All the latest information at your fingertips
October 2010 Issue
Imperial Meeting Part 2 more of ‘This Smallbore Business’ Breaking the Mould Part 3
UK Rimfire & Air Rifle BR Championship • Project Rifle • New Products • and lots more…..
F Class and Centerfire Benchrest News
Welcome to the October Issue......................
.......of Target Shooter
12 Project Rifle Part 2
by Vince Bottomley
6 11 Shooting Sport News Shooters Calendar Shooting Black Powder Pistol by Chris Risebrook Breaking the Mould Part 2 by Vince Bottomely 2010 Diggle Fly Shoot by Vince Bottomley
Imperial Meeting Part 2 by Chris White
21 25 41 46 61 67
Benchrest Rifle Build by Andy Dubreuil
33 Custom Rimfire
IPAS, AAS & the 1911 by Vince Bottomley Coal!! by Vince Bottomley EVO Engineering
52 Hanloading Bench
by Laurie Holland
82 85 87 92 NRA UKBRA UKBR22 F- Class Gallery Rifle UKPSA
Business by Don Brooke
71 This Smallbore
77 2010 British
Gallery Rifle Championship by Gwyn Roberts
Editor(s). Carl Boswell and Vince Bottomley Advertising and Office Manager email; firstname.lastname@example.org Contributors Vince Bottomley Tony Saunders Chris White Laurie Holland Chris Risebrook Carl Boswell Don Brook Alan Whittle Gwyn Roberts Les Holgate Andy Dubreuil
Our rather abysmal summer is now past and we only have winter of cold, wet shooting days to look forward to. One bright spot on the horizon is the British Shooting Show which will once again be held at the Newark Showground the last weekend in February 2011. I went last year and had a thoroughly good day and found it to be a good location, excellent value and plenty to see. Show organiser, John Bertram has already been in touch with us as he is hoping to attract as many of the shooting Associations as he possibly can. He will be providing space and tables absolutely free of charge, though in turn, you must be prepared to man your stand over the two days of the Show. This is a great opportunity to promote your particular discipline to a captive audience. Let us know please if you would like to be part of this. There’ll be a couple of free admission tickets for stand-holders. Of course, not all of us put our rifles away for the winter and one of the biggest shoots of the year will be taking place at Bisley 5/6/7th November. The European F Class Championship is now in its fourth year and this year, it will be the largest F Class competition every held – anywhere! There will be a massive contingent of overseas shooters from Italy, Spain, Russia, France, Ukraine, Germany, Belgium as well as the whole of the UK. Target Shooter will be there, competing as usual, so look out for a full report in our December issue. This year, the International Paralympic Committee Shooting World Cup will take place at Stoke Mandeville Stadium 1/3rd October and following that, we have the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi to look forward to. Shooting is one of India’s main events, so it should get good TV coverage but it remains to be seen if the BBC choose pick it up. Until next month. Vince, Carl & Andy
Webitorial - October 2010
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
metal. So, we were interested to see mention of a new small-scale production, precision-made magazine fed hand priming tool that uses the Auto-Prime operating method (and the Lee magazine and primer seating plunger assembly). It is slightly larger than the Lee tool, also much more robustly made with a high-quality aluminium alloy body and operating handle and The new 21st Century large diameter steel connecting rod complete with a brass button Shooting hand priming tool set up for to ride the body floor smoothly. Likewise the main hinge-pin is a .223 Remington goodly sized steel component and ew Hand Priming Tool from 21st Century the operating handle is properly locked to it in Shooting Primers and priming are often use by a setscrew. Everything fits absolutely neglected parts of the handloading process, precisely, not a trace of slop anywhere. Lee the cheapest available models of the former Auto-Prime shellholders fit the body, but a set of purchased, the latter job often performed on five precision machined brass shellholders that a bench press lacking any feel so there is no cover the PPC, popular 0.473” case-head dia. guarantee of consistency in the pressure or numbers (BR, .308W, .30-06 etc); the .222/223 depth applied. Ideally, the primer should be Rem ‘family’, and magnum cases is supplied with ‘felt’ into the bottom of the case pocket then the tool. The result is really smooth operation pushed in marginally further with just the and lots of ‘feel’. But the benefits don’t stop there slightest hint of ‘crush-fit’. This can only be – undoing a small locking setscrew using the done on a good bench-mounted priming tool, supplied Allen key and rotating a small disk on or better still a precision handheld device – but the end of the operating handle hinge-pin varies they are invariably expensive (around £120 for the Sinclair model by the time you pay for carriage and import duties and that excludes any shellholders needed) and limited to handling one primer at a time. Many handloaders use the cheap and cheerful magazine fed Lee Auto-Prime, a little ergonomic miracle, but whose operating parts fit where they touch. This tool is best described as ‘semi-sensitive’, the feel through the handle varying from case to case during a priming session. Most long-term Auto-Prime users have had one component or other break in use Turning the light-coloured too, although recent production models wheel varies the primer are more robust and we note that the seating distance, hence latest version uses an ‘unbreakable’ steel ‘feel’ on the end of the connecting rod instead of pot or sintered operating handle stroke
the length of seating plunger travel to suit your primer production lot, brass, primer pockets and personal preference as to how ‘hard’ you seat primers. We’re impressed! The Lee magazine / seating plunger assemblies slot into the tool body as per the Auto-Prime and allow a quick switch between the two primer sizes. (You may need to remove moulding sprue frazes from the underside of the plastic magazine bodies such is their close fit in the 21st Century tool body.) The US ex supplier price is $79.99 which becomes $96.44 or around £64 at the current rate of exchange when you add USA-UK postage charges. Unfortunately, Royal Mail ParcelForce International then adds another £16 made up of 17.5% VAT and its £8.00 customs and import
handling charge. We know of a dealer who is talking to 21st Century Shooting about importing these tools and if this takes place it would spread carriage and handling charges reducing the unit price somewhat. What you don’t get for your £80 is the Lee Auto-Prime magazine assemblies, so if you don’t have this tool already, you’ll need to spend another £15 or so. For further information on this and other specialist reloading tools from 21st Century Shooting, visit: http://21stcenturyshooting.com or contact the owner on firstname.lastname@example.org. The vendor has a PayPal facility, so transatlantic purchase is no problem, but as noted, we hope to see a home based seller here soon. competitors in being dimensioned for the Small Rifle primer and also has the small (0.0615”) diameter flash-hole found in precision cartridges such as the BRs and PPCs, the objective being to reduce velocity spreads. The benefits only materialise at very long ranges, so if you shoot up to 600, or even 800 yards, save your pennies and stick to the standard version that uses the Large Rifle primer. If you do go for the ‘Palma’, remember you must not use your .308W sizer die with the factory supplied decapping pin – it is essential to use the appropriate smaller diameter version.
ew Lapua Brass
Tim Hannam, the handloading specialist and Lapua importer has had two long-awaited new cases from the Finnish manufacturer in stock for a month or two, and our handloading man Laurie Holland recently acquired both models, .308W ‘Palma’ and .22-250 Rem. There is nothing ‘special’ about the Lapua .22250, superb production quality aside – a boon given the popularity of the cartridge and its use as the basis for several precision cartridges. Conversely, the .308W ‘Palma’ differs from its
.22‐250 Rem 160.1‐161.5gn 160.5‐160.6 (10); 160.9‐161.0gn (12) 1.901‐1.903” 1.901” (26); 1.902” (21) 0.0137” – 0.0143” 0.0004” 100% (92%: ≤0.0003”) of sample
Modal weight(s) Length range Modal length(s)
171.0‐171.1gn (14); 171.3‐171.4gn (13) 2.007‐2.009”
2.008” (27); 2.009” (18) 0.0141” – 0.0156”
Neck thickness range (50)
Maximum individual range 0.0013” ≤0.0005” variation 84% of sample
Newly introduced Lapua .308 Winchester ‘Palma’ cases with small primer pockets and flash-holes on the left, and .22-250 Rem examples with standard large primer pockets on the right with a new large blue cartridge box behind You might have heard recently produced Lapua cases referred to as ‘Blue Box’ from their being supplied in sturdy flip-top injection moulded boxes of that colour that double up as 50-round cartridge boxes, but are rather big for our liking in that role. It is said by some that Lapua has concurrently reduced neck-thickness specs on some models, maybe the result of an exercise in reducing production tolerances even further. Laurie will report on the effect of the ‘Palma’ small primer / flash-hole on some .308W F/ TR loads in due course, but in the meantime he’s provided the results of a measurement exercise on 50-case samples. Both were very much up to normal Lapua standards in length and weight control, the former seeing all bar a handful within a thou’ variation, the latter seeing a 1.2gn, or less than 1%, spread over the fifty cases. However, it was measuring case-necks at three equidistant points that showed the real consistency of these production lots. The .308W samples were found to have slightly thinner necks than seen in previous lots averaging a little under 0.015” compared to 0.015-0.016”, and 31 out of 50 gave three readings within a range of 0.0147” to 0.0150”, not even requiring a minimal ‘clean-up’ neck-turn. Another 11 displayed almost as small a range but outside of 0.0147-0.0150”, and normally on the slightly larger side, so would be neck-turned to the top end of that range. Only eight cases exceeded 8 Target Shooter half a thou’ (0.0005”) variation around the neck. There have been reports that the new Lapua .22-250 Rem brass is superbly consistent and Laurie’s 3-point neck measurements on the 50-case sample supported this with a range of only 0.0006”, or just over half a thousandth of an inch across 150 readings, the smallest individual result 0.0137”, the largest 0.0143” (on different cases). Necks averaged 14 thou’ thickness and 13 actually measured precisely that at all three points with another 20 producing readings within a mere 0.0003” range around 14 thou’. I’ve never previously seen any out of the box brass anywhere approaching such closely controlled neck thickness values. All measurements were taken with a Sinclair/Starrett case-neck micrometer that reads to 0.0001”. Laurie found one other difference from other Lapua brass he’s handled recently – smaller diameter flash-holes. Lacking any means of measuring same, his judgement is based on whether the appropriate Sinclair flash-hole reamer removes metal or not, the small diameter example dimensioned at 0.0625”, the larger at 0.0810”, 0.001” larger than nominal specifications. Previously, Laurie has found all Lapua cases to have larger diameter holes than the reamer (6BR), or mostly (.223 Rem), but every case in these two samples had a smaller diameter flash-hole than the reamer, some needing several turns of the tool.
HALES AUSTRALIA / A.D.I. HANDLOADERS’ GUIDE 5th EDITION ADI (Australian Defence Industries as was, now part of the multinational Thales conglomerate) published its 5th edition handloading guide a few months ago, and this 174 page document is available free online as a 5.25MB Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file. Why should TargetShooter mention this when we don’t see ADI powders in the UK? Actually, we do – but under Hodgdon brand names, the American outfit buying its extruded stick-form propellants in bulk from ADI. See the table for ADI-Hodgdon equivalents. Well, even so, Hodgdon is very good at providing data for its powders both in printed and online forms, so we hardly need another loading guide, do we? We at TargetShooter would disagree on the basis that you can’t have too much information when planning and developing loads, and this guide provides copious amounts with 94 pages of rifle cartridge data. For instance, the popular .223 Remington has 67 combinations listed for 40 to 90gn bullet weights, of which 56 are for Hodgdon equivalent powders available here. (This includes an interesting subsonic 55gn load of 3.2gn ADI AS30N [Hodgdon Clays] pistol / shotgun powder for 1,060 fps MV.) Secondly, with the longstanding Australian interest in small capacity and calibre precision cartridges including many ‘wildcats’, data are available for many unusual cartridges, or examples not catered for in ‘normal’ manuals including no fewer than seven .17 calibre examples, the .22 Waldog, and .22BR to pick a few examples at random. Downsides? The guide is unusual by today’s standards in not quoting bullet make/model, only weight, and surprisingly given their popularity ‘Down Under’, you
won’t find any data for the 6.5X47 Lapua or its 6X47L wildcat sibling. (You will find data for 6mm X 47, but that is the old pre-PPC benchrest / varmint ‘wildcat’ that sees the .222 Remington Magnum case necked up to take a 6mm bullet.) Incidentally, the QuickLOAD PC internal ballistics program holds ADI powders in its propellants database and I’ve seen it suggested that selecting AR2208 provides different and more accurate results than are obtained from its Hodgdon VarGet equivalent – but this may not apply to more recent versions of the software.
MORE SHOOTING SUCCESS FOR GB TEAM
The GB Disability team had more success on Friday at the IPC Shooting World Cup at Stoke Mandeville . Di Coates won the gold in the R2 Air Rifle Standing event for women with Lotta Helsinger (SWE) in second place and Monica Lillehagen (NOR) taking the bronze. Di who has competed in 7 Paralympic Games said, “I am fully focused in my attempt to compete in my 8th Paralympics in 2012. This event has given all of the GB team a taste of what it will be like to compete in a top level event on home soil”. In the R1 10m Air Rifle Standing competition for men, Nathan Milgate came first with Werner Muller (AUS) and Norbert Gau (GER) in second and third place respectively. The final British medal of the day was yet another gold, this time won by Rob McLeary in the R4 10m Air Rifle standing (mixed). He beat Victoria Wedin (SWE) and Tanong Chanan (THA). This means that Team GB have won five of the possible 6 gold medals to date, and look forward to adding to this tally over the weekend.
You can find news and results from the event on www.ipcshootinggb2010.co.uk.
Calendar of events over the next few months
23 Oct to 24 Oct Club Coach Course (National Shooting Centre (NSC), Bisley) Candidates should be experienced shooters who have already completed a Club Instructor course. This course covers coaching techniques, and methods of instruction. Candidates will be formally assessed on the range and in the delivery of classroom lesson. Qualified Club Coaches may run NRA Probationary, Skills and Club Instructor Courses. Contact Phyllis Farnan via the NRA 23 Oct to 24 Oct Trafalgar Meeting (National Shooting Centre (NSC), Bisley) Shooters with a historical Inclination will turn towards the Trafalgar Meeting as memories of the Imperial fade. Don’t forget to apply for the well supported Trafalgar Dinner held on the Saturday night at the ARA Officers Mess. In addition to the shooting here s n rms air eld n isley avilion. t I a A F h I B P Contact Brian Thomas via the NRA 31 Oct GB 300M Club Championships (National Shooting Centre (NSC), Bisley)
If your club or association has events you want to publicise here then email us.
30 Oct to 31 Oct Gallery Rifle - Autumn Action Weekend (National Shooting Centre (NSC), Bisley) This is the last of the 2010 main Gallery Rifle Action Weekends that encourages ‘Action Shooting’ for the Gallery Rifle community who visit Bisley. This includes competitions for Gallery Rifles both Smallbore and Centrefire and Long Barrelled Revolvers and Pistols. There are also competitions for those of you who have an interest in Target Shotgun. For shooters who crave longer distances there are Fullbore ‘Action’ competitions are held simultaneously at 200 yards. Pick your latest free copy of the GR & P handbook up from the NRA or via the NRA website.Contact Brian Thomas via the NRA 05 Nov to 07 Nov European F Class Championships (National Shooting Centre (NSC), Bisley) Contact(s): Mik Maksimovic 13 Nov to 14 Nov Range Conducting Officer Course Two day course - successful candidates will be qualified to conduct live firing on MoD or TAVRA ranges. Contact Maureen Peach - NRA
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Project Rifle Part 2
by Vince Bottomley
believer in never spinning a bullet faster than you need to but, we are not attempting to set any benchrest records with this rifle so I’m happy with the Bartlein’s 1 in 8.5 twist, giving the eventual owner the option to use a wide range of projectiles. Our GBR has a separate recoil-lug sandwiched between the barrel and action and, because I have more than one barrel for most of my rifles, I’m not a fan of recoil-lugs of this type. It makes barrelswaps a little more tedious in that it’s necessary to remove the barrelled-action from the stock. However, the GBR lug is ‘pinned’ to the action so no problem. If the lug isn’t pinned it can be a real pain, especially if the lug is also bedded. When the barrel is tightened, the lug has a tendancy to spin, making exact alignment very tedious. When mating a custom action and barrel, excessive torque isn’t necessary. Factory barrels are installed really tight, often using adhesive and can take some shifting! Don’t overdo it with your custom rifle - especially if you are regularly swapping barrels. Make sure however that the threads are scrupulously clean, lubricate with a quality high melting-point grease (barrels get hot!) and make sure you apply a little grease to the barrel-shoulder and actionface as well as the threads, otherwise the joint may gall when you tighten it. Don’t overdo the grease and make sure you don’t leave any on the inside of the action. I’ve taken a good cut out of the Bell & Carlson’s barrel-channel and our Bartlein now has a generous free-float clearance. I don’t intend to carry out any further work on bedding until I have at least shot it but, there is one more step. I mentioned that the chrome-moly action will normally be
In the July issue of Target Shooter, we gathered together all the components for our project rifle build. This rifle is a tactical-style rifle but really it will be suitable for many competitions such as F Class and even long range benchrest etc. What makes it different is the action – a GBR – a new all-British action employing the Remington 700 footprint yet built to custom action standards. This month, we will drop our barrelled-action into the stock, then we will see if our Bell & Carlson tactical stock really is a Remmy ‘drop-in’ – though I suspect we will need to hog out the barrel channel for the fluted heavy-profile Bartlein. The barrel has a 1 in 8.5 twist, which will stabilise 6.5mm bullets up to 139/142 grain, though I prefer to use the 123 grain Scenar or even the 108 grainer in the 260 Rem. Yes, I am a great
A close-up of Dave’s immaculate DuraCoat work
Vit N550, Federal primers, Lapua Scenar bullets, Lapua brass and Forster body-die and Wilson seater die proved to be a very effective combination.
offered with a polished deep blue/black finish but, as this rifle has a distinct ‘tactical’ feel about it, I’ve asked Dave Wylde of South Yorkshire Shooting Supplies to DuraCoat© it for me. Dave is quickly establishing a reputation for his gun painting and I have seen some very nice examples of his work recently. Yes, you can buy your own can of paint and attempt to do it yourself but, as the man said – it’s all in the preparation! Dave starts off by grit-blasting all
surfaces to be painted, followed by a thorough de-grease. The DuraCoat is then given a low temperature ‘bake’ which really hardens the coating and makes for a not only attractive but also a very durable finish. I’ve seen some of Dave’s ‘wild ‘n’ wierd’ finishes but for this job I’m going for a nice drab tactical green which will tone nicely with the existing green of the Bell & Carlson stock. (Next month in Target Shooter, we visit SYSS and watch Dave DuraCoat a rifle).
Running-in and load development – not something to be rushed!
