As an Amazon Associate, this site earns a commission from Amazon sales.











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

Permalink - Videos, Competition, Shooting Skills, Tactical No Comments »
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

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Competition, Gear Review, Shooting Skills No Comments »
August 29th, 2022

BargainFinder 362: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

NOTE: All listed products are for sale to persons 18 years of age or older. No products are intended for use by minors.

1. Palmetto State Armory — PSA AR-15 Lower Receiver, $59.99

lower receiver sale
Very good deal and AR lower — get one while you can

President Biden and his buddies in Washington want to ban ARs and other modern sporting rifles. The core component for a custom AR build is a milspec AR lower receiver. Now for just $59.99 you can get a quality PSA AR-15 “Stealth” Lower Receiver. This quality lower features no rollmark on the left hand side. These PSA lowers have quality 7075-T6 aluminum construction and will accept all standard components and popular trigger groups. At this low $59.99 price, you might want to buy a couple.

2. Bruno’s — BAT Actions IN-STOCK with Free Shipping

bat actions sale
BAT makes exceptionally good actions which have won many championships

Did you know that the average wait time for a custom action is now about 12 months? Skip the wait and grab one of the many superb BAT Actions available right now at Bruno Shooters Supply. A wide selection of BAT actions are in stock now, ready for immediate delivery to your FFL. If you order during the current sale, these actions qualify for FREE SHIPPING.

3. MidwayUSA — Vortex Viper 5-25x50mm FFP, $679.99

vortex scope sale
Excellent FFP scope for PRS/NRL competition, good power range

Need a quality, durable FFP scope for PRS or NRL matches? An excellent yet very affordable option is the Vortex Viper 5-25x50mm riflescope. PRS/NRL competitors have praised this scope for its optical quality and toughness. The glass-etched EBR-2D MRAD reticle offers very precise MILrad markings for elevation hold-overs and/or wind corrections. For low-light conditions, this Vortex Viper offers 10 intensity levels with off positions between each setting.

4. Amazon — RCBS Partner Press, $81.93

rcbs press sale
Good choice for secondary press for decapping and bullet seating duties

If you load at the range or need a secondary press the RCBS Partner Press is a great choice. The very affordable Partner Press is easy to use and easy to transport, making it a good choice for loading at the range. And it works well as a smaller, secondary press for your home reloading center. We’ve used a Partner Press effectively for decapping, neck-sizing, and many other tasks. The current $81.93 price is a bargain. Note: Accessory base plate not included.

5. Natchez — Rimfire and Centerfire Ammunition Sale

ammunition sale
Great savings on big selection of rifle, pistol and shotgun ammo

Thankfully, ammunition is becoming more available these days, and prices are starting to come down. The latest Natchez Ammo Sale offers a wide range of pistol, rifle, and shotgun ammo at great prices — up to 64% off. There are some great deals on bulk 9mm ammo, and pistol shooters will also find good defensive ammo with hollow-point projectiles. Natchez is also running some attractive deals on CCI and Remington rimfire ammo.

6. Graf & Sons — Hornady Sonic Cleaner, $109.99

hornady brass cleaner
Quality ultrasonic cleaning machine at very good price

Are you looking for a different way to clean you brass? Consider the Hornady Sonic Cleaner which removes carbon residue from the inside and outside of cartridge cases with high frequency ultrasonic energy and a specialized cleaning solution. Unlike case tumblers, the Lock-N-Load Sonic Cleaner effectively cleans the inner surfaces of cartridge cases as well as the primer pockets.

7. Midsouth — Radians 5-Lens Eye Protection System, $20.89

shooting glasses sale
Very Good eye protection with 5 lenses — clear, yellow, orange, amber, gray

We recommend wearing quality eye protection whenever you go shooting — even with rimfire guns. This excellent Radians kit includes five different ANSI Z87.1-certified lenses, so you can select the optimal lens type for your shooting sport and light conditions. The Radians Glasses Kit, now just $20.89, includes clear, yellow, orange, dark amber, and dark gray lenses that are easily interchangeable and very durable. This kit includes neoprene carrying case, neck cord, and microfiber lens cloth bag.

8. Amazon — FalconTac First Aid Kit, $49.95

trauma kit sale
Very well-equipped first aid kit — for home, range, or vehicle

Wise firearms owners and outdoorsmen will keep a good first aid kit in their vehicles wherever they travel. The FalconTac Trauma first aid kit offers important treatment products for a wide variety of injuries, from minor cuts to bullet wounds. This $49.95 FalconTac Kit contains essential supplies for hemorrhage control, including military tourniquet, tactical pressure dressing, and compressed gauze.

9. Amazon — 14-In-1 Multitool, $20.99

multitool sale
Great price on versatile multi-tool that performs myriad functions

The 14-In-1 Multitool with Safety Lock offers great capabilities for a modest $20.99 price. This handy multitool includes a sharp knife blade plus a serrated knife. Then there are a dozen specialized components — multiple plier heads (long nose, round nose pliers, cutting pliers), Philips screwdriver, 3 slotted screwdrivers (small, medium, large), hook remover, double-sided file, small scraper, can opener, and bottle opener. This compact multi-tool stores easily in a backpack or your vehicle.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Handguns, Hot Deals, Optics No Comments »
July 5th, 2022

Shoot Like a Champion — How to Drill Tiny Groups at 200 Yards

200 yard benchrest group charles huckeba australia tiny group 6 PPC

This site is for and about accurate shooters. So today we feature the short-range group Benchrest game, where it’s all about shooting tiny groups in the ones and even “zeros”. Seeing the tiny groups 6 PPC aces produce, it’s easy to think the precision is all about the equipment. But there is a lot more involved. A talented human still has to watch the flags, run the gun properly, and tune his loads for the conditions. Here are some tips from one of the world’s best benchresters, Charles Huckeba.

Texan Charles Huckeba was the top individual shooter at the 2013 World Benchrest Championships (WBC) held near Sydney Australia in October 2013. In this video, 2013 WBC Two-Gun Overall winner Charles shoots a 1/8th MOA group at 200 yards — “a little bitty dot” as a fellow Team USA shooter observes. That’s impressive. If you can describe Huckeba’s style in a nutshell it would be “smooth, consistent, and rapid but not hurried”.

Charles also employed some unusual hardware. In the video, take a close look at the joystick on the Farley Coaxial front rest. There’s no knob at the end. In its place is a small, wood ammo caddy. Charles removed the standard knob from the handle of his Farley rest and replaced it with a home-made wood block that holds cartridges for the record target. The 10.5-lb Light Varmint rifle is chambered in 6PPC with a BAT Machine Action and a composite wood and carbon-fiber stock.

Watch Charles Huckeba Shoot 1/8 MOA, 200-yard group at World Benchrest Championships

Here is the actual 200-yard, 5-shot group Charles shot in the video. Photo (by Stuart Elliot) taken through the lens of Huckeba’s 50X March scope (reticle has 1/16th MOA Dot).
200 yard benchrest group charles huckeba australia
200 yard benchrest group charles huckeba australia

Analyzing the Fine Points — What Makes Huckeba So Good

Short-range benchrest shooter Boyd Allen saw some interesting things in Huckeba’s WBC performance, as captured on video. Boyd noticed Huckeba’s smooth gun-handling and efficient loading. But Boyd also spied some interesting equipment, including an innovative joystick “handle-caddy”.

