Full Face” MR-65 500-Yard F-Class Target ($31.95 for 50ct). Creedmoor also offers a variety of Repair Centers, including the 300-Yard SR-3C Target Repair Center ($34.95), or the 600-yard MR-1 Target Repair Center ($64.95). These target centers can be used on top of full targets, or by themselves for practice on smaller target frames.

Official Targets Creedmoor sports
Official Targets Creedmoor sports

Creedmoor Sports also offers match-grade spotter discs. These are used to mark shot locations. They are offered in three diameters: 1.5″, 3.0″, and 5.0″. In addition, you can purchase the spindles used with spotter discs along with orange Golf Tees also employed to mark shots. These are placed in the shot holes by pit workers.

Frankly for practice, we recommend a target cam, or ShotMarker system.

Creedmoor Sports Target

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May 23rd, 2021

SunDay Gunday: CMP 4-Gun Aggregate Champion Brian Williams

Brian Williams M1 Garand M1903 springfield .30-06 M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-Gun

Brian Williams is one of the top CMP match shooters in the nation. At the recent 2021 CMP Eastern Games, Brian won both the 3-Gun and 4-Gun Aggregates. He also won the 4-Gun at the CMP National Matches in Camp Perry three years in a row — the inaugural 2017 4-Gun Agg, plus 2018 and 2019. Due to COVID, there were no CMP Camp Perry National Matches in 2020. Brian noted: “We will never know what may have happened in 2020, but I will be there in Ohio in 2021 to defend the 4-Gun title.”

Brian Williams M1 Garand M1903 springfield .30-06 M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-Gun

Given his remarkable, consecutive “three-peat” in the CMP 4-Gun Aggregate at Camp Perry, it cannot be questioned that Brian is the leading CMP 4-Gunner in the nation. In this article, Brian provides perspectives on the “Wood Gun” game, with suggestions on how to improve your performance with the M1 Garand, M1903 Springfield, M1917 Enfield, M1 Carbine, and other 20th Century military rifles. While Brian also shoots his AR15 for the 4-Gun, today’s article focuses on his favorite firearms — his classic “Wood Rifles”.

VIDEO Showcase — Brian Williams Shoots M1903A3 Prone in May 2021

The Classic Wood Guns of CMP 4-Gun Competition

Perspectives on M1 Garand, M1903A3, M1917, and M1 Carbine
Q: What should one look for when acquiring older rifles for CMP 4-Gun Games — M1 Garand, M1903/1903A3, M1917, M1 Carbine? What are realistic budgets for these firearms? What kind of accuracy can one expect? What upgrades are important?

Brian: All of these military surplus rifles are out there, but they are getting harder to get your hands on. And, just like everything else, the prices continue to rise. Not that long ago you could get your hands on a M1 Garand for four or five hundred dollars. In today’s market they are usually about double that price. But understand that these rifles are all unique and all have a story to tell. No two are alike, or have the same story. Just like the guns themselves, there are fewer and fewer dedicated gunsmiths for these vintage rifles. But I promise if you look for a good smith, they are out there and they are some of the most interesting people you will ever meet.

M1 Garand — Of the four (4) centerfire guns I shoot in the CMP games, my favorite has to be the M1 Garand. There were over 6 million of them produced in a very short time period, and every single one has its own unique story, and that is just cool. M1 Garands are capable of good accuracy. I believe that a well-maintained M1 with at least a replacement barrel is capable of shooting between 1 and 1.5 MOA.

Brian Williams M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-Gun

M1903A3 Springfield — I find that the sights on a M1903A3 are a little easier to see than the sights of the M1903, but both are very accurate rifles. Like most military rifles in the current climate the prices have risen dramatically, but there are some gems out there that can be had for far less than $1000. The nice thing about the Springfield rifle is that almost all of the accuracy than you would want can come from just replacing a worn out 80-year-old barrel. In terms of accuracy, I think a good M1903A3 can shoot 1 MOA most of the time.

Brian Williams M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-Gun

M1917 Enfield — This rifle is the newest of my collection and it shoots very well, with just a new Criterion barrel — again about 1 MOA with iron sights. These rifles are very close in price to the M1903 Springfield. But if you do your homework and keep your eyes open, there are always great deals to be found. I actually prefer shooting the M1917 to my M1903A3, due primarily to the M1917’s cock-on-close bolt which allows smoother cycling.

M1 Carbine — By 1945 there had been more M1 Carbines built than Garands. Today the Carbine can be harder to find, and due to the scarcity the price has shot up and most military M1 Carbines are going for more than $1000 at this point. The great thing about the M1 Carbine is that as long as you have a good ammo supply this rifle can shoot. Honest. I have had countless numbers of people that tell me that there is not an M1 carbine that will shoot. I can tell you from experience that they will, but you are going to have to put in some time with one to learn how to get it to shoot where you want it.

Brian Williams M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-Gun
The M1 Carbine shoots the .30 Carbine round, with 110gr bullet going about 1990 FPS. In comparison, the .30-06 Springfield round used in the M1 Garand is almost three times more powerful than the .30 Carbine.

Reloading for .30-06 Springfield Rifles

Brian Williams M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-Gun

Tech Report by Brian Williams
Reloading for a military surplus gun as different than loading for a modern precision rifle in my opinion. There are a few tasks that care over from one to the other, but the main goal is slightly different. The Target that is being shot in the CMP games matches has a rather generous 10 ring, and with a little larger target you focus needs to change from a round with ultra accuracy to a round that is safe and functions well in your particular rifle.

Brian Williams M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-GunBullet Selection — With the .30-06 for my Garands and Springfields I stick mostly with 168gr bullets plus some 155-grainers. These bullet weights have just worked for me in the past.

Cartridge Brass (Milsurp vs. Commercial) — I use both military and commercial brass, having success with each. I do prefer commercial brass as it is easier to prep for the first reload. Military brass usually has a primer crimp of some kind that needs to be removed, and I have found that trimming these cases can sometimes leave you scratching your head as the OAL on military cases varies considerably.

Brian Williams M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-GunPower Charge and Dispensing — I have always had good success with Hodgdon H4895 powder. My load has always been right around 47.0 grains, with both the 168gr and 155gr bullets. I also use the Auto-Trickler to drop all of my powder charges. This is a fantastic piece of equipment that not only gives super-consistent powder charges quickly, but it also makes one less thing that you have to worry about while on the firing line. With the Auto-Trickler, there is never a question about the powder charge in your ammo. As for primers, I have been shooting CCI 200 Large Rifle primers for many years and have never had an issue.

Case Care and Trimming — With most of the .30-06 brass that I use, I will only reload them 5 times maximum. I don’t push the brass too much, because the Garand’s semi-auto cycling can be tough on the cases. I also trim my cases for OAL each reload cycle. I use a Giraud power trimmer, so trimming is relatively quick and easy.

The chambers in some of the older rifles are not perfectly-machined like a modern high-end rifle. This can cause the brass to grow a little inconsistently, so I find trimming every load cycle helps to make sure that everything stays in a nice safe spec.

Case Annealing — A few years ago I started to anneal my .223 Rem service rifle brass. Now I have added that process for all my match ammunition. I anneal after every firing. It is a rather easy step as I can have my auto-feeding Annealeez machine running while doing something else, so annealing does not add a great deal of time or effort to the reloading process.

.30-06 Springfield .308 Winchester
The .30-06 case was the father of the .308 Winchester, which was adopted as the 7.62×51 NATO cartridge. Brian has another Garand chambered in .308 Win which he shoots in Service Rifle Class in the President’s Match and NTI Match at Camp Perry.

Perspective on CMP 4-Gun (and 3-Gun) Aggregate Competition

Since the CMP’s introduction of the 4-Gun Aggregate in 2017, combining three classic wood rifles with the modern AR15-platform guns, Brian has lead the field, winning the 4-Gun at every National Match cycle held so far by the CMP at Camp Perry. Brian has also dominated in the 3-Gun Aggregate which includes the three older wood rifles.

Q. What’s the most fun/satisfying thing about shooting CMP 4-Gun Aggs?

Brian: The 4-Gun Agg takes place over several days, and is usually decided by a very thin margin of victory. Making sure that you are prepared for all four rifles and keeping focus through several days of competition is very difficult. There is a great sense of accomplishment when you are able to perform well for the entire aggregate.

Q. Do you like shooting the wood rifles more or the AR in Modern Military?

Brian: No question that the wood rifles are my favorite. A steel rifle, with a beautiful wood stock (see above), firing the .30-06 Springfield, is “where it is all at” in my opinion.

Q. What is the best approach to shooting these older Wood Guns?

Brian: One of the things that I struggled with shooting the “wood guns” is that it is so easy to tell yourself that its the rifle and not your bad habits or poor position. “The rifle is far older than I am it must just not be a shooter”. In order to be successful with these rifles you have to be honest with yourself. Only then will you improve.

Brian Williams M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-Gun

Q. If you could change any CMP 4-Gun course of fire, or revise aspects of the CMP 4-Gun discipline, what would you modify/alter?

Brian: There is always conversation around changing the course of fire, target dimensions, or putting certain rifles into different classes. I like the fact that I have to adapt myself to fit the current discipline. I would surely not want to make it any easier. I feel like that would decrease some of the satisfaction that I get from competing well.

Q: What are your key gear items and shooting accessories?

Brian: A good shooting coat has been very important for me. I currently use a Creedmoor Hardback Cordura Leather Coat. I also think that a good rifle sling is very important. For the last couple of years I have been using a Eric Hollis National Match leather sling and love it. I own a ShotMarker e-Target system and I think it’s one of the best training tools that I own. It just makes it so easy to shoot, capture information, and then be able to recall that information later and use it to improve.

The Mental Game — How to Become a Better Marksman

Q. What is your pre-match routine (mental/physical match prep)?

Brian: I try not to do anything different on match day that I would do any other day. I am a coffee drinker and drink just as much on match day as I do on any work day. This game is very mental, and I find that treating match day just like any other day helps me to control stress and anxiety.

