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June 2010 Issue
Last instalment of the .308 Winchester feature
Target Shooter 1 Make your own windflags • Pellet Preparation • New Products • and lots More…..
With FL lens.
Without FL lens.
Cutting-Edge Long-Range Hunting Optics
Victory FL Diavari 4-16x50 T* – the most compact long-range ri escope of its class – tailored to demanding stalking at home or abroad.
The new reference class by Carl Zeiss provides demanding hunters with the perfect optical base for accurate shooting over long distances. Thanks to the unique FL concept, the Victory FL Diavari riﬂescopes offer razor-sharp details and bright images which are free of chromatic aberrations even with high magniﬁcations. The innovative ballistic concepts ASV and RAPID-Z® allow for deﬁned and accurate aiming via holdover point or indexed holdover lines.
New: Victory FL Diavari 4 –16 x 50 T*
Welcome to the June Issue......................
.......of Target Shooter
17 The Sightron 111
10-50x60 Scope by Vince Bottomley
6 8 10 12 15 21 37 56 Shooting Sport News Shooters Calendar Support your Local Gun Shop Self Adhesive ScopeTurret Labels by Nigel Greenaway Website Review Shooting Black Powder Pistol by Chris Risebrook I Phone Ballistics by Chris Parkin Handloading ‘Old Faithful’ the .308 by Laurie Holland Stuff your bags by Vince Bottomley Lazy Mans Auto Reset Target
25 DIY Windflags
by Carl Boswell
31 Making the first shot
count by Vince Bottomley
Preperation Part 2 by Tim Finley
70 69 74 78 85
47 WMS Steel
This Smallbore Business by Don Brook Profile on Matt Milson by Hayley Platts Club Review
Challenge by Chris Parkin
101 Advertisers Index
Basics - Past, Present and Future by Gwyn Roberts
80 Gallery Rifle
86 88 90 93 96 97 UKBRA UKBR22 F- Class Quigley Association Gallery Rifle UKPSA Editor(s). Carl Boswell and Vince Bottomley Advertising and Office Manager Andy Dubreuil. email; firstname.lastname@example.org Contributors Vince Bottomley Chris Parkin Tim Finley Laurie Holland Chris Risebrook Carl Boswell Don Brook Chris Farr Nigel Greenaway Gwyn Roberts Ken Hall Les Holgate Hayley Platts Stanley Shaw Tony Saunders
Webitorial - June 2010
So, we have a new Government and a new format with a Con Lib Dem coalition. Personally, I’m not unhappy with this – two new viewpoints rather than the tired old Labour spin. Could these two new visionaries possibly see the sense in holding the Shooting Olympics at Bisley rather than Woolwich? Not only a vast saving in staging the shooting but no de-commissioning costs after the games. One of the Coalition’s promises is to “urgently move forward with plans for a genuine and lasting legacy for the 2012 London Olympics”. This should at least mean scrapping the idea of charging shooters of almost half a million for the ‘infrastructure’ left over from the shooting events! No matter who is in power, Target Shooter continues to grow from strength to strength, with more contributors, more content and more new readers. It would be nice to add ‘more advertisers’ to that list but sadly, those who place copy for their employers just can’t be tempted to try something new. The inside front cover and the back cover are the most expensive advertising slots in any magazine and not surprisingly our major importers regularly buy this space. But is it cost-effective? Advertising managers – are you really getting best value for your employer? If I told you there was a magazine with three-times the readership of any other, wouldn’t you be tempted to try it? We currently attract a monthly readership of over 10,000 with 70% from the UK and the remainder spread over thirty countries. Why not try an ad. in Target Shooter and take advantage of our vast readership? If shooters don’t know what you sell, how can they buy it from you? More and more shooters are turning to the internet and that suits us just fine!
Until next month. Vince, Carl & Andy Carl Boswell - email@example.com and Vince Bottomley - firstname.lastname@example.org and Andy Dubreuil - email@example.com Copyright © Trinity Digital Publishing Ltd
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
better bedding but also takes the ‘ring’ out of This New Zealand company is famous for its the stock, which is often present with aluminium barrels but now they have launched a new stocks. rifle-stock. As you can see from the photograph it is a composite of aluminium and wood. The The stock in the picture is configured for off-hand billet aluminium is CNC machined to take Target Rifle shooting and comes with a multithe Barnard P action and it incorporates an adjustable butt and cheek-piece. This wouldn’t of course be needed for F Class and interesting ‘flexi-bed’ system. considerable weight (and cost) could be saved This bedding system is quite clever in that the by removing it. I’m hoping that an F/TR version action is pulled-down into the bedding area will eventually be available as I would reckon on to two flexible synthetic ‘rails’. The actual that there would be a significant market for such bedding-screw pillars are also flexibly mounted. a stock. This system will provide a much greater area of contact for the action rather than simply riding Fox Firearms are the True-Flite importers and on ‘highspots’- as is the usual case with an Brian Fox has recruited a couple of volunteers aluminium bedding-block system. I would to try the stock so look out for a follow-up. imagine that the flexi-bed not only provides
The Phoenix Trade Show
offer for the long range shooter and we hope to The Phoenix Meeting had a lively trade show have a review of one of them in an issue later this year. It took at least ten minutes to get to this year – see pic. As did Midway UK, Westlake the stall you wanted to get too, through the Engineering, Fox Firearms, NWCP, Innovatech, crowds. It was jam packed. The usual stalls were Green Leopard. We are working to have new present, with a few new ones as well. The products for review in the future. trade show has a variety of things to offer, from Although it was a wet and breezy day – it’s a antiques to the latest in technical gadgetry, for bank holiday so that is the norm – the trade show had its usual enticements. What would be nice those into a variety of shooting sports. Global Rifles had a number of products on to see is something a lot bigger at Bisley during this weekend, like the UK Shooting Show we reviewed a few months ago. Bisley is the The rain kept a lot in the Pavilion during the wet home of UK shooting and the Phoenix could Saturday afternoon grow – with backing - to the size of the Anno Domini meeting many years ago. Something to think about, as the UK Shooting Show was a great success. Gwyn, who I met at the show, will no doubt be writing a review of the matches from his perspective in the coming months, as I know he was there for the full four days of shooting. Something to look forward to in upcoming issues.
Last but not least
minimum. With the Olympics looming there – our new government in the form of David could not be a better time. Cameron and Nick Clegg have announced the desire to repeal a host of “Bad Legislation” Anyway, one for you all to ponder. that Labour had imposed. They were actually seeking people to TELL them WHICH laws This is in the words of a friend via email, but should be repealed. Now, there is a great it is something that all shooters, whatever they opportunity for us all, including this magazine, shoot should get involved with – start petitions to get a message out that shooters should call in the house of commons, etc. Watch this space for the repeal of the .22 handgun ban at a for more news. Target Shooter 7
Calendar of events over the next few months
1 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, 900 and 1000 yards. All disciplines welcome. Open to all full members of the NRA who have completed and returned the registration form which is available by clicking on the link below. Contact Heather Webb at the NRA 7 June Highpower Rifle Association Match (National Shooting Centre (NSC), Bisley) 80 round XTC. Details can be found by clicking on the links below. http://www.highpowerrifle.co.uk 5-6 June WEST MIDLANDS REGIONAL TARGET SHOOTING SQUAD West Midlands 10m Airgun Championships 3 x 60-shot matches, finals, standard and 5 target pistol. WMRTSC Wolverhampton Karen Morris Phone (Ian): 07970 166457 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 7 June to 9 June Scottish Open Championships (Barry Buddon (Scotland)) This years Scottish Open Prize Meeting will be held at Barry Ranges, Carnoustie near Dundee on Saturday 7 June to Monday 9 June 2008. Whether TR or F Class, expert or beginner, everyone is welcome at this hugely enjoyable meeting. Further information and entry forms may be obtained from Allan Mabon or by clicking below. http://www.scottishrifleassociation.org.uk 7 June to 8 June Greshams and Norfolk Open Meeting (Thetford (England)) http://www.ncra.co.uk/fb%20entry%20form.htm 11 to 13 June British International 50 Metre Championships Email: email@example.com Location: Lord Roberts Centre, Bisley 12-13 June : Hungarian FT Open 2010 Field Target air rifle National Championship + Open. more details: http://www.fieldtarget.hu/ftob2010 more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
If your club or association has events you want to publicise here then email us.
5 to 6 July F Class League (National Shooting Centre (NSC), Bisley) Contact(s): Mik Maksimovic 5 to 6 July MLAGB Pedersoli Challenge (Wedgenock, Warwickshire) An Open Competition for pistol, rifle and musket. Contact(s): David Spittles 7 to 26 July NRA Imperial Meeting (National Shooting Centre (NSC), Bisley) NRA Imperial Meeting. This series of matches is divided up into disciplines with competitions for Service Rifle, Civilian Service Rifle, Cadets, Historic Arms, Schools, Gallery Rifle and Pistol, Match Rifle and Target Rifle. It finishes on the 26th July with the Queens Final followed by Prize Giving. Contact(s): NRA Imperial Meeting 26th July- 6th August Rimfire and Air Rifle Benchrest European Championships 2010. Plzen in the Czech Republic - http://www.erabsf.org 3 Aug Highpower Rifle Association Match (National Shooting Centre (NSC), Bisley) 80 round XTC. Details can be found by clicking on the links below. http://www.highpowerrifle.co.uk Contact(s): Highpower Rifle Match Entries 23 to 24 Aug Gallery Rifle National Championships (National Shooting Centre (NSC). Some of the events being shot are 1500, Bianchi Match, Timed & Precision 1, 2 and 3, MultiTarget, Precision at 25 and 50, Phoenix A, Advancing Target and Speed Steel Challenge. Contact Brian Thomas 27 to 29th Aug - UK National Rimfire and Air Rifle Championship - held at Paul Lane Rifle and Pistol Club. Cotact via the UKBR22 website
26 Sep Somerset SBSA – Open Shoot. (Rifle) Long Ashton Ranges. Tel. 01275 836442. Email. email@example.com 1-3 October: Field Target World Championship, Hungary more details: http://www.fieldtarget.hu/ ftob2010 more info:firstname.lastname@example.org
Portsmouth Gun Centre Ltd 295 London Road North End Portsmouth PO2 9HF
Opening Times Mon 9.30 - 5.30 Tues Closed Wed Closed Thur 9.30 - 5.30 Fri 9.30 - 5.30 Sat 9.30 - 5.30
Tel 02392 660574 Fax 02392 644666 E-mail email@example.com Website www.portsmouthguncentre.com
We stock a full range of Rifles, Pistols, Air Guns, Shotguns, Ammunition, Reloading Equipment and Accessories. All major brands stocked including BSA, CZ, Air Arms, Marlin, Ruger, Umarex, Uberti, Cometa, Pedersoli, Berreta, Lincoln, Webley, Pedersoli, etc.
Welcome to GT Shooting. The premier shooting sports shop in Surrey
Fullbore & .22LR Black Power Air Rifles and Pistols Used rifles and Pistols
Our premises are located at
Optics Ammunition Reloading equipment and more...
53 Chipstead Valley Road, Coulsdon, Surrey, CR5 2RB www.gtshooting.co.uk Tel: 020 8660 6843 Fax: 020 8660 6843
We are conveniently situated near the M23 & M25.Shooter Target Opening times: Tuesday to Saturday 10.00am - 5.30pm
‘Support your local gun shop’
The Dolphin Gun Company is the result of a collaboration between two friends who are both well-known shooters on the GB F Class scene. Mik Maksimovic will be known to many of you as the major ‘mover’ in the GB F Class Association and it was Mik who masterminded the Team who beat the World at the 2009 World F Class Championships at Bisley. Mik’s partner is Peter Hobson, another keen F Class shooter and GB Team member and both have vast long-range shooting experience. In line with several shooting ventures which have emerged recently, the Company was born out of necessity. When F Class got serious in the UK three or four years ago, many Open Class shooters – particularly those using the 7mmWSM – soon realised that a barrel wasn’t likely to last a full season. Aside from any cost consideration, it was proving difficult to get quality gunsmithing work done within a reasonable time-scale so, the Dolphin Gun Company was born – initially to supply and fit barrels for Mik and Peter and for a few fellow shooters. Then, as demand and expertise increased, they were soon being asked to supply complete rifles. Setting up in the gunsmithing business is not easy or cheap. Premises and machinery in the form of lathes, milling machines etc. must be acquired. Fortunately, Peter Hobson is already heavily involved in the precision engineering business and has a vast premises set in the beautiful Lincolnshire countryside. Peter’s business already had a sort of
The Dolphin Gun Company
shooting link as he is involved in building armoured vehicles and test-range facilities for a variety of weapons was already in place. This facility can now be extended to the new business and all customer guns are fired and supplied with a test target and load data – pretty unique as I don’t know anyone else offering this service. Most of the work currently in hand is concerned with F Class rifles as this is the field where Mik and Peter have amassed a vast amount of knowledge and a major part of their work is with the Barnard action though of course, they will build a rifle to a customer’s wishes and at the time of my visit, Mik was testing a customer’s tactical rifle built around a Surgeon action and McMillan A5 stock. With shooters’ requirements so varied, it’s impossible to maintain an inventory of stocks and actions but they do aim to keep a good selection of barrels in stock – mainly Bartlein – as this component is usually the ‘stumbling-block’ as a six-month wait is typical at the moment. By keeping a good stock of barrels, it means that re-barrelling can be turned around very quickly and they are also happy to supply barrels to others in the trade. Their indoor ballistic test range is well equipped with a proper chronograph and calibres up to 50BMG can be evaluated. Integral with the range tunnel is an extensive reloading and maintenance facility all properly kitted out to provide a warm comfortable environment. Check out the website at www.dolphinguncompany.co.uk
Mik Maksimovic sorts out another load for a customer 10 Target Shooter
Re-barreling work Fitting of Moderators and Muzzle brakes - Reproofing of Rifle required Trigger work – See Trigger work
Assistance in Ammunition Development up to and including .50 BMG
Offering Ballistics testing for research and development purposes to Stanag, NIJ and V50 testing of composite and steel materials. Including High speed photography and Certifiable Results of tests. Dolphin are now proud to announce that we are ISO 9001:2008 BSI certificate No FM32560 for our Ballistic testing.
Dolphin Gun Company & Ballistic Services (a division of Hobson Industries )
2 Vine Street STAMFORD Lincs PE9 1QE Tel: 01780 481567 or 0774 7771962 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website: www.dolphinguncompany.co.uk Please feel free to contact us at any reasonable time to discuss any requirements that you may have.
Self adhesive scope turret labels by Nigel Greenaway
Above - The self adhesive labels as they come in the packet. A rather innovative idea that may well prove popular with a lot of shooters
Over the years I’ve become quite adept at reaching for my old modelling paintbrush to carefully paint new numbers on to elevation turrets of various scopes to represent quick reference points for 100, 200, 300 yards, etc. This was always a small but vital element of Practical Rifle and Service Rifle competition preparation – you really do not have time to refer to a piece of paper sellotaped on to the side of the rifle and then count the clicks for the next range. Both disciplines involve run downs between ranges where you have approximately 30 seconds to reach the next firing point 100 yards away. Using any of these seconds to count clicks is a recipe for disaster – especially during a 600 yard to 100 yard rundown when your brain starts to get a bit scrambled due to lack of oxygen! When you are exhausted and gasping for air being able to quickly move your elevation turret on to the next CLEARLY INDICATED range is vital. You can imagine then how delighted I was when I heard about Rangesports.Com – a small UK company that has spotted a niche in the market and has started to produce sidewheel/turret labels, primarily for air rifles. The labels are printed on exterior grade heat laminated adhesive vinyl which is hard wearing and waterproof. Rangesports.com also manufactures custom stickers so a quick email explaining my need for a simple set of numbers from one to ten soon resulted in a custom pack of
Below - Before and after
Above - AR15 with Nightforce scope
stickers. You can see from the photographs that the labels have a vertical line below the range number which can be aligned to your zero point for that distance. The air rifle labels start at 8 and move up in one yard or metre increments to 20 and then change to 2 yard/metre increments up to 60. There are a few other distances thrown in for good measure like 25, 35, 45 and 55. These distances are then repeated for the side focus wheel that air rifle shooters use for range finding.
My current Civilian Service Rifle is a Southern Gun Company Speedmaster topped with a Nightforce NXS 2.5-10x24 scope. This is a great little scope which I selected for its size. The elevation turret is not very tall which leaves little room for paining new numbers on – which you can see from my efforts in the picture where I have painted new silver range numbers. I found that the Rangesports labels had to be cut down in height but this was no problem and they were easy to handle and apply. The latest Nightforce scope has a taller turret so this will make life easier.
All in all a great idea and I look forward to testing They are available in two colour ways but custom them for the rest of the shooting season. colours are available: Black with white lettering and markers. Light Grey with black lettering and white markers (more suitable for aluminium sidewheels) The label sizes are 5mm x 6mm for the turret labels and 8mm x 5mm for the side wheel. Cost is £7.45 which includes postage. Visit www.rangesports. com for more details including information on their other shooting accessories.
The Reloading Specialists
Peckfield Lodge, Great North Road , Leeds, LS25 5LJ Tel: 01977 681639 Fax: 01977 684272
Retail & Trade EnquiriesWelcome
3 in 1 Case Mouth Cutter
We stock a full range of presses by Lee, Lyman, Hornady and Forster
Reloading Presses Reloading Dies
We stock a wide range of die sets and individual dies by Lee, Lyman , Hornady and Forster
We stock both electronic and beam scales from Lee, Lyman , Hornady.
From the most popular to the fairly obscure Manufacturers include Lapua, Remington, Winchester, Starline and IMI
We carry a wide range of powders from Vihtavouri, Hodgdon, IMR and Alliant
We stock a wide range of equipment, tools and kits.
Case Preparation Accessories Bullets
Including Match, Varmint and Target bullets from Lapua, Hornady Remington and Winchester. We carry a wide range of pistol bullets in both jacketed and lead.
For both Rifle and Pistol calibers from Remington, Winchester, CCI and Federal
plus lots more inc Pro-shot, Birchwood Casey, G96
14 Target Shooter
This month we review our own website and it would the account on for ‘passing trade’, for want of a be great to get some ideas from you, the reader. So better expression! However, the interest in the Scribd please pass these on to us. versions of the magazine could not be more healthy, standing at over 5000 readers a month – we thought One of the reasons for this review is that most of we would remind readers who use this site about the our readers, about 9500 per month visit it for all the official Target Shooter website and the past issues, services we offer. We started off using Scribd as videos and support available via our website. the medium for Target Shooter magazine, Not that it matters as readers are but this became readers at the end of the day, but cumbersome very for best viewing of our magazine quickly. When and peripheral products, do try taking on the new an visit us here at www.targetmagazine software shooter.co.uk. we thought interest in the Scribd version would wane a little. Just keeping
Email; email@example.com/ Website; www.westlakeengineering.com
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. The conversion of your pistol costs £330.00. Extra Cylinders are £180.00 each. If you do not have a pistol I can order a new pistol from the Importers.