1. Low Friction Bags — When Huckeba slid his rifle, there was very little apparent friction. The front bag features the new 3M material (ScotchLite) on the sliding surfaces. The rear Protektor bag has ears of the same low-friction material.

2. Pause Before Chambering — While he was watching the flags and deciding when to start firing, Charles kept his first round in the action, but out of the barrel’s chamber, probably so as not to heat the cartridge and change the round’s point of impact.

Charles Huckeba PPC World Benchrest joystick handle3. Ammo Caddy on Joystick Arm – Charles shoots a Right Bolt/Left Port action, so he pulls his rounds with his left hand. Note that Huckeba’s record rounds rest in a small, wood ammo caddy attached to the end of the joystick shaft. Look carefully, you’ll see the wood ammo block in place of the normal black ball at the end of the joystick. That allows Charles to pull shots with the absolute minimum of hand movement. Ingenious! Huckeba is very fast, with a great economy of motion. I believe that because his ammo was literally at hand, Charles was better able to keep his focus on aiming and the flags.

4. Smooth-Cycling BAT Action — Note how smoothly Huckeba’s action operates. When Charles lifts the bolt handle (to extract a round and cock the firing pin), this does not disturb the rifle. Likewise, as he closes the bolt, the gun doesn’t wobble. The smooth action allows Charles to hold point of aim even when shooting relatively quickly. Huckeba’s BAT action is chrome-moly steel. Some shooters believe this metal makes for a smoother action than stainless steel or aluminum.

5. Long-Wheelbase Stock — The wood and carbon fiber stock is light, long, and stiff. Yet, importantly, the stock is also well-damped. The longer-than-average stock length (with extended forearm) seems to help the gun track well without jumping or rocking. The longer forearm allows a longer “wheelbase”, effectively shifting the weight distribution rearward (less weight on the front, more weight on the rear). This places a greater share of the gun’s weight on the rear bag, as compared to a more conventional benchrest stock. Huckeba’s stock, built by Bob Scoville, is at the cutting edge of short-range benchrest design. Its light-weight balsa wood and carbon fiber construction provides a combination of stiffness and vibration damping that allows its relatively long fore-end to be fully utilized to increase the weight on the rear bag (always an issue with 10.5-pound rifles).

To learn more about this benchrest stock design, read the comments by stock-builder Bob Scoville in our PPC with Pedigree story in our Gun of the Week Archives. Bob observed:

“There is a lot more to the structure of the stocks than meets the eye. The carbon fiber skin with which I cover the stocks creates a light, tough exterior surface. However, this contributes very little to the overall performance of the stocks. The real strength and stiffness is the result of an internal beam utilizing balsa core/carbon fiber technology.

This type construction can be found in aircraft, race cars, powerboats, and sailboats. It is interesting to note, balsa has the highest strength to weight ratio of all woods and carbon fiber is one of the lowest stretch (modulus of elasticity) relative to weight of all materials. The marriage of these two materials is common in the high-performance world. Additionally, balsa is used commercially for vibration dampening and sound reduction.”

Video find by Boyd Allen. Video by Stuart Elliot of BRT Shooters Supply, Brisbane, Australia.
Permalink - Videos, Competition, Shooting Skills, Tech Tip No Comments »
June 1st, 2022

Big Boomer .50 BMG Boasts Impressive Half-MOA Accuracy

.50 BMG Richard King Texas half-MOA

A few seasons ago, Texas gunsmith Richard King built an impressive .50 BMG target rifle for a customer. Equipped with a beefy McMillan stock, this rig has delivered some very impressive accuracy. Check out that target shot during break-in. Using On Target software, we measured this 3-shot group at 0.476″ or 0.454 MOA. Not bad for a beast with VERY serious recoil. Do you think you could beat that 0.476″ with your AR15 shooting puny .223-caliber bullets?

.50 BMG Richard King Texas half-MOA
Compare the dimensions of that massive 50-Cal action to a Rem 700 action in the middle. When you’re shooting a Fifty, size matters!

On Facebook, some folks were surprised a guy could wring that kind of accuracy out of a monster .50 BMG. One wag posted: “Yikes! He will need flinch therapy after shooting that beast.”

Another Facebooker joked: “When shooting a .50 BMG you say…In your best Crocodile Dundee voice…that’s not a gun, THIS is a gun!”

Richard King responded that this customer has quite a bit of experience with jumbo-caliber rifles: “Remember this is the guy that shot a .338 Lapua in a two-day F-Class match. Recoil might actually be easier on this 50, given the fact that it has more weight and a brake.”

.50 BMG Richard King Texas half-MOA

Richard King showed us the monster 13-lb BAT action for this rifle at the 2018 Berger SWN. Honestly, the big BAT .50 BMG action was HUGE — with the bolt fully extended it was the size of your forearm (to the finger tips). Richard joked “This weighs almost as much as an F-TR rifle (before optic) all by itself”.

Richard King Berger SWN BAT action

Specialty Tools for the Big .50 BMG
Yes, the .50 BMG is one huge cartridge. Thankfully, there are some special tools for loading the jumbo-size round. Giraud Tool produces a specialty comparator for the 50-Cal cartridge. The double-ended .50 BMG comparator is quite versatile. In one orientation you can measure base-to-ogive bullet length and also measure cartridge OAL from rim to bullet ogive. When reversed, you can use the comparator to measure cartridge headspace. Priced at $33.00, Giraud 50 BMG Comparator gauge is constructed of 303 stainless and fits most any vernier, dial, or digital caliper. CLICK HERE for more info.

Giraud Tools 50 BMG comparator gauge

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Gunsmithing No Comments »
March 11th, 2022

Big Bore Brilliance — Paul Phillips Optimizes the .416 Barrett

global precision group ELR .416 barrett RCC machined brass 500 yards solid Cutting Edge bullets

Paul Phillips Ko2mPaul Phillips is a past King of 2 Miles, and one of the world’s top Extreme Long Range (ELR) Shooters. He recently showcased one of his ELR rifles that shoots the .416 Barrett cartridge with huge, 550gr Cutting Edge bullets seated in CNC-machined RCC (Robertson Cartridge Company) brass that costs $10 per case.

Even with these giant-sized cartridges, Paul Phillips is getting remarkable accuracy. He recently went out to a snow-covered rifle range to do some testing. We include some test results in this article. Paul’s rig delivered 1.056″ to 1.748″ 3-shot groups at 500 yards. That’s .202 to .335 MOA for three shots. (1 MOA = 1.047″ at 100 yards, or 5.235″ at 500 yards). That’s very impressive accuracy for such a big cartridge with serious recoil.

