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September 27th, 2022

How to Determine a Barrel’s TRUE Twist Rate

FirearmsID.com barrel rifling diagram
Erik Dahlberg illustration courtesy FireArmsID.com.

Sometimes you’ll get a barrel that doesn’t stabilize bullets the way you’d anticipate, based on the stated (or presumed) twist rate. A barrel might have 1:10″ stamped on the side but it is, in truth, a 1:10.5″ twist or even a 1:9.5″. Cut-rifled barrels, such as Kriegers and Bartleins, normally hold very true to the specified twist rate. With buttoned barrels, due to the nature of the rifling process, there’s a greater chance of a small variation in twist rate. And yes, factory barrels can be slightly out of spec as well.

After buying a new barrel, you should determine the true twist rate BEFORE you start load development. You don’t want to invest in a large supply of expensive bullets only to find that that won’t stabilize because your “8 twist” barrel is really a 1:8.5″. Sinclair International provides a simple procedure for determining the actual twist rate of your barrel.

Sinclair’s Simple Twist Rate Measurement Method
If are unsure of the twist rate of the barrel, you can measure it yourself in a couple of minutes. You need a good cleaning rod with a rotating handle and a jag with a fairly tight fitting patch. Utilize a rod guide if you are accessing the barrel through the breech or a muzzle guide if you are going to come in from the muzzle end. Make sure the rod rotates freely in the handle under load. Start the patch into the barrel for a few inches and then stop. Put a piece of tape at the back of the rod by the handle (like a flag) or mark the rod in some way. Measure how much of the rod is still protruding from the rod guide. You can either measure from the rod guide or muzzle guide back to the flag or to a spot on the handle.

Next, continue to push the rod in until the mark or tape flag has made one complete revolution. Then re-measure the amount of rod that is left sticking out of the barrel. Use the same reference marks as you did on the first measurement. Next, subtract this measurement from the first measurement. This number is the twist rate. For example, if the rod has 24 inches remaining at the start and 16 inches remain after making one revolution, you have 8 inches of travel, thus a 1:8″-twist barrel.

Determining Barrel Twist Rate Empirically
Twist rate is defined as the distance in inches of barrel that the rifling takes to make one complete revolution. An example would be a 1:10″ twist rate. A 1:10″ barrel has rifling that makes one complete revolution in 10 inches of barrel length. Rifle manufacturers usually publish twist rates for their standard rifle offerings and custom barrels are always ordered by caliber, contour, and twist rate. If you are having a custom barrel chambered you can ask the gunsmith to mark the barrel with the twist rate.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip No Comments »
July 10th, 2022

Sunday Gunday: Bauer Power — Jim & Sally Bauer IBS Legends

Sally Bauer IBS 1000 yard heavy gun
Sally Bauer Heavy Gun

Bauer Power. Today’s Sunday Gunday story features Jim Bauer and Sally Bauer, a “power couple” in the International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) mid-range and long-range benchrest game. Jim and Sally both compete at 600 yards and 1000 yards, and both have been VERY successful. A decade ago, in 2012, Sally was the IBS 1000-yard Shooter of the Year. She had a great season, piloting her impressive Stars & Strips Heavy Gun (shown above). Sally now serves as the IBS Treasurer.

Jim Bauer has also been a top IBS performer shooting a similar, wide-forearm Maxi-Tracker Heavy Gun, with beautiful Eagle-on-black paint scheme. Jim Bauer won the IBS 2015 1000-Yard Nationals shooting a 6mm Dasher in both Light Gun and Heavy Gun classes. And Jim holds the IBS 1000-yard 20-Target Light Gun Aggregate Score Record. He set the record in 2021 with 47.15 Agg Score and 5.4171″ group average — that’s very close to half-MOA for 10-shot groups at 1000 yards!

Sally Jim Bauer IBS 1000 yard heavy gun
Photos courtesy Virginia1000.com.

Jim Bauer Wins 2015 1000-Yard Title with Duel Dashers

Jim Bauer won the IBS 2015 IBS 1000-Yard Nationals shooting a 6mm Dasher in both Light Gun and Heavy Gun Classes. Here’s his match-winning Heavy Gun. Smithed by Gordy Gritters, Bauer’s Heavy Gun featured a BAT action, Krieger barrel (in barrel block), Shehane HG stock, and Nightforce scope.

Jim Bauer IBS 2015 National Champion 1000 Yards

Hawks Ridge IBS Benchrest Shooters International 1000 Yard 1K Championship North Carolina 6mm Dasher

At the 2015 1000-Yard Nationals, Jim Bauer was both Two-Gun Champion and Overall winner. Bauer shot great in both Light Gun (LG) and Heavy Gun (HG) matches, posting Top 10 finishes in both classes. Bauer ran 6mm Dashers in both Divisions (LG and HG) with Vapor Trail bullets.

Sally Bauer Honored as 2012 IBS 1000-Yard Shooter of the Year

Sally Bauer IBS 1000 yard heavy gun

In 2012, Sally Bauer became the first (and only) lady to win the title of IBS 1000-yard Shooter of the Year. Sally earned that honor through hard work, dedication, and a burning desire to “be all she can be”. While helping her husband Jim rise to the top of the 1000-yard benchrest game, Sally was taking notes and working toward her turn at the top. Well friends, Sally took no prisoners in 2012 and earned Shooter of the Year honors. Sally’s handsome 67-lb Heavy Gun, “Stars & Stripes”, is painted with an American flag theme.

IBS 1000 yard shooter of year Sally Bauer

Sally Bauer and the IBS 1000-Yard Heavy Gun Record
A decade ago, in 2012 Sally Bauer set a then-pending International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) Score Heavy Gun (HG) record for 1000-yard competition. Her score was 100-5X with a 3.495″ tie-breaker group. Though that record has been surpassed (with a smaller tie-breaking group), Sally was the first lady ever to post a pending IBS 1000-yard benchrest record.

Sally Bauer IBS 1000 yard heavy gunSally’s Amazing 1K Group
At the end of the Heavy Gun match #10 Sally was directed by Range Officer Gordy Mitchell to leave all of her equipment and rifle setting on her bench. Sally was perplexed by Gordy Mitchell’s direction but he assured her “It is a good thing”. Rumors swirled and Dave Holland was summoned to the pits.

Dave and Gordy brought the target back to the scoring shed and had club officials and some respected competitors measure and sign the target. All agreed Sally had just shot an IBS record score. Sally’s rifle and equipment were measured and photographed and the target sent off to the IBS for final measurement and verification.

Sally Jim Bauer IBS 1000 yard heavy gun

Sally’s Heavy Gun Specifications
Sally’s 67-lb Heavy Gun was originally purchased from Bill Shehane, and it uses Bill’s Maxi-Tracker stock. The gun was originally chambered for the 6-6.5×47 Lapua Improved. But the gun didn’t shoot like the Bauers wanted, so it was rechambered to 6mm Dasher by Gordy Gritters. The action is a 2″-diameter, round, chrome moly, 3-lug, 7 ½” BAT. The barrel is a 28″, 1:8″-twist Krieger, with 1.45″-diameter straight tube. The barreled action is secured in the stock with a 9″-long barrel block. The gun uses a 12-42x56mm Nightforce BR scope and a Jewel BR trigger. Gordy Gritters smithed the rifle. Jim Sauer states: “We have known Gordy for years now and trust every phase of our gun projects — all of them are mechanical works of art. When we get our guns from Gordy we know we can put our focus on brass prep and load development and don’t have to worry about the guns being right. That really helps save time.”

Editor’s NOTE: The following information was for the original 2012 load Sally ran in her IBS Heavy Gun. Load details and procedures may have changed now, a decade later.

Reloading Procedure for Sally’s “Stars & Stripes” Maxi by Jim Sauer
With every new rifle we start with new brass. The first step is to run them through a full length sizing die, then over an appropriate expander mandrel. Since we use a .270 neck on our 6 Dasher chambers, neck turning amounts to a 80% cleanup of the new Lapua brass necks. We do the normal primer pocket and flash-hole uniforming.

We fire-form two times to make sure we get nice sharp shoulder corners before competition. We then separate them according to weight using 1/10th of a grain differences for each box. Much of our loading process is geared around time savings. We look for easy-to-use, consistently good products and don’t vary from them unless we have a problem or results aren’t to our standards. We have chosen to shoot Clay Spencer’s 103gr 6mm bullets. We weight-sort and bearing-surface sort them and that’s it. I gave up trimming and tipping simply because it didn’t improve how Clay built them. We also use only one primer, the CCI 450.

We use one of four different powders. Our “go-to” powder is RL15, next we try Varget, then IMR 8208, and if that doesn’t work we try H4895. We have found that these bullets usually shoot best at 2970 fps. This is not an absolute, just what normally works best. We always try higher and lower velocities looking for that special load. Once we find the powder and quantity that works the best we play with the seating depth. Usually this is a fine-tune method and most of the time 15 thousandths into the rifling works the best. But don’t be afraid to jump the bullets as much as 0.100″. When we use this procedure we usually find a combination that will shoot nice, round ¾” groups at 400 yards.

