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June 2009 Issue
Club Features Support Your local Gunshop Event reports Second part of two feature articles Rimfire, Air Rifle and Centerfire Benchrest
FT Scope Review • Quigley Report • New Products • and lots more…..
UK CUSTOM SHOP LTD
Home of Wildcat Sound Moderators NEW RETAIL SPECIALIST RIFLE SHOP
Only 3.5 miles from J5 of M5 Only 8 miles from J1 M42 UK Custom Shop Ltd, 20 Wassage Way, Hampton Lovett Trading Estate, Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire WR9 0NX
Opening in the Midlands
Opening beginning of June We Will Be Announcing An Open Weekend With Many Special Deals !!!!!!! Watch website for details
250 plus rifles in stock ~ 75 plus shotguns in stock ~ Airguns in stock Wild Cat Sound Moderators ~ On Site Air Bottle and Air gun Charging facilities We Stock guns from the following makers: Howa, Vorer, Steyr, Browning, Winchester, Miroku, Tikka, Sako, CZ, Remington, Blaser ,Sauer, Mauser, Stirling, Laurona, Sig, AYA, Beretta, Bakial, Fabarm, Franchi, Ruger, BSA, Webley, AirArms, Lincoln, Weihrauch and Fabarm We stock the following shotgun cartridges: Eley, Fiocchi, SIMI, Rio, Express. We stock metalics by: Fiocchi, Eley, Remington, CCI, Federal, Lapura, RWS, Norma, Sako. Optics by: Zeiss, Kahles, Swarovski, S&B, Lynx, Nicco Stirling, NightForce & many others. Reloading Products, Bullets, Primers, Powder, Cases, Dies, Presses, Scales etc.
Always willing to deal Try Us!
Gifts for the sportsman, Silver LDT edition Coins with African Animals on face, Hand-made knives, walking sticks and many other items. Stalking Equipment Including: High Seats, knives, Knife sharpeners Roe sacks, Optics, Butchery kits, Stalking sticks, Bi Pods, Rifle slings, Gunslips and much more.
Stalking Trips Arranged
On Site Workshop and Gunsmiths. Repairs to Shotguns, Bolt Rifles and Double Rifles. Alterations to Shotguns and Rifles and Double Rifles. New Rifles, Double Rifles and Shotguns built to specification. Air Guns Serviced & Repaired. If we do not have what you want let us quote you.
Full Custom Work under taken
• Tel Shop: 01905 797060 • Fax: 01905 796620 • Tel Trade: 01905 796610 • Web: www.wildcatrifles.co.uk • Email email@example.com
2 Target Shooter
World Cup Success
9/9 Prone Medals 11/12 Gold medals in 50m events Total of 35 medals won by ELEY 2009 ISSF World Cups 1, 2 & 3
Champions shoot Tenex
ELEY - the Target Shooter home of Tenex 3
Welcome to the 3rd month .......of Target Shooter
17 Basic Rifle Maintenance Part 2 by Vince Bottomley Sections
6 9 Shooting Sport News Shooters Calendar Support your Local Gun Shop Pennine Challenge Cup event review Air Rifle Equipment Part 3 by Stanley Shaw Savage Model 12 By Laurie Holland Wildcat Cartridges by Richard Wild Shooting Website of the Month Practical Shotgun event report by Tony Burford Phoenix Meeting Report by Gwyn Roberts Gun of the Month Club Feature
32 Leupold Competition Scope By Carl Boswell
14 24 26 38
53 Future of Gallery Rifle By Gwyn Roberts
57 HFT Scopes By Tim Finley
46 76 78 81 94
65 AR15 combinations By Nigel Greenaway
72 Project Rifle By Vince Bottomley
85 Rifle Twist Rates Part 2 by Laurie Holland
4 Target Shooter
99 UKBRA UKBR22 F Class UK Quigley Association HFT News Gallery Rifle UKPSA Editor(s). Carl Boswell and Vince Bottomley Advertising and Office Manager Andy Dubreuil. email; firstname.lastname@example.org Contributors Vince Bottomley Laurie Holland Carl Boswell Nigel Greenaway Stanley Shaw Richard Wild Tim Finley Tony Burford Gwyn Roberts Ken Hall 103 104 107 109 111 113
Our third issue already and we continue to be amazed and humbled by your response to our efforts. Although the production costs of an on-line magazine are minimal compared to a ‘paper’ magazine, nonetheless there are web-hosting costs involved and eventually we need to cover those costs and of course pay our loyal contributors if we are to survive. It is therefore essential that we keep advertisers on-board if we are to survive and prosper. Please help by mentioning Target Shooter when responding to advertisements. With your help, our small team will strive to bring you up-to-date coverage of all target-shooting sports from small club competitions to international events and we will continue to bring news and reviews of the latest target-shooting equipment to your computer screen as quickly as possible. We now need your support more than ever. We have done our best to publicise Target Shooter but there is only so much we can do and your ‘word of mouth’ is the very best way to maintain and increase our readership. We thank you sincerely for your continued support and it was a great pleasure to meet so many of you at the Bisley Phoenix Meeting last month. The only real complaint we have heard so far is that the magazine is not easy to read on-screen. I agree with this observation – or at least I did until I read the instructions! If you click on ‘More’ on the SCRIBD button bar at the top of the page, then click on ‘View mode’ and check ‘Book mode’ you can read Target Shooter just like a proper magazine! Click on the top right-hand corner to turn the page – amazing! The other thing is we have updated the software so you can now download this magazine to you desktop in a similar format - the free subscription provides a link to do this. Finally, we are extremely fortunate to have the continued support of our writers. We have even received offers from overseas writers who just want to be part of the Target Shooter phenomenon. But, one stipulation – all our writers must be active competition shooters, out there on the ranges, what ever the weather, shooting shoulder to shoulder with you, our readers! Carl Boswell - email@example.com and Vince Bottomley - firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright © Target Shooter Magazines
The website www.targetshooter.co.uk is part of Target Shooter magazine with all contents of both electronic media copyrighted. No reproduction is permitted unless written authorisation is provided. Information, prices and data is believed to be correct at the time of posting on the internet which is on or around the 1st of each month. Advertisements that are firearm related are from companies or individuals that Target Shooter magazine believes are licensed to hold such firearms and accepts no responsibility if companies or individuals are not so licensed. Letters and photographs submitted by members of the public to Target Shooter magazine will be accepted on the basis that the writer has agreed to publication unless otherwise stated. Target Shooter magazine has no control over the content or ownership of photographs submitted. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily the views of the publishers and relate to specific circumstances within each article. These are the opinions and experiences of writers using specific equipment, firearms, components and data under controlled conditions. Information contained in the online magazine or on the website is intended to be used as a guide only and in specific circumstances caution should be used. Target Shooter Magazine does not except any responsibility for individuals attempting to recreate such testing using any information, data or other materials in its electronic pages.Publishers of Target Shooter magazine.
Shooting Sport News
SG 22lr rifles in the
York Guns Ltd is proud to announce that they are the newly appointed distributor for GSG 22lr rifles in the U.K and have two new models for 2009. The range will consist of the already popular GSG-5 and its new variant the GSG-5SD, the new model features a large oversized barrel shroud and tubular ribbed fore-end. A full range of accessories including Tactical scopes, mounts, collapsible stocks, front grips and spare magazines will be available for both models. York Guns have also developed a brand new design sound moderator for the GSG-5 which is extremely effective and will only cost £79.95; the new moderator takes the place of the dummy moderator shroud and extends the length of the gun by only
135mm. The new GSG-47 Kalashnikov copy will also be available in two models, black synthetic or wood stock and fore-end. Again a large range of add on accessories will be available to customise your rifle. For more information please contact the York Guns Ltd Retail Team, details below: Marketing: email@example.com Retail Sales: firstname.lastname@example.org
block, having brought out a new range of air rifles with quite a selection available. Their Press release states‘High quality products backed up by a very high standard of customer service is the driving philosophy behind The Prestige Airgun Company – a brand new outfit that’s headed-up by Jeff Cooper, a well-known and highly-respected name in the airgun shooting industry. “As the company’s name suggests,” explains Jeff, “Prestige Airguns will be focusing on the distribution of top quality air rifles and equipment exclusively through a select number of dealers across the UK.” With 15 years’ experience of the UK airgun industry, Jeff is very much in tune with what both dealers and shooters want, and he is confident that the Prestige brand will deliver in every respect. Jeff has been busy working on a number of exciting new projects with many of the global contacts he has built up over the years and the first of these - a top-end precharged pneumatic multi-shot carbine and an entry 6 Target Shooter
restige are a new company on the
level 10shot PCP - roll out at the end of May.’ Good luck to this new c o m p a n y as this is what we need in the UK to d i v e r s i f y our sport. We may be able to see one of these being tested in the near future?
Eley attended the Phoenix this year for the first time, having a marquee just outside the main pavilion. This was a trial run through to test the consumer market at the event and by all accounts they succeeded in their target; speaking to many individuals and selling quite a lot of the merchandise they have begun to establish as a company. Having achieved a great deal of success at the recent Munich World Cup, with shooters using Tenex ammunition, the company is looking forward to developing the use of its range of ammunition even further. (Eley Tenex was used to attain 10 out of the 18 medals available at the World Cup) Speaking to Clive Scrivens, the commercial team were very pleased with their success at the Phoenix, over the Saturday and Sunday, #saying that they would be back next year.
ley attends the Phoenix
Whilst on the subject of North West Custom Parts, we made a quick mention of their McRees stocks from the USA last month. Although I’d seen a couple of stocks at my local range, I hadn’t really got to look at one up close. Wayne obliged and supplied the benchrest example shown in the pic. This has the three-inch wide fore-end and would be suitable for benchrest or F Class competition. Stuart Amselm of Osprey Rifles lent me the Savage 6.5-284 barrelled-action to make the stock look a bit more like a rifle and in fact, if you are interested, it’s for sale e-mail email@example.com The stocks are CNC machined from billet aluminium, making them immensely strong and true. The standard of machining is very high as you would expect and various anodised colour finishes are available. There are inlets for most popular actions, so it’s just a matter of deciding on configuration and ordering the correct one. In addition to the benchrest fore-end, there is a tactical version which looks very nice in satin black. You could of course have two or more fore-ends, making the stock very versatile. The pistol-grip is standard M16 so there are lots of aftermarket options. The picture shows a bag-riding butt but others are available. I didn’t weigh the stock but I would guess that it would come in under 17 lbs with scope which would nicely make Light Gun class or F/TR class. It’s a testimony to the quality of these stocks that the US Army are currently evaluating them. Contact Wayne at www.nwcustomparts.com
If any association, club or retailer or manufacturer wishes to provide news for this section (Copmpetitions, new products, etc), please get in touch with us via the customer support email address on the magazine website.
The Eley team over thePhoenix weekend
Calendar of events over the next two months
5 June to Sunday 7th june - Scottish Open Championships (Blair Atholl (Scotland). http://www. scottishrifleassociation.org.uk Contact Allan Mabon
If your club or association has events you want to publicise here then email us.
Thu 02 Jul to Sun 05 Jul Jul NRA Imperial Meeting (National Shooting Centre (NSC), Bisley) Sat 4 and Sun 5 MLAGB Pedersoli Challenge, Wedgnock
Thu 09 Jul Ireland v Scotland - Lex Lyons Match (National Shooting Centre (NSC), Bisley)
Sat 6th – 7th June MLAGB National Pistol Championships, Bisley 6/7th June - GB F Class League Round 2 Bisley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
6th June NRA Shooting Club Day (National Shooting Centre (NSC), Bisley) - Multi-discipline NRA Shooting Club Day. Targets have been booked on Melville and at 100, 200, 300 and 1000 yards. All disciplines welcome. If you would like to attend you must book in at least a week in advance by contacting Heather Webb at the NRA.
Fri 10 Jul to Thu 16 Jul NRA Imperial Meeting - Match Rifle Events (National Shooting Centre (NSC), Bisley) Sat 11 MLAGB DTL Shotgun Training, Sywell Ranges
12th July 100 yard benchrest – Bisley Sunday Mon 13 Jul to Thu 16 Jul NRA Imperial Meeting - Schools Meeting (National Shooting Centre (NSC), Bisley) Competitions for School Combined Cadet Forces affliated to the NRA.
12th to 14th - British Intl 50m Championships Friday, 12 June 2009. The Championships run from 12th to 14th June. Contact NSRA 12/13/14 June 2009 Cumberland News Rifle Club, Carlisle Air Gun Championships 60+60 for Air Pistol and Rifle contact: Bob Nicholson email@example.com or web: www.cnrc.org.uk
Fri 12 June - AGM of National Rifle Association (National Shooting Centre (NSC), Bisley) - Annual General Meeting of the NRA. To be held at Bisley at 5.30pm. All members are encouraged to attend.
Fri 17 Jul Wind Coaching Course (National Shooting Centre (NSC), Bisley) Short wind coaching course.
Sat 18 Jul to Fri 24 Jul NRA Imperial Meeting - F Class Rifle Events (National Shooting Centre (NSC), Bisley) Individual and team competitions for F Class Rifle competitors. Starting with warm-up matches on Friday and Saturday, the Grand Aggregate begins with the Daily Telegraph competition on the Saturday afternoon and culminates with the F Class International team match.
14th June 100 yard benchrest – Bisley Sunday 18 June - NRA Shooting Club Day (National Shooting Centre (NSC), Bisley)Multi-discipline NRA Shooting Club Day. Targets have been booked on Melville and at 100, 200, 500 and 900 yards. Contact Heather Webb. 20 June - Club Instructor Course - NSRA Cost - £75.00. Fees include NSRA registration costs, course attendance and assessments where necessary. They do not include meals and accommodation. Sat 20 June - MLAGB Long Range Rifles Branch, 900 yard Champs. (am), 1000 yard practice (pm), Bisley. 100 yard benchrest – Diggle Saturday 20th June 1000 yard benchrest – Diggle Sunday 21st June 27th June Hampshire Open Prize Meeting (National Shooting Centre (NSC), Bisley)
Sat 25 MLAGB DTL Shotgun Training, Sywell Ranges
Sat 25 Jul NRA Imperial Meeting - HM Queens Prize (National Shooting Centre (NSC), Bisley) Shot at 900 and 1000 yards on the Final Saturday of the Imperial Meeting.
Sun 26 MLAGB Rifle Practice, Bisley 100yd - advance booking required
Sun 26 Jul to Thu 30 Jul F Class World Championships (National Shooting Centre (NSC), Bisley) In July 2009 Bisley will host the F Class World Championships.
44 Harrowby Street LONDON W1H 5HY Tel: 020 7262 1881 Fax: 020 7402 0959
Armalon „PR‟ Custom Rem 700s: The truly practical rifle for stalking, foxing, PR, SR, ‘ Class, Sporting and Benchrest. Choice of calibre and options, e.g. H-S Precision, F‘ AICS, Bell & Carlson stocks, RH or LH, a premier optical sight, plus our superb Picatinny 20 moa inclined bases and 30/34mm rings. Please call/email for prices and options list.
Armalon „PR rifle in Bell & Carlson Tactical chassis stock, 5,10 & 20 rd .308 mag options, fluted barrel and muzzle brake for lighter weight and lower recoil
Sarony‟s EasyCam ‘ This cocking assembly resolves most hard extraction problems with fired cases on ARs, from .223 to .308 including 6.5 Grendel from £132 + p&p
Only from Armalon– L/H „AICS‟ with AI or Armalon „PR‟ mag conversions
Armalon‟s 20 moa ‘ PicT‟
Picatinny scope mounts for SA & LA Rem 700 (inc. LH option) Armalon 30mm & 34mm ‘ PicT‟ Tactical scope rings‘ steel (shown) or ali magnum from £125 + p&p
.Armalon .223 AL42 - similar model in .30M1 (AL30C) also avail- Armalon tapered ali bolt knob & able POA. Fitted with Armalon No.4 “no gunsmithing “ scope conversion £82.50 (conversion with 25,30, 32 and 35mm ball mount £83.00 + p&p. knobs also available £64)
ARMALON HAMMER FORGED BARRELS: Armalon‟s “pukka” .303 Enfield No.4 hammer forged barrels, fitted, finished & proofed from £304. Armalon‟s Remington 700 HV profile barrels, 1 in 200mm twist .223, 260/6.5, 1 in 12 twist .308/7.62, fitted, finished & proofed from £304. Our hammer forged premium barrels are available for most actions and in most calibres and twists POA. Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
10 Target Shooter
We accept most major credit/debit cards
firearm solutions to suit you
Section 5 deals in all forms of these specialised weapons revolvers, semi-automatic pistols and rifles, and dart guns. We have one of the largest and most comprehensive stocks of these weapons in the UK, ready for immediate sale, magazine or cylinder restriction, De-Activation or export to approved countries.
Web: www.sect5.co.uk Tel: 07549 945 292 Fax: 0845 280 1620
aunching the brand new airgun marque of Prestige Airguns, the Kub family comes in a trio of exciting carbine-format models - the SB (side-bolt), RB (rear-bolt) and SL (side-lever) - each available in .177 or .22 and with ambidextrous thumbhole or sporter woodwork in walnut. The Kubs weigh-in at just 6.5 lbs., yet are stacked with features - including an adjustable butt pad, plug-in charging, on-board air gauge, adjustable two-stage trigger, re-settable safety, threaded muzzle and a 10-shot rotary magazine. Notwithstanding its compact dimensions, a Prestige Kub also returns upwards of 100 full-power shots per air-fill thanks to its self-regulating firing valve. Against feather, fur, metal or paper targets, the new Prestige Kubs are the connoisseur’s choice for handling and performance. A pride born to make your shooting more rewarding.
Support your local gun shop ‘Norman Clarke Gunsmiths Ltd’
Norman and Andrea Clark stand in front of their new showroom I’ve visited Norman Clark for 10 years, each trip memorable, but the most recent particularly so as it was to his new premises. To anybody ever shoehorned into its cramped predecessor, the new showroom is palatial doing the company’s comprehensive stock justice. How did Norman get here? He started as an apprentice gunmaker in the Birmingham shotgun trade, worked there for a while after qualifying before going independent in Rugby as a shotgun repairer, then took on rifle work to become a precision rifle builder par excellence. As business grew, Norman’s wife Andrea joined him full-time, and today there are seven other people working for them. Norman found that shooters who commission custom rifles are handloaders and serial buyers of tools, accessories and optics. Since he’d end up supplying them with cases, dies, riflescope nd ounts, ound-moderator tc, uilding a m s e b supply chains to source these items, it made sense to sell them to the wider shooting public too. So the workshops acquired a shop and Mick and Dean to staff it. Redding tools, Berger bullets, Sierra Bullets, Caldwell rests and bags, Wheeler tools, Tipton carbon-fibre cleaning rods and more were imported too for retail and trade customers. Let’s move onto the new building. From the outside it’s an unremarkable two-story former machine shop surrounded by the mandatory paling fence – no display windows, or even a front door! You park behind and enter it at the side through a high security ‘airlock’ arrangement, visitors monitored by CCTV inside and out. On passing through the inner door, you walk into the showroom, a large brightly lit room with wide aisles around what seem miles of product displays. The counter takes up two thirds of the building’s width with vast quantities of cartons of bullets (match and
expanding) from all the main manufacturers, cases and more visible through its glass top and front, with powders, primers and factory ammunition on wall shelves behind. A complete wall plus is taken up by 200 or more longarms: air rifles, a few shotguns, scores of smallbore and fullbore sporting rifles, and more target rifles than the average gunshop sees in a decade. While you might find a few die sets in the average gunshop, there is a whole shelf of them here, mostly Redding and RCBS, over 100 green boxes – and that’s only part of the stock. But don’t think Norman Clark Gunsmith is just rifles and handloading. This is a comprehensively stocked gunshop with ‘scopes, rests, tools, accessories, books, knives (and a new
Mick behind the counter and the display of handloading components and ammo
comprehensive range of knife and blade sharpeners from Smith), earmuffs, targets and more, geared to field and target rifle shooters. The half of the ground floor that customers don’t see is taken up by an armoury, warehouse (yet more books, presses, bullets, cases, die sets!), gunsmithing workshops now seeing additional lathes and milling machines being installed. Upstairs, there is more storage, the office, and an empty area above the showroom that will be fitted out as an upstairs retail area if and when growth in that side of the business needs it. With a 24-carat reputation for its rifle work, now supported by a fantastic new shop, this is one shooting outfit you must visit if you’re anywhere near Rugby! Oh, if you’re a Parker-Hale collector, there’s another one – a set of three development models / prototypes of the PH M85 sniper rifle, plus the PH ‘LANO’ .223 prototype target rifle that so influenced Australian TR shooters in the 1980s. Norman Clark Gunsmiths Ltd.,
HIGH QUALITY GUN & RIFLE MANUFACTURER S
New shop now open
Come and see our large selection of shooting components and accessories.
