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September 25th, 2022

Sunday GunDay: .416 Barrett for King of 2 Miles Competition

Derek Rodgers .416 Barrett ELR KO2M king of 2 miles Beast 2 McMillan stock Nightforce ATACR scope extreme long range New Mexico

Today we feature a big-caliber rifle used for the most prestigious Extreme Long Range (ELR) competition, the King of 2 Miles. This rifle was built for Derek Rodgers, a talented shooter with amazing credentials. An F-TR World Champion, Derek is the only shooter to have won the F-Open USA National Championship AND the F-TR USA National Championship. Derek also won the 2017 King of 2 Miles competition. Last Sunday GunDay we featured the 33XC rifle used by Clay Rhoden to capture the inaugural American King of 1 Mile competition. That story was quite popular, so this Sunday we offer an even more powerful rig, Derek’s .416 Barrett with a massive 40″ barrel.

Derek Rodgers won the King of 2 Miles competition in 2017, so he knows all about Extreme Long Range (ELR) shooting. While Derek won his 2017 KO2M title shooting the .375 CheyTac cartridge, Derek decided that something even bigger was in order. So Derek commissioned this impressive ELR rifle chambered for the jumbo .416 Barrett cartridge. This big round drives heavy Cutting Edge solid bullets from 475 to 550 grains in weight.

Derek Rodgers .416 Barrett ELR KO2M king of 2 miles Beast 2 McMillan stock Nightforce ATACR scope extreme long range New Mexico

Here’s the Big Rig that delivers those .416-caliber projectiles. This monster rifle weighs 40+ pounds and sports a 40″ Bartlein barrel — more length for more velocity. Derek’s ELR rifle features a McMillan Beast 2 stock, BAT EX action, and Nightforce ATACR 7-35x56mm scope. Derek explained why he moved up to a bigger caliber: “I built a new rifle with the anticipation of seeing impacts easier. It was not just a larger caliber being more effective on hitting ELR targets, but rather hoping that a missed shot would have a much larger impact. Impacts beyond a mile become harder to see due to terrain and vegetation. So any added dust or splash erupting from the earth is a decisive benefit over an equally-accurate smaller caliber.” Here is Derek’s full report on his .416 Barrett rifle.

Derek Rodgers Campaigns a .416 Barrett

Report by Derek Rodgers
Cartridge Choice — I chose a standard .416 Barrett cartridge as it allows for bullets up to and slightly exceeding 550 grains. It really does bridge the gap between the .375 variants and a 50 BMG. There are several great solid ELR bullet options from manufactures like Cutting Edge that range from 475-550 grains. These offer a variety of extremely high BC options for barrels that have different twist rates. Most loads will utilize the slowest burn rate powders commercially available. Good options are Vihtavuori 20N29, RL50, H50BMG and other powders with a similar burn rate.

Derek Rodgers .416 Barrett ELR KO2M king of 2 miles Beast 2 McMillan stock Nightforce ATACR scope extreme long range New Mexico

Shooting the .416 — Tamer than Expected
An initial observation is that the rifle is very controllable and feels much like a larger F-TR gun. The rifle weighs 40+ pounds, balanced and stays on target very well. The recoil is manageable and linear. This seems to give a straight rearward impulse that does not affect positioning. This allows for quick repositioning into battery and faster follow-up shots.

Derek Rodgers .416 Barrett ELR KO2M king of 2 miles Beast 2 McMillan stock Nightforce ATACR scope extreme long range New Mexico

.416 Barrett
Image courtesy ELR competitor Corbin Shell.

Rifle Details — BAT EX Action, Bartlein 40″ Barrel, McMillan Beast 2 Stock
Derek’s .416 Barrett ELR Rig features a BAT EX action with a Bix’N Andy trigger. Out front is a gigantic 40″ long, 1:9″-twist Bartlein barrel fitted with a Terminator T5 muzzle brake. The handsome McMillan Beast 2 stock combines a lower center of gravity design with a higher butt location. Given that high butt geometry, McMillan cleverly fitted the higher buttpad with a port allowing the cleaning rod to pass through (see photo below). On top is a Nightforce ATACR 7-35x56mm scope in NF rings on a +60 MOA rail, with Holland 34mm bubble level. The stock is supported by a Phoenix bipod and rests in an Edgewood bag designed for the McMillan Xit F-TR stock.

Derek Rodgers .416 Barrett ELR KO2M king of 2 miles Beast 2 McMillan stock Nightforce ATACR scope extreme long range New Mexico

Note the extended Buttpad height. That helps with recoil in prone position. This McMillan Beast 2 stock includes a pass-through hole for the cleaning rod.

Derek Rodgers .416 Barrett ELR KO2M king of 2 miles Beast 2 McMillan stock Nightforce ATACR scope extreme long range New Mexico

Derek Rodgers Wins 2017 Ko2M with 3368-Yard Hit
Back in 2017, Derek Rodgers won the King of 2 Miles Competition at Raton, New Mexico. Derek, shooting with Team Applied Ballistics, was the first KO2M marksman in history to hit the target at the maximum 3368-yard (1.91 mile) distance. Here’s that historic shot:

At the 2017 K02M, with his McMillan-stocked .375 CheyTac rifle, Derek shot brilliantly from the start. He was perfect — without a miss — at the first three yardages: 1543, 1722, and 1888. He had some misses at 1953 and 2667 yards, but then he out-shot all competitors at 3028 yards, going two for five. No other shooter managed a single hit at 3028 yards. Then it all came down to the big one — the last (and greatest) challenge, the target at 3368 yards (1.91 miles). Derek nailed it… and the celebrations began.

Derek Rodgers .416 Barrett ELR KO2M king of 2 miles Beast 2 McMillan stock Nightforce ATACR scope extreme long range New Mexico
Here’s Derek with his 2017 Ko2M-winning .375 CheyTac rifle. Now he’s stepped up in bore size.