Our reloading regimen starts with ultra-sonic cleaning our brass, then tumbling until shiny. We anneal the brass every time. We proceed to full-length resizing, repriming, and lubing the inside of the necks with graphite. We then charge with our selected powder and seat the bullets. We measure for concentricity, [shooting] the best ones for the record and the others for sighters. The load that Sally shot the record with is 33.0 grains of IMR 8208 XBR, CCI 450 primers, Spencer 103gr bullets, Lapua brass, bullet seated 15 thousandths into rifling, Velocity 2980 fps.

Sally Jim Bauer IBS 1000 yard heavy gun

About Sally Bauer – In her “formative years” of competitive shooting, Sally listened to proper and basic instruction and learned at her pace. She developed her own style and discipline. Not wanting to be dependent on others Sally learned to set up her rests and carries Stars & Stripes to the bench by herself.

Jim Bauer reports: “Sally and I would like to thank the kind people we have met in this crazy frustrating game of shooting. For the most part fellow competitors have been helpful and giving of the time, experience and knowledge. Every range owner and operator we have come across has treated us like family and friend. I can think of no other sport where the participants give so freely.”

Bauer Power in Action at the 2017 IBS 600-Yard Nationals

Bauer heavy gun 600 Yard nationals van truck transport slide-out wood caddy

Would you like to see this IBS “power couple” in action? Here are videos of Jim Bauer and Sally Bauer shooting at the 2017 IBS 600-yard Nationals in Memphis, Tennessee.

Jim Bauer sends 5 record rounds down range with his “Eagle” HG in Maxi-Tracker stock

Sally Bauer shoots sighter rounds with her Stars & Stripes HG in Maxi-Tracker stock

Transporting Big Heavy Guns in Style with Slide-out Carriers

The Bauers have created a very smart and clever system for transporting their rifles to matches. The Bauers have a great transport set-up, with custom, slide-out rifle carriers fitted to their van. You can see Jim’s and Sally’s Heavy Guns in the lower drawer.

Bauer heavy gun 600 Yard nationals van truck transport slide-out wood caddy

And here is a close-up of the Light Gun in the Bauer’s second slide-out carrier (top in photo). The patriotic “We the People” message is welcome.

Sally Jim Bauer IBS 1000 yard heavy gun

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May 15th, 2022

Sunday Gunday: 20 PPC Pistol — Great for Varmint Adventures

varmint 20 ppc rampro pistol John Seibel
varmint 20 ppc rampro pistol John Seibel

This week’s featured firearm belongs to John “SnakeEye” Seibel, founder of the VarmintsForFun website. In recent years, John has become a “true believer” in the little 20-Caliber cartridges. He says this light-recoiling 20 PPC, Rampro-actioned pistol is perfect for a quick shot on a critter, taken from the front seat of his truck. John tells us: “A long-range pistol is an ideal truck gun in my opinion. It stows in a small area and doesn’t take up the room a rifle does. Just keep ear protection near by at all times! I’ve taken varmints as far as 400+ yards with this 20 PPC pistol, so why would you need a rifle?”

Perspectives on Pistols for the Varmint Hunter

by John Seibel
I decided to try my hand at shooting varmints with a pistol one day when I grew tired of wrestling a rifle around in the truck for a quick shot. Many times when traveling around on the farm you’ll spy a groundhog or fox that usually isn’t more than 200 yards away. A single-shot pistol like the Thompson Contender could fit the bill. With its compact length, around 20 inches, a long-barrel pistol can lay on the truck’s passenger seat for easy access. I usually keep my two leather brick-style sandbags laying beside the console and seat. I have a box made from hard rubber that I lay across the top of the door. I then lay the two bags on top. This makes a nice platform to rest the pistol’s forearm. I like to use a forearm that is at least two inches wide. That lets the gun lay steady—almost like you are shooting from a bench rest. For the shooting hand, I prefer a pistol grip with finger grooves and a slight overhang or flare for the web of your hand.

As for optics, I tried long-eye-relief pistol scopes but they lacked the magnification you need for long-range target shooting or varminting. Those pistol scopes have really long eye-relief because they are designed to work with the pistol held at arm’s length. When shooting at the bench or from a truck that’s not what you want. By the time you find the target and get your eye in the exact location, the varmint has moved on or died of old age! After much fiddling around with pistol-type scopes, I finally decided to use rifle scopes on my long-range pistols. The minimum I use is a 4.5-14×40. Eye relief on a Leupold 4.5-14x40mm is about 3.5 inches at 4.5 power. Field of view is better with rifle scopes too and it’s easier to acquire your target. For this type of shooting a light-recoiling caliber is essential or you will have scope-eye bad! I currently have three long-range pistols and use them to shoot 17M4, 20 PPC, 22 BR, and .223 Rem. The featured gun may be the most accurate of my pistols, and your editor thinks it’s the most handsome of the three.

varmint 20 ppc rampro pistol John Seibel

The Rampro Pistol Project — Working with John Illum
A couple of years ago I called John Illum of Rampro about building the ultimate long-range pistol. It just so happens that John was a big time long-range pistol shooter. I told him that I wanted a gun that didn’t recoil badly and wouldn’t torque when fired. As I am a quadriplegic, with no grip in my hands, the gun had to handle well under recoil so I didn’t drop it. Recoil had to be straight back–no twisting.

Well Illum listened to me and came up with a gun that performs just the way I wanted. Illum suggested a rear grip stock of his own design. It has a 2.25″ wide forearm and a rear grip with a slight palm swell that fits your hand perfectly. Another nice feature is the finger grips. It has an extended overhang or “beavertail” that fits comfortably in the web of your hand. Of course it had to be walnut! I chose Rampro’s STP small action with a PPC bolt. His bolt uses a Sako-type extractor. The action is a single-shot. Being right-handed, I chose a right bolt, left port configuration. This works really well in a pistol. You can load with your left hand and see the round laying in the action–that’s what you want in a pistol without a safety.

Gun Specifications
John Illum’s Rampro actions are chrome-moly steel. Commonly you’d see them blued, but I had him put a brushed nickel finish on the action and rings. From a few feet away it looks like stainless. The trigger is Illum’s own design set at 8 ounces, and there’s no creep that I can detect. The action has Remington barrel threads and will accept Remington type triggers. One neat thing is that the action was milled with an integral recoil lug (much like the current Surgeon Action). And the bolt is milled all in one piece–no soldered-on handles. My only gripe with this bolt handle is that it could be a tad longer, but it still is manageable for a single-shot. You’ll also note how slick and streamlined the scope rings are. Illum made those as well. His rings mount to the action via two screws from the inside of the ring, a very elegant set-up for sure. (I currently have a 6.5-20x40mm Nikon scope on this gun. If I had to do this project over again the only thing I would change would be installing a 30mm scope because I like ‘em!).

The barrel is a PacNor Super-Match heavy taper with flutes milled by John Illum, who did all the gunsmithing on this pistol. Twist rate is 1 in 12 inches, with an 11° crown, polished to a mirror finish. The barrel was bead-blasted on the exterior to cut glare. I had Illum cut a 20 PPC minimum-spec chamber, with a .237″ neck. That way I don’t have to turn necks on the Lapua Brass (220 Russian necked down to .204). This is a varmint gun–there’s no need for turned necks. [Editor’s Note: Rampro is no longer in business. However, John tells us “I haven’t had any problems with the action so far. If I did, most competent gunsmiths could fix them easily.”]

Handgun Handling Tips
If you want to shoot a long-range pistol but have never have shot this kind of gun before, try to find a mentor — someone with a gun like this who can school you a bit in the correct technique. The first thing you notice is that you have no comb or cheek piece to help align your head and neck. And getting used to the optics takes some practice. Most people fit a pistol-type (long eye-relief) scope, but these can be awkward to use, and somewhat frustrating at first — the field of view is very restricted. Move your head very slightly and you can lose the sight picture completely. You can solve that problem by using a standard rifle scope, but that will put your head very close to the eye-piece — just three to four inches. With that arrangement, if you don’t hold the gun correctly … POW instant scope-eye!

Now once you get the hang of shooting a long-range pistol you will find it can be just as accurate as a rifle. But there is a trick to shooting them. Shooting a long-range pistol is a whole new world — you need to hold it just right. If you don’t let the gun roll back a little (i.e. if you grip too hard) you will get vertical stringing. I hold my hand against the back of the grip to guide the gun but let it almost free recoil. Looking at how compact the pistol is, you might think “Hey, this would make an ideal ‘walking-around’ varminter.” Well, that’s not really the case. For real precision shooting a solid benchrest type set-up is a must. You can attach a bipod to a long-range pistol, but you would need a flat surface. A fence-post top would work pretty well without a bipod if you carry a small light bag. Overall though, this type of pistol works best as a sandbag gun. For a walking-around gun, you’d be happier with a rifle I think.

Load Development and Accuracy
When I built this gun, Hornady had just released the 32gr V-Max (see footnote), a good match for my barrel’s 1:12″ twist. I choose the 20 PPC because of the very good Lapua brass (220 Russian parent case). I figured teaming Lapua brass with the little .204 bullet would offer excellent accuracy combined with very low recoil. My expectations were fulfilled. The brass proved to be excellent and the PacNor loved the little V-Max pills.

I tried quite a few different loads and most powders that I tried worked very well. These included: H322, Benchmark, AA 2460, and Reloader 7. Amazingly, with just 14″ of barrel, all of these powders delivered impressive velocities–ranging from 3914 to 4074 fps. I settled on 48 Harrell’s clicks of Accurate Arms (AA) 2460, which drives the 32gr V-Maxs to 3995 fps.

