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October 3rd, 2021

Sunday GunDay: 6-284 for 600-yard Steel Silhouette Game

Editor’s Note: This story was first published many seasons ago. In the interceding years, equipment has evolved — actions, optics, front rests and so on. But this rifle remains very competitive in the 600-yard silhouette game, and it remains a wicked weapon for long-range varminting.

The 6-284 may well be the “ultimate” 6mm cartridge, if speed AND accuracy are considered. While it burns a lot more powder than a 6mmBR or 6 Dasher, it also delivers a lot more velocity. Our friend John Southwick, owner of this week’s featured 6-284, can push 107gr SMKs past 3400 fps — velocities no 6BR, 6BRA, or 6 Dasher can touch. He normally dials that back to 3200 fps or so, but that’s still well beyond the limit of a 6 Dasher even a 6mm Creedmoor. John’s gun is more than a speed demon of course — it’s a hyper-accurate match rifle that has claimed many Varmint Silhouette wins. At his club, when John and the Black Borden come out to play, everyone else is usually competing for second place.

Building the Borden Black Beauty
John tells us: “I chose the 6-284 mainly because it appeared in the winning equipment lists of 1K BR matches, and it was becoming very popular with long-range varminters. Skip Talbot had also used a 6-284 to set an IBS 1000-yard record (subsequently lowered in the last decade). Norma and Lapua offered quality 6.5-284 brass, so case-forming would be easy. I wanted a fairly light-recoiling rifle, and after much research I came to the conclusion that a high-BC 6mm bullet driven at 3200+ fps would meet my needs.

I was looking for a very high performance long-range target/bench rifle, primarily to use in 600-yard matches at my local club (Ojai Valley Gun Club), and possibly 1000-yard bench matches, plus occasional varmint hunting. I wanted to have a rifle that was built by a prominent gunsmith. I chose to work with Jim Borden of Borden Rifles for several reasons: his rifles had set world records, his reputation was excellent, and his rifles often showed up in the winning equipment lists of IBS and NBRSA sanctioned shoots. Also I had decided that I wanted a Nesika-actioned gun. I was impressed that Jim had designed one of the Nesika’s key features – Borden Bumps. Likewise, I liked the Bald Eagle front rest, and found out that Jim contributed to its design as well. This gave me confidence that Jim understood every element that goes into precision rifle performance.

Loading for Accuracy
My match load consists of Norma 6.5-284 brass, 51.0 grains of Alliant Reloder 22, Fed 210m primers, and Sierra moly-coated 107gr MKs, seated about .010″ into the lands. This runs about 3250 fps from the 28″ barrel. Case necks are turned to .0133″ wall thickness for a .270″ loaded neck diameter. I use a .268 or .269 bushing, and bump the shoulders back each time. I set the “bump” so that, with firing pin removed, I can just feel the case in the chamber when closing the bolt. My loaded rounds typically show no more than .0015″ runout on a NECO concentricity gauge. I credit the low run-out in large part to the custom inline seating die and shoulder-bump neck-bushing die Jim made for me.

How the 6-284 Shoots
The rifle has fulfilled all my expectations. It is a superbly precise and accurate rifle, as long as I do my part in steering the gun and feeding it consistent, quality ammo. I haven’t done a lot of 100-yard group shooting, just enough to test loads. Typically the rifle easily puts five shots into half-MOA or less at 600 yards. I’ve logged several 3-shot groups between 1.06″ and 2.2″ at 600 yards. I’ve been told that kind of accuracy would be competitive in a 600-yard BR match. But most importantly, I have confidence the gun will hit where I aim. Our Ojai club uses half-size silhouette targets. This gun’s ability to pick off the relatively small steel targets, even in some of the worst conditions imaginable, is nothing short of amazing. At times it seems I’m launching 107gr silhouette-seeking guided missiles.”

Borden 6mm-284 SPEC SHEET

Borden Long-Range Rifle, 16.5 lbs

Nesika ‘K’ Action, 1.70″ diam., Right Bolt, Left Port.
Hart 28″, 1:9″ twist, .920″ at muzzle, cryo’d with .272″ neck diam. and 1.5° throat.
McMillan MBR stock, Borden texture finished, pillar-bedded, with action also glued in.

Nightforce 12-42x NXS,
NP-R2 reticle, 20 MOA ramped scope base, Leupold Mark IV rings.