Norman Clark Gunsmiths Ltd
19 Somers Road Rugby Warwickshire England CV22 7DG
Tel: +44 (0) 1788 579651 Fax: +44 (0) 1788 577104
website: www.normanclarkgunsmith.com e-mail: email@example.com
Target Shooter 15
Over 10,200 guns for sale 82,000 visitors per month Over 115 dealer stock live online
Sect 5 Dealer Humane Dispatch, De-Acts, Target Shooter Exports Please call 0845-458 9666
Last month, in part one, we had a look at the bolt and what we could do to keep it in tip-top condition. This month, I had intended to look at the receiver but we had a request to cover barrel cleaning – which I had intended to do the month after – so, always happy to oblige, we’ll swap things around. OK, barrels. Whereas we could strip our bolt into its component parts and inspect, clean and lube as necessary, there’s not a lot we can do to a barrel, except clean it. Removal is not really an option and anyway, what would it achieve? Like most of you, I’ve been cleaning barrels for a good number of years but, I have to admit, until I bought a borescope, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I should perhaps qualify that and say – I couldn’t SEE what I was doing. The borescope made me revise my cleaning regime! We all have our favourite bore cleaners and mine is Butch’s Bore Shine. I’d never used Butch’s until I went to New Zealand for the World Benchrest Championships in 2001. It’s customary at these events to receive a ‘goody-bag’ and ours contained a bottle of Butch’s. Naturally, my rifle was squeakyclean but, why not give the Butch’s a go and see if it will bring out any more fouling? I was shocked to find that it did - lots! My next step was to take my bottle of bore-cleaner – which I had cunningly smuggled on the plane in a shampoo bottle – and pour it down the drain! There are other bore cleaners – like Hoppes,
Basic Rifle Maintenance Part 2
Shooters Choice, Pro-Shot etc . and if I find one better than Butch’s, I’ll switch. Some bore cleaners can get the barrel almost too clean and dry, so I like to ‘cut’ my Butch’s with a dash of Kroil – no more than 10%. I recently read a piece on barrel cleaning in a well known publication where it talked about 4x2 and Young’s 303 gun-oil. If these items are still part of your cleaning kit, maybe now’s the time to get up to date. There is an excellent family-owned American company called Pro-Shot. Tim Hannam at Leeds is the UK importer. Get yourself some Pro Shot brass spear-point jags, correct size patches and Pro Shot bronze brushes. These brushes by the way are not meant to
There are plenty of c o p p e r - s o l v e n t s on the market but Sweets is as good as any
be used for years like those horrendous Parker Hale things with a steel core. The Pro Shot brushes are brass-cored and quite cheap and you should throw it away as soon as you see any signs of the bristles breaking off. And don’t forget - ALWAYS USE A BORE-GUIDE! Money-saving tip - most of us have more than one rifle calibre to clean – guys, you can clean everything with a 22 rod – no need to buy more than one cleaning rod! I even use just one 22 jag – fold your patches in half or use Brushes, jags and patches from pro Shot – and don’t forget the bore-guide two patches and you can my 308 F/TR rifle, it’s maybe double that figure. clean a 308 with a 22 jag! Both rifles use BAT actions and Bartlein barrels. First off, I know that no one likes cleaning their rifles. I don’t like cleaning my rifles but I do know The golden rule is – clean your rifle as often as you that a rifle with a badly fouled barrel will not can - if you want it to deliver best accuracy. In other deliver best accuracy. But how do we assess words, clean after every competition at the end of when a barrel needs cleaning? To measure the the day. If your round-count is exceptionally high, accuracy fall-off you would need to set up your clean during the competition – if you get the chance. rifle benchrest style, to eliminate as far as Remember however, some rifles will need a shot possible any human errors and shoot several groups or two to settle down after cleaning and you should and watch the groups open-up as the round-count know how many shots your rifle needs from a clean increases. But you don’t actually need to do it because barrel before it shoots ‘point of aim’. thousands of benchrest shooters have already Everyone will have their own cleaning regime done it. but hopefully it will follow roughly similar lines. Two points to note – the more accurate your At the end of a day’s shooting, here’s my routine: rifle, the sooner fouling will be detrimental to Pass a couple of loose-fitting patches accuracy and, smaller calibres seem to suffer from 1 the effects of fouling more than larger calibres. soaked in you favourite cleaning fluid through the My 6PPC benchgun will run to about 25 rounds bore. This will push out the loose powder residue. before accuracy noticeably deteriorates. With
These patches came out of a 308 after 25 rounds – and it still isn’t copper-free!
A home-made chamber cleaning tool
2 Scrub the bore with a bronze bore-brush wetted with cleaning fluid – I use one pass for every round fired as a rough guide. Please do not attempt to reverse the brush in the bore – take it straight out of the muzzle but be careful when you pull it
back through the crown – it’s very easy to damage the crown when cleaning. A bronze brush will not damage your bore and most benchrest shooters will scrub with a bronze brush every 10 to 15 rounds. That equates to five or six cleans in a single day. 3 Next, pass two or three tight-fitting dry patches through the bore to push out the fouling loosened by the brushing. 4 Finish off with a loose wet patches followed by a tight dry patches until they come out clean. Finish with a couple of dry patches so the bore is completely dry. Completely dry? Don’t forget, we ‘cut’ our Butch’s with 10% Kroil which prevents that ‘squeaky-clean’ effect.
5 Is there any copper in the bore? Almost certainly! Pass a loose-fitting patch through the bore loaded with a good If your crown looks like this you copper solvent – Sweets is as good as should maybe visit your gunsmith anything. Many bore cleaners claim to remove copper – Butch’s does but it is nowhere near as effective as Sweets. A clean, sharp crown is the ideal I also like Montana Extreme Copper Killer and Pro shot Copper Remover. Most copper solvents are ammonia based. The ones that work well will bring tears to your eyes if you take a tiny sniff! If you are allergic to ammonia try the Pro-Shot, it’s almost odourless. Sweets is not always easy to get but Fultons at Bisley usually have it. 6 Let the copper solvent do its work by leaving it in the bore for at least ten minutes. Ignore any fables about Sweets damaging your bore. After 10 or 15 minutes, push out the Sweets with a tight-fitting dry patch. Any blue streaks on it? Yes? Repeat until the blue disappears.
with a small square or two of kitchen roll under it. Now smear the JB paste on the patch and rod the bore vigorously! It’s best to ‘short-stroke’ it by doing eight or nine inches at a time. You’ve really got to work that rod and change patches frequently. The patches will come out jet-black. After JB-ing, clean thoroughly as steps 1 to 4 above. JB doesn’t always perform miracles but if your rifle has lost its edge, it’s worth a go. JB is a once a year thing – not every week!
Nobody likes cleaning but it’s got to be done and done properly to maintain We haven’t mentioned those aerosol accuracy cleaners yet like Forrest Bore Foam and Wipe-out. On the face of it they are 7 Copper solvents can leave a slightly sticky the simple answer to all that scrubbing coating in the bore so we need to clean it off with and patching. Unfortunately, the foam needs to be the wet patch/dry patch routine as in step 4. left in the bore for a long time - maybe eight hours or overnight - to do its job. Even then, how do you know 8 If you have a stainless-steel barrel, consider your rifle is clean? Repeat the process? Who can it job done. If you have a chrome-moly barrel and you spend hours on what is really just a five-minute job? use the rifle regularly and store it indoors – job done. Is there any other barrel maintenance we If the rifle is likely to be left for some time or stored can do now that it’s clean? Well, if you know in a damp atmosphere, then a patch sprayed with someone with a borscope, beg borrow or steal WD40 and passed through the barrel will afford the a look at your bore. Borescopes cost a few necessary protection but you MUST patch-out before hundred pounds but maybe your club could afford you shoot. Incidentally, the stainless-steel used in one and charge members £5 a go. In fact, once rifle barrels is not a true stainless and it will also rust members have used it, I predict much return business! if left for any length of time in a damp atmosphere. Finally, it’s often said that the most important part of a After cleaning, I often have a look at the bore through barrel is the last inch. Have a good look at your crown the borescope – particularly if the rifle doesn’t seem through a magnifier. There are many different ways to be performing to its expected standard. Copper to crown a barrel but every crown should be free from is often still in there even though the patches aren’t burrs or dings and should be evenly cut. The lands turning blue. A more aggressive strategy is called for. should be clearly visible and undamaged. If you suspect the crown is anything other than perfect, You can make the copper solvent more ‘active’ go along to your favourite gunsmith and ask him to by scrubbing the bore with a bristle brush soaked re-cut it. in the solvent – don’t use a bronze brush for obvious reasons! The scrubbing action will induce Before we close this article on barrels, don’t forget oxygen into the solvent which acts as a catalyst and the chamber – particularly the chamber-neck -which makes the solution work better. Copper solvents will soot-up in exactly the same way as the need oxygen to work. If you drop a bullet into your cartridge-case neck. All gunshops sell cleaning-rods bottle of copper solvent, it will still be bright copper but next time you go in your local shop ask for a coloured after a week but if you put a drop of solvent chamber cleaning tool. You will likely be met with a on a bullet, it will turn blue in minutes. blank stare – but why? Cleaning the chamber is important. An old pistol cleaning rod fitted with a As a last resort, you can ‘JB’ your barrel. JB is bronze brush will do the job (see pic). Wrap a turn a specially prepared bore paste for removing of kitchen roll around the brush, apply a few drops stubborn fouling. It’s popular with benchrest shooters of cleaning fluid and clean out that chamber! Dry it as it can bring a barrel that has ‘gone off’ back to life. afterwards and pass a patch through the bore to ensure that no fragments of kitchen roll are lurking in there. It’s quite simple to use. Prepare a very tight-fitting patch which really takes some effort to push through the Next month, we will take a look at the stock. bore. You can do this by thickening a standard patch
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Target Shooter 21
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5,56 (223) £37.40 7,62 x 51 (308) £46.20 7,62x39 (7,62 Russian Short) £46.20 7,62x54R (7,62 Russian Long) £46.20 7,92 ( 8 x 57 Mauser) £46.20 303 British £46.20 30-06 ( 7,62 x 63) £49.50 9mm (9x19) Parabelum £22.98 38 SPL £22.98
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Event Report - The Pennine Challenge Cup – Diggle Ranges, 4th May 2009
This well established competition for Target Rifle shooters is held at Diggle Ranges every year around springtime. It was devised in conjunction with BAE Systems (Royal Ordnance) who carry out much of their long range ammunition testing at Diggle and generously supply us with free ammunition for this conditions, hough o e air hey ere retty imilar or ll t t b f t w p s f a competitors. However, Dave Dyson’s 50.3v at 900 yards was the only ‘possible’ of the morning shift but after lunch, Cliff Brett (RG), Bill Flentje (RG), Richard Hirst and Arthur Nicoll (RG) all posted possibles at 800 yards but no one managed the feat at 900 or 1000 yards. Huddersfield Rifle Club were overall winners with 567 points and thus retained the Pennine Challenge Cup but the home team Diggle, came a creditable second with 554 points. I say ‘creditable’ because Diggle are now down to a handful of Target Rifle shooters and would welcome some new blood, so if you are a northern based TR shooter looking for a new home why not pay Diggle a visit? We hold TR shoots every fortnight at all ranges from 300 to 1000 yards. E-mail our membership sec. on email@example.com
Springtime at Diggle! The 900 yard firing-point.
event.Not all shooters choose to use the RG ammunition but those who do so are eligible for The highest individual score of the day went to the Radway Green Trophy which is awarded to the Dave Dyson with 146.13v and the RG Trophy shooter making the highest individual score using RG. was won by Dick Horrocks whose 144.13v was the second highest score posted so that must say The competition is for teams of four, who shoot at something about the quality of RG ammunition! 800, 900 and 1000 yards. Competitors may shoot in pairs, or singly with the aid of a wind-coach, which Team results: adds a bit of variety to the event and the course 1st Huddersfield ‘A’ 567.48v 554.47v of fire is two sighters and ten to count at each 2nd Diggle distance. This gives a maximum possible score of 3rd Huddersfield ‘B’ 549.30v 538.34v 150.30v for each competitor and a possible 600 4th Altcar RC 533.34v points for the team. With Diggle’s unpredictable 5th Manchester – and often unreadable - wind, anything over 140 is considered ‘respectable’ for an individual score. Individual: 1st Dave Dyson (Huddersfield) 146.13v In the past, we have had up to eight teams 2nd Dick Horrocks (Manchester) 144.13v (RG ammunition) competing but sadly, interest has waned over the years in spite of the lure of free 3rd Jeanette Whitney (Diggle) 143.14v ammunition and this year, we had just five teams enter. Huddersfield however fielded two teams, so really we had just four clubs taking part. This is a great pity as we have F Class shooters waiting in the wings just itching to muscle-in! Come on Target Rifle shooters – put this May Bank Holiday date in your diary for 2010 and get in touch with Dave Riley on firstname.lastname@example.org if you can field a team. The advance weather forecast had predicted an awful day and indeed for May, it was cold and quite windy but thankfully the rain stayed away, making for a challenging but not unpleasant day’s shooting. Each team fields two shooters for the morning detail and two in the afternoon thus sharing the
The winning Huddersfield ‘A’ team and their coach.
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Target Shooter 25
Outdoor Air rifle sports – Starter Equipment Part 3
In the last month’s articles we had a look at starter air rifles and scopes that you can to start up outdoor air rifle arget hooting pots. Once ou et he quipment t s s y g t e together the next steps are crucial for you to understanding the performance of your air rifle and calculated from the switching time taken by the pellet whilst fly over both sensors and a known fixed distance between the two sensors. There are various types of chronographs on the market but a bench type chronograph is ideal for both PCP and Recoil type air rifles. Set up the chronograph according to the manufacturer instructions and observe safety precautions when doing this job. Make sure that you have a safe back stop and always wear shooting glasses. Also make sure to keep the air rifle on level and parallel to the chronograph during testing as it is very easy to shoot dead your chronograph. Chronographs must be handled with care as the sensors are fragile. If you want to be extra accurate in test weigh in the pellets that will be used for the test. Heavier or lighter pellet will affect your muzzle velocity results. Cheap digital scales that read in grains and grams are easily available, if you purchase such a scale make sure it can read at least 0.01grams. This enables you to segregate pellets with up to 0.01 gram difference. Then convert grams to grains. If you don’t have a scale then use the manufacture data about the pellet weight for your calculations. Make sure that the pellet skirts are not deformed as the muzzle speed recorded will be
A chronograph is used for testing muzzle velocity of different weight pellets perform a good setup. Being a new or second hand air rifle you purchased, the fist thing you need to do is to check out its performance right away. With second hand air rifles it is always a good idea to start off by cleaning the barrel before performing any tests. On the other hand new air rifles, need breaking in. Some argue that a spring air rifle will require 2500 shot to break in. I suggest that a minimum of 500 shoots should be sufficient to perform the first tests and set up. I suggest that these tests should be then carried out every 2500 to 3000 shots to make sure that your air rifle characteristics did not change and if so retune. If your into competition then it becomes second nature to recheck your air rifle at least a week before the event. When performing test with your air rifle be sure you have a clean barrel and there are no obvious flaws such as leaks. Always use the same pellet type, weight and skirt diameter to perform a test, do not mix pellets during a test keep variables as few as possible. If you want to test different pellets do this in separate tests. POWER & MUZZEL VELOCITY TEST. This test we show us the performance the air rifle in terms of muzzle velocity and power. We will not be looking for shooting group accuracy, but speed consistency of the shot. For this test you need a chronograph. This is an instrument which measures the speed of the pellet as it leaves your air rifle muzzle. Two sensors will pick up the pellet in flight consecutively, the speed is
An electronic scale is very useful and accurate in any testing
significantly lower and inaccurate. Personally I prefer to carry out this muzzle velocity test with pellets out of the then use weighed in pellets for grouping tests later on. In this test we will shoot a number of pellets through the chronograph and record the velocities. With an average velocity and an average pellet weight we will be determining our air rifle power. The power measurement is calculated as follows: Energy (ftlbs) = Muzzle Velocity (Ft/s) X Muzzle Velocity (Ft/s) X Pellet Weight (Grains) 450240 (constant). For recoil spring type air rifles just record the muzzle velocity of a 10 shoot string. Ensure that your chronograph is reading in ft/s. Some can be switched between ft/s or m/s. If m/s can only be measured then convert the result by dividing the reading by 0.3048. Add the readings up and divide them by the number of hots 10), his gives ou he verage speed s ( t y t a at which your air rifle is shooting a pellet of a certain weight. ow ou an alculate he ower f our ir ifle N y c c t p oy a r Example: Pellet Weight 8.2 grains – Average Speed 780 ft/sec 780 X 780 X 8.2 450240 Power is 11.08ftlbs. Note for conversions: 1 ftlbs = 1.356Joules. and 1 grain = 0.065grams and 1ft = 0.3048m However this is only part of the data we are after. We also need to know the consistency for each shot or better the variation of speeds between each different shot, known as the Standard Deviation (SD). To calculate the SD one can use tools like a PC and Microsoft Excel, but in order to understand what is happening, I will explain this with a simple example. This can be done by using a simple scientific calculator at your test bench. In this example we are taking a test with 5 shots. The same method must be used with more shots. The bigger your sample the more accurate is your result. Example: Test with 5 shots through chronograph of a spring air rifle with 8.2grain pellet. Shot 1: 780 ft/sec Shot 2: 789 ft/sec Shot 3: 778 ft/sec Shot 4: 783 ft/sec Shot 5: 785 ft/sec To find the average count all speeds and divide by the number of shots.
780+789+778+783+785 = 3915/5 = 783 ft/sec Now we start the process to identify the SD. Subtract each shot from the average and square the result. Shot 1: 780 – 783 = -3= -3X-3 = 9 Shot 2: 789 – 783 = 6 = 6X6 = 36 Shot 3: 778 – 783 = -5= -5X-5 = 25 Shot 4: 783 – 783 = 0 = 0X0 = 0 Shot 4: 785 – 783 = 2 = 2X2 = 4 The next step is to add all the results obtained and divide the total by 5 shots. 9+36+25+0+4 = 74/5 = 14.8 Now apply the Square Root (need a calculator here with the function) to 14.8. 14.8 followed by Square Root button on your calculator = 3.84 This is the SD of this typical spring air rifle is 3.84 ft/sec. If this deviation is less then 10 ft/sec then consider your equipment as perfect. The change in the point of impact (POI) is least effected in variations of less then 10ft/sec. If the deviation is more then 15 ft/sec then POI is affected and this you want to eliminate in target shooting. Most probability you need to service your spring air rifle when more the 15ft/sec occur. I understand that this is not fun shooting, but it is an essential part of the process if you want to start on the right track. This process gives you a clear indication of the performance power of your air rifle. If you decide to change service kits, always use factory parts or commercial tuned custom parts. If you want to do it yourself, make sure to follow the safety, assembly and lubrication instructions carefully. If in doubt or uncertain about the replacement procedures or parts seek professional gunsmith help. Sometimes when performing chronograph tests on second hand air rifles the result might show an higher muzzle velocity thus over power. This is certainly the result of previously installed FAC tuning kits or some home made tweaking. Remember, always keep and adjust your air rifle power within your country’s legal limits and legislations. We are target shooters and in no way we want to mess with laws. Pre Charged Pneumatic Air Rifles. The same muzzle velocity and SD calculation procedure applies to Pre Charged Pneumatic (PCP) Air rifles, but with PCP’s we have to expand further our knowledge. PCP Air Rifles especially starter air rifles are fitted with self regulating valves. To keep things as simple as possible we fill the pressure vessel of a PCP air rifle by hand pump or from a scuba tank according to the manufacturer specification. Let’s take a typical PCP air rifle that must being filled at 190 Bar of air pressure
according to the manufacturer specification. We load a pellet by cocking the bolt (locking the hammer weight on the sear and compressing the hammer spring), then we close the bolt to seal off the pellet in the chamber ( leaving a compressed hammer spring and hammer weight locked on the sear). When we pull the trigger, the sear releases the hammer weight and spring from a compressed position. The spring transfers the energy to a hammer weight. The momentum of the hammer weight will open the valve blocking air pressure in the air rifle pressure vessel momentarily. The time the valve remains open, depends on the momentum of the hammer weight. Once the force acting on the valve by the air pressure in the pressure vessel overcomes the force of the hammer weight exerted on the valve, the valve will be shut closed again. During this brief
released and consumed, the pressure inside the pressure vessel starts to drop. The hammer weight has constant momentum whilst the pressure inside the vessel is constantly decreasing with each shot. This means that the time the valve is kept open when hit by the hammer weight changes with each shot. The hammer weight finds it more difficult to open the valve at 190 then at a lower pressure. This means that the amount of air released is different, the result is reflected by the speed of your pellet as it leaves the muzzle. Previously we said that if your air rifle standard deviation is up to 10ftlsec it is perfect and if more the 15ft/sec seek servicing your spring air rifle. Spring air rifles generate their compressed air when the main piston is compressing air between the piston and pellet. This is always constant until seals are functioning, and the friction between piston and cylinder is constant and the spring is not broken and correctly guided. In self regulating PCP’s the scenario is different, thus a different approach must be taken when you chronograph one. Fill your PCP according to specification as suggested by the manufacturer, never over fill, this will not give you extra power but will result in blowing your gun with the risk of killing yourself or someone else. Support your air rifle on bags or bi pod, attach a chronograph or align the gun over a chronograph and ensure a good back stop. Take a tin of pellets with known weight and of the same brand. Take a pen and a sheet of paper and start doing the following. a. Start shooting pellets and record each speed. b. After 10 shots note the pressure if you have a pressure indicator on the air rifle pressure vessel. If you don’t have a pressure indicator in your air rifle don’t worry at this stage just keep shooting and recording. c. Shoot until you notice a considerable consistent drop in muzzle velocity, this can be even after 100 shots depend on the air rifle. At the end you have a long list with shot number and speed. If you have a pressure indicator you also
time air escapes through a narrow port and expands in the chamber behind the pellet. The air starts to push the pellet through the barrel, if the seals between the valve and chamber, behind the pellet and between the barrel and chamber are good. If leaks are present then a considerable part of the air is lost and the efficiency is less resulting in slower, inconsistent speed of the pellet. But there is a problem with PCP’s even if every thing is perfect. In our example we filled the pressure vessel at 190bar. With each shot air is
have a pressure indication reading every 10 shots. Put your air rifle away and back to mathematics. Now we need to find out the SD for each group of 10 shots to have an indication of how our self egulating PCP air rifle is performing. You will end up with a condensed table like the one shown in the example below. Shots 1-10 > Pressure 190B > SD 19.8ft/s Shots 11-20 > Pressure 180B > SD 16.5ft/s Shots 21-30 > Pressure 170B > SD 10.5ft/s Shots 31-40 > Pressure 160B > SD 7 ft/s Shots 41-50 > Pressure 155B > SD 5ft/s Shots 51-60 > Pressure 150B > SD 13.6ft/s Shots 61-70 > Pressure 145B > SD 14.5ft/s Shots 71-80 > Pressure 140B > SD 25.6ft/s Shots 81-90> Pressure 130B> SD 35ft/s Examine the SD results. We previously said that less the 15ft/s is good but less then 10 ft/ sec is perfect. If we look at our example results we notice that shots 21-30, 31-40, 41-50 are perfect, whilst 51-60 and 61-70 are good enough. What does this all mean? In short it means that the harmonics between the air pressure inside the vessel and the momentum of the hammer weight reached equilibrium. The amount of air released gives your pellet a constant speed with minimum deviation. This is called the Heart of Fill of a PCP Air Rifle. If you want to shoot competition then you must find and use this area. The best area for our example is a fill Pressure of 170B and 30 constant shots. If you’re doing FT or HFT it is good for 30 shots, maybe its good enough to for 40 shots, before refill, that is up to you. However you might have a problem with bench rest unless you keep sighter shots to a minimum because you cannot refill until the end of the relay. This also means that the correct muzzle velocity of your air rifle is between shot 21 and shot 50. It also mean that our scope setting must be performed within this parameter window. If you had the pressure gauge readings during your test then fill the air rifle to that pressure again and shoot again the correct quantity of shots to confirm and fine tune your results. If your air rifle does not have a pressure gauge then you need to do this using the pressure gauge on your scuba tank. First fill at manufacturer specification and shoot 100 shots and record the speed for each shot. Then group 10 shots at a time and find each group SD. After this fill the air rifle 10 bars less then the manufacturer specification and shoot 50 shots and again record the speed of each shot. Then group 10 shots at a time and find the SD for each group. Now match the SD of the 1st group of 10 shots
carried out with 10 bar less to the closest SD obtained in the groups shot according to manufacturer, this will give you an idea were the group shot at 10 bars less starts when compared to the manufacturer specification. Repeat the process with different fill pressures and always match to the last entry. In this way you will build a picture of how your air rifle is behaving for each fill pressure. Then select the range were you get the most groups under 10ft/sec and the fill pressure used. Fill your gun to that pressure and repeat with 100 shots, group in 10’s and work out SD for all groups to confirm and to understand the correct amount of good shots when you fill at that pressure. If you look at the example below you will see that the test at 160 Bar gives us the highest number of shots under 10ft/s. The shots carried out at 170 bar are also within range. Hence from this data one can draw a conclusion and test 100 shots starting from 165 bar and establish the number of good shots. In the next issue we will focus on scope set up and zeroing, and understanding our pellet trajectory pattern, and other tests we can perform to find the best combination of pellets with our air rifle.