Load development is quicker if you can do it onrange. I’m very lucky to have covered firingpoint at Diggle with electricity for my scales.
of copper inside the barrel which will take absolutely hours to remove and, if we don’t remove it, the barrel will never deliver its best. Running-in s ot omething o e ushed t’s aken i n s t b r –i t me a full afternoon and any load-testing will have to wait for another day. However, I have arrived at a load which does not exhibit any pressure signs and groups already look promising. I’ve also checked that rounds are feeding smoothly from the magazine and ejection and extraction are working properly. The new GBR action feels like a custom action should and the bolt opens and closes with that ‘knife through butter’ feel. The Timney trigger is breaking crisply but a little heavy but it looks like we have a nice rifle. After another session at the range, I now have a rifle which is a genuine sub. half MOA rifle. In fact, throughout running-in, I don’t think I shot a group over half an inch. It will push out the 123 grain Scenars at around 3000 feet per second, which will guarantee supersonic performance all the way out to 1000 yards. My own 260 Rem. tactical rifle delivers similar accuracy but, I wonder – is there any more in this rifle? After all, it is built on a custom action with Bartlein barrel. I started playing with the load – knocking off the odd tenth of a grain. I ended up with a tiny
Dave really pulled out all the stops and turned the job around in a week. Because this is a custom action built to close tolerances, Dave felt it better not to coat the bolt-body as this would remove the essential clearance. I was pleased to see that the recessed bit of the crown was also left untouched. At this stage the rifle has not been proofed and I’m wondering if this was a mistake – I have seen rifles damaged at the proofing stage by careless handling – fingers crossed! I’m using Vhitavuoi’s N550 double-base powder in the 260 Rem. as this powder has worked very well in my own 260Rem. Using Lapua’s 123 grain Silver Scenar (moly-coated) bullet, I’m loading to an overall length of 2.8 inches which will ensure that the round will load into the Accuracy International 308 magazine, though for testing, I will be single-loading – no point slamming the nose of your bullet against the feed-ramp if you don’t have to! The delicate nose of a hollow-point bullet is easily damaged. The flat underside of the Bell & Carlson stock lends itself to shooting off a benchrest pedestal for load-testing and I’ve mounted my 8-32 Nightforce scope on the GBR’s tapered Picatinny rail. Initially, we will carefully run-in the barrel using the accepted ‘one shot/clean’ for the first five rounds then four or five, five-shot groups – carefully cleaning between each one to remove all traces of copper. If we rush the running-in process, we will likely get an excessive build-up
Those three shots are well under a quarter of an inch. This is one accurate rifle!
group which quite honestly I would have been happy with from my 6PPC benchgun! Look at the photo – wow, this has turned out to be one accurate gun! For the record, the load was 40.5 grains of Vit N550, Federal primer, Lapua brass and 123 grain Lapua Silver Scenar bullet. WARNING – THIS LOAD WAS SAFE IN MY RIFLE BUT IT MAY NOT BE SAFE IN YOURS – ALWAYS WORK UP THE LOAD IN SMALL INCREMENTS.
them below: Fox Firearms South Yorkshire Shooting Supplies Rhino Rifles Osprey Rifles
If you were to buy each of the components used in the build, the total cost would be well over over £2000. On top of this, you would have to add the gunsmithing and Dura Coating costs as well. We thank those who have helped make this project I mentioned earlier that we may need to properly possible. bed the action if it didn’t ‘deliver’ but clearly this isn’t required and that is a testimony to the Bell Our ‘project rifles’ are usually sold-on following & Carlson stock – for, no matter how well you publication and Target Shooter would like build a rifle, it won’t shoot if there is a problem to offer this rifle to an interested reader. It with the bedding. Although the machined is fully sorted, proofed and comes with all aluminium bedding-block should - in theory - load data and one AI ten-round magazine. provide the perfect bed, it sometimes doesn’t All profit from the sale will go to the Help for and the action can end up riding on high-spots. Heroes charity – a very worthwhile cause I’m sure A quick fix is to skim-bed the aluminium you will agree. If you are interested in making bedding-block which usually does the trick an offer, please e-mail me in the first instance at but clearly that wasn’t needed with our rifle. email@example.com. The rifle will be sold A number of companies have generously to the reader making the best offer in excess of contributed to the building of this rifle and I list £2000.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
2010 Imperial Meeting - Part 2
Chris White continues his report of the annual Bisley Imperial Meeting, cumulating in the Queen’s prize.
The ‘warm-up’ matches on Friday and Saturday morning were conducted in warmish conditions, heavy overnight rain made the air so humid that a mirage could not be seen and the windflags were clearly frequently not representative of what was happening at ground level. specific problem. The lessons to be learnt here are that if something appears wrong and you don’t find the cause of it, have another look. This particular problem wiped out last year’s Scottish Meeting, may well have had a negative effect on this year’s Scottish and had a disastrous result on my Imperial Grand Aggregate. Readers with long memories Progressing through Sunday and Monday, may remember that my Steyr appeared to display temperatures steadily increased up to the high a fluctuating wind zero at 1000 yards in the 2009 twenty centigrade, shooting conditions were very Scottish Meeting. much ‘more of the same’. An 0840 start for the Duke of Cambridge at 900 yards on Sunday morning Despite a good look at the rifle, checking it out on ought to have boded well . The end result was a Precision Rifle Service’s test range and making two disappointing 48 with one shot well out of the group long trips to evening shoots at Altcar, no problem - low and at 7 o’clock and one lost to seeing a drop- was found. The finger of suspicion pointed squarely off which wasn’t there. Wind varied between 4¼ and at the ‘up and down’ foresight and the conclusion 7 left. There is however a lesson to be learnt here. I was driven to was that a bit of grit had got in the engagement teeth at Blair Atholl, when the sight Take a look at the pictures. The closest flag would was altered from its 900 to 1000 yard setting. This on occasions flick down and reverse direction. Think maybe moved about under recoil and thus caused hard about this. Was that low shot down to an eddy the shifting wind zero scenario. When the sight was with a vertical wind component? That is had the removed to be examined the grit fell out. With the wind pushed the shot down? benefit of painful hindsight it’s a weak theory! The Alexandra at 600 yards at 1100 hrs. was almost as dire with the wind moving between 3¼ and 6 left. By the time I got to shoot the Daily Mail at 1700 at 500 yards the wind was much more readable. One point lost to a declared bad shot and one just out on the edge of the group. On Monday temperatures started rising and the spectre of de-hydration started to raise its head. On Century, winds were fairly readable but it was important that the shot went at the right time. Sudden flicks in angle were still causing problems. Now we need to take time out to look at a very 16 Target Shooter The Corporation is shot at 1000 yards on Monday and is the only 1000 yard shoot in the Grand Aggregate. Many a Grand has been wiped out by a bad detail in the ‘Corp’. Once again I was well to the left, target 17, at 1430 and it was hot. I wasn’t exactly sure about the wind but thought six or seven was about right. On the basis that there had been a tendency to underestimate it and the fact that I read 6, I put 7½ on for the first sighter and managed to shoot, what felt like, a straight shot. There was a very realistic expectation of a 9 o’clock bullseye. The target returned with a hit, scoring 1, on the waterline at the right hand edge of the target.
Sketch of problem
was good enough to get a bull so the shot went with eight, for safety. This made a downwind magpie, correcting to 11. Both ‘Get out of jail free’ cards used and no idea what was going on! Evidently the rifle had a four to five minute zero error. A quick check of the sights revealed that all was tight and the foresight appeared to be rock solid in its engagement. There was nothing for it but to believe the rifle and go with eleven which produced an upwind magpie correcting to nine. The error had now reduced to about two minutes. After another couple of upwind shots the corrected windage and my reading appeared to coincide, allowing a couple of V bulls to be made, at which point it drifted again. All this was very tiresome and a shoot which could have been good enough for a 48, at least, ended up as a 42.2v. The end result was about fifty places in the Grand. There was no time for contemplation as I hurried to Century to shoot the Wimbledon at 600 yards where I again lost a point to taking wind off when I didn’t need to. So what of the Steyr? There were two principal clues, the problem had only manifested itself at 1000 yards and when it did, the wind zero error seemed to start off around five minutes (as it had in Scotland last year) and then drift about. The problem had to be related to the foresight. Taking the foresight off revealed nothing. I gave it a scrub with an old toothbrush but this was merely a formality since there was evidently nothing stuck in it. I may have left it at that but this time I looked closer. On examining the foresight block with my magnifying glass I spotted a tiny burr around the screw-hole. Close examination revealed that the screw hole had been bored a smidgen off centre. And the hole had just failed to completely break the crest of the serration. This tiny bit of metal had got peened over, probably as a result of the foresight being tightened up when slightly misaligned at sometime. This resulted in two tiny ‘wings’ of metal projecting into the root of the serration. I always take an emergency tool kit to the Imperial, pin punches, Swiss files etc. So I was able to dress this out with the appropriate Swiss file. I’m not too sure why it only seemed to pose a problem at 1,000 but so far it seems to have done the trick. By Tuesday morning and the first stage of the St George’s (2&15 @ 300) it was a fairly unbearable 31°. Low nineties in old money. With an apparently easy but in reality tricky wind, a massive pulse bounce did not help my score and two points were lost to not being able to keep the rifle still. It might have been worse but it needed 74 for a place in the second stage. Despite having drunk 500ml of Isotonoic I was Target Shooter 17
As usually Tony Clayton ran Century Range in his inimitable style.
This, of course, corrects to around 12½. It would be arrogant for me to suggest that I can always see the difference between six and seven at 1000, or even, sometimes if the angle is a bit tricky between ten and twelve, but I really ought not to see a thirteen minute wind as a six minute one! There could have been many causes, maybe someone cross shot just as I’d fired, maybe the marker had found a stray hole, maybe I’d given it a huge hook. Taking another close look I was convinced that seven
becoming dehydrated and so downed a pint of lemonade in preparation for County Short in the afternoon when I was trigger pulling rather than coaching. This I had been reluctant to do but one must obey one’s Captain. Things started well enough with a ‘possible’ at 300 but the wheels fell off the wagon at 600 where I shot a massive group which was too big despite my coach’s valiant efforts to centre it. This resulted in me losing three points to elevation and one to wind which was very probably down to the group rather than the coach. In addition, wind settings did not agree with what the coach was reading.
hundred dropping points is not an option. Even the most experienced feel under pressure, and I have to admit to never really looking forward to it. Shooting on the first detail (0800) at 300 with a gentle breeze blowing from 9 o’clock the old strategy of putting on ¾ and leaving it alone worked reasonably well but there wasn’t much mirage to see and there were drop-offs. Occasionally a twiddle on the wind knob was obligatory and the resultant 35.3v, although money in the bank, was not too strong in the V bull department.
Difficult to read angle changes at 500 cost me a County Durham shoot in ‘Country Short Junior’ point, with the wind only rarely straying very far as do our Northern brethren, Northumberland. away from four left. Whilst it doesn’t do to predict Obviously when we shoot together as the English the outcome I thought 102 would be good enough Twenty, districts are as one. Not so in County Short. but with only seven V’s in the bag it would need We are arch rivals and there’s a lot of needle. to be a 103. Depending on one’s viewpoint this is My performance cost Durham the match, which not a healthy mind-game to play because it may Northumberland won. Is there a lesson to be pressurise one. On the other hand it may have the learned? Yes there is! opposite effect because you know you have a margin for error. Nevertheless if you do think like this and It is a lesson I learned some time ago in Canada. On then drop your first to count you will be pressurised, a hot day, myself and another British shooter were believe me! squadded together at 600 yards. My first sighter went very high. He was struggling to get a sight picture. Six hundred was a completely different pan of At the end of the shoot I found I’d got the wrong poisson. With the wind varying from three to five rearsight on the rifle and he discovered he hadn’t left and some of the changes being all of the two got his shooting glasses on! French Canadian Leo minutes; windreading was essential and many came D’Armour explained to me that dehydration does not to grief. With 35 still ‘in the gun’ by the sixth to only affect your body’s ability to function properly count, I knew I could relax and go for it with bold and that includes your eyesight but it also effects windchanges and the facility to drop a point if it your ability to think rationally. The cause of my bad went wrong. The end result was a 35.2v. Many going shoot was not having locked my foresight up tight back clean lost it here, some in spectacular style. when I altered it from the 300 to the 600 settings. A One old mate of mine who shoots really tight groups stupid mistake brought about by dehydration and I and has put in some outstanding performances this really ought to have known better. year went back clean and dropped six points at 600! As it turned out 102.6v was good enough but as an Afternoon temperatures peaked at 37°C which I indication that there were some strong shooters my calculate as 98.6F. Another litre of Isotonic followed 104.9v was only good enough for 85th place! by a sneaky half of lager before I coached County Long in the evening still left me dehydrated and By Friday, Queen’s 2 conditions had changed. It the pint of cider I had with my dinner did little to was a little cooler and dehydration ceased to be a problem but the strong gusty winds were replaced improve matters. by light variable winds. There was enough overcast And so to Wednesday and Queen’s 1. This is a to give a nice sight picture but a little too much peculiar shoot. It consists of two sighters but only to give much of a mirage. Lazy flags would lull the seven shots on score at 300, 500 & 600 yards giving bystanders into believing the wind was almost non an HPS per range of 35 and 105 overall. To the best existent. At ground level things were very different. of my recollection it has never needed a score better [Photo 8] My 300 yard wind plot went from one right than 102 to go into the second stage. Shooting is to ¼ left. Close attention was needed to avoid the spread out from eight o’clock in the morning until odd shot leaking out. In a reverse of what happened after six in the evening, with the Conan Doyle (2&10 in Queen’s I, many solid shooters came off the 300 @ 900yards) thrown in just to add variety. There are point wondering how they had managed to drop long periods of agonising inactivity with short bursts two or three points. of frenetic effort. With the opening field of twelve hundred or so being whittled down to just three In theory, Queens II should be much more of a 18 Target Shooter
Two very happy guys, the author and Zin Zainal after the Queen’s Final.
pressure shoot than the first stage because the great majority of the three hundred participants can do the business; there may be the odd one who has ‘lucked in’ but basically you have to beat around 190 of the world’s finest shooters. For whatever reason I have a better mindset here and seem to be less worried by the event and more able to get stuck in and enjoy myself.
anniversary we were treated to a firework display on Friday night. In the end, Jon ended up seventh having gone clean back to 1000 and dropping five points at 1000. (Made me feel a bit better about dropping six at that distance!). As it happened, I ended up in 80th place with 288.26v.
Queen’s final was much the same as the second stage but more so. By a remarkable coincidence I ended Back at 500 it was the same but worse, with the up shooting with a fellow City of Newcastle shooter, plot running from zero to almost two. The record Doug Gass, at 900. So there was more at stake than score required to qualify is 149. I thought 147 would the Queen’s since C-o-N have a cup for the highest have been good enough but I would not have put placed member in the Queen’s. I managed to sneak money on it. However, going back clean was good a point on Doug at 900 and he equalled my score at but there was little scope for making mistakes. Six 1000. hundred was dire with the wind going from one left to one right. There was little mirage and the flags At 1000 yards I had the pleasure of shooting with were lying. Many met their nemesis. Caution with Zin Zainal from Malaysia, the winner of the 2008 the wind setting and firing straight shots was the Queens. A jolly nice chap he turned out to be and name of the game. By the Grace of God I only fired being in his company was a great pleasure. First time one shot with the wind on the wrong side of zero, I’ve had my arm round a Queen’s Prize Winner! although there was very little evidence to show that when I committed myself. Looking along the line of Lest anyone still thinks Calvert had it easy, he shot targets revealed that many copped it, some to the very close to me and my wind plot goes from 8½ left tune of two off. Mine came uncomfortably close to to ½ left at 900 yards, with the maximum change dropping two points. My resultant 149.15v was only being four minutes and from 4½ to 10½ at 1,000 with good enough for 65th place, there were 25 150s and the maximum change being three and half minutes. seven scorers of 148.18v who tie shot for two places. Putting in a 147 under those conditions was truly Dropping another point would have put me out. incredible. [Photo 11] “What of the ammunition?” You may ask. Top of the pile was the 2006 winner, Jonathon Outstanding! No further comment necessary. Underwood. The only man ever to win the first second and third stage of the Queen’s. My money was on him. In celebration of the NRA’s 150th Target Shooter 19
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Shooting the Black Powder Pistol Part 12 - John Maslin Cooper
by Chris Risebrook
Pic 1 Altogether more robust in the power department. The story behind the Cooper is the same as the Manhattan; other companies champing at the bit waiting for Colt’s patent to expire so they could join in the fun. J.M. Cooper & Co operated from Pittsburgh Pensylvania from 1864 to 1869 and in all produced some 15000 guns, only some ten per cent of Manhattan production. This revolver is a Second Model Navy judging by its serial number of 10986. Unfortunately, such is the condition of the gun, this is the only visible marking on the
Last month we looked at the Manhattan near copy of the Colt revolver. This month it is the turn of the Cooper shown in Photo 1. At first sight it looks just like an 1849 Colt Pocket Model.However, there is one important difference - the Cooper is double acton, a system Colt did not offer until the breachloading Lighting and Thunderer models. John Maslin Cooper was granted patent number 40021 on the 22nd September 1863 for a double action action revolver. In size, it is almost exactly the same as the Colt, but it is a five shot and in .36 calibre as opposed to the six shot .31 calibre Colt.
gun, the legend on the barrel having completely worn away. The grip strap and trigger guard are brass, but for some reason someone has nickel plated them. It looks quite attractive, but I wonder why they bothered. The general condition is pretty dreadful; it doesn’t hold on full cock, but works perfectly on double action, with very tight lock-up, and no end play. As bought, the barrel was flopping about on its spindle, but this was cured with a few winds of PTFE tape. Hardly good engineering, but who’s going to shoot it anyway - not me, thank you! The gun has obviously led a hard life with extensive wear and pitting overall, all the screw heads are butchered with one replacement. Two repair sections have been made for the grips. Dixies can supply partly inletted grip blanks for these guns - “partly” being the operative word. Since they are one piece, getting them to fit is a monkey, and taxed my very limited woodworking skills to the limit with the Colt. Still, if you really have nothing better to do this winter, here is a tip; beg, borrow or steal a bandsaw and saw them into two halves through the backstrap, fit each side individually and glue them together. I know it’s cheating, but who’s to know? Photo 2 shows both guns together, and the oversize trigger guard seems out of proportion. In fact, it is much easier to use than the Colt, except that there is not much room for the second finger. By comparison, the Colt guard is very small and fiddly. This model of the Cooper was made with four, five or six inch barrels and all had the rebated cylinder. Interestingly, 22 Target Shooter
Dixie Arms in Union City, Tennessee stock various parts, such as springs and screws all of which apparantly will fit Colts, Manhattans and Coopers, probably with some fettling, which at least gives a chance of keeping these old guns working. In addition to the Manhattans, Bacons and Coopers there were other near replicas such as the Metropolitans, which just shows what a good job Colt made of the basic design, since all of these manufacturers copied his guns almost line for line, albeit with their own particular variations and novelties. I often wonder how these guns happened to be here. London made or assembled Colts I can understand, but how did something like this comparatively unusual gun come to be in England and where has it been? It has obviously worked hard but shooting at whom and where? Was it ever on a stagecoach travelling West pursued by hostiles or carried by a Pony Express rider? Romantic tosh of course, but one can dream. Years ago, looking at Remington’s website, there was a space to ask a question. I typed in the serial number of my 1858 revolver. They replied that it was made in the fall of 1863 - gulp! Just missed Gettysburg, but in time for Appomattox; probably not, but then again, you never know. To round off, I have included in Photo 3 a pretty picture of all three; Colt, Manhattan and Cooper, for no other reason that I can sit and gloat!