Derek Rodgers .416 Barrett ELR KO2M king of 2 miles Beast 2 McMillan stock Nightforce ATACR scope extreme long range New Mexico

Gunsmithing by Blake Barrel and Rifle in Arizona
Derek’s rifle was built and chambered by Bryan Blake of Blake Barrel and Rifle in Phoenix, Arizona. The chambering was done with a Manson Precision reamer. Derek explains: “Bryan and his family have been in the machine shop business for several generations and have the expertise and equipment to handle larger barrel diameters associated with F-Class to ELR-type rigs. I tried to consider all angles and potential pitfalls that might occur during the building process. However, Bryan added his own touches to make the project his own. He truly created a work of art and supplied a turn-key rifle that is meticulously built from the inside out and looks as great as the tolerances it holds.”

Derek Rodgers .416 Barrett ELR KO2M king of 2 miles Beast 2 McMillan stock Nightforce ATACR scope extreme long range New Mexico

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September 25th, 2022

Three Deer Hunting Mistakes to Avoid This Fall

Nikki Boxler winchester blog hunting huntress
Nikki Boxler photo courtesy Winchester Blog.

Deer hunting season is underway now across the country. If you plan a hunt in the days or weeks ahead, here are three important tips to follow if you want to successfully harvest a deer this fall. These tips come from an article by noted huntress Nikki Boxler for the Winchester Blog. CLICK HERE to read full article.

Mistake #1: Not Sighting-In Your Gun with the Ammunition You Plan to Hunt With

You want to make sure you test the actual ammo you will use in your deer rifle. Make sure you are sighted-in properly with THAT ammo. Nikki says: “I always make it a point to shoot a few days before the season opens with the exact ammo and equipment that I will use while in the woods. Nothing gives me more confidence then knowing those last shots are hitting their target[.]”

Nikki Boxler winchester blog hunting huntress

Mistake #2: Rushing the SHOT — Focusing on Taking the Shot, Rather Than on MAKING the Shot

Being in the right place at the right time is essential to getting a shot on a deer. If you can’t MAKE the shot, being in the right place at the right time doesn’t matter. I have been guilty of this. A buck walks in and the conditions are perfect. He’s not far, but instead of taking my time I rush the entire shot and the results are not as I desired.

Nikki Boxler winchester blog hunting huntress

Mistake #3: Sticking to the Same Tactics Day in and Day Out

Throughout the course of the season, deer switch up their tactics. So, why wouldn’t we? When I was younger all of my hunting setups always looked the same — I’d have a ladder stand on the edge of a field. This was my comfort zone. I always stuck to it until recent years. I’ve now made it a point to step out of my comfort zone and explore new areas. This has definitely paid off with the percentage of deer I harvest.

Nikki Boxler winchester blog hunting huntress

READ Full Article by Nikki Boxler on »

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September 24th, 2022

Today Is National Hunting and Fishing Day — September 24th

2021 National Hunting Fishing Day license where to hunt

Today, September 24, 2022, is National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHFD). We’re proud to recognize how important hunting is for millions of Americans — as a source of food for families and as an important connection with nature and the outdoors. The NFHD website has helpful resources for hunters, and in this article we provide links for Where to Hunt, How to get Hunting Licenses, and Hunter Education.

NHFD was first established by President Nixon in 1972. According to, NHFD’s “roots go back more than 100 years to President Theodore Roosevelt, who introduced the first laws regulating the hunting of wildlife in the United States.”

This month we hope some of our readers can take new shooters afield and introduce them to hunting. Many hunters receive their first introduction to hunting from family or friends as a tradition passed down from generation to generation. There are over 9.2 million hunters in the United States.

2021 National Hunting Fishing Day license where to hunt

hunter education national hunting fishing day

To have a successful hunt you must first get to areas where game thrives. Finding the right places to hunt is essential. The NSSF offers a nationwide Where-to-Hunt database of hunting areas. You can click on a particular state, then specify the specicies you wish to hunt. This is a very useful resource.

hunter education national hunting fishing day

In most states, when hunting game animals, you’ll need a hunting license and/or zone permit. The Federal Fish & Wildlife Service has state-by-state listing for hunting licenses on Click the box below to learn how to get hunting licenses in your region.

hunter education national hunting licenses fishing day

For all hunters, whether they have mentors to guide them or not, the most important first step into the woods begins with a state-certified hunter education course. Click the box below to see hunting education opportunities around the nation.

hunter education national hunting fishing day

Game Resources — To learn more about different game species, click these NSSF links:

Game Animals Resources | Game Birds Resources

2021 National Hunting Fishing Day license where to hunt

FREE Printable Deer Hunting Target

To help you prepare for a fall hunt, here is a free, printable Deer Practice target. Hone your skills on a trio of bucks with a red bullseye centered on the animals. You can print the targets in black and white, but they look best in color. Right-click the image below to download a FREE printable PDF file.

hunting NRA Blog Target deer buck turkey hog PDF printable target

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September 24th, 2022

Saturday at the Movies: Six Flicks for Hunters

national hunting fishing day NSSF hunter deer elk game
Deer hunting photo courtesy NSSF.
national hunting fishing day NSSF hunter deer elk game
Today, Saturday, September 24, 2022, is National Hunting and Fishing Day. Every year, this event is held the 4th Saturday of September. First recognized by President Nixon in 1972, this is now the 50th year the event has been celebrated across the USA. To help mark this day, we are offering six informative videos for hunters. These cover planning your hunt, selecting good optics, and optimizing your rifle. There are also hunting stories from Africa and Norway.

How to Sight-In Your Hunting Rifle

This video and related article offer good basic advice for sighting-in a hunting rifle. There are a series of six points covered. Here’s Tip #1: “Find a safe place to shoot your rifle with a backstop. If possible, use a bench and a rock-solid shooting rest. Sighting-in is all about consistency, so the less human error you have, the better. For safety, be sure to also bring ear and eye protection.” READ FULL ARTICLE on website NRA lady shooter hunting sighting in sight-in

Comparison of Seven Popular Deer Hunting Scopes

This is summary review of seven (7) popular hunting scopes, as available in 2020 (there may be newer variants). This video consist mostly of manufacturer-created marketing content with a few minutes of independent reviews. Consider this video a place to start when shopping for a new hunting optic. You’ll want to check independent reviews when you select a particular model. The seven riflescopes featured in the video are: Athlon Optics Argos BTR, Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x50mm, Leupold VX-R 4-12x40mm, NightForce SHV 5-20x56mm, Nikon Buckmasters II, Vortex Crossfire II, Vortex Viper HS SFP.