A Special Brand of Silhouette Shooting

John’s rifle is a purpose-built gun, optimized for one task — hitting little half-size silhouettes at very long distances, at a shooting venue that demands serious wind wizardry. At Ojai, even though matches commence early in the morning, it’s not unusual to have a 10 mph wind blowing left to right at the firing line, no wind at the mid-course flag, and a swirling variable wind at the targets. To make matters worse, the little critters sit on top a ramped berm. When the wind switches to 6 o’clock, it can rise right in front of the target, sending shots high. Despite the often-wicked conditions, John and his Black Borden have excelled at the varmint matches — he’s the “smart-money” bet to win on any given weekend.

John reports: “The rifle has really proven itself at the 600-yard silhouette match at my local club. We shoot ten targets per match, usually three “matches” or relays per day. Targets are half-size NRA Hunter Pistol metallic silhouettes: 1 Ram, 2 Turkeys, 3 Pigs, and 4 Chickens (note, these are larger than the mini-silhouettes in the above photo). The Ram counts one point, Turkey two points, Pig three points and the Chicken counts four points. The Chickens have a “hit zone” roughly .6 MOA at 600 yards–about 3.6″. Trust me, that can be challenging, particularly in shifting winds. Unlike conventional silhouette matches, we shoot F-class fashion from the ground, using bipods or pedestal rests. That’s easier than shooting off your hind legs of course, but our targets are much smaller than standard high-power silhouettes.”

The Black Borden was the rifle to beat at Ojai for many years. John held the record for the most “cleans” (no misses) for the event, and he was the annual Champion for many years, including five years in a row. One year he won the championship in the very last match. John noted: “Thankfully, the gun was humming and I made the right wind calls. I picked up enough points in the final shoot to win the series for the year.” Yes, John’s flat-shooting Borden 6-284 had done its job once again.

Long-Range Silhouette Match Strategy and Techniques
In competition, John says watching the conditions, and minimizing mental mistakes is key: “I keep things pretty basic. Our varmint silhouette matches allow 20 minutes for sighters and 10 shots on target (one per animal). We usually get in three “matches” or relays per event. I try to wait for a favorable condition, then take a few sighters and adjust the scope as needed. If the condition holds steady, I’ll try to run my targets before the wind changes.

At the Ojai range, it is vital to watch the wind flags and heed your spotters’ calls. I’ve seen the wind go from 7mph right to 10mph left from one target to the next. That’s nearly a foot and a half of horizontal change for my gun. If there is a major change, I will try to wait it out. If the shift is small, I may hold off a bit. Scope corrections are a last resort; while you’re dialing, the wind may switch again.”

Technical Report from Jim Borden, Gunsmith

Borden 6-284 rifleWe set up John’s 6-284 as we would for 1000-yard Light Gun competition. We’ve also built some of these rifles in 6MM BR for use in 600-yard competition. For John, we used a Borden/Nesika Model K 1.70″ diameter action as the beginning basis of the rifle. The timing and cocking-piece system for this rifle has the Borden improvements to improve firing pin energy and lock time. The action was pillar-bedded and glued into a McMillan Tooley MBR pattern stock. The stock blank was gel-coated and then epoxy-finished with a texture.

About the Muzzle Brake — We normally blend the brakes into the barrel to make the transition smooth and unseen. John preferred to have the brake larger than the barrel so that it could also be used on future barrels.

9-Twist Barrel — The barrel is a 1:9″-twist Hart HV pattern 28 7/8 inches long. Our 6×284 reamer has a .272″ neck diameter. It is throated with a tight cylindrical section followed by the 1 ½ degree throat. Chambering of the barrel was done utilizing our proven Benchrest chambering techniques. The method of chambering ensures that the body, neck and throat of the chamber align concentrically with the bore and grooves of the barrel. [Editor: With a 6BR or 6 Dasher, we’d definitely recommend an 8-twist barrel to shoot 105-107 grain match bullets. However, with the extra velocity of the 6-284, the 9-twist Hart worked great for John.]

NOTE: Borden Rifles now produces its own excellent Borden Custom Actions, which have won National Championships and set World Records. Nesika actions are now sold by Nesika Firearms.

Ojai Valley Gun Club

Situated in the Coastal Mountains behind Ventura, California, the Ojai Valley Gun Club is a
beautiful place to shoot. And the Hwy 33 route up to the range offers stunning views.

