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November 22nd, 2022

Prone Shooting Technique — Mastering the Prone Position

prone shooting position smallbore highpower lones wigger nra sports usa

Shooting Sports USA (SSUSA) offers a wide selection of informative articles on marksmanship techniques. If you shoot prone, “hard-holding”, you know how important proper positioning and technique can be. There is a SSUSA article that every prone shooter should read — whether you shoot air rifle, smallbore, or High Power. Compiled wtih the help of some of the country’s best prone marksmen, this article, How to Master Prone Shooting, provides a step-by-step guide to perfecting your prone position technique.

READ Full Article on Shooting Sports USA »

How to Master Prone Shooting — SSUSA by NRA Staff
The prone position is the most precise of the rifle shooting positions. It is used in many different shooting events at distances as close as 5 meters and as far away as 1,000 yards, and beyond that in long-range disciplines such as PRS and NRL. Prone shooting is very popular among shooters whose training time is limited, because it does not require as much practice. Age has little effect on a shooter’s ability to do well in prone; many older shooters are able to continue competing successfully in prone matches.

Here is a sample, listing STEP ONE, the basics of the prone position:

Step One: Study the Position
The prone position is steady because it is low, which gives a wide base of support to help keep the rifle still. Below are the key features of the prone position.

1. Straight line form left hand through left arm, side and leg.
2. Head tipped down comfortably.
3. Right hand grips rifle lightly.
4. Body lies behind rifle. Angle to rifle is 10 to 20 degrees.
5. Right knee bent slightly, toe pointing out.
6. Rifle lies on heel of left hand, fingers relaxed.
7. Left elbow rests to left of rifle.
8. Sling (if present) supports weight of rifle. Left arm relaxed.
9. Body rests slightly more on left side.
10. Left leg straight, toe pointing inward or straight back.

There are FIVE MORE STEPS described in detail with specific actions to perform, in the FULL Article. For example, in STEP FOUR (Sling Adjustment), the article explains: “Put the sling high on the arm and tighten the sling keeper. Wrap the arm around the sling so that the sling comes across the left hand and forearm.”

prone shooting position smallbore highpower lones wigger nra sports usa

prone shooting position smallbore highpower lones wigger nra sports usa

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September 30th, 2022

Access 13 Years of Shooting Sports USA Articles — All FREE

Shooting Sports USA competitive shooting high power marksmanship archive SSUSA

Enjoy the Shooting Sports USA Archives
As fall becomes winter, many Americans will be spending more time indoors at home. For some folks that means long sessions in front of the boob tube. Here’s a better idea — there’s a vast resource of great gun-related content available online for FREE. Check out the Shooting Sports USA Articles Archive. SSUSA maintains a vast digital library with hundreds of articles going back to June 2009.

Shooting Sports USA competitive shooting high power marksmanship archive SSUSAIt’s easy to find back issues of Shooting Sports USA magazine. Here’s how: First, navigate to the current SSUSA Online Issue. Then click on the “ARCHIVES” icon in the upper right area (indicated with red arrow). When you click on “ARCHIVES”, a window will open with a selection of Shooting Sports USA magazine covers/dates in a vertical column. The most recent issue (September 2022) will appear at the top. You can then scroll down — use the vertical scroll bar to go from September 2022 (the latest issue) all the way back to June 2009. Click any issue cover to read.

Shooting Sports USA competitive shooting high power marksmanship archive SSUSA
The June 2020 issue features a Palma rifle built with Eliseo Tubegun Chassis System.

How to Find and Save Articles
To search back issues, select “MORE OPTIONS” from the toolbar (top left). Then click the “SEARCH” button. When that opens, select either “Search Archives” for ALL back issues or “Search Only this Issue”. When you’ve made your choice, enter your search term(s). For example, you can search for “Camp Perry” or “Palma” or “F-Class Championship”. You can also save any archived issue as a PDF for viewing offline. Just click “SAVE” to download the article you’re currently viewing/reading.

Shooting Sports USA competitive shooting high power marksmanship archive SSUSA

Read Sample Articles
Here are a couple of our favorite SSUSA feature stories from recent years. There are hundreds of other informative articles worth reading.

Wind-Reading Tips from Champion Shooters »

Shooting Sports USA Wind Reading tips

How to Clean and Maintain Match Barrels »

Shooting Sports USA Barrel Maintenance Clean Bore Scope

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August 16th, 2022

Great .22 LR Rimfire Ammo Comparison Test — 31 Types Tested

Shooting Sports USA .22 LR 22LR Rimfire ammunition test subsonic hi-velocity lead-free hyper velocity suppressor match ammo plinking varmint hunting

Here’s a “must-read” article for .22 LR rimfire shooters. The October 2018 issue of Shooting Sports USA (SSUSA) includes a great article with data on thirty-one (31) different types of popular .22 LR rimfire ammunition. The line-up includes low-speed, standard, and Hi-Velocity types, plus choices for plinking, varminting, and target applications. Brands tested include: Aguila, American Eagle, CCI, Federal, Fiocchi, Lapua, Remington, and Winchester. The slowest ammo, CCI Quiet-22 Lead RN, clocked 727 FPS. The fastest ammo, CCI Short-Range Green Lead-Free HP, ran 1735 FPS, 2.4 times the speed of the Quiet-22.

