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November 1st, 2023

Selecting Bushings for Bushing Dies — Tips from John Whidden

John Whidden Dies Neck Bushing diameter reloading

Whidden Gunworks makes great sizing and seating dies. The Whidden full-length sizing die with neck bushing is very popular because it allows you to “tune” the neck tension by using different bushings, with larger or smaller inside diameters. In this video, John Whidden explains how to choose a the right bushing size for use with your neck-sizing and full-length sizing bushing dies.

For most applications, John suggest starting with the caliper-measured outside diameter of a loaded cartridge (with your choice of bullet), and then SUBTRACT about three thousandths. For example, if your loaded round mics at .333, then you would want to start with a 0.330 neck bushing. John notes, however, that you may want to experiment with bushings, going down a thousandth and up a thousandth. With thin In addition, as your brass ages and the necks harden, you may want to change your bushing size.

John Whidden Dies Neck Bushing diameter reloadingQuick Tip: Try Flipping Your Bushings
You may also want to experiment with “flipping” your neck bushings to alternate the side that first contacts the neck of the case. (One side of the bushing is usually marked with the size, while the other side is unmarked.) So try “number side up” as well as “number side down”.

Some folks believe that one side of the bushing may allow a smoother entry, and that this can enhance concentricity. Other people think they can get very slightly more or less neck tension depending on how the bushing is oriented. This is a subtle effect, but it costs nothing to experiment.

If one bushing orientation proves better you can mark the “up” side with nail polish so that you can always orient the bushing optimally. NOTE: We have confirmed that some bushings are actually made with a slight taper. In addition, bushings may get distorted slightly when the brand name and size is stamped. Therefore there IS a reason to try both orientations.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
August 29th, 2023

Three Great Rifle Champions Reveal Their Wind-Reading Secrets

wind reading John Whidden, David Tubb, Carl Bernosky

In this article, three great champions reveal their wind-calling secrets in video interviews. We first published this “Three Champions” story a few years ago. If you are a competitive shooter, and you want to learn more about reading the wind, you should watch all three of these interviews. These guys are among the best shooters to ever shoulder a rifle, and they have much wisdom to share.

At the 2010 SHOT Show, we had the unique opportunity to corner three “superstars” of High Power shooting, and solicit their wind-reading secrets. In the three videos below (in alphabetical order), Carl Bernosky (10-Time Nat’l High Power Champion), David Tubb (11-time Nat’l High Power Champion and 7-time Nat’l Long-Range Champion), and John Whidden (6-Time Nat’l High Power Long-Range Champion) shared some of the wind-doping strategies that have carried them to victory in the nation’s most competitive shooting matches. This is GOLD folks… no matter what your discipline — be it short-range Benchrest or Long-Range High Power — watch these videos for valuable insights that can help you shoot more accurately, and post higher scores, in all wind conditions.

We were very fortunate to have these three extraordinarily gifted champions reveal their “winning ways”. These guys REALLY know their stuff. I thought to myself: “Wow, this is how a baseball fan might feel if he could assemble Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Ted Williams in the same room, and have them each reveal their hitting secrets.” Editor’s Note: These interviews were conducted before all three men won their most recent National Championships so the introductions may list a lower number of titles won. For example, John Whidden won back-to-back LR Championships in 2016 and 2017/

Top photo courtesy Rifleman’s Journal.

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February 23rd, 2023

Control Rifle Canting to Improve Long-Range Accuracy

rifle level canting shooting rifle Ryan Cleckner

In a helpful NSSF video, Ryan Cleckner explains why you normally should avoid canting your rifle — rotating it clockwise or counter-clockwise. Cleckner explains that canting the rifle in one direction or another will change the point of impact: “When you rotate the rifle, not only does the [POI move] in the direction that you’re rotated, [but] it also loses some of its elevation as it rolls down.” This, Cleckner explains, can make you miss on one side or the other:

Cant to the Left — You’re going to miss low and left.
Cant to the Right — You’re going to miss low and right.

rifle level canting shooting rifle Ryan Cleckner

In this video, starting at the one-minute mark, Cleckner shows the effect of rifle canting when engaging a 600-yard target. A few degrees of cant (either to the left or to the right), moves the shot POI completely off the steel silhouette target. The POI change occurs mainly because you are lowering (and laterally shifting) the scope sight-line relative to the bore axis, effectively changing your zero.

David Tubb has explained: “Every 1 degree you are off on a cant, is about six inches of difference laterally at 1000 yards”.