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July 28th, 2021

Lone Star Silhouette — Fun & Challenging Texas Steel Match

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

If you like accurate rifles and reactive targets, you’ll enjoy this 48-minute video from Shooting USA TV, which features long-range varmint silhouette competition in Texas, the Lone Star State. We have participated in these kind of matches on the West Coast — they are definitely a ton of fun. The sport combines the pure accuracy of benchrest competition with the fun of knocking down critter targets. These are smaller than standard silhouettes, so it’s quite a challenge to hit them at 300 yards and beyond.

In this episode, host John Scoutten competes with his 6.5 Creedmoor PRS rifle. He found that 1-MOA Coyotes offered plenty of challenge at 385 meters! Most shooters use benchrest-grade rifles with premium front rests.

Full 48-Minute Episode of Shooting USA featuring Texas Varmint Silhouette:

Steel Targets by Distance:
Mini Prairie Dogs — 200 Meters
3″x3″ Armadillos — 300 Meters
3″x5″ Coyotes — 385 Meters
5″x4″ Hogs — 500 Meters
Chickens (on Swingers) — 600 Yards
Pigs (on Swingers) — 750 Yards

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

EDITOR: We strongly recommend you take the time to watch this Shooting USA feature — it shows some top-flight benchrest rifles, and also covers the origins of benchrest varmint silhouette in Pennsylvania. There are even some AccurateShooter Forum members on screen. John Scoutten also does nice job explaining the challenges of shooting this discipline with a PRS rig. We think any benchrest or tactical shooter will really enjoy watching this video.

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

Travis Frazier, who created steel targets with Field & Cave Outfitters, says shooters love the reactive targets: “The most exciting thing is seeing your hits — these [targets] really go airborne”. Yep, that’s the best thing about Varmint Silhouette matches — hits deliver instant gratification. Travis designs and produces these steel targets.

This Texas match features multiple target shapes, 10 at each distance: Tiny Prairie Dogs at 200m, 3″x3″ Armadillos at 300m; 3″x5″ Coyotes at 385m; 5″x4″ Hogs at 500m; Chickens (on swingers) at 600 yards; and Pigs (on Swingers) at 750 yards. Competitors are allowed 10 rounds and 10 minutes to hit each set of targets.

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

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May 29th, 2021

Six Tips for Success at Local Fun Matches

Varmint silhouette fun match

Summer’s almost here! Every summer weekend, there are hundreds of local club “fun matches” conducted around the country. One of the good things about club shoots is that you don’t have to spend a fortune on equipment to have fun. But we’ve seen that many club shooters handicap themselves with a few common equipment oversights or lack of attention to detail while reloading. Here are SIX TIPS that can help you avoid these common mistakes, and build more accurate ammo for your club matches.

Benchrest rear bag1. Align Front Rest and Rear Bag
We see many shooters whose rear bag is angled left or right relative to the bore axis. This can happen when you rush your set-up. But even if you set the gun up carefully, the rear bag can twist due to recoil or the way your arm contacts the bag. After every shot, make sure your rear bag is aligned properly (this is especially important for bag squeezers who may actually pull the bag out of alignment as they squeeze).

Forum member ArtB adds: “To align my front rest and rear bag with the target, I use an old golf club shaft. I run it from my front rest stop through a line that crosses over my speed screw and into the slot between the two ears. I stand behind that set-up and make sure I see a straight line pointing at the target. I also have a piece of tape that I’ve placed on the golf shaft that indicates how far the back end of the rear bag should be placed from the front rest stop.”

2. Avoid Contact Interference
We see three common kinds of contact or mechanical interference that can really hurt accuracy. First, if your stock has front and/or rear sling swivels make sure these do NOT contact the front or rear bags at any point of the gun’s travel. When a sling swivel digs into the front bag that can cause a shot to pop high or low. To avoid this, reposition the rifle so the swivels don’t contact the bags or simply remove the swivels before your match. Second, watch out for the rear of the stock grip area. Make sure this is not resting on the bag as you fire and that it can’t come back to contact the bag during recoil. That lip or edge at the bottom of the grip can cause problems when it contacts the rear bag. Third, watch out for the stud or arm on the front rest that limits forward stock travel. With some rests this is high enough that it can actually contact the barrel. We encountered one shooter recently who was complaining about “vertical flyers” during his match. It turns out his barrel was actually hitting the front stop! With most front rests you can either lower the stop or twist the arm to the left or right so it won’t contact the barrel.

varmint fun match groundhog

3. Weigh Your Charges — Every One
This may sound obvious, but many folks still rely on a powder measure. Yes we know that most short-range BR shooters throw their charges without weighing, but if you’re going to pre-load for a club match there is no reason NOT to weigh your charges. You may be surprised at how inconsistent your powder measure actually is. One of our testers was recently throwing H4198 charges from a mechanical measure for his 30BR. Each charge was then weighed twice with a Denver Instrument lab scale. Our tester found that thrown charges varied by up to 0.7 grains! And that’s with a premium measure.

