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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

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July 19th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: SWN-Winning F-TR Rig of Champ Peter Johns

Peter Johns Berger SW southwest Nationals F-Class F-TR McMillan stock rifle champion winner

Talented F-Class shooter Peter Johns has been on a tear the last couple years. He won the F-TR Division at the 2020 Berger SW Nationals (SWN), after finishing second in 2019. His SWN win came on the heels of stellar performances in 2019. He won both the mid-range AND long-range Texas State championships last year. Along the way Peter set a new 600-yard NRA National F-TR Record (200-18X), and tied the 600-yard F-TR Aggregate Record with 600-47X. This Sunday GunDay story features Peter and his trophy-grabbing .308 Win F-TR rifle.

Peter Johns Berger SW southwest Nationals F-Class F-TR McMillan stock rifle champion winner

How to Campaign a Winning .308 Winchester F-TR Rifle

Report by Peter Johns
I started contemplating F-Class shooting after talking with Darrell Buell at SHOT Show a decade ago. My first F-Class match was with a Savage VLP with a 26″ Shilen 7mm SAUM barrel and a Harris bipod. After that initial match in Texas I knew I had a lot to learn. I decided that F-TR was the place to start. This story follows my development as an F-TR shooter and showcases the rifle that delivered multiple F-TR match wins in 2019 and 2020.

Watch Peter Johns Shoot his .308 Win F-TR Rig

Equipment Showcase — Key Components of Peter’s F-TR Rifle

Omar Alonzo (Alonzo Custom Rifles, (713) 283-4384, Gunbuilder284@gmail.com) does all my gunsmithing. I believe this is one of the major reasons I have been doing so well in the last couple years. He does a phenomenal job with rifle bedding. He also fixed the timing on my action. The first barrel he chambered has really helped me win matches and set records.

In this Video, Peter talks about his key rifle components and gear:

McMillan Kestros BR Stock — I switched to a Kestros BR stock when they first came out. I painted the stock myself. I am very grateful to Kelly McMillan for letting me be one of the first to try them. The Kestros BR tracks better than any stock I have tried. NOTE — the Kestros was so light that I had to add a steel bar under the forearm to get closer to the F-TR weight limit with a 30″ HV barrel. [Editor: That has the advantage of lowering the center of gravity and the bar can slide fore/aft to adjust center of balance]. I use a SEB Bigfoot rear bag with slick ears and 3/4″ spacing. When I got the Kestros I thought the rear bag spacing was too wide but it worked so well I didn’t change.

Peter Johns Berger SW southwest Nationals F-Class F-TR McMillan stock rifle champion winner

Kelbly (Stolle) Panda Action and Krieger Barrel — My rig has a Kelbly Panda F-class action with a Bix’N Andy trigger. At the Berger SWN, I used a Krieger 1:10″-twist 30″ HV 4-groove barrel. It is superbly accurate. I have been bouncing between Krieger and Bartlein for barrels for the last few years. The best barrel I have had is a 30″ Krieger 4-groove HV, however the Bartleins have been very good as well.

Duplin Bipod with Articulating Feet — I really liked the Pohlabel articulating feet that are available for the SEB JoyPod so I asked Dan Pohlabel for permission to copy his feet. I bought some aluminum and made the best copy I could. Since SWN, Duplin has coming out with a new bipod with articulating feet which are considerably better than the feet I made. I use a board and a piece of stall mat with carpet glued on it for the bipod to sit on.

Vortex Golden Eagle Scope — I use the 15-60x52mm Vortex Golden Eagle on all my F-Class rifles. I see the mirage better with the Golden Eagle than any other scope and it tracks perfectly. I also use a Vortex Razor spotting scope with long eye relief lens on the line to help watch mirage and flags. I also use the Razor spotting scope to call wind for Team Texas.

Cleaning Procedure — Less is More — No Cleaning During SWN Long Range Event
Peter has learned that he can go for long round counts without cleaning: “I have found that my .308 Win rigs, for the most part, shoot really well dirty. I can usually get 300 or more rounds before cleaning. I cleaned my barrel at the 2020 SWN after the mid-range event and fouled it before the long-range. I did not clean my barrel again until I got home from the match.”

Peter does clean thoroughly when he gets home: “After a big match I clean my rifles with Boretech Eliminator and a bronze brush followed by Iosso until the majority of carbon is removed from the barrel, as verified with a Lyman borescope. After a thorough cleaning, I find that I need to shoot a bunch of foulers. I will usually go to my practice range and shoot a 20-shot practice match and I will see the accuracy tighten up in the back half.”