Position Shooting with Sling — Rifle Cant Considerations
Cleckner’s discussion assumes that the scope or sights are set to hit center with the rifle level and plumb. That works for most situations when shooting prone off bipod, front mechanical rest, or front sandbag. However, many sling shooters, including David Tubb and John Whidden, do tilt or cant their rifles slightly inward because this allows a more comfortable hold with sling, or allows better eye-to-sight alignment. Holding the rifle at an angle can work — but the angle of cant must be consistent for every shot. Canting the rifle is not a sin by itself. However, after you confirm your zero on your target, the degree of cant must be the same for EVERY shot. You must maintain that exact same degree of rotation on each shot or you will experience the shot POI movement Cleckner illustrates. Consistency is the key.

John Whidden
John Whidden, 5-time Nat’l Long Range Champion, holds a Palma rifle. John now shoots a match rifle with an Anschutz stock which he holds more upright, but still with some counter-clockwise cant. John also installed his iron sights at an angle so that the adjustments are correct (and plumb) even with his canted hold: “While it may not be obvious in the picture, the sights on my rifle are set up so that they’re straight vertical and horizontal while I hold the rifle canted. Making sure your adjustments (scope or sights) are vertical and horizontal is a critical piece of the pie.”

Inexpensive Dual-Diameter Scope-Mounted Bubble Level
The best way to avoid inconsistent rifle canting is to use a bubble level fitted to rail or scope. One very affordable and versatile product is the Jialitte Scope Bubble Level. This features a 30mm milled inside diameter, plus an inner insert ring so it will also fit 1″-diameter main tubes. The Jialitte unit is nicely radiused, and has a low profile in the middle. User reviews have been very positive. You could easily pay $35.00 or more for a 30mm scope level. This costs just $10.99 on Amazon.

Scope Optic bubble level 30mm 1

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November 26th, 2022

Saturday at the Movies: Cortina Interviews World-Class Shooters

Erik Cortina YouTube interview john whidden seb lambang Lonny Basham Bart Sauter Video Interview

Interview with NBRSA 3-Gun and Tackdriver Champ Bart Sauter

Bullet-maker Bart Sauter is one of the world’s best benchrest shooters. He won the 2022 NBRSA 3-Gun National Championship this year, and he also has won the multi-class Tack Driver event two years in a row. Plus he has set small-group world record at 600 yards. In this very informative interview, Bart talks about bullets, equipment selection, match preparation, and shooting techniques. We think every benchrest shooter should watch this video.

Master at Work — Sauter in Action
If you want to see how a world-class bench shooter runs his rifle, check out this short video showing Bart Sauter in action. He runs five shots in about 9 seconds.

Interview with 6-Time Nat’l Long Range Champion John Whidden


CLICK HERE for full 81-minute interview with John Whidden.

John Whidden of Whidden Gunworks is one of the greatest American marksman in history. Shooting sling rifles, John has won the U.S. Long Range National Championship a remarkable six times. He has also won a Palma World Championship, and this summer John won the 2022 Smallbore Prone U.S. National Championship. While a humble individual, John has superb shooting skills and unrivaled mental toughness. In this interview, John talks about the challenges of competition and what motivates him to excel. John also talks about the products he has developed for Whidden Gunworks.

Interview with Tod Hendricks, 2021 F-Open National Champion

A member of Team Lapua/Brux/Borden, Tod Hendricks has been one of the most talented and consistent F-Open competitors for many years. He used his mental toughness and wind-reading skills to capture a National Championship in 2021. In this wide-ranging interview with his team-mate Erik Cortina, Tod reveals what it takes to win in F-Open these days, covering equipment, ammo quality, and match preparation.

NOTE: While the video title frame states Tod Hendricks was 2020 National F-Open Champion, he actually won the 2021 NRA F-Open Long-Range Championship at Camp Atterbury, IN. Tod finished 3rd at the 2020 Nat’l Championship at the Ben Avery Range, AZ.

Interview with Ken Clemens of Brux Barrels

Brux Barrels is a machine tool company located in Lodi, Wisconsin, specializing in premium, custom, cut-rifled barrels. Brux barrels have set some impressive benchrest records, and have won championships in multiple disciplines. In this video Erik Cortina interviews Ken Clemens of Brux. They discuss the production process at Brux, from the selection of top-quality steel blanks to the final hand-lapping procedures.