Confidence is Gained from Consistent Accuracy

Report by Paul Phillips
After being retired from my 30 years of service in military and law enforcement, I started my own company, Global Precision Group LLC. We specialize in Long range shooting. I am currently doing some R&D for a new ammunition company, Ultimate Ammunition, (UA) out of Las Vegas. UA specializes in Military, Law Enforcement, and Custom ammunition.

global precision group ELR .416 barrett RCC machined brass 500 yards solid Cutting Edge bullets
global precision group ELR .416 barrett RCC machined brass 500 yards solid Cutting Edge bullets

On this particular day, it was a very cool 15 degrees F. I was testing ammunition for the .416 Barrett. Since winning the King of 2 Miles in 2019, my team has been looking at ways to make everything better. The competition is fierce and everyone is getting better and better. Finding single-digit Standard Deviations (SDs) is a must. Holding SDs under 5 FPS can be what it takes to win.

global precision group ELR .416 barrett RCC machined brass 500 yards solid Cutting Edge bulletsAfter several weeks of testing, I think I found the perfect combination for the .416 Barrett in my rifle. My optimal load runs about 3000 FPS using the following components:

Cutting Edge 550 Grain Solid Bullets with Tips

RCC Brass (CNC-machined)

Vihtavuori 20N29 Powder

RWS primers

Loaded for ~3000 FPS load velocity goal

I figure if I can keep my 3-round groups under two inches consistently, I have a chance to win on any Sunday. The average group size of these groups was 1.47 inches at 500 yards. With big bore rifles it gets very costly to test. That is why I am limiting my test groups to 3 rounds. See below:

global precision group ELR .416 barrett RCC machined brass 500 yards solid Cutting Edge bullets
global precision group ELR .416 barrett RCC machined brass 500 yards solid Cutting Edge bullets
global precision group ELR .416 barrett RCC machined brass 500 yards solid Cutting Edge bullets

Note the single-digit Extreme Spread and SD for all of these three-shot groups, as recorded by the LabRadar (see below). The average SD for these three groups at 500 yards was about three.

global precision group ELR .416 barrett RCC machined brass 500 yards solid Cutting Edge bullets
NOTE: This is an animated GIF with THREE images, alternating every 4.5 seconds.

Not just the ammunition deserves credit. I also have to give credit to the quality Manson reamer, BAT action, Bartlein Barrel, Bix’N Andy trigger, Manners ELR stock, Nightforce Optic, and Accu-Tac bipod with my new P skis. All these gear/hardware items, combined with quality ammunition, allow these kind of groups.

Products featured in this article include:

Accu-Tac Bipods
Bartlein Barrel
BAT Machine Action
Bix’N Andy Trigger
CROSSTAC Shooting Mat
Cutting Edge Bullets
Edgewood Shooting Bag
Kestrel with Ballistics
LabRadar
LongShot Cameras
Manners Composite Stock
Manson Precision Reamer
Nightforce Optics
RCBS Press and Tools
RCC (CNC-machined) Brass
Vihtavuori Powder

global precision group ELR .416 barrett RCC machined brass 500 yards solid Cutting Edge bullets
For more information, visit GlobalPrecisionGroup.com, and the GPG Facebook Page.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Tech Tip No Comments »
January 2nd, 2022

Sunday GunDay: Rock’N Roll Rifle — Gavin’s Van Halen Tribute

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Eddie Van Halen guitar rifle tribute benchrest 6.5x47 Lapua gun build

Today’s feature story showcases an impressive 6.5×47 Lapua benchrest rifle crafted by Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com. A gifted writer, video producer, and gear reviewer, Gavin has also acquired some serious gunsmithing skills over the past few years.

For this project, the multi-talented Mr. Gear did ALL the work himself — barrel chambering, muzzle crowning, stock inletting, action bedding, and yes even the stock painting. That brilliant red design with white and black stripes is an “homage” to the famous “Frankenstrat” guitar played by Rock N’ Roll legend Eddie Van Halen (EVH). That red/white/black guitar was the inspiration for this tribute rifle.

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Eddie Van Halen guitar rifle tribute benchrest 6.5x47 Lapua gun build

Gavin explained: “I decided to build a benchrest rifle as a tribute to Eddie Van Halen as I’ve been inspired by his guitar playing, his energy, and himself as a person. This is my first benchrest rifle build. And when I set out to build this rifle I was looking around at what other people were doing in the benchrest community in terms of stock graphics, and I decided I needed to do something ‘loud and crazy’ and when I thought about that, the first thing that came to mind was Eddie Van Halen’s iconic Frankenstrat guitar.”

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Eddie Van Halen guitar rifle tribute benchrest 6.5x47 Lapua gun build

Here it is! My first all-out benchrest build! This rifle will serve as a test bed for the evaluation of different cartridges and components. In this multi-part series, I’ll walk through the … process of building this rifle including the barrel work, stock inletting, stock bedding, and some paint work that will be “a little different”. — Gavin Gear

Rifle Components — BAT Action, Krieger Barrel, Wheeler Stock, Sightron Scope
Bat Model B Action, .308 Win Bolt Face (modular), octagonal profile, integral recoil lug
Bix’n Andy Remington 700 Competition Trigger (from Bullet Central)
Wheeler Engineering LRB Stock with 4″ fore-end and steerable buttstock rudder
Sightron SV 10-50x60mm ED SFP Scope (FCH Target Dot Reticle) in 34mm BAT Rings

Painting the Eddie Van Halen Tribute Rifle

Gavin told us: “I’ve long been inspired and impressed by Eddie Van Halen (EVH). He changed the game for guitar in the late 1970s, and the world took notice! I’ve been a Van Halen fan for a long time, and that’s where the inspiration for my latest rifle build came from. Benchrest rifles are known for their loud and vivid paint jobs, and that made me think: ‘I need to do an EVH Frankenstrat paint job!’. In this video I share my experiences putting together this automotive-style rifle paint job.”

Gavin painted the stock himself with red/black/white graphics inspired by the rock legend’s famous guitar. Gavin actually has some serious painting skills learned decades ago. When Gavin was 16 he was “hell-bent on learning auto body prep and paint work”. He managed to score a job with a local shop, and did his first complete professional paint job (on a Toyota Supra) when he was just 17 years old.

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Eddie Van Halen guitar rifle tribute benchrest 6.5x47 Lapua gun build

The EVH tribute stock was painted in multiple stages, with masking to create the stripes after the bright red was applied. For the finishing touch, the entire stock was sprayed with Omni clearcoat: “This [clear-coating] is when things really start to look good because you’re covering up all those masked transitions between the striping and the backgrounds.” Gavin says the key to clear-coating is “seeing the reflection of the light on the surface. This gives you visual feedback”. Watch the video above to see the entire painting process. CLICK HERE for Gavin’s full write-up on the stock painting job with many photos.

Barrel Break-In and Load Testing

The rifle showed great accuracy right from the get-go. In fact, the very first three shots through the barrel formed a 0.298″ group at 100 (see video at 05:35)! Then the gun produced a series of good three-shot groups (high 2s and low 3s), demonstrating the quality of the Krieger barrel and Gavin’s chambering work. CLICK HERE for testing target showing multiple groups.

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Eddie Van Halen guitar rifle tribute benchrest 6.5x47 Lapua gun build
Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Eddie Van Halen guitar rifle tribute benchrest 6.5x47 Lapua gun build

Gavin selected top components for his loads: Lapua 6.5×47 brass, Berger 140gr Hybrid 6.5mm bullets, and Hodgdon Varget powder (unobtanium these days). To find promising starting loads, Gavin went straight to the best 6.5×47 Lapua resource on the web — AccurateShooter.com’s 6.5×47 Cartridge Guide. Researched by the 6.5 Guys (Ed and Steve), our Cartridge Guide includes recommended accuracy loads for a wide variety of bullets and powders.

6.5x47 Cartridge Guides 6.5 Guys

Stock Work and Bedding

In this Part 2 video, Gavin reveals the extensive work he did to prepare the stock for the barreled action. This video shows multiple operations: barrel channel and receiver inletting; machining of custom pillars; stock bedding, and trigger guard installation. Yes, Gavin did all the final inletting using his own machines, and he even created his own precision pillars. Watch the above video to see the entire inletting job followed by the action bedding process. Gavin’s skills are impressive.