Prepare For Your Hunt — Get Fit and Practice Positions

As part of the NRA’s Tips & Tactics video series, Kristy Titus explains how to prepare for a hunt. Titus, co-host of the Team Elk TV show has hunted around the globe. She grew up in the outdoors, running pack mules in Oregon with her father. In this video, Kristy discusses fitness training and demonstrates field positions that can be employed during a hunt.

Kristy explains: “Hunting can lead you into some steep, rough country. It’s really important that you train both your body and your mind to handle the elements and the rigors of hunting So, if you plan on going on a mountain hunt, get out and train your body. Train with your firearm. Get off the bench and have some fun with this. Do some positional shooting or, if you want to add a stress dynamic… have someone put you under a time parameter.”

Kudu Hunting in Africa

Pieter “Piet” Malan is a South African precision rifle shooter and hunter who has created an impressive YouTube Channel with over 300 videos. While Pieter’s Impact Shooting Channel focuses primarily on tactical PRS/NRL type disciplines, his channel also includes dozens of videos of interest to hunters. Here is Pieter’s excellent video about Kudu hunting — Kudu Hunting Paradise Part 2. After watching this, with the exotic game and stunning terrain, you’ll probably want to book an African Safari.

Deer Hunting in Norway’s Fjord Mountains

Norway Fjord Hunting SkorpenHere’s a video with some truly stunning scenery. Watching this video is like taking a virtual vacation to Norway, where you can explore the scenic mountains in the Fjord region. Forum member Kenneth Skorpen (aka “Sal”) has created a cool video of a deer-hunting trip he took in Norway. He didn’t bag a buck on this trip, but the walk in the Fjordland mountains took Kenneth through some spectacular scenery. (At the 11:25 time mark you’ll see an amazing sunset over the Fjord.)

Kenneth did encounter a doe that had fallen down the mountain, and apparently broken its neck (14:35 time mark). The terrain is very steep, and Kenneth observed that: “I feel fortunate to be able to do this, but I also feel very tired in my legs. Did you know that the hares around here have shorter left legs due to the steep hills?”

Load Development for .308 Win Hunting Rifle

In this video, F-Class ace Keith Glasscock shows load development with a .308 Winchester hunting rifle. Here Keith uses a large X-type sandbag for a front support. He is shooting a Remington 700 bolt-action rifle, with Barnes TSX solid copper bullets, PPU Brass, Federal 210m primers, and AR Comp powder. Keith said the Barnes bullets were excellent — he commented that these bullets were “match quality in terms of precision”. Keith achieved some very small three-shot groups with AR Comp and the TSX projectiles. Keith did note that point-of-impact shifted up significantly with increases in charge weight (see 6:20-7:10). With thinner-contour hunting barrels, this is not unexpected. But POI change should be observed carefully during load development, as you may need to adjust your zero after completing testing.

Keith Glasscock .223 Rem load development

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September 23rd, 2022

Hunting Safety Checklist — Review This Before Your Fall Hunt

Hunting Safety Checklist family safe hunter
Elk Hunt with Horn Fork Guides, Ltd., in Colorado.

national hunting fishing day NSSF hunter deer elk gameTomorrow, September 24, 2022, is National Hunting & Fishing Day. The annual celebration takes place on the the 4th Saturday of September every year. National, regional, state and local organizations will run thousands of “open house” hunting- and fishing-related events around the country. Events will include Fishing Derbys, Hunting Expos, Wing-shooting tournaments, and much more.

Hunting Safety Checklist
A good hunt begins with preparation. And during the hunt, safety is a key priority. To help hunters, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has created a Safety Checklist for hunters. This Hunting Safety Checklist, produced as part of the NSSF’s “Hunt S.A.F.E.” campaign, helps hunters follow good, safe practices in the field and at home.

Download NSSF Hunting Safety Checklist »

Hunting Safety Checklist family safe hunter
hunting safety day checklist
Elk photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

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September 22nd, 2022

How American Hunters Promote Wildlife Conservation in USA

National hunting fishing day wildlife conservation habitat preservation tags licensing
This Saturday, September 24, 2022, is National Hunting and Fishing Day.

There are over 9.2 million hunters in the United States. The fees paid by hunters are essential to support conservation efforts and to protect/maintain habitats.

These infographics explain the vital role that American hunters play in protecting wild species in North America. Currently 60% of state Fish & Wildlife Agency funding comes from excise taxes and licensee fees paid by hunters and anglers. The system has provided billions of dollars for conservation over the past nine decades. Since the late 1930s, hunters, target shooters and the firearms industry have been the nation’s largest contributors to conservation, paying for programs that benefit America’s wildlife.

National hunting fishing day wildlife conservation habitat preservation tags licensing

CLICK to Load full-screen Infographic (Easier to Read)

National hunting fishing day wildlife conservation habitat preservation tags licensing

The Pittman-Robertson Act generates $700 million annually, which is distributed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to state fish and game agencies across America.

National hunting fishing day wildlife conservation habitat preservation tags licensing

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September 21st, 2022

2023 CMP and NRA National Matches Calendars

nra civilian marksmanship program cmp 2023 national matches high power smallbore match calendar schedule spreadsheet

Start the planning for next summer, folks — the CMP and the NRA have both released their preliminary National Matches Calendars for 2023. These calendars cover rimfire and centerfire rifle and pistol events at Camp Perry, Ohio (CMP) and at Camp Atterbury, Indiana (NRA). NOTE: These are first-generation calendars — they may later be revised or modified, but these can be used for initial planning.

Here are the current CMP and NRA 2023 calendars. Click each image to load a larger file that is easier to read. The CMP calendar will actually load as on online spreadsheet.