Interview with Lanny Bassham, Olympic Gold Medalist and Author

Erik Cortina recently interviewed noted author and Olympic Gold Medal-winning shooter Lanny Bassham. Erik asked Lanny about his book With Winning in Mind. Lanny discussed the “mental game” in the shooting sports and Lanny’s program for visualization of a winning performance. Lanny explains that after you have mastered your rifle skills, and learned to read the wind, it is important to adopt a winning mentality and to visualize success. Lanny should know. He won a shooting Gold Medal in the Olympics along with 22 world individual and team titles.

Interview with Lindsey Paul, Queen of 2 Miles

Lindsey Paul is the only women to win the King of Two Miles ELR competition, becoming the first-ever QUEEN of Two Miles, shooting a .375 CheyTac. In 2021, the talented lady Texan beat a field of top competitors, including past KO2M Champions, all guys. Lindsey had a truly outstanding performance, including 3 hits in 5 shots at the max distance, 2.0 miles (3520 yards). In this interview, Lindsey, who works in the law enforcement field, talks about the Extreme Long Range (ELR) game, and she also explains what it’s like to shoot the heavy-recoiling .375 CheyTac.

Interview with Frank Galli — Founder of Sniper’s Hide

The founder of the popular Sniper’s Hide Forum, Frank Galli is an online pioneer and living legend in the tactical shooting sports world. A former U.S. Marine Scout-Sniper, Frank (aka “Lowlight”) runs a very active Forum with over 180,000 members. Along with moderating his Forum, Frank runs training clinics and hosts regular podcasts. Frank is also the author of the book Precision Rifle Marksmanship: The Fundamentals, an excellent resource for PRS/NRL competitors as well as tactical marksmen.

BONUS Videos — Two Great Tech and Reloading Videos

How to Find Jam Point on your Barrel

Loading for F-Class

Erik Cortina produces his own line of EC Barrel Tuners and Tuner Brakes. These have been used successfully by many top shooters. View the full line of Cortina Precision products at: ShootSmallGroups.com.

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September 17th, 2022

Bullet Pointing 101 — How to Point Match Bullet Tips

Berger Bullet Pointing Applied Ballistics Bryan Litz Whidden Pointing Die pointer

Tech Tip by Doc Beech, Applied Ballistics Support Team
I am going to hit on some key points when it comes to bullet pointing. How much pointing and trimming needed is going to depend on the bullet itself. Specifically how bad the bullets are to begin with. Starting out with better-quality projectiles such as Bergers is going to mean two things. First that you don’t need to do as much correction to the meplat, but also that the improvement is going to be less. NOTE: We recommend you DO NOT POINT hunting bullets. Pointing can affect terminal performance in a bad way.

NOTE the change in the bullet tip shape and hollowpoint size after pointing:
Berger Bullet Pointing Applied Ballistics Bryan Litz Whidden Pointing Die pointer

Don’t Over-Point Your Bullets
What is important here is that you never want to over-point. It is far better to be safe, and under-point, rather than over-point and crush the tips even the slightest bit. To quote Bryan Litz exactly: “Best practice is to leave a tiny air gap in the tip so you’re sure not to compress the metal together which will result in crushing. Most of the gain in pointing is taking the bullet tip down to this point. Going a little further doesn’t show on target”. So in essence you are only bringing the tip down a small amount… and you want to make sure you leave an air gap at the tip.

Salazar Whidden Bullet Pointer system

Also keep in mind, bullet pointing is one of those procedures with variable returns. If you only shoot at 100-200 yards, bullet pointing will likely not benefit you. To see the benefits, which can run from 2 to 10% (possibly more with poorly designed bullets), you need be shooting at long range. Bryan says: “Typically, with pointing, you’ll see 3-4% increase in BC on average. If the nose is long and pointy (VLD shape) with a large meplat, that’s where pointing has the biggest effect; up to 8% or 10%. If the meplat is tight on a short tangent nose, the increase can be as small as 1 or 2%.” For example, If you point a Berger .308-caliber 185gr Juggernaut expect to only get a 2% increase in BC.

Berger Bullet Pointing Applied Ballistics Bryan Litz Whidden Pointing Die pointer

Should You Trim after Pointing?
Sometimes you can see tiny imperfections after pointing, but to say you “need” to trim after pointing is to say that the small imperfections make a difference. Bryan Litz advises: “If your goal is to make bullets that fly uniformly at the highest levels, it may not be necessary to trim them.” In fact Bryan states: “I’ve never trimmed a bullet tip, before or after pointing”. So in the end it is up to you to decide.