Tel: 0161 430 8278 or 07941 958464 PUTTING SHOOTING FIRST
VISIT OUR WEBSITE TO SEE THE VERY BEST VALUE CUSTOM PRECISION RIFLES FOR TR, MATCH, F-CLASS, AND BENCH-REST—WE ARE NOW SELLING A FULL RANGE OF HARRELL PRODUCTS WE STOCK HUNTING RIFLES BY COOPER, KIMBER AND PFEIFER AND COMPETITION-WINNING RIFLES FROM KELBLY AND KEPPELER, AND ARE TRADE AGENTS FOR THE SUPERB BARNARD ACTIONS, AND RECORD-BREAKING TRUE-FLITE AND BARTLEIN BARRELS
WE ALSO STOCK PROFESSIONAL BORESCOPES (from £533) AND A RANGE OF HIGH-POWER SCOPES FOR COMPETITION AT AMAZING PRICES (eg 8-32X50 WITH 30mm TUBES FROM £100) ALONG WITH STUNNING BINOCULARS AND SPOTTING SCOPES
SEB LAMBANG BENCH RESTS AND ACCESSORIES ARE THE BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE. WE STOCK HIS FULL RANGE AT LOWEST POSSIBLE PRICES, ALONG WITH THE BUDGET CALDWELL RANGE- BERGER BULLETS TO YOUR DOOR- EXPORT TO EUROPE, NO PROBLEM! SEE WEBSITE FOR FULL SPECIFICATIONS AND CURRENT STOCKLIST EVERYTHING 16 Target Shooter WE IMPORT IS BY FAR THE BEST VALUE IN THE UK
First impressions of the Sightron S111 Series 10-50x60 LRTD scope
by Vince Bottomley
Above - Here’s the 10-50 Sightron next to my 8-32 Nightforce NXS (top) When is ‘big’ too big? I remember when I bought my first rifle, a ten-power scope was considered to be ‘plenty big enough’. In some respects it was – for the rifles we were using then! I remember buying my first 36 power Leupold scope for benchrest competition. We need 36 power because we must be able to see our shot-holes at 200 yards but, no one expects to see shot-holes at 1000 yards – do they? At 1000 yards, all we are doing is ‘quartering’ a large circular target and yes, you can do that quite well with a ten-power scope. When your shot is marked with a spotting-disk, you will see it with your ten power. Then along came Nightforce with their 12-42 power scope. It was expensive, I was happy to ignore it – until somebody turned up with one. We all had a look through it – the world would never be the same again! I bought a Nightforce. We all bought a Nightforce! We all learned a little as well - bigger isn’t necessarily clearer and some shooters preferred the image at 32 power rather than 42. Amongst discerning shooters, the 8-32 Nightforce developed a following and the optics on my 8-32 Nightforce BR are just about the best of all my scopes and I tend to use it as a benchmark when reviewing optics for Target Shooter. Having said that, I’ve just acquired a 40X March so that might become the new ‘benchmark’. In a world where top-end optics are approaching £2000 many shooters are looking for the best possible value before they part with their hard-earned. Over the past twelve months, we have had a new player in the quality target-scope market – Sightron. Aimfield Sports is the UK importer which for me is great because CEO John Dean is also a keen F Class shooter and you will see him at most of the GB F Class League shoots. In other words, he knows about the kit he is selling, unlike some of our importers who have scant knowledge of their products – let alone the experience of actually using them! Sightron’s 8-32 has proved to be a very popular scope with F Class shooters and no wonder, when I tested it alongside my Nightforce, the Sightron matched it for image quality and, if I remember rightly, offered a slightly more contrasty image. Not bad, when you consider that the 8-32 Sightron is a good bit cheaper than anything in its class. Target Shooter 17
Not many scopes have a ‘50’ on the zoom ring
When I heard that Sightron were about to launch a 10-50 power scope I got quite excited and when I saw the first one to hit the UK on the Aimfield Sports stand at the Newark Show, I just had to have it or a eview for arget Sports eaders. f r T r Yes, we have already reviewed the 12-50 Schmidt & Bender, a fabulous scope in every aspect but at around £1750, it will sadly remain out of reach of many shooters but John confidently told me that he would be able to retail the new Sightron for under a grand – fantastic! What’s more, he agreed to lend me the scope – but only for a couple of days – a lot of people want to see it, so this review will be more of an impression than a full test.
restricted to 17lbs. When building rifles for these disciplines, ounces are important!
The Sightron’s 30mm body tube has the usual satin anodised finish and the 36 mm ocular comes with a protective rubber ring which will no doubt save a few of us from the dreaded ‘snipers kiss’. The ocular can also be rotated – as with European scopes – to focus the reticle. And, now that I’ve mentioned it, the reticle is an ultra-fine crosshair-dot which will satisfy even the most discerning benchrest shooter and is exactly what is required for accurate long-range target work. If I remember, I did comment on the reticle on the early 8-32 Sightron scope as being just a little heavy for my taste. Thank-you Eager to make the most of this opportunity, I Sightron for addressing this – we now have a opted to use the Sightron in a 600 yard perfect reticle. (They have also upgraded the benchrest competition coming up on Easter 8-32 reticle). Monday. It’s just possible to see 6.5mm bullet-holes at 600 yards with my Nightforce so The objective lens is a substantial 60mm in this would be a good test for the 10-50 Sightron diameter - so be thinking about high rings, but before we do, let’s have a closer look at this though if you are using a Picatinny type rail, this bit of glass. On the scales, the Sightron weighs will give you a useful bit of lift. In true Sightron in at 1 lb. 13 ounces – not bad – a tad lighter style, all lettering is tastefully incised in gold and than the Nightforce. Yes, those three ounces on the underside of the turret, that all-important will be important to shooters who are attempting ‘Made in Japan’. Controls move with that smooth to meet a weight limit – like F/TR at 18lbs.2 oz. ‘precision’ feel of a quality instrument and the or benchrest Light Gun competitors who are turrets, which are protected by dust covers, 18 Target Shooter
Yes – it was raining when I took these shots! adjust with a positive ‘click’ in eighth MOA graduations. Long-range ‘effers appreciate eighth MOA clicks. Their half MOA V bull is now four clicks across – not two! The side-focus (not available on the lowerpriced Nightforce BR scope) travels threequarters of a turn from closest focus (which I didn’t get chance to measure) out to infinity. Both lenses have a greeny-blue anti-flare coating and internally, the body-tube has received an effective anti-flare finish. Don’t look directly into the sun to check the effectiveness of this but, under normal use shooting towards the sun - but not into it - I couldn’t induce flare. Similarly, chromatic aberration – or ‘fringing’ – a greeny-yellow halo around high-contrast subjects - was minimal. Normally I would carry out my optical comparison test with my Nightforce BR but, no time so it’s straight into the 600 yard competition. I decided to really test the Sightron by mounting it on my 22 Dasher rather than the 6.5x47 I normally use. This would be a real test of the Sightron’s optics – would I really be able to see 22 bullet-holes at 600 yards? The answer? Yes, I could. Amazing! Sadly, the Target Shooter 19 Sightron is now back with the importer, Aimfield Sports and we will have to wait until the first delivery arrives from America before we can complete this review and carry out all our usual tests to check adjustment accuracy, return to zero, tracking and resolving power of the lenses etc. Meanwhile, I can only say that this scope has created a lot of interest and no wonder, on the face of it Sightron are giving us a scope the equal of any for less than £1000. If you are interested, get in touch with Aimfield Sports www.aimfieldsports.com and make sure you have your name on one from that first batch. If you need another reason to buy a Sightron here’s one of the best. Sightron are the only scope manufacturer sponsoring UK shooting. In addition to giving scopes as prizes at the World and European F Class Championships, they have also given F/TR World Champion Russell Simmonds a scope. Support those who support us!
Shooting the Black Powder Pistol Part 7
by Chris Risebrook
In Part 6, we went through the loading procedure for single shot pistols. Now, let’s see if we can actually make it go bang! To make it more difficult, I have chosen the flintlock. 2 and give the barrel a good slap to make sure that no powder is stuck in the tube. Then, place a pre-greased patch centrally over the muzzle, and place the ball in the centre of the patch - photo 3. This pistol is a .44 cal. smoothbore and I use .435 ball with a ten thou. patch. It just so happens that cotton handkerchief material is ideal. Smoothbores seem to work best with substantial charges and this one seems to give its best accuracy with 30 grains and tight patching. Having a saw-handled grip eans the pistol cannot roll round in the hand, so the recoil is fairly robust but not
Before every shot, I always drop the measuring rod down the barrel, as shown in photo 1. This has ‘empty’ marks for both my pistols. I mentioned in a previous article how easy it is to double load - we have all done it, but by sticking to this routine, the problem should not occur. Next, put the drop-tube down the barrel - see photo
barrel with the mallet. Note that the mallet is faced with cork to save any damage to the muzzle crown. With a tight fitting ball, it requires a little bit of force. Then drive the seated ball down the barrel with the ramrod - photo 5. This is home-made from brass rod with a nylon tip on the business end and a draw-
er knob on the other. Primitive, but effective! I don’t like the idea of using a steel rod in a steel barrel, especially when it is full of gunpowder! Steel on steel is not likely to be a good idea at the best of times. uncomfortable - or bad enough to induce flinch. However, you are left in no doubt that it has gone Next, sprinkle a little powder from the flask into the off!. Conversely, the .36 cal. percussion is at its best pan - photo 6. It is best not to overdo the powder and keep it just clear of the touch hole. Close the frizzen with 12 grains, again with tight patching. and set the trigger - photo 7 - take a deep breath Photo 4 shows the ball being tapped into the and fire. Photo 8/9 – nothing! Bother - or something
score and we can go home and clean the thing. The whole procedure is messy and frustrating, but it is similar - but look on the bright side, at least you were amazing the degree of accuracy possible from a not fighting a duel! Were people really that stupid? smooth-bore barrel at 25 metres. On a bad day my ratio of successes to misfires is about 4:1 - nothing more frustrating for target shooting and not conducive to accuracy but rotten odds for anything more serious. After one of these Pic 9 ‘duds’, I wait one minute to be on the safe side in case of a hangfire and also to regain my composure. Then, open the frizzen, brush out any powder residue, clean the touchhole with the pricker, re-prime, close the frizzen, re-set the trigger and try again. Photo 9 - result! Just twelve more shots for a MLAGB
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DIY Wind Flags
By Carl Boswell
A while ago I wrote an article on wind flags and Above - a standard match with a vareity of their uses within rimfire and air rifle benchrest. windflags They are equally important in centerfire benchrest flags vary greatly. as well. When new shooters come into the sport, they are naturally concerned with getting the very best rifle and scope they can afford. Next up is usually a quality rest and back bag but the wind flag is just as important yet many shooters never own a set of flags and rely on someone else to provide them. Few of us are capable of building our own rifle but a set of wind flags is a different matter and a simple flag can be put together by anyone with the most basic tools and skill. If you want to progress, please give some serious consideration to having your own set of flags. And remember, practising without wind flags is a waste of ammunition! I have attempted further research on the types of flags that are available and what is needed to help you make that vital shot. I found, whilst shooting a number competitions, that those with and those without flags do tend to have contrasting scores, so there is no doubt that using wind flags does help. This however is going to be down to personal taste, as I know colleagues who only use ribbons as indicators, while others use the best they can get their hands on. The styles and size of these Within these next few articles I would like to offer some DIY knowledge that may stand you in good stead in developing your own flags. A colleague and friend in the USA, Doug Weeter, truly believes that making your own wind flags will actually teach you more about what the wind is doing, as you are designing them specifically for yourself. (His website can be found at http://www.thewindisnotyourfriend.com/ on this website you will also find the design offered below in imperial measurements). I tend to agree with Doug but, with everything DIY you will need some equipment to make the flags. Where things become technical it may be worth finding out if anyone in your club has a lathe, as some parts will need to be made on such a machine. I don’t have a lathe so I had my parts made up for me to save time. There are a number of types of wind flag available on the open market, single vane, dual vane, 360 degree, 180 degree, etc. These all attempt to provide information to the shooter regarding the
PIC 1 basic windflag
speed and direction/angle the wind is coming from at various points along the path the bullet will take. They can be made very simply - like the one I made 8 years ago. (Pic1)
These were made using a bit of polystyrene card, cut to shape and aluminium rod for the main shaft with a model propeller and some plastic rod as the pivot where it would be held in an aluminium tube
that acts as the stand. A ribbon can then be added as a tail to the plastic vane. All these materials are available at my local model shop or your local DIY superstore. This is as basic as you can go - cheap and cheerful! More information can be found about this wind flag on the UKBR22 website, at; http://www.benchrest22.org/FAQs/ windflag.pdf However, we can do far better than that! I have opted for having between three and six flags available to me at any one time, so I am making up a set of six, three dual-vane, two 360 degree ‘windicators’ and one 180 degree ‘windicator’. All of these do different jobs along the 50m or 25 m bullet flight path. The windicators show the speed of the wind and, in the case of the 360 degree version, also the direction of the wind. The latter are not so easy to read beyond 35 meters, so the
180 degree windicator, PIC 2 plan which is larger, is to be used at 50m. The dual-vane flags will be spaced between these, showing direction and angle of the wind. So let’s get to making – the 360 degree first. You will need the pieces outlines in the chart opposite All the metals required should be available locally but if not, a search of the internet, or a well known auction site, will put you onto those materials that you need. Even the Corroflute (sometimes called Corex) is available in small or large quantities. Do have a look at the diagrams included with this article. (Pic 2) The whole set of plans for these and all the others will be available on the UKBR22 website at http://www. benchrest22.org/rimfireBRfaqs.htm
PIC 3 center connector
As stated earlier, making all these things will mean having access to a number of tools or machinery - or like me you ask someone to make them up for you. I have made parts with something as simple as a drill mounted on a bench acting as a simple lathe - useful when forming and polishing small parts. It depends on the skill you also have and how easily making things like this comes to you. Alternatively how about sharing the effort and do this as a club. After you have created the union joint the rest is quite easy as it is basically just assembling the parts that you have just made. (Pic 4) The trick here is to make sure the red paddle slips over the main white vain first and then attached the union joint. This should be free to move very easily and blowing on it should indicate how easily this moves. A bit of grease, silicon spray or even freeing-up the end nut could allow better movement of the wind paddle. Once everything is in place and you are happy with your assembly, tighten all set screws that hold the support rods and weight, as you want these set firmly in place. The only things that should move are the red panel, via the union joint and the flag itself when you attach it to the stand. The latter part will be discussed in the next article. There you have it. One 360 degree windicator (I did not choose the name) ready for action. (Pic 5) The last thing to do is experiment with the weight on the bottom rod, as this will indicate the speed of the wind. It will take some time to adjust until you are happy with the reading it provides and that it is precise. I spent an hour or
PIC 4 windflag assembly
I would cut out cardboard templates of all the corroflute parts first so you get the shape that you need. These can then be used as templates to draw round. Once done, the corroflute can be cut with a sharp knife. This is then sanded to form. With the easiest pieces made, the hardest parts are the union joint elements which will need to be drilled, using a pillar drill or a lathe. These do take some time and please follow the diagrams included in this article for sizes. You have five holes to drill along the length of solid bar. Some pieces are easy cut and could be done with a pillar drill, whilst others that allow the flag to rotate concentrically will need quite precise machining. (Pic 3)
Even then I will look out for the character of the wind on specific days - if it is light or heavy - as each day brings its own little quirks. I have limited space in this article so if there are any questions please feel free to e-mail me via the magazine. One last thing to think about before I leave you for this first part - do think about the colours of vinyl or tape you use for these flags. (Please don’t use paints as these will flake). It will be very significant for the next series of designs, but can be considered for those described above. White is very important as the base colour as it can be picked up visually very easily. Other colours that seem to work well are reds and blues. I have chosen green and orange for the main wind flags, as this seems to be used by a number of manufacturers. Black also seems to work. Others in the US have done further experiments, hence I mention reds and blues (Pic 6). Colour is something to consider as these flags have to be easily seen at a distance between 0 and 50 metres. Reading what these flags are telling you without difficulty and quickly is vital in this game. Next time I will look at other wind flag designs and the mountings used between the flags and the stands they fit on. Until then good (and straight) shooting.
PIC 5 Homemade 360 degree speed and direction flag, courtesy of Doug Weeter
two testing mine with an anemometer at the side of it until I was happy with the settings.
PIC 6 wind flag colours
Knowing your conditions Helps to keep your aim true
? to use Easy ? Accurate ? speeds Wind ? Cross Winds ? Pressure Air ? Humidity ? Temperature ? Point Dew ? Chill Wind ? Altitude ? and Date Time ? Graphical Display ? Logging Data
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Making that first shot count
by Vince Bottomley
Greg Thompson won the GB F Class League in 2008 and, as is tradition, we conducted an interview with Greg. These interviews follow a standard pattern and one of the questions we always ask is “Would you like to see any changes to the F Class rules.” Greg’s (tongue in cheek) reply – “What about This Caldwell meter usefully gives the temperature as well as wind-speed. There are similar meters from Kestrel which can get very sophisticated. no sighters?” Now that would really put the cat amongst the pigeons! Most UK shooting competitions allow the competitor a couple of sighting shots – plus we even have the luxury of ‘blow-off’ shots in major F Class comps. One shoot that doesn’t have any sighters is the Diggle Egg Shoot. Without sighters, more than half the field will fail to hit an A3 size target at 500 yards but give a guy sighters and he can shoot the gonads off a gnat! At short range – out to say 600 yards, it’s pretty difficult to miss the six-foot square panel that is your F Class target but, at 1000 yards, it’s a whole different ball-game. Through experience, we learn, we record, we amass data both written and remembered that we can call on when we lie down at 1000 yards on a strange range with a significant wind blowing. To the naked-eye, the target appears as a tiny white square - how do we ensure that first shot hits the target? For me, if it’s a big competition, it’s a great relief when the target goes down following my first shot and sheer bliss when it comes back up with a spotting-disc in place. It doesn’t matter where the spotter is – it’s not too difficult to adjust for the next shot. The main thing is being on target with that first shot. If you’re not, you will likely throw away valuable points that you can never recover. Hopefully, we will have some data from the last time we shot at 1000 yards. Data? That would be our scope’s elevation setting and wind ‘zero’ for a
Unfortunately, the screen display doesn’t show up in this pic – you need to have a look at the website
to use and pretty accurate. Fortunately, you don’t need to drag your laptop onto the firing-point - you can download ballistic programmes direct to your i-phone. Alternatively, we can print out our ‘desktop’ data on a sheet of paper. We can even l aminate it for weather protection – clumsy though, as we would have to print several sheets to cover all possible temperature and wind variations. Are there better alternatives? Let’s have a look at a few aids which will help both the field and range shooter to reliably make that first round hit. The wind indicator The simplest wind indicator is the wind-flag - a familiar site on most ranges. If you are in the field, then you must rely on ‘natural’ indicators – like trees, grass, smoke – anything in fact which will help you ‘read’ the wind. Problem is - how do we translate what we see into scope adjustments?