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The Reloading Specialists
Breaking the mould – part 3
by Vince Bottomley & Laurie Holland
Theory or fact – can a 223 really compete with a 308 at extreme ranges? Laurie is about to find out. Our ballistics guru and F/TR shooter Laurie Swapping it for the narrower ‘varmint’ forend Holland has a theory that a 223 that could stay and bi-pod for F-Class is a simple job involving with a 308 – all the way to 1000 yards. Last the four attachment set-screws. Moving to the month (September issue) we put Laurie’s rifle rear, I’d included the optional rear-bag rider together. It’s nothing special – Savage target and tubular cheek-bar as well as curved alloy action, True Flite barrel (with a 1 in 7 twist to cheekpieces when I bought the stock kit - the hopefully stabilise the 90 grain Berger bullet) last named just in case I ever decide to use the rifle in ‘tactical mode’, ie no rear-bag and and a McRees Precision stock. needing a cheek-weld with the buttstock. I handed over the rifle to Laurie a week or two prior to the GB National F Class League Shoot The McRees bag-rider is a hexagonal-section at Blair Atholl, which would be the first serious bar measuring a full inch across the flats and debut for the 223. Blair is notoriously difficult to weighing six ounces. With weight a crucial issue shoot wind-wise – not a range to debut a 223! for F-TR rifles, Vince sensibly substituted the What happened? I’ll let Laurie tell you the rest lighter round-section cheek-bar for the bag-rider of the story. and saved two or three ounces. So what do I rest my face against? Nothing – you don’t need Having received the rifle from Vince and got a cheek-weld on a rifle supported at both ends, used to its appearance – love or loathe the moreover as any benchrest shooter will tell you, functional-brutal McRees look, it certainly side pressure from the face touching the stock attracts a lot of firing-point attention, even if risks lateral group dispersion. (Shooting without some is in the form of facetious questions a rear-bag using an ‘off the shoulder’ hold is such as “Where are the missing bits?” – a very different matter and requires a strong Let’s talk about bits, missing or otherwise. cheek-weld.) All 100 yard load-testing, as well as benchresttype competition sees the three-inch wide Moving upwards, I’d intended to use a lightweight BR forend fitted to ride my Sinclair front-rest. Sightron Series II 36X42 benchrest riflescope, Target Shooter 25
So you think 69gn is a heavy bullet in .223 Rem? Left to right: 69gn Sierra MK, 80gn Sierra MK, 90gn Berger Target BT Long-Range, 90gn Berger Target VLD, and .308W/185 Berger for comparison.
the rationale being that (as with the Weaver T36 on my .308W Barnard / Eliseo tubegun) I’d only get away with a one-inch dia. fixed-power job within the 8.25 kg (18lb 2oz)rifle + bi-pod F-TR
weight limit. However, even with the Versa-Pod instead of a Harris, there was some slack, so a heavier 30mm body Sightron Series III 8-32X56 LR, that I’d originally bought for the tubegun, was
Suitable powders for the 223Rem. with 90 grain bullets
of firing three rounds to get a perfect 100 yard zero and barrel run-in was so easy that those sighters were virtually all that was needed, cleaning nd e-coppering fter ach a d a e shot. This has to be a tribute to the six-groove True-Flite barrel’s finish, also to Vince’s gunsmithing and the Pacific Tool & Gauge chamber reamer employed - as ‘barrel run-in’ is mostly barrel-throat run-in. These tasks done, I needed two things – 90 grain bullet loads that produced sub half-MOA groups alongside 2,750 fps or higher MVs with small extreme spreads and some ‘trigger time’ - preferably at long ranges as all the five Blair matches would be at 1000 yards. Unfortunately, there were no long-range F-Class matches in Diggle’s calendar for July, so a 200 and 600yd pair had to suffice. However, there was an opportunity to demonstrate the .223/90’s capabilities at 1000 yards (or make a complete fool of myself) in the form of a UKBRA benchrest fixture on the Diggle range the weekend before Blair. That would at least let me get a 1000 yard zero. Shooting the beast, the striking impression is of a massive reduction in recoil and torque compared to Both 90s grouped well straight off in the True-Flite barrel the similar weight .308 tubegun, with none of the VLD type’s legendary fussiness. Getting particularly in F-Class mode ES values down to below 20 fps is more difficult as can using the bi-pod. The key to good be seen in the MV notations accompanying the groups. rifle behaviour using a Harris or (Half-inch red aiming marks on a one-inch grid pattern.) Versa-Pod type device is to get Beware – loads can only be used safely in a suitably their feet positioned correctly and long-throated chamber! jammed well into the ground, followed by pushing the rifle forward substituted. This is an ideal scope for F-Class with its large objective lens, fantastic clarity using shoulder pressure on the buttplate. The and resolution, and side parallax-adjustment. pressure keeps the legs under stress and forces the feet down while counteracting the backwards On the Range With the GB F-Class Association League round recoil impulse. Even so, it’s difficult to stop the at Blair Atholl only a few weeks away, there whole kit and caboodle moving around under was a rush to sight-in, run the barrel in, and get the heavy recoil of a .308 load. loads worked up. Bore-sighting the rifle off a BR set-up onto a 5½” dia. Birchwood Casey Shoot- No such problem with the .223 – I have no N-C reactive target at 100 yard was simply a matter sight-picture disturbance with the Sightron on Target Shooter 27
Representation of results of the 200 yard F-Class competition shot on a PL7 25m pistol target with an early load in gusty crosswind conditions. The V-Bull (which has a white circular spot added to act as aiming mark for F-Class, omitted here) is 0.95” (0.45-MOA) dia., the Bull is 1.9” (0.91-MOA). match risks lost points, as it affects the accuracy of the scope settings.) The ‘straight-line’ layout and AR15 pistol grip no doubt assist in achieving these outcomes. I also find much less rear-bag movement during a match, the .308 needing regular repositioning and realignment, so that reduces another factor that induces variability in the shooting position and risks increased shot dispersion. Development and Short-Range Wonderful! This is what the ballistics programs predicted for .223 compared to .308 but does it perform well enough in precision and wind-drift terms? A stable, light recoiling piece might be pleasant and easy to shoot but it’s as much use in F-Class competition as a bicycle is to a fish (to misquote some feminist referring
its maximum 32-power setting, easily seeing ‘blow-off’ shot-strikes on sand backstops and, I can even follow the bullet’s flight downrange in some atmospheric conditions. I now only need to adjust the rifle’s vertical stance on the swivel bi-pod mount occasionally to return the scope crosshairs to the correct position, such is the reduction in torque. (Varying rifle cant in a 90gn VLD / Reloder 15 cartridges brought back from Blair Atholl and shot through a lightly fouled barrel in a single session at 100yd. The top group of 9 shots was practice / ‘blow-off’ ammunition using rejected cases from the component batching and preparation process. The much smaller lower group of 8 shots was unused ‘match ammunition’, same load (charges individually weighed in both batches), same components from the same manufacturing lots, same number of case-firings from new, but with fully prepped and batched brass and sorted bullets. The lower (match ammo) group is 0.4” centre to centre and with a moderate crosswind running across the range is probably slightly smaller in pure precision terms. Practice load ES was 32 fps; match ammo 25 fps (13 fps for seven of the eight rounds). 28 Target Shooter
The McRees stocked 223 looks a strange beast from this angle
to the male of the species’ utility to women) if it shoots all over the four-ring or lights-out for the target’s three and nine o’clock extremities with every little wind change – characteristics that serious competitors associate with this cartridge, especially those who’ve used it in 55gn loadings. Well, 100 yard testing quickly showed it would group, 24.5gn of Viht N550 behind a Berger 90gn VLD producing a sub half-inch five-round group, an MV of 2,545 fps and extreme spread (ES) of 20 fps. This bullet and powder grouped well through a 1.5 grain load-test charge-weight range leading up to that 24.5gn load, but ES values were generally higher than I would accept with a .308Win. load - mostly in the 30s. The other 90 - Berger’s BT Long-Range - also grouped well with N550 at these sorts of loads, but saw large spreads - over 60 fps – no good at all for long ranges. I’ll stress these were starting loads with me intending to make haste slowly with this small capacity cartridge and, pressure signs were still modest. The 90gn VLD / N550 combination looked good enough for an imminent 600 yard F-Class match but the conditions on the day were so rough – three 2-MOA wind shifts between consecutive shots during the match – it didn’t tell me much. Yeah .... but 2,545 fps MV is
pretty pathetic isn’t it? Well here’s a fact that might surprise you: this high BC – 0.281 (G7) / 0.550 (G1) – bullet at 2,545 fps is the ballistic equivalent of a 155gn Lapua Scenar at 3,000 fps from a .308W rifle in terms of 1000 yard wind drift, although the ‘thirty’ has an extra 73 fps of retained velocity. The next 100 yard test session also tried N550 with both bullets, taking charge weights up by another five small steps, also introduced starting loads of Viht N540, Alliant Reloder 15 and Reloder 17. Coincidentally, 24.5gn of N540 grouped well with the VLD too at five shots in 0.3”, but now at 2,741 fps, a combination whose ballistics outperform any .308/155 load and approach those of the bigger cartridge with the higher BC 185 grain bullets. This combination was used in the 200 yard F-Class match for a third place on 95.6v but I reckoned it produced more elevation variation than I liked. N550 and the 90gn BT Long-Range started to look good with five combinations in a 0.7gn charge weight range all running within 0.40.5 MOA and top charge weight MVs just shy of 2,900 fps. ES values were still higher than desirable at 25-41 fps depending on load. Initial Reloder 15 batches also looked good Target Shooter 29
with both bullets, but needed heavier charges.
dropping an extra point in a wind switch for 69.3v against Stuart’s 70.1v. However, that’s down to Test session number three took place in dire Laurie v Stuart in wind-reading skill, not .223/90 conditions and struggled to compare the relative v .308/185 capabilities in my opinion! merits of three models of magnum/benchrest primers using a small charge range of N550 in an My final outing with the rifle to date was the attempt to reduce ES sizes, also worked Re15 500yd Diggle Fly Shoot (described elsewhere charge weights up in small (0.2gn) increments. It in this issue) taking 10th place (out of 41) with became obvious that this was the better powder the rifle back in benchrest mode, although the for the bullet weight, in my barrel at any rate, competition is shot from the prone position, and I settled on combinations using it with the so one can describe this as a one-off ‘hybrid’ two Berger models, the BT L-R (which produces challenge in more senses than one. While the higher pressures and MVs for any given charge score total (from hits within the main ring target) weight) chronographing at 2,855 fps (ES:16); could have been better, a 3-group average of the VLD with 0.4gn more powder for 2,879 fps 3.517” gave little or nothing away to anybody (ES:19). other than overall winner Chris Parkin in a match that sees some impressive kit and cartridges Long-Range ranging from 6BRs to the .338 Lapua Magnum. Both loads went to the UKBRA 1000 yard BR Astounding – the little .223 Rem in this form is a match on 1st August, shot in good conditions and formidable and versatile performer! mild winds by Diggle standards, if still breezy. Group 1 was badly affected by my pulling the Much of this is down to Berger Bullets which has Savage AccuTrigger over-fast, causing it to lock produced another pair of winners in these 90gn up and needing to re-cock the bolt for every shot, bullets. Checking the VLDs out and batching nevertheless getting 14.713 inch group. It was them before the Blair F-Class round showed assumed this was a bolt or trigger mechanical superb consistency. You want to try these problem before realising it was operator induced Bergers or perhaps more vanilla recipes with and groups two to four were accordingly shot the company’s 80gn and 82gn models? Norman much more slowly without problems, but Clark Gunsmiths in Rugby and Tim Hannam probably taking more than double the time in North Yorkshire import, distribute and retail that a good BR shooter and custom 1000 yard these superb products. ‘Light Gun’ would need to get five shots off – you shoot long-range groups as fast as you can Downsides? – there must be some! Of course to ‘catch the wind conditions’ – but produced there are, one being the first shot from a clean very satisfying results: 4.815”, 7.991”, and 5.62” barrel running anywhere between 50 and 100 for a four-group ‘agg’ of 8.285”, fourth place fps down on its successors from a fouled bore, and second smallest group of the day. I was so it’s a poor cold barrel shooter. The small delighted, ‘mouse gun’ doubters astonished! calibre bore fouls more than the 308 and it likely Groups 1 and 2 used the 90gn BT L-R; 3 and has a greater effect on MVs and precision. And 4 the 90gn VLD, the latter needing around 1.5- ... .223R in this extreme form is a handloading MOA less elevation at this range. geek’s number – you have to work hard to get the group sizes and ES values down, unlike The GB National F-Class round at Blair Atholl .308W which is much more forgiving. (See the was almost an anticlimax after this experience. picture of the two groups from ammunition I I was five or six points off the pace in Match 1 brought back from Blair.) And ... to answer the although not overly disappointed with 79 ex100 question you’re all asking, you need a 1-7 twist but improved thereafter. Positions for the five rate barrel to stabilise them. I’ll cover .223/90gn matches over the weekend being 11th, 7th, 5th, loads in depth in the November and December 3rd, and 4th to get 7th F-TR overall. Squadded issues of Target Shooter but, to answer the with Stuart Anselm in Match 5 - the overall F-TR late comedian Eric Morecambe’s catchphrase winner - who was shooting the 185gn Berger question “How’s it going so far?” the answer is Long-Range in his .308W Savage, I almost but definitely not “RUBBISH!”. didn’t quite manage to match him shot for shot, . 30 Target Shooter
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Introducing the first hunting and tactical scopes with 10 times power ratio on a variable scope. March 1x-10x-24mm and 2.5x-25x-42mm. 1/4” clicks and 25 MOA per revolution. All lenses in scopes are cemented in place, and do not rely on O rings to hold point of aim. Argon gas purged.
Kelbly 179mmX130mm 6/16/10 7:16 AM Page 1
Introducing Kelbly’s Tactical Rifles. bringing benchrest precision to the tactical market. With loads of options to choose from, and pricing that shatters the competitors.
Introducing the first hunting and tactical scopes with 10 times power ratio on a variable scope. March 1x-10x-24mm and 2.5x-25x-42mm. 1/4” clicks and 25 MOA per revolution. All lenses in scopes are cemented in place, and do not rely on O rings to hold point of aim. Argon gas purged.
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32 Target Shooter
Custom Rimfire Benchrest Rifle Build
By Andy Dubreuil
Rimfire benchrest shooting is an up and coming sport in the UK and it takes rimfire accuracy to the limit in shooting from 25yd to 50m. Like other shooting sports , the objective is to hit that maximum score - 250 on our target and hitting the ‘pin spot’ scores a bonus X. Initially, 22 rifles for prone shooting were adapted to shoot benchrest by taking off various accessories and adding a scope - a great way to get into benchrest shooting but for shooters who want to shoot nationally or internationally, a rifle that is competitive at ‘world level’ will be needed. Here in the UK, the sport has been slow to catch up with the top equipment that’s available in the States. With the forming of the United Kingdom Association of Rimfire & Air Rifle Benchrest Shooting, members started to seek out the equipment hat merican hooters se. unsmiths t A s u G in the USA have worked with the top shooters to develop actions and barrels to make rimfire benchrest rifles not just accurate but consistently accurate. Here in the UK we are slowly learning what makes a good rimfire benchrest rifle and Steve Kershaw is now at the forefront of building accurate rimfire BR rifles for UK shooters. After Steve built my rifle, I had a chance to catch up with him to find out what got him into building rifles and his thoughts on my rifle. Steve got into the business 14 years ago when he was looking for work to be done on his own rifle and he couldn’t find anyone to do the work at a reasonable price. Coming from a game-keeping background, money was not plentiful in those days and Steve was looking for someone to do the work the way he wanted at the right price. Steve left school and got into engineering and eventually got himself a lathe with a view to building rifles that were perfect in every detail. His first rifles were 22BR Rem. rifles that were used mainly for foxing and then he naturally moved onto other calibers. One day, Steve got a phone call from John Churchly saying that he couldn’t find any one to take the time to barrel his rimfire actions properly so he did a .22LR for him and it just snowballed from there - Churchly Bros bought ten barrels from Lilja and then another ten and that is how it all started. I asked Steve had he ever built a rifle for himself and he said no - for the simple reason that if he did build a ‘killer’ rifle for himself that he would have no customers! Steve has never advertised in all the time he has been in business because his rifles do the talking
and the way he deals with his customers ensures repeat business by word and mouth. When I approached Steve about re-barrelling my rifle, he was happy to listen to what I was looking for. As I already had an action and wanted to have a Lilja barrel fitted, Steve ask me what ammo I was going to use (Eley Tenex) and what length I wanted the barrel to be - which was 21 inches. From there on, he would ring me and tell me what was going on, what stage the build was at and this went on until the rifle was going to the proof house and when the rifle was ready to be collected. Steve endeavors to build what the customers wants, not what he wants. I asked Steve what were his first thoughts when he was approached to build a rimfire benchrest rifle. With my custom build I had told Steve that I was going to use Eley Tenex. For those who have fond memories of Bert at Eley, he used to say to Steve “ How do you get the head space on a rifle so exact?” Steve told Bert that he had built a jig that allowed him to do this and Steve has set the headspace on my rifle to 0.040 inches which is best suited for Tenex. Getting the headspace just right is critical. When re-barrelling an Anschutz action, Steve cuts off the old barrel off leaving a 2 inch stub. He then chucks this in the lathe to check the
concentricity of the action. Typically Anschutz headspace is around 0.044 inches so that all makes of ammo will chamber and will result in a reasonable overall performance. When Steve hydraulically pressed the barrel-stub out of my action he found that the barrel tenon had two steel location ‘wedges’ fitted at the factory to make the barrel fit snug. On further investigation, he found the barrel tenon was 0.001 in. under the internal diameter of the action. If the wedges had not been used, the barrel may have worked loose and the harmonics of the barrel would never have worked. This had also changed the concentricity of the action and Steve had to make this right before going any further with the build. Steve told me that he had only come across this once in the past with an Anschutz barreled-action and it takes time and patience to lap out the score marks left by the steel wedges and make the action concentric again to accept the new barrel. Attention to detail needs to be given at this point. Removing too much material from the internals of the action can result in the two 3mm locking pins that hold the barrel in place being undersize and this would allow movement in the barrel fixing. On this particular action the amount of material removed was only 0.003 inches. This cleared the steel wedges that would
interfere with the alignment of the new barrel. To get maximum performance from have a new barrel fitted, every part of the build has to be correct, this includes final head-spacing and gluing and pinning the new barrel in place. Lilja rimfire barrels are ‘choked’ and it is important that the choke is at the muzzle-end of the barrel so Steve stressed that when shortening the barrel-blank (in my case down to 21 inches) you must cut the chamber end off the barrel. I asked if it was necessary to ‘slug’ a Lilja barrel but Steve pointed out that Lilja does all that work before they send out the barrels to gunsmiths. Moving to the muzzle-end of the barrel, I asked Steve why it was different to the original Anschutz crown. Steve explained that some manufactures do what is called a recessed crown which is basically a flat 90 degree crown. However some shooters and gunsmiths prefer an 11 degree crown, which is what he has put on my barrel. The theory is that this is the angle which gases leave the muzzle but neither crown has proved superior; it’s simply down to personal choice. Taking care of the crown is one of the most important things to protect. If you are going to throw the rifle into a case or run a brush through and pull it back against the crown you risk damaging it and the rifle will never shoot as well as it should. Steve says with the introduction of barrel tuners, it’s important to take that off after shooting or gases and condensation will build up. Any fouling needs to be carefully cleaned off as soon as possible. At the breech end, it’s real important to have
a bore-guide to prevent damage to the barrel face, chamber and the rifling during cleaning. Spending money on decent cleaning equipment is just common sense to keep your rifle shooting accurately and consistently. Think of the money you will save by not having to take it back to gunsmith to have costly remedial work carried out, not to mention rifle ‘down-time’. Steve believes in building rifles in a uniform, consistent manner and concentricity is the key to a rifle’s overall performance and for it to shoot well. But at the same time, the shooter must play his part. When Steve says that something will be done by a certain time, you can guarantee that it will be. He has a way of working with his clients to produce a rifle that they want and not the other way round. If you have questions, he will give you a truthful answer and with Steve, you get a fine rifle for a fair price. Just like a Formula 1 racing car, if the wheels and tyres are out of balance, the car will vibrate badly and not perform to its best - it’s the same with a rifle. Key features: • Getting the balance right • Concentricity of the action to the barrel • Correct head-space to suit your preferred • ammunition • Length of barrel • Crown • Action screws torqued correctly • Balanced and correctly profiled stock • Recoil through the stock has to be consistent moving through the rest I’ve shot benchrest for around seven years now
and I have used factory-based rifles attempting to compete against the world’s best. Searching for equipment for benchrest shooting has been difficult in the UK as no one had the knowledge of the sport or was able to supply the equipment. It’s been down to shooters to talk to gunsmiths who produce custom rifles and get them to move into the world of rimfire benchrest shooting. Steve Kershaw is one of those gunsmiths who as stepped up to the mark. He wants to be part of the development of the 22 rimfire benchrest rifle; he is already making medal winning rifles and I have not heard anyone say that they have had a problem with his rifles. When I got my rifle I was bit like a ‘kid in a candy store’ as I could not wait to get down to the range but I had one or two things that I wanted to do.
