March 10th, 2012

Shot Order and Calibration When Using Electronic Scales

Here’s a tip that can help you score higher at matches and get more predictable results when weighing loads with an electronic scale. Kelly Bachand, a top prone shooter and electrical engineering major at the Univ. of Washington, tells us that all digital scales can drift. Therefore Kelly recommends re-calibrating electronic scales often. In addition — and this is key — Kelly recommends that you shoot the ammo in the exact order in which it was loaded. Arrange your loaded ammo in a box in the order of loading and shoot it first-loaded to last-loaded. (Or, if you prefer, shoot it last-loaded to first-loaded.) The important thing is to maintain the order and not mix everything up. That way, if your scale drifts, the effect of drift on charge weight will be incremental from one loaded round to the next, so point of impact change should be negligible. Conversely, if you shoot your last-loaded round right after your first-loaded round, the effect of scale drift is at its maximum, so powder charge varience is maximized. And that can produce a different point of impact (POI) on the target.

Tips on Loading with Electronic Scales
by Kelly Bachand
If you use a digital scale to measure powder charges, recalibrate the scale often. I like to do this about every 25 rounds or so. Additionally, most electronic scales rely on eddy currents for their precision. Eddy currents are easily disrupted by static electricity so keep a cloth or ground strap nearby to remove any static currents should the scale start acting up; I usually just use a fabric softener sheet that has gone through the dryer once.

Shoot Ammo in Order of Loading
I shoot my rounds in the same order or reverse order as I load them. If the charge weight varies due to scale drift during use, the difference will be gradual if I shoot in the same order as production (or reverse order). I should be able to adjust for the slight varience in charge weight without having any wildly high or low shots (see the charts below for a graphical demonstration). I usually load my ammunition just 100 rounds at a time. Give yourself plenty of time and remember that you will make your best ammunition when you are fully awake and alert.

Electronic powder scale chart

This graph demonstrates the effect a .01% (that’s 1/100th of 1 percent) difference in scale measurement would have over the course of 100 rounds assuming the desired load is somewhere between 46 and 47 grains. The final round made would have almost 1% less (or more) powder than the first, that’s almost an 0.5 grain difference from the first. If shot back to back, these rounds will invariably have different points of impact on the target.

Electronic powder scale chart

This graph demonstrates the same .01% difference in scale measurement but this time with a recalibration every 25 rounds. By recalibrating the scale every 25 rounds the furthest a weighed charge ever gets from the original is less than 0.25%. Again if the charge being weighed is between 46 and 47 grains then the 26th round made would vary from the 1st by .12 grains. Even that small difference would likely show on target.

Either way it is important to note that if the bullets are shot in the same (or reverse) order as they are made, the biggest difference from bullet to bullet in this example is less than .01 grains.

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 18 Comments »
July 14th, 2010

Top Shot TV Show Seeks Cast Members for Season Two

The History Channel’s new Top Shot television series is half-way through its summer season run. It has attracted millions of viewers already and has been renewed for a second season. The show has been fairly controversial among the “real gun guys” who have tuned in. Some folks say that any show which portrays the shooting sports in a positive light and helps broaden interest in shooting is a good thing. Others have complained that Top Shot has too little actual shooting and too much “Survivor”-style inter-personal drama. This Editor has watched all the episodes so far. I think the last two shows, which featured AR15s and Kentucky rifles, certainly showcased the competitors’ rifle skills.

Top Shot TV Casting

In any event, Top Shot has garnered a large-enough TV audience that it will be renewed for next year. The show’s production company, Pilgrim Films & Television, has issued a “casting call” for new cast members for Top Shot’s second season. Below is the casting announcement, with links to application forms. Note the DEADLINE: Candidates must apply on or before August 12, 2010!

History Channel Now Casting for Season 2 of Top Shot!

If you are skilled with a pistol, rifle or any other firearm, you could win $100,000 in prizes on season 2 of History Channel’s hit competition show TOP SHOT. Producers are looking for anyone with mind-blowing shooting skills and a big personality to take on exciting physical challenges with multiple guns and mystery projectile weapons.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a professionally trained shooter or a self-taught, average Joe (or Jane!). As long as you’re in good physical shape, have mastered a firearm and can adapt to new weapons and demanding physical situations, you could be America’s next “Top Shot”. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age, a resident or citizen of the United States and reasonably proficient with shooting and marksmanship.

To apply, email TopShotCasting@gmail.com with your name, city/state, phone number, a recent photo of yourself and a brief explanation of why you should be on the show.

Deadline to apply is August 12, 2010. For more info, visit www.PilgrimFilms.tv and click on “CASTING” or call 818-478-4570. You can get a head start on the casting process by downloading a casting application and eligibility requirements form below:

Download Casting Application (Hard Copy) | Download Casting Application (Editable .PDF file)

Permalink Competition, News 5 Comments »
June 2nd, 2010

‘TOP SHOT’ TV Show Premiers on History Channel June 6th

Top Shot History Channel‘Top Shot’, a new 10-episode TV series, debuts this Sunday, June 6th, on The History Channel. The show features 16 competitors (all experienced shooters), vying for a $100,000 prize. While competitors were selected on the basis of marksmanship skills, ‘Top Shot’ is NOT just a series of multi-gun matches or target shoots. Contestants are grouped into two teams which compete in a different type of challenge each week. This requires competitors to master a wide variety of weapons, both modern and antique. One of the 16 competitors is AccurateShooter.com contributor Kelly Bachand, a promising young Palma shooter. Kelly plays a prominent role in the premier episode.

Top Shot History Channel

After wrapping up his filming stint with ‘Top Shot’, Kelly visited us in Southern California to do some testing with an Eliseo .308 Win tube gun (photo above). Kelly explained that, for the TV show, he and his fellow competitors had to demonstrate skills with a wide variety of historic and modern weapons. In addition to modern rifles and semi-auto pistols, competitors used black-powder revolvers, crossbows, throwing knives, and even tomahawks. In some episodes the competitors were tasked with recreating a historically significant feat of marksmanship — such as cutting a “hanging rope” with a pistol shot. Each week, contenders will face both team and individual elimination challenges until one winner remains. In the series opener (Sunday, June 6), contestants are immediately divided into two teams and then compete in a “Rifle Relay,” an obstacle course using standard-issue rifles from four different wars. In the elimination round, two contestants go head-to-head in “The Long Shot,” a long-distance sniper challenge which will send the first person home. ‘Top Shot’ will air Sundays at 10 EDT, with ten episodes slated for the upcoming season.

CLICK HERE for TOP SHOT Website with Episode Summaries and Contestant Bios.

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