Pointing is Easy with the Right Tools
The process of pointing in itself is very simple. It takes about as much effort to point bullets as it does to seat bullets. We are simply making the air gap on the tip of the bullet ever-so smaller. Don’t rush the job — go slow. Use smooth and steady pressure on the press when pointing bullets. You don’t want to trap air in the die and damage the bullet tip. You can use most any press, with a caliber-specific sleeve and correct die insert. The Whidden pointing die has a micrometer top so making adjustments is very easy.

Bryan Litz actually helped design the Whidden Bullet Pointing Die System, so you can order the Pointing Die and Inserts directly from Applied Ballistics. Just make sure that you pick up the correct caliber sleeve(s) and appropriate insert(s). As sold by Applied Ballistics, the Whidden Bullet Pointing Die System comes with the die, one tipping insert, and one caliber-specific sleeve. To see which insert(s) you need for your bullet type(s), click this link:

LINK: Whidden Gunworks Pointing Die Insert Selection Chart

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 6 Comments »
August 16th, 2022

John Whidden Wins Smallbore Championship at Camp Perry

John Whidden CMP National prone championships Camp Perry Ohio

Team Berger shooter John Whidden of Whidden Gunworks topped the field to win this year’s Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Smallbore Prone National Championship at Camp Perry. Whidden, who hails from Nashville, Georgia, was named the Prone 6400 Aggregate Champion after firing a score of 6379-449X. During his route to the Aggregate win, Whidden also earned third overall in the Iron (Metallic) Sight Championship and second in the Any Sight match.

The National Prone Championships featured two days of both Iron Sight and Any Sight events (four days overall) for adults and juniors. Each day included four stages of fire at 50 yards, 50 meters, and 100 yards.

John Whidden CMP National prone championships Camp Perry Ohio

The 2022 CMP National Smallbore Matches were held at prestigious Camp Perry National Guard training facility on the shores of Lake Erie near Port Clinton, Ohio. The matches started July 19th with a Small Arms Firing School for new competitors, and concluded after eight days of competition from July 20-27. These Smallbore disciplines were fired over the eight days of competition:

July 20 – Three Position Iron Sight Championship
July 21 – Three Position Any Sight Championship
July 22 – Junior Team Match, Three Position Team Championship
July 23 – Prone Metallic Sight Championship Day 1
July 24 – Prone Metallic Sight Championship Day 2
July 25 – Prone Elimination Final & Prone Team Championship
July 26 – Prone Any Sight Championship Day 1
July 27 – Prone Any Sight Championship Day 2

The Smallbore Prone National Championship is decided over four days of firing 160 rounds per day for a possible 6,400 score. Whidden finished first with a 6,379-449X, followed by Antonio Gross in 2nd scoring a 6,371-412X, and Larry Parker medaling 3rd with 6,362-413X.

John Whidden CMP National prone championships Camp Perry Ohio

Whidden stated, “The CMP ran a great match as they always do. The wind and the elements were enough to keep us on our toes. I was really pleased with the performance of the Lapua Midas+ rimfire ammunition throughout the match!”

John Whidden CMP National prone championships Camp Perry Ohio
John Whidden CMP National prone championships Camp Perry Ohio

CLICK HERE for complete results of the 2022 CMP National Smallbore Matches. Hundreds of photos of the CMP 20222 Smallbore events can be viewed on the CMP Zenfolio website.

John Whidden CMP National prone championships Camp Perry Ohio

About Lapua Ammunition and Berger Bullets
Lapua manufactures high-quality rimfire ammunition and Berger manufactures precision projectiles and match-grade ammunition for Target, Hunting and Tactical applications. Berger is part of the Capstone Precision Group, the exclusive U.S. distributor for Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori and SK-Rimfire products. For more information, visit Bergerbullets.com.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, News, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
July 1st, 2022

Choosing the Optimal Neck Bushing Size — Tips from Whidden

John Whidden Dies Neck Bushing diameter reloading

Whidden Gunworks makes great sizing and seating dies. The Whidden full-length sizing die with neck bushing is very popular because it allows you to “tune” the neck tension by using different bushings, with larger or smaller inside diameters. In this video, John Whidden explains how to choose a the right bushing size for use with your neck-sizing and full-length sizing bushing dies.

For most applications, John suggest starting with the caliper-measured outside diameter of a loaded cartridge (with your choice of bullet), and then SUBTRACT about three thousandths. For example, if your loaded round mics at .333, then you would want to start with a 0.330 neck bushing. John notes, however, that you may want to experiment with bushings, going down a thousandth and up a thousandth. With thin In addition, as your brass ages and the necks harden, you may want to change your bushing size.