With AA 2460 the gun will shoot in the low 3s at 100 yards consistently — as long as I steer the gun right, which takes some practice. I think groups in the low 0.3″ range is excellent for a non-benchrest factory bullet. Despite having no buttstock to grab, recoil on my 20 PPC pistol is very minimal — it just rocks back into your hand. The main problem is to keep the scope from smacking you, since I used a rifle scope with short eye-relief. Muzzle flash and noise are tolerable but DO NOT shoot one of these without good ear protection. Your ears are very close to the muzzle.

I also have a 20 PPC rifle built on a BAT action with a Richard’s #008 laminated stock cut down in size. That gun’s 1:9″-twist Lilja barrel lets me shoot the Berger 50gr LTB bullets. In the wind, these perform quite a bit better than the 32s. My two favorite loads for the 50 grainers are: a) 26.0gr VV N135, CCI 450 primers, 3615 fps; and b) 27.3gr Hodgdon Varget, CCI 450s, 3595 fps. The BAT 20 PPC also shoots really well with the 40gr V-Max, pushed by N135 and Fed 205M primers.

Pistol Action Legal Issues
One important thing to remember if you build a pistol is to make sure the receiver came from the factory as a pistol and was titled as a pistol. Rifle actions are illegal to use as a pistol. Yes, that’s a nonsensical law, but it’s still on the books. You can use factory pistol actions such as the XP 100.

If you want a new custom action such as a BAT (my favorite), you can order it as a pistol action and when you get it, register it as a pistol. Note, in some states there may be additional fees, waiting periods, or restrictions for pistol actions (as opposed to rifle actions). Check your local laws before ordering the action.

Future Trends in Varmint Hunting — Plenty of Twenties

I think these sub-caliber rounds, both 20s and the 17s, are the future of recreational varminting, at least out to medium distances. The Twenties offer low recoil, excellent accuracy, and components keep getting better and better. The bullet-makers are finally making high-quality bullets in appropriate weights. Compared to something like a 22-250, I’ve noticed that my 20 PPC rifle has a lot less noise, a plus when you want to be quiet around other people and varmints.

The flat trajectory is another big advantage in the field. With the 20 PPC, zeroed at 100 yards, I can pretty much hold dead center and get hits out to 300 yards or so without touching the scope to add elevation. [Editor: The same is true with the 20 Practical cartridge, basically a .223 Rem necked down to .20 Caliber. It has proven very accurate and easy to tune.]

The 20-Caliber cartridges we have now, in particular the 20 PPC and 20 BR, are very well-refined. You don’t have to do a lot of tuning or tinkering to have a very accurate, effective varmint-slayer. In fact, if I could dream up a signature “20 VFF” (Varmints For Fun) cartridge it would basically be the 20 PPC. In truth, nearly any of the popular 17- or 20-Caliber cartridges will perform well if you start with top-quality brass. The sub-calibers have less recoil and burn less powder, and there are very good components for most varmint and target-shooting applications. To me it seems that these small calibers work so well because of good components, low recoil, and efficient cartridge designs (particularly in the VarTarg and PPC cases).

varmint 20 ppc rampro pistol John Seibel

WARNING: For your own safety, ALWAYS reduce all starting charges by 10% and work up carefully! Ambient temperature changes, powder lot variations, and differences in barrel friction can result in significantly increased pressures.

20 PPC LOAD MAP
Bullet GR Maker Powder Charge Primer Case Velocity
fps
Barrel
Twist
Comments
32 Hornady
V-Max
H322 27.6 Rem 7½ Lapua 4000 Lilja 1:12 WarrenB Form Load
32 Hornady
V-Max
AA 2460 29.5 Rem 7½ Lapua 3995 PacNor 1:12 SnakeEye
Pistol Load
32 Hornady
V-Max
H4198 25.1 CCI BR4 Lapua 4222 PacNor 1:12 A. Boyechko Load
39 Sierra
BlitzKing
H322 26.0 Rem 7½ Lapua 3700 Lilja 1:12 WarrenB Load
39 Sierra
BlitzKing
VV N540 28.8 CCI BR4 SAKO 4064 PacNor 1:12 D.Moore, Low 2s
40 Hornady
V-Max
VV N135 27.8 Fed 205m Lapua 3950 Lilja 1:9 SnakeEye Load
50 Berger
LTB
VV N135 26.0 CCI 450 Lapua 3615 Lilja 1:9 SnakeEye Load
50 Berger
LTB
Varget 27.3 CCI 450 Lapua 3595 Lilja 1:9 SnakeEye Load

Footnote: When first manufactured, the small Hornady 20-Caliber V-Max bullet was actually 33 grains, not 32 grains as sold currently. I still have some of the 33-grainers. I’ve observed no functional difference between the 33s and the current 32-grainers.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
September 26th, 2021

Tech Tip: How to Determine a Barrel’s True Twist Rate

FirearmsID.com barrel rifling diagram
Erik Dahlberg illustration courtesy FireArmsID.com.

Sometimes you’ll get a barrel that doesn’t stabilize bullets the way you’d anticipate, based on the stated (or presumed) twist rate. A barrel might have 1:10″ stamped on the side but it is, in truth, a 1:10.5″ twist or even a 1:9.5″. Cut-rifled barrels, such as Kriegers and Bartleins, normally hold very true to the specified twist rate. With buttoned barrels, due to the nature of the rifling process, there’s a greater chance of a small variation in twist rate. And yes, factory barrels can be slightly out of spec as well.

After buying a new barrel, you should determine the true twist rate BEFORE you start load development. You don’t want to invest in a large supply of expensive bullets only to find that that won’t stabilize because your “8 twist” barrel is really a 1:8.5″. Sinclair International provides a simple procedure for determining the actual twist rate of your barrel.

Sinclair’s Simple Twist Rate Measurement Method
If are unsure of the twist rate of the barrel, you can measure it yourself in a couple of minutes. You need a good cleaning rod with a rotating handle and a jag with a fairly tight fitting patch. Utilize a rod guide if you are accessing the barrel through the breech or a muzzle guide if you are going to come in from the muzzle end. Make sure the rod rotates freely in the handle under load. Start the patch into the barrel for a few inches and then stop. Put a piece of tape at the back of the rod by the handle (like a flag) or mark the rod in some way. Measure how much of the rod is still protruding from the rod guide. You can either measure from the rod guide or muzzle guide back to the flag or to a spot on the handle. Next, continue to push the rod in until the mark or tape flag has made one complete revolution. Re-measure the amount of rod that is left sticking out of the barrel. Use the same reference marks as you did on the first measurement. Next, subtract this measurement from the first measurement. This number is the twist rate. For example, if the rod has 24 inches remaining at the start and 16 inches remain after making one revolution, you have 8 inches of travel, thus a 1:8″-twist barrel.

Determining Barrel Twist Rate Empirically
Twist rate is defined as the distance in inches of barrel that the rifling takes to make one complete revolution. An example would be a 1:10″ twist rate. A 1:10″ barrel has rifling that makes one complete revolution in 10 inches of barrel length. Rifle manufacturers usually publish twist rates for their standard rifle offerings and custom barrels are always ordered by caliber, contour, and twist rate. If you are having a custom barrel chambered you can ask the gunsmith to mark the barrel with the twist rate.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
July 10th, 2021

Smallest 5-Shot, 100-Yard Group in History — Be Amazed

world record Michael stinnett group .0077

All target shooters strive for perfect shot placement. Well one man has come closer to perfection than any other shooter who ever lived. You are looking at Michael Stinnett’s .0077″ NBRSA world-record group, the smallest 100-yard 5-shot group ever shot in the history of rifle competition. The group was certified at .0077″ (though labeled .008″ on the range-signed target below). A moving backer verified that this was FIVE shots — no question about that. You may be surprised but this was NOT shot by a 6 PPC, but rather a .30-caliber wildcat, based on the 6.5 Grendel.

Call it stunning, call it humbling, call it amazing. It is, quite simply the apotheosis (“perfect example”) of accuracy. This is what we all hope to achieve. It’s staggering to see that a rifle can drill FIVE perfectly-overlapped holes — the last virtually indistinguishable from the first — at a target a football field (100 yards) away. It’s great to see a benchmark like this, if only to remind us what is possible in our sport of precision shooting. (Sighters appear below record target.)

world record Michael stinnett group .0077

Mike’s amazing group stands as a NBRSA Light Varmint Class record. But it is also smaller than the current 5-shot, 100-yard records for all other classes, even Unlimited (Rail Gun). Likewise Stinnett’s .0077″ group is smaller than the IBS records for all classes:

Official Benchrest 5-Shot 100-Yard World Records
Sanction Light Varmint Heavy Varmint Sporter Unlimited
NBRSA 0.0077″ Mike Stinnett 0.027″ Ralph Landon 0.041″ Jerry Thornbrugh 0.049″ Gary Ocock
IBS 0.051″ Mark Shepler 0.052″ J. Ventriglia 0.060″ J. Neary 0.045″ Gary Ocock

Below is a larger-than-life-size view. Using this photo we measured the group with target-calculating software, and it came out .006″ (the software only goes to three digits). We recognize that it would be much better to work from the real target rather than a photo, so we are not challenging the official measurement in the least. But this does confirm that this is a phenomenally small five-shot group.

world record Michael stinnett group .0077

The Record-Setting Rifle and Cartridge
Many folks have asked about the gun and ammo that produced the .0077″ group. The Light Varmint-class Benchrest rifle was chambered as a .30-caliber wildcat, the 30 Stewart, which is based on the 6.5 Grendel case necked up. Mike was using Hodgdon H4198 powder behind BIB 114gr, 10-ogive bullets. Notably, the record-setting ammo was pre-loaded before the match. Here is Mike’s tuner-equipped rifle. CLICK HERE for more information on the rifle and cartridge.