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All three Varmint models feature a free-ﬂoating precision barrel that effectively eliminates vibration and will not over-heat even in fast-paced shooting. They are produced with a synthetic stock that has an extra-wide forend for bench resting, and a swivel stud which accommodates either a bipod or a sling. The ergonomically-designed Varmint cheek piece provides comfortable head positioning with a large scope. The Varmint Blue features a barrel and action that are made from high-grade blued Cr-Mo steel. The T3 Varmint Stainless features a barrel and action made from heat-treated special stainless steel, which is bead-blasted to a non-glare ﬁnish. This model is available left handed. The T3 Super Varmint is a new model. Like the Stainless model, it features a barrel and action made from heat-treated special stainless steel, which is bead-blasted to a non-glare ﬁnish. Additionally, the ergonomically-designed cheek piece on the Super Varmint is adjustable, and this model also features a Picatinny rail and large bolt handle as standard. When it comes to consistent accuracy, be it on the range or hill, the T3 Varmint models are hard to out-shoot.
For further product information and details of your local Centre of Accuracy stockist please call GMK Ltd on 01489 587500 or visit www.gmk.co.uk Target
Leupold Competition Benchrest Scope
Benchrest scopes are varied and there are a number of models out there. Operation comes down to taste, some preferring side parallax controls and others more used to such controls around the objective lens. One of the very best scopes that you can get has been around for a number of years and is the Leupold Competition series. These are purpose designed and made for benchrest shooting fraternity and imported through GMK in the UK. Can I firstly thank GMK for supplying the two scopes I used for this review. This series of scope, which includes a range of
A fine matt finish on the superbly made competition series
x35, x40 and x45 fixed power magnification, is built around a 30mm matte black tube with a 45mm objective lens. An ocular adjustment can be found at the rear of the scope to aid eyesight tuning. Adjustments are in 1/8 Minute of angle which is excellent for the precision needed in rimfire benchrest. The scope weighs in at 20.3 ounces or 576 grams for the metrically inclined. Again a good feature as this will make the Light Varmint class on most rifles. Two reticules are on offer and both The mil- dot and fine crosshair reticles were reviewed; the target cross hair which is very fine and the 1/8 min target dot. Both are as good as the other, but The Leupold Competition scope. Brilliant in the choice comes down everyway, but it will cost you. to personal preference. These are used by both centerfire and rimfire benchrest shooters the world over. Made in the United States, the name Leupold is synonymous with the term high quality. Although high quality does cost, you do get what you pay for. The retail price for one of these scopes in the UK is around £990, but may have gone up due to currency fluctuations. Cheaper scopes I have used
over the years will inevitably get you started in this sport, they did for me and the ones I used performed exceptionally well for the price! However, as competition gets tougher and tougher – believe me it does - you may be considering getting a slightly better edge over your competitors and this is what spending that extra money will do for you, both in rifle and scope. If you have a rifle that is costing in excess of £2400 it seems false economy to put a cheaper scope on top, as we would all want this rifle to be able to perform very well. My original theory when buying this scope Magnification on this scope is very clear obviously was that I needed to move on due to the new Multicoat4 optics equipment wise, as I initially started rimfire benchrest shooting working a few of those recently! The large exit pupil does help with budget rifles and scopes. Moving ‘up market’ with equipment is especially with this, as more information is getting to your eye. appropriate now as we are competing with people So, as we are shooting a quality and expensive all over the world a lot more and they have similar rifle the scope that sits on top should also be equal equipment. For this review, I put the scope on my in performance, if we are aiming for reliability and top class functionality. I would also say this of the main rifle which is an Anschutz 2013 custom. Usually I use my CZ for tests, which I customised a ammunition, but that is another article all on its own. few years ago specifically for benchrest. The new As we are talking about putting a .22 bullet in a very relatively new Anschutz replaces this, as does the small target diagram 25 times, all of the features of Leupold Competition x45 in replacing the Tasco your set up must work extremely well with every shot Varmint from the older rifle. This scope has to been you take. Anything that falls short will inevitably keep seen to be believed, with excellent clarity, brightness you scores lower than they should be. (Remember and contrast. Often .22 bullet holes are hard to make what we are aiming for is a score of 250 with 25 out and seeing the point of impact is very important X’s on each card at 50 meter and 25 yards. This is in our sport. With high magnification scopes like this extremely difficult to do! This scope lends itself a spotting scope is not needed as point of impact can very well to all these objectives and I find little to be seen clearly, even on dull days; and we have had negatively criticise – apart from possibly getting the scope to shoot the rifle for The elevatio and horizontal me!! turrets are clearly marked, but The Competition series the parallax adjustment could of scopes replaces the Leupold 36 BR scope be marked for 50 meters which like its older cousin is specifically made for benchrest activities. This has meant that the company has been offering a number of scopes for benchrest for quite a few years. As I have mentioned before in other articles a reasonably high magnification in rimfire benchrest scope is vital and sometimes hard to find, especially when we move towards x40 magnification or higher. The scopes I tested were both x45
Scope rear view - easy to adjust and control
magnification and even with this level of enlargement, the scope remained bright and clear. This may be down to the 9 lens elements that are used and new coating called Multicoat4. This by all accounts helps with light transmission and stops glare….it seems to work. You may notice some ‘shake’ if you move or knock your bench, but this is normal with a high powered scope so not to worry. What I did find interesting about this scope was the side focus parallax adjustment, not dissimilar to the Nikko Diamond I looked at a few years ago. I find this design of side parallax pleasing and easy to use. It can be quite hard if you need to get up during a match and want parallax/focus adjustment and have to do from the front of the scope. As you would expect the functionality of the adjustment turrets were very good for windage and elevation. I would like to see the parallax adjustment Leupold eye bell adjustments be engraved to 50 and 25
meters. I had to guess when adjusting the scope for the first time. All turrets come with caps as standard. I did hear of some initial technical difficulties with an unstable wire reticule. This put quite a few off the scope when it was first brought out. Others have made modifications to older scopes to compensate. However this issue seems to have disappeared over the last few years and certainly Leupold themselves have stated that the problem has been fixed some time ago. However, even with these initial teething problems it was and still is one of the best fixed powered scopes for benchrest on the market. At the end of the day we all want a good scope that will aid excellent shooting time after time after time. The Leupold Competition scopes on review were first class and I definitely put my money where my mouth is and bought one, to aid competitiveness in the forthcoming UK and European Championships. This comes down to a number of reasons, some previously stated. This is a versatile scope that is light enough to go onto a 10.5 pound and also be used on an unlimited rifle. The optics are superb with high magnification and the adjustments are precise and clear. For these reasons it meets all the needs I have. There are scopes on the market that come close to the Leupold, some of which I have reviewed, but it comes down to the sheer versatility of this scope with all of its great features that sells it for me. With the fact that there is a lifetime warranty on this product, and not just for the original owner, this has to be a good buy. A few last things you can look at. If you have the money Leupold do have a custom shop which is well worth a look, as they have a list of options longer than your arm. Here you can obtain a custom
finish (this may need to be decided before purchase) on the VX-III and Competition range of scopes only; which is good news for us. That is if you don’t like the matt black and another colour would fit your rifle setup a little better. This will cost you £130 for a base charge for one solid colour such as silver, and then you can add £90.00 for a gloss finish. Other options are fade one colour to black, splatter effect and tie dye, all at £32.00 for each effect. However this is only aesthetic and will possibly appeal to a few people including myself, if I had the money!! Inevitably it will not increase the accuracy of your scope which is excellent to start with.
are lens shades. These obviously add weight, but come in both 2.5 and 4 inch versions, so they can be interchanged, added/ subtracted to each other in numbers to extend the tube or to make the weight of the class you are shooting in. These will reduce the glare by extending a ‘shroud’ in front of the objective lens. This is a key point for any scope, as your sight picture will distort if there is too much light hitting the objective lens. Depending on where and the direction you are shooting, the lens shade will come into its own to alleviate distortion of the sight picture being received. The two shades from Leupold do the job well and can be added together in brighter conditions. They are worth There are several other things to consider with this a look and will not burn a whole in your pocket. scope. One you can buy optical boosters specifically for it, which I reviewed in the April issue. A boon if So that is it. I just hope I have not made you you want to bring your level of magnification up to spend even more money. The only other the same level of a March scope at half the price. product I would look at for use with this or any The Bulzeye pro boosters work very well with the other scope – mainly for setting it up and testing Leupold and are easily detachable if you feel that there it – would be the Zero Point Magnetic Illuminated is too much mirage for higher magnification. (More Boresighter. But that is another review all on its own. on the optical boosters and mirage at a later date). The other parts that you can get, via GMK again,
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SAVAGE MODEL 12 PRECISION RIFLES (part 1)
Above The two types of Savage Model 12 Precision rifles: ‘F’ in the foreground, and LRPV behind
and a .204 Ruger calibre ‘LRPV’ from the ‘Varmint Series’, and am delighted by their performance and value for money. Rebirth What changed? To answer that, we have to go further back. Savage, once the USA’s largest sporting rifle manufacturer, The Savage action is precision had been driven into the ground by machined from heavy gauge owners lacking any commitment to stainless steel tubing. The Picatinny ‘scope rail is a 20-MOA making longarms. Throw in spiralling slope Ken Farrell component skilled labour rates and economic If you’d asked target shooters about buying a recessions, and the company went into Savage rifle ten years ago, you’d have got Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1988, at which point negative responses, particularly warnings today’s CEO and company president Ronald about heavy, creepy trigger pulls. Most people Coburn stepped in with a small consortium of regarded the barrel securing nut and bolt-head investors. Stage 1 of Savage’s rebirth was the attached to the body by a cross-pin as ‘cheap and implementation of a survival strategy in which nasty’ too. Come 2009, things have changed, operations were massively downsized and and some. Look at what people are using in plants closed. The model range was slashed F-Class national rounds, 600 and 1,000 with the survivors all using the Model 110 long yard BR competitions, and more, and you’ll action for a time. Coburn changed attitudes likely see one or more rifles with a chunky grey too, managers and key employees all became laminated stock below stainless metalwork, active shooters, close links were forged with Savage ‘Target Series’ models’ calling cards. customers, dealers, gun writers and top A growing number of ‘foxers’ are getting the word about the Savage 12 LRPV (LongRange Precision Varmint). This heavy rifle is one of the most accurate factory sporters ever produced, and it’s equally at home on the rifle range. Over in the USA, Savage rifles arouse no end of comment, overwhelmingly positive, in forum posts on every shooting The Savage bolt is assembled from activity, while accessory manufacturers are far more components than those turning out an increasing stream of from competitors to reduce costs goodies for the Model 12, things formerly the and simplify manufacture. These preserve of the more favoured Remington bolts have the competition handle 700. I own two Savage Model 12 precision with oversized grasping knob rifles, a 6.5-284 ‘F’ from the ‘Target Series’, 38 Target Shooter
‘Competition’ Action The 12 BVSS-S action wasn’t perfect, its long loading / ejection port still saw a section competition shooters, feedback was actively machined out of the top of the receiver, likewise well down the right side creating a bigger opening sought. than needed and reducing component stiffness – not ideal when you’ve got 26 inches of largediameter barrel hanging on the front. The trigger, while much improved, was still US ‘factory class’ with the usual constraints, and there were no upgrade kits available then (though there are now). Another feature that many accuracy orientated shooters didn’t like was the stock bolts. Although the action has a tang, it’s there to hold the trigger assembly not secure the action in the stock, so the rear bolt is further LRPV right side. There’s the forward than in most designs. handle, but where do I put the
The single-shot ‘Competition’ action in right bolt – right port form. Note the AccuTrigger with the red ‘AccuRelease’ blade. The pull weight is owner adjustable using a small (supplied) tool that slots into the mechanism where the pencil lead is pointing. Note the minimal size of the port and the receiver wall thickness that is visible.
at a mass-produced sporting rifle price – Savage was producing winners again. Stuart Anselm, proprietor of Savage target rifle specialist Osprey Rifles successfully used a .223 Rem BVSS-S in factory class benchrest and shorter range F-Class and its performance was such, also the ease with which it could be rebuilt and developed, that it fired Stuart’s enthusiasm for the design. He used it in very long-barrelled .308W form to win the UK F-Class F/TR championship in 2007, and still has it as his back-up match rifle.
Solid-Bottom With survival assured, the company started developing its products step by step. The action has been continuously reworked and improved, the result we’re interested in being the Model 12. Savage actions use heavy diameter tubing as the starting point for the receiver, and in the age of CNC machining, Savage was the first major manufacturer to realise it doesn’t have to machine big holes in the top and bottom of every receiver, except for those models whose users actually need them. The much improved Model 12 LongRange rifle series was introduced 11 years ago, the first singleshot varmint model with a solid bottom receiver a year later. With a heavy fluted stainless barrel and pillar-bedded in a substantial 8. Oh yes, in the other side! laminated stock, the 12 BVSS-S produced match quality accuracy
Moving closer to today, a key development was the AccuTrigger, a user adjustable design that allows light pull weights to be set, but cannot be accidentally released keeping the lawyers happy. A thin red coloured blade (the ‘AccuRelease’) is set within and at 90 degrees to the main trigger, and must be fully depressed before the sear is freed-up for operation. Jar the rifle, in the case of the
The button-rifled Savage barrel is 1.1” diameter at the breech on both ‘Target Series’ and LRPV models. Note the signature Savage barrel-locking nut between the rear of the barrel and action
‘Competition’ action simply operate the bolt roughly or over hastily, and the ‘AccuRelease’ locks up so the rifle cannot be discharged until the bolt is re-cocked to reset the trigger mechanism. Breaking cleanly without creep, this is an excellent design that overcomes the longest standing criticism of the Savage action, and sets new standards for factory rifles. It comes in various forms depending on the type of rifle, the version we’re interested in being the ‘target AccuTrigger’ which is adjustable from 6oz to 2½ lb pull weight, and fitted to all models with the ‘Competition’ action.
being close to competitive shooters, Savage was aware early on of new disciplines such as F-Class, and the explosion of interest in precision and long-range shooting, a market it could exploit – enter the 12 ‘Competition’ action. It is available on its own for custom rifle Models So, we’ve got an action capable of producing builders (complete with ‘target’ AccuTrigger, trigger guard, stock bolts and trigger guard screws, recoil lug, and barrel nut), as well as being at the heart of the ‘Target Series’ and LRPV sporting rifles. The port, or ports as some models have two, are minimum size to retain maximum receiver body stiffness, a third stock-bolt has been introduced, and the actions accept a larger diameter barrel. Fit and finish are The barrel on the ‘F’ excellent and they operate smoothly, bolts rifle has tapered to a displaying little slop. shade under the inch How good is this action bearing in mind it costs substantially less than small production precision designs used in most custom builds? One pointer was 40 Target Shooter
at the muzzle, a full 30 inches from the bolt. The LRPV’s four-inches shorter tube is a little fatter there
Gary Eliseo, the proprietor of Competition Shooting Stuff, who designs and makes tube-gun stocks, taking third place in the Arizona Long-Range Championship event in February. Fielding a 6mm BRX (6mm BR ‘improved’) S1 tube-gun, the prototype of a new CSS stock kit designed for this action, Gary shot an aggregate of 596-27x (out of 60060x) in the 1,000yd matches, and on the first day only dropped one point out of a possible 400. It wasn’t Gary shooting so well that raised eyebrows, rather this performance from an unmodified Model 12 ‘Competition’ action and AccuTrigger pitted against 50 of America’s best long-range prone shooters using custom actions. (See www.accurateshooter.com/bulletin.html and click on the February archives working back to the posts that cover the 10th.) Hang on, isn’t this the ‘naff design’ with the pinned-on bolt head and barrel nut? Dead on – next month I’ll explain how these features are far from being the downsides they’ve long been seen as, rather pluses – especially for the home gunsmith or Savage owner looking for a budget rebuild with minimum skilled gunsmith input. I’ll say now that this was a consideration when I bought my Savage 12 ‘F’ rifle – it’ll be a cheap-to-rebarrel test-bed for a range of cartridges after I move on from the factory supplied 6.5-284 Norma.
superb accuracy with the right barrel and stock. What does the factory give us? The two precision rifle ranges share the action and trigger (but with minor variations – see table), but differ in other respects – ‘Target Series’ models have 30” barrels, the LRPV sporting rifles 26”; the former have pillar bedded laminated wood stocks, the latter H-S Precision Aramid / Kevlar synthetic jobs with a moulded-in aluminium bedding block. Barrels are stainless steel throughout, large diameter starting at 1.1” ahead of the action with gentle straight tapers, to a shade under the inch at the muzzle with the 30-inchers, a bit over on the shorter version. They are manufactured in-house and unusually, perhaps uniquely, for a large manufacturer are button-rifled (every other large producer using hammer forging). This sees an incredibly hard ‘button’ machined with a negative form of the lands and grooves on its edges pulled slowly though the bored barrel blank, turned as goes to provide the rifling twist. Many match barrel makers use this method – Pac-Nor, Lilja, Shilen, Douglas, and Border Barrels but only on its lower priced ‘Archer’ range. It comes into its own with fat barrels – the stresses involved in swaging the rifling into the bore can see it expand fractionally in a small external diameter barrel section, usually at the muzzle, and ‘loose bores’
do nothing for accuracy. However, when you’ve got a one-inch diameter barrel, this is not a problem. What you don’t get with a Savage barrel, but will with an Archer, Lilja, Shilen etc, is final lapping to polish out the minute tooling marks left by the barrel boring and rifling processes, so a Savage may take a little longer to run-in and give its best. However, both of my Model 12s produced little coppering during the running in period, and performed well from the first few rounds. Next month, I’ll describe and evaluate my examples of the Target and Long-Range Varmint rifles, especially the former for UK competitive shooting.
Savage ‘Competition’ Action Rifle Variations (all models, ‘target AccuTrigger’) ‘Target Series’ Rifles (all single-shot, right-hand bolt) 12 F, 12 F/TR, 12 Palma models: single right-side port. 12 Benchrest model: twin-port (insert cartridge from the left; ejection from the right). Long Range Precision Varmint Series Rifles (all models, right-hand bolt) 12 LRPV Single-Shot: single left-side port. 12 LRPV Repeater: single right-side port. 12 LRPV Dual Port: twin-port (insert cartridge from the left; ejection from the right).