SSUSA .22 LR Rimfire Ammo TEST | SSUSA October 2018 Issue

For each ammo type, SSUSA lists the bullet weight, velocity (FPS), and average of two, 5-shot groups at fifty yards. The most accurate ammo was Lapua Center-X LRN, with a 0.37″ average 50-yard group size. Second best was Lapua X-ACT LRN at 0.42″. Ammo was tested from a bench with a Cooper Model 57-M rifle fitted with 3-9x33mm Leupold VX-2 scope. The ammo offerings were grouped into three categories: (1) Varmints/Small Game; (2) Target; and (3) Plinking. (See ammo tables below.)

Shooting Sports USA .22 LR 22LR Rimfire ammunition test subsonic hi-velocity lead-free hyper velocity suppressor match ammo plinking varmint hunting
Click for larger page-view.

Different types of .22 LR (Long Rifle) rimfire ammo have different applications. Subsonic ammo, typically, is best for 25m to 50m target work with precision rimfire rigs. Hi-Velocity .22 LR ammo provides a flatter trajectory for longer ranges. SSUSA explains: “The array of .22 LR loads… turns a person’s head every which way. Subsonic target loads are the key to decisive accuracy on targets, while hyper-velocity cartridges provide striking bullet expansion on small varmints. In between, standard and high-velocity .22 LRs are loaded with a variety of bullet weights and styles for everything from small-game hunting to plinking[.]” READ Full SSUSA .22 LR Rimfire Ammo Story.

Rimfire Ammo Article tip from EdLongrange.
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June 5th, 2022

Improve Your Scores Through Enhanced Mental Preparation

Shooting Sports USA Brain mental game psychology cerebellum

Looking to improve your competition skills? The Shooting Sports USA website has scores of informative articles that can help your score higher at your next shooting tournament. You’ll find articles on wind reading, position shooting, match strategies, and much more.

One great Shooting Sports USA article, Shooting is 90% Mental, was penned by Chip Lohman (SSUSA’s former Editor). With the help of two very smart Ph.D types, Judy Tant and Mike Keyes, Lohman examines the mental processes involved in the shooting sports. Chip’s co-authors have impressive credentials. Dr. Judy Tant is a Clinical Psychologist and National Bullseye Pistol Champion. Dr. Michael J. Keyes, is a licensed Psychiatrist and former physician for the U.S. Shooting Team.

CLICK HERE to Read Full Article in Shooting Sports USA Online Magazine.

Visualization, Brain Function, and Muscle Memory

If you shoot competitively, this is definitely a “must-read” article. The authors examine how the brain functions under stress, how “visualization” can be used to improved performance, how “brain speed” can be enhanced through proper training, and how the brain stores learned routines into “muscle memory.” And that’s just for starters — the article gives many concrete examples of techniques top shooters have employed to improve their “mental game” and shoot higher scores.

Brain Speed and Trigger Control:
Shooting Sports USA Brain mental game psychology cerebellumResearch: Scientists believe that the newer frontal lobe may not be able to keep up with “deep” brain signals that transmit at nearly 300 mph. This is explained when athletes talk about “letting go”, rather than over-thinking the shot.

This conscious signal can take up to 0.3 seconds from recognizing the desired sight picture to moving the trigger finger — too long to capture the opportunity for a perfect shot. However, if the signal is initiated spontaneously in the cerebellum where such procedures are thought to be stored through repetition, the reaction speed is much quicker. Signals are processed by the “deep brain” almost twice as fast as the problem-solving frontal lobes.

Mental Preparation for Shooting Matches

Below are tips from Emil Praslick III, former USAMU coach. Considered one of the best wind readers on the planet, Praslick also was known for his ability to help his shooters master the “mental game”.

Emil Praslick III mental game coaching preparation

Thinking Your Way to Success
by Emil Praslick III
Why does it seem that the same small group of shooters wins the majority of the matches? What is the difference among shooters who are technically equal? Confidence. A confident shooter is free to execute his shots without the fear of failure, i.e. shooting a poor shot.

Negative thoughts (can’t, won’t be able to, etc.) will destroy a skilled performance. The mind’s focus will not be on executing the task, but on projecting fear and self-doubt. Fear is the enemy, confidence is the cure. How does a shooter on the eve of an important match … attain the confidence needed to perform up to his potential? A pre-competition mental plan can assist in acquiring that positive mental state. The plan can be broken down into a few phases.