CMP 2023 National Matches Calendar

The 2023 CMP National Matches at Camp Perry commence Friday, July 7, 2023 with Smallbore check-in/practice. The schedule concludes Saturday, August 5 with the Palma Match and awards. Here is the full CMP schedule (click to zoom):

nra civilian marksmanship program cmp 2023 national matches high power smallbore match calendar schedule spreadsheet

NOTE: This CMP Calendar is hosted online in spreadsheet format. This allows you to increase display size, and also to search for specific words. CLICK HERE to view full spreadsheet calendar.

NRA 2023 National Matches Calendar

The 2023 NRA National Matches at Camp Atterbury commence Saturday, July 8, 2023 with OTC opening ceremony. The schedule concludes Sunday, August 6 with the final smallbore competitions. Here is the full NRA schedule (click to zoom):

For more information (and comments), visit the NRA Competitive Shooting Facebook page.

Here are some recent comments by Facebook readers:

“Looks like there is a very serious overlap between CMP and NRA next year. Hopefully both calenders are only drafts and will change several times like they have in the past.” — Joe Bakies

“I was hoping to shoot Long Range next year, but it conflicts with the Civilian Marksmanship Program National Matches.” — Joseph Hayes

“Lines up perfect for us smallbore competitors.” — Shane Barnhart

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September 20th, 2022

Precision Practical AirGun Challenge on Shooting USA This Week

Shooting USA TV Rocky Mountain Air-gun Challenge Provo Utah

Shooting USA TV has a very good show this week. Shooting USA’s Wednesday Night episode features an interesting tactical-style airgun competition, and then there’s a sequence from Julie Golob on how to use video recordings to improve your pistol handling and marksmanship. For fans of military firearms, this week’s episode also features a notable WWII German rifle — the Gewehr 43.

Shooting USA SHOW TIMES: This Shooting USA Episode airs Wednesday, September 21, 2022 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.

The Rocky Mountain Airgun Challenge

Shooting USA TV Rocky Mountain Air-gun Challenge Provo Utah

The 2022 Rocky Mountain Airgun Challenge in Provo, Utah attracted top shooters with over $100,000 worth of prizes. The stages look like what you’d see at PRS/NRL events, but the targets are smaller, the range is shorter, and the power behind each shot is air. Practical Air-Gun competition has a well-established community that spans the globe, and recently competitors from other shooting disciplines, the powder burners, beginning to take notice. Air-Gun practical competition is fun and inexpensive — you are paying pennies a round vs. a $1.25 or more for premium centerfire ammo. The Rocky Mountain Airgun Challenge is leading the way in this interesting air-powered shooting discipline. This multi-day event featured a variety of events on multiple stages.

Germany’s Answer to the M1 Garand — the Gewehr 43

Shooting USA TV Rocky Mountain Air-gun Challenge Provo Utah

The Gewehr is now one of History’s Guns on Shooting USA. When the legendary M1 Garand served as the US standard issue rifle in WWII the impact on the battlefield was undeniable. And the effectiveness of the Garand was not lost on the German military, armed with bolt-action Mausers that dated back to the first world war. For Nazi Germany the pressure was on to develop a semi-automatic battle rifle that could match the repeating firepower of the M1. The result was the Gewehr 43 was created to serve the German armed forces.

Using Video to Improve Your Shooting — S&W Pro Tip

Shooting USA TV Rocky Mountain Air-gun Challenge Provo Utah

The talented Julie Golob has another Smith & Wesson Pro Tip on using video to improve your shooting. Julie states: “Did you know that one of the best tools for self-diagnosing technique is your smart phone? You can set up your smartphone to record your shooting and coach yourself through valuable skills. In this Pro Tip I am going to walk you through three different ways to use your [smartphone’s video camera] to become a better shot. READ FULL STORY with More TIPs and 14 Photos.

Shooting USA TV Rocky Mountain Air-gun Challenge Provo Utah

When setting up the shot for the draw you can use either landscape or portrait, that doesn’t matter. A small tripod is useful, or you can use a larger one.

One last tip when we’re using video is to use the pause function and drag the frames along so that you can stop frame-for-frame so you can see exactly your positioning when you draw, reload, or shoot positions and your footwork. Until the next one be safe and have fun.

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September 20th, 2022

Varminters’ Debate — Cranking Elevation or Holding Over/Under

IOR Scope elevation knob one revolution

Leuopold Varmint Hunters' ReticleA varmint shooter’s target is not conveniently placed at a fixed, known distance as it is for a benchrester. The varminter must repeatedly make corrections for bullet drop as he moves from closer targets to more distant targets and back again. Click HERE to read an interesting Varmint Forum discussion regarding the best method to adjust for elevation. Some shooters advocate using the scope’s elevation adjustments. Other varminters prefer to hold-over, perhaps with the assistance of vertical markers on their reticles. Still others combine both methods–holding off to a given yardage, then cranking elevation after that.

Majority View — Click Your Scope
“I zero at 100 yards — I mean really zero as in check the ballistics at 200 and 300 and adjust zero accordingly — and then set the scope zero. For each of my groundhog guns I have a click chart taped into the inside of the lid of the ammo box. Then use the knobs. That’s why they’re there. With a good scope they’re a whole lot more accurate than hold-over, with or without hash marks. This all assumes you have a good range finder and use it properly. If not, and you’re holding over you’re really just spraying and praying. Try twisting them knobs and you’ll most likely find that a 500- or 600- or 700-yard groundhog is a whole lot easier than some people think.” — Gunamonth

Varmint hunter 22 BR elevation scope hold-over

“I have my elevation knob calibrated in 100-yard increments out to 550. Range-find the critter, move elevation knob up…dead critter. The problem with hold-over is that it is so imprecise. It’s not repeatable because you are holding over for elevation and for wind also. Every time you change targets 50 yards, it seems as if you are starting over. As soon as I got completely away from the hold over method (I used to zero for 200), my hit ratios went way up.” — K. Candler

“When I first started p-dog shooting, I attempted to use the hold-over method with a 200-yard zero with my 6mm Rem. Any dog much past 325-350 yards was fairly safe. I started using a comeups table for all three of my p-dog rifles (.223 Rems and 6mm Rem). 450-yard hits with the .223s are fairly routine and a 650-yard dog better beware of the 6mm nowadays. An added benefit (one I didn’t think of beforehand) with the comeups table (elevation only), is that when the wind is blowing, it takes half of the variables out of the equation. I can concentrate on wind, and not have to worry about elevation. It makes things much more simple.” — Mike (Linefinder).