familiar range that we shoot on regularly. Armed with this information, we can hopefully make a good ‘stab’ at our scope adjustment to take into account the prevailing conditions. We need to judge the wind strength and direction. We also need to consider the temperature and the elevation of the firing-point. Example, Diggle is 1000 feet above sea level, Bisley is perhaps 200 feet. Armed with this information, a first shot hit should be guaranteed – providing we can ‘translate’ our data into minutes of angle (MOA) on our scope’s windage and elevation turrets! Most of us will have encountered the computer ballistic program – they are cheap (often free) easy
I’m sure we are all familiar with wind meters like the Kestrel or Caldwell. Switch on, hold into the wind and the wind-speed in MPH (or KPH) appears on the screen. Very useful but it only indicates the wind-strength at one point. A thousand yards away it might be doing something quite different. Combined this with a series of range-flags however and we can begin to build up a picture of the wind-conditions down the range. Fine but what can we do with that information? Palm-tops The early ballistic programmes were quite basic and
The Horus will link to a range-finder, wind-meter and your PC
The TAS (Tactical Adjustment Systems) whiz-wheel
serious military/professional use. I doubt that there are many amateur shooters willing to spend that amount but if you must have the best, or you are a professional user, the Horus deserves to be on your shopping list. It is an incredible device that can link to your wind-meter, range-finder and computer and covers just about every conceivable ballistic input, including G1 and G7 BC values, Coriolis and spin-drift. When you’ve inputted all the data for a particular weapon you can even use it with your computer to print out a ballistics range-card, which could be handed to the individual marksman. On top of that, it is built like a tank to stand up to battlefield conditions – unlike your i-pod! On a familiar rifle-range, shooting at a known distance, it was difficult for me to really test the Horus – it merely confirmed my Brian Litz ballistic prog. was correct. I really needed to be on an open range with a steel plate at an extreme but unknown distance. Under these conditions, I doubt that there is anything to touch the Horus. I’m grateful to Horus in allowing me to play with this equipment and I urge you to have a look at their extensive website at www. horusvision.com This will tell you far more than I can. If you are a professional shooter then hopefully, you already know about Horus, if not, please make it your duty to find out. However, for the amateur, an i-pod loaded with a decent ballistic programme is a good option but we are still dependant on batteries, wet weather etc. and this prompted me to opt for one of Dougie Lorimer’s TAS ‘whiz-wheels’ for my F Class shooting. This is a non-electrical aid which is every bit as accurate as the aforementioned i-pod devices but is specific to one bullet at one muzzle-velocity and is dedicated to your rifle and ammunition by chronographing your ammunition at a specific temperature, altitude and pressure and engraving this information onto the wheel. The information on the wheel is exactly what you could obtain from your ballistic programme and print out onto a sheet of paper – well, several sheets of paper actually but the wheel is so much more robust – indestructible almost and allows you to correct for wind-strength,
were initially meant to be installed on a desk-top computer linked to a printer so not much use in the field but of late, they have become very sophisticated and can be used with your i-phone, i-pod or palm-top and allow the shooter to input not only wind strength and direction but also your bullet’s BC, muzzle velocity, elevation, temperature and atmospheric pressure. (See Chris Parkin’s review of an i-pod ballistic prog. elsewhere in this issue). Armed with this information, we can come up with a pretty good guess which should guarantee that first-round hit. I’ve recently had a play with a few of these devices and the daddy of them all is the one which really prompted this article - the Horus ATrag MX Ballistics calculator. At around $2000 this is the ultimate ballistic palm-top and is intended for
The actual wheel – you could have one for each of your rifles
This mechanical wind-indicator is about six-inches in diameter and made of very tough plastic – robust and weatherproof
direction, temperature and inclination (though the elevation and windage settings won’t be accurate latter won’t normally be relevant on a formal either. The Kestrel will give a pretty good indication rifle-range). of wind-speed but don’t forget temperature. Playing with these programmes, I was surprised how much a Its advantage over the i-pod is utter reliability. It is small change in temperature can affect the elevation not affected by immersion in water, sand, extreme when shooting at extreme ranges, so we must take heat or cold, impact-damage or low battery – no temperature into account though it needn’t be to the matter what the conditions, the whiz-wheel keeps on nearest degree – though obviously, more accurate working. Its disadvantage? It is specific to one the better. ammunition/rifle combination but for say a police firearms unit using the same rifles and ammunition, The other problem is wind direction. I find this very it’s ideal. If you change rifle or ammo. or you want difficult to estimate. Yes – not too difficult to estimate one for another rifle, then go back to Dougie and he the difference between say a 90 degree or 45 degree will make you another disc – they just snap in and wind but who can read it to within ten degrees? The out in seconds. What could be simpler? I’ve used difference between the wind-drift of a 10mph wind mine for a few months now and I’m beginning to at 4 o’clock and 5 o’clock is three-feet at 1000 yards learn that, coupled with my Kestrel, I can rely on it on a 308 bullet – enough to have you off the target! completely. ave ook t he AS Tactical djustment One of my shooting buddies who has had ‘some H al at T ( A Systems) website for more info. www.globalsecurity- experience’ - and I will say no more than that – of marketing.com training military snipers has come up with a very simple little device that is a great wind-direction One of the problems of using any of these devices is indicator. the old computer adage – ‘Rubbish in – rubbish out’. In other words, if the information you input into the Like the whiz-wheel, it’s non-electrical, weatherpalm-top is not accurate, the information regarding proof and easy to carry in your shooting bag (see
The foolproof S&B turret. Even from the pic I can see that we are on the upper yellow scale from the ‘lighthouse’ indicator and our elevation is therefore about 36 MOA.
The CSSS is similarly foolproof and can be fitted to almost any scope. We can see that we have 25 MOA wound-on. Never be a turn out again
pic) as the spinner just lifts off. It’s made of a very tough plastic and in normal use it would be difficult to damage it. It couldn’t be simpler to use – align the disc with your rifle’s line of sight, look at the segment below the pointer and it tells you what percentage of the wind speed (indicated by your meter) to apply. More importantly, it will immediately indicate any wind changes during your shoot. Combine this with a Kestrel (preferably one that reads the temperature as well as wind-speed) and a decent i-pod ballistic programme or the TAS wizz-wheel and we are well on the way to that first round hit.
Finally, we can buy any number of these devices but don’t forget the device you already have and costs nothing – common sense! Make sure you record your ‘still air’ zeros at all ranges so that you are only making minor tweaks to your scope settings dependant on conditions on the day. Remember the obvious - if the wind is blowing from the right, then you know that if you miss the target, your shot will have gone to the left. Look at your fellowcompetitors’ targets and see how their sighters impacted – though of course, you don’t know how much wind they wound-on! Before you even get out your whiz-wheel, Kestral or i-pod – make a stab at reading the wind – the more you do this, the more Incidentally, the Horus uses the ‘clock-face’ principal you will become familiar with the wind. for wind-direction inputs so they obviously feel that this is about as accurate as you are likely to be able Before I close this article, I must tell you of an to judge. interesting device I received the other day. One of the problems which occasionally begets even the Another critical variable is the ballistic coefficient most experienced shooters is that of being a ‘full turn (BC) of our bullet. We all think we know this – just out’ on the scope’s elevation turret. Many scopes, look it up on the bullet manufacturer’s website. Not like for example the Nightforce BR have just six good enough! At what altitude and velocity were MOA to a full turn of the turret. This means you could the BCs arrived at? You can bet the manufacturers be turning the turret four or five revolutions when chose the most favourable conditions. If you really applying elevation – and honestly, who hasn’t got it want to know your bullet’s true BC, I would suggest wrong during the heat of competition? One solution purchasing a copy of Brian Litz’s excellent book is to buy a Schmidt & Bender – about the only scope Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting. Brian that you can look at and visually tell your elevation lists the real BC values for most popular match setting. bullets, arrived at by individual testing and there are some variations. Not only that, he explains the folly of using the G1 ballistic coefficient (favoured Alternatively, this little device from AB Tactical called by the bullet manufacturers) as opposed to the G7 the CSSS – continuous scale sighting system – figure, which is a much more realistic BC for boat-tail does the same job. It fits over your scope turrets and match bullets. Included with the book is Brian’s own uses a clever method to display your elevation (and simple to use ballistic programme on a CD which is windage) settings from zero to - whatever your also very accurate, especially if you use it with your scope’s maximum. It’s an interesting concept and bullet’s G7 BC value. The G7 BC values for most one which AB Tactical are continually improving. popular match bullets are also given in the book. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you want more details. (ISBN 978-0-615-27661-8)
Ballistic FTE: Field Tactical Edition Software Real-Time Ballistic data for your iPhone or iPod Touch by Chris Parkin
Whilst planning a recent trip to the WMS steel hit the long-range targets over variable terrain types challenge in Wales, I started to consider what and distances. Previously, when target-shooting equipment to take with me which might help me to or hunting, I always used a home computer and internet-based software such as JBM ballistics to calculate my trajectory data. This data was always Photograph 1 Trajectory Input done when a load had been chosen and prior to actual use. For target shoots, a range card was produced and for field use, a small ‘limited data’ set was printed out and stuck inside my rear flip-up scope cap for quick reference. Was there another option? I try to keep things simple with my kit; I always have, as I hate lugging around unnecessary items. I had just changed from binoculars and a rangefinder to a combined Leica unit so when I started to think I would like a small unit to prepare real-time trajectory data, I wanted something compact and fairly simple. I imagined real-time data rather than pre-calculated data would be an advantage and although my previous calculations had always got me spot-on target, I knew that when shooting at different altitudes in different weather conditions and most importantly with variable winds and gradients, I would need help. I had used similar software for my archery shooting and it had given me a greater understanding of how trajectory alters with shots up and downhill - one of the main challenges of the field-archery discipline I prefer. This software was palm-computer based and I looked into this option first, then to a more versatile modern palm PC. The cost of the hardware and software looked high for what I thought may become a novelty with no other use than this task and I gave
instruction reader so I just tinkered with the software and within minutes had data sets installed in it for three of my rifles. The data output agreed exactly with my previously verified trajectory information and, over the course of the next few days, I continued to tinker with the numerous extra features. The program required all the usual data to be input, bullet, calibre, BC, muzzle velocity etc. along with the desired output data values such as scope clicks in MOA, Mils or centimetres and the desired unit for range in either metres or yards. If you wanted to be more precise and specify more variables, all atmospheric data, global location and altitude could be entered along with further rifle specific data such as scope height and barrel twist rate. I’m not too sure my shooting skills were going to benefit from Coriolis effect compensation! As well as offering full custom specifications for your load, the program also had a database of a large number of factory loads for calibres from .22 rimfire up to African Big Game and even military calibres. The data held for all specific bullets for handloading had manufacturers G1 Ballistic Coefficient data given. Further to this, some of the more popular match bullets had secondary G7 ballistic coefficients provided by Brian Litz, a noted US shooter who works for Berger Bullets and has done extensive scientific testing to produce further refined data using long range chronographs and acoustic sensors to further enhance known BC data. When using the program there are five main operational functions all with shortcut keys at the bottom of the screen. You will have either chosen a factory load or entered your own custom load using the ‘Trajectory’ function. This can then be saved and entered into the ‘Favourites’ section that is the second function. Within these favourites, all specific rifle and scope data is integrated into one file along with other data and notes you may want to record - such as zeroing range, temperature, location and the conditions at the time. A subsection is specifically for reloading data that is very useful and any of this information can be returned to and edited at any time. The ‘Distance’ function, to cut a long story short, allows you to estimate distance using either a standard Mil dot or MOA reticle. The input and output functions can, as usual, be entered and displayed in either metric or imperial equivalents. A ‘Range log’ is the next feature which allows you to record every visit to the range or other shooting opportunity and record all relevant data including scoring in competition on a vast array of target formats. This may be useful in nicer climates but to be honest,
Photograph 2 - Head Up Display
up the idea until I learned what ‘Apps’ were. The iPhone and iPod Touch run software applications and literally thousands are available via Apple. They are usually written by independent companies or even lone programmers and if they are deemed good enough, can be given a license by Apple and sold via iTunes. Well, there were quite a few programs available for the task and although I would have liked an iPhone, I picked up a used iPod Touch that would run the software. After doing a bit of background internet research and logging into iTunes, I chose a piece of software called Ballistic: Field Tactical Edition that seemed to offer what I needed. The program itself used the JBM ballistic mathematical programming that I had always found reliable and the price was a very reasonable £11.99. Was it too good to be true? It only took a few minutes to download and install the software on the iPod Touch. It was very intuitive to use and I was immediately impressed, something rare for me - so my friends say. I’m not much of an
The functionality and simplicity of the unit is great and quick to use, but the biggest surprise came last. The iPod itself has built in sensors that detect the angle the unit is held at once calibrated. This angle detection can be turned on or off and can also be entered manually but is incorporated into the calculation for extra accuracy. Although we didn’t take any shots much beyond 10 degrees downhill, the few MOA that the software compensated for certainly made the first shot hits more likely and the feature was a very pleasant surprise. I knew the software would calculate the angles, but I assumed I would need to use a separate clinometer. My overall impressions of the unit were excellent, as for the £11.99 price tag, well it was amazing value for money, so what are the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’? The big ‘pros’ for me are the speed, simplicity and intuitive functionality. The fact you do not need a stylus for the screen is great as it means it is a stand alone item with nothing to lose. The ‘cons’ as I see them are really just my paranoia. I still printed range cards to take with me and use and did so for 80% of the shots. I only used the iPod for shots where I considered I needed more data, mainly the downhill targets. This is no criticism of the device, I just wanted to keep it in a pocket just in case. I didn’t want to suddenly find I had no battery when I really needed it, or damage it and, to be honest, nothing is ever as simple or quick as a Photograph 3 - Trajectory Comparison Chart waterproof card attached to the scope mount. Coming back to using it for target shooting, as far as it may be a bit fiddly in the heat of competition – I know it is not waterproof. especially if it’s raining but more about that later. Do I regret buying the iPod or software? Not at all, The last of the five shortcut functions is titlde the iPod has many uses that would take weeks to ‘HUD’ or head up display and is perhaps the most cover and the software did more than I expected useful and relevant, certainly for my needs on the day, with accuracy and simplicity that is a delight. I would giving real time data. Again, any factory or custom certainly recommend it to anyone interested. There load can be chosen, along with any previously saved are many more functions than I have listed and, like favourites. Once the load is chosen the screen any computer software, you can immerse yourself alters to a minimally clear function display, which into it as deeply as you want or need to and no further is, as the rest of the program, used exclusively as a if that suits you. If you only want to input 90% of the touch screen. This is the area I was most impressed data, that is all you need to do for 99% accurate with. results. I am not sufficiently knowledgeable or experienced to use some of the more advanced The display is similar to a fruit machine with three functions so I didn’t and did not feel I lost out. vertical wheels - Range, Wind Direction and Wind Some of the functions are automatic when used Speed. The dials are simply and quickly rolled to with the GPS equipped iPhone such as Coriolis the desired settings, e.g. 870 yards, 3 O’clock wind compensation and location. The iPhone will even at 15mph. The screen can also be set for altitude, use internet data to enter your weather information pressure, temperature, as well as humidity but I for you if you want it to. It is now a constant part of have left these set as standard for now. Once the my range kit and is always handy when you want to dials have been set, after a couple of seconds the dispel a myth about some new ballistic ‘Holy Grail’ drop and windage are displayed, both in inches and calibre. MOA although you can of course select whatever units you prefer. Check it out at http://ballistic.zdziarski.com/
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The test pellets - weighed and preped
Prix titles in Field Target and two “ Gathering” titles in Hunter Field Target shooting were only subjected to one preparation process, and that was washing and re-lubricating with pound a bottle oil from a discount shop. I simply did not have the time or the inclination to spend hours on pellet prep. When I first started we had to sort Bisley Magnum pellets to remove the rouge ones formed in the manufacturing process, this did involve visually inspecting and weighing sample
putting a pellet into a bic pen body
In part one of this article last month I made a pretty bold statement. I said that the benefits of spending hours on pellet preparation may mostly be in the mind of the shooter. I made this statement based upon the fact that I have done minimal pellet prep for my part since I started serious outdoor shooting in 1987. In fact the pellets I used to win a European Championship, three Showdown finals, two Grand
Prem pellet below the mark
of pellets using Accuracy Plus 7.4 grain Falcon airgun pellets in five different guises. Number one guise was straight out of the tin with absolutely nothing done to them. Then two batches which were washed using the system I have always used, a plastic tub, metal sieve and a dash of washing up liquid in warm water. One of the washed batches would be re-lubricated with oil from the pound shop and one with Napier “Power” lube. The last two batches of pellets were cleaned using an Ultrasonic cleaner, which I use for cleaning my brass cases when home loading for my
pellets form each tin. I moved onto Crosman Premiers and found them very good out of the box so the only preparation process they got from then on was a quick wash and re-lube .I saw other shooters spending hours weighing each pellet and buying expensive lubricants and I was still beating them, so why should I bother getting onto the pellet prep band wagon? When I started getting into full-bore shooting in a big way it soon became very clear that the only way to win was to spend hours on bullet preparation. Careful and precise home loading of ammunition is the key to that game. It got me thinking that maybe it’s the key to outdoor airgun shooting to? On writing last months article which was just going to describe the various methods of pellet preparation I decided to go the extra mile and to actually do some range testing, as I stated last month I would be testing two types of cleaning process as well as two types of lubricant, the cheapo one I have used for many, many years and a purpose made pellet lube from Napier. I personally think its name it wrong, calling it “Power” lube may cater to the run of the mill plinker or would be airgun hunter but I feel it gives the wrong impression of the product. It purports to increase accuracy and I know a lot of good shooters who say it does, many of whom I have the greatest of respect for. But I had never carried out a detailed test of the red liquid for myself, as mentioned last month I would be testing the washing and lubricating
pellet on the MARK
full-bore rifle. In two separate lots the Ultrasonically cleaned pellets would then each be re-lubricated the same as the previous standard washed pellets, one in re-lubed with Napier and one in cheap re-cycled light oil. I did notice the ultrasonically cleaned pellets had quite a lot of damaged skirts, this entirely due me placing the pellets directly in the bottom of the machine. I did try it with the pellets in the cleaning tray but it did not appear to be working at all when I did that. The test rifle was my Steyr LG-110 Field Target rifle fitted with a Schmidt and Bender FT scope. I chose 45 yards as a distance to test at as that is my zero range, any shorter and it would be difficult to see any difference in group sizes and any longer you have the problem of wind affecting the results unfairly, I originally wanted to use 50yards but it was too windy on the test day. I have always tested
watch out for damaged skirts
ultrasonically cleaned and then oiled. I knew the Napier lube would be more difficult to remove from the barrel so I would shoot the two different batches of Napier pellets last, one from the standard clean and one which had been ultrasonically cleaned. It was fairly easy to see with the naked eye that the groups shot with the pellets straight out of the tin were worse than the four shot with the cleaned and lubed pellets. I measured each five shot group center to center and divided the spread gained on each group by the number of groups shot. The results were very clear cut. AVERAGE FIVE SHOT GROUP SIZES CtoC AT 45 YARDS
STRAIGHT OUT OF THE TIN STANDARD WASH LUBED WITH OIL STANDARD WASH LUBED WITH NAPIER ULTRASONIC CLEAN LUBED WITH OIL ULTRASONIC CLEAN LUBED WITH NAPIER 31mm 26.4mm 24.4mm 36.5mm 25.9mm
pellets from the classic FT sitting position rather than bench resting, I’ve shot a 42mm group at 100 yards with my LG-110 in that position so I know it works. I had the three test cards with multiple 10mm orange aiming spots at 45 yards along with a wind meter positioned so I could see it in the bottom of the scope. I wanted to keep wind out of the experiment as much
as possible and by keeping an eye on the meter I The smallest three shot group shot was 2.9mm could see the conditions change second by second center to center with the standard wash and Napier over the course of testing the pellets. I had also worked out I would need to clean the barrel out in between tests to ensure the test would be a true test of the lubes. I cleaned the barrel out with three VFG discofelt pellets and a few Crosman Premiers straight out of the box. Then I shot groups with the Accuracy Plus pellets straight out of the tin, I had to take four clicks off the top turret of the Schmidt and Bender compared to my usual 7.9grain pellets. The Accuracy Plus pellets are 7.3grain’s in weight and fly flatter due to their lighter weight. After shooting a few groups with the pellets out of the tin I then cleaned the barrel again and used the pellets which had my own light oil on them, one batch that had been After preping pellets do not sotre them in a washed as I always have and the other was pocket
Neck pouches protect pellets
lube. I put the poor 36.5mm group with the ultrasonically cleaned and oiled pellets down to the damage on some of the skirts caused by the harsher cleaning process. Overall the five shot groups were bigger than I expected but there was a touch of wind now and again which could be seen by the groups being strung out horizontally, apart from the two Ultrasonically cleaned batches which also had some shots dropped low out of the main group, which as I mentioned before was more than likely down to the damage on some of the skirts. My decision on the day to switch to 45 and not test at 50 yards as I originally planned was born out by the useable results. It is quite obvious that shooting washed and re-lubricated pellets gives smaller group sizes than shooting pellets straight out of the tin. The Napier lube also looks to give better performance than my cheapo oil
system. I still won many, many major titles with the pound shop oil but it has made me think about switching to Napier lube completely. Once you have treated your pellets think about how you are going to store them, given all the time and effort you put in to the cleaning and re-lubing process do not then dump then back into a tin or carry them around in a fluff lined pocket when you are shooting. The pellets I have used for years are in a foam lined cardboard box anyway so I have no problems with storage. When at a shoot I decant 60 or so pellets at a time into a cloth zip
Only one of these is kind to pellets
These are a very good idea
shut neck pouch. These have a plastic lining and are lovingly made by my mother. There are leather ones on the market which are popular. The only other thing to mention which is important with re-lubrication is not to over lubricate. Too much lubricant and it will adversely affect the group sizes. As mentioned last month weighing pellets has long been a techniques used by Field Target shooters. I decided to test if it had any affect on my own Crosman Premier pellets. I was somewhat shocked by the variation in the weights of my prized pellets. I have always just
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washed, re-lubed and shot them up until now. They are supposed to be all 7.9 grains in a box of 1250 and when I started the weighing process it seemed there were three distinct weights. 7.7, 7.9 and 8.0 grains. The majority were indeed 7.9, with the 8.0 grain the next biggest group with the 7.7 grain much smaller. One shock was finding a single 7.6 grain pellet, a full 0.3 grains lighter than the advertised weight of the pellets. I tested each of the three weight groups of pellets at 45 yards by aiming on a line drawn horizontally on the test cards. I then measured the difference from the line was aiming at and averaged the results. I used my Steyr LG-110 and Schmidt and Bender Field Target scope combination again with it left on my normal 45 yard dial scope setting with 7.9 grain Crosman Premier pellets. I also took the single 7.6 grain pellet along to the range too. The results were:7.7grain 7.9grain 8.0grain 2.57mm below the line 6.67mm below the line 10.28mm below the line
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The single 7.6 grain pellet was 4.5mm above the line Here again I saw for myself that the results were startling and very conclusive. I have shot the same pellets for over ten years and only now seen the real reason for the odd flyers, pellets landing not were I expected tem to. I merely put these off shots and misses in the heat of competition down to me. I see now they probably were down to not weighing my pellets. I am going to look for some scales to measure to two decimal places but if these are too expensive then it is still worth weighing to one decimal place as I proved in this test, the scales I used were MTM mini digital powder scales which are easy to use small and less than thirty quid so are great value for money for the airgunner. To be correct I should have washed the pellets before I weighed them to ensure there were no stray flecks of pellets from the manufacturing process still stuck on them but I did not want to have any re-lubing to affect the results of the weighing experiment. You are never too old to learn and I learnt that I should have been weighing my pellets years ago. The big question for me is would I have won even more trophies and titles if I had been weighing every pellet and grading them by weight? I tested and re-tested pellets and rifles back when I started using the Crosman Premiers. I must have been happy with the results and not to harp on but I did win a lot without weighing pellets. Making the time to test pellets and what and how to prepare them is one thing I have not had time to do in the past ten years, I see now that I should have, in a big way. One thing I do know is that I will be weighing my pellets after I have washed them, then I may give the Napier lube a try too.