Q. If you could do it all over from the beginning, how would you change your training/practicing processes?

Brian Williams M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-GunBrian: I have learned that practice makes me better, but just sending rounds down range is not that beneficial to me. Some of the biggest improvements I have made have come from practice sessions where I did not fire very many rounds. Working through the shot process, being honest with myself, and evaluating what needs to happen to get the desired outcome.

Q. Most guys will never achieve what you’ve done in Marksmanship, i.e. win multiple multi-gun titles. What are the other positive things people can get from the sport, beyond trophies and glory?

Brian: This is an easy one — this sport is full of the most genuine, thoughtful, and helpful people out there. I have friendships with people that I only see a couple times per year… yet when we see each other it’s like we had just gotten together last week. This does not just apply to fellow competitors, but also to the folks who run matches, to those who supply gear, even to spouses of competitors who’ve fed me more times than I can remember.

Brian Williams M1 Garand M1903 springfield .30-06 M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-Gun

Brian “Carbine” Williams, King of Wood Guns
Commentary by Dennis Santiago
When it comes to CMP Games competition, Brian Williams presently dominates the multi-gun field. I first met Brian at the so-called Michigan Embassy at Camp Perry, a makeshift compound of tables, pop ups and lawn chairs where competitors gather at the end of the shooting day to exchange stories. It’s a “who’s who” gathering of High Power personalities exchanging tall tales. In this prestigious crowd, Brian Williams is “King of Wood Guns”, his mastery of the GSMM (Garand, Springfield, Modern Military) Four-Gun Aggregate renown to all. Yet he is as humble a champion you can ever hope to spend time with.

I discovered that Brian and I share a mutual love of the U.S. .30 Caliber M1 Carbine, a rifle many other shooters don’t give a second thought. But we believe in the potential of the little gun. We know that when driven right, the joy of collecting gold achievement pins with it. I’ve enjoyed trading notes with Brian about how to make it shoot better to turn in scores in the high 360s to mid-370s out of a possible 400. In this regard, I assure you Brian is again the guy who will shoot the 400 possible on any given day. He truly deserves the moniker “Carbine” Williams.

Marksmanship Journey — from Novice to CMP 4-Gun Champion

I started shooting High Power rifle in 2007 with an iron sights AR15 A2. Most of the local shooting clubs are reduced course, so for the first couple of years I only shot reduced course of fire at 100 and 200 yards. In 2010 I shot my first match at the full distance of 200, 300, 600 yards, and was introduced to the Distinguished rifleman program. At that point I decided set a goal to “go distinguished”. In 2011, I made the trip to Camp Perry and was able to shoot in the M16 EIC match and thereby earn my first four introductory leg points. The day of the match went very well for me. Not only did I earn the points, but I won the match, and set a new National Record with the win. Over the rest of that season and the beginning of 2012 I was able to collect enough points to make my goal of going Distinguished.

Over the following years I continued to shoot a service rifle, first with iron sights and then with a scope when the rules changed. I enjoyed every bit of shooting the AR15. In 2014 I started to get into the CMP Games guns, with the M1 Garand and M1 Carbine. I enjoyed these two rifles so much that I decided that I should get a M1903 Springfield and I should also get a rifle to shoot in the vintage military rifle matches. For that I ordered a K-31 Swiss rifle.

In 2017 the CMP introduced a 4-Gun Aggregate award at the National Matches. This Aggregate would include the Garand, Springfield, Vintage rifle, and the new Modern Military rifle (non-scoped service rifle). For the first year of the 4-Gun Agg, I spent a good deal of time preparing for these matches in the months leading up to Nationals. Well that time was well spent as I did win the 4-Gun Aggregate. At this point in my shooting career I had gone Distinguished, made the President’s 100, and had achieved a classification of High Master, but the 4-gun Agg was the thing I was most proud of. I enjoy shooting these older rifles because they had such an impact on the world in which we live today. The M1 Garand played a key role in WW II, and the M1903 Springfield has been carrying out its job for over 100 years.

Brian Williams M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-Gun

Mix that in with the fact that all of the competitors in the CMP Games matches are some of the finest people that I have ever surrounded myself with. Great guns and great people, who could ask for more?

In 2018 I campaigned a .308 Win-chambered Garand across the course in the President’s Match and the National Trophy Match at Camp Perry. Again I spend a good deal of time shooting the Garand for the months leading up to Nationals, and was able to be the high shooter with the Garand in both matches for 2018 and 2019. But I never took my eye off the 4-Gun, and was able to win it in 2018, and 2019, as well as the inaugural year of 2017.

Rimfire Sporter — Brian’s Fifth Gun
Along with his centerfire rifles, Brian Williams likes to shoot in CMP Rimfire Sporter matches. In fact, he won the Rimfire Sporter Match “O” Class (Iron Sights) at the 2021 CMP Eastern Games. Shown below is his Czech-made .22 LR CZ 452 Ultra Lux bolt-action rifle.

Brian Williams M1 Carbine CMP Modern Military 4-Gun 3-Gun

Q: How do you like Rimfire Sporter? Do you have to adjust your technique for rimfire vs. centerfire?

Brian: Most of the fundamentals will transfer from centerfire guns to the rim fire guns, the biggest difference is in the course of fire for the match. The Rimfire course of fire includes a slow-fire seated stage, and a rapid-fire standing stage, both of these stages are unique to the Rimfire Sporter game. I enjoy this discipline, but due to the scheduling of the Rimfire Sporter match at Nationals I have not yet shot this event at Camp Perry. I did do well in this event at both the Eastern CMP Games and New England CMP Games.

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May 23rd, 2021

CMP Barrels for M1903 Springfield, M1917 Enfield, M1 Carbine

m1 m1903 springfield Rifle Barrels CMP Criterion
M1903 photo from ShootingUSA.com. Watch History of U.S. Service Rifle episode via Vimeo on Demand.

1903 Rifle Barrels CMP Criterion

Good news for owners of 1903/1903A3 Springfields, M1917 Enfields, and M1 Carbines. The CMP eStore sells brand new chambered, Criterion chrome-moly barrels for these M1903/M1903AC rifles for under $200.00. In addition there are M1 Carbine barrels for $229.50. These authentic-profile barrels are made by Criterion Barrels in Richfield, WI, using the button-rifling process. They are “semi-finished” meaning they come chambered and headspaced within .010″ of finished size, with final fitting to be done by a competent gunsmith. The barrels are also externally Parkerized to match the finish of your vintage ’03, Garand, or M1 Carbine. To order, go to the CMP eStore and click the Barrels Link in the upper left.

NOTE: Final assembly and headspacing by a qualified gunsmith is required!

New Criterion M1903 Springfield RIFLE Barrel, 4140 Chrome Moly Steel
Item: 065CRI/03 | $199.95

New 1903 barrels by Criterion Barrels, Inc., 4140 chrome moly steel, button rifled, contoured, and finish lapped after contouring. These comply with CMP competition rules and are legal for the 1903 Matches. Parkerized like the original 1903 and chambered .010″ from finish size to be fitted and headspaced when assembled to fit your receiver and bolt dimensions.

New Criterion M1903A3 Springfield RIFLE Barrel, 4140 Chrome Moly Steel
Item: 065CRI/A3 | Price: $199.95

New 1903A3 barrels by Criterion Barrels, Inc., 4140 chrome moly steel, button rifled, contoured, and finish lapped after contouring. These comply with CMP competition rules and are legal for the 1903A3 Matches. Parkerized like the original 1903A3 and chambered .010″ from finish size to be fitted and headspaced when assembled to fit your receiver and bolt dimensions.

m1 Garand  Rifle Barrels CMP Criterion

New Criterion M1917 Enfield RIFLE Barrel, 4140 Chrome Moly Steel
Item: 065CRI/1917 | Price: $199.95

New M1917 barrels by Criterion Barrels, Inc., 4140 chrome moly steel, button rifled, contoured, and finish lapped after contouring. These comply with CMP competition rules and are legal for the 1903A3 Matches. Parkerized like the original M1917 Parkerized like the original M1917 and chambered .010″ from finish size to be fitted and headspaced when assembled to fit your receiver and bolt dimensions.

New Criterion M1 Carbine RIFLE Barrel, 4140 Chrome Moly Steel
Item: 065CRI/CARBINE | Price $229.50

New Carbine barrels by Criterion Barrels, 4140 chrome moly Steel, button rifled, contoured, and finish lapped after contouring. Comply with CMP Competition Rules and are legal for the CMP M1 Carbine Matches. Parkerized like the original M1 Carbine and chambered .010 away from finish size to be fitted and head-spaced when assembled to fit your receiver and bolt dimensions. Barrel is .30 Carbine.

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May 22nd, 2021

Reliving History — Dennis Does “Mad Minute” with Lee-Enfield

Dennis Santiago mad minute
British Lee-Enfield Model SHT’22/IV Rifle, courtesy www.iCollector.com.

Our friend Dennis Santiago was a technical advisor for History Channel’s Top SHOT TV show. One of the notable Top Shot episodes involved the “Mad Minute”, a marksmanship drill practiced by the British Army in the decades preceding World War I. Dennis observed that the Top Shot competitors didn’t fare too well in their “Mad Minute” attempts, not scoring many hits in the allotted one-minute time period. That prompted Dennis to give it a try himself — seeing how many hits he could score in one minute with an authentic Lee-Enfield rifle. So, a while back, Dennis ran the drill at a range in California. One of the notable Top Shot episodes involved the “Mad Minute”, a marksman

Dennis Does the Mad Minute:

Dennis, an active high power rifle competitor and instructor, enjoyed his “Mad Minute” exercise, though he assures us that this takes practice to perfect. Dennis tells us: “Here is a ‘Mad Minute’ drill, done using a period correct Lee-Enfield (SMLE) No.1 Mk III rifle and Mk VII ammo. I got to the Queen’s Regulations (15 hits in one minute) on the second run and put a good group on the target at 200 yards. This is ‘jolly good fun’ to do every once in a while. This is ‘living history’ — experiencing a skill from a time when the sun never set on the British Empire.”