Build a feeling of preparedness. Developing and executing a plan to organize your equipment and pre-match routine will aid you in feeling prepared on match day.

Avoid negative and stressful thoughts. Focusing on “winning” the match or shooting for a specific score (like making the “cut” or making the President’s 100) can cause undue stress. Good shooters focus on aspects that are within their control: their sight picture, their sight alignment, their position. Each shot should be treated as an individual event.

Train stage-specific tasks during your practice sessions. Instead of shooting matches or practice matches only, include some drills that focus on your problem areas. Training in this manner will assist your level of confidence.

As part of your pre-match routine, imagine yourself shooting perfect shots. Visualize getting into the perfect position, acquiring a perfect sight picture, and perfect trigger control.

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May 17th, 2022

Test Your Gun Smarts with Shooting Sports Crossword Puzzle

shooting sports crossword puzzleLike crosswords? Like guns? Well, thanks to Shooting Sports USA (SSUSA), you can try a crossword puzzle that tests your knowledge of gun stuff and competitive shooting. In the February 2013 digital edition of Shooting Sports USA magazine, you’ll find a crossword puzzle created just for shooters. There are some easy items, such as the location of the annual NRA National Pistol Championships (see story above). Other entries are more difficult, and may require some research. To print the crossword puzzle before you start working, click this Page 12 link, and then select the print icon. Spoiler alert — all the answers appear on PAGE 14 of the same February issue of SSUSA.

NOTE: These pages may be slow to load, but don’t fret, they WILL appear if you’re patient.

shooting sports crossword puzzle

CLICK HERE for Crossword Puzzle Answers.

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November 4th, 2021

Access 12 Years of Shooting Sports USA Articles — All FREE!

Shooting Sports USA competitive shooting high power marksmanship archive SSUSA

Enjoy the Shooting Sports USA Archives
With winter coming, many Americans will soon be spending more time indoors at home. For some folks that means long sessions in front of the boob tube. Here’s a better idea — there’s a vast resource of great gun-related content available online for FREE. Check out the Shooting Sports USA Articles Archive. SSUSA maintains a vast digital library with hundreds of articles going back to June 2009.

Shooting Sports USA competitive shooting high power marksmanship archive SSUSAIt’s easy to find back issues of Shooting Sports USA magazine. Here’s how: First, navigate to the SSUSA Online Issue. Then click on the “ARCHIVES” icon in the upper right area (indicated with red arrow). When you click on “ARCHIVES”, a window will open with a selection of Shooting Sports USA magazine covers/dates in a vertical column. The most recent issue (November 2021) will appear at the top. You can then scroll down — use the vertical scroll bar to go from November 2021 (the latest issue) all the way back to June 2009. Click any issue cover to read.

Shooting Sports USA competitive shooting high power marksmanship archive SSUSA
The June 2020 issue features a Palma rifle built with Eliseo Tubegun Chassis System.

How to Find and Save Articles
To search back issues, select “MORE OPTIONS” from the toolbar (top left). Then click the “SEARCH” button. When that opens, select either “Search Archives” for ALL back issues or “Search Only this Issue”. When you’ve made your choice, enter your search term(s). For example, you can search for “Camp Perry” or “Palma” or “F-Class Championship”. You can also save any archived issue as a PDF for viewing offline. Just click “SAVE” to download the article you’re currently viewing/reading.

Shooting Sports USA competitive shooting high power marksmanship archive SSUSA

Read Sample Articles
Here are a couple of our favorite SSUSA feature stories from recent years. There are hundreds of other informative articles worth reading.

Wind-Reading Tips from Champion Shooters »

Shooting Sports USA Wind Reading tips

How to Clean and Maintain Match Barrels »

Shooting Sports USA Barrel Maintenance Clean Bore Scope

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May 31st, 2021

The Springfield M1A — Civilian Version of the Military M14

M14 rifle Springfield M1A camp perry Shooting Sports USA

“Descended from the M1 Garand, the M14 utilized multiple improvements that made it a far superior firearm for combat and a much better rifle for competition.” — Dick Jones, Shooting Sports USA.

In the April 2018 issue of Shooting Sports USA, you’ll find a good article on the civilian version of the M14, now sold commercially as the Springfield M1A. An evolution of the battle-proven M1 Garand, the M14 was designed to shoot the 7.62×51 (.308 Win) round instead of the larger .30-06 Springfield cartridge used in WWI, WWII and Korea. While the vast majority of today’s M1As are chambered for .308 Win/7.62×51, Springfield Armory also produces a 6.5 Creedmoor version.

