September 5th, 2021

Handy 50-Yard Sight-In Target for .30-06 Vintage Military Rifles

Garand sighting 50 yard target

Take a look at that unusual target below. We bet you’ve never seen one of these before. It’s a 50-Yard Sighting Target for the M1 Garand (and other .30-06 Springfield vintage military rifles). It’s designed to allow a rifleman to confirm his zeros for multiple yardages all the way out to 1000 yards. But importantly, he can establish those zeros at a very “short” shooting facility, since the target is positioned at a mere 50 yards.

Garand sighting 50 yard target

Here’s how it works. The target is placed at fifty (50) yards. You start at the bottom, aiming at the black circle. Then check your come-up table and work your way up, clicking step-by-step to the various horizontal lines set for 200, 300, 500, 600 and 1000 yards. This is NOT “spray and pray” — you need to have a pretty good idea of the clicks you need, based on your ammo’s ballistics. This target is calibrated for the U.S. Military M72 Ball Ammo. The targets are available from Champion’s Choice ($0.75 each) or from Creedmoor Sports (12 for $5.95).

Kevin Thomas used this target to get zeroed for a D-Day Anniversary Match at the Talladega Marksmanship Park a few seasons back. Kevin used the target for both his M1 Garand as well as his M1903A1 Springfield, both chambered for the .30-06 Springfield cartridge.

Garand sighting 50 yard target

Zeroing at a Short Distance — How to Use the 50-Yard Sighting Target, by Kevin Thomas
As part of my preparation for the Garand Match at the CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park, I needed to zero my new M1 Garand, but I was crunched for time. I didn’t have time to get to my normal range and confirm zeros at actual yardages. But a 50-yard zero target came to the rescue. Made for M1s using the M72 National Match ammo, the target allows the shooter to establish fairly good zeros at 200, 300, 500, 600 and 1,000 yards if you’ve got access to a 50-yard range.

I have no idea when these 50-yard Sighting Targets were first developed, but they’ve been around for at least as long as I’ve been involved in this game (longer than I care to admit). It consists of a tall target, with a smallish black bullseye located at the bottom center. The bullseye is an aiming point only. Extending through the top of the target is a vertical line that runs directly up the center, to nearly the top of the paper. Across this, there are intersecting horizontal lines that are marked 200, 300, 500, 600 and 1,000.

The target was designed for the M1 Garand rifle using then-issued M72 National Match ammunition. This ammo launched a 173gr FMJBT bullet at approximately 2,640 FPS. It was a good load in its day, supersonic out to the 1,000-yard line. While that ammo is fairly scarce these days, this isn’t a problem for the handloader. My standard match load for the M1 Garand utilizes the 175gr Lapua Scenar HPBT, and delivers remarkably similar ballistic performance. Thus my normal Garand load translates nicely to this 50-yard target. Yes, this is by design. No point in reinventing the wheel when Lake City has already established what works!

Garand sighting 50 yard target

In use, the shooter sets the target up at a measured 50 yards, and (this is critical) checks the vertical line with a plumb bob or a carpenter’s level, to ensure that it is absolutely vertical. Once the target is set, the rifle is fired and the group noted. From there, it is a simple matter of zeroing it normally to bring the groups into alignment with the vertical line, at the elevation needed for a particular range. Once your group is hammering the intersection of the vertical line and the horizontal line marked “200”, you have established your 200-yard zero for that rifle. Record the number of clicks, and you’re good to go. Raise the impacts up to coincide with the line marked “300” and you now have a 300-yard zero as well. And so on, right up the target. Record those settings in your data book, and you’re ready to go to the range at the full distances. If done carefully, you may be in the X-Ring, but at the very least, you’ll be well-centered and ready to get some hard dope recorded for future shoots.

The same target can also be used with an M14/M1A, at least at the shorter distances. The ballistics of the M118 and the current M118LR are similar enough that this will get you on target at the full distances, probably requiring just a half MOA or so change from the 50 yard zero you recorded. Same bullets, moving at a slightly more sedate 2,550 fps, you’ll be in the ballpark at least.

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August 12th, 2021

How Cartridge Brass in Made — Production Secrets Revealed

deep draw cartridge brass animated gif
Deep-Draw Ram Illustration from Demsey Mfg.

When we first ran this story a while back, it generated great interest among readers. By popular request, we’re reprinting this story, in case you missed it the first time around. — Editor

Rifle cartridge brass manufacturingPrecision Benchrest and F-Class shooters favor premium brass from Lapua, Norma, Peterson, or RWS. (Lake City also makes quality brass in military calibers.) Premium brass delivers better accuracy, more consistent velocities, and longer life. Shooters understand the importance of good brass, but many of us have no idea how cartridge cases are actually made. Here’s how it’s done.

The process starts with a brass disk stamped from strips of metal. Then, through a series of stages, the brass is extruded or drawn into a cylindrical shape. In the extrusion process the brass is squeezed through a die under tremendous pressure. This is repeated two or three times typically. In the more traditional “draw” process, the case is progressively stretched longer, in 3 to 5 stages, using a series of high-pressure rams forcing the brass into a form die. While extrusion may be more common today, RWS, which makes some of the most uniform brass in the world, still uses the draw process: “It starts with cup drawing after the bands have been punched out. RWS cases are drawn in three ‘stages’ and after each draw they are annealed, pickled, rinsed and subjected to further quality improvement measures. This achieves specific hardening of the brass cases and increases their resistance to extraordinary stresses.” FYI, Lapua also uses a traditional draw process to manufacture most of its cartridge brass (although Lapua employs some proprietary steps that are different from RWS’s methods).

RWS Brass Cartridge Draw process

After the cases are extruded or drawn to max length, the cases are trimmed and the neck/shoulder are formed. Then the extractor groove (on rimless cases) is formed or machined, and the primer pocket is created in the base. One way to form the primer pocket is to use a hardened steel plug called a “bunter”. In the photos below you see the stages for forming a 20mm cannon case (courtesy OldAmmo.com), along with bunters used for Lake City rifle brass. This illustrates the draw process (as opposed to extrusion). The process of draw-forming rifle brass is that same as for this 20mm shell, just on a smaller scale.

20mm cartridge brass forming

20mm Draw Set Oldammo.com

River Valley Ordnance explains: “When a case is being made, it is drawn to its final draw length, with the diameter being slightly smaller than needed. At this point in its life, the head of the draw is slightly rounded, and there are no provisions for a primer. So the final drawn cases are trimmed to length, then run into the head bunter. A punch, ground to the intended contours for the inside of the case, pushes the draw into a cylindrical die and holds it in place while another punch rams into the case from the other end, mashing the bottom flat. That secondary ram holds the headstamp bunter punch.

Lake City Brass bunterThe headstamp bunter punch has a protrusion on the end to make the primer pocket, and has raised lettering around the face to form the headstamp writing. This is, of course, all a mirror image of the finished case head. Small cases, such as 5.56×45, can be headed with a single strike. Larger cases, like 7.62×51 and 50 BMG, need to be struck once to form a dent for the primer pocket, then a second strike to finish the pocket, flatten the head, and imprint the writing. This second strike works the brass to harden it so it will support the pressure of firing.”

Thanks to Guy Hildebrand, of the Cartridge Collectors’ Exchange, OldAmmo.com, for providing this 20mm Draw Set photo. Bunter photo from River Valley Ordnance.