Record .008 .0077 group rifle

Record Rifle Equipment Report by Mike Stinnett
Action: Kelbly Panda “Speedy Shorty” with solid bolt and PPC-diameter bolt face. Kelbly was asked to build several actions which were identical with the intent to eliminate any variance in head space between the two new rifles. This helped me use a single set-up on sizing dies for both rifles and ammo is interchangeable. Both actions were sent to Thomas ‘Speedy’ Gonzalez to be blue-printed and have Jewell triggers installed.

Reamer: 30 STEWART (I just call it a 30 PPC as that is what everyone expects, but it is in fact a custom design and Ralph deserves about 99% of the credit).

Barrels: Krieger was selected for the barrels. After discussions with Randy Robinett of BIB Bullets, a 1:17″ twist was identified as the correct, safe solution. Ralph Stewart has cut all my chambers using a custom-designed reamer. [Our goal] was consistent headspace and Ralph has been able to keep my barrels within .0002 variance. The barrel tuner also comes from Ralph Stewart.

  • Stock: Larson (including action bedding)
  • Scope: Leupold 45X Competition in Kelby Single Screw Tall Rings
  • Brass: Lapua (Base case is 6.5 Grendel)
  • Bullets: Randy Robinett (BIB) 30 Cal. 114gr, 10 Ogive (secondary bullet; primary is 112gr BIB)
  • Powder: H4198 – Stout Load with 2980 FPS Velocity
  • Front Rest: Farley Coaxial
  • Bags: Micro Fiber
  • Flags: Graham Wind Flags (large)
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, News, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
March 7th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: Half-Mile ‘Hog Rifle, John’s 6mm Rem AI

groundhog varmint rifle .243 6mm Rem Remington Ackley Improved AI

Spring varmint season is just around the corner. So here’s a very accurate Half-Mile ‘Hog rifle, that can drill a groundhog at long range. While just about any cartridge from a 22 magnum on up will do the job on a groundhog at close range, when you want to “reach out and touch” your prey at very long distance, it takes a case capable of tossing a heavier, wind-bucking projectile at ultra-high speeds. This week we feature a 6mm Remington Ackley Improved (6mm AI) belonging to our friend John Seibel, who ran the Varmints for Forum website for many years. John’s handsome BAT-actioned rifle sends the 87gr V-Max at a blistering 3675 fps. With its 1/4-MOA accuracy and flat-shooting ballistics, this gun is a varmint’s worst nightmare, a rig that regularly nails groundhogs at a half-mile (880 yards) and beyond.

Quarter-MOA Accuracy For Long-Distance Varminting

GunDay Report by John Seibel
John reports: “So far this gun has been an awesome long-distance varmint rig, with enough velocity to smack those critters hard at 800 yards and beyond. I have some more testing to do, but it seems that the 87gr V-Max (molyed) pushed by 52 grains of N160 or 51.5 grains of RL-19 shoots very well indeed. Velocity runs around 3675 fps. I shot consistent 1″ groups at 500 yards with both of these loads. Warning: These are max loads that work in my rifle, so start at least 10% lower and work up.

500yd SteelMy fire-forming procedure is just jam and shoot. I start with a powder (such as H414) that works for the parent case, fire a few cases as I work up the load to where I get a well-formed case, then shoot them at varmints. Then I work my load up with the newly-formed cases over a chrono. If a load looks good at 100 yards, I will go straight for 200 yards. I’ve seen that some loads which grouped well at 100 won’t shoot well at 200. If it is consistent at 200, then I’ll shoot it a steel plate at 500 yards. Then the truth will be told.

Man I love that BAT action! I have tried some Berger 88gr Lo-Drag bullets as well. They have the same BC as the V-Maxs but offer excellent accuracy. The action is BAT’s Model B round action configured Right Bolt, Left Port, with a fluted .308-faced bolt. The port is 3.0 inches wide — perfect for the 6mm Rem Improved cartridge’s OAL. I use a NightForce 8-32x56mm NXS scope mounted to BAT’s 20-MOA aluminum Weaver-style base. I use Burris Signature Zee rings because they are self-aligning and easy on scope tubes, plus you have the option of adding more MOA if needed.

Krieger with Harrell Brake
The barrel is a stainless Krieger 1:12″ twist Heavy Varmint contour, finished at 26″. I installed a Harrell’s muzzle brake because I hate recoil and I like to be able to spot my hits when target shooting and hunting–especially hunting.

When hunting I am usually by myself so when I eyeball a varmint I want to see my shot flatten him … and I hardly ever miss (heh-heh). Make sure you have your earplugs in though — that muzzle brake is loud!

Easy-Steering Thumbhole Varminter
The stock is Richard’s Custom Rifles Model 005 Thumbhole Varminter. This is a big stock that rides the sand bags very well. Took me a while to get used to this stock as I had never shot a thumbhole before. It is very comfortable and easy to control when you are shooting a moving target. In fact, my first kill with this rifle was a coyote at a little over 200 yards, she was moving along at a slow clip and I had to give her the ole’ Texas heart shot before she disappeared over a hill! (It’s pretty rare for me to shoot moving varmints though — at long-range, I want my cross-hairs steady on the target.)

Regarding the stock selection, I like Richard Franklin’s stocks because they are well-suited to my kind of shooting. I prefer a stock that is flat most of the way back towards the action because when I’m shooting out of my truck window it has to balance around mid-point. Also his stocks seem to track very well on the bench. I guess the stocks I like the most are his Model 001 and Model 008 F-Class. [Editor’s note: John often shoots from the driver’s seat of his truck because he is partially paralyzed. He also has a hoist in his truck bed for his wheelchair. Even with his mobility challenges, John tags more varmints in a season than most of us ever will.]

6mmChoice of Caliber — A 6mm with More Punch for Long Distance
I picked the 6mm Rem Improved mainly because it has that long neck for holding long bullets and it doesn’t burn the throats out as fast as a .243 AI would. I don’t use Remington brass; it splits when fire-forming and seems to work-harden fast. Another reason I picked the 6mm Improved was what I saw in the field–it seemed to be a perfect long-range groundhog getter. I saw my stocker, Richard Franklin, flat smack groundhogs out to 900+ yards with regularity. The OAL of a 6mm Improved does make it hard to remove a loaded round from a standard Remington 700 action. That’s why I went with the BAT Model B, with its longer 3.0″ port. For a standard action, a .243 AI might function better.

As for the 6 Dasher, from what I have read, I think it is a fine round. I’m a hunter though and a lot of case-forming isn’t worth it to me. Forming the Ackleyized cases is bad enough. The 6-250 is a real screamer and very accurate but it doesn’t have the capacity to drive the heavier bullets as well as the 6mm Improved. I have tried a .243 WSSM, also with a Richard’s stock (#008) and a BAT action. It may not shoot as well as the 6mm Rem Improved, but I like those short fat cases.

John’s Views on the Great Moly Debate
Editor: John started with moly-coated bullets for this 6mm Rem AI rifle, but he has moved away from that. He does have considerable experience with coated bullets, and now, at least with custom, hand-lapped barrels, he normally uses uncoated bullets. He now favors coated bullets only for the small .17 caliber.

Moly or no moly… hmm? I have used moly and Danzac for several years, mainly Danzac. In my experience, both moly and Danzac can work well for somebody who shoots a lot of rounds before cleaning. A barrel has to be broken-in correctly whether you use moly or not. I have done break-in with naked bullets, using the conventional method of shooting and cleaning till the copper stops sticking. I have also gone through the break-in process using molyed bullets from the start. It seems to me the barrels broke-in more readily with moly bullets than with naked bullets. I think if there are any rough or sharp places in the barrel the slick molyed bullet doesn’t grab it as badly and the moly will “iron” the flaw out without leaving copper behind.

molybdenum danzac bullet collet moly varmint bullet

The main mistake I think most people make with moly is improper cleaning. By that I mean they don’t get the bore clean from the beginning. Some people will scoff at me for this but I use JB bore paste for most all my cleaning, hardly ever use a brush. Just JB and Montana Extreme or Butch’s Bore Shine. It works for me! Now shooting molyed bullets works fine to say 500 yards, but any further and you really need a lot of tension on the bullet. If not you will get bad flyers.

Personally, I use coated bullets only with .17 cal rounds now. I did use them initially in my 6mm Rem AI but I am starting to move away from that. With proper break-in, the fine custom barrels we have now will not copper if you clean correctly and don’t push those bullets too fast! And remember that powder-fouling build-up is an accuracy-killer too. That is another reason I use a lot of JB paste.

groundhog varmint rifle .243 6mm Rem Remington Ackley Improved AI
John lives and works on a farm in Virginia. Getting rid of intrusive varmints is part of the job of running the farm. Here is one of John’s bolt-action pistols, which is very handy when shooting from a vehicle.