Peter Johns Berger SW southwest Nationals F-Class F-TR McMillan stock rifle champion winner
600-yard practice target on left. On right is 600-yard record match target shot at 2019 TX State Championships (on ShotMarker targets). This 200-18X is a NRA National Record for F-TR division.

Peter Johns Berger SW southwest Nationals F-Class F-TR McMillan stock rifle champion winner

Peter’s Match Load and Reloading Methodology

Loading for .308 Win F-TR — Do What Matters
My loading technique has evolved almost full circle from where I started. I went from the basics to doing every step a person could conceive. Then I decided to start testing all the different steps to see what didn’t matter or made things worse. I am now back to almost no steps in my reloading process. I don’t clean brass anymore. I just wipe the case off, lube, size, prime, and load. I anneal when I feel the necks getting inconsistent when seating the bullets. I pre-load all my ammo for matches. I tried seating them at the match but I didn’t find it to matter on the score card and it takes my focus away from conditions.

Peter Johns Berger SW southwest Nationals F-Class F-TR McMillan stock rifle champion winner

Peter’s 2020 SWN-winning .308 Win load consists of Berger 200.20X bullets, Lapua Palma brass, Federal 205M primers, and Varget powder. Peter revealed: “The Berger 200-grainers are running in the mid-2600 fps range. I have tried them much faster but found the best consistency at this speed.”

Peter measures powder to the kernel and also weighs/sorts other components. He runs Berger 200.20X bullets slightly off the lands in a 0.170 freebore chamber. Notably he tests a variety of powders, ascertaining each barrel’s particular preference: “In the last few years I have tried N140, N150, H4895, and Varget. I think they are all good powders for F-TR and the 200.20X bullet. This year I was using Varget. At the 2018 SWN I placed 4th with H4895, in 2019 SWN I got 2nd with N140. I find what powder my particular barrel likes best. I also test CCI BR4 and Fed 205M to see which my rifle likes best. This year I was using Fed 205M. I have been using Lapua Palma brass and it seems to last forever.” Peter full-length sizes with a Redding bushing FL die. He seats his Berger bullets with a Wilson inline seater.

Q & A with Peter Johns, F-TR Ace

Q: What was your biggest challenge at the 2020 Berger SW Nationals?

Peter: I think the biggest challenge was staying focused on conditions. I think the hardest thing for me to do is to stop shooting when the wind conditions are out of my ability to call accurately. I focused hard on this aspect of my game this year and it has paid off. This match is super well run and staff does an excellent job which allows the shooters to maintain their focus.

Q: What gear/hardware items give you an edge over the competition?

Peter: The Kestros BR stock (below) is not used by many F-TR shooters and I think it gives me a huge advantage over the competition. This stock fits me perfectly and tracks in such a manner that I can shoot fast and accurately when conditions are right.

Peter Johns Berger SW southwest Nationals F-Class F-TR McMillan stock rifle champion winner

Q: What is your advice for newcomers in F-Class and Long Range competition?

Peter: Go to a top gunsmith building F-Class rifles and do what he says. Competition is the best way to get better. So shoot as many matches as you can. Find top shooter rivals and strive to beat them.

Q: Do you have any specific Gun Handling Tips for F-TR shooters?

Peter: I shoot better with a really light grip and cheek pressure. I can shoot well with a heavier grip and cheek pressure but when the tension of a big match is going my pressure will vary and cause poor accuracy. The most consistent I can shoot is with light gun handling. I also focus on trying to watch the bullet hit through the scope to ensure good follow through and this prevents me from jerking the trigger. There are a bunch of ways to hold a rifle that have proven to be successful. I think a shooter needs to test and find what works best for them.

Peter Johns Berger SW southwest Nationals F-Class F-TR McMillan stock rifle champion winner

Q: What do you like most about F-Class and Long Range competition?

A. I really like technical things. F-Class is right in my wheel house for technical stuff. Also, the people in the shooting world are top notch. I enjoy talking with other shooters.

Q: Do you prefer individual events or team matches?

Peter: I prefer the team matches by far because it is a social event with collaboration and there is a lot more pressure. I put a lot of effort into learning the wind for the team matches which in the long run helps me with individual matches. [Editor: Below Peter is calling wind for Team Texas at the 2018 F-Class Nationals in Raton, New Mexico.]

