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February 2012 Issue

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February 2012 Issue

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Contents Continued
February 2012 Issue

Page 32

Premier Reticles is a name synonymous with scope modification and customisation, certainly familiar to both Field Target air rifle and Benchrest shooters who wanted to boost magnification on a Leupold... BY CHRIS PARKIN

Bergara and their new no gunsmithingbarrels... Vince tries a 6.5x47 Bergara pre-fit barrel and Chris Parkin tries his hand at re-barrelling his 243 stalking rifle with a 6mm Bergara. Firstly, a bit of history. I discovered the Spanish Bergara barrels at the IWA Show about five years ago. I got all excited to find we had another European barrel maker! After all, there arent that many.

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Page 14 Sorting a Savage. PART 2 The Conclusion. by Laurie Holland. As regular Target Shooter readers will be aware, Laurie has pioneered the 223 Rem. as an alternative to the 308Win. in top-level F/TR competition. When re-barrelled, the rifle was not quite delivering the performance that Laurie had come to expect...

Bi-pods for Tactical & Field use by Richard Utting. Weve covered bi-pods for F Class on a number of occasions in the past but some surprising developments are taking place with tactical/field bi-pods. If you think your Harris is the ultimate, read on. Were comparing the solid Harris, the adjustable-tension, panning Versa-pod, the Atlas and a Finnish version from the military arm of SAK which also pans.

Conor McFlynn from Northern Ireland travels to Page 22 Italy for the World Field Target Championship and comes home with the silverwear! But lets hear it from Conor...

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THE HANDLOADING BENCH 308 Winchester Rides Again. By Laurie Holland - Part 2. Ill look at Lapuas 308 Win Palma match case this month, exploring its raison dtre, wondering whether its worth the extra money over the common or garden large primer model (79.73 v 56.96 per 100 recommended retail prices).

& more...
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Interview with Gary Costello by Target Shooter Magazine. Three months have flown by since our last shoot of the 2011 Page 26 season - the Europeans at Bisley. Now its time to start thinking about 2012 and our opening shoot at Diggle in April. Maybe you are building a new rifle for this year or rebarrelling your existing one? Maybe you are contemplating entering the League for the first time if so, our Training Weekend at Bisley in February would be a good start there are still a few places left.

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Keep up-to date with all the latest news from the shooting world...


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Welcome to the new look February 2012 edition of Target Shooter Magazine

The Choice of Champions


The highest quality precision range of hunting, stalking, tactical & target scopes available for shooters worldwide.
Tactical Turrets

Webitorial February 2012

Where were we? Yes, we were late with our internet launch this month. Our usual first of the month boast was thwarted - by an underground cable fault which took my internet down for six days at a very critical time. I live in a small village with its own telephone exchange and it suffered a catastrophic failure. We were just back from the Las Vegas Shot Show, with but a few days to get the mag. together and launch our Shot Show supplement. The US Shot Show was a great experience for us we met some great folk and we got to shoot plenty of pistol and lots of semi-auto stuff and even some full-auto! The supplement will be on-line very shortly, so keep checking our website. The Shot Show supplement will be another free download, as is this issue of Target Shooter which is kindly sponsored this month by the Shooting Show. The Newark Shooting Show takes place on the 25th & 26th of February and is the largest European shooting show open to the general public. Please have a look at their website but more importantly, please get yourself over to Newark and support YOUR show! Without our advertisers and sponsors, we couldnt possibly keep Target Shooter free to read on-line and we at Target Shooter are really looking forward to Newark and meeting as many of you as possible. Please come along to our stand and say hello to the guys and gals who put together your favorite shooting magazine and feel free to give us your thoughts and ideas. Vince, Yvonne & Steve
Vince Bottomley - Yvonne - Steve -
Precision optical instruments made the way they should be, one at a time, by craftsman with 30 plus years experience using components of absolute quality.


Zero Set or Free Dial Locking

The 8x ~ 80x.

Side Focus 10 yards ~ Infinity

Push Button Illumination

Available from - - Call 01293 606901 or

Editor - Vince Bottomley Advertising and Office Manager - Yvonne Wilcock. Compiled, Designed & Web Production by Steve Thornton. Contributors - Vince Bottomley - Laurie Holland - Chris Parkin - Ken Hall - Don Brooke Alan Whittle - Tony Saunders - Gwyn Roberts - Carl Boswell & Richard Utting Cover & Back Page Photograph by Steve Thornton

The website 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.


by Chris Parkin

The Premier Reticles Heritage 5-25x56 Tactical Scope

The Premier Reticles Heritage 5-25x56 Tactical Scope

by Chris Parkin

The Premier Reticles Heritage 5-25x56 Tactical Scope

by Chris Parkin

Premier Reticles is a name

synonymous with scope modification and customisation, certainly familiar to both Field Target air rifle and Benchrest shooters who wanted to boost magnification on a Leupold...

Click values were accurate, the turrets easy to adjust and read but those gaps underneath may accumulate dust...

by Chris Parkin

The Premier Reticles Heritage 5-25x56 Tactical Scope

The Premier Reticles Heritage 5-25x56 Tactical Scope by Chris Parkin

Premier Reticles is a name synonymous with scope modification and customisation, certainly familiar to both Field Target air rifle and Benchrest shooters who wanted to boost magnification on a Leupold. Now, they have moved into their own line of optics and, when a tactical scope arrives with a price of 2429, a performance promise and a specification list to match it, the sceptic in me wants to see if it lives up to the hype.

The reticle on our scope is a `Gen2 XR` - essentially a variation on the standard mil-dot with extra hash marks every half milradian (Mrad). Being set in the first focal plane (FFP), it exhibited the usual compromise of staying precisely relative in size to the target image at the expense of being large or small at either end of the zoom range. Mil readings, aim-offs, adjustments and zeroing are virtually impossible to do incorrectly but, as magnification bottoms out, the reticule reaches a fifth of its former size.

situated 0.5 Mrad below `zero`, there is nothing to indicate you are into the second full rotation. Confusing 1 Mrad with 16 for example is a BIG miss! Windage is clearly marked by an identical turret and runs 6 Mrad left and right of zero. Alternative turrets are available and can be easily retrofitted by the user to alter the click values.

The Premier Reticles Heritage 5-25x56 Tactical Scope

by Chris Parkin

The design and build of the scope exudes a stylish and practical feel without being over the top in anything but physical size. A Butler Creek pop-up objective lens-cap, coupled with a custom cap at the back are included. Strangely, there isnt a fast-focus eyepiece,

No mistaking the prime target The first characteristic that struck me was the visual and proportional similarity to what has become the current benchmark in this field, the S&B PMII, so Premiers prime target is clear. There are a lot of specification choices that can be made - with turrets and click units, along with full reticle information easily accessible online. However, only two reticles are offered, both in the first focal plane. Anyone buying a scope of this type will more than likely study these specifications carefully and/or certainly has knowledge of their individual features before reaching for their wallet. Premiers own website is keen to point this out! www.

The tactical turrets are beyond fingertip size and the ones here were getting on for fist-sized grip requirements, so no problem with gloves on. Clicks were 0.1 Mrad with a more solid detent and heavier click every full Mrad. This is in line with a competitor - US Optics patent and allows corrections that are more quickly and easily defined, First Focal plane MIL dot reticules are a popular MTC simply means `More choice as mistakes are impossible. Im not sure Tactile Click`. they work well with a 5x erector tube though. 15 Mrad are available within each rotation and the turret is double turn, the spec shows 28 Mrad are available but, after zeroing, I was limited to 18 Mrad although at approximately 64 Minutes of Angle (MOA), this is roughly the same as the PMII and quite adequate. The turret rotated clockwise for `up` but anticlockwise ones are an option and as this is a topic that often divides shooters opinion, top marks there. First Focal plane MIL dot reticules are a popular choice as mistakes are impossible. Im not sure they work well with a 5x erector tube though. What is missing is a Schmidt & Bender type rotation indicator. Although a zero stop is featured, helpfully

Eyepiece focus was not `fast` but functional, a `Butler-Creek` style cap came included and fitted neatly. instead the older style lock-ring and rotating lens body to which the special lens cap clips. I dont have a problem with this, as when correctly set, I have rarely if ever had to alter one quickly but it seems unusual not to have followed recent trends. The diopter variation is broad and no problem was found in its function at all. 90mm of eye relief kept the scope well clear of my eye during recoil.

Lens caps included Every external surface on the scope is aluminium - no rubber or plastics in sight and rotating components are all machine-knurled for secure grip. The matt anodised 34mm tube is well finished and the left side parallax knob also has a telescopic illumination control within it. Simply draw it out and dial from 1-11 for reticule illumination. Between the numbers the lights go out, allowing you to have quick on/off near your chosen setting, although the turret does not push back in unless you dial back to zero.

Love or Hate? The most unusual and questionable feature of this scope is the small toggle on both elevation and windage turrets. Instead of zeroing your scope and

by Chris Parkin

The Premier Reticles Heritage 5-25x56 Tactical Scope

The Premier Reticles Heritage 5-25x56 Tactical Scope

by Chris Parkin

then using a small Allen key to remove and re-zero the turret, all you do is flip up the lever and rotate the knobs back to zero and then latch them back down. That sounds simple and it is but, what seems unnerving is that when you do this, although the reticule isnt moving, the turrets still click as normal. It is a little leap of faith to be sure you have used the lever to correctly disengage the turret. Some will like it, some will not and, I for one certainly re-checked my zero after their use and although sceptical, I was not let down.

Staight onto the plate With a 34mm main tube, the Premiers Heritage fitted easily into a Third Eye tactical Unimount onto my 308 Remmy 700. The benefits of the mil-dot system coupled with FFP reticules were immediately obvious with a three-shot zeroing session and one extra shot - to check those unusual `clicks`. Then, I went straight into a head to head steel plate match at 400 yards with both turrets dialled straight into zero at that range.

Both the field of view and edge-to-edge clarity were exemplary. Although this competition was single aiming point territory, the 0.5 and 1 mil increments had worked in total harmony with the turrets to zero or aim off for wind, although below about 10x magnification, the reticule was getting very small and harder to gauge. Illumination covered the central tree but was generally only used on its highest setting as balanced against any quality of glass - there is no point seeing a reticle without an image to partner it.

The click values for such a quick test perfectly matched my range card using known data on my bullet and that was enough to tell me these click values are accurate. I find fast, competitive shooting is a good test of optics as it forces your eyes to work very quickly, both acquiring targets and focusing on the relevant reticle and target images. Poor optics flag up here with extra ocular effort required and I am pleased to say, my eyes had no room for complaint.

Familiar looks... Familiar ethos... Familiar glass...

I tested the optics alongside a few other top-end scopes as light faded and I was very impressed with the extra field of view, clarity and brightness offered, no light conditions were encountered where any flare was a problem and colour rendition seemed honest. This is a very good scope and if you like first focal plane reticles, it certainly stands equal to competitors both optically and mechanically. There is more than a sniff of `German quality in the glass.



by Chris Parkin

The Premier Reticles Heritage 5-25x56 Tactical Scope

The Premier Reticles Heritage 5-25x56 Tactical Scope

by Chris Parkin

Likes Superb glass Tactile turrets Wide Field of View Dislikes The toggles on the turrets will not suit all Dust gaps under those big turrets No second focal plane reticules offered Overall Im personally no fan of second focal plane reticles and the optics and mechanics shown here are absolutely fantastic American mechanics with European glass, a tough competitor! Technical Specification Reticule Click Values Clicks Per turn Full rotation Body Tube Parallax Field of View Weight Length Price Sunshade Extra turrets (Mrad-MOA) 34mm Rings

Mil-dot with extra half mil marks 0.1 Milradian 150 2 Turns 34mm 50m to infinity 7.6-1.6m @ 100m (5-25x mag) 39oz (1.1kg) 17 inches (433mm) 2429 75.60 151.20 176.40

Contact: LGA supplies Telephone - 01904 608365

The toggles will divide opinion, some will find it utter simplicity, others will find them unsettling.

Illumination control was within the left side parallax dial.