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Wildcats I have known & loved
The 6.5/284 Shehane – a long range performer
A myriad of variants have been developed to improve on the performance offered by a parent case and this is part of the pleasure of wildcatting cases. A subtle tweak of shoulder angle from 35 degrees p o 0, ncreasing he ase iameter y .01 u t 4 i t b d b 0 of an inch and so on will increase powder capacity - however the task of experimentation often becomes a case of diminishing returns. But sometimes a simple improvement will make a good cartridge better. As the name suggests, the 6.5/284 Shehane is an improved 284 Winchester case necked down from 7mm to 6.5mm or .264 calibre. Bill Shehane of D & B Supply, located in North Carolina in the US, designed the Shehane variant. Bill is one of the driving forces behind the development and marketing of the 1000 yard benchrest discipline and loves to experiment with a range of cases. a number of dedicated fans around the world and a little searching on the internet, I ordered a reamer in 6.5/284 Shehane and started to build the rifle. The 284 Winchester case has a rebated rim. The case head is the same size and length as a 308 Winchester case but the case body diameter, and therefore capacity, is larger at .475 inch at the shoulder. This gives the reloader and wildcatter the ability to put more powder in for a wider range of bullets and calibres. The case also shares the same 35 degree shoulder angle as the super accurate 6PPC and 6BR cases. The 284 Winchester case was poorly marketed in its original form, being matched with a lever-action rifle but in a suitable bolt-action rifle, it can be used in a range of calibres from .22 through to .375 with good effect.
The 6.5 calibre has long been recognised for its After several detailed e-mail discussions on the accuracy at all ranges. The only thing that lets it pros and cons of the 6.5/284 and its variants with down, in comparison with the 30 calibres, was the lack of a wide range of matchg r a d e bullets. But with the e x p l o s i o n of interest in long (800 - 1000 yards) and e x t r e m e ( 1 0 0 0 yards to a mile) range shooting in the United States over the past 10 years, m a r k e t forces have A wide assortment of bullets can be used for hunting and targets (1 to (l r) 107 produced a grain Sierra Match, 120 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip, 139 grain Lapua Scenar, 142 range of grain Sierra Match, 155 grain Sierra Match p r e c i s i o n
Australian made Tobler stainless steel barrel with a 1 in 8.5 twist and a 30 inch Tobler with a The introduction of the surplus 6.5 Swedish 1 in 8 inch twist. The reamer cuts a tight .288 Mausers into Australia in the 1980s offered neck. The scope is a Nightforce 12-42 x 56 shooters the experience of a calibre that could do on Custom 30mm High Rings. The stock is a everything a .303 or .308 could do but with less fuss. McMillan Benchrest with 3 inch fore-end. The rifle’s weight is adjustable and has ranged from The 6.5/284 does the same. The US experience 16.5lbs (1000 yard benchrest) to 22 lbs (F Class). has shown that a 6.5/284 using a match projectile in the 140 grain range has the same The rifle was built for one reason only - exterior ballistics as a 300 Winchester Magnum, shooting small groups at long ranges. In except it uses less powder, with less recoil and equal particular, 500 metre Fly shooting and 1000 yard or better accuracy out to and beyond 1000 yards. benchrest disciplines and F-class style target shooting from 300 metres back to 800 metres It is very easy to make a 6.5/284. Simply run a on National Rifle Association (Australia) ranges. 284 Winchester case through a resizing die or 6.5/284 full length sizing die and out pops a new At the risk of starting a war, I would note that all the case ready to load and use. Better yet, get a couple cartridges in the 6.5 family have one fault - they can of boxes of Lapua 6.5/284 cases, turn the necks sometimes be finicky to load for using the heavier and start shooting. If you can’t get Lapua, Norma projectiles. Tuning out vertical groups at long ranges and Hornady now make dedicated 6.5/284 brass. has been a consistent challenge and this becomes more oticeable s he arrel eaches he nd f ts ife. n a t b r t e oi l The 6.5/284 Shehane takes one more step to produce - when it is ‘improved’ by fire-forming Experience has shown that, for a truly competitive during the first shot. When the case is extracted, cartridge for long range precision shooting, best the case taper between its base and shoulder results are achieved when you keep velocities is blown out 0.009 per inch to give a .485 inch between 2800 and 3200 fps with a sweet spot diameter shoulder. However, the shoulder angle is emerging between 2900 and 3100 fps - regardless left at 35 degrees. This simple procedure makes of calibre. for a straighter case and increasing the powder A long range benchrest rifle set up in 6.5 Shehane for 1000 yard shooting. The Rem 7 action has performed well over the years but is sadly no match for a custom action
capacity by about 5 grains from the standard 6.5/284’s 66.6 grains. The leade is best set so that the pressure ring on the 139-142 grain projectiles does not intrude into the ‘doughnut’ area at the neck and shoulder junction. This particular improved version of the 6.5/284 aims for better efficiency, case extraction and bullet selection options than is possible with the ‘base’ cartridge. The rifle I built to compete with this round is based on a trued and sleeved Remington Model 7 stainless steel action with a 2oz Jewell trigger. Two barrels have been used - a 27.5 inch fluted
Problems with 6.5mm bullets will occur as a result of the long bearing surfaces and fast twist barrels required to stabilise them. If the bullets are pushed too fast, shooters will see their premium projectiles disappear in a puff of lead dust! The initial 1 in 8.5 inch twist was chosen as a compromise between the 1 in 9 and 1 in 8 options for heavy bullets. Groups were always tight but something always seemed to be lacking. Changing to the 1 in 8 twist shrank the groups from 142 grain Sierras. The additional length of the 30 inch barrel
also seems to have improved powder combustion. As an improved cartridge, the case needs to be fire-formed. The loading data for the 6.5/284 Shehane aims for a ballistic balance of around 2900 - 3000fps for the 139 - 142 grain bullet range. I used Federal 210 Match primers only. For powder choice, the reloader needs to look at moderate to slow burning powders that fill up the case to about the bottom of the neck shoulder junction. wo powders immediately fulfil that T requirement: AR2209 and AR2213SC. I have found that AR2213SC produces good and consistent results with more than acceptable accuracy at all ranges. 2213SC powder is marketed under the Hodgdon label outside Australia. For burn rate comparisions with Australian powders cited below see: www.reloadbench.com/burn.html. Being a variant of a wildcat, there are no reloading manuals that a new shooter can immediately turn to and explore the experiences of others. As this was the first 6.5/284 Shehane ever to be used in Australia with Australian powders I was starting from scratch with load development. Nevertheless, I have found that the specialised message boards on the internet are interesting forums for exchanging ideas and contacting people around the world with similar interests in cartridge development and an equivalent starting load was soon settled on. Using AR2213SC makes this a very versatile cartridge to load for. Load down and you will find yourself with a 6.5 Swede. Load to the top and you’ll find magnum performances. For the UK shooter, Vihtavuori powders in the N165 range would make an ideal starting point. An interesting comparison between components can perhaps be illustrated by the following test using the same load of 52 grains of AR2213SC, two different bullets, the 142 grain Sierras and the 139 grain Lapuas, and two different primers, Federal 210M and CCI 250 Magnum. At 500 metres the Sierras with the Federal 210M primers shot a 1.6 inch windage group and about 0.8 of an inch in height or 0.3 MOA. The Lapua/Federal load shot a 3” windage group, exacerbated by a slight mirage change, and about an inch high. The overall group printed
about an inch higher than the Sierras. The CCI 250 loads both had a marked amount of vertical in their groups. The Lapuas ran about 3” and the Sierras about 6”. Experimenting and choosing the best components will pay dividends. Like most wildcats, the 6.5/284 Shehane is not the easiest cartridge to set up as it requires a number of custom components but an experienced shooter and reloader will find the production and ongoing reloading easy. And with results that stay within the quarter to half MOA out to 1000 yards, when the shooter is doing his part, make the effort worthwhile. The offset is that, for this performance to continue, regular barrel maintenance is essential, noting that barrels in this chambering tend to have a 1500 round maximum life for competition shooting. Bullet Choice and Long Range Performance 155 Sierra Matchking: A ballistic dead end. The full diameter bearing surface length of 2.615 calibres and limited velocity at the top of the velocity range removes any advantage the extra weight might offer at distances greater than 300 metres. For example, the load used above produced promising ¼ inch groups at 100 metres and 300 metres during load but results at 600 metres was very disappointing with shot to shot elevation changes of about a metre. A finicky projectile that requires a lot of individual development for each range and a faster twist barrel. 142 Sierra Matchking: Perhaps the ideal projectile for this cartridge. The bearing surface to overall length ratio – at 0.53in:1.383in (13:35mm) or 1:2.692. The full diameter bearing surface is two calibres in length. One box of 142 Sierras
When compared with the 308 Win case (extreme right) several differences are immediately apparent. Overall length of the 6.5/284 case, the rebated rim and the greater volume of the 284. An unfired Lapua 6.5/284 case is on the extreme left
displayed consistent results in a concentricity gauge indicating uniform consistency in the bullets’ manufacture – a significant cause of inaccuracy. Using this bullet in the 6.5/284 Shehane, I can consistently put five shots into a 0.2 inch group at 100 yards. 140 Sierra Matchking: An alternative for the above. During load development the bullet consistantly shot ragged one-hole groups at 100 yards. 140 Berger: Another good choice. A bullet with a high ballistic co-efficient that shoots flat and fast. 140 Hornady A-Max: Similar good results were achieved using the A-Max style of bullets. The polycarbonate tip prevents deformation and makes for a very slippy bullet at all ranges. 139 Lapua: On paper, the ballistics for this projectile appears to suggest this bullet would be an ideal alternative to the 142 MK. However, the full diameter bearing surface length of 2.154 calibres has proven to be a finicky bullet to load for in these barrels. Either a slightly faster twist than in my barrel would improve results or the bullet is searching for a different or slower velocity in my rifle. Other barrels may produce better results and I have seen excellent results with this bullet in the 6.5 Swede. 123 grain Lapua: Great velocity for close in target
work but when conditions picked up a heavier bullet was needed. 120 Nosler Ballistic Tip: A good 300 metre performer and a superb hunting load. The feedback from the butts and in the hunting field suggests that thin-skinned game would not need a follow-up shot. 107 Sierra Matchking: This bullet is too short for a throat set up for 140 grain projectiles. Furthermore better accuracy is possible with the 142 grain Sierra Matchkings. Nevertheless, a load was developed for 1000 yard shooting where it performed well in good conditions but was easily blown off course when the wind picked up. Also a barrel-burner of a load!
BULLET 107 Sierra 120 Nosler 140 Sierra 140 Hornady A-Max 140 Berger VLD 142 Sierra 155 Sierra BALLISTIC COEFFICIENT .43 .458 .535 .618 .627 .595 .570 LOAD 57.5 54 56 52 52.5 52.5 51 52.5 50 POWDER * 2209 2209 2213SC 2213SC 2213SC 2213SC 2213SC 2213SC 2209 AV. VELOCITY (FPS) 3370 3300 3200 3000 3050 3050 2950 3000 2800
***For safety reasons start at least 10% below these loads and work up.*** Readers use this information at their own risk. Target Shooter Magazine takes no responsibility for this use of this loading data.
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The Taurus ML Revolver is converted from a Taurus .357 Magnum Long Barrelled Revolver. The cylinder is removed and a Yoke extension fitted, this contains the spring loaded plunger that frees the action when the yoke is closed. As this extension cannot be removed, it prevents the re-fitting of the original cylinder. The Barrel is shortened to approximately 5 ¼ inches and the wristbrace is removed. A new cylinder is made which has pockets for shotgun primers at the rear with a small flash hole through into the chamber at the front. The chamber is made to accept .357” lead wadcutter bullets. Each chamber is charged with Herco powder ( as per .38 S&W Spl data) and then the bullet is pressed in. Once the chambers are charged the shotgun primers are inserted into the primer pockets at the rear of the cylinder. The loaded cylinder is slid onto the yoke from the rear and the yoke closed. The pistol is then ready to fire. A loading press is provided to facilitate seating of the bullets at a uniform distance into the chambers. The conversion of your pistol costs £270.00. Extra Cylinders are £150.00 each. If you do not have a pistol I can order a new pistol from the Importers. A Taurus .357 Magnum LBR costs £675.00 You will need a variation on your FAC for a .357/.38 Muzzle Loading Revolver, and for each extra Cylinder you want.
It was nice to see over a dozen ladies shooting at the recent Spring Action weekend but there was still only one junior on the line, although admittedly she was a very good one! It seems to me that in order for our sport to grow we certainly need to do more to get some youngsters involved in our sport or we’ll have to introduce some zimmer frame matches in the not so distant future. Sometimes it’s not always that easy to do, but nothings impossible if a few of you are willing to put in the time and effort. Here’s a few ideas along with some of the things that we have done in my own club over the years to get more juniors involved in Gallery Rifle shooting: Probably the two biggest obstacles that they face to get into our sport are Access and Cost. The access
will depend largely on your club rules and although many clubs are accessible for younger people, it can still be quite a task in others! Unfortunately there are still some committees out there that are still of the “old school” variety and are very reluctant to any form of change, however small, as they see it as losing some of their “power” as it were. Some see no place for anyone under the age of 50 in their ranks and would consider shooting anything other than a Martini action rifle or installing something as futuristic as a set of turning targets to be something along the lines of treason! If you do belong to one of these clubs I think you only have two possible avenues
Is your club an “open house” or “closed shop”?
Whilst in the States I shot everything from AR15’s to 9mm race guns with 10yr old Wyatt Gibson. His gun handling skills and safety procedures were exemplary and his age was never an, issue, only a compliment!
to go down if you want to increase participation and develop the various target sports disciplines within it! The first would obviously be trying to educate them so that they understand that target sports are for everyone, regardless of gender, age and mobility, and that many positive things can be gained by allowing individual sections to be opened up. If this approach fails, then the second option is rather more obvious…… just all get together and vote them out! This has happened at a number of clubs now and the additional disciplines and club nights that have been introduced, along with the updating and development of the range facilities has been very positive for both the members and visiting guests! I’m sure there have been many long debates as to what specific age you should let juniors start shooting at but my club dealt with it by simply removing our age limits and each application is based on its own merits, regardless of what they want to shoot. This policy over the years has enabled thousands of members from the Cubs, Brownies, Guides, Scouts and Duke of Edinburgh groups to take part in the target shooting courses that we offer at the club! In one week alone we took nearly 500 Girl Guides through an air rifle taster session at one of their international camps in North Wales. Like most other sports, shooters need to start young to have any chance of reaching their potential and the main problem I find is if you get them starting at around fourteen or fifteen you’ll spend a year training them, then they’ll join in out on the “circuit” for another year. Then, when they start going college and get introduced to boys, girls, alcohol, the
late night parties and everything else you’ll never see them again, unless you are very lucky! Once the access problem has been sorted out, the other major obstacle for them to face is the cost. This will be the deciding factor for many parents as to whether or not they let them take part. For the last 12 years from our Steel Challenge competitions to the present Welsh Championships we have always made sure that the juniors shoot for free and will continue to do this for as long as is possible to help them out. If your own club could also do this, charge them at“cost” or give them a 50% discount to take part then this would also be a great help for them. The other area that some of us have been able to help them out with is their ammunition. For those wanting to practice more or for competition purposes, ammunition has been sourced from various companies or individuals and was given to them at cost price. This has given them considerable savings which were put towards travelling and accommodation fees, enabling them to shoot at many of the major matches around the country. From the equipment side of things there are a number of county or national grants out there to help your club purchase some new rifles, scopes or other equipment for your juniors to use, and we have been successful on a number of occasions. I’m sure that there would be a few sympathetic members of our gun trade who would also be willing to help out any junior shooters you may have in some way or another so ask them, you have nothing to lose! For those wanting to take juniors to shoot at Bisley (MOD range) the lower age limit is generally 14yrs but it is possible to get dispensation for shooters who are 12 for .22lr so make sure you apply for it if needed! Also remember that “taster” sessions for schools, clubs and other groups can be provided by holding one of the 12 “guest days” allowed under the Home Office Approved Club provision. It’s a great way for them to have a try and for you to make any initial assessments!
Some of our current Duke of Edinburgh shooters who are already very competent after only their 3rd session at the club!
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Target Shooter 55
Hunter Field Target Scope Test Part 2
I set out the problems of parallax when related to Hunter Field Target shooting with an initial note on how we use mildots in last month’s issue of Target Shooter. The nine scopes would be tested side by side to see just how useable they were for HFT. As mentioned last time, mildot calibrated charts kindly supplied by Brian Samson would be set at measured ranges. The prime test targets were positioned at 15, 23, 25, 40 and 45 yards. On these charts were exact representations of what I should be seen through each scope if they had been fitted with a true mildot reticle. Of the first batch of scopes on test, only the Zeiss
had a normal 30/30 duplex-type reticle, all the rest have graduated reticles of some description and five of them mildots. By looking at the charts and moving my head I could measure the parallax error given by each scope when set up for HFT shooting. All the scopes were adjusted to ‘optical center’ and then set to a 23 yard (20m) parallax setting, by placing a target at 23 yards and adjusting the objective lens or side-wheel to the point where the reticle did not move. This first step just setting the scopes up produced some surprising results. The Hawke was parallax free on the measured 23 yard target but the objective lens read 30 yards and the MTC read 25 yards on the sidewheel. It pays to actually set your own scope’s parallax using a card placed at the range you want it at and not to rely on the scopes P/A markings.
The Bushnell 10x40 is not a parallax adjustable scope but, the front lens can be screwed out to
Bushnall10- 40 reticle
EB sniper reticle
Lighstream 3 - 12 eyebell
center crosshair to the top of the thick post on a full nine-times magnification, making it able to be used for disc rangefinding. Finally to the nub of the matter and the parallax test. With a folding chair set up and each scope placed in the custom-made cradle atop of a camera tripod, I could move my eye/head all around the back of the scope to accurately measure the amount each reticle
shorten the 100 yards factory set parallax. This I did but the other two scopes I could not alter were the Zeiss, which seemed to have a 35 yard parallax and the Schmidt & Bender which was factory set to 20m (23 yards) anyway. The first test on the charts was to see if the reticles were correctly set to a mildot, to be able to range-find a 40mm disc. The mildot reticles on the Lightstreams, the EB Sniper and the Bushnell were spot on. The graduated reticle of the Bushnell Ballistic Plex bracketed the mildot on 10.5 magnification on the particular test scope I had. The SCB reticle on the Viper mil’d perfectly and the Zeiss 30/30 reticle actually gave a mildot from
test set up
Bushnell 10*40 Bushnell 4-12*40 Lightstream 4.5-14*44 Lightstream 3-12* 40 EB Sniper 10*42 Hawke SR6 3-12*44 Viper 10*44 Zeiss 3-9*36 Schmidt and Bender 10*42
Exit pupil 4mm 3.8mm 4.4 to 3.1mm 4.4mm 4.2mm 4.4mm 4.4mm 4mm 4.2mm
Objective lens 40mm 40mm 44mm 40mm 42mm 44mm 44mm 36mm 42mm
Mils on 10 10.5 ANY 9 10 10 10 9 10
Made Japan Japan Japan Japan Japan China China Germany Germany
it took me a total of six and a half hours range time. The results areshown in table one.
The other factor involved in getting a good HFT scope is to see just how clear the target or reticle was at each range, as seen in table two.