Peter Johns Berger SW southwest Nationals F-Class F-TR McMillan stock rifle champion winner
Peter Johns calls wind for Team Texas at 2018 F-Class Nationals in Raton.

Overcoming Serious Injury in U.S. Navy to Become a Top-Level Marksman

Peter Johns is a U.S. Navy veteran, rank Chief (E7). In 2006, during his duty aboard the U.S.S. Nimitz, Peter sustained very serious and extensive burns in a massive electrical fire. Showing great strength of character, Peter went through a tough, 4-year program of surgeries and rehab. The photo below shows Peter doing therapy during his recovery process.

Peter Johns Berger SW southwest Nationals F-Class F-TR McMillan stock rifle champion winner

Peter tells us: “As many of you know I was badly burned on board the U.S.S. Nimitz in 2006. That has limited me in my ability to compete in physical activities that I used to enjoy but F-Class has filled the gap for my competitive nature. I medically retired from the Navy as a Chief (E7) in 2010 after four years of surgeries and physical therapy. I was very surprised to find how accepting and nice people have been in the shooting community. I think the shooting community is comprised of the best people in the world.”

Permalink - Articles, News, Reloading, Shooting Skills 8 Comments »
August 13th, 2018

Bargain Finder 151: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every 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.

1. CDNN — Winchester XPR Rifle $289.99 after $75 Rebate

Winchester XPR Rifle Rebate discount full hunting sale

We like the Winchester XPR as an affordable, entry-level hunting rifle. The three-lug bolt has a short throw, the mags seat easily and the rifle balances well. CDNN is offering the XPR for just $364.99. That’s a great price, but it gets even better. Winchester is offering a $75.00 factory rebate, lowering your net cost to just $289.99. That’s less than you’ll pay for a new custom barrel! This CDNN deal is available now for four popular chamberings: .243 Win, .308 Win, .270 Win, and .30-06 SPR. Winchester’s $75 Factory Rebate applies to any new Winchester XPR or Model 70 rifle purchased from August 1 through October 31, 2018. For more info, visit Winchester’s Trophy Season Rebate Page.

2. EuroOptic — Vortex Diamondback FFP Scope $349.99 or $399.99

Vortex Diamondback bargain First Focal Plane Scope Optic sale

Looking for a good yet affordable First Focal Plane (FFP) optic for hunting or tactical events? Well Vortex just released a new under-$400 series of Diamondback FFP scopes. Select from 4-16x50mm or 6-24x50mm models. Both offer plenty of magnification for competitors and long-range varmint hunters.These new Diamondbacks feature 30mm maintubes and your choice of either 1/4 MOA clicks or 1/10 Mil clicks. The MOA-click versions feature an EBR-C2 MOA reticle while the Mil-click scopes have an EBR-C2 MRAD reticle. That way the reticle matches your click values (as it always should). We’re told these scopes have good glass and nice click feel. At EuroOptic.com Vortex’s affordable new 4-16x50mm FFP Diamondback is just $349.99, while the 6-24x50mm version is just $399.99.

3. Midsouth — Hornady Auto Charge Dispenser, $165.99

Here’s a great deal from our friends at Midsouth. Hornady’s versatile Lock-N-Load Auto Charge™ Powder Scale and Dispenser is on sale for $165.99 at Midsouth. The Hornady Auto Charge is accurate to 0.1 grains of powder and can hold up to 1000 grains of powder in its hopper. This is a very good value compared to other electronic powder scale/dispensers on the market, such as the RCBS ChargeMaster, which is now $276.99 at Amazon (over $110 more).

4. Bruno’s — Summer Sale on Kelbly Actions and Krieger Barrels

bruno shooters supply Kelbly action Krieger Barrel Sierra bullets

You’ll find some great buys at Bruno Shooters Supply right now. First, prices have been lowered significantly on Kelbly actions. Save 10% or more. Here are examples: Kelbly Panda ($1195), Kelbly Atlas Tactical ($919), Kelby Atlas Single Shot ($870). Krieger barrels, Lapua Brass, and Sierra bullets are also on sale. Visit Bruno’s Sale Page for the full list of products on sale.

5. Stocky’s — LR Stocks with Aluminum Bedding Block, $179.99

Stocky's Stocks Composite V-block stock

Here’s a good deal on a versatile Stocky’s Long Range Stock with aluminum V-block bedding system. For just $179.99, order this for Rem/Rem Clone long actions or short actions, with either narrow or wide (varmint/tactical) barrel channel. This would be a good choice for a varmint rifle. This is also offered with handsome hydrographic or web-pattern baked-on textured finishes for $199.99.