Sorting a Savage Part 2

THE CONCLUSION By Laurie Holland

Sorting a Savage
PART 2 The Conclusion. by Laurie Holland
As regular Target Shooter readers will be aware, Laurie has pioneered the 223 Rem. as an alternative to the 308Win. in top-level F/TR competition. When re-barrelled, the rifle was not quite delivering the performance that Laurie had come to expect... My initial focus was now on the rifles bedding, in particular optimising rear screw tension. There is a relatively painless procedure for this, but as it relies on changes in group size and shape, you need access to a stable testing set-up and a 100-200 yard range with conditions such that reliable results can be obtained. Youll also need 40 or more rounds of previously worked-up ammunition that has some chance of producing decent groups and a small torque-wrench calibrated in inch-pounds. While the latter is not 100% essential, it allows you to adjust the tension in small even steps and equally important, to return to the

optimum setting both during the tuning stage and also later if you take the action out of the stock for any reason. As noted, all Savages other than the PTA competition rifles (F, F/TR, BR, and Palma models) and single-shot LRPV (long-range precision varmint) rifles have two screws whose position is dictated by the magazine cut-out in the receiver floor. (Although a single-shot model, the BVSS Varmint rifle uses the twin screw set-up and its laminated stock has a large redundant cavity for the non-existant box magazine. If you look at the modern Savage receiver, its obviously CNC-machined out of what starts as a tube, the rear couple of inches having most of the metal machined off to leave what looks like a shallow tang which would be drilled and tapped for the rear bedding-screw in a conventional Mauser-system action. However, both types of Savage action have the rear bedding screw further forward under the rear end of the tubular section. The tang seems to be there mainly to act as a hanger for the trigger assembly and to house the sliding shotgun-style safety button.

Sorting a Savage Part 2

THE CONCLUSION By Laurie Holland

upright and its buttstock rapped on a hard surface the aforementioned crete floor - a couple of times to ensure the recoil-lug is in full contact with the stock. The factory Savage 12 F Class rifles laminated stock uses small bedding pillars in the wood. The two front stock screws are tightened to 30-35 in/lb tension The front pair of screws are now done-up alternately a small amount at a time to ensure even tension. Using a torque wrench, 30 in/lb is about right for the factory Savage laminated stock with its small bedding pillars, although you can go a bit higher. Where the receiver goes onto a metal bedding block as in the LRPV models, or an all metal stock like my McRees, more torque is needed - at least 45 in/lb - with many authorities, including military and police armourers, using 60-65 in/lb. (This also applies to similar bedding jobs in rifles like the Remington PSS, VS, VSSF etc that use an H-S Precision synthetic stock with moulded in bedding block.)

Bedding and Tuning Anyway, were now on the range complete with ammunition, Allen keys and torque wrench. The last named is a Wheeler FAT Wrench from Norman Clark Gunsmiths Limited, a modestly priced clutch-type model wrench adjusted by pulling the end cap back from the body and turning it. Lets take the barrelled action out of the stock and start from scratch. I want to do this anyway to check there is nothing nasty hiding underneath that affects bedding efficiency.
To do this with the McRees modular stock, the forend section has to be removed first to give access to the front bedding screw no matter, undo four setscrews and take care not to drop it onto the concrete firing point floor, it being a simple lap joint. On a Savage or other conventional wood, laminated, or synthetic stock all bedding screw heads are of course immediately visible and in this case we now count four! The rear screw is a short fellow, which just secures the back end of the trigger guard, so we leave it alone. Now that I have the action out and inspected the bedding surfaces, everything turns out to be fine. The receiver body has left a straight, constant width witness mark along the top of each side of the bedding channel showing complete and apparently even contact. Shame! Finding and removing a foreign object would have provided an obvious solution to the problem and made things so much easier. Anyway, we now replace the action in the stock using the front two screws only. Taking slack out of the rear member of this pair and with the front one barely tightened, the rifle is held

To carry out accurate evaluation, adjusting and shooting the rifle on a full benchrest set up like this one is ideal but any testing arrangement that provides consistent and genuinely comparable results on the target is suitable

Inching Up Returning to the three-screw Savage, we now insert the third and rearmost action screw through the front of the trigger-guard and only just tighten it. Shoot a group or two to get the bore fouled and then let the barrel cool for a few minutes before tightening it with a torque wrench to 5 or 10 in/lb (depending on the wrenchs minimum setting).
The procedure is: shoot a group, let the barrel cool and shoot another group after increasing the tension on the rearmost screw by 5 in/lb. Repeat until the tension is over 30 in/lb, even go up to 40 if you have the inclination and the ammunition. What you hope youre going to see is the group shrink then open up again after you move out of the sweet spot. You need to keep a record of which group applies to which torque setting of course!

Finally, slacken the rear screw and return to the setting that gave the smallest group. If your torque wrench is calibrated finely enough, you can fine-tune the setting by shooting another couple of groups with the setting a couple of inch-pounds either side. Keep a record of your final settings on both sets of screws in case you have to remove and refit the



Sorting a Savage Part 2

THE CONCLUSION By Laurie Holland

Sorting a Savage Part 2

Anyway, you can see the results in Figures 1 and 2. All target grids shown are one-inch incidentally. What was interesting if depressing was the recreation of both problems Id suffered from last year. Group #3 at 15 in/lb tension produced a perfect facsimile of the 4 + 1 pattern, the +1 very low and slightly right, that Id seen in the 800yd matches at Diggle and Bisley with both barrels. Group #4 at 20 in/lb produced the nearly straight vertical line that Id seen at Bisley in the
THE CONCLUSION By Laurie Holland

action. Logically, if you make a major change to the load youre using, such as moving from 155s to 200gn + weight bullets in a .308, it would be worthwhile repeating the exercise to tune the receiver tension to the optimal harmonics for that load.

With the barrelled action back in the stock and the screws very lightly tightened, the butt is tapped on the floor to ensure the recoil lug is in hard contact with the stock. The lug is visible here with the stock fore-end removed.

The Wheeler FAT Wrench from Norman Clark, an easy to use budget torque wrench

The Savage three-screw PT action. The rear (right-hand) screw is used to tune the action to the ammunition.

Hopes Raised... In my case, the first problem that arose in my tuning session was that the ammunition left over from The Europeans didnt group at all well. A combination that had produced 0.4-inch groups during load development, simply wouldnt go below the half-inch mark, in fact Id have been happy to have got that! This was the 90gn Berger VLD / VarGet combination, a reworked version of what had worked very well for half of 2011 in the rifles original 31 inch barrel but which had inexplicably gone off in that tube and which had struggled from Day One in its identical - if shorter - replacement. (TS editor Vince Bottomley has been known to say to all and sundry in the Diggle Ranges clubhouse on F-Class comp days that if anybody around knows a good method for reattaching three inches of barrel, would they talk to Laurie!)

European Championship 900 and 1,000yd matches. Going above that setting only made things worse, so in the end I settled on a setting between 10 and 15 in/ lb. Two alternative combinations were now tried with this screw tension, a first go with the Berger 80.5gn BT Fullbore and Viht N150; a retry of my original, very successful long range load the Berger 90gn VLD with Alliant Reloder 15. The 80.5/N150 pairing started to look promising at the heaviest charge tried, so a bit further work will be done here. (The reason for strange 80.5 gn weight is that the bullet has been designed to just meet the ICFRA Palma / Fullbore Rifle regulation that states .223 Remington is eligible using bullets of less than 81gn weight and is the small calibre partner to the 155.5gn 308 BT Fullbore model.) The 90/Re15 load took me straight back into small groups at similar charge weights to those used in 2010 with the original 31 inch barrel but crucially with less pressure showing on the primers! Only three-round

The McRees bedding channel after the action had been removed. This stock uses a direct metal to metal bedding system relying on close tolerance machining of both receiver and stock body alongside bedding screws done up very tight. Continuous and even witness marks on the Duracoat finish showed primary bedding was OK.

The rear screw, its head protruding from the trigger guard, is the last to be tightened, its tension having a significant effect on groups size and shape.



Sorting a Savage Part 2

THE CONCLUSION By Laurie Holland

groups mind you but the four batches covering 24.9 to 25.2gn ran at 0.15 to 0.4 (figure 3). Wow! Cracked it (again!). All I needed was a long-range match in reasonable conditions to prove I was back in business.

I did say before that Id pass a little more load data on. Late last year after a new barrel went on, I decided to give Viht N150 a try. Id avoided the powder previously after hearing from Jerry Tierney over in California that hed had some worrying pressure spikes with it,

Sorting a Savage Part 2

THE CONCLUSION By Laurie Holland

...and Dashed! The PSSA competition calendar fixtures allied to long bouts of stormy weather denied me that opportunity until the second Saturday of the new year, which saw a 600 yard F-Class match coincide with cold but settled weather only 600 yards but enough distance to show if the verticals had gone.
New load or not they hadnt, or at least not in the first half of the event. If anything, things were worse with the corrected elevation graph jumping up and down the paper between shots to produce a 2.5-MOA overall spread and more often than not a minute of movement between shots. Then at shot 13 everything appeared to settle down and things were much improved to shot 19 - five of the seven hits displaying really impressive consistency. A glimmer of hope appeared if my final shot stayed within a quarter minute variation, things were maybe on the up. Sadly not along with my hopes, the strike went way, way down again, now at the very bottom of the four-ring, a drop of around 0.8-MOA on the PSSA 500/600yd F target. So, what is going on? I wish I knew! I feel Im just on the edge of getting it back together again. Maybe checking and re-tuning the cartridge overall lengths, looking at neck tension, retrying some of the powders originally rejected, switching from the 90gn VLD to the 80.5gn and 90gn Berger BT designs will get it shooting well again. However, national GBFCA League rounds are approaching fast and getting loads sorted for my newly rebarrelled .308 Win F/TR rifle looks a lot less risky at the minute! Lots of people did warn me when I started out with long-range .223 Rem that the cartridge is incredibly finicky with 90gn bullets and often just goes out of tune for no apparent reason. I think the lesson for me as well as others is just how high-maintenance this combination is. If everything isnt perfect, it simply doesnt work.

tout this as a 1000 yard load but it shows a great deal of promise for the shorter-range club shooter, has no recoil to speak of and will probably give 4,000-5,000 rounds barrel accuracy life. The 80.5gn Berger BT at 2800-2900 fps is gaining a good reputation too and Ill try this bullet later on in the year in my F/TR rifle as well as another Savage .223 were working on a rebarrelled sporter designated as an affordable clubmans F/TR rifle.