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August 11th, 2021

Silhouette Championship in Pennsylvania — and a Piece of History

Ridgway PA NRA smallbore silhouette championship Erich Mietenkorte SK Lapua

Silhouette Championship in Pennsylvania
Ridgway PA NRA smallbore silhouette championship Erich Mietenkorte SK LapuaFor the past few days, the Ridgway Rifle Club in Ridgway, PA has hosted the 2021 NRA Smallbore Rifle Silhouette Championship. Many of the nation’s top silhouette shooters attended this event. After a warm-up match on the 7th, the Championship match began on Sunday, August 8th and concluded on Tuesday, August 10th. Each match day featured a 40-round match with Standard Rifle and a 40-round match with Hunter Rifle. The High Power (centerfire) Silhouette Matches will continue later this week.

Ridgway PA NRA smallbore silhouette championship Erich Mietenkorte SK Lapua

Original 1950s Metal Silhouette from Mexico Donated to Ridgeway Club
There was a special dedication at the match. Ace silhouette shooter Erich Mietenkorte explained: “Most people will see this picture and just see the two of us kneeling next to a piece of steel that roughly resembles an ewe. However, in reality it represents the origin of [a sport] that has enriched my life immensely. Rifle silhouette … has added to my life an extended family of some of the nicest, most humble, and selfless people I have had the privilege to get to know[.]

Ridgway PA NRA smallbore silhouette championship Erich Mietenkorte SK Lapua

This silhouette was made in the 1950s for the Club De Tiro Y Caza Cananea in Sonora, Mexico and is one of the original targets that was shot at a distance of 500 meters to give birth to the sport of rifle silhouette. It is only fitting that it was presented to the Ridgway Rifle Club for its ongoing efforts in promoting the sport in the United States. Special thanks to Daniel and Carlos Salazar, and Mark Pharr for honoring our sport with this special gift. READ Letter from Club De Tiro.

Ridgway PA NRA smallbore silhouette championship Erich Mietenkorte SK Lapua
Here are Team Lapua, Team Berger Bullets, and Team SK members with their awards from the match. The staff of the Ridgway Rifle Club put on an outstanding event, with High Power Silhouette to follow. Excitement is growing for the inaugural Lapua Monarch Cup in 2022.

Congratulations to Luke Johnson on winning the 2021 NRA smallbore rifle silhouette championship. Luke won the overall title and also won the hunter gun championship. Luke’s team Lapua teammate Cathy Winstead-Severin won the standard rifle championship. Cathy Winstead-Severin finished 2nd followed closely by Laura Goetsch. Team SK’s Erich Mietenkorte took 4th overall. CLICK HERE for full Match Results.

Silhouette Centerfire high power history formation Mexico Ram Pig Chicken livestock

The NRA Blog ran an feature on Silhouette shooting by NRA Silhouette Program Coordinator Jonathan Leighton. Here are selections from Leighton’s story:

NRA Silhouette Shooting
The loud crack from the bullet exiting the muzzle followed by an even louder ‘clang’ as you watch your target fly off the railing is really a true addiction for most Silhouette shooters. There is nothing better than shooting a game where you actually get to see your target react to the bullet. In my opinion, this is truly what makes this game so much fun.

Metallic Silhouette — A Mexican Import
Silhouette shooting came to this country from Mexico in the 1960s. It is speculated that sport had its origins in shooting contests between Pancho Villa’s men around 1914. After the Mexican Revolution the sport spread quickly throughout Mexico. ‘Siluetas Metalicas’ uses steel silhouettes shaped like game animals. Chickens up front followed by rows of pigs, turkeys, and furthest away, rams. Being that ‘Siluetas Metalicas’ was originally a Mexican sport, it is common to hear the targets referred to by their Spanish names Gallina (chicken), Javelina (pig), Guajalote (turkey) and Borrego (ram). Depending on the discipline one is shooting, these animals are set at different distances from the firing line, but always in the same order.

Before Steel There Was… Barbeque
In the very beginnings of the sport, live farm animals were used as targets, and afterwards, the shooters would have a barbeque with all the livestock and/or game that was shot during the match. The first Silhouette match that used steel targets instead of livestock was conducted in 1948 in Mexico City, Mexico by Don Gonzalo Aguilar.

As the sport spread and gained popularity during the 1950s, shooters from the Southwestern USA started crossing the Mexican border to compete. Silhouette shooting came into the US in 1968 at the Tucson Rifle Club in Arizona. The rules have stayed pretty much the same since the sport has been shot in the US. NRA officially recognized Silhouette as a shooting discipline in 1972, and conducted its first NRA Silhouette Nationals in November of 1972.

Now There Are Multiple Disciplines
The actual sport of Silhouette is broken into several different disciplines. High Power Rifle, Smallbore Rifle, Cowboy Lever Action Rifle, Black Powder Cartridge Rifle, Air Rifle, Air Pistol, and Hunter’s Pistol are the basic disciplines. Black Powder Cartridge Rifle also has a ‘Scope’ class, and Hunter’s Pistol is broken into four sub-categories. Some clubs also offer Military Rifle Silhouette comps.

Where to Shoot Silhouette
NRA-Sanctioned matches are found at gun clubs nation-wide. You can find match listings on the Shooting Sports USA website or contact the NRA Silhouette Department at (703) 267-1465. For more info, visit SteelChickens.com, the #1 website dedicated to Silhouette shooting sports.

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June 11th, 2021

Luke Johnson Wins Lapua Silhouette Super Shoot in Ridgway PA

Lapua Super Shoot rimfire .22 LR Center-X STandard Hunter class silhouette match

Congratulations to Lapua’s Rimfire Performance Center Manager, Luke Johnson, on winning the Lapua Silhouette Super Shoot. Johnson won the Standard Rifle class with a score of 176 out of a possible 200 and a shot a perfect 40 out of 40 in the Hunter Rifle to win the class with an aggregate score of 185.

With Johnson’s perfect score in Hunter Rifle, he joins the elite 4-member club of registered masters who have shot a perfect score in both Standard and Hunter Rifle silhouette disciplines. Johnson obtained his perfect score in Standard Rifle at the 2017 National Silhouette Championship.

The Lapua Super Shoot took place May 29-30, 2021 at the “Silhouette Capital” of the USA, Ridgway Rifle Club in Ridgway, PA. It consisted of 3 x 120 round relays, all fired from the standing position. For each relay, shooters engage ten chickens at 40 meters, ten pigs at 60 meters, ten turkeys at 77 meters and ten rams at 100 meters.

“This was my 3rd perfect 40/40 of my silhouette career, all have been shot with tested Lapua Center-X,” stated Johnson, “There have only been 10 different competitors to ever fire a perfect score in registered competition. This was a special 40/40 with it being my first in Hunter Rifle class.”

Lapua Super Shoot rimfire .22 LR Center-X STandard Hunter class silhouette match

Choosing the Perfect Ammo for His Rifle
Johnson’s Lapua Center-X .22 LR ammunition is matched to his firearms at Lapua’s Rimfire Performance Center indoor facility. Unique lots of ammunition are tested at 50 and 100 meters simultaneously, identifying the best performing ammunition for purchase. This service is available to all shooters who wish to gain a competitive advantage. Readers take note — you can do this type of ammo testing for your own rimfire rifles. CLICK HERE to schedule ammo testing at either of Lapua’s Rimfire Performance Centers located in Mesa, AZ or Marengo, OH.