Lee Enfield Mad Minute Mark IVLee-Enfield No. 4 Rifle (1943), courtesy Arundel Militaria.

“Mad Minute” was a pre-World War I term used by British Army riflemen during training at the Hythe School of Musketry to describe scoring a minimum of 15 hits onto a 12″ round target at 300 yards within one minute using a bolt-action rifle (usually a Lee-Enfield or Lee-Metford rifle). It was not uncommon during the First World War for riflemen to greatly exceed this score. The record, set in 1914 by Sergeant Instructor Alfred Snoxall, was 38 hits. (From WikiPedia.)

History of the Mad Minute
Commentary by Laurie Holland
The original military requirement of the “Mad Minute” saw the soldier ready to fire with a round in the chamber, nine in the magazine, safety on. This course of fire is still followed by the GB Historic Breechloading Arms Association and other bodies in their recreated “Mad Minute” competitions.

The first 10 would go quickly, but reloads were critical, this not done by a magazine change as in a modern tactical or semi-auto rifle, but through slick use of ‘chargers’. It is this aspect which fouls so many of my colleagues up as it is very easy to cause a jam and a large part of 60 seconds can go in sorting it out!

Charger clips were selected for those that just held the rounds firmly enough to stop then falling out, were sand-papered and polished with a stove / fireplace polish called ‘Zebrite’ so that the rimmed rounds would slip through the clips like corn through a goose.

lee enfield 1916 rifle

If you’re unfamiliar with the cock-on-closing Enfield action, it seems clumsy. With intensive practice it is very smooth and can be operated incredibly quickly. The trick is to whip the bolt back onto its stop and initiate a rebound movement that takes it and the cartridge well into the chamber thereby reducing the effort required to close the bolt and chamber the round.

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May 22nd, 2021

Shocking Stuff — Pistol Competitor Nearly Kills Range Worker

RSO Range Safety violation

Here is a video every shooter should watch. It reminds us that our sport demands 100% attention. Lose track of individuals down-range and the results could be tragic. This video will give you chills (starting at about the 0:25 mark). We need to remember to follow all the firearms safety rules, and apply them all the time. At the range, all it takes is one brief moment of inattention to create a life-threatening situation. Never assume the downrange area is safe. Use your own eyes and ears.

This video shows a competitor shooting a stage at an action pistol match. He starts when instructed by the Range Safety Officer (RSO). But unbeknownst to both RS0 and competitor, a volunteer is downrange working on targets. Watch carefully. At 0:27 the shooter sweeps left to right, engaging a paper silhouette target to his right. Then, at 0:30, as he begins a mag change, his head turns downrange. A few yards away is a white-shirted range worker! The shooter yells “Hey what’s going on?!”

What’s going on indeed… The RSO should have ensured that nobody was downrange before the shooter even stepped up to the firing line. If other competitors standing to the side had been alert, they might have seen the worker changing targets and called for a halt. And the target-worker himself — even if he was wearing earmuffs, he should have noticed that live fire had commenced just yards away…

We also have to wonder about the stage design. This set-up made it very difficult to see downrange. The white panels (see 0:10-0:20) definitely hid the target worker from view. In hindsight, given the way the stage was laid out, this was truly an “accident waiting to happen”. It’s fortunate that no one got injured in this incident. But this chilling video provides a lesson to all shooters — “Safety First”.

How could this “near-fatality” have been averted? Post your comments below.

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May 19th, 2021

Bullet Holes at 1000 Yards — The Ultimate Optics Challenge

Pentax PF 100ED
Coalinga Range in California. At dawn we could clearly see 7mm and .30 Cal bullet holes at 1000 yards.

Pentax smc-xw 10mmWhile attending the CA Long Range Championship a few seasons back, we had the opportunity to test the performance of a high-magnification (63X) spotting scope in near-ideal conditions (maybe the best I’ve ever witnessed). On the event’s last day we arrived at 5:45 am, literally as the sun was cresting the horizon. I quickly deployed our Pentax PF-100ED spotting scope, fitted with a Pentax SMC-XW 10mm fixed-power eyepiece. When used with the 100mm Pentax scope, this 10mm eyepiece yields 63X magnification. Befitting its $299.00 price, this eyepiece is extremely clear and sharp.

At the crack of dawn, viewing conditions were ideal. No mist, no mirage, no wind. The first thing this Editor noticed was that I could see metal nail heads on the target boards. That was astonishing. As soon as the first practice targets went up, to my surprise, I could see 6.5mm, 7mm, and 30-caliber bullet holes in the white at 1000 yards. No lie…

That’s right, I could see bullet holes at 1000. I know many of you folks may not believe that, but there was no mistaking when I saw a 7mm bullet cut the white line separating the Nine Ring and Eight Ring on the target in view. (I was watching that target as the shot was fired and saw the shot-hole form). And when I looked at the 30-cal targets, the bullet holes in the white were quite visible. In these perfect conditions I could also make out 3/8″ bolt heads on the target frames.

The Human Factor — Good Vision Required
When viewing the bullet holes, I was using my left naked eye (no safety glasses or magnification). I also had a contact lens in my right eye (needed for distance vision). To my surprise, while I could see the bullet holes without much difficulty with my left eye, things were fuzzier and slightly more blurry with the right eye, even when I re-focused the scope. That contact lens was degrading the fine resolution.

Pentax smc-xw 10mmThen I invited 3 or 4 shooters to look through the scope. One younger guy, with good eyes, said immediately: “Yeah, I can see the holes — right there at 4 o’clock and seven o’clock. Wow.” Some older guys, who were wearing glasses, could not see the holes at all, no matter what we did to the scope’s main focus and diopter adjustment.

The lesson here — if you have to wear glasses or corrective contact lenses, just that extra bit of optical interference may make a difference in what you can see through the scope. Basically anything that goes between the scope eyepiece and your eyeball can degrade the image somewhat. So… you may be better off removing your glasses if you can still obtain good focus sharpness using the diopter adjustment and focus ring. I did the left vs. right eye test a half dozen times, and I could definitely see small features at 1000 yards with my naked eye that I could not see with my right eye fitted with a contact lens. (I did have to re-focus the scope for each eye, since one had a corrective lens while the other did not.)

Mirage Degrades Image Sharpness and Resolution
The “magic light” prevailed for only an hour or so, and then we started to get some mirage. As soon as the mirage appeared I was no longer able to see raw bullet holes, though I could still easily see black pasters on the black bulls. When the mirage started, the sharpness of the visible image degraded a huge amount. Where I could see bullet holes at dawn, by mid-morning I could barely read the numbers on the scoring rings. Lesson: If you want to test the ultimate resolution of your optics, you need perfect conditions.

Chromatic AberrationChromatic Aberration Revealed
As the light got brighter and the mirage increased I started to see blue and red fringing at the edges of the spotting disk and the large numerals. This was quite noticeable. On one side of the bright, white spotting disc you could see a dark red edge, while on the other side there was a blue edge (harder to see but still present).

The photo below was taken through the Pentax spotter lens using a point and shoot camera held up to the eyepiece. The sharpness of the Pentax was actually much better than this photo shows, but the through-the-lens image does clearly reveal the red and blue fringing. This fringing is caused by chromatic aberration — the failure of a lens to focus all colors to the same point. Chromatic aberration, most visible at high magnification, causes different wavelengths of light to have differing focal lengths (see diagram). Chromatic aberration manifests itself as “fringes” of color along boundaries that separate dark and bright parts of the image, because each color in the optical spectrum cannot be focused at a single common point on the optical axis. Keep in mind that the Pentax does have “ED” or low-dispersion glass, so the effect would be even more dramatic with a cheaper spotting scope.


CLICK HERE to view LARGE PHOTO that shows aberration more clearly.

If you wonder why top-of-the-line spotting scopes (such as the $2980 Swarovski ATS-80 ) cost so much, the answer is that they will deliver even LESS chromatic aberration at long range and high magnification. With their exotic apochromatic (APO), ultra-low-dispersion glass, a few ultra-high-end spotting scopes can deliver an image without the color edging you see in the photo above.

The Pentax PF-100ED is a heck of a spotting scope. Any scope that can resolve bullet holes at 1000 yards is impressive. But if you want the ultimate in optical performance, with minimal chromatic aberration, you may need to step up to something like the 88mm Kowa Prominar TSN-884 with Flourite Crystal lenses ($2450.00 body only), or the 82mm Leica APO ($3899.00 with 25-50X eyepiece).

EDITOR’s NOTE: The purpose of this report is to show what is possible… in IDEAL conditions. With this Pentax 100mm, as well as a Swarovski 80mm, we can often resolve 6mm bullet holes at 600 yards. But again, that performance requires really good viewing conditions. By 10:00 am at my range, even with the 100mm Pentax at 75 power, seeing 6mm bullet holes is “iffy” at best. So don’t go out and mortgage the house to buy a $4000 optic with the hope that you’ll be able to spot your shots at 1000 yards. If conditions are anything less than perfect, you’ll be lucky to see bullet holes at 500 yards. The real solution for very long-range spotting is to set up a remote target cam that broadcasts a video picture to a screen at your shooting station. Among the target cams on the market, we recommend the LongShot LR-3. It boasts excellent resolution and incredible range. The LongShot LR-3 target cam is used in major ELR competitions.

Pentax PF 100ED

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May 14th, 2021

6BR Ackley Revival for Benchrest Rifle from 1990s

James Mock BAT Action Terry Leonard Stock old 87

Updating Benchrest Rifle from the 1990s

by James Mock
After owning three different rifles with BAT actions, I have become a loyal fan of BAT Machine quality and customer service. Back in 2009, I traded my BAT/Scoville for the BAT/Leonard that I currently shoot. This rifle has a long history and Terry Leonard told me that “Old 87″ (as I have named it) was one of the earlier BATs that he stocked. He wrapped the stock in fiberglass and used 2-part epoxy back then. I must say that this rifle has held up remarkably well since it dates back to the 1990s. The action is a RB/LP/RE octagon Model B with .308 bolt-face.