The Guru of Varmints For Fun
For many years John Seibel ran the popular Varmints For Fun website (now offline). This site offered excellent advice for hunters and reloaders. John covered a wide variety of varmint chamberings, from big 6mm wildcats, to the popular 6BR, 22BR and .22-250 caliber varmint rounds, and even the micro-caliber wildcats such as the 20 Vartarg and 20 PPC. Shown below is one of his favorite rifles, a 20 PPC with a special short version of Richard Franklin’s Model 008 stock.

John tells us: “I guess one reason I started my web site is that I was getting a lot of inquiries about hunting groundhogs, custom rifles and reloading. Plus I thought it was a fine way to get young people interested in the shooting sports. Lord knows hunting and firearms aren’t taught any more. I get a lot of young hunters and shooters asking what’s the best caliber for hunting varmints, and they’ll ask for reloading help too. It’s a shame, but many of them have no one to teach them. I do my best to help.

Showing others that a person can still shoot, even with a disability, is another reason I started my web site. I am a C 6-7 Quadraplegic, which means I have no grip in my hands. Imagine shooting those 1.5 oz Jewels that way! I had a therapist tell me I wouldn’t be able to shoot or reload once I got out of the hospital…shows you how much he knows! First time I got home from the hospital it was deer season and I had Pops park me at the edge of some woods. Well I had a 7-point buck on the ground in thirty minutes! Being raised on a farm didn’t hurt none either–it helped me figger ways to jury-rig stuff. Of course I couldn’t have done much if it wasn’t for my family and my lovely wife Cathy[.]”

John’s Favorite 20 PPC Varmint Rifle

Cartridge History Lesson — the Original .244 Remington
Here’s bit of cartridge history. The 6mm Remington, parent of John’s 6mm AI, actually started its life with a different name, the “.244 Remington”. What we now know as the “6mm Remington” was originally called the .244 Remington. The cartridge was renamed because it was not a commercial success initially, being eclipsed by the .243 Winchester. The .244 Remington and the 6mm Remington are identical — only the name was changed.

6mm Remington cartridge .244 John Seibel varmint rifle

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August 17th, 2020

Bargain Finder 256: 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.

1. Krieger Barrels — Overstock Barrels in Inventory Now

kreiger barrel sale

Great Krieger barrels with no waiting — overstock inventory

Since Krieger barrels are so highly sought-after, there can be a long lead time to get a made-to-order Krieger barrel. Here’a little known secret, Krieger Barrels has an overstock barrels section on its website. There you’ll find a very wide selection of calibers, countours, and lengths. In stock are many of the most popular barrel types for hunting, PRS, Benchrest, and F-Class. Take a look, there just may be a barrel you need, and you’ll have your barrel in days, not months.

2. Annealing Made Perfect — AMP Annealer and Accessories

amp annealer

Most Advanced Annealing Machine and important accessories

Annealing Made Perfect (AMP) in the world leader in cartridge annealing technology. AMP has recently launched its own online store which features everything AMP sells, all in one place. Along with the AMP computer-controlled annealing machines, you’ll find case feeders, pilots, and software upgrades. You’ll also find a wide array of specialty parts which are not available anywhere else.

3. Grafs.com — Peterson Factory-Loaded Rifle Ammunition

Peterson rifle ammo

Peterson ammo made with great brass and top-tier bullets

Everyone knows Peterson makes some of the best brass on the market, but did you know Peterson produces some of the finest precision loaded ammunition as well? At Grafs.com you’ll find the outstanding Peterson specialty rifle ammunition. Graf’s carries favorites like .243 Win, .308 Win, and 6.5 Creedmoor, plus a wide selection of big magnum cartridge types, such as .300 Norma Mag, .375 and .408 Cheytac.

4. Amazon — MTM R-100 Deluxe 100-Round Ammo Box, $14.95

mtm 100rd ammo box

Best Ammo Carrier on the market — Mechanical Hinge, lockable

Here’s a great upgrade to the original MTM 100-rd ammo case, which had latches that could sometimes pop open and a folded plastic hinge that could break over time. That’s all changed with MTM’s new MTM R-100 Deluxe 100 Round Rifle Ammo Box. This features two strong snap closures and sturdy mechanical hinges for the lid. Yes the lid now lies flat when open! And there is now a locking hasp in the front. With these updates, we think this is, without question, the best 100-rd ammo carrier on the market.

5. Sportsman’s Warehouse–Ruger 10/22 Scoped Carbine, $299.99

ruger 10/22 rifle

Great Ruger 10/22 Deal with Veridian 3-9x40mm Scope

The Ruger 10/22 is a legendary American .22 LR rifle. It is fun to shoot, and a great first rifle for young marksmen. Sportsman’s Warehouse has just slashed the price on the Ruger 10/22 Carbine with scope. This carbine model features a black, synthetic stock and factory-mounted Viridian EON 3-9x40mm scope — all for just $299.99! This setup is ready to hit the range right out of the box.

6. Amazon — Kestrel 1000 Windmeter, $74.00

kestrel 1000 windmeter

Basic Kestrel unit under $74.00 — reliable and accurate

Reading wind is critical for successful shooting and the Kestrel 1000 windmeter is probably the best way to do it for under $100. At only $74, this Kestrel 1000 features a 3-button control system and large LCD display. The unit measures current, average, and peak wind speed values fast and accurately in mph, km/h, feet/min, m/s, or knots.

7. Natchez — Primos Trail Camera Gen 2, $39.99

game camera sale

Great value — Use for game hunting and property security

If you need a simple, affordable trail camera, check out the Primos Proof Cam Gen 2 Low Glow Trail Camera. When you’re not using the camera for spotting game, these are great for general monitoring duties on your property. The manufacturer says the camera “is built for one purpose: To give hunters the most reliable, most simple-to-use camera money can buy with all the functions that really matter and none of the extras that don’t. Now Primos Proof Gen 2 line offers faster recovery, better detection distance, and best in class performance.” This unit features 12 megapixel resolution, 80-foot night range, 720P HD video with time-lapse, plus a 1-year battery life with 8 AA Batteries.

8. Amazon — MTM Gun Cleaning Patch Catcher, $10.99

MTM patch catcher

Performs as promised — saves mess at home or at range

When cleaning rifles, wet and dirty patches can make a real mess. Here’s a solution — the MTM Gun Cleaning Patch Catcher. Simply slip it over your barrel to contain all the patches pushed out the muzzle. No more mess and stains on your bench/table. When cleaning tasks are done, simply remove the Patch Catcher and dump the contents into the trash. Watch the video to see how the MTM Patch Catcher works.

9. Midsouth Shooters — Bulldog Rifle Case Sale

bulldog rifle case

Good quality; 54″ case holds PRS and Match Rifles; Bargain Cases too

Midsouth is running a sale now on the Bulldog Rifle Cases. You’ll find a variety of cases at attractive prices. For F-Class and PRS rifles with long barrels, we like the big 54″ Long Range Rifle Case shown above. Bulldog also make great tactical cases for modern sporting rifles. And you’ll find affordable green/tan zippered cases for scoped hunting rifles (48″, $13.05) and long-barrel shotguns (52″, $13.24). These $13 Bulldog economy cases are a great bargain.

10. MidwayUSA — Lockdown 3-Gun Magnetic Barrel Rack, $15.99

bulldog rifle case

Attach to outside of safe, or use in workshop or RV

This simple device is very handy when you’re loading multiple long guns into a safe. It’s also great for those multi-rifle cleaning sessions — just line up your rigs outside the safe securely. This “staging support” barrel rack attaches to the outside of a safe and holds your guns vertically with polymer-coated magnetic V-Blocks. You can also use this in your workshop or RV. For $15.99 this is worth every penny if it saves even one expensive stock from getting dropped and damaged.

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February 2nd, 2020

Barrel Twist Rate — How to Determine the True Twist Rate

FirearmsID.com barrel rifling diagram
Erik Dahlberg illustration courtesy FireArmsID.com.

Sometimes you’ll get a barrel that doesn’t stabilize bullets the way you’d anticipate, based on the stated (or presumed) twist rate. A barrel might have 1:10″ stamped on the side but it is, in truth, a 1:10.5″ twist or even a 1:9.5″. Cut-rifled barrels, such as Kriegers and Bartleins, normally hold very true to the specified twist rate. With buttoned barrels, due to the nature of the rifling process, there’s a greater chance of a small variation in twist rate. And yes, factory barrels can be slightly out of spec as well.

After buying a new barrel, you should determine the true twist rate BEFORE you start load development. You don’t want to invest in a large supply of expensive bullets only to find that that won’t stabilize because your “8 twist” barrel is really a 1:8.5″. Sinclair International provides a simple procedure for determining the actual twist rate of your barrel.

Sinclair’s Simple Twist Rate Measurement Method
If are unsure of the twist rate of the barrel, you can measure it yourself in a couple of minutes. You need a good cleaning rod with a rotating handle and a jag with a fairly tight fitting patch. Utilize a rod guide if you are accessing the barrel through the breech or a muzzle guide if you are going to come in from the muzzle end. Make sure the rod rotates freely in the handle under load. Start the patch into the barrel for a few inches and then stop. Put a piece of tape at the back of the rod by the handle (like a flag) or mark the rod in some way. Measure how much of the rod is still protruding from the rod guide. You can either measure from the rod guide or muzzle guide back to the flag or to a spot on the handle. Next, continue to push the rod in until the mark or tape flag has made one complete revolution. Re-measure the amount of rod that is left sticking out of the barrel. Use the same reference marks as you did on the first measurement. Next, subtract this measurement from the first measurement. This number is the twist rate. For example, if the rod has 24 inches remaining at the start and 16 inches remain after making one revolution, you have 8 inches of travel, thus a 1:8 twist barrel.