We all belong to different forums to keep up to date on what’s going on and, we learn of the different ideas flying around. One thing that caught my eye was about the burn-rate of a rimfire round. The ammo is factory-made so you can’t alter it. I looked to the rifle to see what I might be able to change to give maybe a more consistent burn rate. The bolt has a number of springs in it that are set at 19 lb and I looked to change these and found that Wolf Springs did a replacement set for the Anschutz and the ones for the 1913 were set at 24lb. This got me thinking - would the increase of poundage help increase the burn rate and make the round more consistent. Now I am no expert and a lot of our writers have a greater knowledge but, I want to test my theory and see if there would be a difference. As you can see from
To introduce our selves we are the United Kingdom Association of Rimfire and Air Rifle Benchrest Shooting. By that we mean "True Benchrest Shooting". The Association is recognised by rimfire shooters across in the UK, with partners across Europe and the rest of the world, as the presentative body that promotes rimfire and air rifle benchrest across this country and with other partners in European and World events. Visit our website for news about national and international competitions that all can ‘have a go at’. From novice to champion shooter, everyone is welcome 36 Target Shooter www.benchrest22.org
the picture of the shell casing, Wolf Springs do ensure a better contact - could this potentially give a faster burn rate. Only by looking at the target would I be able to see the difference. There is a difference between the different springs used for certain but like all things in benchrest, is it just a ‘feel good’ factor that boosts your confidence! Steve had to machine an aluminium sleeve to fit inside my Harrel tuner to make it fit the Lilja barrel and again did a fine job, so then it was a case of re- tuning it to suit the barrel. The ammo I had was left over from my batch-testing with Eley the year before and I was going to use that up before sorting out another batch for the new Lilja barrel, so I wasn’t expecting great results with what I had. Wow, was I wrong, I couldn’t believe how consistently the rifle was shooting in just forming some five-shot groups to get the barrel bedded in. When I moved to shooting proper cards, after putting around 600 rounds down the barrel, it was really coming into it’s own. When it comes to cleaning a rifle barrel, there are lots of theories on how and when to clean. Some only clean once a year, whilst others will do it after every card. Whilst cleaning the rifle and taking some photos of the breech, I had a bit of a shock when I viewed this photograph. As you can see, there is a tiny bit of brass that has sheared off a cartridge case. Attempting to see this with the naked eye is not easy without the aid of a magnifier. I sent Steve the photograph and, just as I thought, if this ended up in the barrel it could cause damage. I now inspect this area very carefully and often shards of brass are visible. They are very small and can be taken out with a needle. If you have a rifle that is shooting well then it’s wise to minimize the risk of damage, thus keeping the rifle accurate for as long as you can. I started writing this article six weeks before the UK Nationals (report elsewhere in this issue) and was really looking forward to taking the rifle to the event. As many readers know, I am a disabled shooter and this year has not been a good one for me health-wise and I was not able to go to the Europeans where the British team really shone and I would have loved to have been part of that process. Also, I missed seeing old friends from past events. So, going to the Nationals is a
big occasion for me and I was eager to see how the rifle would perform. One thing about going to large events is not to have expectations - either good or bad - as this can be a real ‘mind-bender’ Turn up with a view that you are simply going to enjoy yourself, do your best and nothing more. The Mirfield Rifle Club is just outside Huddersfield in the north of England and I have to say they are a real friendly lot and have some interesting butties – as they call them - sandwiches to you and me! We had slices of hot beef cooked and left in a pot of gravy for a time before being served in a bread roll with gravy and onions – messy but it does taste really good! The conditions on the practice day were great - sunny and calm and everyone was shooting about the same on the 50m outdoor range, I didn’t bother shooting the 25yd indoor as it can be a bit of a lottery as nearly everyone is able to shoot at least a 249 at worse or hopefully a 250 and it just comes down to the amount of Xs that are shot.
If anything, I just wanted to focus on the 50m as that’s the one that I enjoy the most as it’s more about you against the elements. On the Saturday I was most disappointed as the gale-force winds made the wind flags go completely wild. The range is surrounded by trees so it’s possible to see the effect of what the wind was doing in regards how the wind came in overhead and when there was a steady wind. At times there was a sand-storm going on in the stop butt and it would swirl like a mini tornado. When this happens, sit back as there will be no point in even thinking of taking a shot. In conditions like this I won’t even wait for a calm in the wind. I use the sighters in the different wind speeds to decide which is the best to go with and listening to the wind is a great help, allowing me to put in scores of 247, 249 and a really bad 242. I say a bad 242 as I had been shooting so well that this score should have been the same but obviously I just was not getting it right on that card.
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38 Target Shooter
Andy winning the 25m and 50m UK National Championship
I have to say that I am not into checking out who’s doing what as it’s not he good for the mind, it’s better to stay away so that you concentrate on the job that you have to do. At the end of the Nationals, I had won two Gold medals and one Bronze plus the trophy for the aggregate for 25yd and the trophy for the 50m aggregate. I look at it in that I just got it right on the day - could I reproduce that again on another day? That’s something that no one can answer and that’s the great thing about this game - you can never predict the outcome. To bring and end to this story, all I can say that having a custom rifle built is a great thing to be involved in and not as costly as some would think. But, do your research, there are lots of forums on benchrest shooting and in them are lots of ideas which you have to sift through to make the decision on how to have a rifle-build done. The idea having interchangeable stocks to be able to shoot HV and LV I don’t think I have seen anyone else do, but it works for me and can save money as you don’t need to have two rifles, scopes etc. Finding a gunsmith can be easy, but finding one that will take the time to listen to you and to go with what you want at times is not easy. I had an idea and Steve Kershaw went with it and kept me up to date all the way through the build, I also have to say a big thank you to Gary from Tech-Wood Design for doing an amazing job on the work of the ’ice wood’ stock and we hope to see great things from Gary in the making of benchrest stocks for the UK shooters. I hope that you have enjoyed this insight into a custom build and how it can work out. I’ve certainly enjoyed the experience and I hope you have too.
Knowing your conditions Helps to keep your aim true
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The 2010 Diggle Fly Shoot
by Vince Bottomley
The Rifle as it was used for the Egg shoot We have had another horrendous summer with simultaneous floods and hose-pipe bans in this neck of the woods and predictably, the weather leading up to the Fly shoot was cold and wet. I feared that this may affect the entry but no – Sunday was unbelievably warm and sunny and from half a mile away I could see the sunlight glinting off the windscreens in the packed Diggle Range House car park. amazingly it continues to grow in popularity – thanks probably to the odd ‘thread’ on the internet shooting forums which ‘spreads the word’ much better than I can! Last year, we broke forty entries for the first time and it was the same again this year and I was pleased to meet several new shooters who I knew only by their internet avatar!
The Fly Shoot is simple but unusual in that it attempts to combine group shooting and score This is the ninth year of the Fly Shoot and shooting. The Aussies invented it and the rules They all came to shoot a fly!
Baldy Dave with the 338 Surgeon
are few - there are no restrictions regarding equipment – any rifle, scope, rest etc. and just two classes – Factory Class for ‘out of the box’ factory rifles and anything else. We don’t mind if you’ve changed the stock on your factory rifle, as long as the barrelled-action is standard but re-barrel it and I’m afraid you will find yourself in the Open Class!
Ideally, you need something which will group around three-inches or better at 500 yards - if you want to be in with a chance of picking up some money. The money however is not what attracts shooters – it’s hitting the fly and winning a coveted Fly patch – they can’t be bought, they must be won - here at Diggle. Typically, only a dozen or so shooters will take home a patch. The Aussie flies must be a lot bigger than ours and the image of the fly in the centre of the target is more like a beetle but, at 500 yards, it’s barely visible – even less so today with a light mirage evident.
This year, the entry couldn’t have been more diverse with Dave (Baldy) Wylde and his Surgeon tactical rig chambered in 338 Lapua Magnum, to Laurie Holland with his 223 Rem. F/TR rifle and everything in between from 1000 yard benchguns to slick little treble-two foxing rigs. Anything goes at the Fly Shoot and all sorts Competitors are given an ample sight-in of rifles have taken the honours over the years. period, then it’s three, five-shot groups with five minutes allowed for each group. Wind-flags are not hoisted so competitors must make what they will of the ‘natural’ wind-indicators. From the location of groups, it was evident that winds were reasonably light but still strong enough to nudge the unwary off the target and into the ‘no-score’ area.
Butt crew ‘join up the dots’ so that each group is indicated for measuring 42 Target Shooter
In addition to cash prizes and Fly patches, small-group patches are also awarded for the smallest group in each class together with a cash award. This year, we had a new record in Open Class when Dave Wylde shot an amazing 1.153 inch five-shot group with the aforementioned 338 Lapua Magnum! Best Factory group was a very creditable 2.92 incher from Phil Gibbon using his 6.5-284 Savage. Although Phil’s agg. of his three groups was slightly smaller than John Anderton’s, John took the Factory win by virtue of his higher
Dave proudly displays his record 1.152 inch group in the Diggle clubroom Overall winner, Chris Parkin – three well-centred groups total score of 150 was a full 26 points ahead of Dave, who tied for second place with Paul Harper, shooting his 260 Rem. tactical rig. Fifteen rounds plus half a dozen or so sighters is not exactly a lot for a day’s shooting but on a nice warm day it’s great to sit on the grass, chill-out with fellow shooters and of course ogle the many interesting rifles on display. If this sounds like your kind of shooting, make a date for next year – check out the calendar on the Diggle website www.diggleranges. com it will be around the same time in August. Meanwhile, you can peruse the full results on the UKBRA website at www.ukbra.co.uk but I list below the first three in each class. All photos courtesy of Steve Thornton
When it’s warm and sunny, just chill-out score – attained by have his slightly larger groups more central and scoring 99 to Phil’s 82. Similarly in Open – Dave Wylde’s remarkable performance wasn’t quite enough to win. That honour went to Chris Parkin, using the rifle we are featuring elsewhere in this issue of Target Shooter. Chris, if you remember, also won the Egg Shoot with the same rifle. It’s not that exotic – just a well put together rifle using simple components but clearly in the hands of someone who knows how to get the best out of it. Chris’s Open Class
Shooter Group 1 Chris Parkin 3.251 Dave Wylde 5.088 Paul Harper 3.082 Factory Class John Anderton 4.68 Phil Gibbon 6.4 Adrian Evans 5.839 * Small group in Class Group 2 2.936 *1.152 2.178
Group 3 2.305 5.459 4.462
Group bonus 23 19 21
Target score 127 105 103
Total 150 124 124
4.647 *2.92 3.383
6.4 4.151 3.105
16 18 19
99 82 80
115 100 99
IPAS, AAS & the 1911
by Vince Bottomley
Next month, we’ll review the superb AAS hopped-up 1911 pistol If you find that heading a bit confusing – you‘re A typical IPAC competition In any given event meant to! I’d never heard of IPAS or AAS - there are a number of ‘stages’ - each stage is Action Air Shooting - either. Hopefully the ‘1911’ a different array of five steel plates fixed to a bit is ringing the odd distant bell and as for wooden stand approximately one metre off the IPAS or Iron Plate Action Shooting – read on! ground. The plates vary in size from 8”x 8” to After the handgun ban, many Practical Pistol 24”x 12”. One of the five plates is painted a different colour to the other four (usually yellow shooters took up other disciplines or bailed or red) and this is known as the STOP plate. The out of the shooting circuit all together. A stop plate must be engaged last. few however wanted to try to re-create the The shooter begins by standing in the ‘box’ facing excitement of Practical Pistol competitions with down range; the instruction from the Range Officer the equipment that was now legally available. is given “Load and make ready” ……..the gun is There were two options, either Airsoft replica loaded and holstered and the shooters hands are imitation firearms or Co2 multi-shot air pistols. in the ‘surrender’ position - the shooter is ready. It became apparent quite quickly that the Airsoft The RO - with shot timer in hand - gives the guns lent themselves perfectly to IPSC Practical command “Shooter, are you ready?”……. Shooting and the more powerful Co2 multi shot “Stand by”…….the shot timer is engaged and air pistol (with some tuning) were perfect for Iron the shooter waits for the ‘beep’ to sound……as Plate Action Shooting - the UK version of the it does, he goes in to action, engaging the four ‘Steel Challenge’ as it is known around the world. plates in any order he chooses and then the stop IPAS is the fastest growing sport for Co2 multi- plate. A good time is around three seconds! shot air pistols in the UK; it is extremely exciting The shooter gets five ‘runs’ on each stage with and has an extensive competition circuit his worst time being discarded, so there is only with events taking place throughout the year one ‘throw away’ the other runs must count. across the country, culminating in the National At the end of the stage the RO gives the command Championships held in November of each year. “Unload and show clear” - the gun is re-holstered The object of the sport is very simple - shoot fast and the next competitor is called to the line. and don’t miss! A visit to the IPAS website at www. The times for each shooter for each stage are ipas.org.uk and the www.actionairshooting.org added together and the competitor with the website will tell you all you need to know about fastest overall time wins….simple! the sport. 46 Target Shooter
Safety, as with all shooting sports, is the number one priority and the IPAS Association are very proud of their 100% safety record. Competitions are very simple to set up, all you need are five steel plates on suitable stands, a decent multi-shot air pistol, safety glasses (worn at ALL times whilst on the range) and a shot timer. Only a small amount of space is required to stage a competition and cardboard can be used for backstops - the .177 lead pellet simply falls to the ground after impacting with the steel plate but not before sounding a very satisfying ‘ding’. IPAS is an inclusive sport, with men and women, young and old from all walks of life taking part. It is fun, fast, competitive and above all it doesn’t cost a fortune to take part. The law pertaining to these air pistols, replicas and the like is an absolute nightmare and I will attempt to set it out here.
The pellet-weights used in the above calculation are typical weights for the sizes of pellet but you must always check the actual weight of your pellet before performing your own calculation. As we are a target shooting magazine, I will not go into the law concerning the shooting of birds and mammals. However, it’s worth pointing out that the penalties for misuse are severe and carry heavy fines and custodial sentences not dissimilar to firearms offences.
Following the enactment of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006, listed below are the current regulations relating to the purchase, ownership, sale and possession of airguns and ammunition. Persons under the age of 14: 1) No person under the age of 14 may purchase, The Law hire or be given an airgun or ammunition. You do not need a license to own an air pistol 2) A person under the age of 14 must at all times but in order to purchase one you do need when shooting be supervised by a person to be over 18 years of age, be able to prove over the age of 21. your age to the seller (ie Driving License) and the sale must be carried out face to face. Mail order of air pistols and rifles is now banned. Persons over the age of 14 but under 18: Air Soft pistols are classified as RIFs (Realistic 1) No person under the age of 18 may purchase, Imitation Firearms) and these can only be sold hire or be given an airgun or ammunition. 2) A person in this age group may shoot to registered ‘skirmishers’. Airguns in the UK are subject to the Firearms Act, unsupervised on private land with the permission under the Firearms (Dangerous air weapons) of the landowner but must be supervised by rules 1969 they are classified as low-powered somebody over the age of 21 if in a public place. air weapons and as such they are restricted to It should be noted that this means that a person a maximum power of 12 foot pounds of energy aged seventeen and a half, who may have a for a rifle and 6 foot pounds energy for a pistol. driving licence, cannot take an air rifle from home Air rifles above 12 ft.lbs. are classified as a s.1 to his club to shoot unless the gun is possessed Firearm and require an FAC. An air pistol above by somebody over the age of eighteen or the 6 ft.lb. is now a prohibited weapon in the UK. seventeen and a half-year old is supervised by a person over the age of twenty-one. UK Legal Limit Persons over the age of 18: To calculate the power of an airgun you need to use a chronograph to measure the speed of the A person over the age of eighteen can buy an pellet (in feet per second) when fired, and you airgun and pellets and use them unsupervised. need to know the weight of the pellet in grains. As mentioned, the legal maximum for an General Restrictions: It is an offence to have an airgun in a unlicensed air rifle is 12 ft.lb. which equates to 1 public place ‘without good reason’, the proof the following velocities: A .22 pellet weighing 14.4 grains, maximum being the responsibility of the possessor. 2 It is an offence to discharge an airgun permissible speed is 612 ft/sec A .177 pellet weighing 7.9 grains, maximum within fifty feet of the centre of a highway, if doing permissible speed is 826 ft/sec so would cause a nuisance or endanger the public When shooting over private land, it is an The corresponding figures for a pistol are 3 433 ft/sec for a .22 and 584 ft/sec for a .177 offence for the pellet to go beyond the boundary of Target Shooter 47
the remises n hich he un s eing sed nless p o w t g i b u u there is permission from the adjoining landowner. 4 Persons who by way of trade deal in airguns, pressure-bearing parts or component parts must be a Registered Firearms Dealer and any transaction must be face-to-face. mmunition A for airguns may continue to be sold by post. Exceptions: 1 It is not an offence for a person to have with him an airgun or ammunition whilst being a member of a Home Office Approved Club in connection with target practice. 2 Air rifles with a muzzle energy in excess of 12 foot pounds (which require licensing) are not subject to the general restrictions listed above. 3 An ‘airgun’ with the kinetic energy of less than one joule is considered a toy and is therefore not covered by the above restrictions but may be considered a realistic imitation firearm (if it looks like a gun). The sale of realistic imitation firearms is now banned with one or two minor exceptions, mainly for historical re-enactment, museums and television/film/theatrical performances or as a recognized member of an airsoft site affiliated to the Association of British AirSoft www.aoba. org.uk
increasing the performance of his own gun, a Co2 Colt 1911 A1 air pistol from German manufactures Umarex and this gave him a clear advantage. Other shooters, keen not to be left behind in the wake of his continued success, asked if they too could have guns modified for them and so Action Air Shooting came into being. At present, Action Air Shooting offers two types of Co2 pistol with various optional extras available - the Colt 1911A1 SuperSpeed & the Smith Ultralite Revolver. There are two divisions, Open (with optics) and Standard (iron sights) and both guns are available for either division. Every gun is built to order (so there is a waiting list) and each has between 8 and 11 hours of gunsmithing before it is ready. Many custom parts are fitted as standard, such as the lightweight aluminum shrouds for the revolvers which are 55% lighter than the original part. For speed shooting this lightened front end allows for an even faster draw and target acquisition. The gun is lighter whilst retaining its potency, this combined with a fully tuned trigger makes for an outstanding performance. The customer can choose a variety of options such as double-action only, ‘bobbed’ hammer and even the trigger-guards can be machined so they can be used with a speed holster, such as those from Ghost International or Safariland. The attention to detail, the finish and the overall performance of an STC Custom Air Pistol from Action Air Shooting is vastly superior to that of an ordinary ‘off the shelf’ air pistol. A truly bespoke piece of kit, these guns are supplied with a unique build number, chronograph reading to show the average FPS of each gun, a 10m benchrest test-target to show accuracy and a Cordura double gun bag. STC guns are also ideal as a training aid for users of real firearms outside of the United Kingdom. Seasoned shooters looking for a cost-effective training system or instructors with students new to firearms keen to learn good gun-control and gun-safety in a controlled environment both benefit from an STC Co2 Air Pistol. For further details e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Have I whetted your appetite? Next month, we’ll have a closer look at Action Air Shooting’s remarkable 1911 pistol – don’t miss it!
Crime and Security Bill: Failing to prevent minors from having air rifles/ pistols. The Firearms Act 1968 is amended as follows: It is an offence for a person in possession of an air rifle/pistol to fail to take reasonable precautions to prevent any persons under the age of 18 from having the air rifle/pistol with him. With that bit of tedious but very essential information out of the way, we can have a look at what prompted this article in the first place - an e-mail from Mark at Action Air Shooting who, in addition to loaning me their ‘hopped-up’ 1911 pistol, also kindly supplied the foregoing information regarding the sport and legal side. Action Air Shooting – the Company The Action Air Shooting company was borne out of desire to obtain, produce and provide the best possible equipment for the sport of competition IPAS for those who wanted to compete at a serious level. Although standard pistols can be used, as always, those who take their sport seriously demand the very best in equipment. The gunsmith at STC - himself a very accomplished IPAS competitor - spent years fine-tuning and 48 Target Shooter
Re-barreling work Fitting of Moderators and Muzzle brakes - Reproofing of Rifle required Trigger work – See Trigger work
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HANDLOADING BENCH - BULLET SEATING AND CARTRIDGE OVERALL LENGTH ISSUES
By Laurie Holland
Above - Vince B caught doing some load development for his new secret 100yd LV benchrest rifle and experimental 7.62X63PPC cartridge. Alright ... a .30-06 M1917 service rifle. Note the cleaning rod with collars at his side used to determine COAL. (Interesting front-rest Vince!)