John Whidden Dies Neck Bushing diameter reloadingQuick Tip: Try Flipping Your Bushings
You may also want to experiment with “flipping” your neck bushings to alternate the side that first contacts the neck of the case. (One side of the bushing is usually marked with the size, while the other side is unmarked.) So try “number side up” as well as “number side down”.

Some folks believe that one side of the bushing may allow a smoother entry, and that this can enhance concentricity. Other people think they can get very slightly more or less neck tension depending on how the bushing is oriented. This is a subtle effect, but it costs nothing to experiment.

If one bushing orientation proves better you can mark the “up” side with nail polish so that you can always orient the bushing optimally. NOTE: We have confirmed that some bushings are actually made with a slight taper. In addition, bushings may get distorted slightly when the brand name and size is stamped. Therefore there IS a reason to try both orientations.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
September 12th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: John Whidden’s New .223 Rem Palma Rifle

Whidden Gunworks .223 Remington Barnard Action Palma fullbore
Whidden Gunworks .223 Remington Barnard Action Palma fullbore

.223 Rem for Long Range Palma, by John Whidden (5-Time Nat’l LR Champion)
We’ve seen quite an amount of interest in recent years in .223s for Long Range Palma shooting. Yes, the .223 Remington is a pretty light cartridge for long range use, but the specific rules of Palma shooting make it a choice worth considering.

Back in 2019, the Int’l Confederation of Fullbore Rifle Associations (ICFRA), the international governing body for Palma shooting, made a rule change allowing .223 Rem rifles to use bullets of less than 91 grains. Previously the rule allowed the use of bullets less than 81 grains in the .223 Rem, and we have long had the popular option of .308s shooting bullets less than 156 grains. These heavier bullets such as the 85.5gr Berger LR Hybrid and 90gr Berger VLD make the .223s quite competitive in the wind with the old standby .308 Winchester. The .223 does hold the obvious advantage of much lower recoil than the .308. [Editor: The reduced recoil is quite noticeable in the video below where John is shooting his .223 Rem rifle.]

John Whidden Shoots .223 Rem Palma Rifle with 90gr Berger VLDs

Watch video at 00:25 and you’ll see the recoil of Whidden’s .223 Rem Palma rifle is significantly less than a .308 Win Palma rig. John joked: “With the .223 Rem there is just a pop and a wiggle after the shot.”

.223 Rem Palma Rifle — Barnard Action, Tec-Hro Stock

The Barnard P action imported by Whidden Gunworks is the foundation for many winning Palma rifles. As soon as our USA shooters returned from the New Zealand Palma match in 2019 they were immediately requesting bolts to convert their actions to .223 Remington.

Whidden Gunworks .223 Remington Barnard Action Palma fullbore

Given all of this interest in the .223 Rem, I decided to build one myself and see if all of these theories about wind performance held water. Starting with my Barnard P action, I worked with Tec-Hro in Germany to use one of their Fanatic stocks for the project. The Fanatic is a modern aluminum stock suitable for prone or Three Position use. The stock uses adapter blocks to work with a wide variety of rimfire actions such as Anschutz, Walther, and Feinwerkbau. As far as I know we were the first to test it out for centerfire use. After shooting the stock with my .308 Win barreled action installed to refine a few details and ensure the stock would stand up to recoil, I then mounted my .223 Rem barreled action and went to the range.

Whidden Gunworks .223 Remington Barnard Action Palma fullbore

Prior to my range visit a decision was made concerning bullets and twist rate. After discussion with Mark Buettgen at Bartlein Barrels I ordered two barrels — a 1:7″-twist and also a 1:6.25″-twist. Mark was looking for some data using the Sierra 90gr MatchKing bullet and we expected that the faster twist rate might give the best success with that MatchKing bullet. When the barrels arrived they were chambered and installed on the rifle.

Whidden Gunworks .223 Remington Barnard Action Palma fullbore
John uses a Warner rear adjustable sight with a Centra front sight.

Fast Twist-Rate Barrels for Long .223-Caliber Bullet
First up the 1:6.25″-twist barrel was installed and testing commenced. The barrel shot extremely well right out of the gate. All loads used Lapua brass and Vihtavuori N140 powder. I tested the Berger 85.5gr and 90gr bullets as well as Sierra 90gr and 95gr bullets. Testing with the 6.25-twist barrel went well with both of the Berger bullets looking especially good. Later the 1:7″-twist barrel was mounted and tested.