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Eddie Van Halen guitar rifle tribute benchrest 6.5x47 Lapua gun build

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Eddie Van Halen guitar rifle tribute benchrest 6.5x47 Lapua gun build

This Alex Wheeler LRB stock has some very innovative features, such as the adjustable “rudder” (or keel) on the bottomside of the buttstock. This helps ensure great tracking. Alex has noted: “This stock tracks exceptionally well due to the adjustable rudder system and 4″-wide fore-end. Aluminum rails in the front prevent rocking on the front bag as well as form small trenches to aid tracking. The adjustable rudder in the rear allows you to fine tune the bag riding surfaces until exactly parallel. The 4″-wide fore-end is legal in Benchrest and helps control torqueing in the bag.”

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Eddie Van Halen guitar rifle tribute benchrest 6.5x47 Lapua gun build

Chambering the Barrel for 6.5×47 Lapua

Gavin did ALL the gunsmithing for the project, including chambering the Krieger barrel, and headspacing it for the BAT M Action. Gavin also crowned the muzzle. He did this all on his own advanced Precision Matthews PM-1440GT Lathe using Triebel Guntools 6.5x47mm body/neck finisher reamer, 6.5x47mm throater reamer, and Go and No-Go gages.

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloder Eddie Van Halen guitar rifle tribute benchrest 6.5x47 Lapua gun build

Clearly, this is not your average DIY project — Gavin performed ALL the most critical and demanding gunsmithing tasks. He trained himself to do these tasks working with ace gunsmith Gordy Gritters. You can see all the chambering and barrel-fitting functions in this revealing video:

Muzzle Work — Cutting Threads and Target Crown

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Eddie Van Halen guitar rifle tribute benchrest 6.5x47 Lapua gun build

This photo shows the finishing of the barrel’s muzzle end. Gavin notes: “For the muzzle end, I again used the True Bore Alignment System. Above you can see the SSG Range Rod I used which features two tight-fitting bushings that ride on the barrel lands. This makes for quick barrel dial-in! I then cut an 11-degree target crown, as recommended by Gordy Gritters.”

The next step with this EVH Tribute rifle will be fitting the barrel for an Erik Cortina (EC) tuner, and proceeding with further load tuning. But that will have to wait for spring, when the snow has melted….

Want to learn more? Here are detailed reports on UltimateReloader.com:

1. EVH Tribute 6.5×47 Rifle Barrel Work and Chambering
2. EVH Tribute 6.5×47 Rifle Stock Inletting and Bedding
3. EVH Tribute 6.5×47 Rifle Testing with Sightron 10-50X Scope
4. Eddie Van Halen Tribute 6.5×47 Rifle Custom Paint Job

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
July 13th, 2021

Benchrest Shooting Technique — How to Shoot Like a Champion

200 yard benchrest group charles huckeba australia tiny group 6 PPC

Today we feature the short-range group Benchrest game, where it’s all about shooting tiny groups in the ones and even “zeros”. Seeing the tiny groups 6 PPC aces produce, it’s easy to think that precision is all about the equipment. But there is a lot more involved. A talented human still has to watch the flags, run the gun properly, and tune his loads for the conditions. Here are some tips from one of the world’s best benchresters, Charles Huckeba.

If you were an aspiring basketball player, you’d surely study All-Stars such as Stephen Curry and Devin Booker to see how they shoot so well. This article provides a chance to see how a world-class benchrest All-Star drills tiny 5-shot groups at 100 and 200 yards.

Texan Charles Huckeba was the top individual shooter at the 2013 World Benchrest Championships (WBC) held near Sydney Australia in October 2013. In this video, 2013 WBC Two-Gun Overall winner Charles shoots a 1/8th MOA group at 200 yards — “a little bitty dot” as a fellow Team USA shooter observes. That’s impressive. If you can describe Huckeba’s style in a nutshell it would be “smooth, consistent, and rapid but not hurried”.

Charles also employed some unusual hardware. In the video, take a close look at the joystick on the Farley Coaxial front rest. There’s no knob at the end. In its place is a small, wood ammo caddy. Charles removed the standard knob from the handle of his Farley rest and replaced it with a home-made wood block that holds cartridges for the record target. The 10.5-lb Light Varmint rifle is chambered in 6PPC with a BAT Machine Action and a composite wood and carbon-fiber stock.

Watch Charles Huckeba Shoot 1/8 MOA, 200-yard group at World Benchrest Championships

Here is the actual 200-yard, 5-shot group Charles shot in the video. Photo (by Stuart Elliot) taken through the lens of Huckeba’s 50X March scope (reticle has 1/16th MOA Dot).
200 yard benchrest group charles huckeba australia
200 yard benchrest group charles huckeba australia

Analyzing the Fine Points — What Makes Huckeba So Good

Short-range benchrest shooter Boyd Allen saw some interesting things in Huckeba’s WBC performance, as captured on video. Boyd noticed Huckeba’s smooth gun-handling and efficient loading. But Boyd also spied some interesting equipment, including an innovative joystick “handle-caddy”.

1. Low Friction Bags — When Huckeba slid his rifle, there was very little apparent friction. The front bag features the new 3M material (ScotchLite) on the sliding surfaces. The rear Protektor bag has ears of the same low-friction material.

2. Pause Before Chambering — While he was watching the flags and deciding when to start firing, Charles kept his first round in the action, but out of the barrel’s chamber, probably so as not to heat the cartridge and change the round’s point of impact.

Charles Huckeba PPC World Benchrest joystick handle3. Ammo Caddy on Joystick Arm – Charles shoots a Right Bolt/Left Port action, so he pulls his rounds with his left hand. Note that Huckeba’s record rounds rest in a small, wood ammo caddy attached to the end of the joystick shaft. Look carefully, you’ll see the wood ammo block in place of the normal black ball at the end of the joystick. That allows Charles to pull shots with the absolute minimum of hand movement. Ingenious! Huckeba is very fast, with a great economy of motion. I believe that because his ammo was literally at hand, Charles was better able to keep his focus on aiming and the flags.

4. Smooth-Cycling BAT Action — Note how smoothly Huckeba’s action operates. When Charles lifts the bolt handle (to extract a round and cock the firing pin), this does not disturb the rifle. Likewise, as he closes the bolt, the gun doesn’t wobble. The smooth action allows Charles to hold point of aim even when shooting relatively quickly. Huckeba’s BAT action is chrome-moly steel. Some shooters believe this metal makes for a smoother action than stainless steel or aluminum.

5. Long-Wheelbase Stock — The wood and carbon fiber stock is light, long, and stiff. Yet, importantly, the stock is also well-damped. The longer-than-average stock length (with extended forearm) seems to help the gun track well without jumping or rocking. The longer forearm allows a longer “wheelbase”, effectively shifting the weight distribution rearward (less weight on the front, more weight on the rear). This places a greater share of the gun’s weight on the rear bag, as compared to a more conventional benchrest stock. Huckeba’s stock, built by Bob Scoville, is at the cutting edge of short-range benchrest design. Its light-weight balsa wood and carbon fiber construction provides a combination of stiffness and vibration damping that allows its relatively long fore-end to be fully utilized to increase the weight on the rear bag (always an issue with 10.5-pound rifles).

To learn more about this benchrest stock design, read the comments by stock-builder Bob Scoville in our PPC with Pedigree story in our Gun of the Week Archives. Bob observed:

“There is a lot more to the structure of the stocks than meets the eye. The carbon fiber skin with which I cover the stocks creates a light, tough exterior surface. However, this contributes very little to the overall performance of the stocks. The real strength and stiffness is the result of an internal beam utilizing balsa core/carbon fiber technology.

