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May 29th, 2021

Six Tips for Success at Local Fun Matches

Varmint silhouette fun match

Summer’s almost here! Every summer weekend, there are hundreds of local club “fun matches” conducted around the country. One of the good things about club shoots is that you don’t have to spend a fortune on equipment to have fun. But we’ve seen that many club shooters handicap themselves with a few common equipment oversights or lack of attention to detail while reloading. Here are SIX TIPS that can help you avoid these common mistakes, and build more accurate ammo for your club matches.

Benchrest rear bag1. Align Front Rest and Rear Bag
We see many shooters whose rear bag is angled left or right relative to the bore axis. This can happen when you rush your set-up. But even if you set the gun up carefully, the rear bag can twist due to recoil or the way your arm contacts the bag. After every shot, make sure your rear bag is aligned properly (this is especially important for bag squeezers who may actually pull the bag out of alignment as they squeeze).

Forum member ArtB adds: “To align my front rest and rear bag with the target, I use an old golf club shaft. I run it from my front rest stop through a line that crosses over my speed screw and into the slot between the two ears. I stand behind that set-up and make sure I see a straight line pointing at the target. I also have a piece of tape that I’ve placed on the golf shaft that indicates how far the back end of the rear bag should be placed from the front rest stop.”

2. Avoid Contact Interference
We see three common kinds of contact or mechanical interference that can really hurt accuracy. First, if your stock has front and/or rear sling swivels make sure these do NOT contact the front or rear bags at any point of the gun’s travel. When a sling swivel digs into the front bag that can cause a shot to pop high or low. To avoid this, reposition the rifle so the swivels don’t contact the bags or simply remove the swivels before your match. Second, watch out for the rear of the stock grip area. Make sure this is not resting on the bag as you fire and that it can’t come back to contact the bag during recoil. That lip or edge at the bottom of the grip can cause problems when it contacts the rear bag. Third, watch out for the stud or arm on the front rest that limits forward stock travel. With some rests this is high enough that it can actually contact the barrel. We encountered one shooter recently who was complaining about “vertical flyers” during his match. It turns out his barrel was actually hitting the front stop! With most front rests you can either lower the stop or twist the arm to the left or right so it won’t contact the barrel.

varmint fun match groundhog

3. Weigh Your Charges — Every One
This may sound obvious, but many folks still rely on a powder measure. Yes we know that most short-range BR shooters throw their charges without weighing, but if you’re going to pre-load for a club match there is no reason NOT to weigh your charges. You may be surprised at how inconsistent your powder measure actually is. One of our testers was recently throwing H4198 charges from a mechanical measure for his 30BR. Each charge was then weighed twice with a Denver Instrument lab scale. Our tester found that thrown charges varied by up to 0.7 grains! And that’s with a premium measure.

4. Measure Your Loaded Ammo — After Bullet Seating
Even if you’ve checked your brass and bullets prior to assembling your ammo, we recommend that you weigh your loaded rounds and measure them from base of case to bullet ogive using a comparator. If you find a round that is “way off” in weight or more than .005″ off your intended base to ogive length, set it aside and use that round for a fouler. (Note: if the weight is off by more than 6 or 7 grains you may want to disassemble the round and check your powder charge.) With premium, pre-sorted bullets, we’ve found that we can keep 95% of loaded rounds within a range of .002″, measuring from base (of case) to ogive. Now, with some lots of bullets, you just can’t keep things within .002″, but you should still measure each loaded match round to ensure you don’t have some cases that are way too short or way too long.

Scope Ring5. Check Your Fasteners
Before a match you need to double-check your scope rings or iron sight mounts to ensure everything is tight. Likewise, you should check the tension on the screws/bolts that hold the action in place. Even with a low-recoiling rimfire rifle, action screws or scope rings can come loose during normal shooting.

6. Make a Checklist and Pack the Night Before
Ever drive 50 miles to a match then discover you have the wrong ammo or that you forgot your bolt? Well, mistakes like that happen to the best of us. You can avoid these oversights (and reduce stress at matches) by making a checklist of all the stuff you need. Organize your firearms, range kit, ammo box, and shooting accessories the night before the match. And, like a good Boy Scout, “be prepared”. Bring a jacket and hat if it might be cold. If you have windflags, bring them (even if you’re not sure the rules allow them). Bring spare batteries, and it’s wise to bring a spare rifle and ammo for it. If you have just one gun, a simple mechanical breakdown (such as a broken firing pin) can ruin your whole weekend.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Shooting Skills, Tech Tip No Comments »
October 5th, 2013

Tech Tip: How to Mount a Scope for a Tactical or Hunting Rifle

scope alignment tactical rifle scope levelIn this NSSF video, Ryan Cleckner shows how to set up a scope on a tactical or hunting rifle. Ryan, a former U.S. Army Sniper Instructor, notes that many shooters spend a small fortune on equipment, but fail to set up their rifle to use the optics optimally. Cleckner likens this to someone who owns an expensive sports car, but never adjusts the seat or the mirrors.