Determining Barrel Twist Rate Empirically
Twist rate is defined as the distance in inches of barrel that the rifling takes to make one complete revolution. An example would be a 1:10″ twist rate. A 1:10″ barrel has rifling that makes one complete revolution in 10 inches of barrel length. Rifle manufacturers usually publish twist rates for their standard rifle offerings and custom barrels are always ordered by caliber, contour, and twist rate. If you are having a custom barrel chambered you can ask the gunsmith to mark the barrel with the twist rate.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
July 19th, 2019

Krieger Pre-Fits for Ruger Precision Rifle Improve RPR Accuracy

Krieger Barrels Ruger Precision Rifles Pre-Fit Drop-In Chambered barrel RPR

Own a Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR)? Looking for the single best hardware upgrade that will improve inherent accuracy and shot-to-shot consistency? Here’s your answer. Krieger Barrels is now producing Pre-Fit barrels for the RPR in seven popular chamberings: 6XC, 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, .243 Win, 6.5 PRC, .308 Winchester, and .300 Win Mag. These $550.00 “Drop-In Ready” barrels come finish-chambered and threaded to fit the Ruger action. The Ruger barrel attachment system allows correct headspace with a pre-chambered barrel. Krieger explains: “Thanks to Ruger’s proprietary barrel nut design, a competent gunsmith will be able to swap out your barrel using an AR15 barrel wrench and proper headspace gauges.”

Krieger Barrels Ruger Precision Rifles Pre-Fit Drop-In Chambered barrel RPR

Kreiger’s 6.5 Creedmoor RPR barrel is an 1:8″-twist with 26″ finished length, 0.750″ at muzzle. The .308 Win RPR barrel is a 1:10″-twist with 24″ finished length, also 0.750″ at muzzle. Both these Krieger RPR Pre-Fits feature muzzles with factory-spec thread so you can re-install the factory muzzle brake.

Krieger Barrels Ruger Precision Rifles Pre-Fit Drop-In Chambered barrel RPR

Krieger Barrels Ruger Precision Rifles Pre-Fit Drop-In Chambered barrel RPR

Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product, News, Tactical 2 Comments »
June 22nd, 2019

The Most Incredible Accuracy in History — But It’s Not a Record

Gary Ocock Rail Gun Unlimited Target Visalia CA 6 PPC IBS NBRSA
Want to see the details? CLICK HERE to view full-screen photo.

Five targets, each with FIVE shots in essentially one hole. The events of this story happened two years ago. We are reprising our report because this five-target Aggregate arguably represents the most impressive feat of 100-yard accuracy in the history of marksmanship on this planet.

Check out those five targets. The Aggregate (average) of all five targets is a tiny 0.0840 inches! These were shot by Gary Ocock at 100 yards in a California benchrest match on August 6, 2017. Though Gary’s 0.0840 Agg beats existing records, this was not a “sanctioned” match, so Gary’s killer Agg will NOT be submitted for IBS or NBRSA records. So, sadly, the Agg won’t appear in the record books, but this remains a spectacular, verified feat of rifle accuracy, accomplished in competition.

The argument can be made that this is the Most Accurate Gun Ever Built. As far as we can determine, no one has ever shot a smaller 5-target Agg anywhere, at any time.

The Unlimited Benchrest Record That Will Never Be (Official)

Report by Boyd Allen
Gary Ocock’s stunning unlimited Aggregate is beyond amazing. That’s an average of five, 5-shot groups of .0840. Shot under sanctioned match rules, but at an unsanctioned 100-yard fun match, this Aggregate is well under the current 100-yard official records of the IBS (.1386), and the NBRSA (.1242). The fourth of the five groups measured a minuscule .018, less than half the size of the existing NBRSA Unlimited record of .049 (also shot by Gary). Check it out:

Gary Ocock Rail Gun Unlimited Target Visalia CA 6 PPC IBS NBRSA

Gary Ocock Rail Gun Unlimited Target Visalia CA 6 PPC IBS NBRSA
When the top 15 shooters all post teen Aggs, conditions must be pretty favorable. However there were some light switchy winds — Gary said that he shot better in the left to right condition.

GUN SPECIFICATIONS
Ocock’s red Jay Young Unlimited Railgun features one major difference from Young’s typical Railgun designs. The bottom of the barrel block is integral with the top (moving part), of the gun. The barrel is Ocock’s usual 1:13.5″-twist Krieger chambered for the 6 PPC. The BAT Neuvo action* is unusual in that its lugs are horizontal at lock-up instead of the usual vertical. With horizontal lugs, both lugs maintain contact with their abutments when the action is cocked. In the more normal configuration when cocked the top lug is forced off of its seat by a combination of the angle of the trigger cocking piece interface, the pressure of the striker spring, and bolt clearance at the rear of the action.

LOAD SPECIFICATIONS
Gary shot this remarkable Agg with well-used brass, Vihtavuori N133 powder, and self-made 66gr BT bullets** seated at “jam”. This amazing Agg was shot on the second day of a 2-day Unlimited Benchrest match. On Day 1 Gary had experimented with various loads using both surplus IMR 8208 and Vihtavuori N133, but was not satisfied with the results. For his first group on Day 2, Gary tried a light load of N133. After seeing the result, however, he decided to go to the other extreme — a super stout N133 load — with the same powder. As you can see, Gary’s willingness to experiment paid off.

Gary Ocock Rail Gun Unlimited Target Visalia CA 6 PPC IBS NBRSA

Notably, Gary used light neck tension. Ocock found that for these bullets and this barrel, light neck tension worked best (contrary to “normal” N133 benchrest practice). Ocock used a bushing that only produces .001″ difference between the diameters of sized and loaded case necks.

Comment on Ocock’s Achievement
Congratulations to Gary Ocock for superb shooting (and smart loading). Even though the match was not sanctioned (so the Agg will never be a record), Ocock has raised the bar very high, and given us a new standard of ultimate accuracy.

Though this 0.0840 Aggregate and 0.018 group will never go into the record group, they are still noteworthy. There’s virtually no doubt that they would have survived inspection by any record committee. Except for the lack of fixed backers, an IBS requirement (for detecting cross-fires), all other conditions were met for an officially-sanctioned match.

*The new BAT Neuvo actions are the result of a collaboration between Dwight Scott, and Bruce Thom, featuring Dwight’s ideas and BAT’s proven manufacturing expertise.

** Ocock shot his own, boat-tail match bullets, made with George Ulrich-crafted dies using Hood cores. Although he said that it had been a while since he had weighed any, his best guess was that they weigh something around 66.5 grains.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Shooting Skills 7 Comments »
April 14th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: Corbin Shell’s ELR Record-Setting .416 Barrett

ELR Central Extreme Long Range Record Cold Bore Corbin Shell Georgia Krieger BAT Dixie Gunworks Sightron

Today’s Sunday GunDay story features Corbin Shell’s remarkable, record-setting .416 Barrett. With a 40″ Krieger barrel secured in a massive barrel block, this is definitely a big boomer!

ELR Central Extreme Long Range Record Cold Bore Corbin Shell Georgia Krieger BAT Dixie Gunworks Sightron

Last month, Forum member Corbin Shell set a new Extreme Long Range (ELR) record. With no sighters or warm-up shots, Corbin put three (3) shots on a 36″ x 36″ steel plate at 2118 yards, establishing a new Cold Bore ELR World Record. The range was verified with three rangefinders and witnessed by 20+ awestruck shooters. Applied Ballistics reports: “There is a new official ELR World Record. 2118 yards. 3 for 3 cold bore.” This was also recognized as a record by the FCSA (Fifty Caliber Shooting Association).*

ELR Central Extreme Long Range Record Cold Bore Corbin Shell Georgia Krieger BAT Dixie Gunworks Sightron

This record was set at the ELR Southeast Shootout held at the Arena Training Facility in Blakely, Georgia, on March 2, 2019. The World Record attempt was made in compliance with all ELR Central Rules.

ELR Central Extreme Long Range Record Cold Bore Corbin Shell Georgia Krieger BAT Dixie Gunworks Sightron
Corbin Shell (on right) stands next to Joe Burdick, match director. That’s three hits on 36″ x 36″ plate.

ELR Ain’t Cheap — $6.55 Cost per Shot
Corbin told us: “Each round fired cost approximately $6.55. The breakdown is as follows: bullet $3.05, powder $0.80, primer $0.50, cartridge case $1.00 (based on five firings), barrel wear $1.20 per shot based on 1000 rounds of barrel life. Hitting steel at distance: PRICELESS!”