6. EuroOptic — Leica CRF 2000, $399.00

Leica 2000-B Rangemaster Laser LRF Rangefinder Sale Eurooptics.com

This may be the best deal we’ve seen on the vaunted Leica 2000-B Laser Rangefinder (LRF) with 7-power optic. This unit is rated out to 2000 yards on reflective objects (in real-world use it will laze a deer well past 800 if you can hold steady). The Leica 2000-B features air pressure and temperature sensors, plus on-board inclinometer. Angle correction works out to 1200 horizontal yards equivalent, with the true hold-over displayed in both MILs and MOA. The compact Leica CRF 2000-B weighs just 6.5 ounces and measures 4.5″ L x 2.25″ H x 1.25″ W. It has a waterproof outer shell.

7. Amazon — Plano 52″ Double Rifle Case with Wheels, $109.08

Plano double scoped rifle case with wheels

This Plano Double Scoped Rifle Case is an Amazon Best Seller for good reason. It offers the functionality and durability of an SKB-type hard case for HALF the money. This is under $110.00, while the equivalent SKB is around $240.00, so you can buy two Planos for the price of one SKB. The 51.5″ interior will fit most scoped competition rifles up to about 29″ barrels (measure your own rifle to make sure). If you separate the barreled action from the stock you can transport even ultra-long ELR rifles. The handles are convenient and beefy and the wheels make this case easy to move. This is a very tough, roomy case for the money (plus there’s Free Shipping).

8. Amazon — Neiko Digital Calipers, $17.85

Amazon Neiko Digital Caliper

Even if you have a good set of calipers, you may want to get one of these Neiko 01407A Digital Calipers. The #1 best-selling digital caliper on Amazon.com, this Neiko tool features a large LCD Screen and measures up to 6.0 inches. With over 3000 customer reviews, this product has earned an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. It’s hard to go wrong for $17.85, even if you just use these as a spare set for measuring group sizes and case trim lengths.

9. Amazon — Two Rolls of 3″ Neon Target Stickers, $14.95

Red Orange Neon 3

We like these bright, Neon 3″ target stickers. They are big enough to see easily at 600 yards, giving you a 1/2 MOA target center at that distance. For $14.95 at Amazon.com, you get 250 3″-diameter self-adhesive centers (125 targets per roll) that stick to almost any surface The high-contrast fluorescent red/orange color provides an excellent HI-VIZ aiming point, along with good contrast for bullet holes that fall within the 3″ circle. To help line up your reticle cross-hairs, the target centers feature black markers at 3, 6, 9, and 12 0’Clock. NOTE: These stickers may qualify for FREE Shipping with combined orders over $25.00.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Handguns, Hot Deals, Optics 1 Comment »
July 18th, 2016

Derek Rodgers Sets Pending 1000-Yard F-TR Record

Derek Rodgers F-TR 1000 yard record McMillan stock berger bullets lapua brass

Derek Rodgers, the only shooter to win both the F-Open and F-TR National Championships, has done it again. While shooting the Santa Fe Trail LR Regional match in Raton, New Mexico, it looks like Derek set a new 1000-yard record. Derek nailed his 1000-yard target, recording a 200-14X score — that’s twenty (20) shots for record, all tens with 14 in the X-Ring. Derek told us: “Yesterday at Raton New Mexico’s Whittington Center, I shot a 200-14X, which should be a new pending F-TR National Record at 1000 yards.” Derek took special pride in this accomplishment, as he held the F-TR record before: “I’m happy to have the record back. I have had three of the last four records”. Well done Derek!

Derek Rodgers F-TR 1000 yard record McMillan stock berger bullets lapua brass

Derek Rodgers .308 Win F-TR Rifle Equipment List:
McMillan Xit stock, Kelbly Panda LBLP action, Bartlein .308 Win barrel (32″, 1:11.25″ twist), Nightforce NXS 8-32x56mm scope. Note that Derek shoots right-handed, but with a LEFT BOLT. This allows him to stay in position better while cycling the bolt with his LEFT hand.

Derek Rodgers F-TR 1000 yard record McMillan stock berger bullets lapua brass

This impressive performance by Derek shows that the best F-TR rifles can rival the big F-Open rigs for pure accuracy, even though the favored F-Open chamberings, such as .284 Win and .300 WSM, are still ballistically superior to the venerable .308 Winchester used by nearly all F-TR competitors. For his record-breaking load, Derek used Berger 200gr Hybrid Target bullets in Lapua .308 Win (small primer pocket) brass, pushed by Hodgdon Varget powder.