Ryan notes that you want your head and neck to be able to rest naturally on the stock, without straining. You head should rest comfortably on the stock. If you have to consciously lift your head off the stock to see through the scope, then your set-up isn’t correct. Likewise, You shouldn’t have to push your head forward or pull it back to see a clear image through the scope. If you need to strain forward or pull back to get correct eye relief, then the scope’s fore/aft position in the rings needs to be altered. Watch the full video for more tips.

Tips on Mounting Your Scope and Adjusting Your Comb Height:
1. Normally, you want your scope mounted as low as possible, while allowing sufficient clearance for the front objective. (NOTE: Benchrest shooters may prefer a high mount for a variety of reasons.)

2. Once the scope height is set, you need to get your head to the correct level. This may require adding an accessory cheekpad, or raising the comb height if your rifle has an adjustable cheekpiece.

3. Start with the rifle in the position you use most often (standing, kneeling, or prone). If you shoot mostly prone, you need to get down on the ground. Close your eyes, and let you head rest naturally on the stock. Then open your eyes, and see if you are too low or too high. You may need to use a cheekpad to get your head higher on the stock.

4. If your scope has a flat on the bottom of the turret housing, this will help you level your scope. Just find a flat piece of metal that slides easily between the bottom of the scope and the rail. Slide that metal piece under the scope and then tilt it up so the flat on the bottom of the scope aligns parallel with the flats on the rail. Watch the video at 8:40 to see how this is done.

scope alignment tactical rifle scope level

Video find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Optics 2 Comments »
October 6th, 2012

Scope-Ring Alignment Tool for Hunting Rifles

Jerry Schmidt, an avid shooter and hunter from Montana, has created a tool designed to help install single-dovetail or double-dovetail rings on hunting rifles. Jerry’s invention, the Scope-Tru Alignment Bar (patent pending), is unique. Unlike most other alignment systems, this is a single, long precision machined rod with a pointed forward end. You work on one ring at a time, first setting the front ring in the dovetail and then setting the rear ring. The process is shown by Jerry in the video below.

CLICK HERE FOR PART II of Full VIDEO, showing final version of Scope Alignment Bar.

Jerry explains: “The Scope-Tru Alignment Bar is a tool designed to install both standard ring/mount systems, and dual dovetail ring/mount systems. The tool provides significant leverage to turn the dovetail rings into their bases. By observing the pointer on the end of the bar, it is easy to align the ring with the center of the barrel, thereby assuring that the ring is installed at 90 degrees to the axis of the bore. Because the bar is a one-piece tool, it is possible to get the rings into nearly perfect alignment with each other, and near perfect alignment with the bore axis.”

scope-tru alignment bar parabola llc

scope-tru alignment bar parabola llc

scope-tru alignment bar parabola llc

scope-tru alignment bar parabola llc

The photos above show how the tool is used to install and align a set of standard hunting rings (with rear windage adjustment). You start with the front ring, rotating it 90 degrees in the dovetail, and then align with the center of the barrel. Next, slide the tool rearwards and loosely set the rear ring in place. With both rings adjusted correctly, the alignment tool will be perfectly centered and both rings with be subsequently squared at 90° to the bore axis. Schmidt says he can install conventional rings with this tool, tighten them to spec on a rifle scope, and there will be virtually no marks on the scope tube. (Of course this would require that the rings are extremely well made with no burrs or highspots on the trailing and leading edges.)

scope-true alignment bar

CLICK HERE for a short VIDEO Showing the Final Version of the Scope Alignment Bar.

The Scope-Tru Alignment Bar is CNC-machined from TGP bar stock, and will be offered in both 1 inch, and 30mm diameters. The durable bar is designed for regular, long-term use by the professional gunsmith, the home gunsmith or “gun crank”, and retail or wholesale sporting goods store staff. The 1″-diameter, all-steel Scope-Tru is can be purchased for $135.00 plus shipping and handling. The version for 30mm rings AND a new combo 1″/30mm Scope-Tru tool are both in final development, and could be available in the near future. To place an order for a 1″-diameter Scope-Tru, CLICK this LINK.

For more info, visit Parabola-LLC.com, phone (406) 586-1687, or email info [at] parabola-llc.com. CLICK HERE for a shorter video that shows the entire mounting process in a compressed time format.

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product, Optics 4 Comments »