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The WMS Steel Challenge
by Chris Parkin
Above - Dave and Tom testing zero The WMS steel challenge is a project run by taking 6.5x55’s, 308’s, 270’s and 300WM so Andrew Venables in Wales to help instruct, train wouldn’t be pushing too hard compared to 338’s and practice for all manner of shooting challenges and such. in both the professional and recreational shooting communities. Andrew has built a large facility I went to Wales on the Friday night of April 9th amongst a very rural farming community in West with the television weather forecasters predicting Wales of around 5000 acres of shootable terrain the first good weather of the year; I packed surrounded by nearly 20,000 acres of uninhabited heavy waterproofs and thermals. We met at the land. Bluebell Inn, a pub with B&B accommodation recommended by Andrew as being both close to THE PLANNING his home and the venue. When Chris and I arrived Andrew set up the steel challenge for those at the pub, most of our party were already there wanting to learn, test and improve their shooting enjoying a drink with Andrew and discussing what skills, from military and police marksmen to they specifically wanted to do the following day to sporting shooters either wanting to hone their improve their shooting ability. skills or perhaps raise their game a notch for a once in a lifetime trip to Africa or other worldwide Frank and Dave were both very experienced destination. My own description of the challenge hunters who had shot all over the world but and facilities of the venue cannot help but be rarely at any range further than normal hunting steered by what my friends and I wanted to distances. Chris and myself were occasional experience on our visit. The full scope of what is hunters who had more experience of shooting available is so extensive it would be impossible longer ranges at target events although still in to experience in a day with around 60 large fixed just a recreational manner. The following morning targets and 50 more that can be moved around. At another Dave and his son Tom would be joining the end of our day Andrew said we had covered us; they were also predominantly hunters up to approximately 20% of the targets available. We that point in time. We were all keen to learn more all felt we had had a great time and learned a and the specific overall aim for our day was for lot, it was very clear that more visits were going the hunters to learn to estimate wind and how to to be on the cards. The targets will withstand all dial-in scopes for more accurate long range centrefires in normal civilian use and we were shooting at targets. Chris and I wanted to stretch Target Shooter 47
Set up ready to go at 350 yards
the maximum ranges at which we had shot THE SHOOTING and specifically learn more about shooting up and downhill as well as the ever present wind After the briefing, the first stage of the day was for estimation. everyone to have a quick test of zero on any rifles they intended to shoot that day and check all was Andrew met us in the car park at 8:15 the in order. After a long trip it is always reassuring to following morning the weather was very still test zero in controlled conditions. The night before with bright sunshine, no rain and moderate Andrew had asked us about the rifles we intended temperatures. A good start. to use and more importantly about our scopes, whether we had target turrets, whether we knew We drove in convoy about 3 miles from the our own ballistics or not, our click values in either B&B, turning off the main road onto a very well MOA, inches, mils or cm. After zeroing, those of maintained gravel road up into the hilly terrain us who needed it were then given a ‘dab’ of Tippex surrounding the valley. Apparently as well as on their scope to mark zero, if they did not have being a shooting venue, serious rally drivers turrets that could be reset. are able to hire the land for the day and test out their skills and cars - a few of which we saw The first stop was a flat-topped gravel mound throughout the day in the distance. The rooster overlooking a shallow valley with three sets tails of dust they raised always proved to be a good of steel targets at the other side. The targets wind indicator! were ranged from 350 to 600 yards and were of various forms, Fig.11, plates, boar, deer and We came to a large flat, graveled area after a rabbits, all accurately represented and in correct couple of miles and after sorting out all our kit, proportion. The targets had been placed in cutouts we assembled with Andrew and his assistant in the banked earth to provide solid footing and John for the all important safety briefing. As this also to allow these cutouts to be back filled with venue is not a formal gallery range, it has its own sand to allow for easy shot-splash placement. unique safety and gun handling regimes as well as general procedures to adhere to. It is nothing out We were told the distances although most of us of the norm and involves common sense - no were equipped with rangefinders. Those that different to any normal trip into the outdoors for knew their data quickly dialed in corrections and shooting sports. were ready to go. Those that did not were quickly
The 600 yard targets are just visible
helped by Andrew or the rest of us. 350 yards to start is a long shot for a sporting shooter but not so much for a target shooter. We were advised the best strategy was to pair up and one work as spotter as the other shot and vice versa.
to fall over with an audible ‘clank’; the larger ones responded to a hit with a very solid ‘bong’ which could be heard even through our hear-muffs. Prior to the shoot, Andrew had freshly painted the targets ‘ice white’ and each hit left a large grey spot. The larger game animals all had a yellow At the start of the day, we were all shooting kill zone for a realistic shot-placement challenge. slowly, getting used to working together and There is no point practicing this kind of shot to just taking advantage of six extra pairs of eyes to spot hit the animal anywhere. the splash in the sand if the round was off target. At 350 yards the rifle had not settled from its recoil So far we have not mentioned the wind. Any enough to allow the shooter to spot his own shot long-range shooter will know that the wind is but the rest of us were able to quickly give them probably the biggest single factor in accurately a ‘call’. The smaller targets could easily be seen hitting the target but at 350 yards, the drift was
Tom and Dave overlooking the water
minimal, although the wind was running in a 3 o’clock direction, it was very light. As we moved out another hundred yards onto a turkey target, the wind came into play more and we did start having to aim-off more and this is where the spotters really came in. Andrew had suggested shooting one shot, have the spotter call it, using language such as “Half a target left, good elevation.” This enabled us to start hitting more accurately with a quick second shot. This carried on until we had hit everything, knocked it over or heated up our barrels to an uncomfortable level!
After some more paired shooter/spotter action and all the targets hit, we decided to have a break and a quick discussion to plan the rest of the morning. Two opted to stay at this set of targets and work on trajectory data, which needed a bit of a tweak. The rest of us would go back across to the zeroing range to try some shots from sitting positions, standing with sticks and standing unsupported shots. We shot at 10 inch plates set up at between 100 and 200 yards. Andrew was able to offer us some helpful tips on technique, especially regarding the unsupported shots. Up to now, all of the shooting had been prone so it THE FIRST CHALLENGE was good to try something new and challenging We were told to imagine having traveled to a far off in a safe environment. Standing shots from sticks land where we had paid untold amounts of money were well known to us all from DSC tests but only for a once in a lifetime shot. Here was our once in at 100 yards so it was good to try them further out. a lifetime opportunity to bag a trophy animal and there it was, 600 yards away. We were told we For the second quick test of the day we were told all had 1 shot and were given a minute to set up to pick up our guns and one round of ammo and for the distance and estimate for the wind which follow Andrew. He walked to a spot overlooking had now picked up a little and was blowing from shrub-covered ground extending as far as the eye around 4 o’clock. Shooter number 6 would go first; could see and told us that there was a rusty red the rest of us would spot. Shooter number 6 was coloured deer within reasonable shooting range getting ready to shoot and then to trick us, Andrew in front of us, get down, find it, shoot it. The deer said “NO, shooter number 2 GO!”. was tricky to locate with no binos at this point but Shooter number 2 then shot, scored a kill-zone hit we all found it and everyone shot although only and then the rest shot in turn with varying success. two scored hits. This surprised me a little and We were starting to pick up the challenge that this reminded me why every shooter should consider day was all about. what he (or she) feels to be a ‘reasonable’ range. It was at 285 yards and even though we did
The two Chris’s at the 1100 yard point. The brown oval on the far hill just above our heads in the centre is the target sand trap
range-find it, four of us still missed. It just goes to show that on a day when this should be an easy shot, with no wind, no pressure and the trajectory of our rifle fresh to mind, the smallest error in shooting is amplified by range.
The shot was at a group of steel plates ranging in size from 10 to 20 inches, the range was 461 yards, the incline 10 degrees down and I estimated wind was fairly steady from left to right at 2 or 3mph. The plates were in front of a large pond so the bullets really did splash when you So far, everything had been done in a 180-degree missed. arc, from shooting positions within 100 yards of the main facility and car park so, after a break for The data was good and although it took a couple something to eat, we loaded up the vehicles and of shots from the group to find their exact made our way out to another section of the shoot windage we were soon moving from the 20 inch to try some shots downhill. plate to the 10 inch. After we had a good idea of the windage needed - as the slight wind ebbed Anyone familiar with deer stalking in Scotland and flowed - we moved onto shooting some will know the scenario of shooting downhill with slightly closer but steeper reactive targets. Two what is usually a compromised position and and four-pint milk cartons are always fun as they needing to start thinking about trajectory, with the explode violently when hit and Andrew had laid out effective shot-distance reduced to compensate for so many of these out we could pick and choose the slope. Unlike in my field archery days where what we shot - again as pairs, shooter and spotter. everything had to be estimated, distance, slope The next challenge was shooting from the same and wind, this time I cheated! I was using an iPod location but in a perpendicular direction, again touch with a clinometer that gave me a handy altering the wind direction. readout of angle. I had bought the iPod to run ballistics data realtime for this very scenario but As we were shooting in valleys all day, the wind up until it arrived and I started to play with it, I in general blew in one direction but, the currents didn’t realize it also had a built in gyroscope that of air the ‘general’ wind created, blew in totally could run the clinometer. I questioned its ultimate different directions according to the terrain. The accuracy but was pretty damn sure it was better targets this time were a pair of Fig. 11s again at than my brain and tests with normal leveling 450 yards, perhaps 5 degrees downhill of us. The equipment proved to me it was very accurate. fig.11s were arranged close to each other and
care had to be taken not to hit the wrong target. Obviously these targets are specifically created for the Police and Military marksmen who train at this facility. All other factors aside they are just targets and it is an incredible challenge to hit one of these. The intended hit-zone was about the size of an apple and when the target is hit, we were told a large yellow plate would rise up from behind to signal it. Again only one person actually got it but all the hits point were in the close vicinity. To be fair, the wind at this point had been learned and adjusted for but a 3”x2” hole at 450 yards is still a very testing shot in terms of aiming and shooting.
Now, back to the vehicles and off to another part of the site where we shot solidly mounted fig.11s at 800 yards in pairs. By this time, four of us had now realised this was our limit as we had either run out of elevation, mil-dots or confidence to hit these targets at this distance. Again, hits were both spotted and heard - it was taking several seconds This shooting point was a flat grassy area and now for the ‘bong’ to return, a clear indicator of the since these were going to be really hard shots to long range connect with, I was glad of what I have always considered to be my favourite shooting style, Frank, Tom and the two Dave’s decided to go prone on the grass. Andrew had set up a
back to the central zeroing areas and continue to work on some of the more standard hunting ranges and test whether their scope ‘return to zero’ was all that was promised. Chris and I went with Andrew and drove back to the 1100 yard firing-point using the same targets we had just engaged at 800 yareds. I knew my scope would get me out to 1200 yards and with 20 MOA on the reticle, I could stretch it out to a maximum of 1500 which was the limit of the supersonic flight of my 300 Win Mag’s 208 grain bullet anyway. Chris was shooting a 6.5 x 55 and knew this was going to be about his limit as he was out of elevation. His bullet though would still be well supersonic and, as the day was getting late, this was going to be our last setup of the day. Hit or miss, there was no point going home without trying the long shots and as the weather today was probably as good as anyone would ever get, it seemed an opportunity not worth missing.
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spotting-scope behind us as it was getting hard to see the fall of shot with binoculars. Chris and I both had 32 power on our scopes, so we could still spot for each other. I was pretty excited to be honest because I have always loved to push myself and even though we had both shot 1000 yard F Class several times, I have always enjoyed field shooting more, with nothing but a rifle, scope and ammo. I was going to shoot first and dialled in my elevation, Andrew gave a call on the wind and mirage and even though I had never had this type of spotting advice before, it must have clicked something in my head because I squeezed the trigger and controlled my breathing more carefully than I think ever before………….BANG……300 Win Mag does tend to be a little lively when it goes off but the gun settled back near to the target in time for the bullet to arrive. I didn’t see the hit but Andrew did. Then the ‘bong’ arrived back to us, I had hit the fig.11! I’ll forgive Andrew for what he called me because I felt lucky too but three of the next five shots connected as well. Chris then had a go and connected with the target with a few shots but felt it was a bit ‘hit and miss’ as he had run out of elevation. For my next few shots I dialled-in the distances I had previously aimed-off – a half MOA off the elevation and four minutes left
windage which is very little for 1100 yards and shows just how lucky we were with the wind. Andrew then shifted me onto a 10 inch plate hanging on chains next to the fig.11, he had challenged me to hit it within three shots and then to move onto a life size head-on fox. I got very close to them both but the little left to right wind changes were hard to spot and at that distance missing by inches is still pleasing to me on targets that small. Maybe next time I will use a rear bag. We all agreed it had been a great day, well worth the money. I will definitely be going back as soon as possible and this time maybe go a little further back? I’m told a mile is no problem and 2200 yards is possible although the wind can make it a waste of ammo. I’d certainly like to try 1500 yards but I’ll bet the weather won’t be as kind next time. If you fancy a visit - and I would certainly recommend it – Andrew’s contact details are listed below: Andrew Venables 6 Tanygroes, Llangurig, Llanidloes, Powys, SY18 6SQ Tel: 01686 440782 Mob: 07767 365804 Web site: www.wms-firearmstraining.org
HANDLOADING ‘OLD FAITHFUL’ THE .308 WINCHESTER - 8
By Laurie Holland
Above - A drawing of the G7 Reference Standard bullet with dimensions in calibres. It has a ‘form factor’ or i7 value of 1.000 (courtesy of Bryan Litz).
I’ve attempted to classify the ballistic efficiency of the match bullets available in the UK. Most people do this using BCs, but remember the ‘weight issue’ as half of this measure is derived from Sectional Density which is entirely weight driven. There is therefore little benefit in comparing a 155gn bullet’s BC directly to a 210-grainer’s. Instead, I chose the ‘form factor’ (i7) value that Bryan Litz applies to each bullet (Table 1). It compares the efficiency of the projectile’s shape in terms of the drag it produces in flight against that of the G7 reference standard design. A value of 1.000 exactly matches the reference standard – and there is one such – anything with a lower value produces less drag; anything higher produces more. I graded designs as Low, Medium and High [drag], which conveniently fits short and long-range classifications, well mostly. Setting boundaries between classifications was trickier, eventually going for 1.020 and 1.095, the former to include the justly popular new 155gn Sierra Palma MK (#2156) with an i7 value of 1.018 within the ‘Low’ group; the latter to move the 168gn Berger BT and 180gn Sierra MK into the ‘High’ category. I’ll stress these definitions are mine and lack scientific basis. There is a caveat in using this metric – we saw in April that two bullets with one i7 value but different weights do not perform identically in the wind, the advantage going decisively to the heavier model even at comparable MVs.
