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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 »
May 5th, 2022

New Brass and Ammunition Offerings from Lapua

Lapua SK high velocity .22 LR ammo ammunition 1263 fps mv

Capstone is a respected company that represents world-class ammunition, powder, and component manufacturers Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori, and SK. At SHOT Show 2022, Capstone showcased new products from all these brands. Here are summaries of the new-for-2022 products from Lapua and SK.

Lapua SK high velocity .22 LR ammo ammunition 1263 fps mvNew Lapua Cartridge Brass:
6.5 PRC, .284 Win, .300 PRC, .300 Win Mag

Lapua cartridge brass sets the standard by which quality brass is measured. You will see Lapua brass used by top competitors for all accuracy-oriented disciplines: Benchrest for Score, Benchrest for Group, 1000-Yard Benchrest, F-Class (Open and F-TR), Palma, Service Rifle, Silhouette. And Lapua brass is also favored by varmint hunters who load their own ammo. In 2021 and 2022 Lapua has rolled out new types of top-grade cartrige barss. New offerings available now for 6.5 PRC, .284 Winchester, .300 PRC, and .300 Winchester Magnum. All are available and shipping now.

New Lapua Centerfire Match Ammunition
Lapua produces some of the finest, most accurate factory-loaded centerfire ammunition in the world. We have shot Lapua 90gr 6mmBR ammo that produced verified groups well under quarter-MOA. that’s remarkable for factory-loaded ammo that has not been tuned for a particular rifle. For 2022, Lapua has added three new match loads that promise great consistency and accuracy. For 2022, Lapua has added 6.5 Creedmoor 136 Grain Scenar-L, .260 Remington 136 Grain Scenar-L, and .300 Winchester Magnum 185 Grain Scenar OTM, to Lapua’s highly successful Scenar Match Target ammunition line.

Lapua SK high velocity .22 LR ammo ammunition 1263 fps mv

New Lapua Hunting Ammunition for 2022
Lapua’s ammo gurus in Finland definitely know how to build hunting rounds that are ultra-effective on game. Lapua has been crafting hunting ammo for nearly 100 years! New hunting ammo offerings include .223 Remington 50 Grain Naturalis, 6.5 Creedmoor 156 Grain MEGA, .300 Win Mag 170 Grain Naturalis (lead-free), and .300 Win Mag 185 Grain MEGA. All these hunting ammo types are available now.

Lapua SK high velocity .22 LR ammo ammunition 1263 fps mv

SK High-Velocity Match Rimfire Ammunitions
SK is owned by the same parent company as Lapua. SK now offers an extremely accurate, High-Velocity round. For 2022 SK will offer High-Velocity Match .22 LR ammunition. This new SK ammo pushes a 40gr round-nose projectile at a very fast 1,263 FPS muzzle velocity. This high-velocity SK ammunition should work well for PRS/NRL22 matches and long-range rimfire events, some of which have targets out to 300 meters. The new SK High-Velocity Match ammo employs a proprietary clean-burning and high-energy propellant for reliable function in all platforms — shot after shot.

Lapua SK high velocity .22 LR ammo ammunition 1263 fps mv

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product No Comments »
February 5th, 2022

New Products from Lapua and SK — New Brass, New Ammo

Lapua SK high velocity .22 LR ammo ammunition 1263 fps mv

Capstone is a respected company that represents world-class ammunition, powder, and component manufacturers Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori, and SK. At SHOT Show 2022, Capstone showcased new products from all these brands. Here are summaries of new products from Lapua and SK. We will follow with new Berger offerings next week.

New Lapua Centerfire Match Ammunition for 2022
Lapua produces some of the finest, most accurate factory-loaded centerfire ammunition in the world. We have shot Lapua 90gr 6mmBR ammo that produced verified groups well under quarter-MOA. For 2022, Lapua has added three new match loads that promise great consistency and accuracy. For 2022, Lapua has added 6.5 Creedmoor 136 Grain Scenar-L, .260 Remington 136 Grain Scenar-L, and .300 Winchester Magnum 185 Grain Scenar OTM, to Lapua’s highly successful Scenar Match Target ammunition line.