M14 rifle Springfield M1A camp perry Shooting Sports USA

Dick Jones reports that accurized M14/M1As could post remarkable scores: “The accuracy potential of the M14/M1A is unquestionable. During their reign as service rifles, they produced multiple perfect 200 scores at 600 and 1000 yards in the hands of top shooters. This is a difficult feat with a modern, scoped, magnum-caliber rifle and remarkable with an iron-sighted battle rifle. Good competition rifles can group 10 shots under one MOA, and the meticulously-massaged rifles used by the top shooters during my career would consistently put up 10 shots under an inch at 200 yards off a test cradle.”

springfield m1A rifle camp perry cmp

CLICK HERE to REGISTER for 2021 Springfield M1A Match »

Springfield M1A at Camp Perry National Matches
For many years, the semi-auto version of the M14 was “top dog” in iron sights Service Rifle competition. Now that discipline is dominated by .223 Rem (5.56×45) AR-type rifles, but the bigger .308-caliber rifle, now sold as the M1A, remains popular. The CMP hosts a major M1A Match every year at Camp Perry, sponsored by Springfield Armory. Significant prizes are awarded. In past years M1A Match competitors took home over $25,000 worth of cash and merchandise in 2016. This year’s Springfield M1A match will be held at Camp Perry on August 8, 2021.

M14 rifle Springfield M1A camp perry Shooting Sports USA
Photo courtesy Civilian Marksmanship Program.

In this video, YouTube Reviewer Hickok 45 compares the M1 Garand and the M14/M1A:

springfield m1A rifle camp perry cmp

See how the modern M1A is built in this Springfield Armory Video:

As racing improves automobiles, competition improves firearms, and the current crop of Springfield M1As, from the Basic to the top-of-the-line Super Match and Loaded models, reflects the years of development. The M14 and its variants are still in service today and it’s still considered by many to be the best battle rifle in the history of the U.S. Military. — Dick Jones, Shooting Sports USA

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January 4th, 2021

National Rifle Association Marks 150th Anniversary in 2021

NRA 150th Anniversary

The National Rifle Association (NRA) was founded in 1871 by Civil War veterans. Since that beginning, 150 years ago, the goals of the NRA have been to advance marksmanship training, foster sport shooting, protect the rights of gun owners, and preserve Second Amendment freedoms. The NRA now boasts over 5,000,000 members. In 2021, the NRA celebrates 150 years as the nation’s largest association of gun owners and “America’s oldest civil-rights organization”.

NRA 150th Anniversary“The NRA has diligently protected our right to keep and bear arms longer than any other organization”, NRA President Carolyn Meadows said. “We are humbled to serve our more than 5 million members and all law-abiding gun owners. We invite you to join our organization as we celebrate this historic milestone.” To take part in NRA’s 150th Anniversary celebrations, you can sign-up online or call 1-866-672-2020 to join.

Over the past century-and-a-half, the NRA has served firearm owners through training, legislative action, and other initiatives that promote sport shooting, hunting, and personal protection. Today, the organization offers a wide range of programs for firearm owners including competitive shooting, hunter education, political action and more.

Online Resources for NRA Members

The NRA has a wide variety of online resource for its members. These include information for competitive shooters, online training for hunters, and firearms safety sites. To access ALL the many NRA online resources go to NRA.org, and then click on the RED “NRA Explore” tab upper left. A pull-down, 3-column directory will appear.

NRA 150th Anniversary

The NRA also offers some very good, informative websites, including Shooting Sports USA (SSUSA.org). Guided by Editor John Parker, SSUSA.org offers dozens of good feature stories every month. We also recommend the American Hunter website, AmericanHunter.org.

NRA 150th Anniversary

NRA Publications Feature 150 Years of NRA History
To mark its 150th Anniversary, the NRA will run historical features in four of its magazines: American Rifleman, American Hunter, America’s 1st Freedom, and Shooting Illustrated. Throughout 2021, each issue will spotlight significant events and leaders that shaped the organization and its mission. The NRA will also publish a showpiece coffee-table book, “NRA — 150 Years Strong”, in September 2021.

NRA 150th Anniversary

The NRA in the Early Years — 1871 to 1907

Shooting Sports USA (SSUSA) has a good article on the origins and history of the National Rifle Association. This timeline feature covers the first 36 years of NRA history from 1871 to 1907. The NRA was founded in 1871, and 1907 marked the first year of Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio.

SSUSA explains the NRA’s original mission: “The NRA’s program during its youthful years centered mainly on improving marksmanship among the military. Rifle tournaments at ranges in Creedmoor (NY), Sea Girt (NJ), and Camp Perry (OH) captured the country’s spirit of nationalism and resulted in key improvements in rifles and target scoring. NRA also set standards for military rifle training and even inspired the federal government to form its own segment within the War Department to focus on promoting rifle practice among soldiers as well as civilians.”

NRA history creedmoor sea girt camp perry

1871 — A group of New York National Guardsmen founded the National Rifle Association to promote marksmanship training. Figures such as Capt. George Wingate had called for better rifle marksmanship to support the nation’s defense.