Left - The 210gn Sierra MatchKing’s 1,000yd performance gives it an i7 value of 1.000 matching the reference standard, although it is not an identical shape 54 Target Shooter
Left - The lowest and highest i7 values (that is, lowest and highest drag factors) of the 0.308” match bullets on sale in the UK go to the 208gn Hornady A-Max (left) at 0.967 and the 167gn Lapua Scenar on the right at 1.163, although the latter is no worse than a clutch of similar 168gn bullets.
We have a range of i7 values from 0.967 to 1.163, so how do we calibrate this metric? I looked at how much difference 0.035 makes to wind-drift performance taking three Berger models that have a 10gn weight range and whose i7 values bracket the 1.000 norm – the 185gn Target BT long-Range (0.972); identical design 175gn equivalent on 0.999; 175gn VLD at 1.035. Table 2 lists their retained velocities and wind drift values at 1,000yd at comparable MVs based on a 155 at 3,000 fps (3,098 ft/lb ME). To remove the weight bias and provide an example with a full 0.035 difference from the central 0.999 value, I conjured up a hypothetical 175gn Super-High BC model whose i7 is 0.964, this giving a G7 BC of 0.274. Noting that this i7 is better than that of any 0.308” bullet actually available, it wouldn’t be feasible to get such a low-drag shape from any practical lead-core 175gn model. What the results tell us is that a 0.035 step change increases or reduces the ‘standard’ 10 mph wind drift at 1,000yd by four and a half inches for 175s at this MV, and the simulated misread wind change by just over a half-inch. Let’s run the figures for two similar weight bullets at opposite ends of the ‘Low’ category rankings in Table 1, the 208gn Hornady A-Max and 210gn Sierra MK. Their i7 values are also helpfully
‘Ballistics stars’ in respect of having low i7 values and/or known to perform well at long ranges. Left to right: 155gn Lapua Scenar, 155.5gn Berger BT FULLBORE, 155gn new Sierra Palma
MK (#2156), 185gn Berger Target BT Long-Range, 190gn Sierra MK, 200gn Sierra MK, 210gn Berger Target BT Long-Range, 210gn Sierra MK (a VLD design), 208gn Hornady A-Max (a VLD design).
Left - The differences in i7 values will produce relatively little difference in external ballistics performance on the range between the 155gn old Sierra Palma MK (#2155) and the top of the line 155.5gn Berger paired on the left. The same stricture applies to the 210gn Sierra MK and Hornady A-Max paired on the right. However, the performance difference between the ‘old’ 155gn Sierra and 208gn A-Max will be very large thanks to the Hornady’s combination of increased weight and improved ‘form factor’ or aerodynamic efficiency. 10 mph crosswind and 0.4” for the misread wind change at 1,000yd in favour of the A-Max. Terminal MVs are 1,390 fps for the Hornady and 1,355 fps for the Sierra. close to my chosen variation with 0.033 between Both performance them, but we now get a smaller performance differences could easily be outweighed by individual difference – only 3.2” reduction in wind drift in the bullet model performance (group-size and MVs) within a barrel, so we can see that for any particular bullet weight, you need a very large change in the i7 value to make a really significant performance improvement in competition. However, as we’ve already seen, a Left - ‘Old Hands’. Left to right: the 173gn US military M1 long-range FMJBT that gave the Browning M1919 machine-gun a sustained fire range of 5,900yd; the 185gn Lapua D46 that also started life as a machine-gun bullet; 190 and 200gn Sierra MKs. Note the similarity in shape (‘form’) of the two Sierras and the 1920s vintage M1 design. All of these bullets cope very well with transonic velocities making the three match designs excellent long-range choices for .308 Winchester.
Above - Seven higher-drag models that should be restricted to shorter range matches. Left to right: 155gn ‘old’ Sierra Palma MK (#2155), 167gn Lapua Scenar; 168gn Hornady Match, 168gn Sierra MK, 175gn Sierra MK, 180gn Sierra MK, and 185gn Lapua Scenar. Some will perform out to 1,000yd but have trouble staying supersonic. bullet that is both heavy and efficient shape-wise, significantly better, the aerodynamic efficiency of performs much better in the wind than a lightweight equivalent weight VLDs? The new long-nose Sierra / high-i7 model. 155gn Palma MK must also be described as an outstanding design given its proven long-range Analysis performance and reputation for ‘easy tuning’ in Before making any judgements, I’ll mention bullet handloads. Finally, I must add the 155gn Scenar type – that is, tangent or secant ogive. I’ve shown to this elite list despite its secant ogive. Secant v the secant (VLD or VLD-type) bullets in red in Table tangent issues aside, every bullet in this column is 1 and we see that a majority of the top performing a very efficient design, and choice will be mostly half of the list (208gn A-Max to 190gn Sierra MK) dictated by matching the bullet weight to the shooting fall into this category. VLDs are not to everybody’s application, personal preference, and other factors taste because of the difficulties encountered in that might include availability and price – the Lapua getting them to group well, in particular finding a aside, most are recent introductions and generally COAL that suits the barrel throating. The usual command premium prices. practice of seating them well into the rifling lands when the cartridge is chambered can lead to At the other end of the efficiency range, we have ten problems if a live cartridge has to be unloaded, the short-range designs in the right-hand column, seven bullet sometimes sticking in the barrel and being of which have short and steeply angled boat-tails, pulled from the case. Some will be surprised that not a coincidence. (Incidentally, mentioning such I’ve shown the 155gn Lapua Scenar in this group, rear ends, I need to make a correction to last month’s but its specification fits the VLD profile, with a 10.7- issue Table 1 data – the 208gn Hornady A-Max does calibres radius secant nose. Perhaps because it has not have a short steep-angle boat-tail and is a true a shorter nose than many VLDs (Bergers running at long-range bullet in every respect.) I wondered around 14-calibres radius), it doesn’t seem as fussy about the two Lapua Scenar models in this (‘Low’) as some, and is more likely to accept a small jump group given the 155gn Scenar’s efficiency, and can into the rifling. only assume the designer’s brief was very different for this pair, perhaps to match the performance Looking at the bullets, I regard the five non-VLD and appeal of equivalent Sierra MatchKings, able models in black type as the outstanding designs in to shoot (group) well in most barrels and give top the ‘Low’ group, especially Berger’s 185gn Target BT shorter range precision. Both have tangent-ogive Long-Range and the 155.5gn Berger FULLBORE. front ends at just over 6-calibres radius which is Who would have thought a few years back that very short for this class of match bullet. Subject tangent ogive models would match, never mind to the usual caveats about bullets matching barrel
If you have a 1-14” rifling twist barrel or shoot under Target / Fullbore / Palma Rifle regulations, these are the bullets for you. Left to right: ‘old’ Sierra MK (#2155) used in the current NRA issued ammunition and a good performer at all ranges but now overtaken in external ballistics performance by the trio to its right; 155gn Lapua Scenar; 155.5gn Berger Target BT FULLBORE; 155gn ‘new’ Sierra Palma MK (#2156).
characteristics, I would expect all of the bullets in this section to be excellent short-range performers and many are available at lower prices than those in the ‘Low’ classification. 1920s Frankford Arsenal research that saw the US develop the 173gn M1 long-range .30-06 cartridge for the same purpose. Long-range sustained MG fire needs bullets to minimise the effects of going transonic, then subsonic, and that’s what these Looking at the ‘Medium’ group, we have a trio of bullets do. Nevertheless, it’s really desirable to stay Berger VLDs whose performance has been eclipsed as far above the speed of sound as possible in any by the company’s newer 155.5, 175 and 185gn BT precision discipline. Long-Range tangent models, followed by seven venerable designs, all Sierras bar the Lapua D46. Transonic They might seem inferior to new low i7 / high-BC The speed of sound in standard environmental designs, but some are very solid long-range conditions (59°F / 29.92in Hg pressure) is 1,122 performers. MR (Match Rifle, a 1,000yd plus fps and ballisticians have long known that passing discipline restricted to the .308W) shooters tell me through or even approaching it causes stability that 190-220gn Sierra MKs perform superbly in the problems thanks to rapid changes in the shape trans-sonic zone just above the speed of sound, and amplitude of shock waves in the air around the where higher-BC longer nose designs may see projectile. Effects are not restricted to a few fps problems. The Lapua D46’s ancestor was a bullet either side of 1,122 fps as there is a transonic zone designed for 7.62X54R calibre machine-guns in the from around 1.3 Mach (1,460 fps) down to 0.85 Mach post WW1 period when military doctrine promoted ultra (950 fps). Let’s look at going subsonic, noting it’s long-range massed MG fire dropping a rain of plunging not an issue with any bullet for shorter range bullets onto targets up to 5,000 metres away. The shooters. For long-range competitors, it really has older Sierras likely build on Col. Townsend Whelen’s to be guarded against as the bullet might behave
unpredictably, become overly sensitive to minor wind changes, and in extreme cases, unstable. So, the High i7 bullets in Table 1’s right-hand column should not be used even in 30” barrel rifles. The 155gn cartridges used in TR / FR / Palma competition are OK keeping bullets supersonic at 1,000yd by a small but sufficient margin (but only in appropriate rifles). F/TR shooters with long barrel rifles likewise don’t have a problem, particularly if they adopt the heavier and higher-BC bullet models. It is however a potential issue for short-barrel rifle owners shooting at long ranges and struggling to get enough MV, so careful bullet choice pays dividends. Let’s look at the 1,000yd retained velocities of two bullets at either end of the i7 rankings at short-barrel MVs. The ‘old’ 155gn Sierra MK at 2,800 fps is down to a subsonic 1,067 fps, while the 185gn Berger BT Long-Range at an equivalent 2,563 fps MV remains comfortably supersonic at 1,228 fps. At another extreme, the GB MR team campaigned in Australia last winter (local summer) and participated in a 1,500yd shoot at Coonabarrabran in New South Wales. Team members who tried the 210gn Sierra MK at 2,750 fps MV found it remained supersonic throughout in the ambient conditions (1,700ft ASL and presumably with rather higher temperatures than usually seen at Bisley)!
168gn Federal GM Match doing so just beyond 600yd, the M118LR (175gn SMK / 2,580 fps) at 700. There are two ‘get out of jail cards’ – severe turbulence that causes dispersion on the target probably only lies 10% either side of the speed of sound (1,010-1,230 fps) giving us more latitude; some bullets are known to be more resistant to its effects than others. MR shooters know about dealing with transonic flight, and have a simple rule – heavy and fast. No 155s here! The new breed of 208-210gn high-BC bullets stay above the problem velocities in most conditions even at 1,200yd (the normal maximum MR range in the UK), the 210gn SMK at 2,750 fps MV sailing along at 1,273 fps under standard conditions. However, an old MR favourite, the much lower BC 190gn SMK at 2,860 fps is barely supersonic at 1,200yd having dropped to 1,147 fps. Nevertheless, it and its 200 and 220gn siblings are proven performers at this range despite their relatively high i7 / low BC values and around half our MR shooters still use them in preference to the apparently more efficient VLDs. There have been suggestions that the 210gn VLDs and other extended nose designs do not cope with transonic velocities as well as SMKs, but the top places in the 1,500yd Coonabarrabran match went to Sierra and Berger 210gn VLD users. This probably seems irrelevant to TR and F/TR shooters as that 200yd Moving onto transonic flight, this is potentially bad 1,000-1,200yd gap is an enormous gulf in terms of news for.308W long-range shooters as it’s difficult .308W ballistics, but performance in the transonic to see how bullets won’t drop below 1,460 fps, the zone is a vital issue to many 800-1,000yd users of
Round 1 of the 2010 GB F-Class league series kicks off at Diggle at 500yd and conditions were initially so calm that the 167gn Scenar would have sufficed. It didn’t last long – high velocities and efficient bullets soon proved essential with F/TR competitors scoring ones and twos.
Looking down the scenic if difficult Blair Atholl range from the 1,000yd firing point. F/TR competitors need every bit of ballistic advantage they can garner through bullet choice at this distance, but especially here when the wind comes up Glen Tilt from one o’ clock.
the cartridge, especially those with shorter barrel rifles or shooting in disciplines restricted to 155gn bullets. For instance, tactical and sniper rifle specialists report that M118LR performance and that of comparable handloads using the 175gn SMK ‘falls off a cliff just the other side of 800 metres’ (900yd).
from all this, there is a final issue to consider – rifling twist rates – it’s no good setting your heart on shooting a 210gn VLD from a 1-13”twist TR rifle, I’m afraid. Table 3 shows rates and the bullets they stabilise. (This is a subject I’ll touch on when I get onto range results as I tried various ‘unsuitably heavy’ bullets in a 1-13.5” twist Bartlein barrel on my Conclusions F/TR tube gun with interesting results last year.) So Before trying to sum up what lessons we can draw what lessons can we learn from this study of .308
0.308” Bullet Form Factor (i7) Values Low Hornady 208gn A‐Max (0.967) Berger 185gn BT L‐R (0.972) Berger 210gn VLD (0.979) Berger 190gn VLD (0.982) Berger 155.5gn BT FB (0.988) Berger 210gn BT L‐R (0.988) Lapua 155gn Scenar (0.988) Berger 185gn VLD (0.993) Berger 175gn BT L‐R (0.999) Sierra 210gn MK (1.000) New Sierra 155gn MK (1.018) * = Bullets with short, sharply angled boat‐tail sections Berger 210gn VLD (0.979) Models shown in red are VLD or VLD‐type (aggressive secant‐form ogive) Medium Berger 175gn VLD (1.035) Berger 155gn VLD (1.039) Berger 168gn VLD (1.047) Sierra 200gn MK (1.058) Sierra 190gn MK (1.061) Sierra 220gn MK (1.068) Lapua 185gn D46 FMJBT (1.081) Sierra 175gn MK (1.084) Old Sierra 155gn MK (1.092) Sierra 240gn MK (1.092) High Berger 168gn BT (1.096) *Sierra 180gn MK (1.099) *Hornady 155gn A‐Max (1.100) *Hornady 168gn A‐Max (1.101) *Hornady 178gn A‐Max (1.118) Lapua 185gn Scenar (1.130) *Hornady 168gn Match (1.143) *Nosler 168gn CC (1.159) *Sierra 168gn MK (1.161) Lapua 167gn Scenar (1.163)
Table 1 0.3080” Bullet Form Factor (i7) Values Notes Values compare the efficiency of the bullet’s shape (‘form’) to the G7 reference standard form which has a value of 1.000. Lower values produce less drag and higher BCs (subject to bullet weight); higher values more drag and lower BCs. Source: Bryan Litz’s long-range ballistics tests as reported in his book Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting.
Effects of a Shift in Form Factor Value of ~0.035 on 1,000 yd Ballistics Performance
Bullet Berger 175gn VLD Berger 175gn BT Long‐Range Berger 185gn BT Long‐Range [Hypothetical 175gn Super‐BC i7 1.035 0.999 0.972 0.964 MV 2,823 2,823 2,746 2,823 ME 3,098 3,098 3,098 3,098 V1,000 D1,000 (1) 1,282 90.6” 1,326 86.1” 1,371 80.0” 1,370 81.6” D1,000 (2) 11.8” 11.2” 10.4” 10.6”]
Note – the extra 10gn weight of the 185gn BT Long‐Range model produces a slightly greater improvement in wind‐reduction performance than would be obtained from a 175gn bullet with the same i7 value of 0.972. Win match bullets? First, forget external ballistics be a drift to heavier designs. Finally, I’d say look at performance at short (up to 300yd) ranges, instead those old favourites, the 190gn, 200gn, and 220gn choose bullets that are easy to fine tune for the Sierra MKs that obviously perform much better smallest possible group size. This approach is at long ranges than their BCs might suggest, and sometimes advocated for 500 and 600yd shooting, stabilise in slower twist barrels than you might have but whether it applies depends on other factors – thought. Of course, if you have a 1-14” twist barrel range conditions (‘difficult winds’); target ring sizes; rifle or are a TR, Fullbore or Palma competitor, degree of competition. For instance, Les Holgate’s bullet weight choice has already been made for you – report on Round 1 of the GB F-Class Assoc league ‘less than 156gn’. The choice here is simpler, but still shoots in last month’s issue mentions 2s and even three way for long-range competitions – the 155gn 1s being scored at 600yd – a modest velocity 168 Lapua Scenar, new Sierra Palma MK (#2156), or the or 175gn SMK load wasn’t going to cut the mustard 155.5gn Berger FULLBORE. At short ranges, almost in this particular 500/600yd competition, no matter any 155 is viable, and the original Palma MatchKing how well it grouped! Beyond 600yd, there is no (#2155) remains an excellent choice.
Table 3 ‐ Rifling Twist Rate and Bullet Compatibility 1‐10”: All bullets listed in Table 1, but may not give optimum precision with light bullets. 1‐11”: All bullets listed in Table 1, except possibly the 208gn Hornady A‐Max and 240gn SMK which are marginal. This twist rate may not give optimum precision with light bullets. 1‐12”: All bullets bar the following: 208g A‐Max; Berger 210gn VLD and BT Long‐Range; Sierra 210gn, 220gn and 240gn MKs. 1‐13”: All bullets in Table 1 except the following: those listed above as unsuitable for 1‐12” twist plus Berger 185gn VLD and Target BT Long‐Range (the latter works in some 1‐13” barrels) and 190gn VLD models; Sierra 190gn and 200gn MKs. 1‐14”: suitable only for 155s and shorter 168gn bullets including the Sierra MK version. The new generation longer 155s (Scenar, 155.5gn Berger, SMK #2156) will possibly perform better at long ranges in 1‐13” twist barrels, although it should be noted F/TR world champion Russell Simmonds used the Sierra #2156 in a 1‐14” twist rate barrel without harming his scores in 2009.
issue – you need precision (small groups), good elevation consistency (small MV spreads), and low i7 / high BC bullets at good MVs. Whether that’s the best of the 155s at very high MVs, the new 175, 185 and 210gn tangent-ogive Long-Range models, or the out and out long-range heavyweights, the 208 and 210gn VLDs remains to be seen. I suspect all three will have successful adherents, but there will
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Target Shooter 63
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Stuff your bag – properly!
by Vince Bottomley
A few years ago, only serious benchrest shooters used a back bag, now F Classers use them and even plinkers use a back-bag to get the best out of their rifle by eliminating ‘human error’. As a result, there are many types of bag available so it’s important to choose the right one. and the body from Cordura – do not buy this bag! Cordura can be further lubricated using a silicone spray. If you do have leather ears, try talcum powder. Firstly, stuff your bag – properly. Benchrest rules state that bags must be filled with a natural granular material – sand in other words. We need a stable bag and the heavier the bag is, the more stable it will be – in theory. If you are just a plinker, you could use a mixture of sand and lead-shot but if you shoot in benchrest competition, lead-shot is not permitted as a bag-filler.