Figure 3: With the tension at just under 15 in/lb, a return to the 90gn VLD / Re15 ammunition combination appeared to have got the rifle shooting well again Figure 1: rear screw tension set at 5 20 in/lb getting a huge rise in MV and pressure signs from a 0.2gn charge weight increase. Ive always liked this powder with heavy bullets in the cartridge and decided to give it a try, albeit acting very warily. Five batches in well-used Lapua match brass, CCI-450 SR Magnum primer and charges of N150 rising from 23.6 to 24.0gn in 0.1gn steps (weighed on Acculab high-quality electronic scales to accurately allow such small differentiations) produced 0.2 to 0.7 groups, only one exceeding the half-inch. The top load produced a modest MV of 2,641 fps with a small ES of 9 fps, so there is scope for working it up a bit higher. Before shooters scoff at such low performance, run the 90gn Berger BTLRs external ballistics on a decent G7 based program. The 800 yard wind-drift for a 2,640 fps load is 6.7-MOA in the classic 10 mph 90-degree crosswind which is better than that of the NRAs RWS .308W / 155gn SMK ammunition, assuming that the latter produces a full 3,000 fps MV from a tight-bore 30 inch barrel. Retained velocities and wind-drift values for this load fall between those of the old and new 155gn Sierra Palma MKs at a full 3,000 fps MV in fact. I wouldnt Figure 4: Graphed elevations of the 20 shots in the 600yd Diggle F Class competition corrected to a common elevation setting on the riflescope. Despite the use of the Re15 load, the problem has not been solved! 0 = perfect elevation with a strike on the V-Bull centreline; low shots have minus values; high shots have plus values. Shots 1319 suggest a solution may be close

Figure 2: rear screw tensions above 20 in/lb made groups considerably larger




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The Eighth MLAIC World Field Target Federation Championships

Championships 2011 Italy by Conor McFlynn Long Range World

Bisley England by David Minshall

World Field Target Federation Championships 2011 Italy by Conor McFlynn

Conor McFlynn from Northern Ireland travels to Italy for the World Field Target Championship and comes home with the silverwear! But lets hear it from Conor
rifle and scope settings. The plinking range however bore no resemblance to the competition course as it was located on a flat field - the competition course was located at the top of a vertical hill on the side of the mountain. The three separate courses were colour-coded in relation to the Italian flag - red, white and green, 50 targets per course, two targets were placed per lane resulting in 25 lanes per course. Each competitor had three minutes to shoot their two targets, with timing commencing when the lane was entered. On each course there were eight compulsory positional targets, four standing and four kneeling. The targets were placed at unknown distances from 7m to 50m, whilst target hit zones ranged in size from 15mm, 20mm, 25mm, 30mm and 40mm. Target placement made full use of the surroundings with the vast majority of the smaller killzones placed at extreme angles both uphill and downhill. Flexibility, adaptability and sheer nerve were required in order to take many of the positional shots that mainly used the 25mm killzones. The larger killzone targets were almost exclusively used at near maximum distance so it was a truly challenging course designed to make each shooter think very carefully about each shot. Add the devilish, interchanging, light winds whisping almost undetectably through the forest, the extremely hot, humid conditions and one can almost get a slight resemblance to the sheer difficulty of each course.

Paggiaro. Uncharacteristically, some highly regarded Championships 2011 Italy by Conor McFlynn shooters from the UK and reining World Champion Jose Redondo from Spain, posted unusually low scores focused on us and, being honest, in a way, it was both - perhaps demonstrating the demanding conditions unnerving and exciting - an experience new to me but and difficulty of the courses. South African Piet Breedt one that Osborne was all too familiar with. I had the clearly didnt have any problems and finished on a white course left so I was determined and knew I had course busting 48 ex 50, two points clear from 2006 to post a big score if I were to finish on the podium. I World Champ James Osborne on 46 ex 50. I, along ended the day with my highest score of the weekend with four others shared joint third on 44 ex 50. 48 ex 50 and being honest disappointed with my two

World Field Target Federation

The annual WFTF Championship was held at a stunningly beautiful, mountainous location in Felo dAstico, near Vicenza, Italy. Federazione Field Target Italia, the Italian Regional Governing Body, took sole responsibility for the organisation and running of the four-day event, headed by the Italian Chairman Nicola Paggiaro.
Registration of names and practice on the zerorange took place on the 1st September, whilst the competition ran from 2nd- 4th September with three 50 target courses - one per day giving a total of 150 targets. 212 competitors from 26 countries made this the biggest, most competitive and truly international event in the organisations history. 19 countries entered the 8-man team event, which demonstrates the popularity of the sport that has spread rapidly throughout the world in recent years. The two large zero-ranges were very spacious and had plenty of boards with paper targets attached to check

Day two, Saturday 3rd September, was extremely humid and hot which made concentration levels quite demanding due to fatigue and dehydration. I made life difficult for myself by missing my first two targets on the green course! Simon Ayers pumped in a top score of the day with 48 ex 50; I managed to only drop one more target and finish on a very pleasing 47 ex 50. Breedt from SA didnt maintain his rich vein of form from the previous day to post a 42 ex 50. This left myself, Ayers and Osborne in the lead; a three way tie, level on 91 points apiece. Day three, Sunday 4th was the big finale. The air was very humid and heavy rain and thunderstorms were forecast for the afternoon. All eyes were firmly

misses. Ayers and Osborne had both only posted 44 ex 50 so Breedt needed a 49 to tie for a shoot-off (which I was expecting) or a clear course would see him win outright. To my surprise and disbelief he also finished on 44 ex 50 which meant the silverware was mine and going back home to Co.Tyrone (and Ireland) for the first time. With 11 missed targets during three days of competition I ended with a total score of 139 ex 150. The Gala Dinner and awards ceremony that marked the end of the 2011 World Championships is an occasion that will live fondly in my memory forever. One of the large zero ranges with the mountains in a stunningly beautiful backdrop.

Day one, Friday 2nd September, was a long day as shooting partners were drawn together after the safety brief and general instructions. These were relayed to everyone by the event director Nicola 22 23

The courses were laid out together, with lanes from Italian colours red, white and green placed consecutively, the result meant everyone was shooting together at the same time, it also made for very sociable occasion!

Below; my shooting partners for the weekend; far left, Angelo Ribelli (Italy) and middle, Lukas Richter (South Africa).

World Field Target Federation

Championships 2011 Italy by Conor McFlynn

Even though the achievement I had accomplished had not fully sunk in, the warm-felt congratulations and well-wishes from everyone involved just overwhelmed me with both pride and joy. Hopefully FT can begin to gain popularity and flourish in my home country Ireland, where air rifle shooters in general are few and far between. FT is hugely popular throughout many European countries and the world. It truly is the purest form of marksmanship, highly addictive, enjoyable and is perhaps the most inexpensive target shooting sport currently available. My kit included the following: Rifle Steyr LG110 Calibre - .177 Velocity 770fps Pellets JSB Exact 8.4grn Scope Deon March X 8-80x56 MTR-1 illuminated reticule. Mounts ThirdEye 34mm, base to suit 11mm dovetail. Modifications: Jon Harris 4 parallax sidewheel and pointer. Jon Harris custom scope mounting rail. Mick Tromans muzzle break and quickfill cylinder. Custom laminate woodwork (cheekpiece, forend and grip). TEC-HRO Fusion butt plate. TEC-HRO trigger blade. TEC-HRO front accessory rail balance weight.

Right: A reduced size kill zone (20mm) target elevated high up a tree on the top of a hill made for a very steeply angled shot, some were inclined 50 degrees and then some!. Below: standing shots were elevated and utilised 25mm kills.

Above: Conor McFlynn holds aloft the WFTF Championship winning cup, left is Simon Ayers (England) 2nd, and right is James Osborne (England) 3rd.


Interview - Garry Costello

2011 GB F Class Champion
Photograph by Steve Thornton

An interview with Garry Costello.

2011 GB F Class Open League Champion

Interview with Gary Costello by Target Shooter Magazine

Three months have flown by since our last shoot of the 2011 season - the Europeans at Bisley. Now its time to start thinking about 2012 and our opening shoot at Diggle in April. Maybe you are building a new rifle for this year or rebarrelling your existing one? Maybe you are contemplating entering the League for the first time if so, our Training Weekend at Bisley in February would be a good start there are still a few places left.

Check out the GBFCA website for more details.


An interview with Garry Costello.

2011 GB F Class Open League Champion

An interview with Garry Costello.

2011 GB F Class Open League Champion

Either way, you will be keen to get down to some serious testing and already, Ive had a glimpse of a few new ideas for the coming season concerned. Really, with a single cartridge (OK Laurie, I know you love the 223) and a very rigid set of rules, its difficult to come up with something new but our rifles continue to evolve. Not only that, bullet development seems to be directed to the 308 more than any other cartridge. Of course, lets not forget that Russell Simmonds once again won the GBFCA League with his very conventional rifle but of course, its always preferable to buy something new in an attempt to boost performance rather than spend more time on the range learning to shoot what you already have! And maybe this is part of World Champion Russells secret his equipment is very modest and similar to what he started out with five or six years ago but boy, he knows how to use it! We did have a new Open Class League Champion in 2011 and that was current World Champion, Gary Costello. As is the tradition, we caught up with Gary following the Europeans where he battled all weekend with eventual winner, Vyacheslav Kovalshii Interview with 2011 F-Open Class League Winner

TS Youve been shooting with the League more or less from the start but what did you shoot before that? GC - I started clay shooting, I got into it in a big way, a business associate (now a very good friend) used to shoot rifles and black powder competitively and he got me into accurate rifles and re-loading. It all went downhill from there and I got the bug! TS Tell us about your current rifle what cartridge, action, stock, scope etc are you using? GC - I have shot several rifles this year, I started with a 7 SAUM built by Pete Walker, BAT 8.5 inch M action, Lee Six tracker stock in African Obeche walnut Bartlein barrel and a March 10x60x52 tactical scope. TS Gary, thats a beautiful rifle almost too nice to shoot! Petes work is faultless. GC - I did try the second Bartlein barrel for my WFCC winning gun - Stolle Panda and heavily modified Masterclass F Class Thumbhole stock but, after 400 rounds I gave up with it, just not accurate enough. This barrel was produced at the same time as the WFCC barrel and chambered with the same reamer but it just would not work!
I shot my other BAT rifle built by Pete at Blair Atholl and in the Europeans - this is the same action (8.5 BAT) with 32 Bartliein barrel and McMillan F Class stock.

TS Gary, congratulations on winning the 2011 GBFCA League - just beating Simon Rogers in the final round but just losing out to Vyacheslav Kovalshii in the final stage of the Europeans to take runner-up spot.
We always like to start off with a bit of background. Tell us about your working background and what got you into shooting?

TS Of course, you are the UK importer for the fabulous March scopes how are sales going are there any new models in the pipeline? GC - Actually pretty good considering the current economy and the cost of the scopes. We have a new Tactical first focal plane scope the 3-24x42 this is a direct competitor to the Schmidt & Bender PMII - very similar features (with a lower starting magnification) but half the weight and smaller. Also a fixed 40X which has tactical turrets, zero stop and 70MOA elevation, I am going to try this next season for F Class.

GC I currently run two companies mainly involved in specialist transportation and freight forwarding, we are approved for weapons, explosives and sect. 5 items. I have always been interested in shooting from a very early age with air rifles however I started shooting firearms about 10 years ago, most of this was informal plinking and fun stuff.



Photograph by Steve Thornton

An interview with Garry Costello.

2011 GB F Class Open League Champion

An interview with Garry Costello.

2011 GB F Class Open League Champion

TS I notice that you seem to prefer laminate stocks any particular reason? GC I do prefer Laminates for purely aesthetic reasons! TS The 7mm is undoubtedly the best Open Class calibre preferably in the WSM case but a few are now moving towards the straight 284 what about you?
GC I have a 284 and a 284 Shehane; I have not done much with either yet as I have had no time in between competitions to do any serious development. I will have them working for 2012 though and will make a comparison. I shoot the 7mm Saum at roughly Shehane velocities and I really like it so I am sure they will work well.

I use Alan Warners sizing dies exclusively, they are the Rolls Royce of dies, the die body accepts calibre sleeves, I send 3 fired cases and he makes a custom honed sleeve that inserts into the die body, the tolerances are incredibly tight which gives great results, minimal case-sizing for longevity of brass and also zero run-out. They are expensive but you only need one or two and they are for life. I have also started using custom Newlon seating dies (made by Peter Walker) these have a Mitutoyo micrometer head and are very nice, however I have still got my Redding Micrometer seaters for some other calibres.

TS Like many of us, you have done your share of travelling this year to shoot F Class but what is your favourite UK range? GC - I love Blair Atholl, purely for the scenery and ease of use, however its a very hard range to master due to the usual Blair effect conditions. I was pretty lucky there this year with two 3rd places. I also like Bisley, its sort of my home range but I very rarely get chance to practice there much. TS Is there anything you would like to see changed in the F Class rules for example, some say rifles are too heavy at 22 lbs? GC I disagree, I think the weight is OK for the type of shooting we do, any lighter and we will see some lower scores due to the recoil etc. TS Finally, although its 18 months off the World Championships at Raton in 2013, you are obviously one of the favourites for the GB Team. Are you looking forward to it? Any reservations with the elevation and heat? GC - I have not really had much time to think about the next Worlds, however after David Kents talk after the Europeans I do have my concerns at the length of time required to shoot it! Three weeks is an awful long time away from your business and also there is a considerable amount of shooting in the run-up.
I am of the opinion that less is more, I do not practice, I think that it is on the day you either get the conditions quickly and identify with the flags or you do not. We will need to acclimatise to the range and heat and do some load development but I think a week prior would be fine, this is no disrespect to Davids itinerary, it is purely my personal opinion. The heat does concern me but I think the amount of shooting beforehand concerns me more, we do need to be fresh at the start of the World Championship.