About Luke Johnson — Past National Silhouette Champion and All-American
Johnson, a native of Marysville, PA, brings a long background of competitive shooting and hunting to Capstone. Johnson is a graduate of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. While pursuing his Bachelor of Science degree, Luke was a 4-year letterman for the University’s D1 Rifle Team. In addition to his 3P/Prone shooting pedigree, Luke is a High Master rifle silhouette competitor. Highlights of his competitive background include: NRA Smallbore Rifle Silhouette Champion, NCAA & CRCA All-American, USA Junior National Champion (50 meter rifle).

Lapua Super Shoot rimfire .22 LR Center-X STandard Hunter class silhouette match

About Lapua Bullets, Brass, and Ammunition
Lapua produces the highest-quality, small-caliber cartridges and components for civilian and professional use. Lapua is a part of the Capstone Precision Group, exclusive U.S. distributor for Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori and SK-Rimfire products. For more information, visit Lapua.com.

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April 23rd, 2021

GREAT Video on Making Brass and Precision Ammo — Watch Now

Norma factory ammo production video

Guys — honestly, if you do anything today on this site, watch this video. You won’t be disappointed. Guaranteed. This is a very informative (and surprisingly entertaining) video. Every serious hand-loader should watch this video to see how cartridge cases and loaded ammo are made. Your Editor has watched the video 5 times now and I still find it fascinating. The camera work and editing are excellent — there are many close-ups revealing key processes such as annealing and head-stamping.

VERY Informative Video Show Cartridge Brass and Ammunition Production:

Norma has released a fascinating video showing how bullet, brass, and ammunition are produced at the Norma Precision AB factory which first opened in 1902. You can see how cartridges are made starting with brass disks, then formed into shape through a series of processes, including “hitting [the cup] with a 30-ton hammer”. After annealing (shown at 0:08″), samples from every batch of brass are analyzed (at multiple points along the case length) to check metal grain structure and hardness. Before packing, each case is visually inspected by a human being (3:27″ time-mark).

The video also shows how bullets are made from jackets and lead cores. Finally, you can watch the loading machines that fill cases with powder, seat the bullets, and then transport the loaded rounds to the packing system. In his enthusiasm, the reporter/narrator does sometimes confuse the term “bullets” and “rounds” (5:00″), but you can figure out what he means. We definitely recommend watching this video. It’s fascinating to see 110-year-old sorting devices on the assembly line right next to state-of-the art, digitally-controlled production machinery.

Video tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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February 12th, 2021

Bill Gravatt Named President of Creedmoor Sports Inc.

Bill Gravatt Capstone Precision Group Creedmoor Sports Sinclair Managing Director

Bill Gravatt has been named President of Creedmoor Sports. Bill has worked in the shooting and reloading industry for over 30 years. His experience includes: former owner and President of Sinclair Int’l and President of Capstone Precision Group (Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori, and SK). Now that Bill has achieved important goals with Capstone (for whom he continues to serve as a board member), he is taking over as President of Creedmoor Sports, after serving as its Managing Director since the spring of 2020.

Greg Kantorovich, Creedmoor Sports CEO states: “We are excited to have Bill assume the role of President. His innovative leadership will continue to enhance our team’s mission of managed growth through strategic planning. Bill’s wealth of industry knowledge and ‘customer first’ mantra is second to none! This philosophy aligns perfectly with Creedmoor’s passion to serve our customers like family”.

As the President of Creedmoor Sports, Bill will direct operational and marketing activities for the company. He will also help with informational programs. Gravatt has previously served Creedmoor Sports as a Managing Director since the spring of 2020, and served as a consultant before that.

Bill Gravatt told us: “I am joining a great team at Creedmoor Sports. They are all driven in pursuit of exemplary customer service, they create well-made products, passionately participate in the shooting sport, and enjoy the daily satisfaction that comes from helping fellow shooters achieve their best.”

Reloading Procedures with Bill Gravatt

Bill Gravatt has decades of knowledge about reloading tools and procedures. Here are three helpful videos Bill Gravatt created for the Creedmoor Sports InfoZone:

How to Seat Bullets with Inline Press

How to Trim Cases with L.E. Wilson Trimmer

How to Clean Cartridge Cases

About Creedmoor Sports, Inc.
Since 1979, Creedmoor Sports has been supplying the precision rifle shooter with quality equipment. Specializing in competitive centerfire, smallbore, and air rifle accessories, as well as reloading components and tools, Creedmoor seeks to provide their customers with the right gear to help them achieve their personal shooting goals.

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October 25th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Anschutz 1913 Super Match + Precise ALU Stock

Anschutz 1913 rifle smallbore

Report based on Lars Dalseide story in NRAblog

Anschutz smallbore position rifleHigh-Tech Rimfire Rigs
If you watched the smallbore position and prone shooters at the 2016 Brazil Olympic Games, you couldn’t help but notice the exotic rifles competitors were shooting. There were wood stocks, metal stocks, factory-built rifles, and customized specials. One of the more popular smallbore rifles used at the Olympics and World Cup competition has been the Anschütz model 1913 “Super Match”, fitted with the 1918 “Precise” Alumnium stock. Anschutz does have a newer 2013 model, but this 1913 remains quite popular. The Anschütz model 1913 rifle boasts remarkable adjustability to suit the 3-Position game. The wide range of adjustments allow the the rifle to be customized for the shooter, and modified to best suit each position: prone, kneeling/sitting, and standing.

Customizable rifles like this Anschütz 1913 Super Match “can make a real difference in a shooter’s performance,” explained Jessie McClain of the NRA Competitive Shooting Division. “I went from a decent shooter to making the varsity shooting team my freshman year because of the rifle.” A key feature is the fully adjustable stock, which she called the Porsche of the shooting world. Fully adjustable from the butt plate to the check piece to the hand stop and risers and bolt knobs, the aluminum stock is fully customizable to the athlete … which can be a huge advantage. “Every person is different … a customizable rifle fits anyone. A rifle team can purchase four of these and field a shooting team for years.”

Anschutz 1913 rifle smallbore

The Modern Anschütz Position Rifle
Smallbore match rifle makers are using modern materials in response to the need for greater adjustability (and enhanced accuracy). One of the most popular designs is the Anschütz model 1913 position rifle with a “1918 ALU Precise” brushed aluminum stock. This looks like it has been crafted in an aircraft plant.

Anschutz 1913 1918 Aluminum precise stock

Anschutz 1913 rifle smallbore

The Anschütz 1913 Precise — Prone Shooting with Ace Marksman

Anschutz 1913 1918 Aluminum precise stock

In this 7-minute video, you can see details of an Anschütz 1913 Super Match Rifle (ALU Precise 1918 stock) for the first two minutes. Then the video shows the rifle being shot from prone, viewed from multiple angles (right, left, overhead, front). Watch at the 5:15 time-mark to see how the marksman steadies his rifle for the shot. This video offers good details of feeding and prone holding.

Anschutz 1913 1918 Aluminum precise stock

Anschutz 1913 1918 Aluminum precise stock

Anschutz 1913 1918 Aluminum precise stock

Anschutz 1913 1918 Aluminum precise stock

NEXT Generation — the Anschütz Model 2013

This video shows the latest-generation Anschütz model 2013 match rifle with aluminum 2018 stock being used in a benchrest match with riflescope. Note that the 2013 action is slab-sided and silver, rather than cylindrical and blued like the older model 1913. You’ll see good close-ups of the shooter working the action and feeding rounds. Watch closely and you can see the take-up, trigger pull and firing at 00:32 and 00:57 time-marks.