Lapua SK high velocity .22 LR ammo ammunition 1263 fps mv

New Lapua Hunting Ammunition for 2022
Lapua’s ammo gurus in Finland definitely know how to build hunting rounds that are ultra-effective on game. Lapua has been crafting hunting ammo for nearly 100 years! New hunting ammo offerings include .223 Remington 50 Grain Naturalis, 6.5 Creedmoor 156 Grain MEGA, .300 Win Mag 170 Grain Naturalis (lead-free), and .300 Win Mag 185 Grain MEGA. All these hunting ammo types are available now.

Lapua SK high velocity .22 LR ammo ammunition 1263 fps mv

Lapua SK high velocity .22 LR ammo ammunition 1263 fps mvNew Lapua Cartridge Brass — 6.5 PRC, .284 Win, .300 PRC, .300 Win Mag
Lapua cartridge brass sets the standard by which quality brass is measured. You will see Lapua brass used by top competitors for all accuracy-oriented disciplines: Benchrest for Score, Benchrest for Group, 1000-Yard Benchrest, F-Class (Open and F-TR), Palma, Service Rifle, Silhouette. And Lapua brass is also favored by varmint hunters who load their own ammo. In 2021 and 2022 Lapua has rolled out new types of top-grade cartrige barss. New offerings available now for 6.5 PRC, .284 Winchester, .300 PRC, and .300 Winchester Magnum. All are available and shipping now.

SK High-Velocity Match Rimfire Ammunitions
SK now offers an extremely accurate, High-Velocity round. For 2022 SK will offer High-Velocity Match .22 LR ammunition. This new SK ammo pushes a 40gr round-nose projectile at a very fast 1,263 FPS muzzle velocity. This high-velocity SK ammunition should work well for PRS/NRL22 matches and long-range rimfire events, some of which have targets out to 300 meters. The new SK High-Velocity Match ammo employs a proprietary clean-burning and high-energy propellant for reliable function in all platforms — shot after shot.

Lapua SK high velocity .22 LR ammo ammunition 1263 fps mv

Coming Soon — New Berger Ammo and Bullets for 2022
Berger, another Capstone company, is offering new bullets and loaded ammunition for 2022. The new Berger offerings include Elite Hunter loaded ammunition for the 6.5 PRC and .300 PRC, plus new Berger .30 Caliber 245 Grain Long Range Hybrid Target (LRHT) Bullets. We’ll have a feature on these Berger products soon.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, New Product, Reloading No Comments »
January 23rd, 2022

Ammo, Ammo, Ammo — New Offerings for 2022

field stream berger hornady norma winchester ammunition hunting 300 prc

Field & Stream magazine recently released a helpful guide to new ammunition offerings as seen at SHOT Show 2022. The article features 21 different new ammo types for pistols, rifles, and shotguns. Many of the new ammo types, such as Hornady CX and CCI Blazer, feature lead-free projectiles. The Blazer even employs lead-free primers. Among the most notable new ammo selections is the Berger line, which features high-BC projectiles and superb Lapua brass. New for 2022 is Berger 6.5 PRC and .300 PRC ammunition. Here are our selection of four notable, new-for-2022 Ammo products for rifle shooters. SEE all 21 new ammo types on Fieldandstream.com.

Berger 6.5 PRC and .300 PRC Hunting Ammo

field stream berger lapua ammunition hunting 6.5 300 prc

Berger has added the 6.5 PRC and 300 PRC cartridges to its loaded ammo line which features great Lapua brass. The 6.5 load features the heavy 156gr Berger Elite Hunter bullet running at 2960 FPS. This bullet boast a very high G1 ballistic coefficient (BC) of 0.679. Packing even more powder, Berger’s .300 PRC load features the 0.631 BC Berger Elite Hunter bullet. Tested muzzle velocity is 2895 FPS.