“I dial for elevation and hold for wind. Also use a mil-dot reticle to make the windage holds easier. For windage corrections, I watch for the bullet strike measure the distance it was “off” with the mil-dot reticle, then hold that much more the other way. Very fast once you get used to it.” — PepeLP

Varmint Hunting ScopeMinority View — Hold-Over is Better
“I try to not touch my knobs once I’m zeroed at 200 meters. Most of my varmint scopes have duplex reticles and I use the bottom post to put me on at 300 meters versus turning knobs. The reason I try to leave my knobs alone is that I have gone one complete revolution up or down [too far] many times and have missed the varmint. This has happened more than once and that is why I try not to change my knobs if at all possible.” — Chino69

“I have been using the hold over method and it works for me most of the time but the 450 yards and over shots get kinda hard. I moved to a 300 yard zero this year and it’s working well. I do want to get into the click-up method though; it seems to be more fool-proof.” — 500YardHog

Compromise View — Use Both Methods
“I use both [methods] as well — hold over out to 250, and click up past that.” — Jack (Wolf)

“I use the target knobs and crank-in elevation. I also use a rangefinder and know how far away they are before I crank in the clicks. I have a scope with drop dots from Premier Recticle and like it. No cranking [knobs] out to 600.” –Vmthtr

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Optics, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
September 19th, 2022

Online Resources for Novice Shooters from Winchester

Winchester new shooters training website videos

To help serve America’s many millions of new gun owners, Winchester has created a good online information site for first-time ammunition and firearms buyers as well as those just getting started in the shooting sports. Winchester’s New Shooters Site has many helpful articles plus a series of videos.

Winchester new shooters training website videos

Winchester Videos (click links to watch)

Getting Started as a Gun Owner
Four Main Gun Safety Rules
What to Look for in a Gun Range
Your First Time at a Gun Range
Safe Gun Training at Home — Dry Firing
How to Safely Store Guns at Home
How to Safely Store Ammo at Home
Best Guns for Beginners

Access Content on Social Media Platforms Also

Winchester’s information for new shooters will be featured on as well as on Winchester’s Facebook Page, Instagram Site, and YouTube Channel.

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September 18th, 2022

Sunday GunDay: Clay Rhoden Wins King of 1 Mile Match in Texas

Clay Rhoden Longshot cameras King of 1 one mile ELR texas long range match 33XC Berger bullets Peterson Brass Vihtavuori powder

A novice long-range competitor is now the first-ever USA King of 1 Mile. Clay Rhoden, the talented head honcho of Longshot (target cameras), won the match with a superb performance. Clay hit every single shot, without a miss, for the first five targets, all the way out to 1699 yards. There were two additional targets beyond one mile — Target 6 at 1909 yards and Target 7 at 2391 yards. Clay went 4 for 10 at these longer distances, but his perfect shooting out to 1699 yards still gave him a comfortable margin of victory.

Clay Rhoden Longshot cameras King of 1 one mile ELR texas long range match 33XC Berger bullets Peterson Brass Vihtavuori powder
Amazing FACT: Clay Won the 2022 USA Ko1M in only his sixth shooting match ever!

In winning the 2022 Ko1M match, Clay beat some living legends, including David Tubb, a 6-time NRA Nat’l Long Range Champion and 2019 NRA ELR HG Champ. Clay’s remarkable victory is doubly impressive if you consider that Clay had previously shot only five other rifle matches (at any distance) in his whole life. This was truly a stellar win for a new shooter. Huge congrats to Clay and his Global Precision Group (GPG) team. Clay’s GPG teammate Ray Gross took second overall.

Clay Rhoden Longshot cameras King of 1 one mile ELR texas long range match 33XC Berger bullets Peterson Brass Vihtavuori powder

Clay earned his one-mile Ko1M title shooting a very accurate 33XC rifle with BAT action, Bartlein barrel, Manners ELR Light stock, Bix’N Andy trigger, and a Nightforce ATACR 7-35x56mm scope. The ammo, which was developed and loaded by Paul Phillips, featured Berger 300gr Hybrid OTM bullets in Peterson brass pushed by Vihtavuori N565 powder and Federal 215 primers.

Clay Rhoden Longshot cameras King of 1 one mile ELR texas long range match 33XC Berger bullets Peterson Brass Vihtavuori powder

2022 King of 1 Mile USA Championship — The Winning Formula

Report by Clay Rhoden, Longshot Target Cameras
The 2022 (first ever) USA King of 1 Mile event is a match I will not soon forget! Before going any further, I want to thank Jay Monych and Alex Cordesman for putting this match together and for opening each day with prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

This was only my sixth match ever to shoot and boy was it a blast! I had no expectations going into the match and my focus was on trying to stay calm and collected. I didn’t shoot until the second day, but my teammate, Ray Gross, shot on the first day. I thought we did OK during his qualification run, but I felt that I let him down as a spotter by under-doping the wind calls on the first two targets. Regardless, it was enough to get him into the finals and gave him another shot at the win.

Clay Rhoden Longshot cameras King of 1 one mile ELR texas long range match 33XC Berger bullets Peterson Brass Vihtavuori powder

When it was my turn to shoot, I did my best to keep my heart rate down and keep from getting excited. I also prayed throughout the day and prior to shooting, asking the Lord to help me win if it was His will, and to help me gracefully accept the loss if it wasn’t. Additionally, I asked that If I won, He use the win to His glory, and He has and is! My wife and I are going through the beginning stages of the domestic adoption process and the first bit of real money will be due soon and what do you know, it just so happens to be $4,000, the exact amount of money that I won in the match!

Clay Rhoden Longshot cameras King of 1 one mile ELR texas long range match 33XC Berger bullets Peterson Brass Vihtavuori powder
The top 19 shooters advanced to the Ko1M FINAL (Targets 5,6,7). In 20th, Paul Phillips just missed out.