4. Measure Your Loaded Ammo — After Bullet Seating
Even if you’ve checked your brass and bullets prior to assembling your ammo, we recommend that you weigh your loaded rounds and measure them from base of case to bullet ogive using a comparator. If you find a round that is “way off” in weight or more than .005″ off your intended base to ogive length, set it aside and use that round for a fouler. (Note: if the weight is off by more than 6 or 7 grains you may want to disassemble the round and check your powder charge.) With premium, pre-sorted bullets, we’ve found that we can keep 95% of loaded rounds within a range of .002″, measuring from base (of case) to ogive. Now, with some lots of bullets, you just can’t keep things within .002″, but you should still measure each loaded match round to ensure you don’t have some cases that are way too short or way too long.

Scope Ring5. Check Your Fasteners
Before a match you need to double-check your scope rings or iron sight mounts to ensure everything is tight. Likewise, you should check the tension on the screws/bolts that hold the action in place. Even with a low-recoiling rimfire rifle, action screws or scope rings can come loose during normal shooting.

6. Make a Checklist and Pack the Night Before
Ever drive 50 miles to a match then discover you have the wrong ammo or that you forgot your bolt? Well, mistakes like that happen to the best of us. You can avoid these oversights (and reduce stress at matches) by making a checklist of all the stuff you need. Organize your firearms, range kit, ammo box, and shooting accessories the night before the match. And, like a good Boy Scout, “be prepared”. Bring a jacket and hat if it might be cold. If you have windflags, bring them (even if you’re not sure the rules allow them). Bring spare batteries, and it’s wise to bring a spare rifle and ammo for it. If you have just one gun, a simple mechanical breakdown (such as a broken firing pin) can ruin your whole weekend.

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May 6th, 2020

Shooting USA — SHOT Show Product Reviews and More

Shot Show shoooting usa 2020 tv broadcast gear review

Turn on your TVs and break out the popcorn — it’s a big week on Shooting USA. A full hour of SHOT Show coverage runs tonight (5/6/20) at 9:00 pm ET. This episode provides a “first look” at the new guns, optics, and gear introduced for 2020. Shooting USA’s team looks at over 65 new products.

2020 SHOT Show Highlights: Colt Python, Hornady A-Tip bullets, Manners PRS Stock, Volquartsen Summit .17 WSM, Ruger-57 Pistol, Pinnacle Precision Rifle, HK SP5, Impact Sport Muffs, Laugo Arms Alien Pistol, Vortex 1-10X Scope, Glock 44 Pistol, Hornady Rapid Safe and more.

This SHOT Show 2020 episode airs on the Outdoor Channel Wednesday, May 6 at 9:00 pm ET and Thursday, May 7 at 3:00 pm ET. If you miss those broadcasts, you can watch this and ALL episodes of Shooting USA on Vimeo.com by subscription. The SHOT Show 2020 edition is just $0.99.

Great Shooting USA Episodes

For our Bulletin followers, here are two of our favorite full-length Shooting USA episodes, and well as two excellent instructional segments, one with past NRA High Power Champion SGT Sherri Jo Gallagher.

Texas Varmint Silhouette Match — 200 Meters to 750 Yards

We love shooting reactive targets. This Texas varmint silhouette match features multiple target shapes, 10 at each distance: Tiny Prairie Dogs at 200m, 3″x3″ Armadillos at 300m; 3″x5″ Coyotes at 385m; 5″x4″ Hogs at 500m; Chickens (on swingers) at 600 yards; and Pigs (on Swingers) at 750 yards. Competitors are allowed 10 rounds and 10 minutes to hit each set of targets.

EDITOR: We strongly recommend you take the time to watch this Shooting USA feature — it shows some top-flight benchrest rifles, and also covers the origins of benchrest varmint silhouette in Pennsylvania. There are even some AccurateShooter Forum members on screen. John Scoutten also does a nice job explaining the challenges of shooting this discipline with a PRS rig. We think any benchrest or tactical shooter will really enjoy this video.

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

Travis Frazier of Field & Cave Outfitters says shooters love the reactive targets: “The most exciting thing is seeing your hits — these [targets] really go airborne”. Yep, that’s the best thing about Varmint Silhouette matches — hits deliver instant gratification. Travis designs and produces these steel targets.