This type construction can be found in aircraft, race cars, powerboats, and sailboats. It is interesting to note, balsa has the highest strength to weight ratio of all woods and carbon fiber is one of the lowest stretch (modulus of elasticity) relative to weight of all materials. The marriage of these two materials is common in the high-performance world. Additionally, balsa is used commercially for vibration dampening and sound reduction.”

Video find by Boyd Allen. Video by Stuart Elliot of BRT Shooters Supply, Brisbane, Australia.
Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »
July 9th, 2021

100/200 Group Benchrest Rifles & Loads — The Winning Formula

IBS Group Benchrest Nationals Jeff Stover IBS

The Rifle for Short-Range Benchrest Competition

Hardware Choices: Actions, Stocks, Barrels, Optics and More
Tech Talk by Jeff Stover

This article was prepared by past IBS President Jeff Stover based on results from the 2019 IBS 100/200 Group Nationals held August 12-17, 2019 at the Holton Gun & Bow Club in western Michigan.

Let’s examine the Top Ten rifles from the 2019 IBS Group Nationals in the 10.5-lb Light Varmint Class. We’ll focus on the most popular rifle components — the choices for Actions, Stocks, Barrels, and Scopes.

IBS Group Benchrest Nationals Jeff Stover IBS

IBS short range 100/200 group benchrest
Hall of Famer Jeff Gaidos taking aim at the 2018 IBS Group Nationals. He has a low-profile carbon-fiber stock with a Leupold fixed-power scope.

For some years now, BAT has been the predominant action. This year BAT actions held nearly 100% of the Top Ten places in all the Bag Gun equipment lists. Bruce Thom’s Idaho-crafted actions, except for a couple stray actions in Heavy Bench, swept the top rankings.

IBS Group Benchrest Nationals Jeff Stover IBS

Next, look at barrels. Bartlein or Krieger seem to rule with upstate New York’s venerable Hart barrels as competitive. Shooters tend to go with winners, so Wayne Campbell and Jeff Peinhardt dominate as gunsmiths for the top benchrest shooters.

In stocks there seems to be variety, but there is some commonality. The Scoville and Scarbrough stocks, both Michigan-made, are laminated wood (balsa and other wood) with carbon fiber and wrapped in carbon fiber. The Scoville stock on my 10.5-lb rifle weighs 18 ounces but is full size with a nice long fore-end. Bob Scarbrough makes a very similar product. Both are winners — it’s a choice of Ferrari or Lamborghini. The Roy Hunter and Terry Leonard stocks among these top rifles take a different route to winner’s circle. Both are wood (cedar or other), but super high-tech as they are laminated with carbon fiber. They are beautiful to boot. High-magnification Leupold, March, and Nightforce scopes rule the roost among benchrest optics.

IBS Benchrest rifle stock tuner

IBS benchrest loading table powder

Bullets and Powder

Bullets are important. Really important. A hot bullet gives you “Teen Aggs” and lots of trophies. An average bullet does not. Most of these are 68 grain 6mm boattails. The Peinhardt (StaMoly Precision) bullet is well represented on this list, but some top shooters make their own as you can see. Bullet jackets are likely StaMoly or J4. For powder, nearly everyone shoots Vihtavouri N133 except a few guys running LT30/32 or surplus 8208.

Vihtavuori N 133 N133 powder reloading

IBS Benchrest wailing wall targets

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Gear Review No Comments »
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.

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Gunsmithing, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
October 14th, 2020

BAT Machine’s New Superlight Vampire & Bumblebee Actions

BAT Machine light wight lightweight aluminum action receiver bumblebee vampire alex wheeler hunting

Here is what high-end hunters have been requesting for years — an ultra-lightweight mag-fed action with Benchrest-grade smoothness, engineering, and craftsmanship. BAT Machine has just introduced two impressive new aluminum/steel hybrid repeater actions — the Bumblebee (short action) and the Vampire (long action). These are REALLY light. BAT states 23.8 ounces for the Bumblebee, and Alex Wheeler reports the Vampire is 25.3 ounces. So you get titanium-class weight savings without the titanium hassles.

Both the Bumblebee ($1699 MSRP) and the Vampire ($1765 MSRP) are aluminum/steel designs with integral recoil lugs and +20 MOA Picatinny rail segments. Though they are flat-bottom actions, both are designed to fit most Remington 700-pattern stocks. Gunsmith Alex Wheeler says: “This action shape should be very stable in the bedding — you just need to square up the inlet.”

Both the Vampire and Bumblebee actions feature a modular bolt. BAT does the modular bolt differently than anyone else, and very cleverly. This design allows easier bolt face changes and spring changes. Internal maintenance is also easier. Bat bolts also run super smoothly. Alex Wheeler reports “the Vampire action is very smooth — it feels just like BAT’s all-steel actions.”

BAT Machine light wight lightweight aluminum action receiver bumblebee vampire alex wheeler hunting
Vampire action photos courtesy WheelerAccuracy.com. The Vampire fits a 4″-long CFE-09 magazine box.

Alex Wheeler got one of the first Vampire actions, and he was impressed. This is a long-action repeater, with standard or Magnum bolt. Alex says the mating of steel and aluminum was superb: “I have checked it for straightness and lug contact. It’s very good. I’m impressed with how straight they got this insert.”

BAT Machine light wight lightweight aluminum action receiver bumblebee vampire alex wheeler hunting

Bumblebee Action — State-of-the-Art Lightweight Hunting Action
If you are seeking a very lightweight action with Benchrest-quality smoothness and precision fit/finish, consider the Bumblebee. Weighing under 24 ounces, this new Bumblebee short action may be perfect for hunters, varminters, and tactical shooters who desire a light weight, premium quality action. The new Bumblebee is designed to use 700 Short Action bottom metal. Combining steel and aluminum, the Bumblebee combines 4140 Chromoly Steel and 7076-T6 Aluminum to achieve strength and rigidity at a weight rivaling titanium. According to BAT, the Bumblebee’s advance design makes it “31%-42% stiffer than light weight steel actions and over 130% stiffer than round Titanium actions.”

BAT Machine light wight lightweight aluminum action receiver bumblebee vampire alex wheeler hunting

Bumblebee Action Features and Specifications:
— Action weight is 23.8 oz. as configured in photos (11.4 oz. lighter than BAT VR/TR actions)
— Weight comparable to Titanium actions after including Picatinny rails, recoil lugs, and fasteners
— 31%-42% stiffer than lightweight steel actions and over 130% stiffer than round Titanium actions
— Action body made with aircraft-grade billet 7075-T6 Aluminum and hardened 4140 Chromoly Steel
— Integral +20 MOA Picatinny two-section rail standard
— Modular bolt for lower cost bolt face changes
— .070″ firing pin diameter for maximum accuracy and reliable ignition
— Standard medium aluminum bolt knob, 5/16-24 thread
— LiFe Melonite-treated firing pin, bolt and shroud for smooth bolt movement and low maintenance
— Extended extraction cam for smooth bolt opening
— Uses Remington 700 SA trigger components and bottom metal
— Right-hand and left-hand versions
— Barrel tenon is 1.062 x 18 tpi (CLICK HERE for blueprint)

Product tip from EdLongRange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, New Product 1 Comment »
September 2nd, 2020

BAT Machine Actions — Video Reveals How They Are Made

Gavin Gear ultimate reloader BAT machine Bruce Thom Idaho Machining CNC Machines

If you have ANY interest in custom rifle actions, you MUST watch this video from UltimateReloader.com. Folks, definitely watch the video — it is VERY informative! To produce this video, Ultimate Reloader’s Gavin Gear visited the BAT Machine facility in Post Falls, Idaho, and interviewed BAT owner Bruce Thom.