ELR Record .416 Barrett Rifle Components

ELR Central Extreme Long Range Record Cold Bore Corbin Shell Georgia Krieger BAT Dixie Gunworks Sightron

Action: BAT .50 caliber EX, multi-flat, with hard coat finish, extra CheyTac bolt.
Barrel: Krieger cut-rifled, .416 caliber, 40″ finish length, 1:9″ twist.
Barrel Block: Doyle Anglin Dixie Gunworks, integral Picatinny rail.
Muzzle Brake: Ryan Pierce 5-port magnum.
Stock: Designed and fabricated by Doyle Anglin, Dixie Gunworks. Obeche laminate, Indian Blanket color scheme. 48″ long excluding butt hardware.
Butt and Cheekpiece Hardware: Master Class/Alex Sitman, extended rods.
Scope: Sightron SIII 6-24x50mm MOA reticle item #25127. 100 MOA elevation/windage.
Bipod: Duplin Rifles by Clint Cooper. Weight: One pound, 2 ounces.
Gunsmith: Rifle builder was Doyle Anglin, Dixie Gunworks, Winder, GA.

ELR Central Extreme Long Range Record Cold Bore Corbin Shell Georgia Krieger BAT Dixie Gunworks Sightron

ELR Record .416 Barrett Load

Projectiles: Cutting Edge Bullets 550gr Lazers
Powder: Vihtavuori 20n29
Primers: RWS Large
Cartridge Brass: Barrett .416

ELR Central Extreme Long Range Record Cold Bore Corbin Shell Georgia Krieger BAT Dixie Gunworks Sightron

If you want to learn more about this record-setting rifle, Corbin has prepared a 6-page project history describing all the components and explaining how the rifle was constructed. This Build Document also contains a wealth of information about loading for the .416 Barrett cartridge.

Conditions During Record:
Corbin tells us: “This was shot in Blakely, Georgia at the Arena Training Facility in good Ole dense Southern air. Here are the atmospheric conditions when I shot: 70 degree temperature, 29.70-29.80 inches of mercury, 82% humidity, 1211 Density Altitude (DA).”

ELR Central Extreme Long Range Record Cold Bore Corbin Shell Georgia Krieger BAT Dixie Gunworks Sightron

Corbin noted that the unique barrel block with rail helps with ELR Optics: “This custom-made barrel block is drilled length wise to reduce weight. It incorporates an integral Picatinny rail which… facilitates mounting of … the Tacom Charlie/Delta TARAC prism system, without the need to bridge mount.” Charlie/Delta TARAC units effectively offset the view that comes into the scope, providing up to 625 MOA elevation.

ELR Cold Bore Shot Record Rules
Congratulations to the new ELR World Record Holder Corbin Shell. The record now stands at 2118 yards. This record was shot under a very specific set of rules established by ELR Central and industry leaders. For more ELR record information, go to ELRCentral.com. All ELR World Record results can be seen on the ELR Central’sEvent Results Page.


* Prior to Corbin Shell’s GA record, David Tubb shot a 2200-yard, 3-shot group that has been recognized as a FCSA record. However, because David had made a same-day attempt, within minutes, with a different rifle, this did not comply with the ELR Central Rules. So, at this time only Corbin Shell is recognized as the ELR Central World Record Holder.

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March 22nd, 2019

Montana Magic — 6BR Ackley Shoots Sub-Quarter-MOA at 1000

BAT Machine neuvo benchrest rifle action krieger barrel montana deep creek tom mousel Alex Wheeler
Looking 1000 yards downrange at the Deep Creek Range outside Missoula, Montana.

On Facebook recently, we saw an eye-catching rifle. Owned by top 1000-yard competitor (and past IBS Champ) Tom Mousel, this rifle was smithed by Alex Wheeler of Wheeler Accuracy. This rig features the McMillan-crafted Wheeler LRB stock with adjustable keel. It also has BAT Machine’s very impressive new Neuvo LR (aka “Neuvo M”) action, serial number LR0001. The Neuvo LR has some important design features — horizontal lug orientation, full-diameter bolt body, and advanced fire control system. More about those features below.

BAT Machine neuvo benchrest rifle action krieger barrel montana deep creek tom mousel Alex Wheeler

This gun is a shooter. Tom has already shot a 1.5″ four-shot group at 1000 yards. How does he do that? First you need a great barrel, great bullets, and superior hand-loading skills. But then it comes down to great gun-handling. You can see that in the video below. NOTE to ALL Long-Range Benchrest shooters — Watch this video! You’ll definitely learn from watching Tom shoot — he’s one of the best in the business.

Tom Mousel shoots 1000-yard ladder test with first-released Neuvo LR action, SN LR0001.
Rifle chambering is 6BR Ackley (6BRA) in 28″ Krieger barrel.

Rifle Components and Build INFO:
This rifle has a BAT Neuvo LR (aka Neuvo “M”) action glued and screwed into the LRB stock using a special bedding block, a Boyd Allen concept that Tom has requested to use on every future build. The 28″ Krieger 1:8″-twist HV barrel was indexed using a little different method than most use. It is “panning out well” says Alex, who adds: “So far it has shot [multiple low ones] with two barrels and three different bullet types. This rifle is definitely one of the better shooters I have seen.” We’d agree — owner Tom Mousel has had a 1.5″ 4-shot group at 1000 yards in testing, plus some “zero” 3-shot groups at 100 yards.

Chambering is the 6mmBR Ackley (6BRA). The stock is a Wheeler/McMillan LRB stock with vivid orange and black paint job. It features an adjustable keel in the rear. Trigger is a Bix N Andy unit from Bullets.com.

BAT Machine neuvo benchrest rifle action krieger barrel montana deep creek tom mousel Alex Wheeler
This BAT Neuvo LR action is a Left-loading Drop Port. Cartridges eject out the bottom of the action.

BAT Machine Neuvo Long Range “M” Action
This is the “Long Range” version of the BAT Neuvo. Dwight Scott and Chris Harris were the original inspiration. I worked with Chris to come up with a version for long range. The main differences for the LR Neuvo (compared to the shorter Neuvo) are this has integral lug and rail, with flat bottom and sides for better bedding. The BAT Neuvo LR is available in drop port, dual port, and single port as well as magnum.

BAT Machine neuvo benchrest rifle action krieger barrel montana deep creek tom mousel Alex Wheeler

Take a look at the bolt. Notice the lug orientation and full diameter bolt body. There are no bolt raceways in the action and the two lugs sit HORIZONTALLY when the bolt is closed — that’s different than the vast majority of other two-lug actions.

Alex Wheeler says the Neuvo is a winner. He thinks some of the action’s design features really do contribute to enhanced accuracy: “The … fire control (firing pin assembly) carries a lot of energy and has a very “clean” release. This is an excellent design with many small details that combine to deliver superior function. In addition, the full-diameter bolt can be fitted tighter than one with lugways. Also the horizontal lugs may be why we see less vertical stringing in the groups. They are timed perfectly as well.”

BAT Machine neuvo benchrest rifle action krieger barrel montana deep creek tom mousel Alex Wheeler

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December 5th, 2017

Custom 6-6.5×47 Varmint rifle with BAT Action and Krieger Barrel

6mm Creedmoor 6-6.5x47 Lapua Varmint Rifle BAT action Krieger Barrel

With all the noise lately about the 6.5 Creedmoor, it’s easy to forget that before we had the Creedmoor, we had another accurate, efficient mid-sized cartridge, the 6.5×47 Lapua. Just as the 6.5 Creedmoor inspired the 6mm Creedmoor, the 6.5×47 Lapua has been successfully necked-down to 6mm (.243) for a 6-6.5×47 variant. This has worked great in a number of roles — benchrest, varminting, and tactical/PRS. This article, from a few seasons back, shows how the 6-6.5×47 Lapua can be successfully packaged as an accurate, potent 6mm varminter.

The 6-6.5×47 Lapua for Precision Long-Range Varminting

6mm Creedmoor 6-6.5x47 Lapua Varmint Rifle BAT action Krieger Barrel
Report by Stan Stewart

6mm Creedmoor 6-6.5x47 Lapua Varmint Rifle BAT action Krieger Barrel6mm AI ‘Sellers Remorse’ Spurs New 6mm Project
After selling my 6mm Remington Ackley Improved a couple of years ago and wishing I had not, I thought about a new customer rifle for work on Prairie Dog towns and New York wood chucks at 600+ yards. I have a .223 AR and 22-250 for medium ranges but I missed my 6mm AI for long-range work. The 22-250 is a fine chambering, but it is hard on barrels, and I think the 6mms may have an accuracy edge out past 400 yards. Also, shooters today enjoy a vast collection of really great 6mm bullets. Barrel life and bullet ooptions were two main reasons I decided to build a 6mm rather that another .224-caliber gun. But the question remained — what 6mm chambering to choose? Although I missed my 6mm AI, I did not miss fire-forming the brass, so when I learned about the 6-6.5×47 Lapua, a wildcat case easily formed by necking down the parent 6.5×47 case, I thought this might be the answer.

I started doing serious research on the 6-6.5×47 Lapua. I received a lot of good advice from AccurateShooter.com and other websites on the pros and cons of the new cartridge. Most reports were positive. I also talked to gunsmiths — quite a few recommended the new cartridge as well. Some of the cartridge attributes I liked were the small rifle primer, enough case capacity to efficiently reach 3700 fps with a 70gr bullet and 3400 fps with an 85-grain, without being terribly over-bore.

Most important was the 6-6.5×47’s reputation for inherent accuracy without being finicky like my 6mm AI (my experience). So, having chosen my cartridge, I started asking for gunsmith recommendations. Again the folks on the AccurateShooter Forum were very helpful. After many conversations I settled on Dave Bruno in Dayton, Pennsylvania. He was a good choice. After working with Dave on this project, I could not be happier. He was very helpful considering this was my first complete custom gun.