Vintage Sniper Match and GAP Grind PRS Match

Historic Rifles are on the firing line! It’s the Vintage Sniper Match in Talladega for collectors competing with classic rifles and historically accurate optics from the two World Wars. A team from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit also takes the challenge with a reproduction 03A4.

vintage sniper rifle match

Plus, John Scoutten welcomes a new shooter to Precision Rifle (PRS) Competition. The two team up to take on 25 grueling stages at the Bushnell GAP Grind in Tennessee. With a special Pro/Am format, the GAP Grind is one of the most popular tactical matches in the country

GAP Grind

Reading the Wind — SGT Sherri Jo Gallager (USAMU)

This segment, created when Sherri Jo was shooting with the USAMU team, explains how to evaluate wind conditions and adjust your hold for long range.

Minute of Angle (MOA) Defined with Jim Scoutten

Minute of Angle (MOA) — what does it actually mean? And what do you get when a rifle manufacturer guarantees one-half MOA accuracy? Jim Scoutten answers these questions and explains MOA basics. One MOA is an angular measurement equivalent to 1.047″ at 100 yards.

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March 13th, 2019

Varmint Silhouette Competition in Texas — Video Feature

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

If you like accurate rifles and reactive targets, you’ll enjoy this 48-minute video from Shooting USA TV, which features long-range varmint silhouette competition in Texas, the Lone Star State. We have participated in these kind of matches on the West Coast — they are definitely a ton of fun. The sport combines the pure accuracy of benchrest competition with the fun of knocking down critter targets. These are smaller than standard silhouettes, so it’s quite a challenge to hit them at 300 yards and beyond.

In this episode, host John Scoutten competes with his 6.5 Creedmoor PRS rifle. He found that 1-MOA Coyotes offered plenty of challenge at 385 meters! Most shooters use benchrest-grade rifles with premium front rests.

Full 48-Minute Episode of Shooting USA featuring Texas Varmint Silhouette:

Steel Targets by Distance:
Mini Prairie Dogs — 200 Meters
3″x3″ Armadillos — 300 Meters
3″x5″ Coyotes — 385 Meters
5″x4″ Hogs — 500 Meters
Chickens (on Swingers) — 600 Yards
Pigs (on Swingers) — 750 Yards

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

EDITOR: We strongly recommend you take the time to watch this Shooting USA feature — it shows some top-flight benchrest rifles, and also covers the origins of benchrest varmint silhouette in Pennsylvania. There are even some AccurateShooter Forum members on screen. John Scoutten also does nice job explaining the challenges of shooting this discipline with a PRS rig. We think any benchrest or tactical shooter will really enjoy watching this video.

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

Travis Frazier of Field & Cave Outfitters says shooters love the reactive targets: “The most exciting thing is seeing your hits — these [targets] really go airborne”. Yep, that’s the best thing about Varmint Silhouette matches — hits deliver instant gratification. Travis designs and produces these steel targets.

This Texas match features multiple target shapes, 10 at each distance: Tiny Prairie Dogs at 200m, 3″x3″ Armadillos at 300m; 3″x5″ Coyotes at 385m; 5″x4″ Hogs at 500m; Chickens (on swingers) at 600 yards; and Pigs (on Swingers) at 750 yards. Competitors are allowed 10 rounds and 10 minutes to hit each set of targets.

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

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August 23rd, 2017

Shooting USA Spotlights Texas Benchrest Varmint Silhouette

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

If you like accurate rifles and reactive targets, you’ll enjoy this episode of Shooting USA TV, which features long-range varmint silhouette competition in Texas, the Lone Star State. We have participated in these kind of matches on the West Coast — they are definitely a ton of fun. The sport combines the pure accuracy of benchrest competition with the fun of knocking down critter targets. These are smaller than standard silhouettes, so it’s quite a challenge to hit them at 300 yards and beyond. In this episode, host John Scoutten competes with his 6.5 Creedmoor PRS rifle. He found that 1-MOA Coyotes offered plenty of challenge at 385 meters! Most shooters use benchrest-grade rifles with premium front rests.

EDITOR: We strongly recommend you take the time to watch this Shooting USA feature — it shows some top-flight benchrest rifles, and also covers the origins of benchrest varmint silhouette in Pennsylvania. There are even some AccurateShooter Forum members on screen. John Scoutten also does nice job explaining the challenges of shooting this discipline with a PRS rig. We think any benchrest or tactical shooter will really enjoy watching this video.