Rifle Has Multiple Barrels for Multiple Disciplines
With this gun, I have shot several barrels of different calibers (.22 PPC, .22 PPC-short .095, 6mm PPC, 6XC, 6mm Dasher, .30BR, and will soon have a 6 BR-AI). It has been an exceptionally accurate rifle in several disciplines. In the hands of previous owners, it earned several Hall-of-Fame (HOF) points, and a “middle-of-the-pack” shooter (me) even received a HOF point with this rifle.

James Mock BAT Action Terry Leonard Stock old 87

For most of its life, Old 87 served as a short range benchrest rifle, but I have used it for the last few years as a 600-yard rifle with the 6mm Dasher barrel. I was lucky enough to earn the Shooter of the Year award at the Prince Memorial Range in Louisiana for 2016.

After shooting my two Dasher barrels for last eight years, I have noticed a drop-off in accuracy at 600 yards. A decision had to be made — get a new barrel or sell the rifle and retire from competition. I am in my late 70s and my competition days are limited due mainly to a chronic neck problem. After mulling over the decision to retire or not, I decided to give Old 87 one more year. Here is the story of how we upgraded the old war-horse.

Old 87 REBORN — Upgrading with New Components

I prefer cut-rifled barrels with four lands and grooves and have had success with .236 bore diameters and 1:8″ twist in long range rifles. I searched for barrels meeting those parameters and found a suitable BRUX at Bugholes.com (Southern Precision Rifles).

The 6BR-AI Option — Easy Fire Forming
I thought about having Billy Stevens chamber it for the Dasher, but decided to try something new. There seems to be a lot of interest in the 6BR-AI and I said, “Why not?” Well, I bought a shortened Dasher die from Harrell’s and will use my Wilson Dasher seating die. Bart Sauter was kind enough to let me use his reamer for chambering.

Fitting a New Roller-Type Cocking Piece on Older BAT Action
Since I was into the project this deep, I called Mike Ezell and ordered one of his Tungsten powder-dampened tuners. Since Old 87 had thousands of rounds since the firing pin spring has been replaced, I decided that it was probably needed. Well, I got to thinking (very dangerous) and asked Daryle Thom if it would be feasible to put a roller-type cocking piece and a new firing pin spring on such an old action.

The folks at BAT are very accommodating and they said that it would be no problem with such a conversion. While my bolt was in Idaho, the barrel with Ezell tuner arrived and I could not shoot it. However, my friend Jeff Turner loaned me his BAT bolt to see if it would work. Although the rifles differ in age by 15 or more years, the borrowed bolt worked perfectly in my rifle. This is a testimony to the great machine work performed at BAT Machine.

James Mock BAT Action Terry Leonard Stock old 87

New Bolt Roller Tail-Piece Makes a Big Difference in Cocking Effort
With the borrowed bolt I managed to fire-form 50 rounds and get them ready for our 600-yard match on September 16. The folks at BAT quickly fixed my bolt by replacing the mainspring and ejector spring, polishing the ejector, and replacing the tail-piece with their roller type. Pictured below is this tail piece that makes a remarkable difference in the force needed to cock the action. It is amazing what this little wheel can do… even when placed in a 25+ year old action.

James Mock BAT Action Terry Leonard Stock old 87

Working with the Ezell Barrel Tuner — Small Increments Work Best
Also, I would like to congratulate Mike Ezell on his new tuner which contains powdered Tungsten. It is easy to set up and Mike will help a buyer get maximum effectiveness from the unit. Just give him a call. Below is a picture of the tuner. I was lucky enough to have some time to “play” with it before the match.

Talking about the tuner, Mike writes: “Our new barrel tuners… PDT stands for particle dampening technology. The science is there, we just applied it to a barrel tuner. The advantages are a wider tune window and more efficient control of barrel harmonics…in a tuner design that actually looks good.”

Mike advised me to set the tuner by turning it all the way into the shoulder and then come out to zero or the second time zero comes up if there is not at least half of a turn between the shoulder and the first zero. It is best to start with a proven load and adjust the tuner from that load. As unlikely as it seems, a rifle can go from a good tune to a very poor tune with only 5 marks (.005”) and vice versa.

James Mock BAT Action Terry Leonard Stock old 87

Mike cautions those who use his tuner to NOT make adjustments which are too large. As a matter of fact, he recommends adjustments of .001 inch at a time. Ezell’s tuners are screwed onto the barrel with .900” by 32 threads per inch and has 32 marks on the circumference of the tuner. Therefore, each mark moves the tuner in or out by .001 inch. There are three set screws with Teflon tips which provide friction for the tuner on the threads. Do not tighten the screws so tight as they damage the fine threads.

If you want the smoothest bolt possible for your BAT, call or e-mail Daryle or Bruce Thom at BAT Machine and discuss your needs with them. I am sure glad that I did. If you want a state-of-the-Art tuner for your barrel, give Mike Ezell a call or visit his Ezell Custom Rifles Facebook Page.
— Good shooting, James Mock

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May 13th, 2021

The Games Are Back! 2021 CMP Eastern Games Are a Success

2021 CMP Eastern Games garand service rifle

Marksmanship competition is back! Slowly but surely, shooting sports are returning to normal, after many major events were cancelled due to the COVID pandemic. We were pleased to see the CMP Eastern Games were held this year, after being cancelled in 2020. The revived 2021 Eastern Games, held April 22 through May 2, 2021, were a huge success.

There were over 420 competitors at the 2021 Eastern CMP Games and High Power Rifle Matches held at Camp Butner in North Carolina. With more than 1,500 event entries, the Eastern Games featured a full schedule of rifle and pistol matches, including many new competitions added to the lineup. In addition to the matches, there were a variety of training programs such as an M1 Garand Clinic and Rifle Marksmanship 101 with live-fire training.

Full Eastern Games Results | 2021 Eastern Games Photos (705)

2021 CMP Eastern Games garand service rifle
2021 CMP Eastern Games garand service rifle

Along with Rifle Marksmanship 101, the CMP offered a Pistol Marksmanship 101 Course and accompanying M9 EIC Match was held for the first time at Camp Butner. Similar to Rifle Marksmanship 101, participants in the Pistol Course were instructed in the classroom and on the range on firearm and competition fundamentals, including proper firing practices and safety guidelines. Other pistol additions to the schedule in 2021 were .22 Rimfire Pistol, Center Fire and .45 Pistol 900 Aggregates.

2021 CMP Eastern Games garand service rifle

Brian Williams Wins 3-Gun and 4-Gun Aggregates plus Rimfire Sporter
The star of the 2021 Eastern Games was Brian Williams of Granby, Massachusetts. Williams earned several top finishes in rifle matches, with Garand, Springfield, M1 Carbine, and Modern Military competition victories. His consistent performances earned him both the Three Gun and Four Gun Aggregate titles. Brian even won the Rimfire Sporter Match! Williams was only eight Xs from the current Four Gun Aggregate Eastern Games record score of 1152-35X, which he personally set in 2019. He also holds Eastern Games records in the Modern Military and Carbine events.

2021 CMP Eastern Games garand service rifle

Another top 2021 Eastern Games performer was SFC Brandon Green, a 3-time National High Power Champion. Green won the CMP 2400 Overall Aggregate at the 2021 Eastern Games with an impressive 2379-97X score. Along the way Brandon won the EIC Service Rifle Match setting a new Eastern Games record with a 497-26X tally.

2021 CMP Eastern Games garand service rifle
2021 CMP Eastern Games garand service rifle

We were pleased to see the 2021 CMP Eastern Games included participation by disabled shooters:

2021 CMP Eastern Games garand service rifle

There were many M1 Garand shooters at Camp Butner this year. Training included a special clinic focused on the Garand.

2021 CMP Eastern Games garand service rifle
2021 CMP Eastern Games garand service rifle

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May 11th, 2021

Precision Rifle Challenge Featured on Shooting USA TV

Shooting USA hornady precision rifle challenge Utah 2020 AccurateShooter

Precision Rifle Challenge on Shooting USA This Week
This week, Shooting USA TV features a show that should interest PRS/NRL fans, tactical marksmen, and long range hunters. Run in Utah’s backcountry, the Hornady Precision Rifle Challenge is a unique long range competition with serious wind and elevation changes. The show airs Wednesday, 5/12/21 at 9:00 PM Eastern on the Outdoor Channel, and then again Thursday at 3:00 PM.

This was a big match with 177 competitors at Hornady’s private 250,000 acre ranch property outside of Evanston, Wyoming, across the state line in Utah.

This wasn’t a typical PRS Pro Series match by any means. Participants in this challenging Precision Rifle match encounter tough conditions not typically seen in other tactical matches.

Shooting USA hornady precision rifle challenge Utah 2020 AccurateShooter

This video is great — lots of equipment closeups, stage set-ups, plus drone footage of range.

Shooting USA hornady precision rifle challenge Utah 2020 AccurateShooter

This Shooting USA episode airs Wednesday, May 12, 2021, at 9:00 PM Eastern (8:00 PM Central) on the Outdoor Channel. If you miss that, it runs again on Thursday afternoon at 3:00 PM. In addition, you can watch all episodes of Shooting USA on the VIMEO channel by subscription. Each episode is just $0.99.

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May 10th, 2021

Rodzilla’s Impressive New T-Rex Front Rest — Product Review

Rodzilla T-Rex front rest shooting F-Class benchrest review

Meet the new T-Rex front rest from Rodzilla. In the world of front rests there have been many innovations over the past decade, but this new front rest from Rodzilla really represents significant innovation. The new T-Rex offers impressive capabilities that can truly take your shooting experience to the next level.