In the video Bruce Thom demonstrates how BAT Machine actions are created from start to finish. Bruce shows every stage of the process, employing multiple high-tech machines. It’s impressive — Forum members say that this is a “must-watch” video. Gunsmith Jackie Schmidt noted: “Great Video. Even though I have been in the machine shop business for 50 years, I still marvel at the new innovations in precision machining. Bruce has a very down-to-earth, common sense approach to explaining what to many seems like machining wizardry.” And Mark T. posted: “Watched it last night. Excellent video and excellent machining practices — precision from beginning to end.”

Click Arrow to Watch Video

For further explanation of the action production processes, with step-by-step listing of how receivers and bolt assemblies are created, read Gavin Gear’s full BAT Machine Article on UltimateReloader.com.

READ FULL BAT Machine Story HERE (More Photos) »

Gavin Gear ultimate reloader BAT machine Bruce Thom Idaho Machining CNC Machines

BAT Machine Company Was Started 29 Years Ago
Back in 1991, Bruce Thom started BAT Machine Company, which was incorporated later in 1996. Bruce’s shop stared with manual machines, quickly moving to CNC machines later in the 1990s. BAT Machine quickly achieved a following among benchrest shooters for crafting superb actions that exhibited flawless function and superb machining. Those qualities, benchrest competitors realized, helped produce tiny groups, win matches, and set benchrest records. BAT Machine now makes rifle actions for a wide variety of disciplines: F-Class, PRS, ELR, hunting, and of course short- and long-range benchrest.

Gavin Gear ultimate reloader BAT machine Bruce Thom Idaho Machining CNC Machines

BAT Action Body Machining Stages
As shown in the video, here are the major stages for the fabrication of a BAT Machine receiver body:

1. Start: raw 17-4 stainless round bar (higher toughness than typical barrel/receiver steel)
2. Heat treat
3. Bore central hole (for EDM wire), face ends
4. EDM machining (cut bore and raceways)
5. True OD, cut receiver threads and lug seats
6. Cut tang and related features
7. Finish machining including body OD, integral lug (if equipped)

Gavin Gear ultimate reloader BAT machine Bruce Thom Idaho Machining CNC Machines

Final Production Stages — Polishing and Deburring
After the receiver body and bolt are machined, they go through a deburring and polishing process.

In the image above you can see the stages. At left is a receiver body straight from machining. Some hand work is typically performed to break interior edges that are sharp from machining. In the center, the receiver shows can see the initial polish stage. During this stage, machining marks are removed by coarse polishing. Additionally for receivers that will be nitrided, that will be done next. But for actions that are NOT nitrided, a final polish brings the parts up to a high luster, as show on the right.

After polish (and nitriding if that applies) the bolts and receivers get a finish assembly, and testing for proper smooth functioning. The receivers are then registered with the ATF and shipped to the customer.

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Gunsmithing, News, Tech Tip No Comments »
August 16th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Patriot 1000-Yard Rifles for Williamsport

Original Pennsyvlanvia 1000 Yard Club Williamsport Andrew Any Murtagh 1K Heavy Gun Light Gun 6mm Dasher 6x47 Lapua

Report by Andrew Murtagh
I’ve been a long range shooter for the past 17 years. Like most shooters in this game I’ve built, bought, and sold numerous rifles during my tenure. Here’s my tale of two special rifles, a Heavy Gun and a Light Gun, both sporting Patriotic stock graphics. I shoot both of these rifles in competition at Reade Range and The Original Pennsylvania 1000-Yard Club, aka “Williamsport”, where I serve as Club Vice-President.

Original Pennsyvlanvia 1000 Yard Club Williamsport Andrew Any Murtagh 1K Heavy Gun Light Gun 6mm Dasher 6x47 Lapua

My two Patriots were both acquired second-hand from a fellow shooter, Mike Bonchack. As purchased, they were very different from what they are now. I first decided to rechamber them using my reamers. The Light Gun (LG) is now chambered in 6×47 Lapua with 0.267″ neck, while the Heavy Gun (HG) is a 6mm Dasher with 0.266″ neck. After re-chambering the barrels, next I decided to get both guns up to maximum weight. The LG already had an adjustable weight system so it was easy to get it to 17 pounds. For the HG, I added an additional 25 pounds of lead/epoxy fill which was milled into the barrel channel and butt stock.

Original Pennsyvlanvia 1000 Yard Club Williamsport Andrew Any Murtagh 1K Heavy Gun Light Gun 6mm Dasher 6x47 Lapua

The Story Behind the Patriotic Graphics
I was initially going to have the LG painted until a close friend and fellow shooter, Tom Murtiff, suggested hydrographics. I landed on the patriotic theme because I’m a right-wing leaning Constitutionalist who still believes in the principles upon which our Founding Fathers built this nation. I wanted to express my support of our country’s Constitution and its Amendments. The search for the perfect patriot print was on.

This was my first hydrographic print experience and I was overwhelmed with the sheer number and variety of prints available. I spent a few days searching when I found the Amendment print. I then contacted Rick Schuh, owner of Boyzhid Hydrographics. He then prepped, hydro-dipped, and clear-coated the LG. Late in 2017 I purchased the HG and through a lengthy process in 2018 the metal work and stock additions were completed. I was now back in search of the perfect print. This was also lengthy, and I couldn’t find anything that spoke to me except for a suggestion to have “twin” rifles. I liked the idea — a pair of “Patriots!”

Rick was again employed to dip the Heavy Gun. That became a real undertaking because the stock alone (no metal attached) now weighed 35 pounds. He had to manufacture reinforced hangers to apply the graphics without flaw. The stock came out perfect to my eye, but not to his. On the bottom, which is rarely seen on any HG, he airbrushed a small flag to cover an area that stretched the print. Rick also made a jeweled plate for the toe of the butt.

Original Pennsyvlanvia 1000 Yard Club Williamsport Andrew Any Murtagh 1K Heavy Gun Light Gun 6mm Dasher 6x47 Lapua

I’m including this image so everyone can see Rick’s extra effort to make the HG perfect. I often joke with him about the added work no one would see. Well now the world can view his workmanship.

Original Pennsyvlanvia 1000 Yard Club Williamsport Andrew Any Murtagh 1K Heavy Gun Light Gun 6mm Dasher 6x47 Lapua

1000-Yard Heavy Gun Specifications:

Kelbly Stolle F-Class Panda dual-port, right eject with Kelbly Picatinny rail
Modified Ryan Miller HG stock bedded/pillared/weighted by David Powley
Bartlein 1:8.5-8″ gain-twist 0.236″ bore barrel
— chambered in 6mm Dasher 0.266″ neck by David Powley
Ryan Miller barrel-block fitted with nylon bushing by David Powley
Harrell’s muzzle brake
Jewell trigger
Optic One: NightForce 12-42x56mm NXS in Vortex rings
Optic Two: Leupold 7-35x56mm Mark 5 HD in Leupold rings

1000-Yard Light Gun Specifications:

BAT Machine B Action RB/LP/RE
McMillan MBR stock bedded by David Powley
Bartlein 1:8″-twist 0.237″ bore 30″ barrel
— chambered in 6×47 Lapua 0.267″ neck by David Powley
Harrell’s radial muzzle brake
Jewell trigger
NightForce 15-55x52mm Competition Scope in Harrell’s rings

Stock Graphics: Both rifles share a Patriot Constitution Hydrographic print (and clear-coat) by Rick Schuh of BoyzHid Hygrogaphics.