Anschutz 1913 1918 Aluminum precise stock

Story by Lars Dalseide, courtesy the NRA Blog.
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August 28th, 2020

Kevin Nevius — Smallbore and LR Champion and Gun Builder

On the Shooting Sports USA website, there’s a great profile of Kevin Nevius, one of America’s leading competitive marksmen. Kevin is best known for his smallbore success — Kevin won smallbore National Championships in 2008, 2010, and 2014. Kevin also has also an impressive record in long-range centerfire competition. He won the NRA 2018 Long Range Championship, while in 2005 and 2006 he won the Sierra Trophy at Camp Perry in 1000-yard competition. This story, penned by gunwriter Hap Rocketto, covers Kevin’s career, which has included multiple championships and many records.

“My brother got me into long range varmint hunting and I started building my own guns very early,” Nevius told Dan Holmes in a Pronematch.com interview. “I had a hunting friend who shot indoor smallbore who started me in three position and I was hooked.”

NRA Long Range National Championship Kevin Nevius Lapua 6.5x47 .308 Win Palma Camp Atterbury Indiana David Tubb Bob Gill John Whidden

At the 2018 NRA Long Range Championships, Kevin Nevius went head to head against the nation’s top long-range aces this past week, and emerged on top. Besting the likes of past multi-time Long Range Champions David Tubb and John Whidden, Kevin Nevius shot superbly at Camp Atterbury to win his first NRA National Long Range Championship.Kevin built his own rifles for the match, using Kelbly centerfire actions in a Grunig & Elmiger smallbore stock. Here is Kevin’s first-hand report of his 2018 LR Championship victory.

Smallbore shooting is where I learned to build a good position, and so much of that carries forward to Long Range High Power. It was a huge shock though, the first time I looked at a 44” aiming black through aperture sights at 1000 yards! Smallbore aiming blacks are twice as big, at one tenth the distance — the fact that we can hit something at 1000 yards with that sight picture still amazes me!

» READ Kevin Nevius Profile in Shooting Sports USA

Here are highlights from Hap Rocketto’s Profile of Kevin Nevius:

Shooting Sports USAChampion shooter Kevin Nevius grew up in a household that did not allow firearms, an unlikely beginning for one of the United States’ premier prone rifleman and gunsmiths. Once out on his own he fell in with his brother who enjoyed long-range varmint hunting. His natural bent for things mechanical (he is a professional structural engineer) soon had him tinkering with rifles, which eventually led him to building his own.

Everything fell into line for him in smallbore during the 2008 season. After shooting a series of training matches in which he was most successful, he arrived at Camp Perry at the peak of performance and won his first National Smallbore Rifle Conventional Prone Championship. Kevin came back strong in 2010, winning the inaugural individual National Smallbore Rifle Metric Prone Championship, as well as the team title at Bristol, IN. [Kevin then won the Smallbore Conventional Prone Championship in 2014 with a practically perfect score of 4799-390X (LINK).]

Along the way, Nevius has won some impressive national records. In conventional competition he co-holds the 1200-shot metallic sight aggregate record of 1200-102X. He was just one shot short of perfection in the 480 aggregate, where he holds the civilian record of 4799-412X, just one point behind, and 11 Xs ahead of, Joe Hein’s 4800-401X open record.

Kevin Nevius hopes to build a smallbore rig capable of 3/8-MOA at 100 yards.
Kevin Nevius smallbore gunsmith

Building the Ultimate Rimfire Prone Rifle
Kevin is not just a great trigger-puller. He also smiths his own rifles. His current goal as a gunsmith is to build a rimfire rifle that will shoot 3/8″ groups at 100 yards. That’s a big challenge — 3/8-MOA represents very good accuracy for a centerfire rifle with handloaded ammo. But if any rimfire smith can build a rifle that will shoot that well at 100, it’s probably Kevin.

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July 16th, 2020

Lapua 10% Rebate on Brass and Bullets — Get Up to $200 Back

Lapua bullet scenar brass summer savings rebate capstone

Lapua has kicked off its 2020 Sizzling Summer Savings Rebate Program. From July 15 through August 31, 2020 you can get 10% Cash Back on qualifying Lapua Scenar bullets and rifle cartridge cases. With this Summer Rebate you can get up to $200 back on your Lapua bullet and brass purchases.

This is quality stuff. Lapua brass is used by top shooters in all disciplines, and Lapua Scenar bullets show outstanding accuracy and consistency. We’ve had superb results with Scenar bullets in multiple rifles and even set a local range record with the 6mm 105s.

Lapua Scenar bullets have a proven record on the range and the battlefield. They’re a popular tangent ogive, HPBT design that is extremely accurate with excellent base-to-ogive and weight uniformity.

Lapua bullet scenar brass summer savings rebate capstone

Lapua cartridge cases set the standard for quality, uniformity, and long life. Strong primer pockets, superior annealing processes, and dimensional uniformity deliver superior accuracy and longevity. There is a reason winning shooters use Lapua.

Lapua bullet scenar brass summer savings rebate capstone

To get your rebate, complete the online form at Capstonepg.com/LapuaRebate or fill out an order form from your favorite retailer. You will need the original online order receipt or the retailer cash register receipt showing the retailer name and date of qualifying product purchase.

About Lapua — Renowned for Quality
Lapua is world-renowned for producing the finest bullets and cartridge cases. Starting with the highest-quality raw materials and state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques, Lapua components are highly sought-after by competitive shooters, Mil/LE operators and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Lapua is a part of the Capstone Precision Group, exclusive U.S. distributor for Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori and SK-Rimfire products. For more information, visit .

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June 10th, 2020

Lapua Rimfire Test Center Manager Featured on Podcast

Luke Johnson Rimfire ammunition Lapua SK testing facility ohio

Video Podcast about Rimfire Testing June 10, 2020
Lapua’s Rimfire Performance Center East (Ohio) Manager Luke Johnson talks about rimfire ammunition testing on “The Shooter’s Mindset” Podcast this week. During this hour-long episode, Luke explains how rimfire ammo is tested in Lapua’s test tunnel facilities.

During this June 2020 podcast (see video below), The Shooter’s Mindset (TSM) hosts covered all aspects of rimfire performance testing with Johnson. Johnson explained the testing process, the importance of ammo testing, how to best identify good groups, and the benefit of having multiple lots of ammunition while shooting competitively.

“Many shooters are familiar with Lapua’s Rimfire Performance Centers, but have yet to take advantage of the service. Both of our facilities offer shooters the opportunity to test various styles and lots of Lapua ammunition under tightly controlled conditions”, stated Johnson. “Our goal is to help shooters match the perfect lot of ammunition with their rifle so they may hit the range with confidence knowing their ammunition will perform.”

About Luke Johnson — Smallbore Silhouette Champion
Luke Johnson is the manager of the Lapua Rimfire Performance Center housed at the Cardinal Shooting Range near Columbus, Ohio. Luke, a native of Marysville, PA, has a long background of competitive shooting and hunting.