Bushnell 10*40 Bushnell 4-12*40 Lightstream 4.5-14*44 10 MAG Lightstream 4.5-14*44 14 MAG Lightstream 3-12* 40 EB Sniper 10*42 Hawke SR6 3-12*44 Viper 10*44 Zeiss 3-9*36 Schmidt and Bender 10*42 15 Target clear / Reticle blurred Target clear / Reticle blurred Both clear (13y ret blurred) Target clear / Reticle blurred Target clear / Reticle blurred Target clear / Reticle blurred Target clear / Reticle blurred Target clear / Reticle blurred Both clear (10y ret blurred) Both clear (10y target blurred) 40 Both clear Both clear Both clear Both clear Both clear Both clear Both clear Both clear Both clear Both clear 45 YARDS Target blurred / Reticle clear Target blurred / Reticle clear Target blurred / Reticle clear Target blurred / Reticle bit blurred Target blurred / Reticle clear Target blurred / Reticle clear Target blurred / Reticle clear Target blurred / Reticle clear Target clear / Reticle blurred Target bit blurred / Reticle clear VFM 5 3 4 4 3 3 4 5 3 5 Rangefinding 5 3 4 3 3 5 5 4 3 4 Reticle Optics 4 4 5 4 5 4 4 4 3 4 4 3 5 3 4 3 3 5 4 5 Overall 5 3 4 3 3 5 4 3 3 5
ALL TESTED ON 23 YARD PARALLAX APART FROM ZEISS
moved at 15, 25 and 45 yards. This is the real key to HFT and a lot of shooters do not realize this, if the head/ eye is not in the correct place for every shot they take, the pellet can strike up to half a mildot or more away from where they want it too - purely on parallax error. Remember, we are trying to get the scope to do things in HFT that it is not designed to do - because we cannot alter the scope during the competition we have to live with certain parallax error. Some scopes however are more susceptible than others and there are a few things we can do to combat it. These first four articles will concentrate on testing the actual scopes, not on the ways of beating it, that will come in later issues once we have looked at all the potential best HFT scopes out there. I repeated the test several times over three occasions,
If the target is clear at 40 yards and slightly blurred at 45 yards, you can range-find it that way, hence Pete Sparkes 23 yard parallax setting, I had Schmidt & Bender set my fixed 10x42 scope to 20m after talking to Pete - he is the most experienced HFT shot in the world, so you need to listen when he says anything. This did not work with the Zeiss, as the parallax setting was too long at 35 yards and the Schmidt & Bender, whose optical quality was just too good to make the 45 yards target very blurred. Don’t get me wrong, it is a tiny bit blurred but it can be tricky to get it to blur depending upon what sort of a day my eyes are having! With the other scopes, some had the reticle blur at 15 yards, while others were both clear. There are other particular things which influenced my overall ratings, such as price, lens coatings, extras and build quality. The Bushnell 10x40 has Japanese build quality, a mildot reticle and is small and light so good for junior /female shooters. The only down sides are that it is not made as a parallax adjustable scope but, it is easily altered - and you cannot alter the parallax in an HFT comp anyway. The large target knobs can be accidentally rotated/knocked if you are not careful. The biggest plus for me, apart from the optics is the ‘Rain Guard’ lens coating, which literally drives water droplets off your lenses, very handy in the UK! The Bushnell 4-12x40 is parallaxadjustable, Japanese built and the Ballistic Plex reticle gives inexperienced shooters a better windage aim-off
the forums when these scopes first came out was that they gave more parallax error than others. This was simply not true in the tests I carried out. The downside is the shorter targets are a bit more blurred than when set on 10X mag. The EB Sniper is Japanese built with a side-wheel P/A adjustment. It is a big solid scope but the turrets can be knocked off zero if you are not careful. The optics are not brilliant but that’s what gives it the ability to range-find so well. On pure statistics alone the EB has more HFT wins under its belt than any other scope - bar none. Next the Hawke - the next to the cheapest scope here and built in China. The parallax ring did not correspond to what it was marked at. The reticle has windage advantages not being a simple mildot. It ranges very well, but I had trouble optically centering it. The Chinese built Viper is the cheapest and has locking turrets, side-wheel parallax and the SCB reticle. The illuminated SCB is a bit too fussy for me with multiple hash lines but it comes with flip-up lens covers and a set system than simple mildots. It too has the ‘Rain of two-piece mounts. None of Guard’ lens coating but it did seem to suffer more the other scopes have this level of extras thrown-in. parallax error at 45 yards than the other Bushnell scope. The Lightstream 4-14x44 is Japanese built has good optical-quality, is parallax adjustable and has target turrets protected by dust caps. It has the most useful reticle of the whole bunch of scopes in that it is in the first focal plane, the only one in the test. As such, it ‘mildots’ at any of its 4-14 magnification range. I tested it on 10 and 14 times with a longer 28 yard parallax setting, this bigger mag gives a tiny 3.1 mm exit pupil and only 2/3 of a mildot EB sniper turrets error at 45 yards. The word on
Bushnell 4-12 turrets
Bushnell 10 mag
On value for money alone it’s worth a look. The old German built Zeiss was not really useable for me, the 30/30 is not versatile enough. The Schmidt & Bender 10x42 is simply superb in German build quality and optically it’s streets ahead of the rest and a one off. I will continue to use this scope for HFT as it has already proved its worth to me with a string of Gold and Platinum level badges at national and local level as well as a 1st and 3rd at the two ‘Gathering’ shoots it has shot and 9th in the 2009 World HFT Championships. In conclusion for the first part of this mega test, I rate the Bushnell 10x40 my choice scope on
performance and price. I won the ‘Gathering’ with mine in 2005 and a 3rd place in the event in 2004. For beginners, I recommend the Hawke as it can be used for hunting too and is P/A adjustable. The second batch of scopes will be the Hawke SR12 which has the .22 version of the SR6 reticle, the Hawke MAP scope with a simplified reticle, the AGS 3-12 side-wheel P/A scope and the Leupold 3-9x33 EFR with a mildot reticle. Another ‘special’ scope made for me by Leupold, just like the Schmidt and Bender. CLANG, bit of a name drop there, sorry!
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Hopefully it is now evident that Civilian Service Rifle (CSR) has moved away from Practical Rifle (PR) in some important areas – perhaps enough to even consider using different dedicated rifle/scope SGC Speedmaster AR15 CRS rifle with Nightforce scope below PR Upper with Leupold scope. Hensoldt scope on the left the dominant rifle in both these disciplines, I will now examine the money saving option of using two different uppers (upper receiver and barrel) with only one lower #(lower receiver/trigger and butt). This offers an immediate £300-£400 saving, plus £150-£200 if you have an adjustable/match trigger and upwards of £250 for a fancy butt! The savings could easily total £700-£850. Lower (receiver/trigger and butt) This lower will form the basis of the rifle and will allow you to become used to one trigger, one pistol grip and one butt – consistency being one of the founding principles of marksmanship. The lower I have chosen is from the UK’s longest standing producer of AR15 rifles; the Southern Gun Company (SGC) have been making custom AR15’s for the UK market for over ten years, over 1,000 have been made and SGC are now producing a Mark 5 version of the receiver. On the basis that my first PR specification SGC Speedmaster AR15 was able to shoot half a minute of angle or less with handloads, I saw no reason to change manufactures when looking for a lighter Upper for CSR. The SGC receivers offer both left and right hand cocking (being able to grab both cocking handles can be very useful when you have a stuck case) with the left hand cocking
combinations for each event. One would have a thick barrel, bipod attachment and variable power scope for PR and whilst the CSR rifle would be lighter with a thinner barrel, no bipod and lighter 4 power scope. Depending on which competition you are entering you just swap uppers and have no worries about changing zero or getting used to a different trigger pull. Given the current economic climate and considering that the AR15 is
Hensoldt Ferro-Z 24 showing 1cm/100m click adjustments
Hensoldt Ferro-Z 24 showing 1cm/100m click adjustments and bullet drop compensated elevation drum Target Shooter 65
Jewel trigger showing serrated wheel and spring wire for trigger weight adjustment
being designed for bipod supported rapid fire prone or weak shoulder PR stages. These receivers can be had as a flat top or with a raised scope rail – both machined to accept Weaver or Piccatinny scope rings. The flat top has the advantage of being able to mount an Iron Sight Carry handle for use in Hi-Power rifle competitions or Any Iron CSR. The photograph shows both types of upper, my new CSR rifle having a flat top with a Nightforce 2.5-10 x 24 scope. The smaller scope in the picture is a military surplus 4 power Hensoldt on an A.R.M.S. #5 base for mounting on flat tops. My original SGC Speedmaster was fitted with an optional Arnold Jewel 2-Stage adjustable trigger which nowadays will not see much change out of £200. There are other match triggers available and the decision to opt for single or two stage is largely down to personal choice. Single stage is probably a better choice for the standing, kneeling or sitting stages whilst I prefer two stage for prone. The important thing is that you will have a much better trigger pull that you can adjust to a precise 4.5 lbs. Opt for the standard military trigger and you will end up paying someone to tune it and altering the weight of the trigger pull is largely down to using trial and error to bend a piece of wire! Adjustable or match type triggers are not eligible for Hi-Power competitions. On the Jewel trigger the weight of the trigger pull is adjusted by moving the spring wire around the serrated wheel – this and other adjustments can be done whilst the trigger unit is mounted in the receiver. AR15 butts tend to be short for most people so adjustable butts are popular – particularly adjustment for length. The standard pistol grip also places the trigger around the lower joint of the finger when the joint nearest the finger tip would be better. Magpul make a MIAD Multi Grip which has five different sized front and rear panels which can easily be changed to suit all hand sizes – having tried one on the firing point I shall be ordering one from SGC shortly. Uppers (upper receiver and barrel) This is the area where the divergent requirements of PR and CSR are most apparent with PR requiring at least a 20 inch long, thick and preferably fluted barrel whilst CSR is better suited SGC Speedmaster with Nightforce 2.5-10 x 24 scope below Hensoldt with A.R.M.S. #5 base
Nightforce NXS 2.5-10 x 24 scope showing left hand side, illuminated reticule knob and Unimount
to a thinner, possibly shorter and consequently lighter barrel. Both disciplines benefit from muzzle brakes to help with faster target acquisition, less recoil and the ability to stay on aim and observe bullet strike (splash) in the sand at all ranges. I never believed that a muzzle brake was required for the lightweight .223 round so I didn’t have one fitted to my PR barrel. It wasn’t a big drawback, especially when shooting prone supported because the heavy Parker Hale bipod I use helped add weight at the forend. However, when the CSR rules changed, effectively eliminating bipods in the Service Optic class, I noticed two things when using the magazine resting technique. First was the noticeable barrel flip that made it hard to spot splash at ranges of 300 yards or less and secondly, the 1 in 8 tight rifling twist and the use of 77 grain bullets created a twisting affect on the whole rifle. A quick search on the internet revealed the Primary Weapons Systems DNTC compensator (www.primaryweapons.com) which is designed to solve both problems. It really works so I had SGC fit one to the 20 inch H-Bar profile stainless steel barrel with 1 in 8 twist that I chose for my CSR rifle. Both barrels are cut with a Wylde chamber as I had specified to SGC that I wanted to shoot both standard NATO 62 grain ball and 77 grain Sierra MatchKing home loads. Wylde chambers are match chambers but with a slightly longer throat than commercial chambers, optimised for longer bullets to enable safe use of NATO specification ammunition. There are a multitude of different AR15 forends that you can use but weight and a comfortable grip are important considerations.
For PR you might want to buy a forend with rails so that you can attach accessories like bipods and forward vertical handgrips but these are not allowed in Service Optics so a simple Hogue over moulded free floating forend, available in different lengths was my choice. I also think that the same style of forend will help with consistency when swapping the uppers between disciplines. I had previously used a simple DPMS Alloy Forend but this lacked the grip and heat insulating roperties f he ubber n he ogue orend. p ot r o t H f Scopes When the rules changed for CSR the maximum magnification allowed became 4.5 power for Service Optic. Whilst my Leupold Long Range Tactical 4.5-14x50 was eligible on my AR15 I felt it was bigger and heavier (22 ozs not including mounts) than required for CSR. As a PR scope it is ideal because you want at least 10 power for 600 yards so 14 power is great whilst the ability to power down to 4.5 is crucial for shooting at one hundred yards. It also has quarter minute click adjustments which is useful at the longer ranges. A great scope for PR but I knew I would need a lighter and more compact scope for my CSR rifle. The 4-power Hensoldt Ferro-Z 24 ticks both of these boxes. About a year ago the Germans were selling these as military surplus and they were often seen on eBay, selling for about £300 (the current strength of the Euro would push this figure closer to £400). Hensoldt is the military brand of the Zeiss group so the quality is great (visit www.mg-42.net/G3_hensoldt.htm for more information). The optics are very clear and you can purchase an accessory that attaches to the side
5 shot group Sierra 77 grain handloads
of the scope and acts as a reticule illuminator. The see-through reticule is a post with interrupted cross hair – not to everyone’s taste but I like post reticules for fast shooting - having used them on an Enfield Enforcer, No.4(T), L42A1 and Swedish Mauser M41B sniper rifles. The elevation and windage drums give very positive clicks of 1cm per 100 metre. One inch is 2.54cm so these clicks are not quite half a minute of angle (MOA) which is a bit awkward if you are used to Imperial measurements! The elevation drums are bullet drop compensated from 100-600 metres (can be had in either 7.62mm or 5.56mm). Generally I felt this scope might prove ideal for CSR where the vast majority of shooting is at 300 yards or below and it put up some half MOA groups at 100 metres. However, the metric clicks would need some getting used to and swapping back to my Leupold with its quarter MOA clicks would inevitably lead to mistakes. I decided I would need to find another compact scope and, in order to match up to my Leupold, it should have a mil-dot reticule and quarter MOA Typical group clicks. from issue Nightforce NXS 2.5-10 x 24 Luckily such a scope exists - the relatively new Nightforce NXS 2.5-10 x 24, the UK wholesale importer is RUAG Ammotec UK Ltd. Nightforce has a great reputation and this scope shaves 5ozs off the weight of my Leupold, has a 30mm tube plus an illuminated Mil-Dot reticule. Other reticule patterns are available but I wanted to have the consistency of using one reticule pattern on both rifles. An additional factor was that one of the CSR stages is the running man target at 100 metres. This target runs at two
different speeds – the slow pace requires you to aim at the leading edge (the fist of the figure) whilst the fast target needs an aiming point in front (which happens to be in line with the forward knee of the figure). It is possible to adjust the magnification of the scope so that a Mil-Dot can be used to hold the necessary forward lead at the knee and thus gain the correct lead and height for the fast mover). The more I thought about this scope’s features and magnification range the more I concluded what a great CSR and PR scope this would be, 4 power for the former and up to 10 power for the latter. Nightforce also supply their own Unimount ith uilt n 0 OA aper o elp w ab i 2 M t t h you regain precious clicks for long range shooting. These mounts fit Picatinny and Weaver rails and is touted as being good enough to maintain zero when taken off and replaced on the rifle. In theory you could swap this scope between two different AR15 uppers, particularly where the same calibre, barrel length and rifling twist are used. I’m sure there would be a minor zero change between uppers but this could be allowed for by slipping the scale on the drums, as long as you make a note of the difference. I have not put this to the test but it certainly would save at least another £800-£1,000 by sharing one scope between two rifles. I like the Nightforce scope – the only criticism being that the Mil-Dot reticule is very fine for short range rapid style shooting but I believe that the illuminated reticule will overcome this. The results speak for themselves with a 3/8 inch or 11mm five shot group, shot prone at 100 metres with hand loaded ammunition from the new CSR rifle.
Box of 5.56mm L2A2 ball, RG’03 on left and Sierra 77 grain on right
brass (one of the lightest cases with maximum powder capacity), Remington No.7 1/2 Small Rifle Bench Rest primers, 24.4 grains Reloder 15 and 77 grain Sierra MatchKing heads which reach 2,600 feet per sec (fps). This is a top end load so I suggest starting at a tad under 24 grains of Reloder 15. Other popular powders are Vit140 and Varget which are similar to Reloder 15. The introduction of the new .223 77 grain Lapua Scenar bullet, designed for 1 in 8 twist barrels, is causing much excitement both with American and UK Hi-Power shooters. Very good reports have been heard about its long range ability, no doubt helped by a BC of .402 and also its longer length. The Lapua may replace the Sierra as the most popular bullet for reloading magazine length rounds for the longer ranges. Tim Hannam is importing them. Like all Lapua reloading components the quality is very high but that comes at a price – in this case £27.12 per hundred.
Ammunition What reloading components do you need to achieve these sorts of groups? As usual when reloading all the usual caveats apply as I have found these loads to be a safe in my rifle using the components listed and I make no claim that they will be safe in your rifle. All readers should ALWAYS start at least 10% below this powder load, especially so if using different brass, powder, primers or bullets.
My thanks to the Southern Gun Company for making Before I start on the subject of reloading .223 it is match winning combinations of AR15 Speedmasters important to show how the CSR and and RUAG Ammotec UK Ltd for the loan of the PR rifles perform with bog standard military surplus 5.56mm x45. The reason for this is that using reloaded Comparison of shorter Sierra compared ammunition at the 100-200-300 yard to longer Lapua 77 grain bullets stages is overkill. In fact - having too tight a group is a positive disadvantage as I have often had to challenge for a hit when the score has come back as nine wash (9 bulls and a miss). Upon closer inspection the butt officer found two bullets in one slightly enlarged hole and a maximum ten wash was awarded! I have found that the 62 grain bullets found in British L2A2 ammunition hoot ell nough n n wist s w e i a1i 8t barrel. Rapid fire, 5 shot groups of 50mm are common t 00 eters nd 0mm roups re a1 m a 3 g a possible, hich s ore han dequate or he w i m t a f t targetry used at 100 to 300 yards. However, if the wind is gusting then hand loaded ammunition will come in to its own at 300 yards and above. Nightforce. The real test will be how well I shoot my Many of my fellow shooters favour the use of 69 grain Sierra MatchKing heads but compare their ballistic coefficient (BC) of .317 to the 77 grain MatchKing’s BC of .362. Both these bullets are designed to be loaded to magazine length (about 2.25 inches). My favourite load utilises Winchester
new CSR rifle and Nightforce scope in this year’s competitions. However, I’ll still be shooting a few PR events where a quick change of upper to the thicker barrel and a bipod will no doubt help gain a few extra points.
Target Shooter is now three issues old so I think it’s time we built our first rifle. A couple of tactical-style rifles which have come out of the South Yorkshire Shooting Supply stable have impressed me recently. One is owned by Tim Finley and he wrote a little about it in Target Sports magazine. The other is owned by Ross Burrough and I’ve seen Ross shoot some pretty impressive groups even at 1000 yards with his rifle. Both these rifles are quite similar in that they are based on the Surgeon action and the McMillan A5 stock. I already have an A5 stocked rifle and although it is a great tactical stock – probably the best around – I fancy something different. Also, although I’ve worked with the Surgeon actions previously, I’ve never owned one. Of course, any action could form the basis of a successful tactical rifle. I’ve had tactical rifles based on the Remmy 700, Howa, McMillan and Barnard and all were accurate and practical but the Surgeon is one of the few actions designed specifically for tactical use. So how is the Surgeon different? A few key points: • The built-in Picatinny rail really stiffens up the action, compensating for the magazine cut-out. • The integral recoil-lug makes barrel-swaps/ removal so much easier, especially in the field. • The Surgeon will take any Remington-style trigger – including a Jewel. • Although the action has the Remmy ‘footprint’ it benefits from a larger barrel-tenon. The action also has ‘field’ tolerances. It’s built to
Above - Our AI stock comes with one magazine and includes ‘bottom-metal’ which would cost extra with an A5
much closer tolerances than the Howa or Remmy but not so close as the Barnard. In other words, it’s accurate but not too tight to be practical in the field. This is also aided to some extent by the fluted bolt. This is not for decoration – the flutes will hold any dust or grit which might otherwise find their way into
The 308 Win and right, the 6.5x47 Lapua
The McMillan A5 is a great tactical stock
the action, possibly locking-up the bolt as it could do with a ‘benchrest fit’ action like the Barnard. As always, it’s ‘horses for courses’ – if you are building an F Class rifle choose the Barnard, or maybe a BAT if you are building a benchrest rifle but if it’s a tactical rifle, the Surgeon is a great choice. So, that’s sort of set the tone for our project – a tactical rifle based on the Surgeon action with something other than an A5 stock! Chambering? We have several to chose from, ranging from the little 6BR Rem. up to the 308 but remember, we need it to feed from a 308 size magazine. My shooting buddy, Rob Hunter is currently playing with the 260 Rem – a necked-up and improved 6.5mm version of the 243 Win. and I’m doing a similar thing with the 243 Win. Improved. Both these would make fine tactical cartridges but what would they offer over the 308?
the way out to 1000 yards – especially if you are using a 30-32 inch barrel like the F/TR guys. If you are using a 24-26 inch ‘tactical’barrel then the 308 suffers at longer ranges and will lose out to the 260 Rem. and 243 Improved. Both these cartridges require some case-forming however and with a tactical rifle, this takes away some of the practicality as factory ammunition will not be available. I can see that I’m slowly talking my way into another 6.5x47 – just as Ross and Tim did. It’s hard to beat this little round, for although cartridges ike he 60 em ill utshoot he .5x47 n he l t 2 R w o t 6 i t ballistic programmes, it just doesn’t seem to happen on the range. I currently have rifles chambered for the 6.5x47 and the 6-6.5x47 and of the two, I’ve got to admit that the 6.5 version appears to have the edge, though initially, I favoured the 6mm as it appeared to be a 6BR on steroids! The 6.5x47 has turned out to be a superb cartridge however and it makes you wonder why it took so long for someone to invent it! OK, we’re a bit closer. Surgeon action, 6.5x47 chambering but we need a barrel. Heard about the new ‘gain-twist’ barrels from Bartlein? A gimmick? Maybe but we won’t know unless we try one and fortunately Fox Firearms have just received delivery of a batch which includes a 6.5mm with a gain-twist going from 9.25 to 8.5.
Let’s not get too excited about gain-twist barrels. Like many of the F/TR guys, I’ve recently found Yes, the theory is there and for extreme accuracy new life in the 308 Win. It’s a great cartridge, all disciplines like short-range benchrest, there may be a minute benefit but for a tactical rifle, I can’t really see that it will offer anything but it will be interesting to work with one and see if we can detect any difference. All this time, I’ve been thinking of a stock which will do the job of an A5 and maybe I have one. I’ve never been a great fan of the Accuracy I n t e r n a t i o n a l stock but it does have a few good points and one of
Here’s our Bartlein barrel head-stamp – 5R rifling, 256/264 bore & groove, 8.5 to 9.25 gain-twist
these is the price! I can remember when the AI’s were horrendously expensive but now they seem quite reasonable compared to the A5 and better still, this one is second-hand, so a bit of a bargain. It’s also a ‘folder’ which tend to command a higher price but for me, it’s just heavier. Now we have a barrel, an action, a stock and a reamer so what are we waiting for? Let’s fire up the lathe and get working. More next month.