What do we want our bag to do for us? We need a very stable support for the butt of the rifle, which we hope will not be disturbed when the rifle is fired. How do we achieve that? Firstly, buy the right bag. If the bag is made of leather, it should ideally have Cordura ‘ears’ – which helps the rifle slide smoothly under recoil. Leather ears can become a problem if they get Sand is a usefully dense substance and the wet! I have seen one bag where the maker got finer the sand, the heavier it will be - for a given it totally wrong and made the ears out of leather volume. The finest sand I know is called Zircon 64 Target Shooter
but unfortunately, you won’t find it on any beach in the UK, though it is available here. If you can’t get hold of Zircon, try foundry sand. This is another very fine sand, used in the metal casting process and if you have a foundry nearby they will probably be happy to give you a shovel-full. The last option is building sand. You can get a half-hundred weight bag from B&Q for a couple of pounds but hold on – this sand will be damp and we need it ‘snuff-dry’ for bag filling. You can put it in the microwave or oven or better still, buy kiln-dried sand – also from B&Q.
the back bag. The other disadvantage of bagsqueezing is holding the bag perfectly still whilst you release the shot – not easy, takes a lot of practise. The preferred bags for bag-squeezing will have a pliable leather base as they don’t need to sit solidly on the bench – you provide the stability with your hand! If you look at the picture at the start of this article, only the Bald Eagle and Equifix bags would be suitable for bag-squeezing – the others are too rigid.
The joystick rest is now gaining popularity with F Class shooters as well as benchrest, so again We have a great variety of bags available today. From the left – two cordura bags from Equifix Shooting Bags, a Bald Eagle leather bag with Cordura ears, a Cicognani allsynthetic bag with rigid base, an Edgewood leather and Cordura (probably the best there is) and finally, a SEB ‘gator bag with off-set ears. In the foreground a suede doughnut bag, which improves stability if used as a base for your bag we don’t now have a lot of bag-squeezers in F Open but we do in F/TR, where the shooter has only a simple bi-pod. Major adjustments can be made with the bi-pod but once set up, most will ‘fine-adjust’ prior to taking the shot by squeezing the back-bag. I’ve found that the Cordura bags on the left of the picture from Equifix make good F/TR bags. You can stack one on the other if you need to and there is a massive choice of shapes and heights on offer at modest proces. Check out www.equifixshootingbags.co.uk If you are a bag-squeezer, it makes sense not to fill your bag too hard, otherwise you will never squeeze it! Remember this when you are filling your bag. I’m going to assume you are not bag-squeezing and we’ll fill our bag as hard as possible. If we don’t have a hard bag, it can sag under the recoil of the rifle – exactly the opposite of what we are trying to achieve. Bear in mind however that your bag is made of leather, which will stretch, so even if it feels like a brick when newly filled, it will sag and need topping up occasionally.
The first job is to fill the ears. Using the funnel, pour as much sand into the ears as you can, tackling one ear at a time. Use the wrong end of the pencil to ram in the sand until you absolutely can’t get any more in. This takes several applications, adding a small amount of sand and then ramming with the pencil. Now tuck the filler ‘tail’ under the ear and do the second one. We may eventually find that we have too much sand in the ears but it’s easier to take a little out than put more in, should we need to.
Before we tackle the main body of the bag, there is one question I need you to answer – are you a bag-squeezer? What is a bag-squeezer, you may ask. Well, in the old days, when benchrest was in its infancy, front rests didn’t have all the fancy adjustments that we have today and joystick rests were not even a dream. The front rest was largely a fixed tri-pod pedestal and once set up, all aim adjustments were made by squeezing and manipulating the back-bag. Very few UK benchrest shooters are bag-squeezers but several top American BR shooters still prefer to bag-squeeze. Many bags these days have a very thick, rigid base. This allows the bag to sit flat on the top Does bag-squeezing have any advantage? of a concrete bench without rocking. The older Before the ‘one touch’ joystick rests, bags generally have a thinner base made of bag-squeezing was a very quick way to adjust a single piece of leather and as you pack the the aim – rather than reaching forward and sand into the bag, the base becomes convex. adjusting the windage screw and the elevation Not good. This means that the bag will not now screw but now, with the joystick rests, it’s one provide a stable platform off a concrete bench quick adjustment - easily as quick as squeezing though it may not be too disastrous for F Class Target Shooter 65
Here’s what you need to fill your bag – sand, small funnel, a pen or pencil for ramming the sand into the ears and a tablespoon is useful for handling the sand - off your shooting-mat on a grassy firing-point. encourage the sand to settle and compact. As you are reaching the stage where the bag is getting full, bring the pencil into play and ram the sand between fills via the filler tail. At this stage you will be getting about a teaspoonful of sand in at a time. Be patient, ram that sand, keep slapping it, get it so full it feels like a brick – unless you are a bag-squeezer of course!
If you do end up with a convex base, the solution is to sit it upon one of those doughnuts – usually made of rubber or better still suede-leather, filled with sand – see pic. Obviously rubber can be bouncy and this is exactly what we are trying to avoid so, if you are going to buy a doughnut – get a leather one. You will need to fill it with sand but it’s not Once it’s absolutely full, tuck-in the filler-tail. essential to pack it drum-tight. You might have to carefully use the blade of a screwdriver to do this. Now, have a look at the It might be tempting to sit your bag on a pile of ears. Are they too full? They need to mould wooden blocks or what have you and I have seen slightly to the shape of your butt-stock and some horrendous rear bag supports amongst should not lift the butt as you track the rifle the F Class fraternity. In benchrest competition, back and forth. Look through the scope – if the there are restrictions on such contraptions. In crosshairs keep dropping on your target as you all fairness to the F Class guys, they are often ‘track’ the rifle, the ears are too full. faced with steeply sloping uneven firing-points and I have occasionally needed to resort to The proof of the pudding is of course in the drastic methods to obtain a stable shooting shooting. Set up your rifle and see how it ‘runs’ platform. in the bags. Beat the top of the butt-stock with your fist to settle it in the ears and run the Fill the main body of your bag with sand as rifle back and forth in a sawing motion. Set your we did with the ears – slapping the bag to crosshairs on the target and run the rifle back 66 Target Shooter
Note the stitching between the ears – single row on the left, three rows on the right – for wider stocks. Buy the right bag for your stock. and forth some more and keep checking for return to point of aim – we are looking for a set-up where, after the rifle is fired and you push it back against the fore-end stop, the crosshairs are somewhere near your point of aim. If you are using a front pedestal rest – what about the front-bag? Firstly, there is no requirement to use Zircon – the bag is fixed to a heavy rest. Secondly, fill as above but don’t overfill it. You should be able to push your finger into the bag about an eighth of an inch. Don’t get it too solid. Use a small spirit-level to ensure the front bag is level before you mount the rifle. Do up the side screws to encourage the sides of the bag to grip the stock – but not too tight. The rifle must be allowed to recoil freely. Look through your scope whilst gently attempting to move the fore-end from side to side – as long as the crosshairs don’t move, the grip is tight enough. A perfect set-up is essential to get the best out of your rifle. If you shoot benchrest, try to avoid touching the rifle – except with your trigger Target Shooter 67 finger. Do not wrap your hand around the stock or hold onto the fore-end. Free-recoil is usually the best way to shoot but this becomes more difficult with larger calibres we use in 1000 yard benchrest or F Class. Some shooters initially don’t take to shooting benchrest-style but please, persevere, it is the most accurate way to shoot. Not only do benchresters achieve outstanding accuracy but look at the F Class guys with their five-inch V bull at 1000 yards. Even in perfect conditions, such accuracy can only be achieved with a faultless set-up. Check out www.foxfirearmsuk.com for SEB products, for Cicognani, go to www.varidecicognani.com Bald Eagle and Protector bags are available from www.sinclairintl.com and see www.edgebag.com for Edgewood products.
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The Lazy Man’s (Auto Reset) Knockdown Target
How many times when you are practicing down range on various knock-down targets someone else knocks down your target just as you are taking aim? How many times would you like to reset a target but the pulling-cord is manned by some one else and he is too lazy to re-set the target? How many times you pull the cord and it breaks? Definitely not a big issue but I reckon every shooter will smile when they read that introduction. One shooter in our club (Malta Allied Airgunners Club) decided to do something about it – by building his own automated knock-down target. Of course, by today’s micro-electronic standards it’s not the latest in high-tech but it’s worth a mention and a closer look in appreciation of our shooter’s dedication towards his favorite hobby.
The creator is one Nazzareno Scorfna, a long time air rifle enthusiast. Nazzareno is also a founder member of our shooting club and he is always keen to help the club in any way and is a dedicated committee member in the MAAC Airgun Section. Nazzareno is also a keen FT shooter and had his wish come true in 2009 when he participated in the WFTF Worlds in South Africa. Nazzareno is a proud Wierauch owner and all his air rifles except one are HW products and he will never change them for any other brand. His full time job as an auto electrician helped him to apply his skills in this project. Nazzareno is his real name but is known as Renie by all his friends and he always had a fixation in his mind to have a full-size knock-down target that will automatically reset after being hit. He is always busy with targets. He builds targets for air pistol and targets for air rifles, usually with some kind of innovation. He likes and tries to make life easier for all except himself. However it’s Renie’s passion to make something work and to help all members old and new feel at home. For his automatic re-set target, Renie tells us that all is needed was a standard knockdown target, a micro-switch, a bicycle brake cable, a 12V solenoid from a scrapped diesel engine, two relays and the timer used on diesel engines and a 12V
Lazymans Auto Reset Target - All the mechanisim is well protected.
Nazzareno the man behind this project.
battery. According to Renie’s own words you can easily purchase these items or even get them for free since these are easily available from a scrap yard. Rene decided to construct his own knock-down from scrap metal. The cable, timer, solenoid, covering and even the knock-down all came from a scrap yard. Rene’s contribution to recycling! He only bought the relays and the micro switch because he tells us that these items are the most critical parts and its better to get them new. He did not find any great difficulties in constructing the target and the set-up but he encountered a problem of how to reverse the timer function. He wanted to make the timer function work in the opposite way to how it works on the diesel engines. Rene explains to me that timer in a diesel engine works in the following way. When the ignition is switched on, the timer supplies current for a set number of seconds on the heater-plugs and then automatically breaks the circuit. He wanted the timer to work the other way around. When the knock-down kill-zone is hit, the face-plate will fall and in turn will activate the micro-switch. This action will supply current and trigger the timer to initiate a countdown before the current is applied to the solenoid. The solenoid will then starts to pull the link by means of a pull-cable which will in turn pull to re-set the knock-down. Once the knock-down re-sets and locks the face-plate, the micro switch is released and this will cut the current supply to the solenoid making it free so that the target is ready for
the next shot. Rene tells me that before he decided to introduce the electric circuit he tried various attempts to make a fully mechanical auto re-set target. In fact he managed to do it but the problem is that the target auto re-sets at once and does not allow an observer such as a lane marshal to notice this, if he is not directly observing the target. Rene wants things done in a fair way so he wants the target down and to stay down for a few seconds then auto re-set itself. His problem was how to conceal the electrical circuit and make it less noticeable. He also wanted to protect certain components from any accidental shots so he decided to fit and protect all the components into a metal base and double protect the critical components. I reckon the construction is strong enough to stop a 9mm round – that’s safe enough for Renie! Well Rene’s project is now complete but I bet he comes up with more refinements to his creation – don’t ask me what but he will certainly share it with us once he completes it. One thing I am certain of - we will see more of these units in the future on our range. It’s Renie’s wish to share his little project and he happy to help others who want to build this system for their own use. He is not seeking patents or profit, it’s just fun for him but although he likes to share with each and every shooter he would not like
Rear View showing the neat arrangment
anyone to take commercial advantage of this. If anyone is interested for personal use or commercial application and would like to contact Renie, please do so and email him on email@example.com . The shooters at the range like to use it especially for standing shots. When Renie understood this he immediately painted it red with a yellow hit zone to please his fellow shooters’ request. The full
operation of this target can also now be seen on You tube by following this link http://www.youtube. com/watch?v=AHZ-2Fdv9vg . This article is just my way, as Club Chairman, to give my little contribution to Renie and his lazy-man’s knock-down targe
Testing by club members Target Shooter 71
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This Smallbore Business
By Don Brook
The Natural Aiming Point of the position.
I have explained also the importance of the left side of the position (straight line from the forward As an ongoing system of progress concerning hand, directly through the forward elbow, shoulder, setting up the position for prone shooting, the NAP hip, knee, and the foot) and it is this positioning on is the next point of concern for any shooter, both the firing point that enables the shooter to gain the correct left and right natural aiming point. new chum and expert. Let me state right now, that once the initial position is finalised, the real detail starts in getting the rifle to If the shooter will follow along with me as I write this, and assume a position that you have developed that point at the target. is comfortable, and hopefully points somewhere in Every position, be it that of a brand new shooter or close proximity to the target, I would like you now a world champion has a Natural Aiming Point (NAP) to place the rifle up into your position and drop your eye behind the back sight on the cheek piece, encased within. getting ready to aim the rifle. The trick with this, is to get the rifle aligned exactly Now, just breathe in and out steadily and close your with the target, without any extraneous force eyes. Continue breathing as you relax the forward applied to bring the rifle on aim by use of muscles. position with emphasis on the arms, and shoulders, for about three or four breaths, then open your eyes I have already explained the correct use of the sling, behind the sights to aim the rifle. which primarily is an aid to hold the rifle still, and the sources of the many problems that can develop There are TWO highly important areas to look at now! until the sling is set to favour each position. Within the forward geometry, using the sling correctly, largely influences the control of the NAP, “A”… Is the rifle pointing either left or right of the but the primary control is entirely the placement of target? the body on the firing point for prone shooting. Also connected within this is breathing control, and the “B”…. Is your aiming eye dead centre in the back evolution of the position round the fulcrum point of peep of the rear sight? looking directly through the peep? the left elbow. (RH shooter). The forward elbow becomes the single most important placement factor in a successful In relation to “A” above, where the rifle is pointing position, and the shooter will soon learn to leave it either left or right of the aiming mark, is the LATERAL Natural Aiming Point of the position. If firmly stuck in place! You see, the control of the left, and right “point” of this does not coincide with the aiming mark through the rifle is dictated by the body movement around the sights, you need to alter the body position around the fulcrum of the forward elbow. Do NOT that fulcrum point of the forward elbow.
Have a look at the position fault here, where the eye is well under the peep centre. (See text) This is a simple cheek piece adjustment requirement but is so often seen!
move the elbow position under any circumstances. The whole of the position geometry is dictated by the standard position of the forward elbow in both planes, as I will explain. Say for instance the rifle is aiming left of the aiming mark. To bring the rifle to the right, to coincide with the aiming mark, you just simply move the hips to the left. This allows the position to move the rifle further to the right, and once more under the eyes shut, relaxed breathing sequence the lateral “point” is searched and found. It is important, that the finest increment is observed, particularly when searching for that elusive fine piece of positioning as your skills develop. Even the slightest amount off the centre aim in the foresight is not acceptable under the attention to detail requirement I have continued with in my writings. Conversely, if the rifle is aiming to the right of the aiming mark, then you move your hips to the right around the fulcrum of that forward elbow until the NAP is found without any form of muscle influence in BOTH planes…..
Now, concerning “B” above, “Is the eye looking directly through the sights?” If you study the photograph #1 you will see a classic case of the eye under the peep axis within the position. The aiming eye is well under the peep axis as an illustration, and is largely at fault with the elevation of an adjustable cheek piece on the rifle. The remedy is quite simple here, as the cheek piece can be adjusted up wards to gain the peep axis (See photo #2) However, if the shooter persists with the first photo adjustment, it will be seen that the shooter has to lift the head upwards from the cheek piece to gain eye centre through the peep. This means that the cheek piece pressure on the rifle varies, (in some cases considerably) so losing control of the facial position and the recoil factors on shot release. The variations encased within this fault can lead to excessive group size on the target, and totally unexplained shots in the scoring rings for an otherwise quite well aimed shot.
If your small bore rifle does not have an adjustable cheek piece, then you need to make sure that Shooters reading this, I must state that these adjustments are made to enable peep centering on examples are mandatory if you want to get aim. I have seen all sorts of ingenious methods anywhere with this fascinating sport. You simply to achieve this factor, from carving the shape of HAVE to do this as you develop your shooting skills. the cheek piece woodwork itself (my own early
This photo shows the correct cheek piece height, which as you can see, allows the eye to be centered in the peep. This is crucial to correct cheek piece pressure. (See text)
Anschutz rifles were all altered in some way, as I never fired a stock standard rifle stock in my life.) or in some cases a cheek piece built up with builders epoxy “Bog” that enabled the shooter to gain peep centre without varying the cheek piece pressure on the rifle. The obvious cure all for a stock like this is to have a stock maker build an adjustable cheek piece for you, you will be surprised at the benefits. It is not rocket science, and a good stock maker can do this easily. “Rifle Fit” will be discussed further down the track in future articles, and I have seen, in my travels around the rifle matches in the world, some pretty ingenious devices to gain rifle fitting. There was even one instance of a prominent shooter from Finland with a 12mm Dowel (Approx the same size as a “Dolly” clothes peg) employed as a cheekpiece! It should also be noted that modern target rifles are fully adjustable, and this was no accident of development, believe me! This will be the first article devoted to natural aiming point, and it must be accepted that every position, no matter how standardised, or radical it may be,
needs to have the aiming point found pretty quickly. The second series of the Natural Aiming Point selection devoted to elevation control by position and breathing will be promoted next issue. These days, with electronic targets, single aiming mark target machines, and the finales systems in p lace, at least you only have one aiming mark presented to you. Spare a thought for those clubs all over the world, that still use multi aiming mark targets, such as the 50m five bull target in Australian clubs that present this set of problems to each 20 shot string five times! From what I know about shot release orientation, this is probably one of the major causes of diminished skills levels in all forms of prone shooting, let alone the demands applied for three position shooters! I do know, that when I first ventured out of Australia to international competition, I am quite sure the increase in my personal standard came from single aiming mark targets in front of me. So much less I had to bother about! Another little gem for you all…. “If you hit it in the middle, it does not matter where the lines are, does it? Brooksie.