My prayers were answered, and I was the only shooter to pull off a flawless run during the qualifier, going 3 for 3 on Targets 1-4. That secured us the top spot going into the finals and after randomizing the list, I remained at the top as 1st shooter in the finals and Ray as the 3rd. Conditions during the finals were worse as it was later in the day and the mirage had really come out to play. I was able to continue my flawless run onto T5 going 5 for 5, then I got 1st, 3rd, and 5th round impacts on T6, and a 4th round on T7. Thankfully, that was enough to secure the win.

Clay Rhoden Longshot cameras King of 1 one mile ELR texas long range match 33XC Berger bullets Peterson Brass Vihtavuori powder

Rifle, Scope, and Ammo
I was shooting a brand new 33XC rifle that had about 30 rounds through the barrel from practicing before the match. The gun has a BAT Machine left-hand feed, right-hand eject action, Bartlein barrel, sitting in a Manners F-Class stock with a modified custom TCS weight-tuning butt system. On top was a Nightforce ATACR 7-35x56mm FFP MOAR scope with NF high rings. The BAT action was bedded by Alex Sitman with machine work by GA Precision. The stock allowed me to add a good bit of weight to the back of the gun. That combined with a Tubb 5-star muzzle brake created a smooth and predictable recoil that allowed me to stay on target and help spot my impacts.

Clay Rhoden Longshot cameras King of 1 one mile ELR texas long range match 33XC Berger bullets Peterson Brass Vihtavuori powder
Team GPG Captain Paul Phillips loaded all the Ammo for Clay Rhoden and other Team GPG members.

Equally important if not more important than the rifle is the ammunition, and I have to give credit where credit is due. Paul Phillips loaded all the ammunition for the whole team and it shot lights out. We used Peterson Brass, Federal 215M primers, Vihtavuori N565 powder, and Berger 300gr Hybrid OTM bullets. During the match we observed that the guns and ammo performed so consistently shot after shot, that if we got an impact, we just need to run the same hold because the gun is going to put the next round in the exact same spot as the last one.

I was asked “What did your wife and kids say when you put on your crown?” The first thing my wife said when I put it on was, “You look like a whitewalker from Game of Thrones.” I’m not sure what to think of that but she did have a point. My kids thought it was cool and I tried tell them that I was a King now and that they were going to have to listen better, but they saw straight through that.

Preparation for the King of 1 Mile Match
I received my rifle a few weeks before the match and shot it for the first time only a couple of days before the match during a team practice at the Kaian Vista Ranch, a central Texas ranch owned by GPG teammate James Devoglaer. Upon arriving at his ranch, we zeroed the guns, confirmed velocities, and checked to make sure that everything was level. After that, we practiced team communication and spotting on the KVR’s long-range hunter course with 6.5 Creedmoors and then did a couple simulated matches with our competition rifles on the KVR’s ELR course. This allowed us to practice communication between shooter and spotter, as well as verify the predictions from our Kestrels. This practice significantly boosted my confidence going into the match!

Wind Calls and Spotting
In ELR, this is where the team really comes into play, and thankfully, Team GPG just happens to have some of the best wind callers in the world. I shot on the second day of the match and while I was doing my best to stay calm before shooting, my teammates were discussing the wind and the anomalies they had experienced when they shot and factoring all of that into our starting wind calls. Once our time began, it was up to Ray and I to get it right and Ray was on top of it! We were able to make first-round impacts on Targets 1 (1263 yards) through Target 6 (1909 yards). On T7 (2391 yards) our assumption about what the wind was wrong and cost us a couple impacts but thankfully, we were able to parlay those learnings and capitalize on them when it was Ray’s turn to shoot. Ray and I were shooters 3rd and 1st respectively in the finals, which was good from the perspective of applying what we had just learned from when I shot, but bad for me because I was the wind guinea pig for everyone in the finals.

Becoming Part of Team GPG
I lucked into being part of Team GPG last year when I went to help Paul run our Longshot cameras during a team practice. After the practice Paul asked if I wanted to shoot his .416 Barrett and of course I couldn’t say no to that, so I got behind the gun and shot a 4″ group at 2000 yards. A few weeks later, Paul asked if I wanted to join the team and the rest is history. I was just fortunate enough, as a completely inexperienced shooter, to get on a team with some of the best shooters in the world!

Clay Rhoden Longshot cameras King of 1 one mile ELR texas long range match 33XC Berger bullets Peterson Brass Vihtavuori powder

Clay Rhoden Longshot cameras King of 1 one mile ELR texas long range match 33XC Berger bullets Peterson Brass Vihtavuori powderBeing part of a team and trusting your teammates is such a critical part of ELR and I couldn’t ask for a better team. Each one of us comes from a different background and has different specialties, and we do an excellent job of leveraging all of that to perform at the highest level. Paul and Ray have years of experience shooting competitively. James has years of experience with competitive shooting, hunting, and training, while I have experience with cameras and technology that helps to verify our impacts. Additionally, we are all shooting clone rifles and can instantly leverage what we learn during the match from one shooter to the rest of the team. Paul Phillips even also helped design the new Manners ELR Light stock we used.

Big Prize Table and Major Cash Awards
The sponsors really stepped up for this match and donated $65,000 – $70,000 worth of prizes plus $5,500 in cash! It was an awesome experience being called up first, getting a trophy, belt buckle, and giant check for first place. I also got to walk the prize table first and got an amazing custom lightweight hunting rifle in .30 Nosler from Alamo Precision Rifles (see photo). At this point, I think it’s definitely fair to say that I’m hooked!

Now it’s time to prepare for our next match, the King of 2 Miles. Hopefully, Lord willing, Team GPG will be able to pull off more podium finishes at the end of September.

Conclusion: Philippians 4:13 states “I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.” There is no way I could have done this without my faith in God and without my team! I am so blessed and grateful to be able to say that I won the King of 1 Mile!