Luke Johnson Rimfire ammunition Lapua SK testing facility ohio

Johnson was a four year letterman for the Univ. of Alaska-Fairbanks D1 Rifle Team. In addition to his 3P/Prone shooting pedigree, Luke is a High Master rifle silhouette competitor and past National Smallbore Silhouette champion.

NRA Smallbore Rifle Silhouette Champion
USA Junior National Champion (50 meter rifle)
NCAA – CRCA All-American
Patriot Conference – All-Conference

About Lapua
Lapua produces the highest-quality small caliber cartridges and components for civilian and professional use. Lapua is a part of the Capstone Precision Group, exclusive U.S. distributor for Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori and SK-Rimfire products. For more information, visit Lapua.com.

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May 25th, 2020

Lapua Monarch Cup Silhouette Event Postponed to 2021

Lapua silhouette monarch cup Canada mexico usa

With the Nationals Championships for Smallbore Rifle Silhouette cancelled in Canada, USA, and Mexico, the 2020 Lapua Monarch Cup has been postponed until 2021. For more information on the Lapua Monarch Cup visit LapuaMonarchCup.com.

“In light of the current global health situation surround COVID-19, the Monarch Cup Board of Directors made the difficult decision to postpone the Lapua Monarch Cup from 2020 to 2021″, stated Monarch Cup Director, Daniel Salazer. “The uncertainty regarding international travel and the concern for the safety of our friends and competitors, led to this very disappointing decision. We vow to make the 2021 Lapua Monarch Cup an event to remember.”

Lapua silhouette monarch cup Canada mexico usa

The Lapua Monarch Cup was slated to be 2020’s elite event of the silhouette shooting world. The Cup was to be hosted in three different countries: Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Events were planned throughout the summer and fall of 2020. Competitors earn points from each match within their respective classification (Master, AAA, AA, & A), giving all shooters an opportunity for $25,000 in cash prizes. But now that will be moved to 2021.

“Lapua is saddened that this difficult decision had to be made, but we know it’s the right one”, stated Adam Braverman, Director of Sales and Marketing. “The board and Lapua’s top priority is for the health and safety of the international shooting community. However, we are excited to announce that we will continue as the Title Sponsor of the Monarch Cup for 2021.”

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April 25th, 2020

Bill Gravatt Returns to Creedmoor Sports as Managing Director

Bill Gravatt Capstone Precision Group Creedmoor Sports Sinclair Managing Director

Serious shooters know Bill Gravatt. He served as President/co-owner of Sinclair Int’l, worked with Creedmoor Sports for many years, then became President of the Capstone Precision Group (Berger, Lapua, SK, Vihtavuori). Bill guided Capstone through the successful acquisition of Berger Bullets by the Lapua Group, introducing new products and increasing product availability. His time at Capstone was marked by one success after another. Now that Bill has achieved his goals with Capstone (which he may continue to serve as a board member), he is returning to Creedmoor Sports in the role of Managing Director.

As the Managing Director of Creedmoor Sports, Bill will direct all operational and marketing activities for the company. Gravatt had worked for Creedmoor Sports as a consultant several years ago before taking over as Capstone President. Previously, Bill was President/Co-owner of Sinclair International, now owned by Brownells. Gravatt has over 27 years of experience in the shooting industry.

“I’m excited to re-join the customer-focused and talented team at Creedmoor Sports. Having served them as a supplier for three years, it’s good to be back in retail to directly serve our precision shooting customers”, said Gravatt.

“The entire staff at Creedmoor Sports is extremely excited to have Bill back! Bill’s leadership skills and commitment to customer satisfaction is second to none. Creedmoor Sports is committed to continuing our quest to be the leader in the precision shooting market and Bill is the right person for this journey”, said Greg Kantorovich, President of Creedmoor Sports.

Watch for Bill Gravatt Interview Soon
Last week AccurateShooter’s Editor conducted a wide-ranging interview with Bill Gravatt, covering numerous topics. We discussed trends in competitive shooting, development of new products and new cartridges, how to grow the shooting sports, and Bill’s goals at Creedmoor Sports. We hope to present this interview in early May. Stay tuned.

Reloading Procedures with Bill Gravatt

Here are three helpful videos Bill Gravatt created for the Creedmoor Sports InfoZone:

How to Seat Bullets with Inline Press

How to Trim Cases with L.E. Wilson Trimmer

How to Clean Cartridge Cases

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February 5th, 2020

Berger Southwest Nationals Event Commences Today in Phoenix

Berger SW Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery 2020 F-Class F-Open F-TR

The 2020 Berger Southwest Nationals, one of the biggest (and best) rifle competitions of the year, kicks off Wednesday, February 5, 2019 at the Ben Avery Range outside Phoenix, Arizona. The big match continues through Sunday, February 9th. This match attracts the top F-Class and sling shooters in the country, along with many talented foreign competitors. See Desert Sharpshooters SWN Facebook Page.

Here’s a state-of-the-art F-Open rig with sleek, low-profile, Speedy-designed Shurley Brothers stock:
2020 Berger Southwest Nationals SWN

Talk to the competitors and many will tell your that the SWN is their favorite match of the year. For those in Northern states, the chance to enjoy some Arizona sunshine is a big draw, along with the quality of the competition, and the camaraderie.

Berger 2020 SW Nationals

The 2020 Berger SWN event commences today with a Mid-Range, 600-yard Match:

berger southwest nationals F-Class 2020 Ben Avery Mid-Range Berger SWN

Capstone Precision Group Makes This Event Possible
The Berger SW Nationals are made possible through the principal support of Berger Bullets and Lapua, both part of the Capstone Precision Group, which also distributes Vihtavuori powder and SK Ammunition in the USA. Berger and Lapua both generously donate prizes for 2020 SWN competitors.

Berger SW Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery 2020 F-Class F-Open F-TR

Bird’s Eye Ben Avery — A Look at the Range

If you’ve never visited the Ben Avery Facility north of Phoenix, Arizona, here is a video shot in 2016 that shows the 1000-yard range (including drone footage). The desert range at Ben Avery is something special — check out this “birds-eye view”. This video also includes an interview with Derek Rodgers, F-TR World Champion, King of 2 Miles, and the only man who who has earned both F-Open AND F-TR USA National titles.

Event Schedule for 2020 Berger SWN

Wednesday, 5 February 2020, 9:00 AM
Mid-Range Match – Three 20-shot matches at 600 yards. (Divisions – Palma, Any Rifle-Any Sight, F-Open, F-TR)

Thursday, 6 February 2020, 9:00 AM
4-Man Palma Team Match – 15 shots for record at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. (Divisions – Palma, F-Open, F-TR)

Friday, 7 February 2020, 8:30 AM – Start of Grand Agg
Individual Palma Match – 15 shots for record at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. (Divs – Palma, F-Open, F-TR)
Swap Meet at 1000-Yard Line after conclusion of Day’s Match

Saturday, 8 February 2020, 8:30 AM
Individual 1000 Yard Matches – Two 20-shot matches at 1000 yards. Any Rifle-Iron Sight (Any sight for F-Class shooters). (Divisions – Palma, Any Rifle-Iron Sight, F-Open, F-TR)
4 Man Team Match – 20 shots at 1000 yards. Any Rifle-Iron Sight (Any sight for F-Class shooters). (Divisions – Palma, Any Rifle-Iron Sight, F-Open, F-TR)
Banquet Dinner – Approximately 5:00 pm at Indoor Range.