Rodzilla T-Rex front rest shooting F-Class benchrest review

At first glance the new T-Rex may resemble some other coaxial front rests. The T-Rex has a joystick, three points of ground contact, and a platform for the rifle. But look closer and you’ll see this isn’t your typical rest. Designer/builder Rod Brakhage (the Rod in Rodzilla) has started from the ground up to create the most user-friendly, match-ready, modular front rest on the market. The new T-Rex is already in high demand, but currently Rodzilla has been fulfilling orders in about 8 weeks. T-Rex MSRP ranges from $1895.00 to $2305.00 depending on options.

The T-Rex weighs just over 21 pounds — about the same as many mid-sized rests. However the T-Rex has a large footprint, rivaling the largest rests on the market. Rod tells us: “The T-Rex has a similar footprint to the SEB MAX… 12.5″ wide X 11.25″ front to back. However, at just over 21 lbs. my rest weighs less than a SEB NEO.” This combination (wide base with moderate weight) allows for an incredibly stable platform that is still quite portable.

Rodzilla T-Rex front rest shooting F-Class benchrest review

Rugged Carry Case Makes Transport Easy
Rodzilla delivers the T-Rex in a custom-designed hard carry case that fits it perfectly and still has room for additional feet and accessories. This sturdy case makes taking the T-Rex to matches easy. The case is strong enough that I can stack things on top of it in my truck. One side note, if you plan on storing your rest in the case between matches, it’s wise to put a desiccant pack in the case to absorb moisture.

The T-Rex boasts an adjustable joystick that extends from 15.5″ to 21″ in length. With this adjustability, no matter what your stock length or design, you can find a comfortable position without having to stretch uncomfortably. And you won’t have to shop for a joystick extension.

Using the T-Rex is a pure pleasure when shooting prone F-Class or from the bench. That’s because of its revolutionary ability to make large vertical adjustments without getting out of position. This is accomplished with a detachable arm/handle you can actuate while behind the gun. (This is the long T-handle on the right side of the rest).

The simplest way to show why this is a game changer is to consider when you’ve just left the 800-yard line during a match. You head up to the 900-yard line, get all set up, the range officer calls a hot line and suddenly realize you didn’t adjust your elevation for the new yardage. Normally you’d have to turn your scope dials then get up from your position to adjust your front rest, or at best stretch uncomfortably in hopes of reaching your rest adjustments. With the T-Rex, you simply turn the right-side gross elevation handle while still in position, move to your new hold point, and begin firing.

Rodzilla T-Rex front rest shooting F-Class benchrest review

This same principal applies to other situations that require adjusting vertical without breaking your shooting position. All of this is accomplished in conjunction with an incredibly sensitive, yet easy-to-adjust counterbalance system. Once set, the counterbalance ensures that smooth and fluid motion occurs in any direction without any resistance or fear of backlash that might affect your shots.

Very Wide Horizontal Range is Useful in Matches
When it comes to looking downrange, the T-Rex can deliver nearly twice the range of horizontal motion as that of some other rests. (In high ratio mode, there is about 70 MOA of horizontal travel.) This means you can quickly scan a wide expanse of targets/flags without having to change magnification or go to your spotting scope. The huge field of view is a great help when shooting in a condition that is switching and you want to view targets on either side.

Rodzilla T-Rex Configuration Options: Tops, Colors, Feet

Rodzilla offers a number of options for the T-Rex. The first choice is the top. Select the Rodzilla 5-Axis roller top or the new 5-Axis IBS-legal sandbag top. Or, if your budget permits, you can order both — they are easily interchangeable in minutes. The video below shows the easy top-swap procedure:

This video explains how to exchange tops on the Rodzilla T-Rex

5-Axis Top Advantages
Rod Brakhage tells us: “This innovative new 5-Axis top rotates independently of the base plate so no matter how the rest is set on the line you only need to move your rear bag to pan across the row of targets with no binding of the rifle. Also, the sides of the rifle run against vertical Delrin rollers.”

Color Choices for Rodzilla T-Rex Base
In addition to the choice of tops, there are four (4) standard colors on the website, but for an additional fee you can have it made in just about any color you want, which is pretty cool.

Rodzilla T-Rex front rest shooting F-Class benchrest review

Choose Standard Feet, Sand Feet, or Both
When you order a T-Rex, you can choose standard bench feet or large, gorgeous sand/dirt feet. Or order them both, as I did. I use the bench feet at my regular club where I shoot from wood and concrete platforms, but the sand feet are great for matches held on dirt, gravel, sand, or grass. These sand feet provide an incredibly stable platform on the ground.

Rodzilla T-Rex front rest shooting F-Class benchrest review

Linear Bearings Allow Ultra-Smooth and Precise Adjustments
Rodzilla’s Rod Brakhage is a smart, innovative designer committed to improving the shooter’s experience. One of Rod’s key innovations in the T-Rex is the use of linear ball bearings for both X and Y axis: “The horizontal/vertical assembly, or X-Y block, moves on 6 double-sealed ball bearings that travel on hardened shafts for effortless movement”.* This system delivers a smooth, fluidity of movement that lets you aim quickly and efficiently. Gone are the days of having to move PAST your aim point and then come back (to get the aim right), or resetting your joystick position after every shot. With the T-Rex, you make one smooth, precise move and your aim is set. And it stays set after the shot.

The T-Rex allows you to position your crosshairs with pinpoint precision every time and if you need to move them just a hair, you can do it with ease. In F-Class, we often hold between the target’s scoring lines to correct for wind variations (without touching the scope’s windage knob). With the T-Rex, I could make those holds quickly and precisely without wasting time bouncing back and forth.

Overall, I’ve come to really enjoy the repeatable confidence the T-Rex has given me whether I’m doing load development, practicing at the range, or shooting a match. So, if you’re in the market for a superb front rest that just might give you an edge or, at minimum, make your life easier, head over to TheRodzilla.com and learn all about the impressive, new T-Rex Front Rest.


* Rod Brakhage explains: “The bridge travels up and down on double-sealed ball bearings on 1” hardened shafts. My design utilizes a rack and pinion with an 18″-long drive shaft for adjusting the height of the bridge. This system allows you to stay in shooting position and looking through the scope while adjusting the vertical placement of your crosshairs. Precisely dial your vertical to the center of your target with the joy stick at the exact height you prefer. A 1/4 MOA movement is very easy to accomplish with this design. Also, there is no need to lock the bridge as there is an adjustable clutch to hold the vertical position. The long drive shaft utilizes a scalloped hand wheel on the shooters side and a quick coupling adapter on the rest side. Once adjusted you merely pull back on the drive shaft and remove it or just set it on your shooting mat out of the way. The geared rack and pinion can be placed on the right for right-handed shooters or on the left.”

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May 9th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: Tactical Twins – SFC Brandon Green’s PRS Rigs

SFC Brandon Green PRS Rifle Micarta Foundation Stocks

What does a three-time High Power National Champion choose for PRS comps? A set of twins. Twin rifles that is. SFC Brandon Green of the USAMU is one of America’s best marksmen. He’s excelled in Service Rifle and High Power disciplines, and now he’s getting very serious about the Precision Rifle Series (PRS). Brandon recently took delivery of “Twins” — two impressive rifles optimized for PRS competition. Green told us: “The Twins are ready for business! The silver one is a 6XC and the black one is a 6.5×47 Lapua”. Both rifles feature Impact Precision actions (with AICS-type mags), 24″ Proof stainless barrels, and Fat Bastard muzzle brakes. Rifle work was done by Stuteville Precision (Wade Stuteville) and Exodus Rifles (Joe Walls).

SFC Brandon Green PRS Rifle Micarta Foundation Stocks
In the 6XC, Brandon runs Berger 105gr VLDs in Norma 6XC brass. For the 6.5×47 Lapua he shoots 140gr Berger Hybrids or 143gr Hornady ELD-Xs in Lapua brass. Both rifles have stainless steel Proof barrels, but the 6.5x47L has a matte black Cerakote finish.

Brandon loves his new Twins. He said he likes the “feel” of the guns with the Foundation stocks: “These rifles weigh around 17 pounds with optics. They feel very solid under recoil — without the ‘tuning fork’ vibration you can get with a metal-chassis gun. They feel like a good wood-stocked gun, but the material is stronger and more rigid than wood. I’ve heard that guys are having success with these Foundation stocks with the actions installed without pillars or conventional bedding.” Currently Brandon is running both guns without action-screw pillars. He did have one skim-bedded, but he doesn’t think that was really needed. “Both rifles hammer now”, Brandon tells us.

Green Runs Vortex Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27x56mm FFP scopes on both rifles:
SFC Brandon Green PRS Rifle Micarta Foundation Stocks

High-Tech Micarta Stock Material
At first glance, those stocks may look like wood, but they are actually a special “Micarta” material that is strong, durable, and stable. Micarta, often used for knife handles, is a “a brand name for composites of fiberglass, carbon fiber, or other fabric in a thermosetting plastic.” The stock-maker, Foundation Stocks, says Micarta offers some distinct advantages over laminated wood or conventional fiberglass: “The solid block of material gives us a dense, homogenous material that is absent of any voids or air pockets commonly found in composite stocks. The high compression strength of the material allows us to build an action/DBM specific stock that requires no bedding or pillars. The material is very durable and stable in extreme environments. We use advanced CAD software to design and model our stocks, working in conjunction with action manufacturers and rifle builders to provide exact fitment.”

Here is a close-up of a Foundation Stock showing the distinctive Micarta texture:
SFC Brandon Green PRS Rifle Micarta Foundation Stocks

Tactical Competition vs. NRA High Power Competition
Brandon says PRS competition is tough: “PRS can be pretty humbling, but it’s been a lot of fun and a great challenge. For a shooter (like me) with a Service Rifle/High Power background, the variations in stages combined with the time limits can be very challenging. And the unusual shooting positions put a new spin on things. PRS is definitely a different ball game, but I really enjoy it.”