One of the most difficult issues for the handloading tyro, and not a few experienced practitioners, is how to determine the correct COAL (cartridge overall length) of the finished round so that the seater die can be set correctly. This is determined by three interlocking issues: bullet length/shape; bullet type (tangent v secant ogive); and how the barrel has been chambered, that is how much ‘freebore’ he hroating eamer as rovided head t t r h p a of the cartridge case part of the chamber. Each bullet that you load needs a different setting and it applies only to that barrel / chamber at that particular point in its life (as throats gradually erode forward with use). Loading manuals rarely help as they usually quote the SAAMI or CIP nominal COAL. Let’s look at rifle chambers – not the bit that encloses the case, but the section ahead usually called the ‘throat’, in particular the length of parallel non-rifled section referred to as ‘freebore’. I’ll use .223 Remington as an example as my Savage F/TR rifle has been chambered to suit the 90gn Berger VLD seated so its shank / boat-tail section junction is seated to the bottom of the case-neck. I’ll first measure three 0.224” match bullets from the point on the ogive (bullet shoulder) where the diameter has reached the size that will likely make contact with the start of the rifling (the leade) to the shank / boat-tail junction using callipers and a pair of .22 calibre 52 Target Shooter
‘comparators’ slotting the bullet between them. (Actually, as the comparator inserts’ apertures are cut at 0.208” dia., this process measures the distance between a point high up on the boat-tail section to one fractionally above where the ogive contacts the rifling leade, but it’s close enough to allow valid comparisons.) 90gn Berger BT Match A (tangent ogive) chosen at random measures 0.558” between these points, and the longer-nosed 90gn VLD (secant ogive) model, 0.502”. The 69gn Sierra MatchKing, a bullet that I would never normally use in this rifle runs at 0.384”. The .223 Rem case has a 0.203” length neck, so with each of these bullets seated at the optimal position in the case, we see their ideal ‘freebores’ run t round .35” or he 0gn T, .3” or he 0gn aa 0 f t 9 B 0 f t 9 VLD, and 0.18” for the 69gn SMK. (I say ‘around’ as the case section of the chamber extends further up the barrel than the maximum allowed case length of 1.760”, and there are bullet jump issues, as well as repeating my observation that comparators exaggerate bullet bearing lengths slightly.) Also, the shapes of these three bullets produce very different lengths above the shank / boat-tail junction and that changes the OAL markedly when the bullet is seated optimally. The VLD measures 1.108” from this point to its tip, while the 69gn SMK measures 0.771”, so subtracting the 0.203” case-neck length tells us that 0.905” of 90gn VLD
Military rifles are usually given considerable ‘freebore’ to accommodate dirty or out of spec ammunition, but this applied even more in the days of their using cartridges loaded with long round-nosed bullets. Left to right: 6.5X55mm Mauser / 160gn; 7X57 Mauser / 175gn; 7.65X53mm Mauser / 210gn; German WW2 7.92X57mm sS with 198gn FMJBT which relied on massive ‘freebore’ to keep pressures manageable bullet sticks out of the case, but only 0.57” of the 69gn SMK. Add 1.760” (case length) to these values and we get likely COALs for our optimally seated bullets of 2.665” and 2.33” respectively. I’ve made a bit of a meal about ‘freebore’ because it is important to understand its relationship to the bullet shape. In many cases, you have the ‘freebore’ that the manufacturer decides you’ll have, not what you’d specify in a custom-built rifle. Its length and in some cases form, has a major effect on what bullets you can load and how well the rifle shoots, as well as peak chamber pressures and MVs that any given load will produce in that rifle. Many people know that when Roy Weatherby designed his magnum cartridges in the 1960s, he not only used huge cases and powder charges but specified very long throats (or lots of ‘freebore’) on his rifles to attain the extra couple of hundred fps MVs without exceeding safe pressures – Target Shooter 53
6BR in three loadings that would likely see different chamber forms used in custom rifles. Left to right: 55gn Sierra BlitzKing, 70gn Sierra MK, 105gn Lapua Scenar but this practice didn’t make for super-accurate rifles. What few people know is that the Germans used the same trick fifty odd years before with the 7.92X57IS cartridge to get a 154gn bullet up to the then unheard of MV of 2,880 fps. The redesigned G98 rifle barrel had a relatively long parallel ‘freebore’ section that led into an even longer (4½ calibres or around 1.4”) smoothbore tapered ‘forcing cone’. This feature later facilitated the adoption of the heavily loaded 198gn sS FMJBT bullet machinegun version of the cartridge in the WW2 era KAR98k short rifle which gave 2,493 fps from a 600mm (23.6”) barrel. Again, accuracy was militarily adequate rather than good. So we’ve learned that throat shape and how the bullet matches it affects pressures, velocities and also the likely accuracy. Lots of bullet jump (into the rifling) generally reduces chamber pressures, 54 Target Shooter but increases groups sizes; a throat designed for the bullet to have a short jump (or no jump in the case of a VLD) with the bullet seated at the bottom of the case neck is likely to give us target shooters the best results. What we’re now seeing is a plethora of chamber forms in rifles – we’re mostly shooting non-standard versions of factory cartridges if we have a rifle custom-built or simply rebarrelled as more often than not we’ll depart from SAAMI / CIP ‘freebore’ specifications to suit the rifle’s intended use and bullet type / model. A good example is 6mm BR. Look at the photograph and you see the same case loaded in three different forms – a 55gn varmint bullet at a shade over 2” COAL; the 70gn Sierra MK at 2.2” COAL for short-range target shooting, and the 105gn Lapua Scenar at 2.44” for longer ranges. Gunsmiths have customers turn up and ask for barrels to be throated to suit any of these
An early version of the Dolphin Gun Co. OAL tool kit with several heavy 0.308” bullets mounted on the rods and extra length tool bodies to suit Laurie’s F/TR Barnard/Eliseo tubegun alternatives, or even longer versions at 2.5” and and it depends on what shape of bullet we’re up to suit 105-115gn bullets – and also anything in loading to some extent. If it’s a secant ogive between. design as in all models described as VLDs, but also some that aren’t such as many Hornady A-Max models and the 0.308” 210gn Sierra In or Out? Let’s assume we have a well-made rifle that’s MK, the abrupt junction between the shank and been carefully chambered and some thought nose sections doesn’t centre the bullet well as it has gone into the throat design to be able to enters the leade, so usual practice is to seat the seat a particular bullet at that optimum point in bullet in the case so that it is pushed into an the cartridge case. We now have two questions interference fit with the rifling when the cartridge to answer. First, what is the optimum relationship is chambered. A typical figure might be 0.015” between the bullet ogive and the rifling leade? (15 thou’) into the rifling, but some people might Secondly, having decided that, how do we try 20 or more. measure what COAL achieves that relationship? However, just to make life difficult, Berger VLDs There is no simple answer to the first question, sometimes give good results when kept out of Stoney-Point (now Hornady L-N-L) OAL gauges in two versions, modified .223 Rem case, comparator bodies, the green one (from Sinclair International) with a .22 cal insert installed, callipers, and 90gn 0.224” Berger VLD bullet. Just add rifle and cleaning rod
Screw the modified case onto the tool body and insert the bullet into its neck the leade and ‘jumped’ – but usually with a big jump that might see the bullet move up to 0.120” (120 thou’) before contacting the rifling. Here is what Berger Bullet’s Eric Stecker advises on the subject: Load 24 rounds at the following COAL if you are a target competition shooter who does not worry about jamming a bullet: 1. .010 into (touching) the lands (jam) 6 rounds 2. .040 off the lands (jump) 6 rounds 3. .080 off the lands (jump) 6 rounds 4. .120 off the lands (jump) 6 rounds The problem with seating a bullet so it is pushed well into the leade is that it forms an interference fit with the rifling and will be gripped tightly. If you have to unload a chambered cartridge for any reason, here s igh robability f ulling he ase t i ah p op t c off the bullet leaving it stuck in the barrel. ssuming A somebody on the firing line has a cleaning rod or set of drop rods, that’s no great problem, but cleaning every last kernel of spilt powder out of the locking lug recesses usually terminates the fun for the day. Tangent ogive bullets which include the Berger BT Match and new ‘Hybrid’ models, and nearly all Sierra MatchKings have a rounded ogive and a gentle transition from the shank to nose section that guides the bullet into the leade on firing, so are normally jump-tolerant. A common starting point is 0.015” out of the rifling. It’s always orth ooking t nternet orums uch s he w l aI f s a t accurateshooter.com/forum and US rifle teams. com/lrforum to see what others say on this issue. Alternatively ask around other shooters in your club to see who uses your intended bullet and find out what works for them. The USrifleteams.com/lrforum has had a lot of discussion recently about the new 155gn 0.308” Sierra Palma MK (#2156) and how well it does in rifles chambered with the Bisley 150 or
Push the gauge with case / bullet installed fully into the rifle chamber, use the push-rod to move the bullet so it is jam-seated into the rifling leade and lock the push-rod at that position
Remove gauge from rifle, knock bullet out of the rifling with cleaning rod and reinsert into the case to get a dummy round with the bullet seated into the rifling leade Palma 95 reamers developed for the 155gn RG cartridge and/or the old (shorter) Sierra Palma MK (#2155). It turns out that the new model is exceptionally jump-tolerant and may even prefer a long jump, say 0.040” or more. Why did I use the 0.015” figure as a starting point for being ‘in’ or ‘out’? It’s to ensure that every bullet is either properly engaged with the leade or fully disengaged. It’s fatal to have some in contact and some not – they’ll behave differently enough to give you fliers. With many bullets having variations in bearing surface lengths and nose/ shoulder shapes as they come out of the carton, as well as press operating variations, your cartridges may not be anything like as consistent in this regard as you’d expect! However, the golden rule is to stick to whatever seating depth you started with while working your loads up. Changing this factor is something to try subsequently if you can’t get the combination to perform, or want to fine-tune a load that shows promise. Measurement Right, I have my F/TR Savage chambered with a huge amount of ‘freebore’ for the long thin Berger
That gives a COAL of around 2.695” from cartridge base to bullet tip
But we use a bullet comparator on the calliper to get a more accurate and repeatable reading, taking a note of this reading – 2.084” to be increased to 2.099” (for the bullet to be jammed 0.015” into the rifling) 90s, and I’ve decided I’ll start at 0.015” ‘out’ for the tangent ogive BT version, and the same amount into the leade for the VLD. How do I now ascertain the seating depth that delivers these results give or take a few thou’ in my rifle. The rifle’s chamber (or its throat / leade) is the gauge we use, and the starting point is the bullet lightly engaging with the rifling leade. There are three basic methods: gradually seating a bullet deeper into a case until it can just be felt to chamber without any resistance from the bullet ogive being forced into the rifling lands; pushing / dropping a bullet through the chamber into the leade and measuring its position in relation to the bolt face or action using rods with movable collars either from the muzzle or rear of the action; the bullet sliding in a case with an oversize neck and measuring where it lies after chambering the dummy round. Method one uses a full length sized case that chambers easily and has the bullet initially seated too far out. Use the rifle bolt to gently try to chamber it. The odds are it won’t so you seat the bullet slightly deeper and try again, repeating the process until the inert round just chambers without any resistance felt at all from the bullet engaging the rifling lands. To do this successfully, it’s essential to remove the firing mechanism from the bolt (as it produces resistance to bolt operation) and to hold and move its handle downwards on final closure ever so slowly and gently. Ideally, the weight of 58 Target Shooter the bolt-handle alone closes the bolt. If you push the bolt handle down even lightly, the cams on the locking lugs will see you chamber a bullet that just touches the leade so easily that you’ll probably not notice any resistance. While doing all this keep examining the bullet for rifling engagement marks, preferably with a magnifying glass. As you get down to marginal bullet-lands engagement, it’s a good idea to make up a new inert round with a ‘clean’ bullet so that the now ever so thin marks caused by just kissing the lands can be seen. A dark-coloured bullet with an oxidised copper jacket also makes it easier to spot rifling engagement marks, likewise some people smoke the bullet shoulder in a candle flame. You then have an inert round set with the bullet marginally shy of the rifling – reset the seater die to push the bullet 15 thou’ deeper into the case (to get you that amount ‘out’), or back the die adjuster off for the round to be 15 thou’ longer (to be that amount ‘in’) with a VLD and retain the resulting inert round to set the seater die up each time you load that bullet. The rod method is often done from the muzzle using the simple kit that you see in the photograph of Vince Bottomley rangetesting loads in his M1917 service rifle. A cleaning rod or similar has two sliding and lockable collars attached. The rod is pushed down the muzzle onto the (cocked) bolt face and the collars are tightened on the rod with
Insert seating dummies set up for the Savage for 80 and 90gn bullets and so marked (with a strip of tape used to stop the descriptions being worn off). the lower one touching the muzzle. The bolt and rod are removed, a bullet dropped into the chamber and pushed into firm contact with the leade, and the rod reinserted down the barrel until it just touches the bullet tip, the lower collar slackened and slid down against the muzzle and locked there. The relationship between the collars’ position on the rod allows you calculate the COAL of a chambered round whose bullet is jam seated n he eade nd ou ork rom here. inclair i t l a y w f t S International has a shorter version where the rod is inserted through the action rather than the barrel and is used to measure the bullet’s position from the rear, being supported by a Delrin guide. I have one of these tools on order and will describe it next month. The most commonly used method, although not necessarily the most precise is the Hornady L-N-L OAL gauge, or Stoney-Point OAL gauge as we old-timers call it. It uses a drilled and tapped cartridge case with slightly oversize neck, (so the bullet will slide through it easily), that screws onto the end of the gauge’s tubular body. There is a lockable push-rod inside the gauge and it is pushed forward to be inside the cartridge case and support a deeply seated bullet inside the neck. he T tool and bullet are inserted into the rifle action and the modified case chambered fully in the chamber. While holding it there, the push-rod is moved Target Shooter 59
A 90gn VLD that has been seated around 20 thou’ into the rifling displays a hazy line of marks visible just above the rod tip that have been left by the rifling lands forwards until it pushes the bullet into the leade and is given a couple of taps to seat (jam) the bullet lightly in the rifling with a thumbnail, whereupon the push-rod is locked at that position in the gauge body and the tool withdrawn from the rifle. The bullet is knocked out of the leade using a cleaning or drop rod and reinserted into the modified case-mouth and that gives us the COAL with the bullet in the leade by measuring it with callipers. However, measuring COAL from the cartridge base to bullet tip is not sufficiently accurate as bullets are not guaranteed to have consistent dimensions in their shank, shoulder and especially tip sections, so we measure the COAL using a ‘bullet comparator’ mounted on a calliper blade so we’re actually measuring the COAL to a point on the shoulder behind the tip. Note the reading, and add or subtract so many thou’ to get the correct bullet position in or out of the leade. The Hornady / Stoney-Point tool can fail with tightly chambered rifles because the modified case might not enter the chamber fully and gives a false reading – this applies to my .308W Barnard F/TR rifle and its minimum SAAMI chamber. The Dolphin Gun Co. tool uses a more sophisticated version of this principle using a false chamber and dial gauge, and Vince Bottomley describes it elsewhere in this issue. Finally, I make up and mark a ‘seating dummy’ for each bullet at the actual COAL I want to load cartridges to as well as keeping a record of all measurements. The dummies allow the seater die to be set up quickly by backing the stem out, operating the press so the round is fully inserted into the die and screwing the stem 60 Target Shooter back down onto the bullet. Next month, I’ll finish this look at COAL by considering magazine rifles that may not allow you to seat bullets close to the rifling leade, as well as take a look at the Sinclair Bullet Seating Depth Tool and also cover one or two related issues.
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By Vince Bottomley
Gauges - we shove the whole thing into the action as far as it will go making sure the case is fully in the chamber, then push the ‘bullet rod’ forward until it touches the rifling – in other words, as far as it will go – and lock the two parts together with the knurled thumb-screw If you are a serious fullbore target shooter, you are trying to measure to thousandths of an inch. will already be loading your own ammunition I’ve always used a method which involves and you will have already found out that your shoving a rod down the bore from the muzzle-end rifle shoots best – i.e. most accurate – with the until it contacts the bolt-face (with the bolt bullet touching - or almost touching - the rifling. closed so that the firing-pin is retracted) and In fact some shooters find best accuracy with the measuring this distance, then taking another bullet seated a few thou. into the rifling. (Beware measurement to the nose of a bullet, which is – seating into the rifling can raise pressures). dropped into the bore from the chamber-end But how do we actually measure our critical COAL with the rifle held vertical. Subtract the two - or cartridge overall length? There are various measurements and you have your COAL. ways you can do it – or attempt to do it, for we This is a simple method but it has its drawbacks. Here’s what comes in the box – your bullet fixed to a stainless-steel rod. Your case, fixed to another hollow rod, a chamber comparator with dial gauge – plus detailed instructions
A Lapua 155gn Scenar mounted on the rod. If you change bullets, it’s not too difficult to make up a new rod
The main one being that the nose of the bullet is really a ragged hole (or meplat) on a match bullet and the overall length of the bullet can vary by a few thou. Not a good start. Also, I accept that the rod measurements will be no better than two or three thou. so I like to take the measurement several times with different bullets which gives you maybe a dozen readings - each differing by a thou. or two. What do we do with these measurements? Do we pick the longest – or shortest one? Do we average them out and use the mean? When we are attempting to load close to the
rifling, the last thing we want is some bullets touching the rifling, some a couple of thou. off the rifling and some a few thou. into the rifling, so I prefer to average out my measurements, knock off five or six thou. and settle for a figure which is close to the rifling but definitely not touching it. OK, some bullets will closer than others but, as long as none actually touch, we should have a reasonably consistent performer. What about seating the bullet into the rifling? Could the rifle perform even better? Yes, it could but all this stuff about seating bullets into the rifling is a spin-off from benchrest
Here’s the rod with my bullet - a 308 155 grain Lapua Scenar - attached (your chosen bullet is supplied with the kit)
The supplied rod with case attached – in this case a 308Win. Knurled thumb-screw is used to lock both rods together
This is the comparator gauge. Mine is cut away so you, the reader, can see exactly how it works
competition. In this discipline, shooters are seeking maximum accuracy but remember, we can accurately control neck-tension by using a sizing-die with interchangeable neck-bushings. Also, our neck-turned brass is thinner – which in itself gives less neck-tension. By running less neck-tension, we can confidently seat our bullets into the rifling, knowing that they will be pushed back into the case by exactly the same amount when the bolt is closed thus ensuring as near as possible, shot to shot consistency. Unfortunately, when you seat into the rifling, should the need arise to open the bolt without firing the shot - e.g. a range emergency – there is a good chance you will leave the bullet stuck in the barrel and fill your chamber with powder! End of your shoot I’m afraid. For this reason, the range rules of benchrest are different to all others in that the RO will not ask shooters to open their bolts in the event of an emergency cease-fire. Instead, he will ask competitors to leave their rifle on the rests without opening the bolt, step back from the bench and await further
instruction. Only when the emergency is dealt with, will shooters be allowed back to the benches. Now, if you are happily shooting F Class at say Bisley and an emergency occurs, the RO will call for a cease-fire and demand that you unload and insert a breech-flag. For this reason, I never load into the rifling for competitions like F Class but, that means it’s even more critical to get your COAL absolutely spot-on. If you don’t like my ‘rod down the muzzle’ method what are the alternatives? Some shooters will soft-seat a bullet, chamber the round and let the rifling push the bullet back into the case in the misguided belief that this will be their COAL. Beware - using this method, you could easily end up 40 thou. into the rifling! Not really what you want. Elsewhere in Target Shooter, Laurie Holland is looking at COAL measurement methods in depth but he has given me a new COAL gauge from the Dolphin Gun Company which approaches the problem slightly differently. Mik Maksimovik and Peter Hobson, the guys behind Dolphin are both experienced F Class shooters are well aware
Remove from the action and here’s my bullet, seated to ‘just touch’ the rifling – what we need to know is the length – or COAL Target Shooter 63
Insert the whole lot into the supplied gauge – this one’s cut away so you can see what’s happening – the cartridge case is firmly up against the shoulder in the gauge, just as it was up against the shoulder in my rifle’s chamber
of the pitfalls of COAL measuring and claim to have come up with a device which will aid shooters to get the best possible accuracy when attempting to place the bullet close to the rifling.
then look on this one as the Rolls Royce version – though, as I said, it approaches the problem from a different direction. Like the Stoney Point, It’s ‘cartridge-specific’ and versions are available for most popular ‘accuracy’cartridges and Dolphin The Dolphin gauge is an impressive piece of kit will use your own fireformed (neck-turned?) case and if you seen the Stoney Point COAL gauge if you prefer and even your own bullet if you are Next, zero the dial gauge by rotating the bezel
I’m pleased to see that my bullet is at least off the rifling but, this is a bit too far at 15 thou. I need to adjust my dies. Either my method is suspect or it maybe it’s down to a little bit of throat-erosion. Either way, I’ll adjust my seating die accordingly to make it about 5 or 6 thou using something peculiar – like say a Cauteruccio. As with the Stoney Point gauge, a ‘soft-seat’ bullet is inserted into the barrel but rather than being pushed into the rifling with a rod, the bullet is actually attached to the rod. It arrives at the COAL in more or less the same way as the Stoney Point but rather than attempting to measure the COAL, you simply insert the locked-up bullet and rod into the supplied chamber gauge and ‘zero’ the dial gauge. Do this a few times – it only takes seconds – to ensure the indicator ‘zero’ is correct. Now, when you come to check your COAL, simply insert a loaded round into the chamber-gauge. Is the gauge reading zero? No – then adjust your die seating-depth until it does. That’s your COAL. Again, the bolt-face measurement - which is essential with my method - doesn’t play a part in the Dolphin kit and it doesn’t need to, as the measurement is being made from the shoulder of the cartridge case – not the base or bolt-face. This gives you the best of both worlds so to speak and makes the Dolphin gauge easily the best I have seen so far. Will I abandon my ‘rod down the muzzle’ device in favour of the Dolphin? Well, let’s do a real life test. I think I’m loading ‘just off’ the rifling but let’s see what our Dolphin gauge says: When attempting to take any accurate measurement, it’s advisable to do it a few times and of course, make sure your rifle is clean. I had a couple of rounds left over from the Diggle F Class League Shoot, so now I’m inserting one into the gauge to check my method against the Dolphin gauge. What more can I say? The Dolphin gauge is easy to use and very accurate for setting up your COAL. The kit is not cheap as it contains the dial gauge and the machined chamber gauge and costs £85 incl. VAT. Dolphin currently list 18 cartridge cases they can supply and almost any bullet from the major manufacturers but they invite you to submit your own bullet and cartridgecase if you wish. All kits are made ‘to order’ and take approximately two weeks to deliver. Contact Dolphin at www.dolphinguncompany. co.uk or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org A trade discount is available for Registered Firearm Dealers.