Original Pennsyvlanvia 1000 Yard Club Williamsport Andrew Any Murtagh 1K Heavy Gun Light Gun 6mm Dasher 6x47 Lapua

How to Succeed in the 1K Benchrest Games — Q & A with Andrew

Original Pennsyvlanvia 1000 Yard Club Williamsport Andrew Any Murtagh 1K Heavy Gun Light Gun 6mm Dasher 6x47 Lapua

Q: How Do You Choose a Chambering/Cartridge for a particular Match or Relay?

Andrew: Cartridge choice depends on the wind forecast. I always have several rifles with particular cartridge/loads for each depending on the forecast. If it’s a light wind day, say 4 to 8 mph with light gusts, I’ll be shooting either a 6×47 Lapua or a 6mm Dasher. If it’s blowing around 10 to 12 mph, I’ll campaign a 6×47 on its high node to get it down range flat. But if it’s really blowing or constantly changing direction, I shoot a big .300 WSM with either 200gr or 210gr bullet.

Q: What Is Your Load Development Method?

Andrew: Initial load development is always done over the chronograph at 100 yards until I get low ES/SD for 5 shots utilizing the same 10 pieces of absolutely perfect brass. Once I’m satisfied with the raw data I move to 1000 yards with a set of match brass and shoot 5-shot strings to find the best-performing exact powder charge. I have found this is usually within 0.20 grains of what performs well over the chronograph.

Q: What Brass, Primers, Powders, and Bullets Do You Use?

Andrew: I use Lapua brass for all things 6mm and Norma brass for my big .30 Cal stuff. I never change primers and shoot CCI BR2s or BR4s. I’m a Varget and H4350 fan. I’ve tried other powders, but they never were fruitful at 1K. Currently the only bullets I shoot are Sierra Match Kings. In the 6mm Dasher and 6×47 Lapua I use the 6mm 107gr SMK. In my .300 WSM I use .308-cal 200gr and 210gr SMKs.

Q: What Advice Do You Have for Novice 1000-Yard Competitors?

Andrew: Leave your ego at home and be willing to learn each and every time you come to the range. The discipline evolves rapidly and so must the shooter. It won’t take long to get left behind and become extremely frustrated with the game if you are not willing to learn and adapt. Find a tutor who is a great shooter and who is willing to mentor you. John Hoover and Tom Murtiff helped me and are very dear friends and great 1000-yard shooters. Believe me, having a good mentor takes years off the learning curve. Lastly, enroll in the Benchrest Shooting School offered by The Original Pennsylvania 1000 Yard Benchrest Club. I’m an instructor there and I, along with all the cadre, will help new shooters rapidly advance their skills.

Q: What’s the Secret to Judging the Wind? (In this discipline there are no target markers after each shot.)

Andrew: That’s the million-dollar question. What I do is find the condition that seems to hold. Once I’m committed into the record string, I follow it to the end. At Williamsport the wind flags can change at every distance so you simply need to pick one flag and hope it’s the one that remains truthful.

Long Range Competition Advice from a Leading 1K Benchrest Competitor

FIVE Key points to remember when shooting 1000-Yard benchrest

1. Be positive and have a clear state of mind when competing.

2. Bench set-up and shooting mechanics must always be the same — every shot. Then follow the shot through your optic.

3. Shoot two (2) shots before making a scope adjustment unless you’re under a minute of the sighter period.

4. Trust yourself and your equipment. You never want to second guess anything you put on the line.

5. Once you commit to shooting your record string, DO NOT STOP.

Original Pennsyvlanvia 1000 Yard Club Williamsport Andrew Any Murtagh 1K Heavy Gun Light Gun 6mm Dasher 6x47 Lapua

Invitation to Join Andrew at Williamsport in Pennsylvania
I currently serve as Vice President of The Original Pennsylvania 1000 Yard Benchrest Club, PA1000yard.com. Situated near the municipality of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, it has become known as the “Williamsport Club”. We would like to invite any shooting enthusiast to come out and visit our club during a match weekend. My rifles are only a sampling of the beauty and craftsmanship that is often on display at Williamsport’s 1000-yard line. Please stop by and visit with us.

Here are UPCOMING EVENTS at our club this summer and in 2021:

Light Gun and Heavy Gun Match #5, August 22/23, 2020
Light Gun and Heavy Gun Match Match #6, September 12/13, 2020
Light Gun and Heavy Gun Match Match #7, September 26/27, 2020

Long Range Benchrest School June, 2021
Annual 1000-Yard World Open Match July, 2021

Andrew wanted to give credit to the many talented guys who have helped with his rifle builds and his reloading equipment. In alphabetical order, these are Mike Bonchack, John Hoover, Tom Murtiff, David Powley, and Rich Schuh (Boyzhid Hydrographics).

Original Pennsyvlanvia 1000 Yard Club Williamsport Andrew Any Murtagh 1K Heavy Gun Light Gun 6mm Dasher 6x47 Lapua

(more…)

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Competition, Gunsmithing, Reloading, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
July 8th, 2020

How to Shoot DOTS — Insanely Small Groups at 200 Yards

200 yard benchrest group charles huckeba australia tiny group 6 PPC

This site is for and about accurate shooters. So today we feature the short-range group Benchrest game, where it’s all about shooting tiny groups in the ones and even “zeros”. Seeing the tiny groups 6 PPC aces produce, it’s easy to think the precision is all about the equipment. But there is a lot more involved. A talented human still has to watch the flags, run the gun properly, and tune his loads for the conditions. Here are some tips from one of the world’s best benchresters, Charles Huckeba.

Texan Charles Huckeba was the top individual shooter at the 2013 World Benchrest Championships (WBC) held near Sydney Australia in October 2013. In this video, 2013 WBC Two-Gun Overall winner Charles shoots a 1/8th MOA group at 200 yards — “a little bitty dot” as a fellow Team USA shooter observes. That’s impressive. If you can describe Huckeba’s style in a nutshell it would be “smooth, consistent, and rapid but not hurried”.

Charles also employed some unusual hardware. In the video, take a close look at the joystick on the Farley Coaxial front rest. There’s no knob at the end. In its place is a small, wood ammo caddy. Charles removed the standard knob from the handle of his Farley rest and replaced it with a home-made wood block that holds cartridges for the record target. The 10.5-lb Light Varmint rifle is chambered in 6PPC with a BAT Machine Action and a composite wood and carbon-fiber stock.

Watch Charles Huckeba Shoot 1/8 MOA, 200-yard group at World Benchrest Championships

Here is the actual 200-yard, 5-shot group Charles shot in the video. Photo (by Stuart Elliot) taken through the lens of Huckeba’s 50X March scope (reticle has 1/16th MOA Dot).
200 yard benchrest group charles huckeba australia
200 yard benchrest group charles huckeba australia

Analyzing the Fine Points — What Makes Huckeba So Good

Short-range benchrest shooter Boyd Allen saw some interesting things in Huckeba’s WBC performance, as captured on video. Boyd noticed Huckeba’s smooth gun-handling and efficient loading. But Boyd also spied some interesting equipment, including an innovative joystick “handle-caddy”.