1872 — The NRA acquires Creed’s Farm in Long Island, New York for $26,250. Renamed “Creedmoor”, this becomes the NRA’s first range. The first match was held in 1873.

1874 — The NRA hosts its first International Match, shot at the Creedmoor Range in New York.

The First-Ever Creedmoor Challenge Match in 1874
The Irish International Shooting team arrived in New York on the 16th of September and proceeded to “take in the sights”, which was understandable, before some practice at the Creedmoor range. On September 26th they presented themselves for the match with confidence and in high spirits. The crowds that day were reported to be between 5,000 and 10,000 strong, which showed the huge support already growing for the fledgling sport in America.

Arizona Ireland USA American Creedmoor Challenge Cup rifle competition

(more…)

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December 5th, 2020

Competitive Shooting Can Make You a Better Hunter

Competitive Shooting Hunting Doug Koenig Bruce Piatt

Shooting Sports USA has an article of interest to competitive shooters who also enjoy hunting. This article was authored by Josh Honeycutt, a highly-accomplished hunter. To explain how competitive shooting can improve hunting skills, Honeycutt interviewed two leading pro shooters who both hunt: Doug Koenig and Bruce Piatt. The story outlines eight ways competitive shooting can help develop shooting skills and a mental awareness that will help hunters. Thorough the eight points, the article explains how skills learned in competition can help deliver better results during your hunts.

READ HUNTING ARTICLE HERE »

Competitive Shooting Hunting Doug Koenig Bruce Piatt

competition shooting hunters hunting

free hunting targets

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November 20th, 2020

Access 11 Years of Shooting Sports USA Stories — All FREE!

Shooting Sports USA competitive shooting high power marksmanship archive SSUSA

Enjoy the Shooting Sports USA Archives
With the COVID-19 restrictions we’re all spending more time indoors at home. For some folks that means long sessions in front of the boob tube. Here’s a better idea — there’s a vast resource of great gun-related content available online for FREE. Check out the Shooting Sports USA Articles Archive. SSUSA maintains a vast digital library with hundreds of articles going back to June 2009.

Shooting Sports USA competitive shooting high power marksmanship archive SSUSAIt’s easy to find back issues of Shooting Sports USA magazine. Here’s how: Using the gray toolbar at the top, click on the “ARCHIVES” icon in the upper right area (indicated with red arrow). When you click on “ARCHIVES”, a window will open with a selection of Shooting Sports USA magazine covers/dates in a vertical column.

Next use the vertical scroll bar to go from November 2020 (the latest issue) all the way back to June 2009. Click any issue cover to read.

Shooting Sports USA competitive shooting high power marksmanship archive SSUSA
The June 2020 issue features a Palma rifle built with Eliseo Tubegun Chassis System.

How to Find and Save Articles
To search through back issues, select “MORE OPTIONS” from the toolbar. Then click the “SEARCH” button. When that opens, select either “Search archives” for ALL back issues or “Search Only this Issue”. When you’ve made your choice, enter your search term(s). For example, you can search for “Camp Perry” or “Palma” or “F-Class Championship”. You can also save any archived issue as a PDF for viewing offline. Just click “SAVE” to download the article you’re currently viewing/reading.

Shooting Sports USA competitive shooting high power marksmanship archive SSUSA

Read Sample Articles
Here are a couple of our favorite SSUSA feature stories from recent years. There are hundreds of other informative articles worth reading.

Wind-Reading Tips from Champion Shooters »

Shooting Sports USA Wind Reading tips

How to Clean and Maintain Match Barrels »

Shooting Sports USA Barrel Maintenance Clean Bore Scope

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May 26th, 2020

Get Garand Smart — Sources for Manuals & Maintenance Guides

M1 Garand match instruction video War Department

Do you own an M1 Garand? Or perhaps you’re thinking of ordering a Garand, now that the CMP recently received 99,000 of these classic battle rifles — returns from Turkey and the Philippines. An M1 Garand is a great addition to anyone’s personal firearms collection. It is a piece of living history — plus it can be used in Vintage Military rifle matchers. Here are some resources for M1 Garand owners. There are marksmanship tips, plus helpful advice on maintaining your M1 Garand.

Rifle Marksmanship with the M1 Garand Rifle

The film was made in 1942/43 for the War Department. It shows shooting positions and holding techniques for the M1 Garand. This informative video will help both novice Garand shooters as well as experts seeking a “refresher course”. The film focuses on the M1 Garand but the techniques can be applied to any rifle. The narration sounds a bit “corny” by today’s standards, but focus on the techniques shown and you’ll learn plenty.

M1 Service and Maintenance
Shooting Sports USA has published an excellent article on Service and Maintenance of M1 Garand Rifles. This covers basic cleaning and servicing and also explains how to upgrade the performance of your Garands. READ Article HERE.