While both barrels were very accurate we decided that the 1:6.25″-twist barrel outshined the 1:7″-twist tube. Now we all know that some barrels are just a little more accurate than others. With such a small sample of data here (just two barrels) I’m not saying that a 1:6.25″-twist is decidedly better. In fact we have a number of customers shooting 7-twist barrels who are shooting them very well. With this particular rifle however, the 6.25-twist seems to be the more accurate of the two.

Whidden Gunworks .223 Remington Barnard Action Palma fullbore

.223 Rem Load Development for Palma Competition

The load I settled on is Lapua brass, Vihtavuori N140 powder, and Berger 90 grain VLDs which I moly-coat. I soft-seat the bullets into the lands with only .001″ neck tension or a little less.

Why the Berger 90gr VLD? The secret sauce is that the 90gr VLD is much superior in the wind after we point it up with the Whidden Pointing Die. The 85.5gr Hybrid bullet comes from Berger with this treatment already done while the 90gr VLD does not. When the 90-grainer is pointed up, the wind drift is a few percent better than the 85.5, given the velocities that I feel comfortable achieving with the rifle.

I settled on 2840 fps for the 90gr VLD and 2880 fps for the 85.5gr Hybrid from a 32″ barrel. When pointed up, the 90-grainer shoots flatter to 1000 yards by 1 MOA which indicates a G7 BC of .289 in my combination. Wind Drift in a 10 mph direct crosswind at 1000 yards is 70.8″ with this 90gr combination compared to 76.8″ for the 85.5gr load.

Whidden Gunworks .223 Remington Barnard Action Palma fullbore

Whidden Gunworks .223 Remington Barnard Action Palma fullboreTesting in Competition — at Camp Perry
This past August 2021 at the CMP Long Range National Championships at Camp Perry I finally had the chance to shoot the rifle on a big stage. Winds that day were from almost directly 12:00 to about 1:30 switching headwinds. Velocity was around 8-10 mph meaning not the easiest or the hardest of conditions. I managed a third place finish in the Palma match. That proves the .223 Rem is definitely competitive in elite Palma events.

.223 Rem Performance in the Wind
My sense of the .223 Rem’s wind performance was that it was in line with the performance I’d expect from my .308 Win Palma gun. Of course the lack of recoil made the .223 Rem much easier to shoot well.

How to Order a Rifle Like This
Whidden Gunworks can build a rifle like this for Palma competitors who want to move to .223 Rem. John tells us: “We’ve built a number of these combinations of the Barnard P action, Tec-Hro Fanatic stock, and Bartlein barrel. They all shoot incredibly well and the ergonomics are top notch. One of the good points is that the current price of $3875.00 (without sights) makes it a bargain for a top-tier Palma rifle.”

Whidden Gunworks .223 Remington Barnard Action Palma fullboreAbout John Whidden
5-Time National Long Range Champion

John Whidden is founder and owner of Whidden Gunworks and a lifelong competitive shooter. Major shooting accomplishments include being a 5-Time U.S. National Long Range Champion, winner of the Australia National Queen’s Prize, and member of three USA Palma Teams. John is currently active in Long Range Highpower, 300 Meter Prone, and Smallbore prone events. John tells us that one secret of his success is having top equipment: “The mental component of Long Range competitive shooting is always challenging but having tremendous confidence in the accuracy of your equipment is a huge benefit. There’s nothing to start your Palma match off well like knowing that you are shooting the most accurate Palma rifle you’ve ever owned.”

Whidden Gunworks .223 Remington Barnard Action Palma fullbore

Whidden Gunworks stands ready to help with your shooting and reloading needs. Whidden Gunworks specializes in custom bolt action rifles, reloading dies, other reloading tools, and reloading components. Well known for match-grade custom rifles and high-quality reloading dies, Whidden Gunworks’ growing lineup includes components from Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori, and SK rimfire ammunition. Learn more by visiting www.WhiddenGunworks.com.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
August 11th, 2021

Front Forearm Sleds Stabilize ARs and Narrow Forearm Rifles

Whidden Gunworks Track Plate

ARs and Narrow-Forearm Sporters Benefit from Front Bag-Rider Blocks
Whidden Gunworks offers a smart product that will enhance the bench-rested accuracy of any rifle with an accessory rail on the forearm. The Whidden Track Plate fits securely in the forearm accessory rail on prone, cross-the-course, tactical, and Palma rifles. These guns typically have a narrow and/or rounded fore-end so they rock and wobble when used with a front pedestal rest. The TrackPlate cures that. Once installed it provides a rock-solid, 2.9″-wide platform that mates perfectly with a benchrest-type front sandbag. This gives sling-shooters maximum stability when testing loads or zeroing their sights or scope. Plus you can now shoot F-Class competitively with a prone gun. (The 2.9″ width is 100% legal for F-Open).