The superb Surgeon action – note built-in Picatinny rail with 20MOA taper and built-in recoil-lug
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Shooting Website of the Month
‘The wind is not your friend’ is run by Doug Weeter in the US. It is a website that has a great deal to offer any shooter that deals with accuracy as their game of choice. There is a lot of information about shooting in the wind and a variety of wind flag designs that will keep any part time craftsmen going for a number of months. Within this website there is on offer some DIY knowledge that may stand you in good stead in developing your own. Doug truly believes that making your own wind flags will really teach you more about what the wind is doing, as you are designing then specifically for yourself. These ‘flags’ have been developed over years, with even some recognisable designs on the site. All of these can be made easily, even with spare parts lying around a garage. They are very useful designs and can be made at a fraction of the price that some would pay for them. There are also articles on wind doping, 76 Target Shooter
shooting long range rifle, charts, etc, etc. Another good page to look at is the description of the ‘Bernoulli Effect’ and the way the wind causes a rimfire round to ‘shift’. I do know that Doug is in the process of rebuilding this site to make it even better. I cannot wait.
Practical Shotgun - Harlow’s Very Close Shave!
By Tommy Burford
The first match in the UK’s 2009 Practical Shotgun Championship gave the tightest results seen for many years in the biggest divisions. Being a European Championship year, with competitors vying for national team places at the ‘big one’ in the Czech Republic in September, we always knew that no quarter would be given, ut he esults t arlow ere ery, ery lose ndeed. b t r aH w v v c i First a little background. When we lost handguns back in the late 1990s the then Cinderella discipline of the UKPSA, Practical Shotgun with high capacity Section1 elf-loading nd ump ction hotguns, ashayed s a p a s s into the limelight as many of the previously dominant pistoleers tinkered first with mini-rifle and then airsoft matches before drifting off to find other shooting styles that suited them. Shotgun then needed a considerably different approach to range craft, often needing physical tamina ot equired or istol, nd sually nvolved s n r f p a u i getting quite wet and muddy. Whilst a few die-hard handgunners stayed with the Association and carried on taking part in matches overseas using borrowed kit, as the millennium turned over the shotgunners provided the bulk of the membership and focus of the UK Association. At a world level within IPSC, handgunning was (and still is) the largest competitive discipline, but shotgun was starting to build up a small but influential band of followers around the planet. The international competition calendar won it’s first true European Championship in 2003 at Terni in Italy, a small town with a legend of dragon that had been defeated by a local nobleman many years
ago. A large British contingent turned up, confident of victory at the multi-day match, after all they felt that they had invented the sport all those years back. The dragon bit back and Terni proved to be a wake up call. International Practical Shotgun was heading in a different direction, the matches held on sandy bermed and banked pistol ranges, with open targets and very few ‘load-one, shoot-one’ stages or empty gun starts. Not a wood or stream to be seen; it was almost continuous run and gun handgunning with a shotgun and most of the UK contingent came home with their tails firmly between their legs. Since then the sport has evolved at both the world and the UK level, with the UK having a considerable input into the updated world rules through the hard work of Neil Beverley. At the second, and better attended, European Championship held in Greece in 2006 the older and wiser UK shooters put in one the largest international entries and came away with decent placing’s in the popular UK divisions of ‘Standard Auto’, ‘Modified’ and ‘Standard Manual’. And so to 2009 and the run up to the 3rd Europeans. Whilst the majority of UK shotgun matches still take place in woods using birdshot, some can run buckshot and slug stages on adjacent approved ranges. Even the NRA at Bisley are encouraging a form of Practical branded ‘Target Shotgun’ based around the renamed Police and Service Pistol competitions shot with rifled slug. Along with a new one, the Embassy Cup, these take place at the Gallery ifle ction eekends, lus wo maller R A W p t s UKPSA style birdshot, buckshot and slug ‘Shotgun Festivals’ held in February and October. The Southern Area Championships at Harlow on the 9th of May was birdshot only, with targets being knockdown steel plates at varying distances along with static and moving clay pigeons. The current IPSC rules and guidelines suggest that there should be a ratio of roughly three ‘short’ course stages, to two ‘medium’ stages and one ‘long’ course stage, only one unloaded start per six stages, and no ‘load-one, shoot-one’ in matches graded Level 3 (such as the Harlow match) and above. Three competitors entered from Serbia, and they were known to be good, with another veteran UK competitor driving up from his retirement home in France, so the scene was set for a grand International day. The range
Practical shotgun in action
crew shot the match on the Friday along with a small number of competitors who could not take part on the Saturday, and they had the pleasure of the cold drizzle and wind (some things never change). The weather cheered up on the Saturday, and the remaining 40 odd competitors in four squads ripped through the nine stages with everything done by late afternoon. As usual with true practical shooting, all of the stages were ‘new’ to the competitors and virtually all of them could be approached in a number of ways. Stage 1 had four simple plates in a wide arc, but one released a high scoring, oscillating clay on a swinging pole that would eventually disappear from view and therefore did not incur a miss penalty. Since this was only the empty gun start, you needed to work out whether the bonus points were worth the time taken to load an additional round and also risk missing. The stage winners did, but they were closely followed by a few who only loaded four rounds and ignored the swinger. Stage 2 had four, long distance, heavy plates that were visible through a slot in cover that was almost at a normal shooting height, but also had four close clays that could only be seen from under a very low barricade that made it almost impossible to use the common ‘rollover prone’ shooting position. Stage 3 saw the ‘Harlow Horse’ dragged out from retirement and give a coat or two of garish paint. This was essentially a shooting platform where you could take difficult but fast shots, or slower easier shots at the eight steel targets spaced between red penalty targets. Stage 4 introduced the competitors to another of Harlow’s new bits of range equipment – high poles for clays. Four of these along with four low clays either side of a short corridor were a good test of fast gun handling and accuracy. Stage 5 was the first of the long courses, with 24 plates in total but only a few visible from each of a number of shooting positions. In this kind of stage it’s reloading ability that wins the day. In the most popular divisions, Standard Auto and Standard Manual, the competitor’s shotgun can only start stages loaded with eight rounds in the tube, so nimble fingers and a well oiled technique are required. Stage 6 proved to equally challenging, with four short lightweight plates, and four long distance heavy plates. Since you could not use slug, buck or even really powerful birdshot for these, it inevitably needed a run forward, and usually some extra shots before the big ones fell. Stage 7 won the innovation award for Harlow’s Dave Dowding. Many hours of his went into its construction, and while only ten rounds were needed, considerable thought was needed in their application. When shot down, a steel plate on one side of the range exposed another target out of view on the other, with another steel plate releasing a barricade that exposed two more on the same side. The other side of the range was set up the same, so while there were only two shooting positions (and each of those had a knock down
vision barrier), you needed to visit one of them twice. Stage 8 was a 15 plater, a medium course that included some big poppers that needed to fall before smaller plates were exposed. Again, there were a variety of ways to tackle the stage depending on your loading skill and distance shooting confidence. The final stage 9 started with a three position traverse on three clays and up to eight steels before a sprint downrange for the final, well hidden six steels. When the results came out, the Serbs proved triumphant with Branislav Raketic beating our own James Harris in Modified Division by almost 15%. It was far tighter in Standard Auto however, with the Serbian Igor Jankovic beating the UK’s Mike Darby by less than one match point out of 470. Hard on Mike’s heels was Barry Sullivan, less than three points behind, and under nine points behind him was the final Serb, Dimitrije Simic. In sixth place was a junior shooter, Jim Starley with almost 93% - he’s definitely going to be one to watch. Further down the order was the first placed lady and UKPSA Chairman Vanessa Duffy, with a slender thirty point lead over the next three ladies who were separated in total by less than ten points. It was just as tight in Standard Manual, with Neil Smith beating Martin Davies by less than half a point, and he was pursued by Iain Guy, less than five points behind. The next two Level 3 matches are before the Europeans and take place at Carlisle and on the Welsh border during July, with the final round of the championship returning to Harlow at the end of October after returning from the Europeans. It’s going to be an interesting year. For more information on the UKPSA, the match calendar, club finder and details of how to join, visit: http://www.ukpsa. co.uk
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This year marked the 13th Phoenix Meeting which was held at Bisley over the May Bank Holiday. It has continued to grow steadily in size with another record entry this year of 2909 events being shot by over 560 competitors from across the UK and Europe. Around 137,000 rounds of ammunition were safely put down range once again which varied from 12g slug to .22lr and the weather or nce as ery ice, nlike he ast ouple f ears. f o w v n u t l c oy
Many of the shooters stepping up to the line at this years Phoenix were doing so for the first time in a major competition and a very good job some of them made of it too! The biggest surprise for them seemed to be just how friendly and helpful both the R.O’s and other competitors were to them during their matches.
Simple help with scoring, loaning equipment and a little help with techniques used in some of the harder matches Originally aimed at promoting and continuing on with the like the Bianchi and 1500 all helped to calm them down old pistol disciplines but using Gallery Rifles instead, the a bit to help them enjoy their experience, ensuring that Phoenix Meeting has evolved over the years and now they will be back next time, which is what it’s all about! Many of the newcomers are also looking forward to coming back to shoot in the GR National Championships in August too! Unfortunately many of them assumed that competing at the Nationals was only for the top shooters when in fact they are open to shooters of all abilities, and the classification system in use will ensure that everyone has a chance of winning something on the day whatever their standard!
Julie Knights had an excellent debut in her first ever competition notching up a very respectable 103 in her M/Tgt centrefire match. Fantastic shooting!
caters for a much wider variety of firearms that can be used during the event. Everything from pure speed to long range accuracy is available and Air Pistol, Air Rifle, Gallery Rifle Smallbore/Lightweight Sporting Rifle, Gallery Rifle Centrfire, Long Barrelled Pistol, Long Barrelled Revolver, Muzzle Loading Pistol & Revolver, Shotgun, Long Range Pistol and Fullbore Rifles are all catered for in one form or another. The sheer amount of ranges needed to accommodate all of these different disciplines means that over 100 R.O’s are needed to run things safely and smoothly on the day. For most, this means being on the range first thing on the Wednesday morning to set up the ranges and iron out any problems that they may have with the equipment. Then, when they are all tired and stressed out they have to go and shoot their own matches over the Wednesday and Thursday so that they are ready to start running all of the competitors through from Friday morning onwards. With this in mind we all owe them a huge thank you for giving up their time to keep our ranges safe, and for doing such a good job under the weather conditions that we had at the time. It was pretty hot for the entire weekend and being on the range for up to 9 hours a day over 5 days is certainly not an easy task for anyone to do, so thanks again guys!
On the whole the matches ran pretty smoothly and the standard of shooting was very high in some of the matches with many new records being set over the weekend. In event order here is what was achieved on the day with a Phoenix or British record:
They don’t come much more chilled out than Declan Byrne or Mike Doherty!
0521 America Match Graham Trimmer 258 & 3X Ph 0901 T&P2 GRSB David Hackett 595 & 32X B&Ph 0921 T&P2 LBP Clive Ferguson 591 & 26X B&Ph 1104 Multi Target SG Rob Adam 107 Ph 1121 Multi-Target LBP Graham Trimmer 112 Ph 1321 Phoenix A LBP Patrick Pritchett 179 B& Ph 1322 Phoenix A LBR - Graham Trimmer 189 Ph 1521 1500 LBP Clive Ferguson 1486 & 91X Ph 1701 Bianchi GRSB Gwyn Roberts 1918 & 155X B&Ph 1721 Bianchi LBP Clive Ferguson 1891 & 140X B&Ph 1722 Bianchi LBR Mel Beard 1903 & 147X B&Ph 1942 Advancing Target MLR Dave Berry 71 Ph
Dave Emery in action on the Bianchi Mover
4302 Granet GRCF Darren Digby 299 & 17x Ph 5986 4,5,600yd F Class Horst Mitera 268 & 43V Ph 5989 4,5,600yd non .303 Millitary Rifle Steven Voak 145 & 9V Ph 6168 8,9,1000yd Free Pistol 18.5in barrel Trevor Alford 210 & 19V Ph 6189 8,9,1000yd non.303 Military Rifle Steven Voak 211 & 15V Ph
the Range Officers were treated to an evening of musical entertainment including a free hot a cold buffet with wine and beer to help wash things down. Jane Shields and Sally Agnew are to be thanked and congratulated for their hard work and effort that went into making this event a success. Thanks must also go to Andy Duffy and the generosity of the shooters who together raised over £500 on the night with various raffles. This money is now on its way to the Disabled Police Officers Association in Ireland which is a very worthwhile cause indeed, so well done to all of the people involved! To round off the very enjoyable and successful weekends shooting the new NRA Chairman Dr Robin Pizer kindly attended the prize giving in the packed MLAGB club house, to hand out the trophies and awards for those lucky enough to win something.
For some of us the weekend still wasn’t over as we still had the annual International 1500 match to shoot on Bank Holiday Monday. This would be a shoulder to shoulder match with two teams of 5 shooters from each country shooting for gold. This is always an enjoyable match The winners of the Phoenix Aggregate matches were: to shoot, and despite some gun breakages on the line The John Rolfe Trophy T&P2 John Robinson 1191 78x, during the match 5 warm up some very good personal The Sue Mansbridge Rosebowl 1500 John Robinson best scores were achieved. Once the stats team had done 2986 229X, The Target Sports Bianchi Gwyn Roberts 3826 312x and Phoenix Trophy Keith Cox 6714 442x. In addition to the individual scores there were also some European Team matches in the Shorts events and these consisted of teams of 5 shooting the T&P1 and Multi Target matches in either rimfire or centrefire, with the top 4 scores to count. Highest scores on the day in GRSB were England Red with 1636 47x followed by Wales 1 with 1630 47x, and in the GRCF matches it couldn’t get any closer with the top two teams having tied on X count, but England White just edged out Wales 1 by one point with 1668 90x to 1667 90x. The Phoenix is also well known for its trade fair which is run in and around the Pavillion and this year was probably the best yet with several hundred, if not thousands of people coming down simply for this event alone. The quality of goods on offer was definitely higher than usual and included everything from the latest bench rest rifles to miniature cannons, and everything else inbetween. All in all it looked like both the traders and punters had a good time! The R.O party on the Saturday was well attended and certainly had an International flavour to it with members from All are there to help you, but the Irish SSAI and some are a little crazier than German BDMP others! Make your own mind also attending. As a big thank you up about Ash…..
Dave Hackett, a top shooter and great R.O too!
their thing it was the UK team that had taken the Phoenix Cup competition with 5966 & 402X with Germany in second place with 5810 & 257x. In the Phoenix International Trophy match (which this year also included the European Gallery Rifle Federation European 1500 Championship Cup) the UK team again produced a solid score of 5974 & 430x to take the main trophy of the day with the Republic of Ireland this time taking second place with 5937 & 405x. Congratulations must go to all those who took part in this final competition of the weekend, along with a very big thank you to all of the R.O’s who stayed on an extra day to run us all through it in their usual professional and friendly way! The final thanks must go to all of the stats crew headed by Charles Murton and Chris Farr for once again doing an excellent job for us all. To Taff in the Army Rifle Association, for providing the R.O’s and everyone else with excellent food all weekend. Also to Jane Shields, Jackie Lamb and Jackie Cowling for doing a great job on the front desk, Sally Philcox for the excellent job on the squadding side of things and last but not least, to You the shooters for making the Phoenix Meeting the success that it is! Gwyn Roberts
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Visit our Home page: www.hps-tr.com for a list of this year’s trade shows that HPS will be attending. Target Master Ammunition:
The stock range currently comprises: .223 Rem., .308 Win., .303 British, 6mm BR Remington/Norma. Machine or Hand Loaded all using Sierra as our standard bullet. However, other makes of bullets such as (but not restricted to): Berger, Tubb D-Tac , Lapua, Hornady, Speer, Nosler, etc. can be supplied upon request. Other calibres to special order including: (but not limited to): 22-250, .243 Win, 6.5 x 47, 6.5 x 55, 6.5 x 284, 7mm WSM, 7.62 x 39, 7.62 x 54R, .300 Win Magnum., 300 WSM, and .338 Lap Magnum. All ammunition available in minimum lots of 50 rounds, 400, 500, 800 or 1000 round containers, depending on calibre. Rifle Stocks, FC704 F-Class/Bench Rest Rifle Stocks, Butt Plates, Handstops, Bipods and Other Accessories plus Smallbore and Fullbore Test Rigs.
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The HANDLOADING BENCH RIFLING TWIST RATES (Part 2)
Last month, I introduced Don Miller’s twist rate formula, an easily used spreadsheet that uses calibre, bullet weight and length, rifling twist rate and muzzle velocity to give you the Sg or coefficient of gyroscopic stability. The recommended minimum value is 1.4, although any combination that produces a value above 1.0 has stabilised the bullet, in theory anyway. I say it’s easy to use, but getting hold of the bullet length may be a problem if you don’t have examples on hand to measure and don’t know anybody who does. Since manufacturers don’t publish this information, you may need to do a bit of research on the Web, or post a ‘please help’ query on one of the specialist shooting website forums such as Benchrest Central or Long-Range Target Shooting. If you’re having a rifle built or rebarreled, your gunsmith is usually a reliable source of information
The Millers Twist Rule spreadsheet does require you to obtain the bullet length which may prove a problem. 115gn Superior Shooting Systems Inc. 155gn 6mm DTAC bullet and 6XC cartridge on the left alongside a 6mm BR Norma cartridge and 105gn Berger VLD. The DTAC should work in an 8T barrel even with the little 6mm BR cartridge.
and advice if you’re unsure of what is optimal. However, although many heavy bullet / fast twist barrel combinations are well known nowadays, you may encounter less certainty over some of the newer and/or less common extreme weight bullets. This might include the heaviest 6mm and 7mm designs, for instance the very long 115gn Berger VLD and David Tubb / Sierra (‘DTAC’) 6mm bullets. Berger advises 7T for its bullet, and David Tubb 7.5T for the DTAC. Measuring a sample of the latter produced a length range of 1.288 – 1.297”,
work in some conditions. Weight (Again) Let’s return to the bullet weight versus length issue. I said last month that bullet length (in calibres) has far more influence on the required twist rate than weight, so .223 Remington sees the long (0.915”) 62gn military FMJBT need 9 or 10T, while the Berger 64gn flat-base HP Match (0.824”, or 3.7 calibres v 4.1) manages with 12T. However, weight does affect stability, but not in the way you think. Let’s take our 0.224” 62gn military FMJBT again, which is long for its weight through the use of steel as well as lead inside, plus a void in its tip. Miller calculates 1.46 Sg at the 3,081 fps average MV I got recently with some RG fodder out of a 9T Remington 700 SPS Tactical rifle. I can’t find an equivalent 0.224” match bullet right on that 0.915” length, but Sierra’s shorter (0.892”) HPBT MatchKing weighs 69gn, so 70gn will be easily ‘on’ with this length in conventional lead-core HPBT form, heavier still with a lead-to-the-tip FMJBT, let’s say 75gn. Keep everything except weight (bullet length, barrel twist rate and MV) the same, and Sg rises to 1.65 at 70gn, and 1.77 at 75gn, which are significant increases. This tells us that increasing the weight in a given bullet length actually sees less stabilisation needed, not more. A clever bullet designer can take advantage of this, as happened 50 years ago when the .222 Remington in 14T barrelled rifles was king of the small-bore centrefires. The manufacturers gave sporting shooters heavy expanding bullets that worked in
Sierra 0.224” bullets: 65gn GameKing BTSP (left) and 69gn MatchKing HPBT. The expanding sporting bullet has lead all the way to the tip, while the HP match design has a void ahead of the core. This feature allied to a slightly shorter length means the Game King will need less stabilisation than its match sibling.
and the Miller twist formula calculates 1.44 Sg at 3,000 fps MV from an 8T barrel for the longest example found, while the recommended 7.5T rate produces 1.65. I use 3,000 fps in this example as the DTAC was designed for the Tubb 6XC cartridge that gives this bullet up to 3,050 fps, and it’s a popular choice for other 6mm numbers that can push it along at 3,000 fps or more. We know that MV doesn’t affect Sg all that much, so the little 6mm BR Norma cartridge at 2,675 fps still produces a just acceptable 1.39 Sg from its ‘standard’ 8T twist rate. Where does this pedantically precise 2,675 fps MV come from? We know 2,800 fps is achievable with a 105gn bullet from this cartridge and 28” barrel and that produces 1,827 ft / lbs of muzzle energy. You will usually achieve the same ME in the same rifle from a different weight bullet without needing higher chamber pressures, and 1,827 ft/lbs equates to 2,675 fps MV with 115gn bullets. However, note that while Miller says we have enough latitude at both MVs in an 8T barrel, some recent posts on a long-range shooting forum about using this bullet in the 6X47mm Lapua cartridge (6.5X47 necked down to 6mm) with this twist rate advised that it is on the ragged edge of stability and doesn’t
HP match bullets marked to show the top of the core inside the jacket. Left to right: 53gn 0.224” Hornady HPM, 52gn 0.224” SMK, 69gn 0.224” SMK, 107gn 6mm SMK, and the very long for weight 0.308” 155gn Lapua Scenar. This feature sees these bullets produce a higher Sg than is indicated by their lengths.