Sunday, 9 February 2020, 8:30 AM
Individual 1000 Yard Matches – Two 20-shot matches at 1000 yards. Any Rifle-Any Sight (Any sight for F-Class shooters). (Divisions – Palma, Any Rifle-Any Sight, F-Open, F-TR)
Awards Ceremony at the Indoor Range.

Sling Shooters in Palma Division
For the Palma division, the cartridge of choice is the .308 Winchester (7.62.x51). This versatile cartridge is still capable of extreme accuracy. Never underestimate a skilled sling shooter with a good Palma rifle. Below is multi-time NRA National Long-Range Champion John Whidden in action. John’s rifle features a centerfire action in an aluminum Anschutz small-bore stock.

John Whidden Berger 2020 SW Nationals

CLICK HERE for Phoenix Travel and Lodging Information.


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September 18th, 2019

Lapua Teams Up with Vudoo Gun Works at WSC This Week

vudoo .22 LR rimfire lapua center-X

The NRA World Shooting Championship (WSC) starts today in West Virginia. The event runs September 18-21 at the the Peacemaker National Training Center in Glengary, WV. At the WSC, top professional and amateur shooters compete in a wide variety of shooting disciplines, including pistol, rifle, shotgun, and combined firearm sports.

As a key part of this event, Lapua will team up with Vudoo Gun Works on a special “tactical rimfire” stage. This allows shooters to enjoy the fun of PRS-style shooting with a rimfire cartridge. Lapua’s Center-X ammunition will be paired with a state-of-the-art Vudoo .22 LR rifle. On this stage, competitors will engage challenging targets at multiple ranges.

vudoo .22 LR rimfire lapua center-X

Even if you can’t make it to the World Shooting Championship, rimfire shooting with a Vudoo rig (or similar rifle) is a great way to cross-train for PRS/NRL with lower cost ammo. Factory loaded centerfire can easily cost $1.50 per round. Rimfire .22 LR ammo is a fraction of that cost. You can get good SK and Lapua ammo starting at about $6.50 per 50ct box. That’s just 13 cents per round.

“We are excited to return to the NRA World Shooting Championship at Peacemaker. As we did for the past two years, we are teaming with Vudoo to display the accuracy capabilities of Lapua ammunition. I think the shooters will be thrilled with the performance of Lapua Midas+ and Center-X ammunition in the Vudoo rifles. This event is a great test for shooter and equipment,” stated Adam Braverman, Lapua Director of Sales and Marketing.

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August 10th, 2019

Lapua Will Open New Rimfire Testing Facility in Ohio

Lapua Rimfire Test Center Ohio Luke Johnson Marengo ohio

In the late fall of this year (2019), Lapua will open a second USA Lapua Rimfire Test Center at the Cardinal Shooting Center in Marengo, Ohio. The new Test Center will offer rimfire shooters the opportunity to match individual lots of Lapua ammo to their match rifles and pistols. All of the capabilities of the new test center will replicate Lapua’s current USA Rimfire Test Center in Mesa, Arizona.

Patterned after the world-renowned Lapua Test Center in Germany, the new Ohio center affords shooters the opportunity to test different types and lots of Lapua ammunition, in their own firearms, under tightly controlled conditions. At the heart of each operation is the 100 meter test range. Fully instrumented, with state of the art Meyton/Bollman electronic targeting systems, the centers can record ammo accuracy at both 50 and 100 meters with a single string. Customers have the option to send their rifles in for testing or schedule an onsite appointment.⁣ Customers interested in testing at either USA Lapua Rimfire Test locations (Arizona or Ohio), should call (480) 898-2731 or email rimfiretest@capstonepg.com .

Lapua Hires Ace Smallbore Shooter to Manage New Testing Facility
Lapua has appointed Luke Johnson as manager of the new Rimfire Test Center. Johnson, a native of Marysville, PA, is a long-time competitive shooter and hunter. Luke recently became the NRA Smallbore Silhouette Standard Rifle National Champion and he was a USA Junior National Champion in 50m rifle. At the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Luke was a 4-year letterman for the University’s D1 Rifle Team.

Luke says, “I’m excited to join the crew at the new Lapua testing center in Ohio. I have trusted Lapua for many years in my own competitive experiences and look forward to helping others improve their performance and confidence. The new test center will open up more opportunities for competitors to use Lapua ammunition.”

Lapua Rimfire Test Center Ohio Luke Johnson Marengo ohio

“We’re very fortunate to have Luke join the Capstone family in this very important role. We’ve watched Luke for many years in his competitive shooting, and while that was a key in his selection to this position, his people skills are even greater. His outgoing personality and eagerness to help others excel are exactly the qualities we sought in filling this new position,” stated Adam Braverman, Capstone Precision Group Director of Sales & Marketing.

Lapua rimfire test center ohio

About Capstone Precision Group
Capstone Precision Group produces Berger Bullets and Ammunition, and is the exclusive distributor of Lapua components and ammunition, Vihtavuori Powders, and SK Rimfire ammunition. Capstone Precision Group is a Part of Nammo Group. For more information, visit Capstonepg.com.

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July 29th, 2019

Jack Neary Shoots WBC Record 0.110″ at 200 Yards in Canada

Jack Neary Team Lapua Vihtavuori WBC World Championship benchrest 6mm PPC Calgary Alberta Canada

No, that’s not two shots — it is FIVE shots, with basically four in one hole and a fifth very slightly over. If that’s not impressive enough, consider this stunning 0.110″ group was shot at TWO HUNDRED yards — the length of two football fields. This amazing group was shot by Jack Neary at the 2019 World Benchrest Championship (WBC) held in Calgary, Alberta earlier this month.

Neary’s 0.110″ 200-yard group establishes a new WBC world record in the Light Varmint (LV) rifle class (10.5-lb max rifle weight). Jack was competing with Team USA “C Squad”, which also captured the WBC 2-Gun Gold Medal in the 4-man Team Championship.

Jack Neary Team Lapua Vihtavuori WBC World Championships benchrest 6mm PPC Calgary Alberta CanadaWorld Benchrest Championships
The World Benchrest Championships are held every two years and attract competitors from over 20 countries. Jack Neary’s .110″ group is now a confirmed WBC 200-yard World Record for smallest 5-shot group. Neary was shooting a 6mm PPC hand-loaded with Vihtavuori N133 powder.

NOTE: This is a record for WBC competition. However, it is slightly larger than current NBRSA and IBS 200-yard Light Varmint (LV) records. The NBRSA LV 200-yard record is 0.075″ set by Johnnie Stewart in 2009. The IBS LV 200-yard record is 0.091″ by David Farrar in 2006. Still, Neary’s 0.110″ 5-shot group is a great accomplishment, set at the highest level of competition, at a match which had very challenging conditions.

Jack Neary Team Lapua Vihtavuori WBC World Championships benchrest 6mm PPC Calgary Alberta Canada

Jack stated, “Vihtavuori’s temperature stability and cleaning burning attributes have been instrumental for competitors to achieve world record accuracy in the furthest corners of the world.”

Vihtavuori powders (predominently N133) were used by nearly every competitor (over 90%) during the World Benchrest Championship. VV N133 continues to dominate the short-range benchrest game. Notably, Vihtavuori powders have also been successful in the Extreme Long Range game, with VV powders used by recent KO2M winners. The next World Benchrest Championship will be held in Fall of 2021 in South Africa.