6mm Creedmoor 6-6.5x47 Lapua Varmint Rifle BAT action Krieger Barrel Dave Bruno

Putting Together the New Rig with Premium Components
From the get-go, I knew I wanted a BAT action and Krieger barrel. BAT Machine and Krieger Barrels enjoy a great reputation in the shooting industry. BATs are beautifully machined, smooth, and strong. Krieger cut-rifled barrels are known for dependable accuracy and long barrel life. While many 6-6.5×47 shooters choose a 8-twist barrel to shoot the 100-108gr bullets, I would be using smaller, varmint-weight bullets, so I selected a 1:10″-twist Krieger. This would allow me to shoot bullets from 60 grains up to 90 grains. Dave chambered the barrel with an 0.269″ neck and fluted the barrel to save weight. I also had Dave install a Vais muzzle brake. The Vais brake is more expensive than some others, but it is a proven product. Dave fitted the BAT with a 2 oz. Jewell trigger, mounted with a +20 MOA scope rail, then pillar-bedded the BAT into a McMillan Hunter-Class-style fiberglass stock. The scope is a 12-42x56mm Nightforce NSX, mounted in a set of Nightforce rings I hand-lapped for better contact.

6mm Creedmoor 6-6.5x47 Lapua Varmint Rifle BAT action Krieger Barrel

Berger Bullets 88gr varmint bullet 6-6.5x47 Lapua varmint rifleLoad Development for Varminting
I had selected a few powders and bullets recommended by other 6-6.5×47 shooters and started by seating all the bullets .005″ off the lands. The powders I selected were Varget, Vihtavuori N550, and Reloder 15.

I was very pleased with the 88gr Bergers. In initial testing, they grouped well and I was able to drive them to 3400 fps easily. As I wanted a gun for long-range varmint work, I was hoping the 10-twist barrel would provide enough stability for the heavier weight bullets. It did — the 10-twist worked great! I was able to shoot the lighter weight bullets very well and the 88s were superb. With a BC of 0.391, leaving the barrel at 3400 fps, these bullets were still traveling at 2600 fps at 600 yards!

6mm Creedmoor 6-6.5x47 Lapua Varmint Rifle BAT action Krieger Barrel

I did wonder how well the 88s would work on varmints given their small meplats (and limited expansion). A call to Berger reassured me the 88s should work fine on small varmints. The test came last summer when I made a trip to NY and got to visit my old Chuck hunting farms with my new rifle and old hunting buddy. The longest shot we had was only 300 yards, but the Berger 88s did great. None of the eight critters we nailed so much as wiggled after they were hit.

I did a lot of testing, recording group sizes for a variety of different bullets and powders. With all the data collected in a spreadsheet, I was able to “crunch the numbers”, and that helped me choose my preferred loads. By looking at the average group size for the individual bullets and powders, the data drew a clear picture of what the rifle shot best. Below is a chart showing comparative group sizes, arranged by both bullet type and powder brand.

6mm Creedmoor 6-6.5x47 Lapua Varmint Rifle BAT action Krieger Barrel

READ Full Article with Bullet Chron Data and Accuracy Chart »

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December 17th, 2016

How Brux Barrels Are Made — The Pursuit of Perfection

Brux Barrels, based in Lodi, Wisconsin, has earned a reputation for producing great-shooting tubes. Brux-made barrels have won their fair share of matches, and set some notable records in the process. A few years back, Rodney Wagner shot the smallest five-shot, 600-yard group (0.336″) in the history of rifle competition, using a Brux barrel chambered for the 6mm Dasher.

Folks often ask us why Brux barrels shoot so well. “What’s the secret?” they ask. We can only answer with what Brux explains on its own website: “To make a cut-rifled barrel you have to start off with the proper ingredients: the best steel available, skill, and experience. Since there are really only two main suppliers of barrel-quality steel, the skill and experience is what really makes a barrel maker stand out.” Here is how Brux’s co-owners, Norman Brux and Ken Liebetrau, explain all the procedures involved in making a Brux cut-rifled barrel:

Brux Barrel-Making Process, Start to Finish

We start out with either 4150 chrome-moly or 416R stainless steel double stress-relieved bar stock. The bar stock starts out at 1-9/32″ in diameter and 20-24 feet long so we cut it to length.

Step two is to rough-contour the outside of the barrel blank in a lathe.

Thirdly, the blank gets mounted into a Barnes gun drill. The cutter bit has holes through which oil or coolant is injected under pressure to allow the evacuation of chips formed during the cutting process. This is called “oil-through” or “coolant-through”. Without this, you wouldn’t want to even attempt drilling a hole 30” long and under ¼” in diameter. The combination of a 3600rpm and good flushing allows us to drill a beautifully straight and centered hole .005” under “land” diameter at a rate of 1” per minute.

Clean the barrel.

Next the blank is sent back to the lathe to machine the finished contour of the outside.

Clean the barrel again.

Now, the blank is sent on to the Pratt & Whitney reamer in which an “oil through” reaming tool is used to cut away the extra .005” left in the drilling process. The reamer makes an extremely accurate bore size and after it is finished the bore will have a better surface finish and will be at the proper “land” diameter.

Clean the barrel again.

In the sixth step we hand lap each barrel to remove any slight tool marks that may have been left by the reamer and inspect every one with a bore scope. If the barrel doesn’t meet our standards for surface finish and tolerance it doesn’t get any further.

Clean the barrel again.

The barrels then go onto the rifling machine which is responsible for cutting the all so familiar grooves in the bore. A caliber/land configuration-specific rifling head is used to progressively shave away small amounts of steel to form the rifling grooves. This is accomplished by simultaneously pulling the rifling head through the reamed blank as the blank is spun at a controlled rate. After each cut, the blank is rotated 90 degrees (for a four-land configuration) and after one full rotation (360 degrees) the rifling head is slightly raised to shave off the next bit of material. This process is repeated until we reach groove diameter.

Clean the barrel again.

Lastly, the barrel is hand-lapped again (to ensure a smooth bore), and a final inspection is performed with the bore scope.

The barrel is cleaned one last time, wrapped, packed, and shipped to [the customer].

Anyone reading this detailed description of the Brux barrel-making process will doubtless come away with a new appreciation for the time, effort, and dedication required to produce a premium match-grade cut-rifled barrel. Obviously, there are no easy shortcuts and great attention to detail is required each step of the way. As shooters we’re lucky that we have barrel-makers so dedicated to their craft.

Credit James Mock for steering us to this Barrel Making 101 feature on the Brux website.

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November 11th, 2016

English Shooter Sets New Great Britain F-Class Record

UK European F-Class F-Open Championships Bisley Range England

Report by Des Parr
With every new season, standards in the F-Class game are climbing ever higher. Shooter are improving their skills set while equipment and loading techniques are improving (thanks in part to websites such as this). Evidence of the level of improvement in F-Class shooting comes from the UK, where a talented shooter drilled a new GBFCA record score. One of our rising stars on this side of the pond is F-Open shooter Paul Hill. He hails from England’s wide-open flat lands where the wind blows strongly in from the North Sea and where a shooter must soon learn to read the wind.

At the European Championships held in September at the Bisley ranges, Paul set a new record score at 900 yards — a 100-17V! That’s 17 shots placed in a five-inch circle the size of a CD (compact disc) at over half a mile. [NOTE: At Bisley, the maximum score is FIVE points, not ten points. So the maximum score for 20 shots is 100. Also what Americans call an “X” is called a “V” at Bisley.]

Record Set with Slower Pair Firing Method
Bear in mind the style of shooting here in Great Britain is pair-firing. Under this procedure, each of two competitors shoots alternately, taking turns from shot to shot. Each shooter has 45 seconds to get his shot off. Allowing for the target pullers to do their jobs, this means that each shot can take up to one minute. As Paul was pair firing, he had to concentrate for up to 40 minutes to get all 20 shots off! You can imagine how many times the wind changed course in those 40 minutes — pick-ups, let-offs, changes of angle and direction. Paul had to counter each change and still managed to keep 17 shots in that 5-inch circle!

UK European F-Class F-Open Championships Bisley Range England

Paul Hill Sets Record with His First-Ever DIY-Chambered Barrel
What makes this new GBFCA record all the more significant is that Paul did it by barreling his own rifle — and for the first time! By simply taking great care and attention he has chambered and fitted a barrel himself to the very highest standards. Paul chambered the Krieger 1:9″-twist barrel for the .284 Winchester cartridge. His action was a Barnard. The stock is by Joe West.

Record Shot with Lapua 180gr Scenars and Russian Primers
We should note that Paul Hill is a very keen fan of Lapua’s 180gr Scenar-L bullet. It has to be said that this bullet doesn’t have the highest BC, yet whatever it lacks in that department it more than makes up for by being remarkably consistent — and consistency counts for a lot. Paul is also a fan of the Russian KVB-7 primers. His achievement is proof that Lapua Scenars and KVB-7 primers are every bit as good as the premium-priced alternatives. The powder was Vihtavuori N160. [Editor: For its 180gr Scenar-L, Lapua lists a 0.661 G1 BC, and a 0.332 G7 BC. Those numbers may not top the charts, but they are still very impressive.]

Records are made to be broken, but we think it will be quite a while before Paul’s 200-17X is surpassed in European competition. If you feel up to that challenge, consider competing in next year’s European Championships in late September 2017.

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