Permalink Competition, News 5 Comments »
May 28th, 2016

The Color Purple — A Father’s Gift to His Daughter

Erik Cortina 6.5x47 Lapua F-Class Rifle Daughter

“My daughter’s favorite color is purple, so I built her a purple rifle….”

Here’s a feel-good story about a family that shoots together, and a dad who did something very special for his daughter. All fathers create things for their children, but it’s unusual to find a Dad who has the skills (and motivation) to build a top-level competition rifle for his child. Our friend, Erik Cortina, did just that. Here is the story of the lovely purple maple F-Class rig Erik built for his girl Amberleeana.

Erik Cortina 6.5x47 Lapua F-Class Rifle Daughter

AUDIO FILE: Erik Cortina and Daughter Amberleeana Talk about the Purple Rifle. (Sound file loads when you click button).

My daughter would always tell me when I would go to a match, “Remember Dad, only Xs matter, the other stuff on the target is just there for decoration!” — Erik Cortina

A Father’s Gift: An F-Classer for Amberleeana

by Erik Cortina
My daughter Amberleeana has been wanting to shoot F-Class for a long time because I have been dragging her to matches since she was a little girl. She would come into my reloading room and watch me reload while she asked a million questions, all which I tried to answer to the best of my abilities. At age 9, she started hunting with a semi-custom rifle her grandfather gave her, a 6×47 Lapua built on a Remington 700 action with a Bartlein barrel. She has been very successful as a hunter so she decided to move to the next step and start shooting F-Class.

She shot my backup rifle before and she really enjoyed it. Here’s a YouTube video from a while back. This shows Amberleeana, at age 11, shooting at 500 yards for the very first time. You can see she does very well.

After hearing about the U.S. F-Class Under 25 (U25) Rifle Team selection trials in Raton this upcoming summer, Amberleeana wanted to try out for the U25 Team. I told her that was OK, but we had to modify the rifle she was currently using so that it could fit her better. After some consideration, I decided instead to sell that rifle and build her a brand new one.

Erik Cortina 6.5x47 Lapua F-Class Rifle Daughter

Her favorite color is purple, so I built her a purple rifle with adjustable cheek piece and butt pad. Shurley Brothers (Austin, TX) crafted the stock from maple, and then applied a purple gloss finish. We think it turned out great. Amberleeana is eager to take the rifle to Raton this summer: “I would like to make the Under 25 U.S. Rifle Team and compete at the F-Class World Championship in Canada in 2017. My main focus now is on the upcoming team try-outs in Raton, New Mexico.”

I hope that my daughter enjoys F-Class as much as I have, which will allow us to spend more time together on the range and in the reloading room.

6.5×47 Lapua Load Development
The purple rifle is chambered for the 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge. Our preliminary load work up shows great promise using Vihtavuori N140 powder, 136gr Lapua Scenar bullets, and CCI 450 primers. We tried a variety of charge weights, starting at 35.7 grains of N140 and ending up at 38.2 grains. The photo below shows an initial series of 3-shot test groups at 120 yards. What do you think is the best node? What charge weight would YOU select among these? [Editor: That final load of 38.2 grains looks very good, but we would want to check for pressure signs and repeat with 10-round strings checking for ES and SD. Also, if you go by the vertical only, the 36.0 and 36.3 loads are worth further testing.]

Erik Cortina 6.5x47 Lapua F-Class Rifle Daughter

Erik Cortina 6.5x47 Lapua F-Class Rifle DaughterPurple Rifle Specifications:
Stock: Shurley Brothers Lowrider XL stock (Maple)
(Finished by Shurley Brothers, bedded by Speedy Gonzalez)
Action: Kelbly F-Class Panda
Trigger: Flavio Fare
Barrel: Brux 32″-long, 1:8″-twist, 4-groove stainless, chambered in 6.5×47 Lapua
(Barrel work and assembly done by Erik Cortina)
Barrel Tuner: ECTuner (matches barrel contour)
Scope: Nightforce 15-55x52mm Competition
Front Rest: SEB NEO front rest
Rear Sandbag: Edgewood
Load: VV N140, 136gr Scenars, CCI 450 primers

Erik Cortina 6.5x47 Lapua F-Class Rifle Daughter

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November 16th, 2014

Chuck’s Dazzling Dasher Duo — A Pair of Beauties

Forum Member Chuck L. (aka “Ridgeway”) has created a handsome duo of 6mm Dashers for competitive benchrest and varmint matches in Pennsylvania. Both guns are built on Kelbly Panda RBLP actions, with Bartlein 8-twist barrels, and Shehane Laminated Tracker Stocks. However, the two rifles are not exact twins, as you can see. One, which we’ll call the Big Dasher, is built on a Shehane ST1000 Tracker stock. The other gun, the Small Dasher, sports Shehane’s “Baby Tracker” stock — a design used with great success by Richard Schatz. The Big Dasher, optimized for 1000-yard competition, also has a slightly longer freebore — 0.136″ vs. 0.104″ for the Small Dasher.