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Target Shooter 77
Profile on Matt Milson
By Hayley Platts
Matt has been involved in shooting now for just three years, having come to the sport via Tetrathlon. Prior to taking up shooting as a stand alone event, Matt competed regularly in the Tetrathlon for the pony club, and for those who get confused as to which disciplines the Tetrathlon includes - it is, running, swimming and horse riding as well of course as air pistol shooting. When he was fifteen the coach at the local rifle club where Matt’s shooting training took place asked if he had considered small-bore shooting. Matt’s response to coach Richard was to return to the club the following week and have a go. Quite a nifty move converting a pistol shooter to rifle! That was three years ago and his interest has gained momentum along with his skills and success . Now aged eighteen Matt saw his move to small-bore shooting as a step up from air rifle and air pistol which he had thoroughly enjoyed but felt this new discipline represented a new challenge and a way of furthering and building on the skills he already had. Currently Matt is concentrating on .22 prone
with his small-bore rifle but this may inevitably lead to learning the new skills required to become a three positional shooter. Matt is starting to emerge as a young shooting talent and has for the past two years attended the Yorkshire Regional training squad as well as being as competitive as possible shooting in national events at Bisley, and travelling to Scotland and the Isle of Man to help broaden his knowledge of good and demanding ranges in the UK. It always amazes me how we have a good number of outdoor ranges dotted around the UK which go unnoticed by the general public and non local shooters unless you are heading there! but once you arrive at these little clubs to compete there is a community feel often in the middle of nowhere complete with secure clubhouse and cosy environment to mull over those shots that got away! So far Matt cites clinching the Scottish Junior Championship last year in Scotland as his best achievement, although he is also very proud to have represented the England Juniors also in 2009 at Bisley and bring home a gold in the annual match versus Scotland and Wales. With regard to his future in the shooting Matt says that he wants to continue to learn and also to compete to the best of his ability, and most importantly still enjoy it. Matt has plenty on his plate academically wise as he is in the throes of completing his A Levels at College where he has undertaken Maths, Physics and Business Studies. Good luck with those and also congratulations to Matt for recently gaining his Private Pilots License for Helicopters, something which he tells me is what he hopes will turn out to be a career for him in the future. Just thinking about those academic skills and his aptitude for learning to fly, I wonder if those analytical skills help Matt consider his shots and the mathematical decisions on wind speed and direction etc - quite an interesting topic to mull over, it often intrigues me to discover what skills and talents people bring to the range from their non shooting lives and how that helps or hinders them in learning to shoot and compete. Anyhow to sum up, I hope Matt turns out to be high flyer with his shooting career as well as turning his hobby into a career choice and wish him well in combining both of these talents over the next few years.
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By Gwyn Roberts
Instead of more coaching tips or looking at different types of equipment etc I thought I’d take a look this month at our sport as a whole to see what has happened, what is currently happening and what we need to plan for and implement in the future to help ensure the growth and development of Gallery Rifle & Pistol (GR&P). I have the feeling this is going to be a bit like poking a stick into a hornet’s nest but it seems that there is a great deal of talking on the ranges, but very little communication getting outside of it so I’ll start the ball rolling and just hope that it doesn’t turn into a ten pin bowling match. Starting at the beginning in 1997, many of us wanted to carry on shooting the type of action events that we used to shoot with our pistols and the only types of firearms that were available at the time were the 10/22’s and lever action rifles. Many of us up until this time were members of the National Pistol Association (NPA) which was the governing body for pistol shooting and the British Fifteen Hundred and Action Pistol Association (BFAPA). It was their job to run pretty much every 1500 or action pistol / revolver match that was either at Bisley or anywhere else around the country and a very good job they did of it too at the time! Unfortunately for us, when GR&P shooting started to take off so did the NPA and this left us all with no governing body or any formal structure to carry on with into the future. Thankfully though, a few of the stalwarts from within our shooting community managed to keep our sport alive and set about rebuilding what we had left, which wasn’t much when you think of it. Quite a few people just gave up at this point as they either didn’t want to shoot rifles, or found that they couldn’t perform at the level they were previously at shooting their pistols but the rest of us were determined to see what we could make of it. It did take quite a while
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to achieve but the National Rifle Association (NRA) was eventually persuaded to help us out and took the discipline of GR&P under its wing. For some shooters it was like “turning to the dark side” with them having to fall under the NRA’s banner, but then looking at it from their point of view, why should they have taken us on board anyway? Was it because £ signs were
being waved around in front of their eyes for lots of new members, were they were trying to help safeguard TR, or was it because they were simply trying to help out fellow shooters within the sport? Quite frankly none of us really cared because it meant that we could still carry on with our shooting instead of having to take up fishing or something else instead! This partnership gave GR&P the credibility that it needed as a recognised NRA discipline which would ensure that it was fully accepted by both the Home Office and A.C.P.O so that we could carry on shooting with our old competitions albeit with our new types of firearms. Present: Turning our attention then to our National Governing Body for GR&P, the first question you would probably ask is are they actually doing a good job of it? I think the NRA’s immediate response would be
RO’s & CRO’s wanted, apply everywhere
place. This should be good news for every type of shooter and the appointment or replacement of some staff, along with the accountability measures being put into place is certainly encouraging. Outside expertise, help and advice in some areas and disciplines is also being utilized along with the setting up of additional committees and working groups which is all helping to take a very positive step forward in the right direction. Other questions that often pop up during conversation regarding the NRA / NSC is what have they ever done for us, what’s in it for me, or why is everything so expensive? The first answer would have to be they have helped us get to where we are now, with around 600 competitors entering the Phoenix and many international GR&P Teams to compete against both at home and abroad so they have obviously helped accomplish many things. There will hopefully be other countries joining us in the near future but I think this is best read as work in progress for the time being. Reading the NRA list of benefits, the second question could be answered with not a lot really to be honest if it isn’t your primary club as I think most of these benefits are covered by your own club affiliation. Not being a member though means that you will not be able to represent GB as a member of the GR&P Team, you cannot vote at the AGM which could be the difference between someone who may be blinkered or someone who is open in their views being elected into positions within the NRA, so this is certainly something for you to think about. I agree that certain things are considered expensive and amongst these are entry costs in general, as well as the difference between those costs charged at the GR&P events and the same matches shot at some of the other meetings at Bisley, but this will hopefully be addressed in the future. On the plus side there is of course now a 20% reduction in entry costs for the Phoenix if you enter 12 or more events, and this is definitely a bonus for those people who actually make a weekend of it, as opposed to those who only turn up for a morning or afternoon of shooting so an effort is definitely being made on this point. If you are not bothered about receiving yet another medal you can of course opt for a £5 gift voucher instead which means you could end up shooting the shorts matches for half price and still get the recognition, as well as a qualifying score so again it’s another step in the right direction. Future: As well as asking what the NRA / NSC are doing for GR&P shooting, we should also ask ourselves the same questions as well as the clubs and ranges that we regularly attend. Does your club or range encourage other clubs to attend for either an
RO’s & CRO’s wanted, apply everywhere
is your home club or range being run perfectly, and if not, why not? I think it’s fair to say that there are very few, if any clubs or associations that are run as well as they could be (or even any where near in some circumstances I can think of) but I think the potential is there if the right decisions are made in the future! Maybe I’m being unfair, or just plain wrong but there has always seemed to be a bit of a “us and them” thing going on with some of the people who shoot at Bisley and this thought also extends to some of the people that have been within the NRA / NSC over the years. It’s always struck me as being a retirement home for ex Brigadiers and the like who have found that they have way too much spare time on their hands so they thought they would join the “old boys” club just for something to do. Unfortunately this has proved to be the case on more than one occasion over the years as there has been a number of individuals on the camp who have been allowed to reign freely for far too long, with little, if any accountability to anyone else for either their actions or the decisions that they have made. Selfishness or simple incompetence over the years by a handful of people has probably been the main reason for the slow development of Bisley as the centre of excellence for the whole of the shooting sports, but thankfully the process of change is already taking
informal get together or a full blown inter club / open competition, and if not, why not? Surely this is the best way to get more people actively involved in all of the disciplines and it will also help educate everyone involved in aspects from safety to the fun factor, and this is what it’s all about surely? On one hand there are many clubs dotted around the country with some fantastic facilities but they are “closed” to outsiders or any form of change, whereas others have very enthusiastic and experienced members but have poor facilities meaning that they have either little or no opportunity to pass on their expertise and knowledge to others. Either way, both scenarios are detrimental to the future of our sport and unless things can change pretty soon, the future of all forms of shooting is looking pretty bleak! I’ve mentioned this many times before, but if we could all just get one more person from our club to travel to Bisley (or any another open shoot) then the Phoenix would instantly have well over a 1,100 entrants, and this would be a huge boost and get us back up to somewhere near the numbers we used to get at the old Anno Domini meetings. As well as having access to good facilities we also need to make sure that help and advice is readily available to those that need it regarding every aspect of GR&P shooting and this will be available to both individuals
as well as clubs in the not too distant future. As well as attracting more shooters and competitors into GR&P we also need to increase the number of competent R.O and C.R.O’s to ensure that we can carry on providing good quality and above all else, safe matches and this again is proving to be somewhat of an uphill struggle. There are always people who are willing to take all they can from a sport but there are far less who are prepared to give anything back in return, and this is another issue that needs to be addressed in the future. If you are not willing to help out in some small way at an event then I don’t really see why anyone else should be prepared to help you on the day either. It’s not the end of the world to turn up earlier to help score targets, paint steel or help with R.O duties so give this some thought if it applies to you. If we had a lot more R.O’s available to us it would mean that the duties could be shared throughout the day or weekend and this would make it much fairer on the current people who do it as it would give them a lot more time to shoot their own matches in (or even take part in some circumstances). Running an association the size of the NRA cannot be done by just a handful of people and it requires a huge number of volunteers to work together in many different areas. There’s a small minority who view those sitting on the various committees or being responsible for certain positions as being on some sort of power trip, or simply wanting to be in charge of everyone else but in most cases, this is very far from the truth. If you actually saw the amount of paperwork involved, the number of meetings that have to be attended (and the distance involved to actually get to them) along with the size of the reports that have to be written etc, etc then these individuals would certainly change their opinions of those who help run our sport. These people put in a tremendous amount of their (unpaid) time, effort and commitment into helping our sport develop and grow and it is up to all of us to help them in any way we can. It takes far more than someone who is on an ego trip to run our sport, where much has been promised in the past only for very little to be actually delivered but I think the
Your ultimate goal perhaps
key people that we currently have in place within the GR&P framework (both GR&P and NRA/NSC) are doing a huge amount of good work for us, the majority of which usually goes totally unnoticed but it is certainly being done. The main tasks that the GR&P Committee members are working on at the moment is writing and putting together the various manuals for Skills, Training, Coaching, R.O’s and Club / Regional Development. This is a huge task to achieve but it is already under way and although it will take time to complete, the end results will benefit everyone from probationary members to national standard shooters and they will help us to take our sport up to the next level. You will notice that new rules have been introduced regarding the classification / type of firearms that can be used in GR&P events and this will help to ensure a fairer and more level playing field as new types of firearms are becoming available on the market. It is also opening up our sport to people who shoot with the older types of rifle that use the standard iron sights etc and this can only be good for GR&P. It has involved a lot more work for the stats crew but there are now individual classifications for the different calibers in the individual shorts events, and again this is to ensure that every shooter gets as fair a deal as is possible.
I think at the end of the day a lack of communication probably creates more problems or distrust within the shooting sports (or any other sport for that matter) than any other specific point and this is what we need to address, now! The NRA / NSC already send out regular e-mails and the GR&P’s galleryrifle.com website has pretty much everything else covered but they can both be improved on. There are obviously many people out there who are satisfied with the way that our sport is being run and developed, and there are also a few who aren’t. There must be lots of people out there with some good ideas about what can be done to improve areas or points within Gallery Rifle, but it’s not of much use if you don’t put your ideas forwards to anyone. In order for us to progress we must communicate, so please get in touch either with the NRA / NSC or the GR&P committee at gallery@nra. org.uk so that we can all help each other.
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LICHFIELD TARGET SHOOTING CLUB
The Lichfield Target Shooting Club was formed as Weeford Airgun Club in 1976 and, soon after, moved to premises at Lichfield Cricket Club, changing the name in the process to Lichfield Airgun Club. For the most part, certainly over 15 years, the Cricket Club was the shooting club’s base although there were brief spells where the club met at the Officer’s Club, Swinfen Hall, in the grounds of the prison, and another period of time at the Old Schoolhouse in the nearby hamlet of Fradley. However with the demise of the Cricket pitch and it’s club house to make way for a housing development, necessitated another move and the Lichfield group of shooters now rent the Scout Hut at Hopwas where they have been located for approximately 3 years. who resurrected the Staffordshire Open 10 metre Championships - a national 10 metre event which in the first few years was held in the big Sports Hall of the Friary Grange Sports Centre in Lichfield. Members pulled together to organise the meeting as well as compete in it themselves, and with the combination of a new venue for shooters to travel to and compete at, and the wonderful array of local crystal prizes, the ‘Staffs’ became a hugely supported and well loved annual event, which eventually was held at the Aldersley national range, Wolverhampton due to astronomical room hire rates at the Sports Centre. In it’s heyday the event attracted international shooters from as far afield as New Zealand and comprised of 2 days of double 60 shot competitions plus a qualifier and Olympic Final on the Saturday night, with The name was changed to the Lichfield Target Staffordshire confined champions being crowned in Shooting Club in 1988 to reflect some of the changes in conjuction with the main shooting events. club activities, and at the same time the demographic of the membership was changing with members not At this point I must declare my non-neutral status as only from the city itself but the local outlying areas as far as Lichfield is concerned as it was the club where I well. learned my shooting trade so to speak, and benefited enormously from the experienced and enthusiastic The club is always happy to welcome newcomers hard core bunch of members who were there back in to the sport of air rifle and air pistol shooting as well the 80’s. A small group of us travelled most weekends as established shooters to the club. If you are new to events all over the UK, saw how competitions were to the sport the club in the first instance has good run, what scores you needed to win and generally learn honest equipment to get you started as well as some how to shoot in competitions. I think I learnt to do 10 very patient and knowledgeable members who are metre shooting at some of these competitions having only too happy to see newcomers improve and thrive no access to a range with 10 metres at the time! Many in the sport. of these people have become lifelong friends and I still shoot shoulder to shoulder with them most weeks. Primarily Lichfield was always a club for 6 yard shooting (target and bell) as it did not have the Anyone in the locality looking for a small friendly necessary room size available to extend the range club should contact Ken Beddows on 01543 253734. to shoot 10 metres. All the more extraordinary then The club meets on Tuesday nights from 8.00pm until to think that it was Lichfield Target Shooting Club 10.00pm on 10 metre target changers.
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Competitions Our second 100 yard benchrest competition of the year was rather poorly supported but nonetheless competition was as keen as ever and, for once, conditions were quite good.
of five,5-shot groups) 2nd Phil Sammons 6PPC Stolle 3rd Bruce Lenton 6PPC Stolle Small group Eddy Robinson Factory Sporter 1st Darrel Evans 2nd Andy Woolley Small group 6PPC Stolle 6PPC Sako 6PPC Sako Darrel Evans
0.2849 0.3167 0.131 0.6055 0.7167 0.305
At 100 yards, we had our new moving-backer up and running and we thank Jack Searle for all the work he has put in to get the system built and installed. The moving-backer records the number of shots fired in a group as this can be very difficult for the scorer to determine when group sizes get down to the one-tenth of an inch region. Yes, the backer is there to prevent cheating but it’s not impossible for shooters to genuinely lose count of their shots when ‘running’ a quick group – it’s not unknown for six shots to be fired! Ian Dixon continued his run of form – almost agging in the ‘ones’ – to take another comfortable win but in spite of three groups in the ‘ones’ from Ian, it was Eddy Robinson who took the smallgroup award with a stunning 0.131 incher. In Factory Sporter we had only two shooters and Darrel Evans cruised to another win and smallgroup award.
For Sunday’s 1000 yard shoot we had another good day, if a little breezy. Amongst the entry we had three F Class shooters wanting to try out their 308 F/TR rifles and loads before the Blair Atholl F Class League shoot the following weekend. Laurie Holland was amongst the three and he managed to shoot a stunning five-inch group and agging just over ten-inches for his four, 5-shot groups. This was an excellent performance and gave Laurie third place overall – except of course his rifle was over-weight for the Light Gun Class! For the record, Laurie finished fourth at Blair Atholl.
Mal Roberts took the overall win with his Mike Results: Bryant smithed BAT and Phil Sammons shot Heavy Varmint small group of the day with a four-incher. In 1st Ian Dixon 6PPC Walker BAT 0.2078in. (av Factory class, current Champion Ian Kellet could
This is septuagenarian Eddy Robinson. He shot smallest group at 100 yards on Saturday with his 6PPC Stolle. Here he is at 1000 yards with his 7mmWSM BAT 86 Target Shooter
Toni Young with her 308 Remington
do no better than third and an on-form Toni Young tape, you could be missing a ‘trick’. took a great win with her absolutely standard 308 Remington and also scooped the small-group I get my stock tape from Russ Hayden www. award. shooters-supply.com in America. Not very convenient as the postage costs as much as the Results: tape! For around a tenner you get four squares - Light Gun enough for two rifles but postage and packing takes 1st Mal Roberts 6.5-284 BAT 8.607 its toll and my credit card was debited $28.00! in. (av. Of four 5-shot groups) 2nd Phil Sammons 6.5-284 PRS Stolle 9.135 Applying stock tape it is easy – just peel-off the 3rd Les Holgate 6.5x55 RPA 10.656 backing and stick it on your stock. Be warned though – it is very, very sticky and, if you get it Small group Phil Sammons 4.438 inches wrong, there’s no second chance – believe me, this stuff is sticky! Factory 1st Toni Young 308 Remington 13.013 Anyway, back to our reader’s e-mail. Clearly not 2nd Andy Carter 308 Sako TRG 15.075 happy with the American connection, he surfed the 3rd Ian Kellett 6.5-284 Savage 17.6 net and managed to locate a UK supplier. Obviously, this tape is not made specially for Small group Toni Young 9.886 inches benchrest shooters – it must have another application, however, Jon has sent me a sample New Stuff and I can confirm that it is identical to the Russ Got an e-mail the other day asking where I got Hayden tape. my stock tape from. If you are not familiar, stock tape is a self-adhesive Teflon tape and is used by So, Jon at email@example.com is the guy to benchresters to reduce the friction between contact if you would like some tape. The tape bags and rifle. We usually stick a piece on the comes on a five-inch wide roll and he will sell you underside of the fore-end and the underside of the two five-inch squares for £7.95 or four squares butt to help it slide between the ears of the rear for £10.95, p&p included. Contact Jon (mob. bag. The rifle must recoil freely without ‘stiction’ if 07717277314) for further details but please note, ‘shot to shot’ consistency is to be maintained. If he will be away until June 9th. you are shooting a rested rifle and not using stock
In association with
My name is Scott Grayson, I’m sixteen years old and I shoot for Buxted Rifle Club which I have been a member for the last four years and have very much enjoyed my time there. I handled an air rifle for the first time four years ago and I’ve never looked back since. My Dad, Alan, bought my brother his first air rifle, an s200 in a GnB stock and this is when he and my brother first started shooting at Buxted Rifle Club and I followed shortly afterwards. After some lessons in the ways of shooting from Gary Morisson, my brother and I started shooting Hunter Field Target. This is where I first met Garry Kingaby who has been a loyal shooting partner and, shooting alongside him, I have won the following in HTF and benchrest: • Southern Hunters Junior Championship 2008-2009 • Third in the World HFT 2009 • Second in the Sussex Open • First Junior Hunter Class - Nationals 2009 • First Junior Unlimited Class - Nationals 2009 I would like to take this opportunity to thank Garry Kingaby for the amount of time and effort he put
With winning in mind - Scott is on a winning streak
Members of the UK team Above - Scott Grayson, one of our juniors Below - Colin Rose
Happy times at one of Scotts many competitions, with the rest of his team and Dad Alan
into my shooting to get me where I am today. Alongside my success, also came the success of my brother who, with the help of his mentor Gary Morrison, has won the following in his three years of shooting: • Sussex Interclub Junior Champion 2008-2009, 2009-2010 • Seventh in the World HTF 2009 • Third in the World 2010 • Sussex Open First Junior HTF became a major part of my family’s life and was great fun with a lot of competition between me and my brother which was put to the test at the Sussex Open where it went down to
the wire in a nail-biting standing shoot-off which ongoing excitement of shooting along with the ended with the satisfactory victory being claimed happy feeling that surrounded all the men from by Craig, leaving me a proud second. the Club who are all friends and gave the place a hearty feel. During my stay in Bristol, l I had some Throughout mine and my brother’s HTF seasons, fantastic times with the guys from the club as we I was injury-stricken due to a knee problem had a relaxed, happy time which took the stress of which has now been resolved after twice being in shooting off us and helped us to achieve a high surgery. Through the periods of time where I standard, with Garry Kingaby and myself finishing was unable to shoot I could hardly bare watching in the top three in the air rifle competitions. my brother going on to succeed around the country, winning the 5th Round of the UK HFT in Benchrest shooting has now become a family Basingstoke. I felt that I needed to find another sport with my Mother and Sister, who shot their type of shooting and soon found benchrest thanks first season this year winning four Gold medals to my Dad and Garry Kingaby, who asked me if between them. It’s a massive switch from HFT to I’d like to become part of the benchrest team at benchrest so my Dad put me in contact with Gary my Club, which I graciously accepted and soon Cane of Techwood Design Ltd who designed and found myself in a completely different shooting built a stock for Dad’s Air Arms MPR. The stock discipline. itself has the characteristics of both a HTF and a benchrest stock; it is a beautiful stock and at the I started shooting benchrest with my Dad and moment he is making me a .22 rimfire ready for Garry without any real success but I went through me to use in the Europeans in the Czech Republic the first months improving, learning and above all, and if the end product is anything like my Dad’s, I having fun. In August, the benchrest competitors will be exceedingly happy with it. from my club all headed up to Bristol for the Finally, I would like to say a big thanks to Garry Nationals with great expectations. The experience Kingaby for allowing me to use his rimfire rifle. of taking part in the Nationals was brilliant and I I have learnt an awful lot from him and, as I am learned a lot from it, along with the laughs which a new member of Novio Magnum Pistol Club in kept our competition stress- free and enjoyable Chichester, I hope to continue learning new skills throughout. Our team all stayed in the same hotel there. and the atmosphere was buzzing with the
Scott on his way upwards in the air rifle benchrest leagues
The Long View
News from the GB F-Class Association by Les Holgate
Although the Blair Atholl shoot was the first long range competition of the F Class League this year, it was actually the second League shoot – the first one being held at Diggle in April over 500 and 600 yards. If you have never been to Blair Atholl you should go because this is the most picturesque range in the country – possibly the world and also one of the hardest to shoot on. Similar to Diggle in layout, it is on the side of a valley with flags mainly positioned down the left hand side of the range (although the flags can be so confusing and misleading, they may as well be behind you!).