Clay Rhoden Longshot cameras King of 1 one mile ELR texas long range match 33XC Berger bullets Peterson Brass Vihtavuori powder

Longshot Products — How They Are Employed for ELR

There is no way that I would have been in this sport or even aware of the sport if it weren’t for the products we make at Longshot. Originally, rather than buying a spotting scope or binoculars, I developed our long-range camera system to solve the problem of seeing my shots at 100 yards to help zero my first rifle. Shortly thereafter, I was introduced to the idea of 1000-yard shooting. Then, not too long after, I was introduced to Extreme Long Range (ELR) shooting.

For all these disciplines, our Longshot target cameras solve the problem of being able to see and confirm impacts, no matter the condition. And the “reach” of the system is great. The current Longshot LR-3 UHD camera has a guaranteed 2-mile range with open terrain.

As a relatively new shooter and novice long-range and extreme long-range shooter, Longshot cameras have played a critical role in my development as a shooter. With our cameras, I’m able to instantly and precisely associate environmental conditions or a breakdown in fundamentals to a specific result on the target. I truly believe that this along with the people that I have met while running this business have helped me to achieve so much so quickly.

Clay Rhoden Longshot cameras King of 1 one mile ELR texas long range match 33XC Berger bullets Peterson Brass Vihtavuori powder

Longshot Hawk Spotting Scope Cameras Used During Ko1M Match
While our long range UHD targets cameras can only be used for scoring during a match, Team GPG uses Longshot’s Hawk Spotting Scope Camera to take pictures of the targets prior to the match and create plot books for each shooter. We then use these to take notes and call corrections during the match. This process helped me get a fourth round impact on T7 during the match. We were able to see a super small poof of dust, plot it on our sheet and call a precise correction to bring us on target.

Click Arrow to Watch Hawk Spotting Scope Camera Video
Clay Rhoden Longshot cameras King of 1 one mile ELR texas long range match 33XC Berger bullets Peterson Brass Vihtavuori powder

Background Report from Paul Phillips, Team GPG Captain

Team GPG approached the 2022 inaugural USA King of 1 Mile event the same as we approached the 2019 King of 2 Miles where we finished 1st, 3rd, and 4th out of 80 shooters. This year, at the Ko1M in Texas, we had the same amazing results with first-place and second-place finishes out of 94 Ko1M competitors.

Clay Rhoden Longshot cameras King of 1 one mile ELR texas long range match 33XC Berger bullets Peterson Brass Vihtavuori powder

Our team GPG approach begins with making sure our rifles and ammunition are producing half-MOA or better accuracy along with single-digit SDs. We then make sure we have very accurate 100-yard zeros and our optics are plumb and level.

We then utilize a custom PDM (Personalized Drag Model) from Applied Ballistics and verify all of our ballistics with multiple Kestrels and Applied Ballistics analytics.

Once this all matches up, then we simply input all of the distances and environmentals and we are ready for competition. For wind calling we use the Kestrel for wind speed and direction and use analytics to get the values. Just before we shoot we register any last second pick-ups or let-offs to start shooting.

For team communications and team work we spent the day at the KVR ranch located in Lometa, TX owned by Team GPG member James Deboglaer. James put us through his hunter course and we used this as a way to communicate and make sure we were on the same page.

With good elevations and wind along with great team work and communications we were able to produce our first- and second-place results.

Paul Phillips Crafted All the Ammunition and Did Load Development
Paul told us: “I’m doing all of the load development, loading ammo, ballistics and initial wind estimations for my shooters. I also did all the ballistics solutions using AB Analytics.”

Clay Rhoden Longshot cameras King of 1 one mile ELR texas long range match 33XC Berger bullets Peterson Brass Vihtavuori powder

Rifle Specifications and Components
All the team’s guns and ammo were GPG spec 33XC builds, with ammunition loaded by Paul Phillips. Clay’s 33XC round has the 300gr Bergers running 3250 FPS MV. GPG team rifles feature these components:

BAT actions
Bartlein barrels
Bix’N Andy triggers
Manners ELR Light stock
Nightforce ATACR scopes
Accutac bipod

GA Precision Gunsmithing
Paul Phillips Load Dev
Alex Sitman bedding
Manson Reamers
Hollands level
Tubb brakes

Berger 300gr Hybrid OTM .338 Cal bullet
Peterson cartridge brass
Vihtavouri N565 powder
Fed 215 primer

Clay Rhoden Longshot cameras King of 1 one mile ELR texas long range match 33XC Berger bullets Peterson Brass Vihtavuori powder

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September 15th, 2022

Weakside Bolt Placement — When and Why It Works

left port McMillan Rifle

Most bolt-action rifle shooters work the bolt with their trigger-pulling hand. This is because most rifles sold to right-handed shooters come with right-side bolts, while “lefty” rifles come with left-side bolts. This “standard” configuration requires the shooter to take his dominant, trigger-pulling hand off the stock to cycle the bolt, then re-position his hand on the stock, and “re-claim” the trigger. Often the shooter must lift or move his head to work the bolt, and that also requires him to re-establish his cheek weld after each and every shot. Not good.

This really doesn’t make much sense for precision shooting with fore-end support*. There is a better way. If you leave your trigger hand in position and work the bolt (and feed rounds) with the opposite hand, then you don’t need to shift grip and head position with each shot. All this requires is a weakside-placed bolt, i.e. a left bolt for a right-handed shooter or a right bolt for a left-handed shooter. The video below shows a “Lefty” working a right bolt. Note how efficient this is:

As our friend Boyd Allen explains: “If you think about it, if you are going to work with a factory action where your options are left bolt and left port or right bolt and right port, and you are building a rifle that will only be shot from a rest, using the left/left for a RH shooter or using a right/right for a LH shooter works better than the conventional configuration”.

Shoot Like a Champ and Work the Bolt with Your Weakside Hand
Derek Rodgers, the reigning F-TR World Champion and the only person to have won BOTH F-Open and F-TR U.S. National Championships plus the King of 2 Miles Match, runs this kind of “opposite” bolt set-up. Yep, Derek shoots right-handed with a left bolt. Though Derek is a right-hander, he shoots with a Left Bolt/Left Port (LBLP) action. He pulls the trigger with his right index finger, while working the left-side bolt with his left (weakside) hand. This allows him to stay in position, and maintain his cheekweld. He places his right hand on the grip, while manipulating the bolt (and feeding rounds) with his non-trigger-pulling hand.