Garry Costello bagging up the winnings at the 2011 European Championships at Bisley...

TS Set-up is critical in F Class, can you tell us your preference for a front rest? GC I use both the Farley and the Seb Neo, I like both. I do sell the odd Farley and I Like the Gen II model with the space base (lightweight base good for Diggle or ranges that you have to walk to the firing point and of course air travel). I am currently using the Seb Neo with some modifications to the base and handle, (I didnt like the way the original handle twisted in operation) so we had a long straight handle made which has stopped the torque/twist. TS Obviously the rifle has worked well for you this year but is there any room for improvement? GC Always room for improvement! I think we all forget sometimes about correct preparation, bagalignment and good technique. I do find occasionally that I have an odd shot, more often or not it is because I have changed my grip or position slightly. TS Will you continue with the same kit next year? Have you anything new in the pipeline? A new cartridge perhaps or is the seven king for the foreseeable future? GC I do have the Shehane and another 7mm Wildcat that I will be working on during the winter. I think 7mm is the only way to go in F Class Open as the recoil of a big 30 is just too much. The new Berger heavy Hybrids look very interesting with very good BCs but I do not really fancy 60 shots in a day with a 215-230 grain bullet and the recoil and torque that goes with it. 30

TS Tell us your preferred bullet, powder, brass and primers. GC - I like the Berger 180 VLD and Hybrid, I do have some custom 190 grain VLDs I am working on as well. I use different powders depending on the rifle, RL25, Vit N165, Hodgdon H4831 and H1000, I use Winchester brass in the 7/270 WSM and Lapua in the 284s. I have found that Fed 210M primers have worked the best for me this year but I did use 215M last year. TS What twist-rate are you using and do you have any preference for barrels cut or button do you favour any particular make? GC - I use 9 twist normally, the rifle I shot in the Europeans is a 8.5 twist, I cannot really see any difference to be honest. I always shoot cut-rifled barrels and I do like Bartlein. TS Obviously, you weigh all your powder charges what scales are you using and for that matter, whose dies do you use? GC For the initial charge I use a RCBS Chargemaster which I set 0.2 grains under the required charge, I then weight the charge on my Denver Instruments AP 203 lab scale which is accurate to 100th of a grain, I keep this on all the time and it is plugged into a anti-serge filter and plug.

TS Gary, many thanks for taking the trouble to do this interview and for sharing your information with us all. Good luck for 2012.


Bergara & their new... No Gunsmithing Barrels...

Bergara and their new no gunsmithing barrels...

Vince tries a 6.5x47 Bergara pre-fit barrel and Chris Parkin tries his hand at re-barrelling his 243 stalking rifle with a 6mm Bergara.
Firstly, a bit of history. I discovered the Spanish Bergara barrels at the IWA Show about five years ago. I got all excited to find we had another European barrel maker! After all, there arent that many.

I got even more excited when I found that Ed Shilen one of the most famous barrel makers on the planet had played a large part in setting up the Bergara barrel-manufacturing process. And it shows! Have a look inside a Bergara with a borescope and youll see what I mean. The finish is second to none. Yes, I know, theres more to making an accurate barrel than the internal finish but, experience has borne out my initial enthusiasm and, the Bergaras Ive fitted have shot exceedingly well. Unfortunately, Bergara dont currently offer a really heavy profile that would suit a competitive benchgun or F Class rifle but, if they ever do, Ill be the first to try one. However, a wide choice of profiles, lengths, twists and calibres are offered to suit most other applications and they are very competitively priced and available Fox Firearms always have a good selection. A choice of 416 stainless-steel or 4140 chrome-moly, fluted, bead-blasted etc. is available plus specials for the AR carbines etc. and now, Bergara are the first manufacturer to offer a no-gunsmithing replacement barrel for the Remington 700 series. The Bergara system is similar to the Savage system and in fact Bergara also offer Savage barrels using the same principle. Several manufacturers offer pre-fit barrels but most require final head-spacing in the lathe a skilled job. With Bergara, instead of the gunsmith fitting the barrel using a lathe to headspace, Bergara use a lock-nut like the Savage so all we need now is a go gauge and a barrel-vice. OK dont get too excited. I can already see one or two drawbacks for the DIY shooter who thinks he can save a bob or two here. Firstly, proofing. The Bergara barrel comes ready proofed and your Remington action will also be proofed but, when you screw the two together, is further proofing required? Certainly, if you eventually sell on the rifle, it should really be proofed and, for your own safety and peace of mind, proofing is, in my opinion, a good idea. Job done in not much longer than it took you to read this article! Well OK, we still need to proof it... Secondly, although most shooters who are capable of handloading should have the skill and common sense to do the work, removing a Remington factory barrel is no easy task and a proper barrel-vice and wrench are required. Even then, you could struggle! Then,

Bergara & their new... No Gunsmithing Barrels...

you need to screw-on the replacement Bergara to the required torque and headspace it. Again, not really a job for the novice. A decent barrel-vice (this one was supplied by Fox Firearms) is essential even then we may have to resort to more drastic measures to get the factory barrel off It may be better therefore to get your favourite gunsmith to do the job, for which he will of course make a small charge, plus the cost of proof but, well worth it for peace of mind alone. However, it should almost be a while you wait job no excuse for being without your rifle for six months! With that out of the way, lets get on with the job of replacing our shot-out 308 Remmy barrel with a new Bergara in 6.5x47 Lapua. My 6.5x47 Bergara is a stainless-steel un-fluted example with a heavy-ish profile very similar to the factory barrel on the Remmy. Overall length is 24 inches, tapering from 1.25 inches at the breech to 0.875 inches at the muzzle - which is already threaded for a moderator/muzzle-brake. Removing the Remmy barrel was a bit of a pain but eventually - by using a technique well known to most gunsmiths - it freed-off. Warning be sure to make a small witness mark on the action and recoil-lug so that you can position the lug in exactly the right place when we come to fit the new barrel. There were traces of rust and glue on the Remington barrel-tenon and therefore in the action-threads, so the first job is a good clean up. This is a tedious process but needs to be done with a dental pick or similar. When we are happy that all the threads are clean, make sure there are no burrs where the scopemount screw-holes are drilled through the front action-ring. A small burr could cause our new barrelthreads to gall or even seize when we are screwing it into the action maybe with catastrophic results! Now we must apply grease to the action and barrelthreads. This joint is of course subjected to quite high temperatures so make sure you use a suitable grease.

Job done in not much longer than it took you to read this article! Well OK, we still need to proof it...

The existing Remington c/w 308 barrel, our new 6.5x47 Bergara, the barrel lock-nut and two gauges go and no go



Bergara & their new... No Gunsmithing Barrels...

Dont overdo it with the grease or it will accumulate inside the action near the lugs its a pain to remove. Now, slide the recoil-lug onto the tenon-thread (noting the witness mark) and carefully screw on the action. STOP if any sign of binding occurs remove the action and clean the action threads again. With the barrel snugged up, you can clamp the barrel in your barrel-vice. Now, insert the go gauge into the chamber as you would a cartridge and gently close the bolt. (The bolt should be free of the spring, firing-pin and bolt-face ejector pin) If it wont close, back off the barrel a little until it will close. If the bolt closes, screw in the barrel a little more until you can feel it up against the go gauge. If we were to lockup the barrel-nut at this point, we would have zero headspace. We therefore need to back off slightly. Now, with recoil-lug and action witness mark aligned, fit your action-wrench to the front-ring of the action, carefully locating the recoil-lug in the recess in the action wrench. Remove the go gauge and apply a strap wrench to the barrel-nut and nip up the barrel. Nip up? A bit vague that I admit but its one of those things that comes from practice and experience. Id like to be able to quote torque figures but would it really help? Now, insert the go gauge. If the bolt closes, eject it and slip in the no go gauge. If the bolt wont close, we are pretty well spot on for our headspace. If it closes on the no go gauge, then we need to screw in the barrel a little more. Its trial & error really - as the headspace changes as you do up the barrel-nut but, not too difficult and after a few attempts, I had the nut tightened and the gauges indicating correct headspace. Before you remove the wrenches and congratulate yourself, a final check that the witness marks are exactly aligned.

Bergara & their new... No Gunsmithing Barrels... A lot to learn I had never even seen a barrel being chambered and fitted before, never mind done the work myself. Im a materials engineer, competent tweaker, stock twiddler and mechanic but, not having had access to a lathe since school, never a machinist. I was warned what clothing to wear on THE DAY as cutting-oil may well be erupting generously upon chambering!
The first task to be handled was a few measurements of stock and barrel to decide if we were to shorten the blank at all to make sure the minimum amount of stock inletting was needed, although this stock was already profiled to accept a similar barrel. I was going to stick at 26 inches as you can normally shorten later but as this blank was fluted, there were only a couple of inches spare at the muzzle to trim off. We needed to plan in advance if anything was to be taken off at the chamber end but I decided to stay at 26 inches. Weight would not be an issue but velocity at long range is never to be ignored. Next step was to remove the existing barrel they dont shift easily but eventually it came off and was consigned to the scrap-bin! As most gunsmiths agree, the initial `clocking` of the barrel blank when inserted through the lathe headstock is of paramount importance. At both ends of the headstock, dial test indicators (DTIs) are used to centralise the bore - not the external profile of the barrel - to ensure absolute concentricity to within one-tenth of a thou. Bores are never concentric to the outside profile and neither is the bore itself completely true or straight. Therefore, this operation can be quick or slow depending on each particular barrel but I was assured by Vince, who was patiently adjusting the spider chuck in 0.0001 inch increments, that mine was pretty good.

The Bergara came with a pre-threaded muzzle a useful saving.

Having done it the easy way, now well do it the hard way! Target Shooter writer Chris Parkin was talking to me recently about re-barrelling his 243 Remington stalking rifle with a new fluted Bergara. He was asking that many questions that I finally said Why not come and do it yourself? Now Chris didnt need asking twice and a week or so later we were in the workshop with Chriss new barrel spinning in the lathe but Ill let Chris take up the story...
Originally, it was a stalking and foxing rifle but I think when this project is done, the role of this gun will change slightly. I bought a 6mm/243 Bergara barrel from Fox Firearms and chose to re-define the build of this rifle somewhat. It had served well for three years and had only cost me 250 so owed me very little but, the factory barrel was now shot out. It was a sporter barrelled Remington 700 CDL with a detachable magazine but it was going to morph into something a little more competition - or at least long range vermin - orientated. Up to now, a McMillan stock had been sourced and that, plus a Jewel trigger, Accuracy International compatible bottom metal/magazine system, fully bedded, was going to support the Remington varmint profile 26 inch Bergara barrel. Chambered in 243 Win. again but this time with an 8 inch twist rate, it stood to be more suitable for the 105-107gr match bullets. It is often interesting to see if deliberately fast twist rates

We only have a couple of millimetres to stop the lathe before the threading tool crashes into the barrel shoulder! are still able to handle the lighter vermin loads without premature failure of the lighter expanding bullets - I find it can indicate the internal finishing quality of the barrel. The gun was no longer to be a stalker but a true varmint/target rifle and would hopefully be accurate, I certainly hoped for better than the `factory` format.

The whole job has taken me about an hour and there we have it a new stainless-steel barrel fitted for under 400!