Jack Neary Team Lapua Vihtavuori WBC World Championships benchrest 6mm PPC Calgary Alberta Canada

Neary Helps Team USA Win Gold at World Championship

Team Lapua’s Jack Neary, along with his Team USA “C Squad” teammates Harley Baker, Gary Bristow, and Jeff Graves, won the 4-Man Team Gold Medal at the 2019 World Benchrest Championship held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada this past week. Neary’s squad had the best overall Grand Aggregate, 0.2598, for the WBC combined 2-Gun Championship. Team USA “A Squad” took second place with a 0.2646 2-Gun Aggregate. CLICK HERE for WBC Team Championship Results.

All Team USA Gold Medalists used Lapua cartridge cases exclusively at the WBC. Lapua cartridge cases are known for superb quality of construction, using only the finest raw materials and superior annealing processes. Each case is machined to exacting dimensions. Lapua brass is renown for its superior consistency and longevity. The best brass also lasts the longest.

Neary stated, “Lapua cases are the foundation [for] our competition hand-loads[.] When competing at the highest levels against the most talented shooters in the world, we need the absolute best components available. There’s no doubt Lapua helped secure the Gold for Team USA.”

Lapua vihtavuori CapstoneAbout Lapua and Vihtavuori
Lapua produces the highest-quality small caliber cartridges and components for civilian and professional use. Vihtavuori is renowned for smokeless powders with superb lot-to-lot consistency that deliver superior accuracy Lapua and Vihtavuori are part of the Capstone Precision Group, exclusive U.S. distributor for Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori and SK-Rimfire products. For more information, visit Lapua.com and Vihtavuori.com.

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July 26th, 2019

Hemphill Wins 2019 Rimfire Pistol Championship at Camp Perry

Philip Hemphill 2019 pistol championship camp perry ssusa lapua

Philip Hemphill Wins NRA .22 Caliber Pistol Championship
Team Lapua member, Philip Hemphill, scored a 888-49X to bring home the 2019 NRA .22 Caliber Pistol Championship. Hemphill uses Lapua Center-X .22 LR Rimfire ammunition. Th in .22 caliber disciplines such as Smallbore, PRC Silhouette, new ELR and more.

Philip Hemphill 2019 pistol championship camp perry ssusa lapuaThe 2019 NRA National Pistol Championships took place July 7-12 at Camp Perry, Ohio. Since 1907, the nation’s finest marksmen and women come together annually at Camp Perry to shoot a variety of handgun formats and events, both rimfire (.22 LR) and centerfire. The annual Camp Perry Championships represent the most prestigious bullseye pistol competitions in North America.

“It’s an honor to be able to come out here and test my shooting skills in one of the longest-running pistol events in the nation. My whole team, Team Zero, shoots Lapua Center-X, because we know it will outperform all other .22 Caliber [rimfire] competition ammo,” said Hemphill.

Along with receiving the Walker Trophy Plaque for winning the Championship, Hemphill also won the NRA Precision Pistol Championship (Police Division), and came in third in the .22 Caliber Slow Fire Match with a score of 194-9X.

About Lapua – Lapua produces the highest quality small caliber cartridges and components for civilian and professional use. Lapua is a part of the Capstone Precision Group, exclusive U.S. distributor for Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori and SK-Rimfire products. For more information, visit Lapua.com.

Here is an NRA-TV interview with Philip Hemphill from 2016. Hemphill has been a 10-Time NRA National Police Pistol Champion, and has won multiple National Pistol Championships:

See Photos from 2019 NRA Pistol Championships

Shooting Sports USA recently released a nice slide-show featuring 40 images from the 2019 NRA Pistol Championships at Camp Perry. SSUSA Editor John Parker noted: “A big thank you to Mr. John Rickards for his hard work on the firing line to grab the majority of these great images from the 2019 NRA Pistol Nationals at Camp Perry.”

Philip Hemphill 2019 pistol championship camp perry ssusa lapua

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July 12th, 2019

Lapua Will Open New Rimfire Test Center in Ohio

Marengo Ohio Lapua Rimfire test testing center lot ammo ammunition tunnel facility new

Good news for rimfire shooters! Lapua will open a new rimfire test center in Ohio in the fall of 2019. At this new facility, which will replicate Lapua’s current rimfire test center in Arizona, shooters can test various lots of Lapua rimfire ammunition to determine what shoots best in their firearms. The new location will have a full 100 meter testing tunnel, with electronic target readouts for both 50 meters and 100 meters. Customers have the option to send their rifles in for testing or schedule an onsite appointment to participate and view the test process.

“We’re taking our established practices and testing capabilities from our Mesa, AZ location to our new, second location in Ohio, offering customers state-of-the-art rimfire ammunition testing,” said Adam Braverman, Director of Sales and Marketing.

Patterned after the world-renowned Lapua Service Center in Schönebeck, Germany, the new Ohio facility will give shooters the chance to test various types and lots of rimfire ammunition, in their own firearms, under ideal conditions. Customers interested in performing ammo tests at either USA Lapua Rimfire Test locations (Arizona or Ohio), may call (480) 898-2731 or email rimfiretest@capstonepg.com .

Marengo Ohio Lapua Rimfire test testing center lot ammo ammunition tunnel facility new

Lapua announced: “Lapua … is proud to announce our second USA Lapua Rimfire Test Center at the Cardinal Shooting Center in Marengo, Ohio. The new Lapua Rimfire Test Center will offer competitive shooters and consumers alike the opportunity to match individual lots of Lapua ammunition to their match rifles and pistols. The new East Location will officially open in late Fall of 2019. All of the capabilities of the new test center will replicate our current Lapua Rimfire Test Center in Mesa, AZ.”

Marengo Ohio Lapua Rimfire test testing center lot ammo ammunition tunnel facility new

“We’re excited to partner with Lapua and bring this facility and test capabilities to our current and potential customers,” stated Jim Henderson, Director of Competitions at the Cardinal Shooting Center, “We feel this will help many consumers, as well as junior and collegiate teams…”

About Lapua
Lapua produces bullets, brass, and loaded rimfire and centerfire ammunition for civilian and professional use. Lapua is a part of the Capstone Precision Group, exclusive U.S. distributor for Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori and SK-Rimfire products. For more information, visit Lapua.com.

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June 25th, 2019

Living History — Custer’s Ghost and the Trapdoor Springfield

1873 Springfield trapdoor carbing musket

1873 Springfield trapdoor carbing musketA few season back, our friend Kevin Thomas acquired a bit of living history — a reproduction Model 1873 Trapdoor Springfield. Here is Kevin’s story of his new rifle and the legacy it carries.

Today marks the 143rd Anniversary of Lt.Col. George Armstrong Custer’s historic ride into the valley of the Little Big Horn, along with 200+ men of the U.S. Seventh Cavalry. June 25, 1876 did not go well, as Custer and his men became a well-known, sad footnote in U.S. history. [Editor: Well it was sad for Custer fans. Native Americans have a different perspective.]

For years now, I’ve wanted one of the rifles Custer and his men carried that day, a Model 1873 Trapdoor Springfield, chambered for the 45/70 cartridge. I finally acquired one, when I walked into a gunstore a while back and saw a handsome repro Trapdoor sitting peacefully on the shelf. It called to me.