SFC Brandon Green 2015 High Power National Championship
SFC Brandon Green honored as the 2015 High Power National Champion. Brandon also won the HP Championship in 2013, and in 2018.

Life before the Twins… Here is Brandon, with his previous PRS rig, at the MasterPiece Arms Precision Rifle Shootout, a PRS event at the CORE Shooting Solutions Range in Florida:

SFC Brandon Green PRS Rifle Micarta Foundation Stocks

SFC Brandon Green
Three-time National High Power Champion SFC Brandon Green (left above) set four new National Records at Camp Perry in 2017, when he won the Service Rifle Championship.

When He’s not Competing in PRS, Brandon Excels with his Service Rifle
This video shows SFC Brandon Green shooting his modern AR Service Rifle in the off-hand (standing), prone (2:20 time), and sitting (3:25 time) positions in competition.

SFC Brandon Green is a shooting superstar. Green won his third NRA National High Power Rifle Championship in 2018 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. He dominated the High Power Championship cycle, finishing eight points and ten Xs ahead of his nearest competitor. Brandon also won High Power National Championships in 2015 and 2013. And in 2017 he set new records at the CMP’s National Trophy Matches at Camp Perry, winning the Service Rifle title. One of the greatest marksmen in the nation’s history, SFC Green excels at all positions, both rapid-fire and slow-fire.

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May 9th, 2021

This Mother’s Day We Feature Polly Tubb, Mother of a Champion

Pauline Polly Tubb David Tubb NRA High Power Championship Champion

As today is Mother’s Day 2021, here’s a story about one very special mother, Polly Tubb. Now 93 years old, Polly is notable as a very talented lady shooter who reared one of the greatest marksmen in history, David Tubb.

Pauline Polly Tubb David Tubb NRA High Power Championship ChampionWe expect you’ve heard of David Tubb, 11-time NRA National High Power Champion, and 6-time NRA Long Range Champion. Without question, David is one of the greatest rifle shooters who ever lived. What you may not know is that David came from a family of shooters. David’s father, George Tubb, was a nationally-ranked High Power competitor. What’s more (now this may surprise you), David’s mother “Polly” was was a great shooter in her own right. When she wasn’t rearing a future Champion, Polly was hitting the X-Ring at rifle matches.

Pauline (“Polly”) S. Tubb of Canadian, Texas, earned several rifle championships during the course of her shooting career. In this photo, Polly took a moment to appear for a photo after winning the 1962 National Woman’s Bolt Rifle championship at Camp Perry. One shooter who competed against Polly observed: “I was there as a 1962 Pennsylvania State Team junior! I remember Polly. She beat some of the best Army and Marine shooters and always did it with style and good humor.”

We spoke to David Tubb this morning. He is spending the day with his mother Polly, who remains happy and vibrant at age 93. David says Polly is still enjoying life, she still plays the piano, and she remains an inspiration to him and to all her family.

Archive photo courtesy Civilian Marksmanship Program, TheCMP.org.
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May 7th, 2021

The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters — Improve Your Wind-Reading

wind reading book Camp Perry Miller Cunningham

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

Readers often ask us: “Is there a decent, easy-to-comprehend book that can help my wind-reading?” Many of our Forum members have recommended The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters by Linda Miller and Keith Cunningham.

New Edition Released in May 2020
A NEW hardback edition of The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters was released a year ago in May 2020. This 144-page book, first published in 2007, is a great resource. But you don’t have to take our word for it. If you click this link, you can read book excerpts and decide for yourself. When the Amazon page opens, click the book cover photo (labeled “Look Inside”) and another screen will appear. This lets you preview chapters from the first edition, and view some illustrations. Along with the new hardback edition ($19.48), Amazon offers a Kindle (eBook) edition for $14.99.

Other books cover wind reading in a broader discussion of ballistics or long-range shooting, such as Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting by Bryan Litz. But the Miller & Cunningham book is ALL about wind reading from cover to cover, and that is its strength. The book focuses on real world skills that can help you accurately gauge wind angle, wind velocity, and wind cycles.

All other factors being equal, it is your ability to read the wind that will make the most difference in your shooting accuracy. The better you understand the behavior of the wind, the better you will understand the behavior of your bullet. — The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters

wind reading book Camp Perry Miller Cunningham

The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters covers techniques and tactics used by expert wind-readers. There are numerous charts and illustrations. The authors show you how to put together a simple wind-reading “toolbox” for calculating wind speed, direction, deflection and drift. Then they explain how to use these tools to read flags and mirage, record and interpret your observations, and time your shots to compensate for wind.

I believe this is a must-have book if you are a long-range sport shooter. I compete in F-Class Open and when I first purchased this book and read it from cover to cover, it helped me understand wind reading and making accurate scope corrections. Buy this book, read it, put into practice what it tells you, you will not be disappointed. — P. Janzso

If you have one book for wind reading, this should be it. Whether you’re a novice or experienced wind shooter this book has something for you. It covers how to get wind speed and direction from flags, mirage, and natural phenomenon. In my opinion this is the best book for learning to read wind speed and direction. — Muddler

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May 6th, 2021

Modern Air Rifles for Three-Position Competition

Three Position 3p air rifle airgun precisision competition CMP

Three Position 3p air rifle airgun precision competition CMPThree-Position Air Rifle (3PAR) shooting is the most popular and fastest-growing form of shooting sports competition for junior shooters (High School age and younger). The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) conducts two primary Three-Position Air Rifle events. First, Precision Air Rifle is modeled after Olympic-style shooting and allows the use of specialized target rifles and equipment. Second, Sporter Air Rifle is designed for new competitors or those who desire to compete with a minimum of equipment and expense.

In both types of shooting, competitors fire at targets at a distance of 10 meters in three different positions, prone, standing and kneeling. Three-Position Air Rifle provides young competitors with competitive shooting sports opportunities that can be offered on a wide variety of easily accessible or easily constructed ranges, with equipment that is commonly available at affordable costs.

crosman challenger pcp air rifle with sights
Teen three peat GAI Gary Anderson Invitational air rifle match Katrina winnner
CLICK HERE for large Pardini GPR1 photo.

The CMP actively promotes Three-Position Air Rifle shooting as a premier youth marksmanship competition by providing low-cost equipment and pellets as well as training materials and competition activities. In addition, other air gun events for juniors and adults are hosted by CMP throughout the year. CMP facilities have Open Public Shooting evenings, and matches for air rifle and air pistol take place at the CMP Marksmanship Centers. CMP ranges are equipped with OpticScore Targets featuring technology by Kongsberg Target Systems.

crosman challenger pcp air rifle with sights

The Challenger PCP (pre-charged pneumatic) Air Rifle is the preferred .177 sporter class air rifle for competitive marksmanship programs throughout the country, including the Marine Corps JROTC, Army JROTC, Air Force JROTC, Navy JROTC, American Legion, and 4-H. The Challenger is a three-position competition rifle that features a fully adjustable stock, a two-stage, adjustable match grade trigger, a hooded front aperture sight, a micro click, adjustable diopter rear sight, a patented ambidextrous pull bolt, and a floating Lothar Walther™ barrel.

CLICK HERE to Download this illustration of Olympic Shooter Ivana Maksimovic as a POSTER.

Three Position 3p air rifle airgun precisision competition CMP

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May 6th, 2021

Train for F-Class at 300 Yards with Reduced Size Targets

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

Here’s a handy training option for F-Class shooters. 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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May 4th, 2021

Registration Opens for Marksmanship Clinics at Camp Perry

camp perry 2-2021 high power highpower SAFS USAMU training clinic

While the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s (CMP) National Rifle Matches are most well-known for the President’s Rifle Match and other prestigious National Trophy Individual Rifle matches, the CMP offers several training programs for shooters of all levels. In addition to the Small Arms Firing School (SAFS), tailored to new shooters, the CMP offers excellent Highpower Clinics. Junior competitors (20 years or younger) can sign up for the USMC Junior Highpower Clinic. Experienced adults (as well as skilled juniors) can select Team CMP’s Advanced High Power Clinic.

In connection with the National matches there will be training clinics offered for both junior shooters and adult competitors. The CMP-USMC Junior Highpower Clinic and the CMP Advanced Highpower Clinic will take place Friday, July 30, through Sunday, August 1. In addition, the two-day CMP-USAMU Rifle Small Arms Firing School (SAFS) runs Saturday, July 31, through Sunday, August 1.

Register ONLINE for Clinics HERE: https://thecmp.org/competitions/matches/cmp-national-matches/clinics/

camp perry 2-2021 high power highpower SAFS USAMU training clinic

Junior Highpower Clinic with USMC Rifle Team
The CMP-USMC Junior Highpower Rifle Clinic will be taught by members of the U.S. Marine Corps Rifle Team. The clinic is open to junior highpower shooters with previous service rifle competition experience and a classification of sharpshooter or higher. Juniors brand new to the sport are required to first attend a Rifle Small Arms Firing School (SAFS). Participants in the clinic receive classroom instruction, dry-fire training, live-fire training (ammo is not provided), a clinic t-shirt, certificate and handout materials.

NOTE: Participants must bring their own rifles, ammunition and shooting equipment. After a day of class and dry-fire instruction, the remainder of the clinic consists of live-fire at 200, 300 and 600 yards.

CMP Advanced Highpower Clinic
The CMP Advanced Highpower Clinic is taught by members of the CMP Rifle Team and is open to adults and juniors. Participants must bring their own rifle and equipment, but no live ammo, as the clinic consists of classroom instruction and coached dry-fire practice. Topics covered include range safety, care and use of match equipment, using a data book, zeroes/zeroing, advanced fundamentals, shooting positions, match etiquette, team shooting, wind reading, training techniques and mental management. All participants will receive a clinic t-shirt and a certificate.

camp perry 2-2021 high power highpowder SAFS USAMU training clinic

A live-fire air rifle portion of the Advanced Highpower clinic is conducted with AiR-15 rifles (Air rifles configured like AR15s) at the Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center. This air rifle segment helps solidify what was learned during the dry-fire practice with participants’ own rifles.