This popular Tips and Tricks Video has been viewed over 1,000,000 Times on YouTube.

Recommended M1 Garand Manual
Among the many M1 Garand manuals available, we recommend the CMP’s U.S. Rifle, Caliber .30, M1: ‘Read This First’ Manual. This booklet covers take-down, reassembly, cleaning, lubrication, and operation. The manual comes with CMP rifles or can be purchased for $3.25 from the CMP eStore. The author of Garand Tips & Tricks says: “It’s one of the best firearms manuals I’ve seen and I highly recommend it.” The CMP also offers many other M1 Garand print resources including:

M1 Garand Owner’s Guide (125 pages, Scott Duff)
M1 Garand Complete Assembly Guide (155 pages, Walt Kuleck & Scott McKee)
Complete Guide to M1 Garand and M1 Carbine (296 pages, Bruce Canfield)

M1 Garand match instruction video War Department

This Video (with 5.7 million views) Explains How to Load the M1 Garand Correctly.

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March 21st, 2020

Barrel Break-In: What’s the Best Method — Expert Advice

Barrel Breakin Break-in conditioning cleaning Wade Hull Shilen Walther Varminter.com Eric Mayer Video interview barrels
Photo courtesy Sierra Bullets.

The question of barrel break-in is controversial. Some folks advocate an elaborate, lengthy cycle of shooting and brushing, repeated many times — one shot and clean, two shots and clean and so on. This, it is argued, helps barrels foul less and shoot more accurately. Others say minimal break-in, with patching and brushing after 10-15 rounds, is all you need. Still others contend that break-in procedures are a total waste of time and ammo — you should just load and shoot, and clean as you would normally.

We doubt if there will ever be real agreement among shooters concerning barrel break-in procedures. And one must remember that the appropriate break-in procedure might be quite different for a factory barrel vs. a custom hand-lapped barrel. This Editor has found that his very best custom barrels shot great right from the start, with no special break-in, other than wet patches at 5, 10, and 15 rounds. That said, I’ve seen some factory barrels that seemed to benefit from more elaborate break-in rituals.

What’s the best barrel break-in procedure? Well our friend Eric Mayer of Varminter.com decided to ask the experts. A while back Eric interviewed representatives of three leading barrel manufacturers: Krieger, Lothar-Walther, and Shilen. He recorded their responses on video. In order of appearance in the video, the three experts are:

Wade Hull, Shilen Barrels | Mike Hinrichs, Krieger Barrels | Woody Woodall, Lothar Walther

Barrel Breakin Break-in conditioning cleaning Wade Hull Shilen Walther Varminter.com Eric Mayer Video interview barrelsDo I Need to Break-In a New Rifle Barrel?
Eric Mayer of Varminter.com says: “That is a simple question, [but it] does not necessarily have a simple answer. Instead of me repeating my own beliefs, and practices, on breaking-in a new rifle barrel, I decided to answer this one a bit differently. While we were at the 2016 SHOT Show, we tracked down three of the biggest, and most popular, custom barrel makers in the world, and asked them what they recommend to anyone buying their barrels, and why they recommend those procedures. We asked the question, and let the camera run!” Launch the video above to hear the answers — some of which may surprise you.

Long-Term Barrel Care — More Experts Offer Opinions
Apart from the debate about barrel break-in, there is the bigger question of how should you clean and maintain a barrel during its useful life. Some folks like aggressive brushing, other shooters have had success with less invasive methods, using bore foam and wet patches for the most part. Different strokes for different folks, as they say. In reality, there may not be one solution for every barrel. Different fouling problems demand different solutions. For example, solvents that work well for copper may not be the best for hard carbon (and vice-versa).

CLICK HERE for Long Term Barrel Care Article »

Shooting Sports Lohman Barrel

Chip Lohman, former Editor of Shooting Sports USA Magazine, has authored an excellent article on barrel maintenance and cleaning: Let the BARREL Tell You — Match Barrel Care. In this article, Chip shares the knowledge of a dozen experts including respected barrel-makers Frank Green (Bartlein Barrels), John Krieger (Krieger Barrels), Dan Lilja (Lilja Barrels), and Tim North (Broughton Barrels).

“Why worry about a little barrel fouling when the throat is subjected to a brutal 5,600° F volcano at 55,000 PSI? To investigate these and other questions about taking care of a match barrel, we spoke with a dozen experts and share their knowledge in this first of a series of articles.