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A visit to EVO Engineering & Design Ltd
by Vince Bottomley
A few weeks ago a shooting buddy handed me Proprietor Craig Cootes is also a shooter and, the object you see in the picture below. fearing a dip in automotive sport during the recession, he looked around for other uses he Now, if you are anything like me, you will find could find for his CNC machines. As it happens, this totally fascinating. I also found out that it he needn’t have worried, the motorsports side was made just half an hour from where I live. I stayed buoyant throughout the recession but had just to visit EVO Engineering! thankfully (for shooters) Craig had already put The EVO factory is situated in a dense industrial his talents to good use with the manufacturer of area on the outskirts of Heckmondwike, West scope rings. Yorkshire and from the outside, it looks like any of the other drab looking factories but enter Craig’s rings really are ‘the dogs’. They are and suddenly you are in a different world. If strong, light and good-looking and come in you are also motor-racing or a motorbike freak one inch, 30mm and 34mm for the Schmidt & like me, you will instantly recognise lots of Bender users. They are sold under the EVO sparkling goodies on show, for EVO specialise ‘Third Eye’ brand though others are selling them in manufacturing high quality components for with their own brand name – something that the motorsport fraternity. Craig is happy to do if you order a reasonable run. Most rings are supplied in a hard satinProprietor Craig programmes one of his CNC black anodised finish but you can polish ‘em if machines you prefer or what about a really nice drab grey/ green anodising (see pic) these would really look great on a tactical rifle. Chris has now expanded the shooting side and he now makes muzzle brakes (similar to Vais) and Picatinny-style scope rails - with built-in taper if required - to fit several of the popular actions. His latest venture is moderators. These are almost too good to put on a rifle and the strippable innards are a work of art. The Target Shooter 67
Chuck a piece of aluminium bar in the CNC machine, press the button and 13 minutes later..........a scope ring!
Just look at the detail on these rings and that finish looks great on a tactical rifle
404 312 to discuss trade prices. Craig likes to keep his CNC machines running so if you have a requirement for a product, it unique thing with the EVO mod. is that it can be might just be worth giving Craig a call. assembled to fit on the end of the barrel or as a reverse – or reflex – moderator, over the barrel and they are amazing value. You can order via your local dealer or deal direct with Craig if you wish. Dealers, please contact Craig at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01924
Too nice for a moderator! The mod. measures 220mm x 40mm diameter. A stripping tool is included 68 Target Shooter
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This Smallbore Business
By Don Brook
Let’s have a look at Shooting Jackets. They are cost may help make the selective process a more really important! complicated matter, as well as the off the hook choices that abound around this small bore business. Following along from the basic position articles, where the shooters needed to adhere to a certain Shooting jackets are available in all leather, a full protocol of position assembly to achieve good canvas, or a combination of both in custom tailored, results, it is a normal flow factor from these articles or off the hook sizing, and there is a plethora of them that brings us to the accessory equipment of a on the market. shooter’s clothing decision. This can often be confusing for both the new chum to During this article I will examine a number of the the sport, and also the seasoned shooter! available shooting jackets on a highly competitive market. The shooting jacket performs a number of important The readers will find that personal choice, and factors, not the least of which is the ability to ensure
The sling keeper attached to the arm can be a source of problems. Note how the sleeve is being pulled down the arm. This results in a loose sling over the latter stages, as the adjustment is lost. The real fault is not with the sling, but with the fit of the coat.
This photograph shows the back of the jacket discussed in the text. Note the firm fit, without coat wrinkles across the back of the jacket. This coat is a Stenvaag used by the author for many years.
the sling stays exactly where it should be… It is fine to have a sling loop fitted to the sleeve of the jacket, but if the coat does not fit properly then problems can develop with the shooters technique that is extremely difficult to trace. I have seen shooters that struggle for some form of solution to a series of worries that is preventing improvement, never giving an iota of thought that the
sling is exacerbating the problem simply because it is tied up securely within the sling loop on the sleeve of the coat. They simply lock it up and then forget about it! The most important measurement on any shooting coat is that across the back of the coat between the arm pits. I cannot stress this more forcibly than that.
This photograph indicates the measurement discussed in the text. It is crucial that this measurement is correct across the back of the jacket from armpit to armpit.
Showing the author in preparation mode behind the firing point. It is just a matter of etiquette to allow the shooter to prepare without disruption.
If you examine photo “A’ which shows my own Stenvaag jacket, which I started to use in 1980 giving a very good example of this measurement. Note how the jacket is quite firm across the back without any form of folds in the leather. The tape shows where the measurement is taken. Now, photo “B” shows the sleeve with the sling
attached, and you will note that the sleeve is not pulled down the arm and so the sling loop remains exactly where it was placed before I assumed the prone position. The position of the sling is constantly monitored as the shoot unfolds, and is something that I never lose, or overlook during the stage of shots.
Now examine photo “C” which indicates the very same problem of the sleeve moving down the arm, because of the fit of the shooting jacket. You can easily see the way the sleeve is pulled down towards the elbow. This eventually causes shot loss, and if it is not modified can destroy an otherwise good performance quite quickly, particularly in this day and age where prone scores are extremely high. These photographs give a good indication of what is needed, and obviously you can understand why the measurement across the back is so important. A coat that is loose across the back is a complete “ no no” for a serious prone shooter.
these jackets are also well made, particularly if they are tailored for the individual shooter. AHG also have an excellent off the hook example, and if the shooter selects with a tape measure to check the measurements across the back as I mentioned above, then these jackets will serve them well.
4 Kurt Thune, from Finland. These are a popular choice among shooters, with some of the best in the world using them. Very well made, available in a number of colours, in either leather or canvas, Thune coats are of good design, and the tailored versions fit extremely well. As I said OK, having established this, what coats are available above, it is well worth the effort to have your jacket that can be seen as better than most? tailored, and really the initial outlay of funds do not This, plus before we start, I recommend that a matter a lot when you consider the length of time you shooting jacket needs to be tailored to fit, and most can use them! manufacturers supply this detail . It is probably far too complex to set out the complete 5 Kustermann. details of all the manufacturers for you, so I will take These are designed and made in Germany. Gottfried the bit into my teeth and recommend those that I Kustermann was himself a world class small bore consider to be the best available.. shooter, and has incorporated a lot of his knowledge in the design work. These too are very well made, 1. Mouche jackets though I am not sure if Gottfried has a tailored In my opinion, the stand out jacket of them all is the example in his catalogue. The off the hook items I Mouche, manufactured by Ursula Hurth-Schuler from have seen do fit quite well, and operate beautifully in Germany. three position shooting. These coats are incredibly well made, with a complex tailoring format based on a highly detailed Finally for this article, the Maennel jackets made in measurement system. Just the seams of the coat, Austria. These are new on the market, and while I where nothing becomes a problem to the shooter have not see them “in the flesh” so to speak, I have is what has sold me on this jacket. I have seen a had a good look at them on the Maennel web site. number of them worn by competitors and the design These too seem well designed, and a number of top work is amazing. From the smallest shooter, to the Austrian shooters are using them. very tall, a feature is the absolute fit. These are not cheap as are any of the good jackets, but are easily It must be understood when reading this article, that my pick of the jackets available today. In my opinion it I have listed them in my own pecking order, as I is essential to have these tailored to take advantage knew them from my own experience. All the jackets of the measurement chart and tailoring expertise. examined above are European in origin. There are a number of other manufacturers with coats available 2. The Stenvaag range. from Korea and China, as well as from the United Designed by Harald Stenvaag from Norway, for States, and it would not hurt those looking for jackets a long time one of the best shooters in the world, to have a really good look around before choosing. these are available now through AHG Anschutz. My own jacket is a Stenvaag, which I have been using It is crucial that the jacket does fit, and the extra since 1980. You can see this coat in the photographs expense of the tailored article is bickies well spent in included in this article. I reiterate that the jacket was the long run. expertly tailored for me, and has seen a great deal For my money though, were I in the market for a new of work in 30 years. This gives a good example of shooting jacket, I would make a bee line for Ursula the longevity built into all shooting coats. It should Hurth-Schuler and her Mouche products. also be noted that the “Top Grip” elbow and shoulder pads are original on my jacket. Most of the available Another gem to finish this article for you…. jackets have this form of rubber fitted on the pads Buy the best, but understand you still have to shoot these days. well with whatever you are using! 3 AHG Anschutz jackets. Talk again soon, Available world wide through the Anschutz system, Brooksie.
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By Gwyn Roberts
As usual, this year’s British Gallery Rifle Championships were held over the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of August and once again the number of shooters taking part in the grand finale of our competition season is rising steadily. This year 224 shooters took part in 1412 individual matches which is a rise of around 10% on last year’s figures, although the latter figure was boosted almost single handedly by our very own GB Team shooter, Alan Whittle. Not one to pass up on an opportunity, Alan made the most of the “free entry” that he won in the Phoenix Meeting raffle and set a new record himself by entering a total of nearly 30 matches. They did take him the best part of 4 days to complete though and I saw him having to sit down and take a breather on more than one occasion, but fair play to him he got there in the end and thoroughly enjoyed himself at the same time. God knows what his ammunition bill came to though as even .22lr is not exactly cheap to shoot nowadays is it? The ‘Nationals’ as we often refer to it means different things to many of the 200 hundred plus shooters who take part in it. For some people it’s an opportunity to get out of the house, and possibly away from the missus or kids and put some rounds down the range with a few mates from their club, whilst others are just curious to see what it’s all about and simply turn up on the day and enter a couple of competitions that they like the look of. There are obviously some that take it a bit more seriously and see competitive shooting as an enjoyable learning exercise from which they can gain valuable experience and improve their performances, by both talking to and shooting alongside some of the more experienced shooters who frequent the GR “circuit.” Then of course there are those who look upon it as the ultimate test of nerve and skill and either want to beat their friends or rivals in their particular classification, or gauge their performance against the maximum score possible for each of the given disciplines. It really doesn’t matter which of these categories you fall into as long as you turn up and enjoy yourselves, as that’s all that counts at the end of the day. Some people still don’t enter because they don’t think they are good enough or that it’s only for the elite shooters (which it isn’t, it’s for everyone!) but Greg
Match Director Brian Thomas
Chris West & Mick Tedesco man v man
Rastall wasn’t put off by the title of the event and decided to make the long trip down from Scotland to take part in his first ever ‘Nationals’ match. Greg has been shooting shotguns for around 20 years so he’s no stranger to pulling a trigger but he decided to take up Gallery Rifle shooting about a year ago after trying it out at his local club. The broad range of skills that need to be mastered in order to shoot at the top level in a wide range of disciplines certainly appealed to him and after reading a few articles to get an idea of what he needed to be concentrating on, he then went out and put in the required amount of time and effort at the range, and it certainly worked out well for him too! Greg ended up being placed in the top 5 overall in seven of his events, including a 197 22x in the GRCF Phoenix A match netting him a very credible 2nd place on the day in the process. Excellent shooting without a doubt! He also posted the highest GRSB score for the Scottish team in the Home Countries match and will certainly be one to watch out for in the future if he continues to improve like this. Let’s just hope that he doesn’t though eh! we still had the occasional downpours and high winds at some time or another, which is typical of what we have to shoot in most of the time. This didn’t affect the high level of shooting though as confirmed by the final results with many of the matches having to be decided on X count, or even count back in a few of them to decide the eventual winner on the day! Another shooter to make his mark at this year’s championships was Paul Hunter who shot a very impressive 1916pts 168x with his Southern Gun Company 9mm rifle in the Open class, and although there were many other personal best scores shot over the weekend this year, only 3 new British records were actually recorded. Ash Dagger was one of these and he was the only shooter to clean the GRCF Multi Target match this time using the new targets (including the much needed X ring) with a score of 120 17x. John Robinson upped the Phoenix A LBP score to 192 18x and Layne Chisholm recorded an excellent 1916 163x with his LBP in the Bianchi match smashing the old record by some considerable margin, so well done to these three guys.
The weather for the majority of this year’s We all have disasters from time to time but there Championships wasn’t bad at all to be fair although seemed to be more than usual at this year’s meeting with guns breaking or jamming up pretty much everywhere you went on the ranges. Despite this though everyone was still enjoying themselves catching up with old friends and the like, and again the R.O’s went out of their way to help look after the newcomers (and everyone else of course) to make sure their first big event was both a positive and enjoyable experience on the day so thanks again as usual to them for doing an excellent job! Although there is no trade show at this meeting, Mike Chinnery from Stockade Products was certainly kept busy fitting his excellent adjustable cheek pieces to customers stocks, in between shooting his own matches of course and Neil Jones was Mel Beard also on hand over the weekend with
a wide range of his top quality ammo holders and system on your revolver and carrying as much other leather wear for shooters to purchase on the ammunition on your person as you like, this whole day. exercise should take just 4 rounds and about 8 – 10 seconds to accomplish from start to finish. This There are many types of disciplines for people to however for the majority of shooters was nothing like choose from at this meeting but the highlight for what actually happened on the day although I did most of us was the welcome return of the LBR Man witness some good runs by Mick Tedesco (red dot) v Man match, using the proper steels set up this time and Vanessa Duffy (iron sights) on the side of the instead of the usual fairy lights system. For those range that I was R.Oing on, as were most of the runs who are unfamiliar with it, there are two identical shot by the eventual winner Mel Beard of course. lanes with two shooters on each, and within each lane there are 3 steel targets placed roughly out at Now for me, the most entertaining part of the man v 10, 15 and 20yds with a stop plate at 25yds for each man competition isn’t the speed and precision that shooter. The stop plates are angled slightly so that in some of the shooters demonstrate during their runs, a close match the plate of the winning shooter plate but the comedy of errors that also goes with it, which will always be the one on the bottom. Four shooters begs the question why? For instance, the stop plate start with their revolvers loaded and holstered and is a pretty straight forward item really as there are with an empty can in their hand, and with their heels only two of them on the range in front of you. Yes, touching a wooden board behind them on the start I know they both look the same and they’re also line. When the air horn is sounded they run (or walk painted white just like the other plates, but if you if you want to but you will lose time) forwards to the are shooting on the left side of the range why would firing line, place the can on the end of a post and you rattle a number of shots off and shoot down the then continue to knock down the 3 plates in the des- right hand stop plate then, knocking yourself out of ignated order (ie middle, left then right as you look at a place in the final in the process? Why would you them). You then had to perform a compulsory reload shoot down the first 3 plates in totally the wrong before finally knocking down your stop plate, which order and then just stand there with a sheepish was the one that was on your side of the pair of grin looking at the R.O as if it were their fault? Why targets. would you keep putting your ammo in the same holders that just dump the rounds back out all over Now in theory, as you can use any type of sighting the floor as soon as you start to move forwards on
Paul Hunter Target Shooter 79
Scotlands Les Kong shooting Multi Target
every run? Why would you take a full cylinder of ammo to completely miss the first plate that you engage? If you are going to take 14 shots at the first 3 plates, why not take at least 14 rounds of ammo with you when you start your run? All these are questions that people should have asked themselves before they started shooting, but that’s the beauty of man v man as everyone always tries to shoot faster and faster, instead of concentrating more on the accuracy side of things. Using the brain a bit more and adopting a one shot, one hit philosophy is definitely the way to do it properly, but thankfully most it goes out of the window once most people step up to the line making it much more entertaining for the spectators! Going back to this original format is all thanks to Match Director Brian Thomas from the NSC and it’s bound to attract plenty of entries next time around. I for one am very much
looking forwards to making a complete fool of myself shooting this match next time, but the fun factor on the day will definitely be worth it that’s for sure, so keep a lookout on the entry forms for the next time it’s going to be shot at Bisley or anywhere else for that matter. As always a huge thank you must go to all of the people who were involved in the organisation and running of the 2010 British Gallery Rifle Championships as without them we wouldn’t be shooting it at all. Thanks must also go to all of the shooters who attend our GR events as without you our sport would not have been able to grow and develop into what it is today. Unfortunately space does not allow a full listing of the prize winners and placings so here is a list of the main winners, with a full set of results being available on either the Galleryrifle.com or NRA websites. 2010 British Gallery Rifle Champions 1500 GRSB John Robinson 1488 114X 1500 GRCF John Robinson 1499 122X Bianchi GRSB Layne Chisholm 1902 145X Bianchi GRCF Gwyn Roberts 1916 158X
Aggregates Precision GRSB Brian Girling 565 17X Precision GRCF Layne Chisholm 580 17X Short Events GRSB Keith Cox 417 33X Short Events GRCF Gwyn Roberts 419 49X Target Shotgun Layne Chisholm 396 15 1500 Aggregate (GRSB & GRCF) John Robinson 2987 236X Bianchi Aggregate (GRSB & GRCF) Gwyn Roberts 3802 305X Overall GR Aggregate (1500 & Bianchi) Gwyn Roberts 6780 535X Over the winter months I’ll be taking a look at all of the firearms and some of the equipment that we use in Gallery Rifle to see what can be done to make them better and more suited for the job. I’ll start with the standard Ruger 10/22 who many people out there completely write off saying the only good thing about it is the receiver, but are they right? Nobody really needs a £1000+ custom gun in order to get started in GR as you can do a bit of work on them yourself, and still get reasonable results with it at the end of the day.