This is an economy project! At this point we should perhaps break to explain the economics of re-barrelling a rifle. Vince has all this gear and does it purely for fun - but only on his own guns and his projects for the magazine and, as he has oodles of time to spare, has no worries about doing



Bergara & their new... No Gunsmithing Barrels...

this job in slow motion, taking the ultimate care and attention to detail in all machining stages, never needing to cut corners to match the time/money criteria laid down by professional gunsmiths. He explained to me how the time and hence fee charged by various gunsmiths often varies widely, purely down to some of this balance and one other quite surprising facts including the action being re-barrelled. Much as he tried to avoid the issue (I know Vince loves Remingtons for the way they are the access route for many, including me, into this sport of ours) but, as the consummate precision shooter, engineer and machinist, he winces at the thought of working with one. Had it been a BAT or Stolle, Im sure his eyes would have glazed over and I now know partly why. I LOVE Remington 700s, at 50 years old this year they are the granddaddy of nearly all modern precision rifles with their footprints and design ethos but, they are as individual as women in that no two are exactly the same - and in the same way, individually unique and challenging if a precision job is to result.

minus tolerance on it but these are all unique. I have renewed respect and understanding for those who do this job day in and day out and, if the same machining care and attention is given to both actions during a rebarrel job, the Remington WILL take longer, if done to the same standard. Anyway, from back in September, the precise numbers of threads per inch and tenon diameter evade me but the barrel tenon (the section that screws into the action) is threaded and has a shoulder cut into it that will meet the face of the closed bolt with a few thousands of an inch to spare. Being a Remington, the face of the barrel, before chambering, needs to incorporate a bolt nose recess (part of the iconic `three rings of steel`) and allowance must also be made for the thickness of the recoil lug, in this case a precision ground custom stainless-steel one from Brownells. Machining techniques and styles are often personalised with experience but, there are certain unbreakable rules associated with thread pitches, angles and feed-rates for standards as near as perfect to be achieved. Vince had a few well thumbed, beautifully oil and fingerprint stained `bibles` of equipment settings and records of previously worked-on actions to ensure correct specifications for subsequent barrels. He has the time to be confident in his exclusion of all considered variables and if this means slowing down the work rate, so be it. So, we now have a threaded barrel that fits the action and mates to the bolt with the correct bolt-nose clearance - the next stage is to cut the chamber. This is where real patience comes in, as we were not using a roughing-reamer to rip out 95% the chamber but a finishing reamer that must be driven more carefully to maintain the finish and of course, not destroy this precision tool. As most of Vinces reamers are tight-neck or wildcats of some description, we had to borrow our standard 243 reamer from Osprey Rifles. The reamer is attached to the tailstock of the lathe via a floating reamer-holder that allows the tail of the tool to position itself precisely to the last nth degree whilst it is guided from its tip by a pilot - carefully selected

Bergara & their new... No Gunsmithing Barrels...

Under Vinces guidance, I took it very slowly and eventually I was able to feel how the reamer was cutting. During machining, the swarf produced is a good sign to the machinist of machining quality, if he can speed up or slow down the feedrates and is also a good indicator of the barrel steel quality and consistency. Checking headspace with the go gauge

STOP! Coming to the end of the chamber reaming process, we need to start checking where we need to STOP, i.e. set our headspace or in simplistic terms, the size of the chamber, relative to the shoulder and bolt-face. To do this we use `go` and `no-go` gauges, which are specific to our cartridge.
Basically, we want to continue cutting until when the barrel, recoil-lug and action are screwed tightly together, the bolt will close on the `go` gauge but not with the `no-go`. It sounds simple but you have to anticipate the amount that the barrel will nip up into the action when fully tightened so how many `thou` to leave spare to take this into account as there is only a few thou. difference in the two gauges. Again, when working with a custom action, the nip up will be negligible but with a factory action it can be significant. This is a critical stage as, if you go too deep, there is only one cure, that is to re-cut the barrel shoulder and trim a bit off the tenon which means adjusting the bolt-nose clearance and is undesirable in terms of both time and physically, metal that has been removed cannot be glued back on. I doubt you will ever find a gunsmith who wants to be disturbed to any extent during these processes, all critical to 0.001 inches, never mind explaining it and teaching it along the way and, bless Vinces patience, I buggered it up! Vince is a true gent and basically returned back to the start to tweak a few details but eventually everything was perfect, a job we were both technically happy with - concentric chamber, perfect headspace and thus complete at the action/chamber end of the barrel. To finish the job, we removed the blank and turned it all round so that after once more re-clocking

Job done the recess is peculiar to Remington their third ring of steel from a set that will closely and snugly slide into the rifling. This guides the reamer accurately along the bore centreline and hopefully, we end up with a chamber with negligible run-out. At this point we also fitted the muzzle-flush nozzle to the muzzle end of the barrel (not yet finished or crowned). This will drive a pressurised stream of cutting fluid back towards the reamer and ensure that cutting was well lubricated and all swarf flushed back along the flutes of the reamer to exit the barrel at the breech end. This prevents any swarf accumulating in the reamer flutes and scoring of the chamber. About to feed in the reamer. Once cutting starts we will increase the flushing oil pressure The reamer is driven into the bore extremely slowly and smoothly and regularly withdrawn completely to inspect it and the chamber and ensure the flutes were clean with no build-up of metal on the cutting edge. Now, during this withdrawal and re-insertion of the reamer, the cutting fluid pump must be turned off and on - with careful timing otherwise it can have a tendency to spray everywhere...!

A love/hate relationship If you are working on a 1000 BAT action or something similar, the significant measurements, to within one ten thousandth of an inch, are all carefully laid down in the technical specification of the action - consistent from one action to its brother three years from now. The action-face is square to the bolt raceway which is central to the barrel-threads exactly as it should be! When working with a factory rifle, such as the common old Remington 700 used here, all the measurements to do with the thread on the barrel tenon, bolt nose clearance and headspacing of the cartridge must be done after taking careful measurements off the actual action being used some are good and some are not so good! With the threading/chambering job on the BAT or Stolle - you dont even need to have the action in the room.
With a Remmy (much as I adore them) the action is continually measured and offered up to its barrelthread to check fit and tolerances at all stages. I know any factory-made mechanical component has a plus or



Bergara & their new... No Gunsmithing Barrels...

at both ends of the headstock, the muzzle thread could be cut for a moderator or muzzle brake and finally crowned. I went for a recessed crown due to this being a predominantly sporting rifle. What the Proof House does in engineering terms is to dance a very fine line between `non-destructive` and `destructive` testing. Well my gun never got this far as it was returned un-proofed after the trigger blade (thankfully I fitted a scrap bin item for this trip) was mysteriously snapped-off somewhere along its otherwise comfortably undamaged journey to Birmingham and back. It was fitted with another trigger and sent back to proof and two months after its construction, it returned, this time also needing re-crowning as someone had now managed to ding the crown but at least it was stamped with proof marks. A quick trip through the milling machine to relieve the stocks barrel-channel and make room for the larger recoil-lug and then a full bedding job with pillars and Devcon finally had it ready to shoot.

Every barrel will have its own personal diet and this one was no different. I started out using Lapua brass with CCI BR primers with Hodgdon H4350 powder driving 87gr Hornady V-max bullets. I thought this choice a perfect start for its longer-range varminting role and H4350 is a bit of a favourite of mine. I had acceptable accuracy at sub 1 MOA at 100 yards but felt this gun should be capable of more and went through 70 and 75gr V-max along with their 105 A-max cousins. Powders both faster and slower were tried, Viht N140, N150 and N160 showed no gain. Frustration aside, a change of tack to Sierra bullets paid dividends, the 70gr Blitzkings, 100gr soft points and most importantly, the 107gr Matchkings were now dipping consistently below the half-inch mark, the 70s preferring H4350 and the 107s fairly characteristically liking H4831sc. For a bit of McQueens or tactical shooting, of which I am a fan, the 107s deserved further tweaking and seating depth alterations although not critical, did pay dividends. At five thou. off the rifling, I was comfortably into the sub half-inch zone consistently with forays well below MOA. Remember, this is not a heavy target competition gun with a custom or even blueprinted action, it is a plain Jane Remmy and, even with make up, still not terribly attractive but very serviceable and inexpensive. After running in the barrel, I have found the honed internal finish promised by Bergara has led to little

fouling and very easy cleaning, so much so it has been a good indicator of which powders are burning cleanly and efficiently within its 26 inch finished length. The 8 inch twist certainly had no problems stabilising the 107s and I might even be tempted to push my luck with some 115gr DTACs. Testament to its clean buttoned bore, the 55gr Blitzkings, which I do find a little tougher than the 58gr V-max, were holding together well in excess of 3900fps with no blow ups or close range fragmentation. The twist rate also perhaps led to slightly higher than expected velocities although this is possibly attributable to a large number of other factors but was not accompanied by any unwanted pressure signs. Certainly with the 100-107gr bullets, I was 2 grains below accepted charge weights and still exceeding the expected velocities by over 50fps. For the odd deerstalking trip, this gun may get used on Roe, though Im not sure I can be bothered to reload as the Prvi Partisan (PPU) 100gr soft point ammunition was consistently MOA capable.

Bergara & their new... No Gunsmithing Barrels...

Thanks to: Vince, Fox Firearms www.foxfirearmsuk. com for the Bergara barrel and proofing assistance, 0161-4308274. Stuart Anselm of Osprey Rifles www. 0161-408-3555 for the loan of the 243 reamer and the second proofing adventure. Henry Krank for Sierra bullets and PPU ammunition, 0113-256-9163. Hannams Reloading for CCI, Lapua, Hornady and Vihtavouri products, 01977-681639.

The third option... But what if you dont have a Remington or a Savage can we still do a pre-fit? Yes we can providing you have a New Zealand Barnard action either the P or S versions the S being the smaller Remington footprint version.
This is all thanks to the New Zealand based barrel maker Trueflite. Trueflite work closely with Barnard and, because the Barnards like BATs and Stolles - are made to such tight tolerances, its possible to thread and chamber a barrel to the correct headspace without having the action to work with. Whats more, Ive found the Trueflite barrels to be the equal of any out there and if you currently have a Barnard and want a new barrel in the same or a different chambering, a Trueflite pre-fit could be the way forward. Fox Firearms always carry an impressive inventory of pre-fit Trueflites and you can expect to pay around 100 on top of the price of a new match barrel for the pre-fit threading/chambering work so lets say from 350. This is an absolute bargain and, provided that Fox have the barrel you want in stock, you are looking at a very quick turnround for the new barrel.

Shooting Results As a test bench, this rifle is always being altered and fiddled about with and I certainly dont have the experience and patience that fellow writer Laurie Holland does to exhaustively test my own handloads once they are `good enough` for me - certainly in this case with field use intended. Covered in mud and dust, reliability is more important than sub MOA accuracy!

Its a dog, but its MY dog! Im very pleased with the Bergara - as you can see from the photos, the looks of a rifle are of little importance to me when function is paramount and it is only going to get knocked around in the field. It is so far untested in competition but has performed well at ranges beyond 400 yards in field-testing and has since been again butchered - this time to add the AICS bottom metal and magazine.
Shame my 260 Rem. is so bloody good, otherwise this `Light Tactical` gun as it has been christened, would show well as it can be either braked or moderated to minimise shot to shot movement during McQueens and those 107s at 3000fps are capable wind cheaters. I cant take full credit for the fitting of the barrel but this gun will always be a gun I helped build, even if I only yanked on a lever 1/16 before the cutter crashed into the chuck, I dont think I concentrated that hard on exams in the past!

A very economical barrel, bringing a shot out gun back to life.

Currently, Fox are listing 6PPC, 6.5x47, 284, 338 and a vast stock of 308 in every conceivable length and profile.



Rimfire Benchrest by Carl Boswell. Old materials - new ideas!

The world of rimfire and air rifle benchrest continues to change. As we leave 2011 behind and head into 2012 we are looking at tuning barrels by sensor rapping the barrel to help adjust tuners for the perfect shot; we are looking at computer enhanced air rifles; we are looking at combining new technologies and materials to enhance equipment and rifles, we are looking at a number of new rifle designs.
In other words, we are looking at a lot of developing ideas. Some of this will either find a niche in the sport, some may be forced upon us purely to remain competitive, while some will be left behind. Shooters will go with what they think will work, looking for that best piece of equipment they can afford to give them the edge. Where all this takes the sport is anyones guess.