Rifle Small Arms Firing School
Novice shooters and those seeking their first Excellence-In-Competition (EIC) points are encouraged to attend the Rifle Small Arms Firing School (SAFS), Saturday, July 31 through Sunday, August 1, 2021. First, in the classroom, Service Rifle Team members from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) cover safety, nomenclature, clearing, loading and unloading, shot technique and basic firing positions. Students then head out to the range for hands-on instruction. For new marksman looking to get into the sport and may not have their own equipment, the Rifle Small Arms Firing School is a perfect choice.

camp perry 2-2021 high power highpower SAFS USAMU training clinic

SAFS small arms firing school USAMU

The rifle Small Arms Firing School is a great way to introduce juniors to Highpower service rifle. SAFS teaches them firearm safety, handling practices, shooting fundamentals and how to properly use an AR-15. The Army Marksmanship Unit takes a starring role in largely coaching individual competitors, though trained CMP instructors also help lead the class. Ammunition and a rifle for use during SAFS is provided. Participants receive training and can participate in a match the next day.

CMP Training Opportunities at CMP Games
For those who are unable to attend the clinics at Camp Perry or for those in search of additional training, the CMP Rifle Marksmanship 101 course and the Team CMP Advanced Highpower Clinic are also offered at the CMP Games throughout the country.

Email competitions@thecmp.org for questions about the CMP-USMC Junior Highpower Rifle Clinic, Rifle Small Arms Firing School or the CMP Competition Games clinics.

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April 30th, 2021

Tactical Titles — Five Books for PRS/NRL Competitors

PRS NRL precision rifle training book print resource manual gun handling instruction

Are you looking to get started in PRS and NRL practical precision rifle competition? Or perhaps you’d like to advance your skill set so you can place higher in big matches (and get your hands on those prize table items)? Of course there is no substitute for trigger time in the field, but there ARE some great print resources. These five books can help you select the right equipment, improve your shooting skills, make better wind calls, increase your fitness level, and develop a more efficient between-match training program.

Tactical Practical PRS Precision Rifle Series NRL NRL22 good books

1. Precision Rifle Marksmanship: The Fundamentals

Frank Galli, $21.57 Paperback, $15.99 Kindle

Frank Galli rifle marksmanship PRS NRL precision rifle training book print resource manual gun handling instruction

Frank Galli (aka “LowLight”) is the founder/head honcho of SnipersHide.com, the most active tactical community on the internet. Galli is also a retired USMC scout-sniper. Practical Precision Rifle shooting is one of the hottest trends in competitive shooting today. PRS and NRL matches draw big turn-outs and boast impressive prize tables. Galli’s Precision Rifle Marksmanship book covers the fundamentals of precision marksmanship with easy-to-understand methodology. The book uses the same instruction process that Galli uses in his live marksmanship classes.

As Sniper’s Hide guru Frank Galli explains, there is no voodoo when it comes to precision rifle marksmanship, but there are techniques that, when practiced, make the difference between good marksmanship and great marksmanship. Understanding the reasons that a bullet hits or doesn’t hit its intended target at ultra-long distances is a crucial element to learning. Galli’s explanations of how to understand and compensate for wind speed and direction are excellent — Galli offers great wind-reading advice.

Published in 2020, this 272-page well-illustrated book covers the latest equipment (scopes, LRFs, chassis systems, mags, bags, bipods, tripods) favored by tactical competitors in PRS/NRL type matches.

2. Long Range Shooting Handbook

Ryan Cleckner, $19.85 Paperback, $9.99 Kindle

Ryan Cleckner’s Long Range Shooting Handbook is the best-selling modern book on practical rifle skills. A former U.S. Army sniper instructor, Cleckner is knowledgeable, and his text is well-organized and chock full of good information. You can view Sample Chapters on Amazon.com.

Ryan Cleckner’s highly-regarded Long Range Shooting Handbook is designed as an intro to important fundamental concepts such as MOA vs. Mils, External Ballistics, and Environmental Effects. Included are personal tips and advice based on Cleckner’s years of experience as a sniper instructor and special operations sniper.

The Long Range Shooting Handbook is divided into three main categories: What It Is/How It Works, Fundamentals, and How to Use It. “What It Is/How It Works” covers equipment, terminology, and basic principles. “Fundamentals” covers the theory of long range shooting. “How to Use It” gives practical advice on implementing what you’ve learned, so you can progress as a skilled, long range shooter. This book will benefit any long-range shooter, not just PRS/NRL competitors.

3. IMPACT! — Training and Preparing for Precision Rifle Matches

Rodney Maze, $14.99 Paperback, $4.99 Kindle

PRS NRL precision rifle training book print resource manual gun handling instruction

Impact!, by PRS competitor Rodney Maze, is an entry/intermediate level guide to preparing yourself and your equipment to compete in precision rifle type matches. It will also benefit anyone looking to learn about practical-style long range and precision shooting. We recommend you check it out for yourself — there are 20 Pages of free sample content on Amazon. Topics covered include:

— Rifle, optic, and equipment selection
— Setting up your rifle, bags, tripods for PRS/NRL matches
— Understanding ballistics and how to record and use ballistic data
— Techniques for using holdovers for multi-target stages
— Gun skills, rapid fire techniques, clearing malfunctions
— Shooting off of barricades, and specialty stages
— Effects of wind and how to improve your wind calls
— Tips for live fire and dry fire practice
— Preparing yourself and your equipment for a match
— Mental strategies and techniques

Impact! is illustrated with plenty of photographs. Topics are divided logically, and concepts are explained in clear language. Also included is an extensive glossary of terms used in precision shooting and a list of additional resources you can use to further pursue your precision shooting knowledge. This book also includes a handy Appendix with formatted pages for recording data about your rifle, scope, and ammunition. There is also a Wind table for recording your rifle “dope” and wind hold-offs. Lastly, Impact! has a useful table of unit conversions.

4. Practical Shooter’s Guide

Marcus Blanchard, $19.99 Paperback, $9.99 Kindle

Marcus Blanchard Practical Shooter's Guide

Thinking of getting started in the Practical/Tactical shooting game? Looking for ways to be more stable when shooting from unconventional positions? Then you may want to read Marcus Blanchard’s Practical Shooter’s Guide (A How-To Approach for Unconventional Firing Positions and Training). Unlike almost every “how to shoot” book on the market, Blanchard’s work focuses on the shooting skills and positions you need to succeed in PRS matches and similar tactical competitions. Blanchard provides clear advice on shooting from barricades, from roof-tops, from steep angles. Blanchard says you need to train for these types of challenges: “I believe the largest factor in the improvement of the average shooter isn’t necessarily the gear; it’s the way the shooter approaches obstacles and how they properly train for them.”

5. Official U.S. Army Sniper Training and Operations Manual

From U.S. Army Sources, $17.59 paperback.

PRS NRL precision rifle training book print resource manual gun handling instruction

This U.S. Army Sniper Training Manual is a very comprehensive resource, with over 450 pages of information in a large 8.5″x11″ format. NOTE: Unlike other editions on Amazon, this is NOT the basic, outdated FM 23-10. This is the completely-overhauled 450+ page edition (FM 3-22.10). Heavily illustrated, this is a very useful resource for tactical/practical precision shooter. Employed as the “textbook” for the U.S. Army Sniper School at Fort Benning, GA, this big manual explains ranging methods, rifle handling, optics selection and operation, and rifle maintenance.

There is also extensive discussion of ballistics, wind reading, and weather effects. Practical competitors will appreciate the discussions of moving targets, range estimation, and range safety procedures. One reviewer explains: “This book contains the distilled wisdom of the Sniper School’s instructors and expert marksmen, giving you over 450 pages of unique insight into the long range combat shooter’s art.”

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April 27th, 2021

Big Savings on NRA Memberships — Current Discounts Offered

nra life membership 33% discount save 5-year 1-year 3-year savings

Now in its 150th year, the NRA remains a vital voice for American gun owners. And the NRA-ILA has just brought an important gun rights case to the U.S. Supreme Court. There have been controversies, but the NRA still remains the largest organization supporting gun rights in the United States. We think that all persons who value the Second Amendment should consider joining the NRA. And if you are already a member, consider extending your membership or getting a Life Membership.

The latest NRA promotion offers 25% to 33% discounts on 1-Year, 2-Year, 3-Year, and 5-Year memberships. CLICK HERE for OFFER. With the memberships you’ll get a free gift, either a Free Duffle Bag or Free Knife. These discounts will only be offered for a limited time, so don’t delay.

In addition, right now you can SAVE $500 on an NRA Life Membership. The NRA is now offering Life Memberships for $1000, discounted $500 off the regular $1500 price. CLICK HERE.

Here Are Savings Offers on NRA Memberships:

NRA Life Membership discounted from $1500 to $1000 — Save $500 (33%)
NRA 5-Year Membership discounted from $150 to $100 — Save $50 (33%)
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NRA 1-Year Membership discounted from $45 to $30 — Save $15 (33%)

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All memberships include your selection of a monthly print magazine: Shooting Illustrated, American Rifleman, American Hunter, or America’s Freedom.

nra life membership 33% discount save 5-year 1-year 3-year savings

NRA 150th Anniversary

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April 25th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: The Rifle that Shot Smallest 1K Group in History

Mike Wilson IBS 1000-yard light gun record 50-5X world's smallest 1000-yard Group

Look and be amazed. What you are seeing is the smallest 5-Shot group ever shot in 1000-yard competition. And it is also perfectly centered for a 50-5X max score, yes ALL Xs. Brilliant! This amazing group was shot by Mike Wilson in July of 2018 with his 17-lb Light Gun, chambered for a 6mmBR wildcat he calls the 6 BRAW (BR Ackley Improved Wilson). This spectacular feat of accuracy demonstrates the potential of the 6BR family of cartridges even at 1000 yards. For his record group, Mike shot Vapor Trail 103-grain bullets in Lapua 6mmBR fire-formed brass. He loaded Hodgdon H4895 powder with CCI 450 primers. The action was a BAT, the barrel a Brux.