After listening to folks who shoot, build barrels or manufacture cleaning solvents for a living, we concluded that even the experts each have their own unique recommendations on how to care for a match barrel. But they all agree on one thing — the gun will tell you what it likes best. Because the life expectancy of a match barrel is about 1,500 to 2,500 rounds, the objectives of cleaning one should include: preserve accuracy, slow the erosion, and remove fouling — all without damaging the gun. This article doesn’t claim that one cleaning method is better than the next. Rather, we set out to interject a little science into the discussion and to share some lessons learned from experts in the field.” — Chip Lohman

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June 19th, 2019

Become a Better Trigger-Puller — Trigger Techniques Analyzed

trigger show bix'n andy otm tactical

Do you occasionally get completely unexplained flyers, or have a shot land straight down at 6 O’Clock, right below your point of aim? That could be caused by poor or inconsistent trigger technique. How you pull the trigger can and does affect your accuracy.

Many gun enthusiasts start with pistols. When they later start shooting rifles they may carry over some not-so-good practices acquired from shooting handguns with heavy 4 to 6-pound trigger pulls. You may want to “re-learn” your trigger techniques to get better rifle results.

Shooting Sports USA has a good article on trigger technique that offers many useful tips. That article also has many helpful illustrations, including the one shown above. Another illustration shows different types of trigger shoes (straight vs. curved) and explains how each makes a difference: “With a lightly curved trigger, the shooter’s finger can contact the trigger either high or low according to preference. Higher contact will increase the resistance.” READ ARTICLE HERE.

The article analyzes common errors, such as pulling the trigger with the very tip of the finger rather than the pad of the index finger: “Using the tip of the finger can lead to lateral pressure on the trigger, which throws off the shot.”

The article also explains that you should check your trigger regularly to make sure it is functioning properly and is not out of adjustment: “Just like any other moving part, the trigger can suffer from wear. In such a precise mechanism, tiny amounts of wear can cause major problems.”

Gary Eliseo tubegun prone rifle
The ergonomics of the Eliseo Tubegun allow a nice, straight trigger pull.

Trigger Tips

Six Suggestions for Making your Trigger Control More Consistent.

1. If your triggers are adjustable, set the pull weight appropriate to the discipline. For a hunting rifle, you don’t want an ultra-light trigger pull. For High Power, you may want a two-stage pull, while on a Benchrest rifle you may prefer a very light trigger.
2. If you have a two-stage trigger, experiment with different combinations of First Stage and Second Stage.
3. Have a friend watch you as you pull the trigger, and maybe even take a close-up video as you pull the trigger. This can reveal a variety of flaws.
4. Practice dry-firing to see if flaws in trigger technique are causing gun movement.
5. As an experiment, try pulling the trigger with your middle finger. Ergonomically, the middle finger has a more straight alignment with the tendons in your hand. This exercise can help you identify alignment issues with your index finger.
6. For stocks with adjustable Length of Pull you may want to set the LOP differently for bench shooting vs. prone or F-Class shooting.

trigger show bix'n andy otm tactical

trigger show bix'n andy otm tactical
The Bix’N Andy trigger is one of the very best you can buy. It can be fitted with a variety of trigger shoes according to shooter preference.

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November 10th, 2018

Enhance Mental Function to Shoot Better Scores

Shooting Sports USA Brain mental game psychology cerebellum

Looking to improve your competition skills? The Shooting Sports USA website has scores of informative articles that can help your score higher at your next shooting tournament. You’ll find articles on wind reading, position shooting, match strategies, and much more.

One great Shooting Sports USA article, Shooting is 90% Mental, was penned by Chip Lohman (SSUSA’s former Editor). With the help of two very smart Ph.D types, Judy Tant and Mike Keyes, Lohman examines the mental processes involved in the shooting sports. Chip’s co-authors have impressive credentials. Dr. Judy Tant is a Clinical Psychologist and National Bullseye Pistol Champion. Dr. Michael J. Keyes, is a licensed Psychiatrist and former physician for the U.S. Shooting Team.

CLICK HERE to Read Full Article in Shooting Sports USA Online Magazine.

Visualization, Brain Function, and Muscle Memory
If you shoot competitively, this is definitely a “must-read” article. The authors examine how the brain functions under stress, how “visualization” can be used to improved performance, how “brain speed” can be enhanced through proper training, and how the brain stores learned routines into “muscle memory.” And that’s just for starters — the article gives many concrete examples of techniques top shooters have employed to improve their “mental game” and shoot higher scores.

Brain Speed and Trigger Control:
Shooting Sports USA Brain mental game psychology cerebellumResearch: Scientists believe that the newer frontal lobe may not be able to keep up with “deep” brain signals that transmit at nearly 300 mph. This is explained when athletes talk about “letting go”, rather than over-thinking the shot.

This conscious signal can take up to 0.3 seconds from recognizing the desired sight picture to moving the trigger finger — too long to capture the opportunity for a perfect shot. However, if the signal is initiated spontaneously in the cerebellum where such procedures are thought to be stored through repetition, the reaction speed is much quicker. Signals are processed by the “deep brain” almost twice as fast as the problem-solving frontal lobes.