Somewhere in the distance, I could hear the bugle calls, the Sioux and Cheyenne war cries and the thundering of cavalry across the plain. It simply had to go home with me, and so it did. It seemed an especially insistent demand with this being the 138th anniversary and all, so I took it along to our regular Wednesday night practice session. All I can say is, I’m glad we don’t have to do rapid-fire with one of these in our matches today, because they do have a mule-like kick to them!

1873 Springfield trapdoor carbing musket

The Trapdoors were a cost saving measure that the Armory came up with at the end of the Civil War, to convert muzzle-loading Springfield muskets into breech-loading cartridge arms. A quick look will give several dead giveaways that many of the parts on the “new” rifle were actually interchangeable with the old 1861 and 1863 Springfield muskets. The parts that were altered or newly fabricated were relatively minor changes.

1873 Springfield trapdoor carbing musket

Above, you can see where these rifles got their name. Loading was done by flipping a lever which opened up a trap door that provided access to the chamber. Flipping that same lever and opening the trap door then ejected the case after firing.

1873 Springfield trapdoor carbing musket

Here is the opposite side, trapdoor open. The ring and slide on the side of the stock was to facilitate an attachment point for a lanyard that the troopers wore over their shoulders. Remember, they often used these while at a full gallop, not an easy feat!

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January 23rd, 2019

SHOT Show 2019 — The Doors Open

anschutz rimfire .22 LR fortner match rifles shot show 2019

SHOT Show 2019 kicked off Tuesday, with tens of thousands of exhibitors, media members, and invitees streaming into the Sands EXPO Center in Las Vegas. This firearms industry trade show just gets bigger every year. We visited many of our favorite vendors including Capstone Precision Group (Berger, Lapua, SK, Vihtavuori), McMillan Fiberglass Stocks, Zeiss Optics, Redding Reloading, SIG Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Anschutz, and Target Vision/Longshot.

Here are some quick highlights from Day One of SHOT Show, a little bit of everything: Rifles, pistols, ammo, reloading gear, and some notable shooters.

Capstone Precision Group: Berger, Lapua, SK and Vihtavuori

Lapua brass ammo SK bullets scenar Capstone Precision shot show 2019

Capstone Precision Group showcased new products from its four companies: Berger Bullets, Lapua, SK, and Vihtavuori. Lapua showcases cartridge brass and loaded ammo, including new 6.5 Creedmoor ammo with the ultra-consistent Scenar-L bullets. Capstone also told us to expect large quantities of brass to be arriving in the USA soon, including the high-demand 6mmBR brass.

Berger bullets ELR solid match projectiles Capstone Precision shot show 2019

Berger will release new loaded ammo in Lapua brass. Options will include 6mm Creedmoor, which should be popular with the PRS crowd. In addition, Berger will offer an impressive new line of solid projectiles. These ultra-high-BC ELF Match Solids have optimal shapes to stay supersonic at longer ranges. They are an impressive option for the Extreme Long Range game.

McMillan — 6012-Yard Shot with ELR Rifle

McMillan Beast paul phillips elr rifle 6012 yard shot

At the McMillan booth, members of the Global Precision Group (GPG) Team showcased an impressive .416 Barrett ELR rifle. Team leader Paul Phillips explained how the team managed (on the 22nd shot) to hit a 48″x32″ target at the incredible distance of 6012 yards. Our friend Derek Rodgers, reigning F-TR World Champion, told us that this shows how the ELR sport has evolved. The rifle features a McMillan ELR Beast stock with a Bartlein Barrel on a massive BAT 50 action.The .416 Barrett rounds were loaded with 550 grain Cutting Edge bullets.

McMillan Beast paul phillips elr rifle 6012 yard shot

A Tacom Charlie/Delta TARAC prism system was fitted in front of the Nightforce scope, allowing the team to put over 625 MOA of elevation on the shot while still being able to see the target. The ballistics numbers for this 6012-yard shot are pretty mind-boggling: 625 MOA of elevation was required, and the bullet was in the air for 17.1 seconds!

New Products from LongShot Target Cameras (aka TargetVision)

TargetVision longshot camera system clay rhoden wife video cam

Our first stop at the show was at the LongShot Target Cameras booth. Here we met with company founder, Clay Rhoden, the bright young man who has created the best-performing wireless target cameras on the market. Most folks know Rhoden’s company as TargetVision, but Clay said they are re-branding as LONGSHOT Target Cameras, to help emphasize the extreme range capabilities of his latest systems (the top tier Longshot cameras can operate out to one mile and beyond). Clay showed us two new products, the latest target camera (with easy-to remove battery pack), and a special camera that will transmit video from a spotting scope to your mobile devices. See the latest products at www.longshotcameras.com.

Light-Weight Camo Hunting Rifles from Weatherby

Weatherby Mark V ultra lightweight rifle camouflage Cerakote Camo

Hunters can spend hundreds of dollars on the latest camouflaged clothing in order to blend in to their environment, so why do gun makers continue to produce shiny hunting rifles? Well, this is one thing Weatherby has gotten right with the latest Weatherby Mark V ultra lightweight rifles. The rifle has the option of a rugged, matte Cerakote finish on action, bolt, and barrel, effectively eliminating glare. And did I mention it’s light weight? The full rifle weights a mere 5.75 pounds for non-magnum calibers. Weatherby guarantees sub-MOA accuracy with factory ammunition out of the box. Add a decent lightweight scope and this rifle is ready for a long backcountry hunt.

Hot New Sub-Compacts from SIG Sauer, Kimber, Walther

Kimber Evo Walther CCP SIG P365shot show 2019

For shooters who carry concealed or simply prefer a more compact pistol, three new handguns really stood out at shot show 2019: the SIG Sauer P365, Walther CCP M2, and the Kimber EVO. All three guns had a similar weight and feel at roughly 1” width, 6” length, and 1 lb when empty. The P365 has an advantage with a 10 + 1 round capacity, compared to the 7/8 of the EVO and CCP M2, but the CCP M2 is more competitively priced with an MSRP starting at $469. Retail for the P365 starts at $599 and the Kimber a surprising $925. Expect to see these guns in stores between spring and summer of 2019.

Smith & Wesson — Handguns Galore and New T/C Performance Center LRR

Smith Wesson T/C LRR long range rifle revolver magnum shot show 2019

Smith & Wesson is not just a handgun company. It markets rifles under its own brand name as well as via its Thompson Center Arms (T/C) division. At SHOT Show 2019 we saw the T/C Performance Center LRR (Long Range Rifle). With a $1211.00 MSRP, this offers great “bang for the buck” for shooters competing in PRS production division. These rigs feature a modular aluminum chassis, 24″ barrel, and adjustable cheekpiece. Available chamberings include .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Win. And of course S&W continues to make great wheelguns, include some very BIG magnum revolvers:

Smith Wesson T/C revolver magnum shot show 2019

At the Anschutz Booth with Company President, Jochen Anschutz

anschutz rimfire .22 LR fortner match rifles shot show 2019

The German company Anschutz remains a world leader in rimfire rifles. The company’s match rifles have captured countless Gold Medals in Olympic target shooting and biathlong competition. Here company President Jochen Anschutz (left) shows the latest Biathlon rifle, featuring the impressive Fornter straight-pull action. With Jochen is Steven Bolter, North America Custom Shop Director. We were pleased to hear that Anschutz will be offering a new line of 17 HM2 (Mach2) rifles soon. That is an effective varmint round that’s considerable less expensive than 17 HMR.

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