Moving outside of shooting sports for a moment, there was a recent demonstration of an amazing bit of technology where we will be moving machines and controlling computer software by our thoughts in the next five years. Staggering! If this develops into a real product anything could happen! As 3D printers are also being developed as toys for children, we could even see complex designs produced in our own homes. Were we allow technology, or some types of technology, to grasp our sport is something we need to consider seriously. Technology always moves forwards and we cannot predict how it could affect shooting sports.
An Idea
With this in mind lets get back to some basic and lateral thinking and consider using some simple technology and materials. I aim this article potentially at those starting out in the sport but certainly ideas suggested here could be used by those who have been shooting the sport for years - as some of the design is innovative. The first time I heard about this idea was from the man behind it, friend and colleague Jens Lagas from Finland. In his words he had another wacky idea that he would like me to look at. Being from Finland, with wood in abundance, he wanted to build a front rest out of ....... well wood!

Now your reaction may be something similar to mine skeptical, astonished but interested. However, I ask you to bear with me a little and consider the idea as I did and see if we can answer a few questions that might be circulating your brain at this point. After looking at the first prototype Jens made, I became even more enamored by the idea. Knowing Jens for quite a while, I have faith in his skills as a designer, having spent time at university focusing on CNC machining, AutoCAD design and then progressing in his early adult life as a professional carpenter with his own business. With his background in centerfire benchrest, I knew he would come up with an interesting concept if nothing else!!

Rimfire Benchrest by Carl Boswell. Old materials - new ideas!

Interesting Premise
The premise behind Jens idea is simple, in his words:

My first choice would be thermowood. Its good looking and heat-treated near to death but this cant always be found in the nearest store, plus its not the cheapest material.

To provide everyone with a cheap pathway to participate in the sport, that could be self built with minimal tools.
The aim is a good one, enabling the a rifleman to make a usable and cheap rest, where the blood sweat and tears comes from you - as this is aimed at you making the rest with readily available parts and materials. (I dont think Jens is offering to build these en masse - basically as he has too many other things to do, such as being a teacher, sea captain, etc - yes he is something of a Renaissance man). At the point of writing - we are now entering 2012 - Jens started developing these ideas around last October - for me this is a brilliant way of finishing the year. Even more brilliant is the obvious need for something Iike this, especially in Jenss own country with shooters not presently participating in the sport but showing great interest. Breeding interest in the sport is the starting point but accessing it is another matter. The equipment we need to start in this sport costs quite a bit of cash and this can put people off. If you are setting yourself up from scratch, having nothing but a rifle, a simple but effective rest will cost anything from 250 - 650. This wooden rest will cost a great deal less at around 50 to

These are the basic tools I used 100 depending on choices of material. Standard pine or birch would probably be the cheapest but its not my first choice - saving too much doesnt always end up well. So, source and choose materials wisely!

Jens comments here on his selection of materials;
Wood is a living material and humidity changes, as well as temperature, will affect the material. This doesnt need to have negative effects on our front rest design. As long as we can handle the movements in the right direction it has nothing to do with scores and impacts on the target. We must always remember that we are using two sandbags that move and flex ten times more than a piece of wood!



Rimfire Benchrest by Carl Boswell. Old materials - new ideas!

Different Prototypes - a 3-Dimensional Mind Map

Much of the product development was a matter of trial and error. One could say that I have been heating my house so far this winter, with prototypes that didnt meet my expections. Its difficult to stop for a minute and do some thinking when you enjoy working with your hands. Rushing into solutions often means that you are going to ruin an otherwise a good piece of work. I promise you I have done just that, lots of times. The next day I would start from scratch but maybe a little bit wiser! Pictures in this article show some of the different designs and ideas that have occurred during his tour. Actually you can create a front rest in almost endless designs and using hundreds of different technical solutions, they are all equally good if it wasnt for the one thing - MONEY. Many times I lost track, I forgot what my aims were cheap and simple but functional. This experiment is probably a never-ending story, right now it looks like the final design in this article, next summer it might look totally different. I need to shoot with it a lot more to dare to say how good it is, therefore I will send a couple of them around the world so some big name shooters can give some feedback.

Rimfire Benchrest by Carl Boswell. Old materials - new ideas!

sawing it I painted the sides to prevent moisture getting in.


A few early prototypes

My second choice would be water resistant plywood. Its glued together under high pressure and not affected much by humidity. You can find it in different colours and with different surface patterns. Its easy to drill and saw and you can remove your pencil marks if you need to do corrections on your design. If its good for rifle stocks then equally it will be good for a rest! And yes, there are many other good woods, very special ones but they dont fit in with my prime purpose, cheap and simple.

The upper plate, blue coloured, is standard plywood and can be painted with all colours and is easy to design. The blue front pedestal under the bag-holder is waterresistant plywood. I used this because it leaves a good surface on the walls after drilling holes and you can also use a reamer to polish the holes to right dimensions. This pedestal is moving up and down, supported by two pillars made of delrin or aluminium.

The Final Design

As you can see the final design has quite a large footprint on the bench, creating a stable platform suitable for both rimfire and air rifle benchrest. (Whether it would be suitable for centerfire would need further testing - as Jens shoots all three sports it could be something for the future?) This is a fast rest, five centimeters of movement covers the whole rimfire benchrest target. You can adjust the speed by drilling the holes between the pivot and the crossline of the sandbag axis into different center to center lengths but this is something that will occur from the drawings and its not a issue, just a fact of trigonometry. The final model is actually a combination of different materials. The bottom plate is made of a 30mm thick plate already covered by a very hard synthetic melamine surface. These are sold mainly to be used in kitchens and places where cleaning with wet towel is necessary. Its stiff enough and pretty heavy. After

The wedge lifting the gun when pushed forwards, is pure wood, its covered with Teflon tape to get a smooth and slippery surface. The white mushroom is a special plastic (delrin). It is the heart of the rest, pushing it to the left moves the aiming point to the left and vice versa. Turning the hat gives fine tuning of height, enough to hold off a bull-size if needed.

At the moment Jens is still developing his ideas, possibly for a more complex model, beyond the basic and cheaper starter idea you see here. There are others that are considering DIY products along the same lines, reading some threads on benchrest forums. Where the research goes can only be positive, as it is just thinking in a different way. Again, as long as it works, lets use wacky ideas like this, even for a basic need like allowing easier and cheaper access to the sport. Until next time, shoot straight - using your new wooden front rest! If you would like a plan and details of how to manufacture this rest please email Jens at - In this way he can monitor interest in the design and the idea generally. I thank Jens for sharing this with us. Innovative? Absolutely!

My latest idea in the rough



Bi-pods for Tactical & Field use

By Richard Utting

Bi-pods for Tactical & Field use

by Richard Utting

Were comparing the solid Harris, the adjustable-tension, panning Versa-pod, the Atlas and a Finnish version from the military arm of SAK which also pans.
How do we choose our bi-pod? Its all about how you want recoil to come back at you. Its very personal - some like to really load-up the bipod and use the preloaded legs to manage the recoil whilst others prefer a much softer approach. These bipods offer various takes on this. The Harris is obviously very well known and the market-leader, Im sure. When I first bought a Harris I had no idea there were even other choices. The Harris is a firm bi-pod. There is no adjustable leg tension; you simply fold them down and thats your lot. The legs are stiff and they hold the rifle steady. The way the legs extend down is important to me: with the cheaper Harris models you have to lean forward from your firing position, unscrew the thumb screw, extend the leg to where you want it and then do-up the lock screw - for both legs. The legs are sprung UP into the shorter position. Now, on the more expensive models, they have notches and are sprung DOWN, longer a great improvement this is the model I will concentrate on S BRM 6-9 (Typical retail price 93).

On the Versa-pod, the legs are sprung DOWN, longer. So from your firing position, you simply unweight the rifle slightly, press the release catch and the leg springs down longer - an inch at a time. You do not need to undo, or redo, any thumbscrews and the bi-pod helps you get higher. A bi-pod design that is sprung shorter is not needed - to do that, one could simply use the weight of the rifle. What seems to make a whole lot more sense to me is some help making the bipod higher.... Anyway, in the field I personally find it very, very much easier to use. The most significant difference between the Harris and the others is that the Harris has no facility for panning. This means that when one twists the rifle, even a few degrees to one side, there is then torsion in the legs and this is bad news for clean recoil. This is why you often see shooters rocking their rifles from bipod leg to leg, unweighting one at a time to take the torsion out of the legs. This is not a problem on the range at all. In the field, for me, it is a no-can-do situation. All the other bipods here on test offer a proper range of panning. From my point of view, as an ultra long-range varminter, the need to pan quickly and smoothly without imparting torsion to the system is a must-have. The Versa-pod enables this in that you can relax a ball-joint so that side to side play is available (tilting is independent of this, with its own tension adjuster knob). This also proportionally enables up and down movement too... but also reduces the tension in the legs. 45

Bi-pods for Tactical & Field use

This means that you cannot have a free range of movement and keep totally stiff, firm, upright legs. This is fairly unpopular in my experience. I, however, have always loved this option for looser, free-recoiling support. The MIL SAK enables free movement but not at all at the expense of leg stiffness. This is extremely classy in that you get to have your cake and eat it: range of movement but not at the expense of solid legs and stability. The Harris flat out does not offer it; the Versa-pod and Atlas offer free movement but as you loosen off the tension to allow this, you also create less leg stiffness lots less with the Versa-pod and slightly less with the Atlas. I love this and the Atlas is most popular here in that it is firmer in its range of adjustments than the Versa-pod. The Versa-pod goes quickly from tight to quite loose and it can be tricky to find the sweet spot. The Atlas has quite a steady, progressive range of adjustment and this is better although I personally found the adjustment to be globally too firm. The Versa-pod does have that separate adjuster knob for cant tension, though. Top adjuster is cant alone. Bottom adjuster is all other tensions ie. panning, tilting and leg stiffness

By Richard Utting

Weve covered bi-pods for F Class on a number of occasions in the past but some surprising developments are taking place with tactical/ field bi-pods. If you think your Harris is the ultimate, read on.


Bi-pods for Tactical & Field use

By Richard Utting

Alternative feet are available for the Versa-pods and the Atlas, making them more suitable for various surfaces. The Harris and Versa-pod come as standard ready to clip on to QD studs. The Harris takes a few seconds to undo and clip on or off. The Versa-pod has an excellent system here, using a spike that the bipod can be slipped on and off instantly. This QD stud to spike adapter comes with the bipod and costs no extra. If you buy another adapter (about 26), you can use the same bipod on multiple rifles. Due to the quick-release nature of this system, removal for storage and use from vehicles etc. are a cinch. This is a classy feature and a big selling point of the Versa-pods. Obviously, different mounts are available for all the bipods here, Accuracy International, various rail mounts et al. The Atlas now offers a very similar quick-release system too but it bumps the price up significantly. The Atlass default fitment is the Picatinny rail. To use a QD stud, the stud to Picatinny rail adapter must be purchased for 20. (This is being offered for free to UK Varmint forum members by Tac-Fire/rifle-cases., the UK suppliers of Atlas kit and UK Varmint supporters). Again, buy several of these and the bipod ships from rifle to rifle easily. Im not entirely blown away by the new quick release clamp on the Atlas. I found it a little fussy to operate quickly and there are a couple of tiny springs in it that I rate to last about three uses before I drop them out - and the thing is hellish expensive. All in all, I was grumpy about the thing compared to the Versa-pod system.

So again the Harris is short on features and the Versapod and Atlas offer much more but in the case of the Atlas, at some significant extra expense. A feature that only the Atlas has is the 45 degree leg position: you can use the Atlas with the legs forward or behind vertical, at a diagonal. This is preloaded in exactly the same manner as the vertical position. The MIL SAK, at 120 offers some nice features but isnt as feature-rich as the much more expensive Atlas. You have with this bipod a unique feature though: it has a very wide, stable saddle. It stands out an inch on each side of the fore end and the difference in stability is remarkable. No chance of the rifle falling over when unattended! Yet it is not unduly bulky as I had feared before delivery. It also offers a very neat quick-release system at no extra cost - that releases the bipod at the push of a button. Again, buying multiple QRs means that you can simply clip one bipod on to multiple rifles. The QR mount is 25, about the same as the Versa-pods mounts. The bipod offers lots of pan, not preloaded or adjustable (although it can all be done up to remove any wear). This is the only bipod here, however, that has totally independent pan; it pans without any effect on leg stiffness at all.