Whidden Gunworks Track Plate

The Track Plate is light-weight, has catamaran-style runners to aid tracking and prevent rocking, and can be easily stowed in a range bag. The Track Plate fits BOTH Anschutz and American style forends and is made in the USA of machined aluminum. The Track Plate is available from Whidden Gunworks for $49.50.

Plate designer (and 5-Time Nat’l LR Rifle Champion) John Whidden says: “The Plate is great for any rifle with a rail whether it ís smallbore, centerfire, or an air gun. Now you can try F-Class with your favorite prone rifle: the Plate has a perfect low-drag finish for riding a rest or sandbags and is competition legal.”

Bag-Riders for AR-Platform Rifles from EGW
AR owners should check out the 3″-wide Delrin bag-rider from Evolution Gun Works (EGW). There are two versions, one for front Picatinny Rails, and another that mounts via sling swivel studs. These EGW Bag-Riders were developed expressly to fit the fore-ends of ARs. The front bag-riders are contoured to match the handguard profile so they fits securely with no wobble.

EGW AR15 ar bagrider bag-rider front sled

The $49.99 EGW Picatinny Rail front Bag-Rider simply slides on your under-forearm rail and there is a a tension bolt. Attachment is quick and easy. Or, if your AR has no rail get the original $39.99 EGW front Bag-Rider that attaches to a front sling swivel stud anchor. That allows it to mount as easily as a Harris bipod — no rail needed! Just unscrew the swivel stud, put the front bag-rider in place and attach one hex-head machine screw.

EGW AR15 ar bagrider bag-rider front sled

Also with the two front Bag-Riders, EGW offers a Rear Bag-Rider for ARs that attaches via the sling swivel anchor. Overall, it is a slick system. Front and rear bag-riders can be attached in a couple of minutes. The Delrin blocks slide easily in the bags and make the gun ultra-stable. The gun tracks straight back.

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip No Comments »
May 15th, 2021

Choosing the Best Neck Bushing Size — Tips from John Whidden

John Whidden Dies Neck Bushing diameter reloading

Whidden Gunworks makes great sizing and seating dies. The Whidden full-length sizing die with neck bushing is very popular because it allows you to “tune” the neck tension by using different bushings, with larger or smaller inside diameters. In this video, John Whidden explains how to choose a the right bushing size for use with your neck-sizing and full-length sizing bushing dies.

For most applications, John suggest starting with the caliper-measured outside diameter of a loaded cartridge (with your choice of bullet), and then SUBTRACT about three thousandths. For example, if your loaded round mics at .333, then you would want to start with a 0.330 neck bushing. John notes, however, that you may want to experiment with bushings, going down a thousandth and up a thousandth. With thin In addition, as your brass ages and the necks harden, you may want to change your bushing size.

John Whidden Dies Neck Bushing diameter reloadingQuick Tip: Try Flipping Your Bushings
You may also want to experiment with “flipping” your neck bushings to alternate the side that first contacts the neck of the case. (One side of the bushing is usually marked with the size, while the other side is unmarked.) So try “number side up” as well as “number side down”.

Some folks believe that one side of the bushing may allow a smoother entry, and that this can enhance concentricity. Other people think they can get very slightly more or less neck tension depending on how the bushing is oriented. This is a subtle effect, but it costs nothing to experiment.

If one bushing orientation proves better you can mark the “up” side with nail polish so that you can always orient the bushing optimally. NOTE: We have confirmed that some bushings are actually made with a slight taper. In addition, bushings may get distorted slightly when the brand name and size is stamped. Therefore there IS a reason to try both orientations.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
February 10th, 2021

Firearm Science: Eye Dominance, Eye Protection, Irons vs. Optics

firearm science NRA Jessie Duff Harrison

NRA Media offers a series of 40 informative videos about the Science of Shooting, covering a wide range of topics, from eye dominance to long-range ballistics. These videos feature high production values, with super-slow motion segments, as well as helpful computer graphics to illustrate the principles covered.

The videos are narrated by Jessie Duff, a top action pistol shooter (and the first women ever to achieve USPSA Grand Master status). Jessie is assisted by talented shooters such as Top Shot Season 4 Champion Chris Cheng. There are forty videos in the Firearm Science Video Series. Here are five NRA videos, with links to others below. You’ll find all 40 NRA Firearm Science Videos HERE.