6mm Dasher Shehane duo

6mm Dasher Shehane duo

Chuck tells us: “I don’t get out shooting competition as much as I want due to time and family, but when I do compete, I shoot a Groundhog match at Southfork Rifle Club in Beaverdale, PA. Info on Southfork Club events can be found at Southforkrifleclub.com. The Southfork match is basically a 100-, 300- and 500-yard match with one sighter the entire match and 5 shots at each yardage for score. The Small Dasher, with the shorter ‘Baby Tracker’ stock, was set up for the Southfork Rifle Club’s ‘Light Unlimited’ class which has a 13.5-lb max weight.” (Editor: ‘unlimited’ is a misnomer for a weight-limited category.)

Chuck adds: “The Big Dasher with the heavy ST-1000 stock is set up for 1000-yard benchrest matches in Light Gun class. I hope to shoot a couple 1K matches with it at Reade Range in southwest Pennsylvania. I am still in load development for this rifle since it was just finished in January. One ironic thing is, it shoots the same load I’m shooting out of the lighter gun rather well. The only difference between the two chambers is the freebore is roughly thirty thousandths longer on the 1K gun (Large Dasher). I will also shoot this at Southfork in the ‘Heavy Unlimited’ class.”

6mm Dasher Shehane duo

Specifications for the Dasher Duo:

Small Dasher (13.5-pounder): Chambered for 6mm Dasher with approximately .104 freebore and a .264 NK. (No way of knowing exactly since it freebore was done in a separate operation by Kelbly.) Components are: Shehane Baby Tracker stock, Kelbly Panda RPLB action, Bartlein 1:8″ LV barrel at 26 ¾”, Kelbly Rings, Weaver T36, Jewell trigger. The barrel was chambered by Kelblys and the stock was bedded, glued and balanced by a shooting buddy (Forum Member johara1). I clear-coated the stock with auto urethane. Total weight is 13 lbs., 4 ounces.

Big Dasher (1K Light Gun, 17-pounder): Chambered for 6mm Dasher with a .136 freebore and .264 neck (PTG Reamer). Components are: Shehane ST-1000 stock, Kelbly Panda RPLB action, Bartlein 1:8″ HV 5R barrel at 28″, Shehane +20-MOA rings, Nightforce NXS 12-42x56mm, Jewell trigger. The barrel work, pillar installation, and bedding was done by Dave Bruno. The stock was clear-coated by Chuck with auto urethane. Chuck also made the rear butt plate and balanced the rifle. Total weight: 16 lbs., 13 ounces.

Dasher Case-Forming: Neck-Turn then Fire-form with Bullets Hard in Lands
To fireform, I turn my cases down to fit the chamber and stop where the false shoulder makes snug contact with the chamber. Fire-forming rounds are loaded up with a 29-grain charge of H4895 or Varget and a 108gr Berger bullet seated hard into the lands about 0.020″ past initial contact with the rifling. It takes about three firings to make a nice clean Dasher case with a sharp shoulder. I anneal about every 3-4 firings. I have many cases that have about 10+ firings on them and they are still shooting well. The primer pockets are a little looser, but still hold a primer.

6mm Dasher case fire-forming fireform

Both Dashers Group in the Ones at 100 Yards
My main bullet for both rifles is the 107gr Sierra MK, loaded with Reloder 15 powder, Lapua cases and CCI 450 primers. My main load for the Small Dasher is 33.0 grains of Reloder 15. This load shoots in the ones at 100 yards. For the Big Dasher, I’m still working on a load, although the same 33.0 grain load shoots in the ones in the heavier gun as well. I’m still looking for more velocity and my ‘max’ node. So far, I’ve gone well above 33.0 grains of RL 15 without pressure signs, but that load produces vertical at 100 yards, so I’m going to tinker with the load until I see pressure or it starts to shoot.

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