Bi-pods for Tactical & Field use

The legs are very stiff and solid and adjust by pushing a button on the legs then sliding the leg down or up to a inchspaced notch. It has really excellent height adjustment range, almost replacing two Versa-pods. It raised my rifle from 17-25cm. The shorter Versa-pod (051) goes from 1621cm, and the longer (052) goes from 18.524.5cm. The MIL SAK looks to be brilliant value if you compare it to the price of TWO Versa-pods.... I also really like the stiffness and wide saddle, the quickrelease, the independent panning. On the Atlas I like the adjustable feel, multi-leg positions, leg extensions. The build quality is beautiful. Height adjustment range on my rifle was very impressive: 17 24cm rifle height. With the legs it is very high: 22.5 29.5cm. On the Versa-pods I like: the legs sprung longer, hugely (if a little roughly) adjustable feel from locked-up to very free and the quick-release spike. On the Harris, compared in this company, I personally favour nothing about it except the price. Yet many people like their stiffness and quick fold-up. It will certainly hold your rifle steady and is not too expensive.

By Richard Utting

The MIL SAK and the Atlas have roughly inch-spaced leg notches that are very easy to clip into without any faffing about with thumbscrews. There are little grub screws on the MIL SAK that enable you to take out any play in the leg sliders and also the sprung clamp that catches into the leg height notches. This is a very neat touch. One of my favourite features offered is the Atlas leg extensions: you can make the bipod longer in a few seconds simply by slotting-in leg extensions. They fit in like the height adjuster on NHS crutches press a little detente ball in with a bullet tip or pen, and snap in the extensions genius. At 40 you are practically saving yourself the need for another longer bipod.



Bi-pods for Tactical & Field use

By Richard Utting
You are nowadays able to buy a bi-pod that offers a range of tensions in the legs, panning and tilting, quick-release, different feet and other advanced features. Whilst the Harris will keep you on target, there are other and better options. I think it comes down to price and how you like to manage your recoil. For me, the big step up is from Harris to Versa-pod 051(short) and 052 (longer) at 123. Youre then into panning, adjustable tension for cant, adjustable tension for panning and quick release. Also in the 120 range is the excellent MIL SAK, offering over the Harris: free panning without any effect on leg tension, wide saddle stability, quickrelease and the anti-play/wear grub screws. It has the greatest range of height adjustment and this is a significant reason to purchase one over the Versapods. The step to the Atlas is diminishing returns though. It is a superlative piece of kit but at a price. The unit without the quick-release is 180. With the QR it is 240. I think the best value way to purchase it is to buy the 180 unit with the brilliant leg extensions for 40. Youve now spent 220 and got a short and a long bipod. Id rather have the leg extensions than the QR. The normal non-QR clamp isnt terribly slow to undo and if money were a factor I could certainly live with that. The Atlas has sublime build quality to it, offering over the others the diagonal leg position and a beautifully controlled range of tension adjustment, and the excellent clunk-click leg height extensions. In the field, I found the Atlas to feel basically like the Versa-pod in that it is free-moving type of bipod and the MIL SAK to be like the Harris in that it is super firm. What is much smarter on the Atlas than the Versapod, is the more nicely controlled range of tension adjustment and the extra leg angles.

Myself, I must admit that it was still a good shade too firm for me even at its loosest and I struggled to get used to that. I experimented extensively at the range and found to shoot a quarter moa I had to load it more than I would normally like. I could do it but it required too great a change in my shooting and no major benefit. This is primarily down to my being used to a Versa-pod and something that is not the fault of the bipod, merely a characteristic of it. The range of height adjustment is certainly superior, especially as the leg extension kit is so well thought out. It is in many ways a better thought-out bipod but it equates to double the price. The surprise was the previously unknown MIL SAK which was very popular with my testing group. My own personal preference was that everything here was too firm apart from the Versa-pods; only with them could I get my recoil absolutely straight on rough ground. They dont have the best range of height adjustment and they are too sloppy by far at their loosest, easily letting the rifle fall over sideways (MOST unpopular with shooters!) Yet they offer a massive range of adjustment and fluidity and, I can ALWAYS get them set up so that the recoil does as I tell it. The notched and sprung-longer legs are by far the easiest to adjust. The QR system is superb. I think most people prefer a much firmer set up than me and will think the MIL SAK to be wonderful value for money and the Atlas to simply be the Holy Grail of bipods. Thanks to all the suppliers who helped with kit for this unbiased review.

Wind reading & plotting courses

Russell hasbeen the European Champion three times andis the current British Champion winning it three times in the last four years he hasalso helped to coach the GB Team to Gold inlast years European championships.

with world champion F Class shooter

Russell Simmonds

The Group - Learn to read the wind, spot the changes and you may achieve groups like this! Learn to plot your shots and make a perfect record of what the wind is really doing!

These one day courses are held at Bisley UK and will include; Wind and its effects on the bullets - Wind flags and how to use them - Topography of the range and its effects - Mirage and how to make use of it - Plotting sheets and how to use them correctly and more... All clients will have to have their own firearm plus 90 rounds and be a member of the NRA.
For more information and booking availability please visit

Learn to read, adjust and understand mirage effects! Russell reading the wind at the European Championships enabling the GB Team to achieve Gold medals...

The Choice of Champions


The highest quality precision range of hunting, stalking, tactical & target scopes available for shooters worldwide.
Tactical Turrets

The Harris and Versa-pods are available from; The Atlas range, plus all manner of accessories, is available from TacFire The MIL SAK bipod is available from Fox Firearms


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Wind reading & plotting courses

Russell hasbeen the European Champion three times andis the current British Champion winning it three times in the last four years he hasalso helped to coach the GB Team to Gold inlast years European championships.

with world champion F Class shooter

Russell Simmonds

The Group - Learn to read the wind, spot the changes and you may achieve groups like this! Learn to plot your shots and make a perfect record of what the wind is really doing!

These one day courses are held at Bisley UK and will include; Wind and its effects on the bullets - Wind flags and how to use them - Topography of the range and its effects - Mirage and how to make use of it - Plotting sheets and how to use them correctly and more... All clients will have to have their own firearm plus 90 rounds and be a member of the NRA.
For more information and booking availability please visit

Learn to read, adjust and understand mirage effects! Russell reading the wind at the European Championships enabling the GB Team to achieve Gold medals...



Browning Buckmark Long Pistol

Hannams Reloading Ltd

Tel 01977 681639

The Reloading Specialists

Fax 01977 684272

Peckfield Lodge, Great North Road, Leeds, LS25 5LJ email:

New Hybrid Target Bullets Now In

The Hybrid design blends the best of both worlds by incorporating two different shapes within the nose. As the bearing surface ends, a tangent ogive begins. This tangent section of the ogive results in the bullet being much less sensitive to seating depth. As you move forward along the tangent portion, the shape changes into a secant ogive (the shape used on the VLD bullets). This shape is very efficient in the wind and is why the VLD became so popular. The key to all this is not just the combining of these two shapes but also the partnership between the ballistician and the bullet maker. Bergers Chief Ba llistician, Bryan Litz uses his expertise to combine the appropriate shapes for optimum performance.

Hybrid Bullet Design

Buckmark Long Pistol with Lightweight Barrel 714.00 and Fox Red Dot sight 40.00.

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Tel. 01722 782432

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.284 180 gr Match Hybrid Target

2840 .308 155 gr Match Hybrid Target 3042 .308 168 gr Match Hybrid Target 30425 . 308 185 gr Match Hybrid Target 30424 .308 200 gr Match Hybrid Target 30427. 308 215 gr Match Hybrid Target 30423 .308 230 gr Match Hybrid Target 30428

New from Lapua

The ScenarL Bullet

This new generation of match bullets has been dubbed the ScenarL, and is a fitting successor to the Scenar family. Sharing the same aerodynamic profiles as their predecessors, the ScenarL are the perfect choice for any type of competitive shooting. Based on the Scenars proven track record of competitive successes, Lapuas new ScenarL will deliver the ultimate performance in the most demanding competitive environments every time. Precision craftsmanship, painstaking quality control standards, state of the art manufacturing technology and advanced ballistic design all combine to make the new ScenarL the very best of the best!

Available in: .224 69gr , .224 77gr,

6mm 90gr,

6mm 105gr

Cases Lapua cases are the best in the world. All the cases are strong and uniformly precise, all Lapua cases are manufactured to be reloaded, again and again. Unlike other brands, flash holes are drilled to ensure no sprue interferes with ignition. Available in : 222 Rem Match, .223 Rem Match 22-250 Rem 6 mm B.R. Norma .220 Russian .243 Win .260 Rem 6,5 x 55 SE 6.5 x 47 6.5 Grendel 6,5-284 .30-06 Springfield 7,62 x 39 7,62 x 53R (7,62 x 54 Russian) 308 Win (7,62 x 51) 308 Win Palma .338 Lapua Magnum 9,3 x 62 .32 S&W Long 9 mm Luger (9 x 19)

Lapua Cases



From the Bench

With Vince Bottomly

New carbon-fibre stocks

Who hasnt lusted after one of Bob Scovilles beautiful carbon-fibre stocks? Yes, they are expensive and of course ordering one from the States is more tricky than ever - Im not sure Bob will even ship outside the US now. But, look at these pictures below...

Round three of our 600 yard benchrest winter series took place on January 21st in not only freezing conditions but it was also blowing and absolute gale there would be no small groups today.. In fact, the best we could hope to do was stay on paper and avoid a penalty for shots off the target. Many fell victim to penalties, which add six-inches to the group size for every lost shot. It would be one of those days where many Light Gun competitors were again humiliated by the Factory Sporter guys but at least Bruce Lenton won Light Gun Class with a Light Gun but second and third places were taken by Factory Sporter shooters.

Results: Light Gun: 1st Bruce Lenton TGP 6BR Winchester 2nd Alan Seagrave 308 Sako TRG 3rd Darrel Evans 6.5x47 Accuracy Intl. Small group: Sean Broxham Factory Sporter: 1st Alan Seagrave 308 Sako TRG 2nd Darrel Evans 6.5x47 Accuracy Intl. 3rd Sean Broxham 6.5-284 Savage

8.963 in. (av. of four 5-shot groups) 9.637 9.925 3.886 inches 9.637 in. 9.925 10.271

New stuff
At Diggle, we are always shooting slightly up-hill and the standard front-rest levelling-screws are never long enough to get on target. We see some elaborate contraptions to overcome this problem from lumps of wood to purpose- made extensions. Yes, we (including the F Class shooters) would all like some longer screws (unless you have a SEB NEO rest that is) but who sells em? Well, Spud sells em. Spuds legs are made from best quality stainless steel shafts with aluminium tops. Various thread types are available to suit any rest and are all made to order. The legs are six-inches in length allowing for plenty of height options, they are pointed with two types of point available - sharp or rounded. For knocking into a concrete bench top, go for pointed. Dont forget to tell Spud which you want if you dont the soft point will be sent. (Above photograph)

The legs cost a very reasonable 35-00 per set posted to any UK mainland address. E-mail Spud at or visit Spuds new website at

These beautiful carbon-fibre stocks are made in Italy by Attilio Serrone and, at the moment I have few details other than the pictures. Hopefully Attilio will keep us informed. If you want to e-mail Attilio its



This SMALLBORE Business

This SMALLBORE Business

I trained hard and continuously, teaching myself to shoot well and I often wondered just what was this going to take. (For the fullbore prone shooters out there, try standing up with a 300m free rifle and see what I mean!) Yet, even a high prone standard is full of the intricacies that produce high scores, though far less, (FAR less) than what it takes to shoot well standing.

This Smallbore Business

by Don Brooke

Practice makes perfect?