1. Low Friction Bags — When Huckeba slid his rifle, there was very little apparent friction. The front bag features the new 3M material (ScotchLite) on the sliding surfaces. The rear Protektor bag has ears of the same low-friction material.

2. Pause Before Chambering — While he was watching the flags and deciding when to start firing, Charles kept his first round in the action, but out of the barrel’s chamber, probably so as not to heat the cartridge and change the round’s point of impact.

Charles Huckeba PPC World Benchrest joystick handle3. Ammo Caddy on Joystick Arm – Charles shoots a Right Bolt/Left Port action, so he pulls his rounds with his left hand. Note that Huckeba’s record rounds rest in a small, wood ammo caddy attached to the end of the joystick shaft. Look carefully, you’ll see the wood ammo block in place of the normal black ball at the end of the joystick. That allows Charles to pull shots with the absolute minimum of hand movement. Ingenious! Huckeba is very fast, with a great economy of motion. I believe that because his ammo was literally at hand, Charles was better able to keep his focus on aiming and the flags.

4. Smooth-Cycling BAT Action — Note how smoothly Huckeba’s action operates. When Charles lifts the bolt handle (to extract a round and cock the firing pin), this does not disturb the rifle. Likewise, as he closes the bolt, the gun doesn’t wobble. The smooth action allows Charles to hold point of aim even when shooting relatively quickly. Huckeba’s BAT action is chrome-moly steel. Some shooters believe this metal makes for a smoother action than stainless steel or aluminum.

5. Long-Wheelbase Stock — The wood and carbon fiber stock is light, long, and stiff. Yet, importantly, the stock is also well-damped. The longer-than-average stock length (with extended forearm) seems to help the gun track well without jumping or rocking. The longer forearm allows a longer “wheelbase”, effectively shifting the weight distribution rearward (less weight on the front, more weight on the rear). This places a greater share of the gun’s weight on the rear bag, as compared to a more conventional benchrest stock. Huckeba’s stock, built by Bob Scoville, is at the cutting edge of short-range benchrest design. Its light-weight balsa wood and carbon fiber construction provides a combination of stiffness and vibration damping that allows its relatively long fore-end to be fully utilized to increase the weight on the rear bag (always an issue with 10.5-pound rifles).

To learn more about this benchrest stock design, read the comments by stock-builder Bob Scoville in our PPC with Pedigree story in our Gun of the Week Archives. Bob observed:

“There is a lot more to the structure of the stocks than meets the eye. The carbon fiber skin with which I cover the stocks creates a light, tough exterior surface. However, this contributes very little to the overall performance of the stocks. The real strength and stiffness is the result of an internal beam utilizing balsa core/carbon fiber technology.

This type construction can be found in aircraft, race cars, powerboats, and sailboats. It is interesting to note, balsa has the highest strength to weight ratio of all woods and carbon fiber is one of the lowest stretch (modulus of elasticity) relative to weight of all materials. The marriage of these two materials is common in the high-performance world. Additionally, balsa is used commercially for vibration dampening and sound reduction.”

Video find by Boyd Allen. Video by Stuart Elliot of BRT Shooters Supply, Brisbane, Australia.
Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition 4 Comments »
June 7th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Barrel-Block F-Open Beast from Ireland

Enda Walsh F-Class Ireland

Today’s Sunday GunDay story features a beautiful F-Open rifle from Ireland. This was crafted a few years back, but it’s still one of our favorites. It has a handsome thumbhole custom stock, and it boasts an unusual chambering — the .300 Blaser Magnum. This impressive rig carries its barreled action in a massive barrel block — not often found in F-Class rigs.

.300 Blaser Magnum Cartridge F-ClassHere’s a very impressive F-Class project from Enda Walsh of Custom & Precision Rifles in Ireland. This rifle features a free-floated BAT Machines ‘M’ action with a Benchmark barrel chambered in .300 Blaser Magnum (300 BM). The barreled action is secured with a large barrel block. This handsome, long-wheelbase F-Class rig demonstrated some stunning accuracy at 1000 yards when it was brand new. Enda tells us: “I couldn’t wait until the rifle was fully polished before testing. I went to MNSCI (Midlands National Shooting Centre of Ireland) to shoot my new barrel block rifle. I came home with a huge smile on my face after shooting a five-shot group with 1.5″ vertical and 3″ horizontal at 1000 yards in an 8 mph wind.”

Click Photo for full-screen version
Enda Walsh F-Class Ireland

AUDIO FILE: Enda Walsh Talks about his New .300 BM Barrel Block F-Open Rifle.

Below you can see the barrel block in the handsome Padouk wood and carbon fiber stock. Enda uses high-spec epoxy layered between the barrel and the aluminum barrel block. Yes, those three “super-sized” cartridges are .300 Blaser Magnums loaded with with 230gr Berger Hybrids. The smaller cartridge is a .308 Win (with 150gr bullet), provided for comparison. This .300 BM drives the 230s at 3140 FPS.

Enda Walsh F-Class Ireland

CLICK HERE for Horizontal Version of above photo.

.300 Blaser Magnum Cartridge F-Class.300 BM Runs 230-grainers at 3140 FPS!
Enda tells us: “I wanted something to beat the 300 WSM. After studying the .300 Blaser Magnum, I decided this was the [chambering] that could deliver high accuracy consistently and be able to shoot the 230gr Bergers at 3140 FPS. Using H1000 powder, they do very well but the case life is short at these speeds. We have backed them off a little and retained the accuracy and extended case life considerably.”

Enda says the 230gr Hybrids at 3140 fps drift much less in the wind than do 7mm 180gr Hybrids launched from a 7mm WSM. A quick run through JBM Ballistics for a 10 mph, full-value crosswind at 1000 yards (sea-level) tells the tale. JBM predicts 4.2 MOA horizontal deflection for the .30-caliber 230s at 3140 fps vs. 5.0 MOA for the 7mm 180s at 3050 fps. That 0.8 MOA difference represents more than 8 inches at 1000 yards. When you consider the small size of the F-Open X-Ring, you can see how the enhanced ballistics could be a game-changer in the wind.

Note the metal bag-rider “keel” on the underside of the buttstock.
Enda Walsh F-Class Ireland

Barrel Block Acts as Heat Sink
Enda needed a way to beat the heat, with this big case. He explains: “Because of the large case volume (roughly 82 grains of usable capacity) there are two issues. Firstly, throat wear, and secondly heat. To combat this I have a new reamer on order with slight alterations which will help the throat wear. To combat the heat affecting a 34″ barrel I decided to build a barrel block rifle. It was previously mounted in a standard stock, and when the barrel got too hot accuracy was an issue. The barrel block acts as a heat sink and also shortens the overhanging barrel considerably, which has greatly improved accuracy over a complete string. The block is made from aircraft grade aluminium.” As a final note, Enda wanted to thank Pacific Tool & Gauge for the special-order reamers.

More .300 Blaser Magnum F-Classers from Enda Walsh in Ireland
Here are three more .300 Blaser Magnum F-Class rifles Enda built for the 2014 European Championships at the Bisley Range in the UK. The color scheme comes from the Irish Flag.

Enda Walsh F-Class Ireland

And here is Enda Walsh himself shooting of of these rifles in Ireland:

Enda Walsh F-Class Ireland

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Gunsmithing No Comments »