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June 2nd, 2018

Key INFO for 2018 National Matches at Camp Atterbury, Indiana

NRA National Matches Camp Atterbury Indiana High Power Service Rifle

National High Power Matches / July 5-24, 2018 / Camp Atterbury, Edinburgh, Indiana

This year, as in 2017, the NRA National High Power Matches will be held at Camp Atterbury in Indiana (no more Camp Perry). The Rifle National Matches, scheduled for July 5-24, will include the High Power Championship, the Long Range Championship, and the Mid-Range Championship, along with other special events. The National Matches attract many of North America’s top marksmen every year. While some competitors miss the Camp Perry experience, we have heard very positive feedback about Camp Atterbury from those who have actually shot there. They like the venue and the ranges.

Get Nat’l Match High Power Program HERE | See Nat’l Match Fee Schedule HERE

NRA National Matches Camp Atterbury Indiana High Power Service Rifle

IMPORTANT: If you want to compete at the National High Power Matches you need to register soon. Entries must be received by Saturday, June 18 for online submissions, and Wednesday, July 2 (by 2:00 p.m.) for on-site and mail-in entries.* For online entry, please visit www.nmentry.com and follow the instructions there. Entry via mail must be made on the appropriate entry card, and be accompanied by full entry fees. To receive an entry card via mail, please email comphelp@nrahq.org. All entries are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Mailing address for entries is: Camp Atterbury, P.O. Box 5000, Edinburgh, IN 46124 ATTN: NRA. Please note, the postmark will NOT be used to determine whether or not an entry makes the deadline.

NRA National Matches Camp Atterbury Indiana High Power Service Rifle
This article was prepared with information from the NRA and Shooting Sports USA.

How is Camp Atterbury as a match venue? Very good. Here is a report from a 2017 Nat’l Match competitor, as posted on Facebook:

Just got back from U.S. Nationals at Camp Atterbury … Here are my observations:

1. The range was outstanding. Facing the south wasn’t a problem.
2. On-base accommodations were great and inexpensive.
3. The base is only 45 min from Indianapolis International Airport.
4. The base is close to towns with restaurants and shopping.
5. The transportation to and from the pits [was in] air conditioned vans.
6. By all accounts the event ran smoothly.

NRA National Matches Camp Atterbury Indiana High Power Service Rifle
Long Range competitors at 2017 NRA National High Power Rifle Championships.

National Matches at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, 2018 Schedule:

Monday, July 2: NRA Range Personnel Arrive
Tuesday, July 3: NRA Orientation
Thursday, July 5: High Power Rifle Packet Pickup
Friday, July 6: Whistler Boy Junior Team, 2nd Amendment Team Match, NRA Awards Ceremony, Competitor Meeting
Saturday, July 7 – Wednesday, July 11: NRA High Power Rifle (awards ceremony on concluding day)
Thursday, July 12: Long Range Packet Pickup and Competitor Meeting
Friday, July 13 – Monday, July 16: NRA Long Range (awards ceremony on concluding day)
Tuesday, July 17: NRA Long Range Palma, Palma Team Awards Ceremony
Wednesday, July 18 – Saturday, July 21: NRA Mid Range Individual
Sunday, July 22: NRA Mid Range Teams, Mid Range Awards Ceremony
Monday, July 23: Range Clean Up/Clear Out

For a more detailed calendar, with event times, view the Nat’l Matches High Power Program PDF.

NRA National Matches Camp Atterbury Indiana High Power Service Rifle
2017 marked the first year the NRA National High Power Championships were held in Indiana at Camp Atterbury. Previously they took place at Camp Perry in Ohio.

Competitor Badges and Info Packets
All competitors must pick up a packet for their particular discipline on the dates listed below. Without exception, an ID badge for each team member must be provided before packets will be issued.

Thursday, July 5: NRA High Power 9:00 a.m.
Wednesday, July 11: One Mile Shot 9:00 a.m.
Thursday, July 12: NRA Long Range 1:00 p.m.
Tuesday, July 17: NRA Mid-Range 9:00 a.m.

Lodging at Camp Atterbury and Nearby
There is on-base lodging — rooms and cabins will be available to all competitors 18 and over. To book a room, or for any questions about lodging, please call (812) 526-1128. Camp Atterbury lodging includes suites and standard rooms as well as the MWR Campground and the MWR Cabins. Lodging is controlled by the Camp Atterbury Lodging Office, not by the NRA. Entry fees DO NOT include lodging costs. There are also a number of hotels nearby, including Charwood Suites. Nearby campground Johnson County Park also offers special rates for High Power competitors.


*Four exceptions to this rule are: Whistler Boy and 2nd Amendment (High Power; by mail or onsite) which will be accepted until Thursday, July 5, and Enlisted Men’s and Rumbold and RNDC (High Power; by mail or onsite) which will be accepted until Friday, July 6.

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