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Hi there, from sunny Cyprus....well at least that’s where I was when I wrote this. Don’t worry though it was actually too hot to be out so I didn’t miss out on my tanning or swim. The Saturday of the August bank holiday weekend saw the NRA up at Altcar ranges near Formby running our annual Open Day there. The weather managed to be pretty good with little rain even if a bit blustery. We were pleased that attendance was up on last year but we still have problems with encouraging volunteers in some disciplines to help on the day. Surprisingly it’s gallery rifle and black powder that we have difficulties with, causing long queues which aren’t ideal. As a result Charles Perry and Chris Webb helped out on both disciplines for a while to clear some of the queues. However the vast majority of people attending had a great day and we had a lot of enquiries about how to start shooting and the ins & outs of firearm ownership. If you or your club would like to help next year, please contact Chris Webb on firstname.lastname@example.org, and he will be delighted to tell you all about it. This is a good way to advertise your club to new members as well. It seemed that we had barely got back to Bisley and it was all hands to the pump for our September Open Day. We had over 900 guests at this one and, despite a few drops
Keeping a close eye
Part of A range
of rain early on, the day went well. Your scribe got roped into coaching F Class for a couple of hours. However I did enjoy it, especially when you can coach bulls at 1000 yards with people who have never shot that distance before. We had a lot of interest in membership from this one as well. Our thanks go to everyone who worked so hard to make both the Open Days such a success. The season is starting to wind down now however there is still the Trafalgar Meeting (23rd Oct) and the Gallery Rifle
Autumn Action Weekend (30th / 31st Oct). The 30th October also sees our annual fireworks display set to music and put on by Dragon Fireworks. The show starts at 7pm and tickets are available to purchase online from our website. I’m sure I’ll have a few pictures of them next month. Both the certification and renewal periods will be upon us soon and the membership department will start its annual ‘wading through paperwork’ process. Last year we tried sending out as much as possible by email, doing our bit to save the forests! This was quite successful, apart from those who didn’t read their emails..... and we will be doing the same again this year. So, if you or your club affiliate to the NRA, please ensure that we have your correct email address. If in doubt, email email@example.com and I will update your record. A rough guide as to when to expect your renewals is: 1st October 2010 – Club, school and association certification renewals sent out to secretaries by email for those whose addresses we hold. 4th October 2010 - Club, school and association certification renewals sent out to secretaries by mail for those who we don’t hold email addresses for and for those whose emails bounced. 15th October 2010 – Individual member certification renewals sent out by email. 1st November 2010 – Individual member
Setting up a range
membership renewals sent out by email. 2nd November 2010 – Individual member certification and membership renewals start to go out by mail, including any whose emails bounced. 1st Week February 2011 – Membership renewals for clubs, schools and associations sent out by mail. Hopefully this will help your planning. Well, it’s cooled down a bit now so I think it must be time for a dip followed by a long cool drink – non alcoholic of course! Heather Webb – Membership Secretary
Cumbria and Northumberland Incidents At present the political response to the incidents in Cumbria and Northumberland has appeared to be quite responsible with no real drive to change legislation from the Government of the day. Glynn Alger However, in the background the Home Affairs Secretary General Committee has set out its stall and seems intent upon changing this mood by raising the tempo, potentially forcing the Government to change its agenda to focus upon changes to firearms legislation. At the same time the police appear to be holding back on releasing their reports related to the incidents until October. I am not sure if this is an attempt to play things long, in an effort to take some heat out of the situation. There must be serious questions about the operational fitness of Cumbria Constabulary in particular. In the background the NRA working with the other
shooting bodies are delivering their messages through BSSC. We are talking to politicians in both the Lords and Commons, meeting with Ministers and representing the wider shooting community by giving evidence to the Home Affairs Committee. As our approach develops we will routinely report on progress particularly in our dealings with the Home Affairs Committee. At another level we have provided all of our members and clubs with BSSC briefing documents regarding the key issues raised during this debate and the agreed responses to date. The time is fast approaching when as well as writing to the Home Affairs Committee offering evidence, individual shooters and clubs should seek to cultivate a closer relationship with their local MP. I would encourage individuals and clubs to be organised and think seriously about how they would approach their MP to get them interested. The personal approach is probably the best one, visiting a MP at their surgery demonstrates you are a voter and your views need to be considered. Rather than attempt to overwhelm an MP with numbers it might be better for a selected individual or deputation to represent you locally. Individuals need to be well briefed and able to put across the issues and solutions in a moderate way. Having built a rapport it might be useful to invite the MP to a club to witness or more usefully take part in a shoot, demonstrating how ranges or shoots are managed in terms of safety, explaining fully the restrictions and controls placed upon individuals and clubs in terms of legislation and management. Having developed an appropriate relationship the local representative could then brief their MP as issues and proposals develop. If you unsure as to whom your MP is they can be found either on the Parliamentary website http:// findyourmp.parliament.uk/ or by telephoning your local authority offices.
VINCE’S REGULAR COLUMN WHEREBY ACCURACY NUTS CAN KEEP UP TO DATE WITH THE ACTIVITIES OF THE UKBRA
Competitions 2nd Jack Searle 6PPC Stolle 0.2934 The big one this month is the Europeans, held in 3rd Bruce Lenton 6PPC Stolle Holles Austria and you can read a report elsewhere 0.2980 in this issue of Target Shooter. Small group: Jack Searle Our September UKBRA 100 yard shoot was, for 0.135 inches once, held in warm sunny conditions with light winds. It shouldn’t have been too difficult to shoot Factory Sporter small groups but, as usual, the switchy breeze caught out many of us. Last month, Neil Hutton 1st Darrel Evans 6PPC Sako won his very first competition – this month, he did 0.3658 inches it again! Once you know you can do it, confidence rises and you realise anything is possible. 2nd Andy Woolley 6PPC Sako 0.6274 Results: Heavy Varmint 3rd Darren Grundle 308 Sako 1st Neil Hutton 6PPC TGP Borden 0.6456 0.2858 inches (av.of five, 5-shot groups) Small group: Darrel Evans 0.232 inches
Toni Young with handbag at the ready, prepares to shoot another group
Unfortunately, the balmy conditions didn’t hold for our 1000 yard shoot on the following day and as the day wore on, the wind got stronger! There were several penalties awarded for shots off the target and some quite horrendous groups were recorded. However, perhaps not everyone would agree that the conditions were difficult. Not only did lady shooter Toni Young dominate the event by winning the Light Gun class but, she had the audacity to do it with a Factory Sporter rifle – a bog-standard 308 Remington no less! Only once before has a shooter with a Factory Sporter rifle won the Light Gun class and that was Garry Green shooting a 300 Winchester magnum – about 10 years ago. A lesson for us all.
Alan Seagrave 3rd 15.273 Small group 7.897 inches New Stuff
6.5x55 Sako Toni Young
Elsewhere in this issue, you will read my writeup on a visit to EVO Engineering. Amongst other things, they make really great scope rings which, in my opinion, should be on the shopping list of any accuracy-nut seeking a top-class set of scope rings to complement a custom rifle. These rings really are superb, being light, very accurately manufactured and very strong. A website at www. evoeng.com is under construction but you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or go through your A phenomenal performance from Toni. Her best local dealer. Have a look at my article – it has a group (and smallest in factory Sporter) was a few pics of the rings etc. creditable seven-incher but, I somehow managed to shoot a ‘six’, thus preventing total humiliation of Events the male contingent! Just one weekend remains for our 100/1000 yard Championships on October2/3rd, then our 600 Results: Light Gun yard winter series kicks into action – first shoot will be held on Saturday 30th October. Registration 1st Toni Young 308 Remington 9.30am at Diggle Ranges of course. 9.936 inches (av. of four, 5-shot groups) 2nd Mike Weatherhead 7mm Walker Sako 10.042 3rd Steve Dunn 10.348 7mm Dunn BAT 6mm TGP
Small Group Vince Bottomley BAT 6.908 inches Factory Sporter 1st Toni Young 9.936 inches 2nd Ian Kellet 15.215
308 Remington 6.5-284 Savage
In association with
UKBR22 Nationals - Mirfield Rifle Ranges, Yorkshire Although I am an avid centrefire benchrest shooter and veteran of a few World and European Championships, this was my first foray into the rimfire benchrest arena – but only as a spectator I hasten to add! As a northerner, I have visited Paul Lane (as
Mirfield Rifle Ranges are known colloquially) a couple of times previously but not for a good five years and, after a couple of dead-ends, the Tom Tom finally got me there – after all, it’s only half an hour from where I live! On arrival, at around 9.30am on the Saturday morning, the car park was already full with the ‘hustle and bustle’ of competitors and I was warmly greeted by Match Director John Farrell, who kindly took me on a conducted tour of all the indoor and outdoor ranges and introduced me to the various ROs, explaining that I would be taking photographs etc. on behalf of Target Shooter. I could see that an awful lot of work had been done since my last visit to Paul Lane. An impressive new concrete ramp and pathway now connected the car park and the 50/100m range to make life easier for disabled shooters and a completely new 25m outdoor air-rifle range now graced a once vacant grassed area at the top of the car park. Having carried out my share of building benchrest ranges, this really impressed me. All the work had been carried out in a very short space of time and although the benches were ‘portable’ they were very solid - about the best I have seen in fact. An air-rifle match was already in progress, so I watched with admiration as these guys (and gals) coped with a quite fierce wind in their 30 minute match, which requires one shot at each of 25 ‘bulls’ plus sighters. What a great introduction to the sport of benchrest – no FAC or ammunition required, no ‘officially approved’ range, just some land, an air-rifle, a box of pellets and a
Match Director John Farrell takes a well –earned break in front of the ‘wailing wall’
This is the place to learn to shoot benchrest – outdoor at 25m with an air-rifle!
sensible attitude to safety . OK, maybe that is an over-simplification but an ideal way to appreciate the effect of shooting in the wind and get accustomed to the discipline of ‘shoulder to shoulder’ match shooting. If you have a small restricted outdoor range, this is a great discipline to get into and ideal for bringing youngsters into the sport. As I made my way to the 50m range, I couldn’t help smell the aroma of breakfast so, some refreshment was next on the agenda - from one of the best little caterers I have ever encountered. Their £2 steak sandwich was a real lunchtime treat! But, I digress, back to the shooting. It was great to meet up with Andy Dubrieul –
John Farrell and our Andy prepare to do battle at 50m
Scott Grayson is another young shooter who has learned his craft well and had a very successful Europeans. Here, Scot takes on the challenge of 50m outdoors.
one third of our Target Shooter team - who was debuting his ‘snow leopard’ rifle for the first time in serious competition. Third member Carl was still recovering from his outstanding success in the ‘Europeans’. You’ve already seen the photographs of Andy’s rifle in Target Shooter but it looks even better in the flesh – all credit to Gary Kane who was, I believe, responsible for bedding and finishing the Parmoor ‘ice-wood’ stock for Andy. I followed Andy onto the outdoor 50m firing-point for the first of his details. The Paul Lane 50/100m range is completely surrounded by embankments and trees but it can still produce a fearsome wind and although 30 minutes is allowed for one shot on each of the 25 bulls, when you knock off a few minutes for sighters, you are looking at less than a minute per shot. Remove the time taken to unload, load and aim and it’s more like 30 seconds a bang – not a lot of time to hang around for the wind – you gotta
The hard-working scorers were kept busy all weekend
interesting to see the similarities – and differences – in equipment. One of the attractions of rimfire benchrest is the modest cost of putting a rifle together. There are legions of redundant 22 ‘prone’ rifles languishing on the shelves of gunshops, dating back to the days when every town hall had a range in the cellar. Although these rifles may have had many thousands of rounds down the barrel, they are still capable of excellent accuracy. If re-stocked - with something which will ‘ride the bags’ better - you are well on the way to a competitive ‘club’ rifle. Although you might pick up a decent rifle for a couple of hundred pounds, the same isn’t true of scopes and although many of the cheapo Chinese offerings have surprisingly good optics, build quality is another matter and this may be causing your unexplained flyer. The Chinese are quick learners – they soon realised that we choose our scopes by peering through them - not by taking them apart! Wisely, many shooters had realised this and, in certain cases, had spent more on the scope than the rifle. This is not as daft as it may seem. You might sell-on your starter rifle but a good scope will stay with you – for life! Remember, Leupold and Sightron have a lifetime ‘no quibble’ guarantee. You have your rifle and scope. Now you need a front rest and rear bag. Again, not an area to compromise and I learnt a few things I didn’t know. Firstly, the very desirable SEB joystick rest will not ‘cover’ the whole of a 25 bull target at 25m if you are using a 36X scope. The stability of the rear-bag is crucial – you don’t want to start shuffling it around halfway through your match to reach the fifth row! 50m no problem – but a SEB and a 36X Leupold are no good at 25m. Maybe the answer is a zoom scope so you can step-down the down the power but that means more weight and expense.
read it! This is the element of benchrest shooting not always appreciated by those who have never tried it – except when plinking. Guys, it’s a whole different ‘ball game’ when you have to sit down and do it – now! I’m pleased to report that Andy won the Heavy Varmint class and his performance in the LV class was enough to take the 50m aggregate, plus he also won the 25m aggregate, which makes him British Champion! Young Jake Healey won the 50m Light Varmint – great shooting from a junior shooter and this follows on from Jake’s outstanding success at the recent European Championships! Other disciplines on offer were 25m indoors – much less of a challenge without the wind of course but, it’s the same for everyone and whereas maximum 250 scores were rare outdoors, here the result is decided on the X count. For a X, you need to completely remove the tiny circle in the centre of the ten-ring – not easy and again, an excellent training-ground to learn the basics of benchrest rifle set-up and trigger-control. Andy won that one (LV Class) as well with a perfect 750 ex. 750 racking up an impressive fifty Xs in the process.
That back bag must be ‘rock’ solid on the bench. OK, not everyone can afford a SEB front rest and must make do with something cheaper but please, spend your money on a proper back bag and fill it with Zircon (heavy) sand. Buy a bag with Cordura ‘ears’ – not leather. That rifle must Equipment be as slippery as a greased pig in the bags with As a centrefire benchrest shooter, it was no ‘stiction’, otherwise shots will be lost. Make
All the medal winners
sure the base is absolutely flat – if not, sit it on and these Nationals have not gone un-noticed one of those sand-filled suede-leather donoughts and Sightron Scopes USA and Aimfield Sports UK available from Sinclair. have given a brand-new 36X Sightron scope and an Aimfield rifle bag to young Jake. Well done - an Technique inspiration and an incentive to all young shooters. With a centrefire BR rifle, recoil is significant. If you ‘shoulder’ it, then the rifle’s muzzle will rise Air rifle Hunter 25m: up on firing - if it can’t slide backwards on the 1st G Freeman 715.13x bags. You must let the rifle recoil or you will get 2nd S Grayson (J) 711.12x rd ‘vertical’. With a rimfire, the recoil is much less 3 A Evans 701.10x and shooters may be tempted to ignore it but the same rules apply – let the rifle recoil! I know you Air rifle Unlimited 25m: love your rifle but please don’t cuddle it! You do 1st G Freeman 700.30x nd not need to hang onto your rifle when you fire it 2 R Harrison 698.13x – touch it only with your trigger-finger. This is fine 3rd G Kingaby 695.14x with a light trigger of 2 – 3 ounces but it doesn’t work so well with a heavier trigger, so try ‘pinching’ Light Varmint Rimfire 25m: your trigger. Place your thumb behind the 1st A Dubreuil 750.50x trigger-guard and pinch the trigger gently between 2nd J Farrell 749.46x thumb and forefinger. Keep your cheek, muffs, 3rd A Evans 748.50x shoulder and other fingers OFF THE RIFLE! Rest your trigger-hand on another bag if it helps. Also, Heavy Varmint Rimfire 25m: be careful not to ‘shoulder’ the rear bag. 1st P Barker 750.57x 2nd R Evans (JL) 750.56x rd Results 3 R Harrison 750.48x All in all a fascinating weekend of shooting in challenging conditions which was obviously Light Varmint Rimfire 50m: enjoyed by a lot of friendly folk but yet, a well run, 1st J Healey (J) 729.17x nd serious competition - thanks to John Farrell and 2 J Farrell 728.30x his willing band of helpers. It looked a whole lot of 3rd A Dubreuil 728.22x fun and it was great to see so many youngsters involved. The abbreviated results are listed below, Heavy Varmint Rimfire 50m: full results on the UKBR22 website at www. 1st A Dubreuil 739.29x benchrest22.org 2nd P Barker 731.33x rd 3 J Andrews 731.28x Finally, congratulations to junior shooter, Jake Healey (front row, second from right). His achievements at the recent Czech Europeans
The Long View
News from the GB F-Class Association by Les Holgate
Our long run of luck with the weather came to an end, partly at least, with the GB F-Class Association 2010 League Round 6 held over the weekend of 11/12th September. And, if you’re going to get wet anywhere, my home range, good old windy Diggle has to be the bookies’ favourite! Actually, by local standards, we got off fairly mildly, the main downside being a late start on the Saturday morning thanks to heavy rain and low cloud obscuring the top end of the range, the start of proceedings postponed until just before 11.00 am. The course of fire was 2+15 matches at 800 yards then 1000 yards on each day, F/TR going out first on Saturday, Open on Sunday, past history showing the morning shooters usually get easier wind conditions. The maximum level entry saw the growth in F/TR numbers continue, the 21 strong ‘Open’ contingent outnumbered by 25 F/TR lads and one lass. We just managed to squeeze everybody into four relays that segregated the classes fully, but at the expense of employing six closely spaced targets. This plus, shall we say rather ‘odd’ target numbering, led a few to cross-shoot onto their neighbour’s targets and significantly affect the overall results for two individuals and both classes.