Hornady Hunting Ammo with Solid Copper CX Bullets

hornady cx copper alloy lead-free bullet

For 2022, Hornady has introduced a new CX™ (Copper alloy eXpanding) hunting projectile. This CX bullet is designed to provide outstanding performance when hunting in areas where solid lead or lead-core bullets are prohibited. Hornady states: “The new CX™ bullet from Hornady represents the most advanced monolithic hunting bullet on the market. Its optimized design offers extended range performance, greater accuracy, high weight retention, and deep penetration.” The CX will be available in a number of calibers/bullet weights: 6mm, .25 Cal, 6.5mm, .270 Cal, 7mm, .308, .338, and .375.

Norma .22 LR Rimfire Ammo — Three New Offerings

field stream norma rimfire .22 LR Xtreme, ECO Powder Hunter power ammunition hunting 6.5 300 prc

Norma announced three new .22 LR rimfire ammo types to be released in 2022: Xtreme LR-22, ECO Power 22, and Hunter Power 22. The Xtreme LR-22 should prove popular in the growing long-range rimfire PRS/NRL disciplines. The LR-22 offers higher BC for better long-range performance. The new ECO Power 22 has a lead-free zinc hollowpoint bullet traveling at a very fast 1700 FPS — on the high end for any .22 LR on the market. Norma’s Hunter Power 22 features a 40gr bullet designed for controlled expansion. This Power 22 ammo runs at 1260 fps with 142 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

Winchester New Lead-Free Copper Impact Hunting Ammo

field stream winchester copper impact hunting ammunition ammo lead-free 6.5 300 prc

Winchester’s new Copper Impact hunting ammunition features a tipped high-BC bullet. Winchester states that the Extreme Point helps create “immediate expansion”. Field and Stream’ reviewer states that “All this, combined with a lead-free bullet that will retain most of its weight, makes for a deep-penetrating big-game stopper[.]” Winchester’s new Copper Impact ammunition for over 12 different cartridge types, including the 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.8 Western, .308 Win, and even the .350 Legend.

Ammunition News — Ammo Inc. Acquires Gunbroker, Builds Wisconsin Ammo Factory

Ammo inc. factory shot show 2022 wisconsin factory interview

In this interview, Mark Hanish (Pres., Global Sales & Marketing) of Ammo Inc. (Nasdaq: POWW) talks about his company. This enterprise is making significant moves in the firearms/shooting sports industry. Hanish discusses Ammo, Inc’s modern new 160,000-sq.ft. ammunition manufacturing plant in Manitowac, WI, and the company’s 2021 acquisition of GunBroker.com. Through a $240 million merger in May 2021, GunBroker.com officially become an Ammo Inc. subsidiary.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, New Product No Comments »
January 18th, 2022

SHOT Show Day One — “ALL IN” for 2022

SHOT show 2022 las vegas new products

After Monday’s Media Day at the Range, Tuesday, January 18, 2022 is the official opening of SHOT Show 2022. This is an important “return to normalcy” as SHOT Show 2021 was cancelled due to COVID. While some large companies such as Ruger and SIG Sauer have pulled out of the Show, it will still be a huge event, with over 800,000 square feet of exhibits — an area the size of 14 football fields. Over 50,000 persons are expected to attend the event, which runs through Friday, January 21, 2022.

Download FREE SHOT Show Mobile App
SHOT show mobile app free download

The 2022 SHOT Show Mobile App provides part of the SHOT Show experience even if you can’t be there in Las Vegas. The SHOT Show Mobile App provides SHOT Show video feeds, product-information downloads, real-time show announcements, interactive floor maps, and more. The Mobile App is available for IOS and Android devices, with smartphone and tablet versions. You can also access many of the App’s features from a desktop computer with this WEB LINK to the SHOT Show Desktop Site.

SHOT Week 2022 Preview (23 minutes)

TIP: You can also see SHOT Show photos and video on the SHOT Show Facebook page.