place, the paths and the roads in Glen Tilt have to be closed to walkers for safety reasons). The competition was set to commence at 10am, so the blow-offs and sighting-in session would be immediately before this and would not be squadded, so competitors just found a space to shoot and got a rough zero. When the shoot commenced it was four details with 12 shooters to a detail. With the entry split 19/29 in favour of the Open Class shooters it meant two full details of Open class, one full detail of F/TR shooters and one mixed detail.
Normally there would be a practice/zeroing The other point to mention is that Blair have session on the Friday but with long-range electronic targets and everyone is happy about days limited at Blair Atholl this would now be not having to do butt duty! If you haven’t shot Saturday morning, May 8th. (The main reason on these targets, they are great but you do for this is that when the long-range shoots take find that you are shooting much quicker so you What a great place to shoot – note the monitor for the electronic targets – targets can be seen just above the monitor
World F Class Champion Gary Costello (check shirt) gives first-timer Paul Harper a few tips sometimes have to force yourself to slow down. They also show your score to one decimal place so you can see exactly how far you are from the line. Looks great if you get a 5.9 but souldestroying when 3.9 is indicated! When the first 2/15 shoot got underway, the fish-tailing wind was confusing many shooters and Open scores were in the mid sixties when they would normally be in the seventies with F/TR not far behind. This was a pattern that continued for the rest of the day with most struggling to come to terms with the big wind changes. However, it shows how far F/TR has come in that several shooters would have faired quite well in the Open Class. By the end of the day John Campbell was leading in Open Class and Ian Dixon was ahead in F/TR but most of us had to be content with the sun tan we had gained from the glorious weather! in the baronial dining room, washed down with some good wine and chat. For Sunday, the weather seemed to be promising more of the same but not quite as sunny. The other downside was the wind - it was going to be even more testing. Behind the raised firing-point it seemed to be fairly calm but as soon as you got on top of the point, that wasn’t the case. The wind was strong and when it did change it really caught us out with many competitors wondering how they could have missed the 3 or 4 minute wind changes - with some missing the target completely.
With John Campbell holding a slender lead overnight, could anyone catch him or maybe he would ‘dollop’. Even though there was some excellent shooting - the highest score of the day being a stunning 74 from Danny Brough – with some competitors at last getting to grips with the For the Saturday evening, match organiser Des wind, nobody could match John’s consistency Parr had arranged a Shoot Dinner in the Atholl and he took the overall win. Arms Hotel, which was also the venue that most competitors were staying in. Most of the F/TR looked like it would be closer, with Ian shooters attended and enjoyed a great meal Dixon’s lead slipping from 5 points overnight to Target Shooter 91
Both winners – Ian Dixon in the fore-ground with that home-made stock and bi-pod and John Campbell in the background. John builds his own rifles, this one a Stolle in 7mm WSM only 2 points ahead after the first Sunday relay. Ian has a long history of ‘dolloping’ and could write a book on it but when the last F/TR shot had gone down the range not only had he not dolloped but he had actually turned his two shot lead into a 9 shot lead - superb shooting. For the record Ian had also won three of the five matches so you could say he had dominated the weekend for F/TR. For those of you wondering what equipment this top F/TR shooter uses, he has made his own stock and bi-pod, a Barnard action fitted with a 34 inch barrel shooting 185 grain bullets - all gunsmithing work by Walker Custom Rifles. It may not be the prettiest gun but ‘beauty is in the eyes of the beholder’ and his scores prove that it shoots and also proves that it isn’t just about how much you can spend. So, with the shoot over, all that was left was the prize-giving and another surprise - the GB F Class Association has now invested in some solid silver salvers at a cost of £1000 each! So at last, F Class shooters can have some high-quality trophies of their own. If you are not already shooting in the F Class League but like the idea of what we do, why not get your entry in for Round 3 at Diggle Ranges 12/13th June. More information on the F Class website at www.f-class.org.uk 92 Target Shooter
A regular column whereby Ken Hall keeps us up to date with black powder cartridge rifle shooting in the UK.
THE ANNUAL QUIGLEY SHOOTING ASSOCIATION TIGHTGROUP SHOOT. Saturday 15th May and the annual QSA Tightgroup competition got under way with a reduced field, mainly due to holidays and a few members competing in the long range events run simultaneously in Bisley. Run on the lines of UK Benchrest style competition the format generally followed that of Benchrest, but with some minor allowances due to the unique nature of these 19th Century long guns. Each firer was to fire four separate groups of five rounds at 100yds on a standard 25yd pistol target, a time limit of 10 minutes per group was allowed, which gave time to wipe the bore between shots. The resulting group sizes recorded were then added together
Dennis Richardson with his Browning High Wall
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, some 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. It soon became apparent that a Battle Royal for smallest group was brewing, with several groups below 2 inches. It finally came down to last year’s winner Richard Healey to just beat his son Jake, who incidentally shoots benchrest rimfire and is to compete in the European and World
John Noble used the only original rifle .43 Egyptian
Ken Jones and Gary Lee
ue to strive towards achieving smaller groups at this distance; otherwise decent scores at longer ranges will continue to elude us. RESULTS. Competitor Best Group Average Richard Healey 1.25in 1.72in
Young Jake Healey swabs the bore between shots
Winner Richard Healey and organiser Ken Hall
Dave Bownass 1.72in 2.53in Dennis Richardson 1.74in 2.60in Dave Malpas 2.04in 3.06in Ken Jones 2.08in 3.75in Doug Herod 3.5in 3.86in Ken Hall 3.05in 4.25in John Noble 4.14in 6.49in Jake Healey 1.30in Didn’t finish Gary Lee 1.67in Didn’t finish Khall6548@aol.com
Richard and Jake’s winning groups
championships later this year. Jake’s smallest group, at 1.30 in looked a sure winner until Richard achieved a magnificent group at 1.25 inches centre to centre, this with lead bullets sized to 0.459in. Overall, the results were encouraging and show that firers are getting to grips with the “Dark Stuff”. Thanks to everyone who entered, we should contin-
Dave Coleman gets his own back. Smoke that is.
THE QUIGLEY SHOOTING ASSOCIATION. MAY QUIGLEY COMPETITION.
Saturday 8th May and still no improvement in the weather (OK, so the snow has melted!) once again it turned out to be more akin to November, with a fierce and bitterly cold wind. Stage 1 at 400 yds as usual, consisted of two sighters and fifteen shots to score at the Quigley bucket at 400 yds. As we broke for lunch Richard Healey was leading with a creditable 63 points being chased by Dave Coleman and Gary Allsopp with 55 and 51 points respectively. After lunch, stage 2 was the buffalo silhouette at 600 yds and top scorer on this stage was Richard again, with 40 points followed What a beautiful setting for a range by Dave Simmons, Ian Hull and Dave Malpas with 36 points each. The final scores were as follows. Pos. Shooter. Score. 1. Richard Healey Sharps 45/90 103 2. Dave Malpas Sharps 45/70 83 3. Gary Allsopp Remington 45/90 80
Jake and Gary peer through the smoke
Winner and Runner-up Richard Healey and Dave Malpas Target Shooter 95
Gallery Rifle & Pistol News
The season is off to a good start with the Mattersey Ten, Basildon 1500, the Western Winner 1500 at Bristol, Joint Services PC in Scotland and the Spring Action Weekend. Record numbers at the National Shooting Centre for the last, which currently looks like being the case for the Phoenix Meeting too. The sport is alive and well and new faces are joining the competition circuit at every meeting. This month you have the Derby 1500. This is a popular and well attended meeting with competitors from beginners to national team members attending. An excellent place to try your first open competition in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Some of you will have seen the new Disruptive Pattern targets at the NSC and elsewhere. Don’t worry if you still have stocks of the old ones left as the scoring rings are the same, with the exception of the new X ring on the DP1, keep using them as the scores are just as valid. (It may be a good idea to make up a transparent overlay to match the X ring on the DP1 so you can produce scores that can be compared with others nationally.) The Phoenix Meeting at the end of May was the first outing for the national teams and the results will be out by now. The Great Britain GR Team, lead by this year’s Captain Ash Dagger, will be off to Ireland next month and the England Scotland and Wales Teams will also be meeting around the country for more matches. If you want to know more about the teams get in touch using the contact details below. Finally, if you want to use the same range officer reference cards and scorecards as used at Bisley and elsewhere, the new editions are available for download from the website. Useful if you have prospective new competitors in your club and they want to know what to expect when 96 Target Shooter they turn up at an open meeting. DATES FOR 2010 June 26-27 July 10-11 July10-24 July 18 July 24-25 August 7-8 August 28-29 September 19 October 17 October 23-24 October 30-30 November 12-14 December 30 Derby 1500 Derby Fermoy International GR Ireland The Imperial Meeting NSC Bisley Mattersey Steel Shoot Mattersey Frome Three Gun Shield Dorset Stourport 1500 and Shorts Stourport Gallery Rifle National Championships NSC Bisley Mattersey Bianchi and Shorts Mattersey Shield Steel Challenge GR&P Dorset The Trafalgar Meeting NSC Bisley Autumn Action Weekend NSC Bisley Leitmar International GR Germany Shield Christmas Shoot Dorset
(Either contact the organisers direct or go to www.galleryrifle.com for entry forms.) GR&P = Gallery Rifle Centre Fire (GRCF), Gallery Rifle Small Bore (GRSB), Long Barrelled Pistol (LBP) and Long Barrelled Revolver (LBR) Please go to the Gallery Rifle website www.galleryrifle.com for more news and information or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
UKPSA Contingent attend the SK Bayern Cup Level III Shotgun Match in Germany
nourished with bacon butties, the contingent arrived in the quaint German town of Phillipsburg, north of Karlsruhe late in the afternoon and settled in the friendly Phillipsburger Hof hotel in the centre of town.
The Phillipsburg ranges are an elegant model of German standards and efficiency. Built by the German Army and now in civilian hands, the open air ranges are split between several long rifle ranges and umpteen smaller pistol / shotgun ranges. They cover a large area on the outskirts of the town with ample Squad Photo with IROA Official Keith Marshall parking and communal eating areas. Friday 7th May dawned clear and bright. Stepping into the cavernous pistol range Across the UK, while most decent folks were complex for the first time, you begin to probably still in bed, a fourteen-strong band appreciate the design. It feels like a covered of UKPSA practical shotgun shooters jammed indoor range but is, in actual fact, largely open ammunition, guns, and a hastily packed bag of to the elements through a series of heavy roof clothes into a convoy of cars and headed for the baffles designed to ensure that a round cannot Folkestone Eurotunnel terminal. leave the range. On the larger ranges, in this labyrinth, the sun can stream though creating Their destination was Phillipsburg in Germany, a bright, airy shooting environment that is a a six hour drive away once on French soil. pleasure to use. If it rains, it has an almost The reason was the SK Bayern Cup Level III surreal quality as you watch it lightly damp Shotgun Match with a planned attendance down the sand floor from the comfortable and of around 200 international shooters. It promised to be a long three days. Travel all Friday, shoot the match on Saturday, travel back on the Sunday. A long way for a single competition perhaps, but the British spirits were high and keen to shoot against some of the best shots in Europe. New match shirts were created and produced by a couple of the members to give a strong identity to the UKPSA’s presence . Coffee fuelled and
Mick Flatley shooting 50m slug with his Benelli M2 Target Shooter 97
One of the UK Squads working out Team tactics for Stage 4 dry covered spaces at the back of the range as slug as birdshot! you wait for your turn to shoot. High slug counts aren’t unusual in Europe and, by the time you have had to top-up for misses, If Carlsberg designed shooting ranges... I rest perhaps put a dozen or two through for zeroing, my case! and a possible stage reshoot, most would take a minimum of 150 Slug (six boxes) with them. Unlike us, the German civilians still have the luxury of being able to responsibly own and George Granycome, the new Regional Director shoot semi-auto centre-fire rifles and pistols. of the UKPSA, attended the match along with Like us, they can also own high capacity fellow senior shooter Graham Hill – the “Grumpy shotguns but only if the magazine is limited to Pumper” as he’s known. George has attended 10 rounds maximum. This rather limits their and RO’d many UKPSA shotgun matches and Open and Modified divisions but is fine for both you’d be hard pressed to miss him, standing Standard Manual (pump) division and the more at almost six and half foot tall, with a wry grin popular Standard Auto division. and a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. Both are pump shooters with ex-Royal Navy man George The German hosts were as welcoming as preferring to use his beautiful, woodenalways. Over the years strong friendships have furnitured, Winchester 1200 while Graham uses developed and it is always a distinct pleasure his more contemporary Benelli SuperNova with to renew old acquaintances and develop new natural plastic furniture. ones. Shooters are much akin to bikers in that way. George commented on the slug shooting, The match kicked off early on the Saturday in particular a 50m slug stage that really morning. Those shooters who have separated the good from the ugly: “Oh British experienced justification issues in the UK with Shooters; we are not used to long range their slug ammunition allowances would be poppers – two stages with those beasties at well advised to take the match round counts 50 metres; we are not used to 32 round slug along to their next FEO meeting: Solid Slug 72, stages, where, if you had to top up on the four Birdshot 84, Buckshot 32… almost as much poppers at 50 metres, and then some more 98 Target Shooter
Alison Hatchard enjoying some pistol shooting after the match on the hanging clays, you very quickly ran out of ammo. I did not feel really comfortable with even 9 in the gun and 42 on the belt after watching the first shooters in my squad.” George and Graham have traveled around for years on the competition circuit and often squad together and their good natured bantering can always be heard over the noise of their shotguns. George quipped: “The competition itself was a blast! There were ten stages in all and most were difficult – in fact there was nothing that could be called easy. Several people lost the plot on the 32 target birdshot stage which boasted moving clay targets triggered by the shooter breaking an Infra Red beam, and indeed one old gentleman became so confused and forgetful that he had to be led off the stage by the competition nurse. On the next stage his friend Graham did likewise.” As always, George’s face breaks into a grin as he relates a myriad of tales about the trip. Entering a match in European countries sounds daunting, but is actually much more simple than you would think. Being a member of the UKPSA and having successfully completed the two-day safety course means that the shooter can take part in an IPSC match anywhere in the world. Apart from your firearms licence, you also need a European Firearms Pass (EFP) which is currently free from your local firearms office. It lists the firearms you hold on your FAC that you would like to use abroad – so it doesn’t have to name all the ones on your FAC – just the guns you intend to take out of the UK. You also need a match invitation that you may need to show at any customs or border crossing, and certainly if you happen to be stopped by the police in any of the European countries you are passing through or staying in. it all used to be done with paperwork and post. Increasingly though, technology is making its inevitable impact. Registering for this match was all done online. George explains: “The organization of the match was superb. They used the Match Organisation System (MOS), an online subscription service” [ See it at http:// www.ipsc-dvc.org]. He continued, “Shooters have to find some way of getting their entry money to the organisers, but everything else is taken care of online. The shooter puts in his details, division, gun etc, and selects a squad. Just before the competition the organisers print off all the information so that on each stage the RO has an envelope with the score sheets for the squad, all in the correct shooting order. It is brilliant. It takes care of almost all the paperwork. “ Target Shooter 99
Neil Smith with his Benelli M2 taking careful aim at a distant clay target
After the intensity of the competition, the UK shooters were able to relax with some pistol shooting courtesy of the German hosts who are always ready to make us Brits feel just a little jealous of their STI’s and Glock 17’s. This was followed by a post match barbecue at the range with all beer and food included in the entry fee. Can’t end the day better than that.
When the results came out, the Brits had managed some respectable scores: Winners were: Dirk Frey (GERMANY) from Team Brenneke won 1st place in OPEN Division Branislav Raketic (SERBIA) won 1st place in Standard Auto Paulo Zambai (ITALY) won 1st place in Standard Manual (Pump) As always, the UKPSA contingent would like to thank their German hosts and organisers and aim to see many of them again at the British Open Championships Level III Jim Starley shot an excellent match with his Winchester SX3 PSG match this year in Carlisle. 100 Target Shooter
Jim Starley came 12th in Standard Auto Relative newcomer to PSG, Mick Flatley shot his way to a superb 14th position. Mike Scarlett came second in Open (Senior) class. Neil Smith chose to shoot pump and shot a fantastic 7th Place in Standard Manual (just a shade behind the current European pump champion)
Next month we continue with reviews and bringing you updates on what is happening in the target shooting world. Hopefully by them the porr weather we are having will have gone and people can come out of hibernation - starting to prepare and shoot in the spring weather. Until then, good shooting and keep warm.
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 and further afield. 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.
Low Mill Range
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July 2010 Issue
102 Target Shooter
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