this slow twist by designing blunt, flat-base, and thin-jacketed (less light gilding metal = more heavy lead core within a given size) projectiles that minimized bullet length while maximising weight. Sierra’s 0.224” 63gn ‘SMP’ (semi-point) bullet is a survivor from this period, and still works at modest .222 Rem MVs in 14T barrels. The downside of the blunt shape is a lower BC, so its external ballistics performance is inferior to an equivalent weight or 55gn ‘Spitzer’. Uncertainties We like certainties, everything black or white, which is hard luck in this subject as bullet stability is full of apparent exceptions to the rule, not to mention shades of grey. Firstly, a basic question. How much trust can we place in the Miller Twist formula? Ballisticians tell us it’s a very The 52gn Hornady A-MAX (centre) is even clever bit of work, and generally pretty reliable. longer than equivalent HP match models because of the plastic tip but is fully Nevertheless, it simplifies a complex process that requires several sets of mathematical exercises stabilised by barrel twist rates that the Miller when done rigorously. So it should be treated as formula says will be over-slow. a guide, not an infallible oracle that says that a changed that pushes it in the unstable direction. combination producing 0.999 Sg sees bullets all On the other hand, in some conditions the yawing over the shop, while another with 1.001 shoots may diminish down-range and accuracy is fine at quarter-MOA roups. his s hy he ormula’s reator medium and longer ranges. As we saw last month, g T i w t f c and other ballisticians advise choosing a twist rate differences in air temperature and barometric that produces at least 1.4 to provide a ‘safety margin’. pressure could affect such a combination either way, perhaps even during the course of a single day. Even if the formula’s results were stunningly accurate for every combination, there is no sharp Another question is whether you can trust the line in the sand at 1.000 Sg. We have shades of grey manufacturer’s specification sheet. If you buy between the black and white situations of complete a Bartlein barrel you get the specified twist – and obvious instability, and full stability identified precisely, down to two decimal places. If the through good accuracy. For instance, a marginally Savremchester catalogue says a model has stabilised bullet may appear to be alright cutting clean round holes in the target, but produces below par accuracy as it suffers some ‘yaw’ on leaving The Barnard / Eliseo .308W F/TR tube gun the barrel. Worse, such a combination might give with 30” Bartlein 13.5T barrel. Worries about excellent results during load development but later it failing to stabilise 155gn Lapua Scenars proved unfounded. disappoint during a match because something has
The view down Diggle ‘C’ Range from the range-house webcam on 11th February. The 13.5T twist barrel stabilised 155gn Scenars fully at 1,000 yards a few days later in barely warmer conditions.
a 9T barrel say, 9.0 may be what you get, or then again the actual rate may be somewhere Too Fast? between 8.75T and 9.25T. This can make a big If the results of over-slow spin are disastrous and difference when the twist is marginal for the bullet, so usually obvious to the shooter, what about going something that shouldn’t work does, or vice versa, in the other direction with a much higher spin rate and also means that when your mate tells you a than needed to stabilise the bullet? There are three marginally ‘unsuitable’ bullet shoots a storm in his issues here. Will the bullet stand up to the stresses Remy 700, you cannot be sure it’ll do likewise in your imparted by a very high rotational speed? Does an allegedly same twist Savage. Incidentally, there excessively high Sg cause accuracy to deteriorate is a view that a really well made and chambered by accentuating minor flaws in the bullet that put it barrel in a precision rifle gives you a little more out of balance? Does it affect the long-range flight leeway at the margins. This is because behaviour of the bullet through ‘over-stabilising’ it everything is concentric, so the bullet enters the so its nose doesn’t want to turn over at the top of rifling absolutely straight, or as near so as is possible. If a bullet isn’t spun fast enough to be stable, the rifle’s component and build quality Benchrest shooters use the slowest twist cannot put that right, ever, but it might produce rates that stabilise their bullets. superb results with a combination that produces an Sg barely above 1.0, while a sloppily chambered factory or military rifle struggles. You might have noticed in last month’s tables for 0.224” bullets, that some examples are calculated to be barely stable, or not at all, by what should be appropriate twist rates. For instance, the 52gn Hornady A-MAX only produces 0.75 Sg in a 14T barrel, while the 52gn Sierra HPBT MatchKing is barely stabilised at 1.05. While the A-MAX is a post-.223R introduction, the Sierra is an oldie from .222 days and was a favourite in that cartridge for varmint, target, and even benchrest shooting for years. Move to 12T, and the -MAX is now A barely stabilised with 1.05 at 3,300 fps so there are apparently ‘doubts’ about its suitability for use in most .223 Remington sporting rifles. Anybody who has handloaded .223 knows this is nonsense and
Hornady even lists loads data for the A-MAX in the 14T .222 Rem in its reloading manual. So, what’s going on here? The answer is that most hollow-point bullets see the front end of the lead core positioned well back from the bullet tip leaving empty space inside the front of the jacket. Hornady’s A-MAX and V-MAX, and similar bullets from other makers, are HP designs with the ugly hole up front plugged with a sharply pointed lightweight insert, and make the bullet even longer but still with little weight up front. From a gyroscopic stability viewpoint, such bullets are effectively ‘shorter’ than they measure, so produce higher real Sg values than the formula calculates. Likewise, the 0.224” 68gn Hornady Match and 69gn Sierra MatchKing are obviously not that far apart in their designs, but the former’s extra tenth of an inch overall length comes from a longer jacket. The resulting shape does require more stabilisation than the Sierra, but not as much as the 0.991” overall length apparently dictates. This doesn’t apply to FMJBTs or soft-point sporting bullets of course which have the lead core going right to the tip.
the trajectory and point downwards towards the target? All three issues have something in them, but ballisticians are generally much less worried about ‘too high’ spin rates than the average long-distance or BR shooter. fter last month’s article, A I received a nice email from Bryan Litz, Berger Bullets’
Target Rifle shooters used 14T barrels in the bad old days of Radway Green 146gn ‘Green Spot’ ammo in a not always successful attempt to reduce the number of points lost to ammunition related ‘fliers’.
ballistician who chided me over my assertion that a 13T barrel might over-stabilise the 155gn Sierra Palma bullet at the Raton, New Mexico ranges in high summer, the combination of short bullet, high altitude and 80ºF temperatures potentially producing Sg values around 2.2. Although the Miller Twist spreadsheet says that if the Sg is above 2, a move to a combination that reduces it might improve accuracy, Bryan says that in this sort of extreme scenario the 13T barrelled rifle will produce no less accurate results at high altitudes / temperatures, than when used in different conditions which reduce the Sg below 2.0. In the other corner, we have my good friend and unpaid gunsmith Vince Bottomley who as an avid (and very successful) BR competitor takes a different view – make the twist as slow as possible. Let’s examine each issue in turn. Extreme Stress The over-stressed bullet is easy to understand. Any bullet fired in a modern high-power rifle undergoes enormous temperature and pressure stresses particularly inside the barrel where it becomes almost plastic as it is forced into the rifling grooves and spun up to maybe a quarter of a million rpm in a few inches of travel / milliseconds. Overdo it and the bullet may not reach the target, disintegrating en route in a small cloud of grey smoke. This particularly applies to some exceptionally thin-jacketed ‘varmint’ bullets. For instance, Hornady 0.224” ‘SPSX’ (Soft-Point Super-Explosive) bullets were designed with jackets that gave rapid and massive expansion at .222 Remington terminal velocities, and the company advises that if its 50gn SPSX is used in a .22-250 Rem rifle – same 14T twist rate but higher velocities – the MV should be
restricted to a modest 3,400 fps. hat T produces a spin-rate just under 175,000 rpm in a 14T barrel, so the maximum MVs that should be used with this bullet from 12, 9, and 8T rate .223 Rem barrels are around 2,920, 2,190, and a mere 1,950 fps respectively! This problem can arise with any lightweight bullet at high velocities in a fast-twist rifle – my 8T Lilja barrelled .223 Rem Southern Gun SSR-15 sometimes destroys 52gn Hornady A-MAX match bullets. The problem has also arisen with some 140gn 6.5mm and 175gn 7mm bullets with the ‘hotter’ cartridges used in long-range target shooting. It has been mostly associated with Berger Match VLDs with their superbly consistent but thin J4 jackets, but I’ve seen it happen to heavy 6.5mm Hornady A-MAX bullets too. Sierra bullets which have thicker jackets are immune, and Berger was concerned enough about its bullets’ reputation to research and introduce thick-jacketed versions of the two problem bullet calibre/weight combinations in both ‘Match BT’ and VLD form in a remarkably short time last year. It should be noted that this phenomenon often requires aggravating factors in addition to the high spin-rate – barrel wear or roughness, high air / barrel temperatures, heavy fouling and suchlike, and the exact mechanism(s) that causes bullets to break up is the subject of much learned speculation. Balance When Vince Bottomley and I were deciding on the barrel make and specifications for my Barnard / Eliseo .308Win GB-F/TR tube-gun described in the Aril issue, not to forget Vince’s identically barrelled BAT action rifle, he talked me into joining him in using a 13.5T rate in our Bartlein barrels, the intended bullet being the 155gn Lapua Scenar, a very long design for its weight. Vince, with his benchrest shooting background, always goes for the slowest twist that will work, but I began to worry after the order had been placed as to whether 13.5T was right for the Scenar. The Miller formula gives the 1.291” long bullet an Sg of only 1.07 at my target 3,000 fps MV under standard environmental conditions! I was concerned I’d end up restricted to the shorter, much lower BC 155gn Sierra Palma MK. Anyway, no problems – 100 yard accuracy was superb even from starting loads with low MVs, and the rifle’s first 1,000yd club competition saw reasonable results despite it being a bitterly cold early spring day – the car’s external thermometer read 3ºC on arrival at the range and still read 3ºC on the way out seven hours later!
Using 155gn Scenars from our 13.5T Bartleins, Vince took 4th F/TR place in the first national F-Class League round of the season in April and I was 5th two points behind, the matches shot over 800, 900, and 1,000 yards, so no accuracy problems there. Why take this risk, and not specify the widely used 13T, or even 12T (the manufacturer’s
noticeably more and worse ‘fliers’ at 1,000 yards with the poorer ammunition lots. Now, I know that airing this will elicit another email from Mr. Litz whose view is that today’s match bullets are so well made that the effects of faster barrel twist / bullet spin rates are non existent to marginal and having a stability safety margin is more important. However, there are valid arguments on both sides of the issue. As always, you pays your money and makes your choice, but there is one disadvantage to the minimum-twist approach you should be aware of – it limits your choice of bullet. If this year’s F-Class league results were to demonstrate that F/TR competitors using 210gn bullets have an advantage over us 155gn shooters, we’re stuck with the lighter bullets unless we rebarrel. If it’s the other way round, the 210gn users can switch to 155s, and probably not see any noticeable accuracy loss despite using a 10T twist rate – in fact, that’s just what successful F/TR shooter Steve Donaldson does, using 210s at 8001,100 yards and switching to 155s for 300-600yd matches to reduce recoil and barrel throat wear.
Trajectory Our third possible ‘over-stabilised problem’ is that some people theorise that a bullet that is spun overly fast adopts a slightly nose-up attitude in Berger Bullets now manufactures its 140gn the second half of the trajectory as it drops down 6.5mm Match VLD and Match BT bullets with towards the target, affecting stability and the regular J4 jacket thickness and a special increasing air resistance. The alleged cause is that a bullet that is stabilised ‘too much’ tries to thick version. maintain its initial angle of departure through the recommended twist rate for this bullet)? An gyroscopic steering effect, and this angle will article of faith for top benchrest shooters is that the be noticeably upwards in long-range shooting perfect bullet doesn’t exist, or at least not 100 of because of the elevation required. This theory them together in one carton. Even expensive was much discussed in the 1980s when 1,000yd handmade 62-68gn 6mm BR jobs are likely to suffer the occasional hidden flaw that puts a bullet out of balance (to be precise, moves its centre of gravity off the axis fractionally), say the jacket ever so slightly thicker on one side than the other. In such top quality bullets, and even the mass produced MatchKings, Scenars, and Match BT or VLD bullets that most of us use, manufacturing and component quality is very good nowadays, so any ‘fault’ will be tiny. However, if it does exist, the faster you spin the bullet, the more it will deviate from its intended path, especially at ultra long-ranges. So, benchresters and many long-range precision shooters adopt rifling twist rates that spin the bullet as slowly as possible while still stabilising it. If you shot Target Rifle some years back you’ll It was alleged that the 155gn Sierra Palma be familiar with this issue as the ‘standard’ TR rifle MK adopted a nose-up attitude as it curved in pre-155gn ammunition days used a tight-bore down towards the target at long range if ‘over 14T barrel to cope with abysmally poor quality stabilised’, rather like the NASA Space 146gn FMJBT bullets in RG ‘Green Spot’ 7.62mm Shuttle landing, although with a less acute ammunition. TR rifles with 10T or 12T rates produced angle.
Service Rifle competition became popular in the USA and .308W M1A shooters had trouble getting a bullet that would perform. Popular 600yd loads with the 168gn Sierra MatchKing (SMK) went through the target sideways – if they hit it at all – the 180gn SMK suffering similar problems. The 190gn SMK was a proven 1,000yd performer in bolt-action rifles, but couldn’t be used in the M1A as it produced excessive gas port pressures and overstressed the action. When Sierra introduced the 155gn Palma MK, it seemed logical that if it worked at 1,200yd from a single-shot rifle, it would too at 1,000 in the M1A even if MVs were considerably lower – but it didn’t cut the mustard either. It was speculated that the M1A’s 10T barrel twist was the reason for this conundrum through ‘over-stabilisation’. Ballisticians are now much less convinced about this, and many would say that inadequate velocities were probably the main problem here,
solution eventually came in the form of the 175gn SMK used in the US Army’s M118LR 7.62mm target / sniper cartridge and handloaded too by many American F/TR shooters. Long-Range The M1A problem brings me neatly to the final issue I’d like to air on bullet stability and barrel twist rates – does stability deteriorate with distance? It’s known that some bullets simply don’t perform at 1,000yd unless they are driven really fast – the 168 and 180gn SMKs for instance won’t perform in .308W at this range, but will at .300 Magnum velocities. It was alleged that early 14T 5.56mm / AR15 accuracy was adequate at short range but not at 500 metres due to inadequate stabilisation, and so on. Taking the two SMKs first, the problem is ‘dynamic stability’, mostly due to the boat-tail angle. Even if spun sufficiently fast, they become unstable when their speed drops into the transonic zone somewhere around 1,200-1,300 fps which happens at 800-900 yards with a .308W depending on barrel length / MV. The AR15 problem was probably inadequate initial stability that had bullets yawing about a bit as they left the barrel, but not enough to give really bad accuracy at 100 metres, but saw the yaw increase with range. The good news, completely counter-intuitive given that every other ballistic problem appears to get seriously worse in 1,000yd shooting, is that if a bullet is adequately stabilised at the muzzle so it groups well at 100 yards, its stability actually increases with distance. How so? Let’s go back to basics – we need to spin a bullet because air resistance acts on a point towards its front end and tries to overturn t, he trength f hat push’ etermined y he i t s ot ‘ d b t bullet’s velocity. As it slows during its flight, the overturning force reduces accordingly so a slower rate of spin is needed to stabilise the bullet. While a typical high-BC match bullet will lose over half its initial velocity over a 1,000 yard trip, it only loses around 10% of its spin rate as this is much less affected by air resistance than forward speed. So the 155gn Scenar that starts off with a nominal Sg of 1.07 from my Barnard / Eliseo F/TR rifle (it will be somewhat higher in reality because of the void ahead of the core in this hollow-point design) might have an Sg of 3 or even 4 when it reaches the target. So, a comforting message to take away from this brief look at stability is that if a cartridge / bullet / barrel combination performs really well at short range, and continues to do so in the coldest, highest atmospheric pressure conditions you’re likely to shoot in, then it is adequately stabilised not only at that range, but at all ranges. That’s not so say that it will perform well in long-range competition of course, because there are lots of other potential pitfalls in that game.
A handloaded .308W cartridge with 168gn and 180gn Sierra MatchKing bullets to its left, and a 175gn long-range bullet to its right. (The bullet in the handload is a 155gn Lapua Scenar that has been ‘pointed’ in a Whidden Gunworks special die.)
.308W having marginal performance at these ranges unless the bullet is pushed really hard. (With a 20” barrel and finicky gas operated mechanism, you cannot use really hot loads or slower burning powders in M1A / M14 rifles.) The
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Gun of the Month
I came across this rifle at a McQueen competition at my local range recently. If you aren’t familiar with the McQueen competition, it’s basically a sniper type comp. shot at 200 and 300 yards with a little built-in stress element. anodising in various colours, right through to custom paint finishes like this one. The rifle was put together by North West Custom Parts in Manchester (www.nwcustomparts.com) and they are also responsible for the eye-catching Duracote The comp. always attracts some nice looking cammo paint-job. You can of course take your tactical rigs and if you want to do well in the own rifle along for a Duracoat face-lift and
McQueen, you need a rifle capable shooting painting is done on the premises so a quick around half MOA and a trigger-puller who can turn-round is guaranteed. Check out www.durapick up a randomly displayed target and coat-finishes.com release an accurate shot in under three seconds. Other details include the 20MOA Picatinny rail, The action is a Remington 700 which is standard one of North West Custom Parts own except for the tactical bolt-knob. The Lilja muzzle-brakes and the butt-mounted mono-pod. stainless-steel button-rifled barrel is chambered How does it shoot? As good as it looks! for the 6.5x47 Lapua cartridge, which is quickly becoming the ‘must have’ tactical cartridge. Please mention The stock is an American McRees Precision www.mcreesprecision.net and if you aren’t familiar, they are machined from billet aluminium, in several configurations from benchrest through to tactical. when using advertising in The action sits in a custom-inlet and therefore the magazine bedding is not required. Inlets are available for most popular actions and the stocks can be had in a variety of finishes, from polished aluminium, 94 Target Shooter
Novio club room
Target shooting is a sport for all; men, women, the young and the old. You will see a good group of people from all walks of life shooting at the ranges at weekends and during the week. Novio Magnum Pistol Club is in the heart of the Sussex countryside not far from Chichester. Being a ‘self made’ Club, Novio Magnum outdoor ranges were built by its Members during the seventies, gaining MoD approval. The Club has good facilities, with two outdoor ranges and one indoor range. Rumble Range (named after its creator John Rumble) is based in an ancient chalk-pit in the middle of the South Downs just North of Chichester. It is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of the rare insect and plant life found there and the Club Members are proud to be doing their bit in looking after an important part of rural England. It houses a 50-metre outdoor range where we can use rifles and pistols up to a maximum calibre of .577” and a maximum muzzle velocity of 2150 ft/sec and muzzle energy of 1496 ft lbs. This range has six covered firing points. By the Summer of 2009 we will have a full-size Running Boar moving target on the 50 metre range. This was originally housed at Bisley and was purchased by a few Members for the Club. We are the only private Club to have this facility outside of Bisley and this makes Membership of Novio Magnum very desirable. The second range of 25-metres in length can also use rifles and pistols to a maximum calibre of .577” and muzzle energy of 1496 ft lbs, but with a lower maximum muzzle velocity limit of 1675 ft/sec. This range also has six covered firing points. Our 25-metre indoor facility is in Wellington Road in Chichester itself. It is a purpose built construction next to the Rugby Club and is for .22LR rimfire and air pistol or rifle. We also have a smaller version of the Rumble Range moving target mechanism for air pistol rapid-fire. This range has six firing points and hosts the main Clubroom, kitchen, offices and club notices and displays. The indoor range is brand new, built in the last two years and is shared with Chichester Rifle Club. This new facility is superbly lit, ventilated and heated and is used extensively throughout the year.
Some Members shoot fullbore rifle at Bisley, while others arrange to go up as a group a few times a year. Most enjoy the wide range of shooting disciplines that can be shot throughout the year at the Club, although it gets pretty cold at Rumble Range in the winter months! The disciplines shot at various ranges the Club has are: • Prone small-bore rifle at25 yards and 50 metres • Rapid Fire and Precision Centre Fire Gallery at 25 yards and 50 metres • .22 Benchrest Rifle at 25 and 50 metres • Air Rifle Benchrest Rifle at 25 metres • 22 Sporting Rifle at 20 yards • Muzzle Loading Rifle at 50 metres • Muzzle Loading Pistol and Revolver at 25 metres • Air pistol - 6 yards/ 10 yards/ 20 yards and rapid fire • Target Air Rifle • Fullbore Centerfire Rifle - (Shot at Bisley 100-1200 yards) There are approximately seventy Members shooting a variety of disciplines including prone small-bore, rapid and precision gallery rifle, rimfire benchrest, rimfire sporting rifle, muzzle loading rifle and pistol; and air rifle and pistol to name a few. We take part in a variety of competitions; taking it seriously but having fun at the same time. The Club Members participate in inter-club, county, national and international competitions, as well as running internal competitions and fun shoots. The fun shoots take part at various times during the year, with some ‘range maintenance days’ helping to keep the place tidy. The Club opens on four days of the week, but any day can be booked by full Members throughout the week, as long as two Members are present at all times for safety reasons. New applicants are coming in all the time, but we welcome new Members of any age. These will be given a ‘Sponsor’ who will provide training and mentoring throughout their Probationary period. As the Club has both 50 metre and 25 metre ranges (indoor and outdoor) we consider ourselves lucky to have some of the best facilities in the South. We feel that the Club has a lot to offer the committed sports person – both adult and junior – so feel free to roam around our website and we look forward to hearing from you;
Indoor 25 meter range
Chris Potter Country Sports
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You can also purchase goods from us by mail order. Our online catalogue can be viewed at www.continentalshooting.co.uk and orders placed over the internet. We carry an extensive range of products covering all aspects of shooting including: Calls and whistles Cartridges and cartridge cases Clothing and footwear Decoys Dog training equipment Gun care materials and repair service Gun cases Hearing protection Knives Lamping equipment Optics Rifle accessories Recoil reduction pads Shotguns and firearms (both new and second hand) If you are looking for something and can not see it on our web site please give us a phone - we usually know where things can be found! Also keep an eye out for our special offers each month.