Full 48-Minute Episode of Shooting USA featuring TX Varmint Silhouette:

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

Travis Frazier of Field & Cave Outfitters says shooters love the reactive targets: “The most exciting thing is seeing your hits — these [targets] really go airborne”. Yep, that’s the best thing about Varmint Silhouette matches — hits deliver instant gratification. Travis designs and produces these steel targets.

This Texas match features multiple target shapes, 10 at each distance: Tiny Prairie Dogs at 200m, 3″x3″ Armadillos at 300m; 3″x5″ Coyotes at 385m; 5″x4″ Hogs at 500m; Chickens (on swingers) at 600 yards; and Pigs (on Swingers) at 750 yards. Competitors are allowed 10 rounds and 10 minutes to hit each set of targets.

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

BONUS Features in this Shooting USA Episode

Rimfire Challenge World Championship
This episode also includes the Rimfire Challenge World Championship in Alabama (starting at 33:25). This event attracts hundreds of shooters who ring steel with .22 LR rifles and pistols. This may be the ultimate fun match for the whole family. Many of the top shooters are juniors, who can run the all-steel stages in three seconds. The 16 stages each have 5 to 8 steel targets that can be shot in any order, but the last round must go on the red-marked “Stop Plate”.

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

History of the Gun: Remington 700
This week’s gun history segment of Shooting USA features the Remington 700, one of the most successful bolt-action rifles ever, with over 5 million produced. The Rem 700 has served hunters, military marksmen, and Rem 700 actions have been used for countless competition rifles.

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten.

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May 3rd, 2012

Double Dose of Varmint Silhouette Action This Month at Pala, CA

About 24 miles east of Oceanside, California (near the Camp Pendleton Marine base) is the Pala Reservation. On that Native American land you’ll find a Casino Resort, plus an excellent shooting range. Each month, shooters come to Pala for the Varmint Silhouette Match hosted by the North County Shootist Association. Normally there is one match, held on the first Sunday of even month. But in May, you can “double your fun” because there will be TWO (2) matches. The first will be held this Sunday, May 6th, 2012. The second match takes place on Sunday, May 20th. On both match days, gates open at 7:30 am with practice from 8:00 am to 9:00 am. On Friday, May 4th, the range will be open for practice 9:00 am – 1:00 pm, while on Friday, May 18th, the range opens at 10:30 am.

Pala Varmint Silhouette

Course of Fire: Five Yardages, 50 Critters
At five different yardages, ten steel “critter” targets are set as follows: 200 Meters – Field Mice (“pikas”); 300 meters – Crows; 385 meters – Ground Squirrels; 500 meters – Jack Rabbits; 600 yards – Prairie Dogs. The folks at Pala run a tight ship, cycling multiple relays efficiently, so everybody gets to shoot 50 targets (10 each at five different yardages), and the show is usually completed by 1:00 pm. There’s a one-hour sight-in period starting at 8:00 am, and the match starts at 9:00 am sharp. Newcomers should definitely arrive no later than 7:45 am, because you may need that full sight-in period to acquire solid zeros at all five yardages. CLICK HERE for full match INFO.

pala range san diego varmint

What to bring to Pala
ammo 6mm GrendelYou’ll need an accurate rifle, plus at least 80 rounds of ammo (bring 100 rounds if you have no idea about your come-ups at these distances). You can shoot either rested prone (F-Class style), from bipod, or from a portable bench with front pedestal and rear bag. Most guys shoot from benches. Any rifle 6.5 caliber or under is allowed, with no weight restrictions. Any good varmint rifle can be competitive. Muzzle brakes are permitted. Spotter assistants are allowed, so bring a friend along — he/she can shoot in a different relay. Bring cleaning gear if your rifle can’t run 80+ rounds without losing accuracy. Pastry snacks are often provided, but bring water, a sandwich and your preferred non-alcoholic beverage. You’ll spend some time in the sun helping to set targets, so bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

Fun Weekend for the Whole Family
Pala California Shooting RangeThere is a deluxe Indian Casino/Spa a half-mile from the range. So don’t hesitate to bring the wife. If she’s not a shooter, she can enjoy a fancy brunch or spa treatment while you’re having fun mowing down metal critters. Pala is a 30 minutes from the Pacific Ocean and beautiful beaches, so you can make this a weekend holiday for the whole family — kids love sand and surf.

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