Notable Products in Review for 2022

CZ 600 Series Rifles: Range, Alpha, Lux, Ergo, Trail

cz cz-usa 600 series trail range alpha ergo carbon

CZ recently introduced the new CZ 600 line of centerfire rifles. The series includes four unique models, with a variety of stock types, barrel profiles, action lengths, and chamberings. User-friendly CZ 600 features include 60-degree bolt throw, adjustable triggers, and the ability to swap barrels/chamberings using optional conversion kits. The CZ 600 Series includes four brand new models: Alpha, Lux, Trail, and Range.* These are designed for accuracy, modularity, and smooth cycling. Expect CZ 600s at dealers in early 2022.

Controlled-Feed Action with 60° Throw: CZ 600 Rifles have a 60-degree bolt throw. This cycles faster than a 90-degree bolt, with more clearance between bolt and optic, allowing for larger scopes. All CZ 600 models boast an oversized bolt knob for improved control with gloved hands. And the actions have controlled-round-feed. The 2-position safety allows bolt cycling with the safety engaged.

Bergara Premier MGLite Rifle with Carbon-Wrapped Barrel

This new lightweight chassis rifle, was just revealed by Bergara North America. This 6.8-lb rig features a lightweight suppressor-ready carbon wrapped barrel in a modern alloy/composite chassis. Our friend Gavin Gear got his hands on a 6.5 Creedmoor Bergara’s NEW MGLite rifle chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. Gavin was impressed. The rifle shot half-inch 3-shot groups with Hornady factory ammo. The bore looked good and the trigger broke at a crisp 3 pounds. Get more details on UltimateReloader.com:

bergara premier series mglite carbon

Featuring CURE Carbon barrel technology, this is a step forward for Spanish gun-maker Bergara, though we were a bit shocked at the $3229.00 MSRP. You can buy a very nice custom rifle for that much money.

SHOT show 2022 las vegas new products

Nosler Model 21 with Carbon Composite Stock

Nosler 21 hunting rifle light weight

Nosler’s new Model 21 rifle boasts a crisp, single-stage TriggerTech Field model trigger, with user-adjustable pull weight of 2.5–5 lbs. and top safety. The new Model 21 features a hand-lapped Shilen match-grade barrel with a threaded muzzle. The stock is a synthetic carbon-fiber composite model that is lightweight yet durable. The Model 21 features a spiral-fluted, one-piece, 4340 chromoly steel bolt that is Nitride-coated for smooth operation and corrosion resistance. The Model 21 is available chambered in 22 Nosler, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, 26 Nosler, 27 Nosler, 280 Ackley Improved, 28 Nosler, .308 Win, .300 Win Mag, 30 Nosler, 33 Nosler and .375 H&H. With its light weight (under 7 lbs. without optics), Nosler’s new Model 21 should be popular with hunters.

Huskemaw — Dial Elevation AND Windage from Same Turret

huskemaw scope windage turrent shot show 2022

An interesting riflescope was on display during Media Day at the Range on Monday. This 5-20x50mm Huskemaw Blue Diamond scope offers the ability to dial BOTH windage and elevation from the same central turret. Huskemaw says this is a patented feature which makes their optics unique. We can see that the central windage control offers some advantages in the field, and left-handed shooters will certainly appreciate the central control.

Edgewood Bags — Twisted Gator Bag

Shot show 2022 new products Edgewood Twisted Gater

Edgewood offers an innovative rear bag with a unique design that provides arm/hand support. The new Edgewood Twisted Gater Bag has an unusual asymmetrical footprint. This provides support for the shooter while still providing superb rear support for your bench rifles. Bag owner Richard L. posted on Facebook: “I called Edgewood and explained what was going on with my current set up. When I said I used a pad for my hand support this bag made the most sense. Really only a few dollars more.” The Twisted Gator is $250.00 with a choice of Cordura or 3M Slick Ear fabrics. Standard ear spacing options are 3/16″, 3/8″, and 3/4″.