Eye Dominance — How to Determine Which Eye is Dominant

Host Jessie Duff and longtime shooter Krystie Messenger demonstrate how eye dominance affects aim and teach you how to determine your dominant eye in this edition of Firearm Science. There are very simple tests you can do to determine your eye dominance. This Editor is right-handed but left-eye dominant. All competitive shooters should check for eye dominance. If you are cross-dominant, you can alter your head position or put a paper patch on one frame of your shooting glasses.

Eye Protection — Effect of Different Color Lenses

No matter what you’re shooting, eye protection should always be worn. But with so many choices, what should you wear? In this edition of Firearm Science, two-time Olympic trap shooter Corey Cogdell explains lens color options for protective eyewear. Different colors may be selected according to the light conditions and the sport. For most rifle shooters using magnified scopes, clear lenses are probably the best choice, except on very bright summer days.

Iron Sights vs. Optics

Host Jessie Duff and shooter Krystie Messenger demonstrate the benefits and drawbacks of using iron sights and optics in this edition of Firearm Science. For AR-type rifles, choosing the right option depends on the intended use of the rifle and the rules of competition. For example, a “Standard military Rifle” for CMP competition must have iron sights. But current NRA service rifle competition (and CMP unlimited military rifle class) allows scopes. Olympic smallbore shooters and Palma shooters have shown that extreme accuracy IS possible with sophisticated target sights. Below is the iron-sights Palma rifle with which John Whidden (Whidden Gunworks) won NRA Long-Range National Championships.

John Whidden .308 Win Palma rifle

Permalink - Videos, Handguns, Shooting Skills No Comments »
October 20th, 2020

Front Sleds Stabilize Narrow Forearm Rifles and ARs

Whidden Gunworks Track Plate

ARs and Narrow-Forearm Sporters Benefit from Front Bag-Rider Blocks
Whidden Gunworks offers a smart product that will enhance the bench-rested accuracy of any rifle with an accessory rail on the forearm. The Whidden Track Plate fits securely in the forearm accessory rail on prone, cross-the-course, tactical, and Palma rifles. These guns typically have a narrow and/or rounded fore-end so they rock and wobble when used with a front pedestal rest. The TrackPlate cures that. Once installed it provides a rock-solid, 2.9″-wide platform that mates perfectly with a benchrest-type front sandbag. This gives sling-shooters maximum stability when testing loads or zeroing their sights or scope. Plus you can now shoot F-Class competitively with a prone gun. (The 2.9″ width is 100% legal for F-Open).

Whidden Gunworks Track Plate

The Track Plate is light-weight, has catamaran-style runners to aid tracking and prevent rocking, and can be easily stowed in a range bag. The Track Plate fits BOTH Anschutz and American style forends and is made in the USA of machined aluminum. The Track Plate is available from Whidden Gunworks for $45.00.

Plate designer (and 5-Time Nat’l LR Rifle Champion) John Whidden says: “The Plate is great for any rifle with a rail whether it ís smallbore, centerfire, or an air gun. Now you can try F-Class with your favorite prone rifle: the Plate has a perfect low-drag finish for riding a rest or sandbags and is competition legal.”

Bag-Riders for AR-Platform Rifles from EGW
AR owners should check out the 3″-wide Delrin bag-rider from Evolution Gun Works (EGW). There are two versions, one for front Picatinny Rails, and another that mounts via sling swivel studs. These EGW Bag-Riders were developed expressly to fit the fore-ends of ARs. The front bag-riders are contoured to match the handguard profile so they fits securely with no wobble.

EGW AR15 ar bagrider bag-rider front sled

The $49.99 EGW Picatinny Rail front Bag-Rider simply slides on your under-forearm rail and there is a a tension bolt. Attachment is quick and easy. Or, if your AR has no rail get the original $39.99 EGW front Bag-Rider that attaches to a front sling swivel stud anchor. That allows it to mount as easily as a Harris bipod — no rail needed! Just unscrew the swivel stud, put the front bag-rider in place and attach one hex-head machine screw.

EGW AR15 ar bagrider bag-rider front sled

Also with the two front Bag-Riders, EGW offers a Rear Bag-Rider for ARs that attaches via the sling swivel anchor. Overall, it is a slick system. Front and rear bag-riders can be attached in a couple of minutes. The Delrin blocks slide easily in the bags and make the gun ultra-stable. The gun tracks straight back.

Permalink Gear Review, Tactical 1 Comment »