VINCE’S REGULAR COLUMN WHEREBY ACCURACY NUTS CAN KEEP UP TO DATE WITH THE ACTIVITIES OF THE UKBRA
Competitions May already and we are still freezing on the firing-point! To be honest, the wind wasn’t too bad on the Saturday for our 100 yard shoot but we had just three groups in the ‘ones’. Smallest of the day was a superb 0.131 incher shot by Tony Lenton. Tony is a relative newcomer to benchrest and this was only his second competition with a proper 6PPC bench gun, so excellent shooting. 2nd Darrell Evans 3rd Bill Martin 6PPC Sako 223 Remington 0.4716 0.4764
Small group Laurie Holland 0.207 inches On the Sunday, we shot at 1000 yards and the wind was really fierce, though it was otherwise quite pleasant. Again, we had another great entry but it was soon clear that we were in for a hard day. Last month Dave Jackson won the competition with a seven-inch agg. – today, his best group was sixteen inches! These conditions punish slow shooters but those who can get their five rounds away in under 15 seconds were rewarded with some impressive groups. Ian Dixon’s 5.91 incher was best of the day but Les Prior also had a ‘six’.
The overall win went to Martin Eldershaw, who has returned to the sport after a lay-off but clearly it hasn’t done him any harm – second place last time and now a win! In Factory Sporter Class fellow writer, Laurie Holland continues to embarrass many HV shooters with his out-of-the-box Savage LRPV chambered in 204 Ruger. Laurie not only won his class again but finished fifth overall with a small group of 0.209 inches! A stunning performance for a genuine We had four ladies shooting this time and modestly priced factory rifle. Diane Smith was the best of the ‘powder-puffs’ shooting ery reditable .8 nch roup ith er liseo av c 9 i g w h E Results: tube-gun chambered in 6.5x47 Lapua. It’s great to see ladies enjoying 1000 yard benchrest – as long Heavy Varmint as they don’t start beating us! 1st Martin Eldershaw 6PPC CSS Stolle 0.2578 2nd Ian Dixon 6PPC Walker BAT 0.2856 In Factory Sporter, Ian Kellet had little opposition 3rd Carl Sales 6PPC Tooley Nesika 0.2894 with his 6.5-284 Savage as Phil Gibbon and Bruce Lenton were absent, so it was ‘game set and match’ to Ian with small group, smallest agg. and nearest to centre which netted him a useful £30. Results: Light Gun 1st Ian Dixon 7WSM Walker Stolle 11.265 2nd Steve Dunn 7mm Dunn BAT 11.267 3rd Mal Roberts 6.5mm BAT 11.853 Small group Ian Dixon 5.91 inches 15.46 19.687 24.468
Ian Kellett on his way to winning Factory Sporter with his 6.5-284 Savage1000 yards.
Small group Tony Lenton Factory Sporter 204 LRPV Savage
6PPC Stolle 0.131 inches 1st Laurie Holland 0.3084 inches
Factory Sporter 1st Ian Kellet 6.5-284 Savage 2nd Adrian Evans 308 Remington 3rd Alan Seagrave 308 Steyr Small group Ian Kellet 10.179 inches
New Stuff - Bags For those of you who are interested in back-bags – and what benchrest shooter isn’t – here’s a pic of something new from Seb Lambang who makes the joystick front rests. Seb has always been a lateral thinker and his new bag design is so obvious you can’t believe no one has thought of it before. Ace BR shooter Brian Walker is currently testing it so we’ll see if it works as well as it looks. Scopes When I go to the IWA show with Brian Fox of Fox Firearms, we are always on a mission to find you the best value in rifle optics. Brian Seb Lambang’s already imports spotting-scopes from new back bag. Nikula and believe me, they are very good - on a par with my Kowa for magazine if you are interested. about half the cost. Brian picked up a sample Nikula rifle-scope at IWA and he lent it to me Aimfield Sports are great supporters of shooting for a quick look. OK, no proper test yet but on first and will be providing prizes for the World F Class glance it looks very good. Contact Fox Firearms if Championships at Bisley in July. Let’s support the you are interested. They should sell for well under dealers who support us. £300. More scopes I tested an 8-32 Sightron scope last year for Target Sports magazine and I was blown away by the quality of the glass and the accuracy of adjustment. The Sightrons are not cheap but they are no where near the cost of say a Nightforce so they represent excellent value. The 8-32 will make a great F Class scope and at 17 ounces their 36X is light enough to interest the centrefire and rimfire benchrest shooters. Aimfield Sports, who do the superb shooting-mat and drag-bags are the new UK Sightron importer so contact them through their ad. in this
TThe 4-16 Nikula scope from Fox Firearms
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Jim Kelby is well known in centerfire benchrest circles for making excellent quality actions, rifles and other equipment. He is also known for the manufacture of the swindlehurst rimfire action, which unfortunately no longer seems to be produced. (The last one I saw for sale was in Italy last year). These products were all available a few years ago via Litts. Since then people could get Kelby actions and parts through Brain Fox at Fox Firearms. Brian has been bringing in benchrest equipment for a good few years, including the SEB rest that I reviewed last month. The good news is that I have just heard that Kelby’s is making rimfire barrelled actions, using the Turbo action as the base, fitted with a Lilja rimfire barrel. These are also being imported into Europe by Cicognani of Italy. With just a bit of further research I have also found out that Jim Kelby will also produce these actions for individuals in the UK. Now he will deal with individuals, but getting things from the USA is very expensive going it alone, as you will have to get your own import/ export licence agreement and still have to find an RFD that will bring this equipment in for you. Better to go with someone that can do all of this for you and has
The US made turbo action Synonomous with accuracy
the licence already. Kelbys work with Brian a lot so this is where I would personally go to. Even better is that Jim Kelby will actually make a complete rifle for you, the earnest UK shooter, based on the specification noted above. Barrel selelction is up to you and can be reamed for the ammunition you tend to use. For those in the know, the Turbo action is synonymous with benchrest accuracy in the states and is used in a lot of rifles that win many matches over there. I have only ever heard of one Turbo action in this country and it would be nice to see us diversify a little in this sport instead of finding the number of Anschutz actions we use. (Let’s face it that what we have access to). With this news and the fact that we can also have access to the number of Lilja rimfire barrels available, its bringing the UK rimfire benchrest shooter closer to the kind of equipment that is winning matches in the USA. (Lilja remember make the barrels for the Bleiker rifle and are used by a number of top shooters including Matt mmons). I ave E h one of these on order myself, but for a 2013 action. The cost of the barrelled action is $1555 plus shipping at $100. There will be other importation charges on top of this and I quote US prices as currencies fluctuate at the moment – as we all know too well! Enquiries should be made through; Brian Fox; www.foxfirearmsuk.com/mainpagefront. htm The Kelby website can be viewed at; www.kelbly. com/ The Lilja website can be viewed at; www.riflebarrels. com
All teams together - the UK won best dressed. view of the Side Turbo bolt
Bottom view of the Turbo bolt
The Long View
News from the GB F-Class Association
sections and we can now buy, sell, help, discuss and moan about all things F Class. Check out the forum on www. longrangeshooting.forumup.co.uk Now we have it, let’s use it and just to start the ball rolling what about our on-going V bull debate – should the V bull score 6 points or 5.1 as in Target Rifle where it is simply used as a tie-breaker. Remember, our F Class V bull is just half MOA in diameter. There are strong feelings both ways so if you have an opinion why not put your case online? 2009 World Championships With the World F Class Championships only two months away, GB squad members from all parts of the UK arrived at Bisley on the weekend of 16/17th May for their second ‘training weekend’. The object is to work with wind-coaches and get used to shooting as a team.
GB Team captain Des Parr (back to camera) addresses the troops during one of the few dry sessions of the weekend With the GB F Class League competitions spread out over the country, it is sometimes difficult for competitors to keep in touch with each other to discuss various F Class matters. Also, with “effers” being such a sociable bunch they are normally happy to share any newly gleaned information with their fellow shooters. (Usually in the bar of the nearest hotel to the range after the comp, whilst licking wounds!)
This was one of the reasons that we set up the F Class UK website www.f-class.org.uk and in particular why the ‘Soapbox’ page was added to allow members to air their views. But it has its limits, it is hardly a true discussion forum.
For Saturday morning, it was thankfully dry but blustery. It was to prove to be a real work-out for the coaches; the strong blustery winds were challenging the ballistics of the F-Open guys and so pretty daunting for our F/TR squad, who We had talked about the possibility of setting up needed up to 17 minutes of wind with their 308s. an on-line UK F Class forum but as with all these things, we all have jobs and limited time so it was The second of the morning’s practices followed up to someone to actually put it together. Well now the same format and, if anything, the wind someone has. Lee Tomlinson of Border Barrels was even stronger – lifting off hats, mats and has put together an excellent forum with various umbrellas. Shooters rotated between coaches and targets to ensure a balanced mix.
assembled to shoot, storm clouds rushed in, the temperature plummeted and the rain arrived. The first scheduled practice ended in a torrential downpour with the targets barely visible. We took a break until conditions eased and then returned to soggy firing-points. Mercifully, it stayed dry for most of the last period. So ended another GB training weekend and what a valuable exercise it had proved to be – if our teams can cope with those howling winds and driving rain, they can cope with anything. It was noticeable how the squad has become quicker and more efficient in their firing-point procedures. It has been said that a good team is a quiet team, and it was obvious that the GB squad was simply getting on with doing the business in a quiet and methodical manner.
Conditions proved challenging for everyone but as Team Captain Des Parr says – “train hard – fight easy”.
By late afternoon, the coaches strengthened their understanding of our ballistics, the squad had become considerably more efficient and everyone had developed a greater appreciation of the total concentration required to coach and plot throughout strong and fastchanging wind Both pictures courtesy of Alan Keating. conditions. Sunday morning dawned bright but, just as we
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Lee Enfield .303 Clips Packet of 15 £10.50
Mossin Nagant Cleaning Kit £5.95 Includes a 2 compartment oil bottle, combination tool, cleaning jags, brush, complete with pouch.
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A regular column whereby Ken Hall keeps us up to date with black powder cartridge rifle shooting in the UK.
Quigley Competition – Round 2 May Saturday 16th May - what should have been a mild spring day in fact turned out to be cold and occasionally wet and miserable, with a challenging wind. This was round 2 of our series of Quigley shoots using buckets and buffalos at 400 and 600 yards. Stage 1 at 400 yards, consisted of two sighters and fifteen shots to score at the Quigley bucket at 400 yards and Dennis Richardson was able to read the wind better than most to lead stage 1 with 59 points, just ahead of David Gregory on 51 points and Richard Healey on 47 points.
respectively. Final results: 1st Dennis Richardson Browning Hi Wall 45/70 107 points 2nd Richard Healey Sharps 45/70 87 3rd David Gregory Sharps 45/100 87
Fifth Annual Tightgroup Shoot Saturday 23rd May saw twelve firers compete in the fifth annual Tightgroup competition. Run on the lines of UK Benchrest style competition, the format generally followed that of benchrest, but with some minor allowances due to the After lunch, stage 2 was again two sighters and unique nature of these 19th Century long guns. 15 to count, this time on the buffalo silhouette target at 600 yds and unfortunately, the rain Each firer was to fire four separate groups continued to make an appearance to add to the of five rounds on a standard 25yd pistol difficulties, though our three leaders maintained target and a time limit of 10 minutes per group their standard to score 38, 36 and 40 points was allowed, giving time to wipe the bore between shots. The resulting group sizes recorded were then added Dave Coleman waits for the smoke to clear together and divided by 4, to give an average group size. As per benchrest rules, firers were allowed to rest the rifles front and back. Although not used to this position, most soon got the hang of it and some very reasonable groups began to appear. However, as it turned out, almost everyone shot at least one group larger than we would have liked, due to the odd flier. Target Shooter 107
It soon became apparent that Conditions proved challenging for everyone a ‘Battle Royal’ was brewing but as Team Captain Des Parr says – “train between last year’s winner hard – fight easy”. Richard Healey and Eric Todd, who has continued to show improvement with every shoot. Richard’s smallest group, at 1.09in looked a sure winner until Eric achieved a magnificent group at 0.58 inches centre to centre, this with lead bullets sized to 0.458in. Overall the results were encouraging and show that firers are getting to grips with the ‘Dark Stuff’. Thanks to everyone who entered, we should continue to strive towards achieving smaller groups at this distance, otherwise decent scores at longer ranges will continue to elude us. Dave Gregory in action
centrefire rifle and shoot a 5-shot 0.58 inch group – with iron sights don’t forget. I know that some of our American friends shoot their BPCRs benchrest style and I would be interested to know what the world record is for this practice. In addition to Eric’s magnificent group, I see that several shooters had groups in the ‘ones’. The Quigley guys have certainly developed BPCR shooting in the last few years. Vince Bottomley Quigley winners Dave, Dennis and Richard
RESULTS: Average Best Group 1.63in 1.67in 2.46in 2.51in 2.76in 3.19in 3.39in 4.07in 4.08in 4.25in 4.39in 7.39in
Richard Healey 1.09in Eric Todd 0.58in Dennis Richardson 1.45in Gary Allsopp 1.71in Dave Bownass 1.65in John Ellin 2.14in Gary Lee 2.99in Ken Hall 2.46in Greg Hoskin 3.39in Doug Herod 3.26in K. Jones 2.94in Jake Healey 3.95in
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Comment: As a keen centrefire benchrest shooter and sometime BPCR shooter, I am immensely impressed by the groups shot today. I don’t know many folk – including myself – who could sit down at 100 yards with a modern 108 Target Shooter
Hunter Field Target News
Welcome to the first of a regular column to keep HFT shooters abreast of what is happening in HFT in the UK and from the governing body which is the UKAHFT (United Kingdom Association for Hunter Field Target). I am not a formal part or the organisation which consists of Pete Sparkes (The founding father of the sport) Lou ( The web master) and Pete Dutton ( Supremo rule writer) but I have been allowed by them to put the news letters together with their blessing and approval of content. My first dabble at a more sporting type of Field Target shooting came in 1994 when I competed in and luckily won the trial Sporting Air Rifle or SAR shoot held at Bisley, unfortunately the BFTA (British Field Target Association) at the time did not want to hold any SAR events at their shoots. Today they have more open minds and have a SFT or Sporting Field Target section run on the same full blown FT courses. FT as a sport today is a far cry from a hunting simulation, in the very, very early days it did resemble HFT, but with targets out at 55 yards, bean bags to sit upon and large magnification expensive scopes, it now bears no real resemblance to hunting at all. HFT addresses that need in airgun shooting to give a more realistic sport, still some shooters do not grasp the fact that HFT is just hunting scenarios NOT hunting simulation. The ranges are pure hunting ranges, the shortest target is 8 yards away and the longest 45 yards, but no responsible hunter would ever, ever take a 45 yard shot in a howling wind. In HFT we are forced to take shots we would never do when hunting as it is part of a competition. This is true for unsupported standers, 90% of the shots I take when hunting are in a odified neeling osition, hich y he m k p w b t way would not be allowed in HFT or FT competitions as I sit on a turned back foot and rest the rifle on my knee. So, all you HFT shooters out there Tim getting remember we are shooting a sport which is not like hunting, just more hunting than FT is. The national organised shoots run by the UKAHFT have been running since 2004, there are seven rounds left in the calendar of the 2009 series, see the web site at www.ukahft.co.uk for dates and directions to the shoots as well as the rules. Anyone with a below the legal limit airgun can come along and shoot the competition. Safety briefings are for all competitors before the morning and afternoon sessions with new comers up and coming shooters shooting in the second session at each shoot. You do not have to be a member of a club or organisation to join in the fun but safety is the number one priority. There are classes for juniors and lady shooters and there are far more young shooters and members of the faire sex shooting HFT than FT. A lot of the appeal of HFT is that a very simple non parallaxing or fixed magnification scope is ideal for the sport and just a few days ago I shot with a chap who with a £40 Hawke MAP scope won the recoiling class at a NEFTA hunter series shoot. The other main feature of HFT is that shooters gain a point for hitting the metal face plate of each target with two points for actually knocking it over, gold silver and bronze badges can be bought if your score falls within the bands for each award, again the web site has all the information. Next time I will go over how the sport has evolved from its beginnings.
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Gallery Rifle News
The weekend of May 22-25 saw the 13th the end of August will be out soon so don’t forget to Phoenix Meeting take place at the National Shooting enter early to avoid disappointment. Centre, Bisley, in pretty good weather. Turnout was much the same as last year but lots more events COMPETITION CALENDAR were shot. There is a full report in this issue. June 27-28 GR&P Derby 1500 During the Phoenix, teams from five Derby R&PC countries competed in short event aggregates with England coming out on top this time. The July 12 Jim Brown Memorial Steel European GRCF Championship Match and Challenge Phoenix International was shot on the Mattersey R&PC Monday with the UK winning the Championship. Congratulations to all who took part and July 12 Shield GR&P Practical especially to the winning Team Captains – Shield Shooting Centre Norman Brown for England and Sharon Bowden for (Either contact the the United Kingdom. organisers direct or go to Another piece of good news on the Internation- www.galleryrifle.com for al front – South Africa is joining the European GR entry forms.) Federation and hopes to have teams competing GR&P = Gallery Rifle Centre Fire (GRCF), here in 2010. Gallery Rifle Small Bore (GRSB), Long Barrelled Pistol (LBP) and Long Barrelled Revolver (LBR) This month you have the Derby 1500. A great range RESULTS with good facilities and plenty of events to enter. The Basildon, Mattersey Ten, Western Winner, 1500 match and also a selection of “short” events. Aberdeen (all on www.galleryrifle.com or the club Next month there are two meetings on the 12th sites) – one at Mattersey (between Worksop and Phoenix Meeting available in full on the NRA/NSC Doncaster) and the other at Shield in Dorset. One website or at www.galleryrifle.com. or the other must be within reach wherever you live. Please go to the Gallery Rifle website www.galleryrifle.com for more news and The Mattersey shoot is the Jim Brown information. Memorial Steel Challenge in aid of Cancer Charities and Help for Heroes. It has events ......and Finally....... for Gallery Rifles, Long Barrelled Pistols and The following match which is in memory of one of Revolvers and Shotguns. Jim worked tirelessly for our best pistol shooters ever Jim Brown who sadly the club and for shooting as long as he was died of cancer last year. able and a good turnout would be a way of There are no prizes as we have decided that all of saying “thank you” as well as supporting these the proceeds will go to charity. deserving causes. MATTERSEY The Shield shoot is a GR and LBR/LBP The Jim Brown Memorial practical match put on by that master of course STEEL CHALLENGE design, Steve Pike. He is known for putting on Sun 12th July matches that are best described as challenging entry forms are available from either although there are other names for them! Check the Shield website for entry details or give Steve a ring. www.matterseyrapc.org.uk or Entry forms for the GR National Championships at www.galleryrifle.com websites
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The IPSC European Shotgun Championships (ESC 09) take place in the Czech Republic in September. Thirty UK shooters have been awarded slots to the match. The UKPSA hope to enter a number of teams in the Championships. The National Squad Director, Ken Trail, will select teams, based on performance from both last year and this year’s Championship matches. The first round of the UKPSA Shotgun Championships got under way in May with the Southern Areas Championships. These were held at Harlow, Essex. The Standard Auto and Standard Manual Divisions were keenly contested. See the full article in this edition to see just how close. Further rounds include the Northern Areas Championships at Carlisle in July. The British Open Championships at Borders in early August and finally back to Harlow for the Home Countries Championships in October. It is hopped that there will be a number of new venues putting on both Level 2 and Championship matches in 2010. UKPSA Medals were awarded at the Southern Championships for the first time. Pate Starley
from Midway UK has generously donated these medals. The medals will be awarded at all Championship matches in all divisions and qualifying categories such as Senior and Ladies. Leicester Shooting Club have been awarded the British Open LBR Championships. These will take place on Saturday 13th December 2009 at Leicester. Other confirmed Level 2 LBR matches include Carlisle on 15th August. Any UKPSA affiliated club is welcome to apply to run L2 matches. Over the weekend of 23 and 24th May, two shotgun basic safety courses were held at both Shield Shooting Centre and Border Guns Club. All students successfully gained a pass certificate. More courses are planned in both shotgun and LBR later in the year. Members are reminded that they must renew their annual membership by the end of June, otherwise they will incur a £10 rejoining fee. Membership renewal forms are available on the web site www. ukpsa.co.uk.
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Letters and News
What a great response to the first two editions with lots of really good feedback and a few things to make us think about how we can deliver a better magazine to you.
Happy reading and we hope you enjoy the magazine. The team at Target Shooter. If you have any letters or news that you would like to air on a national basis then please contact us at the magazine. This could be for those budding writers out there that would like to submit a full article on specific firearms, competitions, shooting sports, etc. The aim of the magazine is to include you the shooters in the United Kingdom. So having a regular letters page or even a question and answer section would be really useful for a lot of people out there. Let us know what you think!? We would also like to have a gun of the month section - so send us your pic and spec and we’ll include it in ‘gun of the month’. Any news that your club or association thinks is worth viewing can also be sent in for selection. What we would like is to get a letters page started with your views, news and perceptions about all all the aspects of target shooting. So lets see those letters coming in and we will read your thoughts in these pages.
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Next time in.....
Welcome to the fourth month of this free online shooting magazine for shooters in the UK
July 2009 Issue
Regular Reviews Columns … and lots Features
FT Scope Review • Classic Rifle• New Products • and lots more…..
World Cup Success
9/9 Prone Medals 11/12 Gold medals in 50m events Total of 35 medals won by ELEY 2009 ISSF World Cups 1, 2 & 3
Champions shoot Tenex
www.eleyammunition.com Target Shooter
ELEY - the home of Tenex
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