Hornady CX Copper Alloy Lead-Free Bullet

hornady cx copper alloy lead-free bullet

For 2022, Hornady has introduced a new CX™ (Copper alloy eXpanding) hunting projectile. This CX bullet is designed to provide outstanding performance when hunting in areas where solid lead or lead-core bullets are prohibited. Hornady states: “The new CX™ bullet from Hornady represents the most advanced monolithic hunting bullet on the market. Its optimized design offers extended range performance, greater accuracy, high weight retention, and deep penetration.” The CX will be available in a number of calibers/bullet weights: 6mm, .25 Cal, 6.5mm, .270 Cal, 7mm, .308, .338, and .375.

RCBS Electronic Powder Scale/Dispensers — ChargeMaster Link and Supreme

Chargemaster Link Supreme RCBS Shot Show

On display at RCBS are the latest generation ChargeMaster™ Link and ChargeMaster Supreme. The new Link is built off the rock-solid load cell and electronics found in the popular RCBS ChargeMaster Lite, but now offers best-in-class Bluetooth® technology to make reloading easier than ever. The ChargeMaster Supreme also features Bluetooth as well as “Learning Mode” which uses feedback loop algorithms and automatic adjustments to throw accurate charges faster than ever.

DECKED Piecekeeper Firearm Storage Racks for Vehicles

Shot show 2022 new products

Piecekeepers securely transport firearms in a DECKED vehicle drawer system. Designed for traditional rifles and shotguns, these are available in two sizes, with three slots (as shown) or two slot for the narrow DECKED drawer sets. The WIDE Piecekeepers are compatible with ALL full-size truck and cargo van drawers. Both versions contact a pair of brackets and cost $75.00.

CCI — Polymer-Coated .22 LR and Lead-free Blazer 9mm Ammo

cci lead-free 9mm ammo polymer-coated rimfire

CCI has introduced new reduced lead rimfire and centerfire ammo. For .22 LR shooters, the CCI Clean-22 Realtree bottles hold 400 rounds of polymer-coated bullets. The polymer coating reduces copper and lead fouling in the barrel, and cuts lead buildup in suppressors 60-80 percent. Handgun owners will appreciate CCI’s new Blazer Brass Lead-Free Clean-Fire Ammo. The bullets contain no lead and the primers are even lead-free. The lead-free Clean-Fire primer and flat-nose, lead-free projectiles are as safe and accurate as traditional FMJ bullets. This way you can train indoors or outdoors without leaving any lead behind on the range or in the air.

Action Target — New Technologies for Indoor Ranges

Shot show 2022 ACtion target Citadel range stalls
Shot show 2022 ACtion target Citadel range stalls

At SHOT Show Both #12816, Action Target is showcasing some impressive high-tech range equipment, including advanced target retrievers and new Shooting Stalls. The Citadel stalls feature floor-to-ceiling LED lighting and customizable bold materials. This works with Action Target’s smart range AXIS system providing advanced computerized control over lighting levels, color, and target retriever settings.

HunterShield Legal Protection Plan for Hunters (from U.S. LawShield)

huntershield shot shot legal protection plan u.s. lawshield

U.S. LawShield’s new HunterShield program supplements U.S. LawShield’s regular legal defense coverage. Starting at $13.90 per month, the HunterShield add-on protection features a network of attorneys knowledgeable about wildlife laws throughout the nation. U.S. LawShield’s CEO, P.J. Hermosa, notes: “HunterShield recognizes the fine print, red tape, and confusion surrounding wildlife laws. Even the most experienced hunters and anglers find themselves at risk of unintentionally breaking the law. Without proper legal defense, a violation could cost you more than just time and money. It could cost your rights to ever hunt and fish again.” The U.S. LawShield core plan provides coverage for all legal firearms.

huntershield shot shot legal protection plan u.s. lawshield

Here is the Capstone booth on Monday evening — nearly ready for the big opening Tuesday morning. We will have reports on new products from Lapua, Berger Bullets, Vihtavuori, and SK. Stay tuned!

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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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