The Best 5-Shot 1000-Yard Group in History

Story based on report by Sam Hall
Look at that target by Mike Wilson. This is one of the most remarkable displays of accuracy (and precision) in the history of long range shooting. This past weekend, Mike (aka “GA. Dawg” in our Forum) drilled a truly spectacular 1.087-inch, 5-shot group at 1000 yards, all centered up in the X-Ring. Yes, you read that right, a group barely over an inch at 1000, shot in competition at an official IBS benchrest match on July 21, 2018. Note, the group was measured at the range at an even smaller 1.068″ (see target). However, as certified by the IBS as a IBS Light Gun World Record, the group is listed as 1.087″.

How small is that in angular measurement? Well 1 MOA at 1000 yards is 10.47 inches, so Mike’s 50-5X masterpiece is 0.1038 MOA! Yes that is an IBS group size AND score World Record. And it is also smaller than the current NBRSA 1000-yard 5-shot LG world record, 1.473″ by Bill Schrader in 2002. This best-ever 1K group* was shot at an IBS registered 1000-yard match at Hawks Ridge Gun Club in North Carolina. Other records have been shot at Hawks Ridge in the past, but this is the most jaw-dropping.

Mike Wilson IBS Hawks Ridge 1000-yard benchrest 1000 record 1.086 inches
Sam Hall (left, green shirt) holds record target by Mike Wilson (right, white shirt).

Sam Hall, past IBS National Champion and IBS 600-Yard Shooter of the Year, was stunned by Wilson’s accomplishment: “This is a truely awesome marksmanship feat — one of the best in history. I think I would trade all 14 of my 600-yard records for that one!”. Mike’s amazing target will be submitted for approval as new Group Size and Score IBS World Records. Official approval is pretty much a certainty. The previous 5-shot, 1000-yard IBS record is 1.397″ (50 score) by Tom Sarver in 2007. (The NBRSA 1000-Yard 5-shot LG record is 1.473″ by Bill Schrader in 2002.)

Mike Wilson IBS Hawks Ridge 1000-yard benchrest 1000 record 1.086 inches

Posting on our Shooters’ Forum, Mike wrote: “Thanks everyone for the kind words. As humbling as this game is, when it comes together makes it all worthwhile! A very special THANK YOU to my traveling buddy, my son, Blake, and my wife Debra for allowing me to enjoy this crazy game.” Mike also wanted to thank his smiths and component suppliers.

Mike Wilson IBS 1000-Yard Light Gun Specifications

Action: BAT ‘B’ 1.550 Melonited Action with Jewell Trigger
Barrel: Brux HV 28″ Finished Length, 1:8″ Twist Rate
Chambering: 6 BRAW (6mmBR Ackley Improved Wilson), Chambered by Darrell Jones
Chamber Specs: 0.272″ No-turn Neck with 0.135″ Freebore
Stock: Shehane ST 1000 Fiberglass Stock (with stock work by Larry “Bullet” Archer)
Optics: Nightforce 12-42x56mm Benchrest NP-2 DD

LOAD Specs: Lapua 6mmBR brass (formed to 40° Ackley Improved), Vapor Trail 103gr bullets, Hodgdon H4895 powder, CCI 450 primers.

Mike Wilson IBS Hawks Ridge 1000-yard benchrest 1000 record 1.086 inches
Leonard Baity front rest with Protektor Bag. Italian Lenzi bag in rear.

World Record-Setting Cartridge and Load
Mike was shooting a 40-degree Improved version of the 6mmBR Norma cartridge. Long popular with Benchrest and 300M shooters, the 6mmBR was the original inspiration for this website. Yep, we started as www.6mmBR.com. The Improved version has extra capacity, allowing about 100 FPS more velocity when chambered with a long throat. For his record group, Mike shot Vapor Trail 103-grain bullets in Lapua brass. He loaded Hodgdon H4895 powder with CCI 450 (small rifle magnum) primers.

Praise from Fellow Competitors
Here are some reactions to Mike’s amazing group by our Forum members:

“Amazing target Mike Wilson! Your group might last forever as ‘the goal’ of 1000-yard Benchrest! Heck that’s a great target even at 600 yards.” — Mike J.

“Think about this for a second. That group was barely larger than the size of your index finger’s first digit and he printed it at 1000 Yards.” — Carlos

“Unbelievable!! Doing that under chosen prime conditions is an amazing feat but to do that in competition and to have everything to come together is just unbelievable. Amazing how far skill, precision, knowledge, and the products of this sport have come. Never thought we would see a group this small and well placed especially in the hills of North Carolina where the wind always blows. Congratulations. A true lifetime achievement.” — Yote Hunter

“I think that one will stand for a while. Hard work does pay off, but it don’t hurt to be one of the givers in the sport. Mike, you are ‘The Man’!” — Bill Shehane

“Awesome, awesome. Now the goal is to shoot UNDER an inch!” — Alex Wheeler

For more comments, read this AccurateShooter Forum Thread.

The 6mmBR Ackley Improved
Mike Wilson shot his spectacular group with a 40° Improved version of the 6mmBR cartridge with less body taper than a standard 6BR — the design is 0.463 at the body/shoulder junction (vs. 0.460 for standard 6BR). Mike calls his version of the 6BR Ackley a 6BRAW (“W” for Wilson). Sam Hall explained: “The 6BRAW is pretty much the same as a 6BRA or 6BR-AI (Ackley Improved). I sold the reamer to Mike last year. This has a 0.272 ‘No-Turn’ chamber with a 0.135 Freebore”.

6mmBR Ackley Improved 6BRA 6BRAI 6BRAW Mike wilson Tom Mousel

This photo shows a 40° 6mmBR Ackley Improved (6BRA), as used by Tom Mousel in Deep Creek, Montana. Mike Wilson’s 6BRAW may be very slightly different. For Mousel’s 6BRA with 28″ Krieger barrel, the accuracy node is about 2980-2990 fps, so this gives up only 30-50 fps compared to typical Dasher velocities. Mike Wilson’s load runs about 2980 fps also.

In the past couple of years, the 6BR Ackley-type cartridges have been hugely successful in 600-yard and 1000-yard Benchrest. Sam Hall notes: “This year the little 6BR-AI has shot the smallest groups ever fired in 600-yard and 1000-yard competition. Back in April 2018, bullet-maker Bart Sauter, using a 6BRA, shot a 0.311″ 50-score 5-Shot group at 600 yards.” (Read Sauter Story). Bart’s stunning 0.05 MOA group is now the 600-yard IBS HG World Record.(Note: Bart’s target was originally measured at 0.282″ but was later IBS-certified at 0.311″.)

Mike Wilson IBS Hawks Ridge 1000-yard benchrest 1000 record 1.086 inches
Mike used an Italian Lenzi rear bag. Mike says the super-slick nylon on the ears of this high quality rear bag make for better tracking. The ears provide support but don’t “grab” the stock, reports Mike.

More Comments by Fellow Shooters:

“Truly an amazing feat. The 5X was the icing on the cake! Many shooters would be very happy with that group size at 200 yards.” — Mr. Zero

“Words cannot adequately express how many of us feel about your magnificent accomplishment at 1000 yards. Congratulations — that is terrific!” — Gene Beggs

“Truly amazing … well done on a great achievement… RESPECT!” — Elardus

“Bravo Mike pour ce tir incroyable. Ton exploit est sur le forum de tir longue distance en France bonne continuation.” — Frederic Riso


* There are two North American sanctioning bodies for 1000-Yard Benchrest, the IBS and the NBRSA. The previous 5-shot, 1000-yard IBS record is 1.397″ (50 score) by Tom Sarver in 2007. The existing NBRSA 1000-Yard 5-shot Light Gun record is 1.473″, shot by Bill Schrader in 2002.

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April 21st, 2021

CMP Warns Against High-Pressure Loads in Garands and 1903s

CMP .30-06 ammo ammunition safety warning M1 Garand m1903 1903a3 50000 CUP high pressure

The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) has issued an ammunition safety advisory to all users of M1 Garands, M1903s, and M1903A3 rifles. Ammunition that is loaded beyond 50,000 Copper Units of Pressure (CUP) and using bullets weighing more than 172 grains should be limited to modern rifles, and NOT USED in old military rifles aged 70+ years.

CMP .30-06 ammo ammunition safety warning M1 Garand m1903 1903a3 50000 CUP high pressure

After this warning was issued by the CMP, the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA) provided further safety recommendations for owners or older firearms:

CRPA Ammunition and Older Firearms Guidelines
Many of us have either purchased or inherited firearms in excess of 25 years of age. The issue … noted as an example by the Civilian Marksmanship Program in regards to certain ammunition leads as they apply to the M1 Garand is not isolated to that particular firearm. The CRPA… has seen similar issues exposed with other [older] firearms when using modern loads. We strongly advise you to check with the manufacturer for recommended load limitations before purchasing modern ammunition for an older firearm.

CRPA also recommends these safety procedures:

Have a gunsmith check your older firearm for safety prior to using it.

Take a reloading class to help develop a safe load for your older firearm.

Inspect older ammunition for defects such as a green patina or rust build up on the cases or crystallization on the projectiles. If defects are observed, the CRPA suggests disassembling the ammo into components for proper recycling and disposal.

Storage of Ammo for Older Rifles
The CRPA also cautioned that you should be cautious about older ammo that may be decades old, including old milsurp ammunition. The CRPA advises:

1. Store ammunition in a cool, dry, location where little temperature fluctuation occurs.
2. If storing ammunition in an air/watertight ammo can, utilize water absorbent silica packs and place packs in the can with the ammunition.
3. Conduct periodic checks every 12-24 months and replace the silica packs as needed.

CRPA Notification provided by EdLongrange

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