Wet but Warm The weather might have improved enough to get things started but it didn’t stop a couple of classic stonking-heavy Diggle showers from soaking the F/TR shooters on the first relay at 800 yards and other ‘precipitation events’ affecting subsequent proceedings, fortunately becoming less extreme and further apart as the day progressed. The good news was that while we were being rained on, the winds weren’t too bad – that came later in the day as conditions became drier and brighter. Moreover, it was surprisingly warm too, so wet clothes and gear soon dried out in a mild wind! Meanwhile, back in Match 1 Relay 1, mere difficulty in seeing the targets through driving rain didn’t stop Russell Simmonds handing over a soggy score card that had a superb 72.2v in the bottom corner, with Steve Donaldson on 71; Adam Bagnall, Paul Harkins, and Russell Howard all on 70 showing how well the .308 can shoot at this distance in the hands of experts irrespective of conditions. The assumption was that this would settle the contest for this F/TR match at any rate, nobody expecting a better score. However, Diggle aficionado Vince Bottomley had other ideas as he exchanged his yellow RCO jacket for shooting gear to participate in Relay 2,
Threatening conditions on the Sunday morning start
‘Open’ shooters take aim from the 1,000yd firing point under dramatic skies
proceeding to astound the assembled throng with a magnificent 74.5v, a score that wouldn’t go amiss in ‘Open’. Were we about see ‘another Blair’ where the ongoing Bagnall-Simmonds championship battle would be sidelined? Match 2 at 1000 yards left things open with three northern shooters leading the field, Altcar 101 Club’s Stephen Lynch shooting a very creditable 65.1v in increasingly difficult winds ahead of Diggle member Russell Howard on 63.3v and 101/PSSA shooter Adam Bagnall on 61.1v. The other Russell was just behind on 59.1v leading a wide range of scores that started in
the mid 30s! F/TR finished Day 1 with Russell Howard leading on 133.5v ahead of messrs Bagnall, Simmonds and Lynch on 131 in that order through V-count. An on-form Steve Donaldson was just behind despite blowing four points and 2nd place by cross-shooting in Match 2. After a few minutes food and comfort break, it was F-Open’s chance to shine at 800 yards in what was a now dry and surprisingly warm mid-afternoon but seeing strengthening, twitchy winds. And shine the Open
Overall League Round 6 winner Andy Massingham shooting in the 800yard Match 3 where he scored an astounding 75.12v
Adam Bagnall, who eventually took the F/TR division shoots at 800yd partnering 5th place man Stuart Anselm
shooters did, at least at 800 yards. Gary Costello and Peter Wilson scored ‘possibles’, Gary taking the match with 11 Vs against 10 and six other shooters snapped at their heels with 74s, Andy Massingham and Grant Taylor leading this group both on 9 Vs. Think about those scores – Gary had put eleven out of fifteen shots into a five-inch circle and the remainder into a ten-incher on a target 800 yards, nearly half a mile away and on a breezy day! Who says that 7mm/300WSM isn’t accurate or controllable? The move back to 1000 yards in still strengthening winds took its toll though. Mik Maksimovic, Andy Massingham, David Kent, and Peter Hobson took top honours with a shared 68, Mik getting the match medal on a 7-V count. At the 5.30pm finish, Andy Massingham led overall on
142.14v just ahead of Gary Costello, Mik Maksimovic and David Kent on 141 in that order through V-count, then reigning GB champion Grant Taylor on 140.13v. Not everybody who’d done well at 800 yards managed to keep the standard up in the longer range match, Peter Wilson being one of several who’d struggled and was now well off the pace 10 points down on the leaders, classic ‘Diggle Dolloper’ behaviour to use the local patois (ie snatching defeat from the jaws of victory). Day Two Sunday initially looked like a rerun of the previous day weather-wise, apart from yet stronger winds with dark low cloud and intermittent showers threatening proceedings, despite a Met Office regional forecast for
Ta r g e t S h o o t e r ’ s Vince Bottomley won the 800 yard stage, Match 1 F/TR on the Saturday morning using a rifle he built himself
PSSA Chairman Mike Weatherhead on the left presents a Diggle Dolloper prize (a blown-up rifle action) to GB-FCA Chairman Mik Maksimovic for throwing away a stage-win, not to mention possible overall win, through cross-shooting in the final match
no rain, sunny intervals and 12 mph average speed winds gusting to 25 mph. (Well, the weathermen got the last part right, anyway.) In any event, Open shooters on Relay 1 took no chances and individuals and gear disappeared under copious quantities of waterproof clothing, towels and various alfresco keep-water-out-of the-rifle devices. (Chopped up sections of rubber car floor-mats were a new one on me, apparently effective too.) The wind was now coming from the WNW direction which places the buttress of a huge hill between it and the range. Unfortunately, they’re cunning these Northern winds – instead of going over the top and missing the range, the wind seemingly deviates around the hill, sweeping up the valley from the 5-6 o’clock (westerly) direction, but displaying even greater minute to minute variability than a proper SW or West wind. Despite this, Sunday morning’s 800 yard ‘Open’ scores were a re-run of the previous day’s even if the leaders changed, it being Andy Massingham and John Carmichael’s turn to shoot ‘possibles’, Andy getting the medal on a superb 12 Vs to John’s six. (Comments about big 7mm cartridges’ accuracy and controllability apply again, even more so with 80% of Andy’s shots in five-inches.) Grant Taylor and Mik Maksimovich were only just behind sharing 74.7v with Tony Marsh also on 74 but one V adrift. Peter Wilson recovered strongly to be one of four who shot 73, David Kent leading the group on Vs. When the Open shooters moved back to 1000 yards, Mik Maksimovic narrowly led the field by a single point over Andy Massingham and messrs Kent, Costello, and Taylor by four points – everything to play for! Match 4 turned out to be a major surprise with German shooters Olaf Erichson and Michael Meyer taking the first two
spots, Olaf’s score rising to 70.3v from a lowly 47.1v at 1000 the previous day – now that’s what I call an improvement! The wind was getting decidedly hard to read by now and the Brits’ scores reflected this with Grant Taylor in 3rd on 66.3v, David Kent and Ian Chapman sharing 65.2v. Where was our erstwhile leader Mr Maksimovic? Oh dear, a cross-shot helped him drop to 60.3v. Andy Massingham shot 63.2v, enough to propel him ahead and share an aggregate of 280 points with Grant Taylor, to take the overall win by 28 to 23 Vs. Poor Mik was down in 6th largely due to that one careless shot showing how close competition is these days. With only a single point separating the first three places, nobody can afford to throw away four or five – and amazingly, exactly the same situation pertained to the final F/TR position too. Finally, it was the F/TR shooters’ turn in what had become distinctly ‘challenging’ conditions. Match 3 (800 yards) still saw several on the right side of 70 with soft spoken Irishman Liam Fenlon on great form to take the match with 72.7v beating off local man Stuart Anselm with the same number of points but three Vs. Fellow north of England shooter Paul Harkins was third on 71.7v keeping Russell Simmonds at bay on V-count and Adam Bagnall was just behind, one of three scoring 70. So the F/TR top spots were still very much up for grabs as shooters humped their gear back another 200 yards, Russell Simmonds only one point ahead of Steve Lynch, Russell Howard, and dam Bagnall. A Many F/TR shooters described the now prevailing 1000 yard wind-conditions as ‘nightmarish’ with 3-MOA shifts between shots, misses regularly called. Only twelve competitors achieved or bettered 50 in this match, and only two scored 60. While on about lies, damned lies and statistics, only a meagre 10 of the 345 bullets fired downrange in this match made it into the V-Bull and half of those came from just two entrants’ muzzles, those of Stuart Anselm and Andy Duffy! It was also League regular Andy Duffy who now took his first ever stage win on 60.2, beating off Steve Donaldson by a V, Adam Bagnall third on 57.0v ahead of Stuart Anselm on 56.3v. Both Russells scored 54, pushing them down to third (Simmonds) and 4th (Howard) overall behind Adam Bagnall and Steve Donaldson. Steve’s Saturday cross-shoot had cost him four points and 1st F/TR, but from the row he was making, he appeared pleased with his second place, (difficult to tell with this Scouser since pleasure and displeasure produce similar that is LOUD noises), his best result for a long time. So where do the Championship placings stand now after six out of seven rounds? There is no change to the ‘Open’ positions, Grant Taylor still leading David Kent and Gary Costello but Diggle made a major change in F/TR, Adam Bagnall’s third win of the year putting him a point ahead of reigning champion Russell Simmonds with Stuart Anselm still in third place. Laurie Holland took some photographs on Sunday and they can be viewed on Photobucket: http://s912.photobucket.com/home/laurieh2 For further information on F-Class in the UK visit the GB-FCA’s website: http://www.f-class.org.uk
Gallery Rifle & Pistol News
Top Loads – the Gallery Rifle Ammunition are used in self loading pistols and there is used by the GB Squad another factor to consider – safety! The nose to tail configuration of the rounds in any tubular Thus far I have described the rifles used in magazine rifle means that the recoil forces can centre-fire GR, the modifications you can cause the tip of a bullet to impact with the primer make to them and the types of scopes that are of the round in front of it causing it to detonate mounted on top, now it is time to look at what we and probably the round in front of that as well. To can feed them on by investigating the favourite avoid this flat tipped bullet profiles are essential, loads of the GB Squad members.. and the most common types are the truncated cone (TC) or round nosed flat point (RNFP). I suppose by the end of this short article I will have gone one step further towards proving Plate 1 shows a selection of suitable bullet that there is more than one way to skin a cat types the 38 TCs on the left increase in weight and by that I mean that all the various loads by simply lengthening the overall bullet length described here despite being different have a whilst retaining the nose profile, three weights track record of consistently delivering similar are shown 140, 158 and 180 grains (with high performance at the target. I was told some 7000 grains to the pound). Once loaded is it years ago that reloading was rather like wine therefore difficult to spot any difference between tasting, with shooters trying all the recipes in the them. The RNFP type in the centre is in .38” pursuit of satisfying their own individual taste – calibre (actually .358” true diameter) and is an and so it proved to be. adaptation of the round nosed types used for speed reloading in revolvers, the flattened top The standard target loadings of 38 and 44 pistol is clearly visible. The 44 bullet on the right ammunition were wad cutter bullets; with all the completes the set, with all the 44 shooters using ballistic performance of dustbins but extremely the same 240 grain style. accurate at short range and making nice clean holes on the target for ease of scoring. Loading Despite my comments on bullet profile there is these blunt nosed bullets was not an issue with one shooter who still uses full wad cutter bullets a revolver but to ensure smooth and reliable and he is adamant that they feed reliably through operation from a tube fed under-lever rifle the his 38 Marlin, although on the 30 second rapid preferred profile needs to nearer those that stages he will admit to using other types. Wad cutters are usually seated flush with the case neck but Burning Rates this gives a short cartridge overall length (COL), but the Vihtavuori N310 Marlin manual recommends Alliant Bullseye/Hodgdons Titegroup a minimum COL of 1.46” Vihtavuori N320 Fastest and to accommodate this the wad cutters need to be to Vectan AS seated proud of the case Slowest Unique/Accurate Number 5 neck giving a rather peculiar Hodgdons HS6 appearance, as shown by Vihtavuori N340 the two cartridges on the left of Plate 2. 96 Target Shooter
The high volumes of ammunition used by GR shooters make lead bullets a good costs option and lead is a must be used for reactive targets such as steel plates, so there are no examples of jacketed types in this survey.
Next consideration is powder and the fast burning pistol powders used in handguns at first appear inappropriate for longer barrel of a rifle but remember the objective is not maximum muzzle velocity. Listed below are the powders used by the GB Squad according to their burning rate, as shown in the Vihtavuori Reloading Manual: - In summary we all seem to have re-invented the same wheel and my only recommendation would 38 Special and 357 Magnums. be to conduct some tests with you own guns to see what suit your best. So has my time Charge been wasted, well I think not because Bullet Bullet Powder Weight Primer weight Profile there are some general conclusions you (grains) can apply when developing loads for your 158 LTC Vihtavuori N310 4.2 Sellier and Bellot 158 LTC Vihtavuori N320 3.9 Winchester gallery rifle: 158 158 158 158 158 180 180 160 LTC LTC RNFP LTC LTC LTC LTC Howitzer Zero SNIA GM3 SNIA GM3 Alliant Bullseye Alliant Bullseye Vihtavuori N340 Hodgdons HS6 3.6 3.3 4.4 3.8 4 3.7 6.5 Federal Sellier and Bellot Federal no preference Federal no preference no preference
44 Special performances but no one uses 44 Special cases, I guess it’s all about availability. The loads currently in use are: I use the Titegroup loading which is shown to give 801 fps from a handgun on Hodgdons Website but from my 20” Marlin it provides 897 fps on average, again this is a considerable increase of around 12%. Using this as the par measure it looks like the top shooters are striving for between 900 and 1000 fps from their 44s when shooting the 1500 Match.
2. The favourite bullet profiles are the round nosed and truncated cone First thing to say is that nobody uses full power types – no surprise there because this shape .357” Magnum loads for gallery rifle events, was designed for the tubular magazine rifle. other than the long range 100/200/300 yard Match shot at the Phoenix Meeting so effectively 3. Favourite bullet weight is 158 grains for all these loads deliver 38 Special performance. 38 calibre and exclusively 240 grains for 44. Opinion on whether to use of 38 Special or Magnum cases seem about evenly split. The 4. You should be trying for between 1000 - 38/357 loads used by the GB Squad are shown 1100 fps for 38 rifles and 900 – 1000 fps in 44 in the table below: calibres. This keeps barrel leading to a minimum I have done some research in the reloading and recoil controllable. manuals and have found that my favourite 3.8 grains of Bullseye behind a 158 grain lead bullet Warning is reported to gives 874 fps from handgun length Please be warned that these loads have been barrels but from Marlin it provides an average 1046 fps measured about 10 feet from Charge the muzzle of the 18½” barrel, nearly Bullet Bullet Powder Weight Primer 20% additional speed. If we take this weight Profile (grains) as the norm then it would appear that 240 RNFP Vihtavouri N320 6.1 Federal each of these loads would give muzzle 240 RNFP SNIA GM3 5.3 Federal velocities in the range of 1000 to 1100 240 RNFP Hodgdons Titegroup 4.7 Federal fps. 240 RNFP Vectan AS 5.5 no preference 44 Magnums Again shooters are striving to achieve
240 240 RNFP RNFP Alliant Unique Accurate No 5 6.5 6.3 Federal no preference
Federal, Remington or Winchester
1. Most shooters use fast burning pistol powders but never slow powders for short and medium range. This provides good value as small charge weights make a can of powder go further.
used regularly by experienced shooters without problem but I can accept no responsibility for their safety. I must recommend that they are tried only by those experience reloaders who observe good reloading practice and follow the usual precaution of starting 10% below the stated charge and working up for their to ensure they are safe for use in their firearms. Gallery Rifle Update The National Gallery Rifle Championships were held at Bisley over the August Bank Holiday weekend 28th and 29th August. In addition to the individual championship winners there were aggregate winners for small-bore and centre-fire in the 1500 Match, Bianchi Cup, combined Timed and Precision One and Multi-target Matches and the Precision Matches, there was even a shotgun aggregate! There were also team matches for clubs to enter. Great fun and some new national records set; Marlin Competition Special check out the results on the www.nra.org.uk and www.galleryrifle.com. Over 1250 match cards 98 Target Shooter
were shot in 77 different events and that must be a record in itself. The National GR Championships also host the Home International Match, contested annually by England, Wales and Scotland. Congratulation to Norman Brown and his Team on what can only be described as a narrow margin of victory: Unlike the European Internationals the Home Matches comprise both small-bore and centre-fire Teams shooting the Timed and Precision One and Multi-target Matches shoulder to shoulder over three bays in Melville Range. The four best scores from the teams of five are aggregated to give a maximum possible 3360 points. If you want to be considered to represent your country please indicate your qualification by ticking the box on the NRA GR Entry Forms and your scores from all classified matches will be automatically passed on to the appropriate Captain for consideration. It is hoped that Northern Ireland can soon make up
Small-bore England Wales Scotland 1636 1634 1615
Centre-fire 1670 1638 1640
Overall Total 3306 3272 3255
the quartet in the Home Internationals, so if you GR International 1500 Matches. The event is qualify register now! open to all and details will be available on the Gallery Rifle Website soon. Coming up is the Trafalgar Meeting over the weekend of 23rd and 24th October and there are gallery rifle matches for classic rifles. Take a look at the NRA Website and download the entry form for full details. The following weekend 30th and 31st October the clocks go back signalling the end to the busy domestic GR calendar with the Autumn Action Weekend. Although the domestic calendar my end in October the GB Squad will be travelling to Leitmar in Germany for the last of the annual Plate 3
Paul Boland with Benelli Supernova
UKPSA Welsh Championships Level III Practical Shotgun match September 2010 :: Part 1 of 2 The start of September came round quickly this year it seemed. Kids about to go back to school; folks just back from their annual holiday in the sun, and that inevitable realisation that summer is fading fast. For me though, nothing brings this home quicker I find than the realisation that a match that seemed so distant and hazily in the future when we started the shooting calendar back in March suddenly looms into your life the next weekend. This year, it was off to the border ranges of Border Guns PSG club for the return of the Welsh Championships.
I’ve decided to break this article into two parts this time, partly because I want to adequately cover some of the twelve stages in some detail, but also because I want to try to put some meat on the bones with Border Guns is a Practical Shotgun (PSG) only club regard to the stage design itself, and why practical run from the farm belonging to Martin and Jo Davies
shooting is so much more than simply hitting a target. There were several new shooters at this year’s championships, fresh off a recent UKPSA Safety Course held at Border Guns PSG Club. Two lads – Paul Cannon and Paul Boland, and one lass Sam Hindhaugh. It’s always good to see new shooters, and particularly good to see new female shooters. Both Sam and Paul Boland came to PSG with lots of prior shooting experience and they already had FAC’s. Paul opted for a Benelli SuperNova pump 12g, while Sam went for the more expensive Benelli M2 semi-auto in 12g. Paul Cannon didn’t have a license and hadn’t done much in the way of shooting, but did the Safety Course with a supervised three-shot 12g pump shotgun and has since applied for and got his first FAC with which he went straight out and bought a Benelli SuperNova 12g pump shotgun.
Paul Cannon taking careful aim under watchful eye of the RO
with their two children George and Sophie. Set high in the Shropshire hills, it’s not an easy venue to find, and even more so in the winter months when the narrow, sunken lanes fill with snow. Nestled at the edge of a deep valley, it is within a two minute drive from the Offas Dyke long distance path. Border Guns has been home to the British Open Championships PSG matches for the last two years, having last held the Welsh Champs back in the summer of 2007, so it was a welcome return home for the challenging three-day shoot. Well, I say three day – Friday is reserved for RO’s (Range Officers) and build crew, with the main crowd of competitors shooting on the Saturday and Sunday.
novel (where possible) and ideally to present the shooter with a freestyle course of fire (CoF). The real art to this is the presenting of targets in such a way as to allow a multitude of strategies rather than a simple fixed “obvious” solution. To illustrate this, take the following (very simple) example as shown in the diagram “Simple Course of Fire Example 1”. This is an aerial view of a very simple CoF. The black area is wall or “hard cover” high enough that you cannot shoot over it. In the front of the shooting area (bounded by the red box) are two apertures either side of a small wall. Through these apertures are two targets – in other words, the only way to shoot the targets is to shoot through the holes in the wall. So, the shooter can choose to start at either side of the shooting area in one of the orange boxes marked S. This allows left or right handed shooters the same opportunity to tackle the stage (unbiased).
Now, before I get castigated by some well-meaning geographic pedant, Border Guns is not actually IN Wales – it’s very close though as evidenced by the surnames of the club owners and the predominance of some bone-hard sheep. I mean, these aren’t the serene fleecy bundles on sticks we’re used to The obvious solution here is to move to Aperture in the Peak District (where I live). No, these sheep A and shoot Target A, then quickly go around to seriously look like they’d give you a good kicking. Aperture B and shoot Target B. Simple right? For me, it’s my home club and for the last four years I have spent time at Border helping to build the stages, which is always a mammoth task. Practical Shooting stages are very rarely simple to construct because they have to present a new set of challenges to the shooters based on a set of rules to ensure they are safe, fair, repeatable and unbiased, as well as being Well, not necessarily... it does mean you have to move to two shooting positions, re-aiming each time which is going to slow you down. Okay. Perhaps a quicker way would be to move to Position C and shoot both targets through the apertures as shown by the dotted line. This means
Sam Hindhaugh on stage 12
you only have one shooting position, and although you have to re-aim, you are not moving other than to swivel around keeping the gun in aim all the time. It is also less distance from the start box to Position C than from the start box to Positions A and B (or vice versa). Better yes?... well, the downside to this faster strategy is that you need to aim a little more carefully which will cost extra time... This is why practical shooting is more than simply shooting accurately. Each competitor weighs up different approaches to the same stage and tries to find the optimum way to shoot all targets accurately in the fastest time. But, wait a minute... if you look at the stage design again, it may be possible to see (and thus shoot) both targets from one aperture is you can lean through and get a sight picture (as shown by the dotted lines running from Aperture B. To ensure this isn’t the obvious fast solution, stage designers will perhaps put another obstacle or a no-shoot target (as show here by the No-Shoot (NS) target on the diagram) between the targets so that both could be shot from one aperture, but there would be a risk of missing or hitting the no-shoot. So even with this simple design with two targets, it is possible to create a shooting problem with three possible solutions. Once we introduce eight, or twenty eight targets, it goes to a different level. Designing courses is easy – designing good courses is very difficult.
as this, there is a proportional mix of stage sizes, from small stages with anywhere from three targets up to about eight targets; intermediate stages with 9 to about 14 or so targets, and large stages with anything up to twenty eight or so targets. Without going into the granular details, the standard targets are usually 150mm square steel plates, but with a mixture of perhaps larger steel plates; “pepper popper” targets that are taller and have a distinct circular area at the top – looking a little like an ice-cream cone; and both cardboard IPSC standard targets or frangible targets (clays). Some will have no-shoot targets inter-mixed which incur penalties if shot and mean that you have to find the balance between speed and accuracy (bearing in mind this is a shotgun – not a precision rifle). Some targets are bonus targets. For example, several of the stages this year featured clay traps and “rabbit” clay traps that were activated either by a falling target or the competitor’s foot. These do not have to be shot at, but they are worth double points if you choose to take your chances. Additionally, swinging clay targets were present on one stage, activated by shooting a pepper popper. These are simple metal poles with a mount for a clay at the end. When activated, they swing like a pendulum. The trick with these is to try to anticipate the timing so you can shoot the target as it reaches the end of its’ swing – not follow it like a hypnotist’s pocket watch, or you’ll risk taking lots of shots and missing (as some find out).
Of the twelve stages in a level three match such Part 2 next month will look at some of the specific
stages and reference one to the original stage 3rd Iain Corrigan 75.71% design diagram that was sanctioned for the match. We’ll look at how it could be shot, how it was shot Modified Division and try to illustrate the challenges and pitfalls. 1st James Harris 100.00% 2nd Colin Alden 90.63% Finally this month, here are the scores-on-the-doors 3rd Peter Starley 76.70% for the Welsh Championships 2010. After the last shooters had packed up their kit, Stats Director Standard Auto Division Neil Evans spent his evening churning the scores 1st Barry Sullivan 100.00% through his computer. Significantly, Master shooter 2nd James Starley 97.32% Mike Darby was absent this year. Mike pretty much 3rd Dave Dowding 9.63% 8 dominates the Standard Auto division in the UK and it was the first time in years he has had to miss a Standard Manual Division match at Border. Neil Smith has decided to have a 1st Martin Davies 100.00% year off this year from serious competing, but for fun 2nd Iain Guy 87.29% has shot in a different division at each match this 3rd Jon Holloway 86.47% year and managed a Master Grade score in each (above 92%) which is a great achievement. Article and Pictures by Tony Saunders Final Results: 2010 Welsh UKPSA PSG Match Open Division 1st Neil Smith 100.00% 2nd Mike Scarlett 81.32% Championships
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The November issue will be out on the at the beginning of the month. Lots of follow up articles, new reviews, news and as ever packed with the articles you want to read.
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November 2010 Issue
104 Target Shooter
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