Recent F-TR World Champion and King of 2 Miles Derek Rodgers
left port McMillan Rifle Derek Rodgers

This is the rifle with which Derek won the 2013 F-TR National Championship.
left port McMillan Rifle Derek Rodgers

*For true standing, off-hand shooting (whether in competition or on a hunt), a conventional strongside bolt placement makes sense, since the non-dominant arm must support the front of the rifle all the time. When shooting from bipod or rest, it’s a different story.

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Shooting Skills 3 Comments »
September 15th, 2022

Free NRA Printable Hunting Targets

hunting NRA Blog Target deer buck turkey hog PDF printable target

Hunting season has started in many parts of the country… or will very soon. Before you head out to the hunting fields, you may want to practice your shooting on specialty paper targets designed expressly for hunters. Here is a selection of game targets which can help you achieve success this hunting season.

hunting winchester
Fall Winchester Hunting photo with Nikki Boxler from Winchester Blog.

FREE Printable Game Targets from the NRA

To help you prepare for your fall hunts, has created a set of color practice hunting targets. You can hone your skills on a trio of bucks, three wild hogs, or three turkeys. Each target features three red bullseyes, centered on the animals. You can print the targets in black and white, but they look best in color. Click on each image below to download a FREE printable PDF file.

Right-Click Each Image to Download Printable PDF File:

hunting NRA Blog Target deer buck turkey hog PDF printable target

hunting NRA Blog Target deer buck turkey hog PDF printable target

hunting NRA Blog Target deer buck turkey hog PDF printable target

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Shooting Skills No Comments »
September 14th, 2022

Lapua Monarch Cup Phase Two Runs This Weekend in Mexico

Lapua Monarch Cup silhouette Mexico september 2022

Lapua Monarch Cup silhouette Mexico september 2022The second leg of the 2022 Lapua Monarch Cup kicks off this weekend, September 17-18 in Saltillo, CH, Mexico. Held at the Club De Tiro Saltillo Safari, this will be the second opportunity for silhouette competitors to accrue points in hopes of winning the coveted Lapua Monarch Cup Championship title.

In its inaugural year, the Lapua Monarch Cup is a series of smallbore silhouette shooting matches hosted in both the United States and Mexico. Competitors will earn points from each match within their respective classification (Master, AAA, AA, & A), giving all shooters an opportunity for over $100,000 in cash and prizes. Lapua’s Monarch Cup is recognized as the must-attend event of the silhouette shooting world.

Lapua Monarch Cup Mexico 2022

“It is with much excitement and joy that the Lapua Monarch board members complete the second phase of the Monarch cup,” commented Daniel Salazar, Chairman of the Board. “The Saltillo Safari Club is putting extraordinary efforts into making this the event to remember. We can’t wait to celebrate the success of the Lapua Monarch Cup and see who the best Silhouette shooter is in the Hemisphere!”

About Smallbore Silhouette Competition
Smallbore silhouette shooting is a fun and challenging shooting discipline that has competitors taking aim at a variety of steel chickens, pigs, turkeys and rams. Shooters, both standing and unsupported, take aim at four banks of silhouettes at increasing distances shooting 40 targets in all. For every silhouette knocked down, the competitors earn one point. Smallbore shooters are shooting at distances of 40, 60, 77, and 100 meters. The Mexico competition will have competitors shooting 80 rounds on Saturday, followed by 40 rounds on Sunday, all within the Standard Rifle division.

Lapua monarch cup silhouette

For more information on the Lapua Monarch Cup visit The Lapua Monarch Cup board would like to thank all the sponsors who make the Cup the premiere Silhouette series.

Capstone Precision Group
Creedmoor Sports
Decot Hy Wyd Sport
Krieger Barrels
Redding Reloading
SK Ammunition
SKB Cases
Swarovski Optik
Tally Rings
Tumbleweeds Custom Rifles
Permalink Competition, News, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
September 14th, 2022

Lasers for Handguns — Improve Your Skills with Training Videos

Training with laser sights crimson trace

Are laser sights really useful on a handgun? Yes, and not just in low-light situations. That said, many folks who own laser-equipped handguns do not train effectively with the laser. For many gun-owners, the laser is just a toy, a gimmick that is used a few times and then ignored. Those gun-owners miss out on some of the most important advantages of a laser sights, benefits you can get from formal training with your laser-equipped pistol.

Crimson Trace has produced a series of TRAINING Videos that may change your mind about lasers. If you shoot a handgun you should watch these videos. They show how laser sights can help diagnose and correct common handgun-shooting errors (such as flinching and anticipating the shot). The videos also show how to improve sight alignment and get your sights on target quickly.

Training with Laser Sights, Full 12-minute Video
Covers Muzzle Awareness, Sight Alignment, Target Acquisition, Trigger Control

This video shows how training with laser sights can: 1) improve muzzle direction awareness; 2) aid with sight alignment; 3) speed up target acquisition; and 4) improve trigger control. The video also demonstrates the obvious advantage of laser sights in low light conditions. Numerous firearms experts are featured in this video filmed at Arizona’s Gunsight Academy.

Training With Lasers — Trigger Control
Training with laser sights helps diagnose and improve trigger control errors by showcasing the importance of “surprise break” and follow-through. Lasers quickly diagnose errors such as recoil anticipation, jerking the trigger, and breaking the wrist.

Training with Lasers — Sight Alignment
Training with laser sights can improve/correct alignment. The laser provides a visual indicator of proper sight alignment, allowing shooters to quickly see any errors before taking a shot. Additionally, lasers can enhance sight alignment on popular sub-compact carry guns with small, low-profile sights.

Muzzle Awareness — All-Important for Safe Shooting
Training with laser sights improves a shooter’s muzzle awareness. A daylight-visible laser shows the gun operator where his or her muzzle is pointing at all times. This helps teach proper safety practices.

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