My 13 year old daughter Megan is a really good figure skater, progressing through the required levels at an enormous rate. The amount of training that is needed makes rifle shooting look silly, with the continuous repetition of the elements and a huge physical involvement to get things correct. The parallel for shooting, particularly for 3-position shooting, lies in the ability to get things right and remain absolutely still with the only movement being a miniscule muscular response with the trigger finger. This too is a challenge! The comparison factor here is probably an overkill but, the skater and the shooter have a great deal of similarity with the exception that the shooter is still, whilst the skater is belting along at around 60 plus km/ hour then throwing in a really complicated manoeuvre such as a double-axel jump, or a really rapid spin such as a flying camel!

A difficult skating manoeuvre... Have I lost you lot reading this?..... Probably, so forgive the comparison and lets revert to the heading of Practice makes perfect and never have I seen a better example to write about! So many shooters fall into the trap of expending huge amounts of ammunition to gain even that elusive single point, particularly in position shooting as I mentioned above. Say for instance we are shooting standing smallbore and chasing a personal best, (irrespective of what that level is) and suddenly find that this is a daunting prospect. I know what it took for my own standing shooting to break into a level exceeding 350 points and even then, there was a long history behind the standard as I chased score levels above 320 then 330 points. (I hate even thinking about that as I write this!) I sat in total awe of these blokes who shot scores in the high 370s continuously, and often came home dejected at yet another 348! (The amount of these I shot in my early years was astounding and, this was largely due to that at the time, my standard was as good as anything in Australia and was stuck on figuring it all out on my own.)

Yet again we are comparing...

The heading of this article needs an understanding - please note the BOLD typed clarification really is entering the realm of Mind Stuff I often write about and the attitude that encompasses this. You see, perfected training really is a matter of attitude and awareness that, even though you are elbows deep in fired cases, the progress is just not happening. (See photo #2 and me with tongue in cheek) Lots of shooting is not the answer...

Last month, I referred to this statement a couple of times and rarely has a truer word been said. This is exampled in all precision sports and one of the best example of other sports lies in Figure Skating.

Can you give me an idea - if you are suddenly confronted with a similar situation that this photograph depicts - of what are you working on here? (Please note, this is a prone photograph as well!) Just what did you achieve apart from wearing



This SMALLBORE Business

out a perfectly good barrel in the process? Can you indicate even the slightest improvement? DO NOT tell me your endurance is improved either! Where is the proof of that if you are still shooting loose groups, or even happy with a 50.5 at 600 yards when there is no score out there that a 50.10 (fullbore obviously) would not feel better? I vividly remember the World Championships for smallbore in Suhl DDR in 1986 where FIVE small bore shooters shot full 600 point scores in the English Match prone. Well wait on this a bit and consider there were two shooters who shot 600 points and did not win a medal!!! (How is them little apples?) An Illustration that I often use in my coaching seminars (#3) is the That is also one of the principle Evolution Cycle - an interesting illustration.Evolution cycle read in a examples of why the ISSF clockwise direction. had to change the targets for 50m small bore. That plus yet another who did not make the final with a 598! The new standard is set and the shooters accelerate to high levels generally. The ISSF in their wisdom make an obvious decision to reduce the target dimensions to split the competitors, which once again results in a clockwise movement of the cycle. (To circle #3) This then allows more research into accuracy factors, where sometimes huge advances come in equipment, gear, ammunition factors and mental techniques to develop the standard now required to go the full revolution of the cycle and so start the never ending quest for perfection, yet again. So, here we are again, at the very heading of this article and, please forgive me for waxing lyrical Viewed with the title on the top, (see diagram above) so much but, in my defence, the examples were we see the number one circle where the positions warranted this time. development and mental performance techniques

For the sake of brevity here, my examples will be for prone shooting and once more I ask of you -how much dry fire do you partake in? Dry fire is the key and so much less expensive that wearing out a barrel with a fullbore rifle as depicted in the photograph. So how do you gain perfection without a result? Hmmmmmm... I see the point! Right - the answer to this is once again with your ability to reproduce the method and within this is the example of my figure skater above and, the word reproduction. In dry fire, each single aspect of the reproduction of the method is systematically put together to bring about the same routine. Every thing you do can be repeated and the dry fire method is the best way to reduce the expense but ensure that the process can be isolated and repeated. There is a huge advantage in dry fire for small bore because the recoil of the 22 is hardly going to affect you, is it? As you climb the ladder to perfection, you will find that even minimal recoil becomes a factor that now needs watching. This will become the training time when the rifle must be fired. This is also the time when a champion figure skater must resort to assembling the method without being on the ice. This is called the off-ice routines and a figure skater knows this to be extremely important, particularly when trying to place some of the very high level jumps within reach. In my own experience, I always (yes 100% always!) did not fail to watch the recoil of my rifle after the shot was released. There are two extremely important reasons for this.

This SMALLBORE Business

How many times have I written in this excellent online magazine, if your mind was anywhere else at shot release, you are not watching the rifle sights. I know that if the shot I just fired has a recoil factor that resulted in very little movement, BUT RETURNED TO EXACT AIM... then that shot was correctly fired. This applies to all rifle sports and disciplines. On my fullbore hobby horse again, this is the one factor that I have continually found to be at fault in 90% of full bore shooters. (NB) Only prone shooters! Even working with the Australian Palma Team, the number of top level shooters who cannot follow a shot through is astounding.

So right is my question, have you ever wondered why 90% of the matches are won by 10% of the shooters?
Learning to dry fire is just the same challenge as learning to shoot. There are many details in the sport, even for prone shooting which is the simplest form. The details of your dry fire method need to be quietly disassembled into each and every single facet, and then made to develop into an overall picture. I have found that when I opened my mind and learned how to write down details, THIS was when I achieved! I also found that dry fire, while being the easiest to find time to do, resulted in the method I developed that was so successful, all over the world of small bore. You see shooting is a mind sport and one of the most difficult questions I have ever had to answer is.

So when the standard reaches perfection, why then does it not convey the fact that the practice needs to be perfect as well?

Just how do you grow a brain?

The answer is in the method. Brooksie...

starts a clockwise motion. We arrive a #2 circle where new world records and skills levels are a result. ( An example of the Worlds in Suhl DDR, outlined above, is a dramatic example!)

I now ask the question, do you have the attitude to put perfection in place? Do you have the mental strength to do this, or even recognise the difference?

1. The recoil of the rifle, its behaviour, shape and resettle is the final indication that the shot just fired was correct. 2. The second and extremely important factor, is that you were watching the sights! 63



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Target Shooter has its own huge stand at the show Hope to see you there!
Last year, the Target Shooter stand was situated in the Rifle Focus Hall, one of the six massive halls that make up the show. The stand will be manned by enthusiasts from a wide range of different shooting associations and clubs so you can catch up with whats new and whats happening during the coming year. Last year we were surrounded by some of the best in accurate British rifles Riflecraft, Brock & Norris, Wentworth Sporting, Desert Tactical Arms, Accuracy International, Osprey Rifles, Fox Firearms etc, etc, and theyll all be back for the next show. To be honest, Ive never seen such an array of tasty kit all together under one roof at any shooting show! Theres even more for this year with The Dolphin Gun Company & HPS Rifles joining the throng. Plus The Tunnel, Low Mill Ranges, Simon West, Allwoods, Suffolk Rifle, Global Rifle, Aim Field Sports, Bold Action and March Scopes will also have stands in the special Rifle Focus Hall.


Scopes & Optics

The show has one of the largest selection of scopes that can be found anywhere; Nightforce, Sightron, March, Leupold, Minox, Carl Zeiss, Swarovski, Leaper, Newpro Vortex, Kahles etc. A great opportunity to catch up on new innovations and technical updates.

The British Shooting Show.

Feb 25th & 26th 2012
Now Even Bigger and even more comprehensive.
Although we must be positive at the start of any New Year, there is little to look forward to, target-shooting wise, with several months of cold, wet weather to contend with. However, its Show Time folks! We have the January Shot Show in Las Vegas and the European version IWA in Germany, in March. Although these shows are fabulous, they are trade only, and hardly on the doorstep. But, its not all bad British shooters can look forward to the

Information on shooting opportunities with the BASC

For 2012, there will be an international flavour with stand-holders from Europe, the USA, Pakistan and Columbia and the BASC will have a huge pavilion with plenty of information and help for new and experienced shooters alike.

Save s; check out all the special Show Only offers

Many clubs also had stands as did a host of firearms retailers and it was a great place to shop for a new or second-hand rifle with an enormous array to choose from even bought myself a rifle. Plus of course, a great opportunity to pick up some supplies and reloading kit at bargain prices. A new company, as far as the UK market is concerned is Reloading International, which are coming all the way from the USA. The company specialises in direct, low cost supply of major brand reloading consumables and look like theyll be well worth checking out. Throughout the rest of the show youll find a huge selection of the UKs major gun distributors and specialist suppliers including, Edgar Brothers, Browning & Winchester, Viking Arms, Highland Outdoors, Norman Clark, Open Season with Mauser, Blaser and PGW, Extreme Performance and an impressive selection of retailers.

Free prize draw; Win a fantastic Ruger Hawkeye Predator rifle package worth a whopping 1848 Ruger Hawkeye Predator rifle, Plus Brugger & Thomet moderator, Plus rifle scope, Plus Vanguard rifle sling. See this magnificent prize on the Viking Arms stand and fill in a FREE entry coupon its as easy as that!
From a logistics point of view, Newark is centrally located, parking and access good and has a great avenue of food vendors offering good grub at fair prices. I had freshly cooked fish and chips and it was as good as any Ive tasted. There is also a proper sitdown restaurant offering meals all day, again at very fair prices. If you went last year, I know you will be going again this year. If you missed it last year make sure you come along and say hello this time.

Target Shooter stand at the show. Come and visit us...

British Shooting Show at Newark Showground and its certainly not trade only in fact its now the largest Public Shooting & Gun Show in Europe! Now in its fourth year, the Show has really established itself, thanks to the tireless work of organiser John Bertrand, who really has done his homework to bring us a Show that shooters can be proud of.

Advance ticket sales from;




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Obituary Frank Cook MP 1936 - 2012



Reclassify .22 pistols as Section 1

Responsible department: Home Office
The Home Office should reclassify .22 calibre pistols as Section 1 firearms. This would permit legitimate sportsmen & sportswomen to practice competitive target shooting sports as require by many disciplines, including Olympic qualification, in this country. There would be no risk to the public, sporting firearms are not linked to criminal activity.

Number of signatures: - 9,675 Created by - David Charles Derrick Closing - 08/08/2012


Calling all Target Shooter readers this petition has been around for some time
British shooters have few friends in Parliament and I am saddened to report the death of one of them - Frank Cook, who died on Wednesday 11th January 2012 after suffering from lung cancer. Frank was a staunch supporter of the Sportsmans Association and spoke at our rallies in Trafalgar Square. His views on the handgun ban ruined his political career, nevertheless Frank tried to change the mind of the Labour Government. A man of principal and a friend of Richard Malbon and Albie Fox, I invited him on two occasions to the BSSC annual luncheon, alas, on both occasions Frank was out of the Country. Frank always insisted that he was a simple left-winger, as strong on defence as he was against nuclear war, there was nothing predictable about this veteran maverick. During the 27 years that he represented Stockton North on Teesside, his views on his specialist subject were well defined, but also changeable. Our sympathy goes out to his family & friends

now and I cant believe it only has 9000 signatures. 57,000 of us lost - no, make that had them confiscated unjustly our legally-owned pistols so please log onto the site by clicking Sign this petition and lets show some strength!

Lets see your 1911!

NASRPC Irish International Open Invitation

The National Association of Sporting Rifle & Pistol Clubs represents the vast majority of target shooting clubs and target shooters in Ireland and is a member of the International Gallery Rifle Federation. In July 2012 we will host the Irish leg of the IGRF series as part of the NASRPC Irish International Open and wish to invite all international gallery rifle competitors to take part. Best regards, Mark Maguire Hon. Treasurer - National Association of Sporting Rifle & Pistol Clubs Tel 00353 87 2404769 Email - Website - In response to my Lets see your 1911 in Decembers issue, Andrew Brice sent us this pic. Love the grips have a look at Valmont Firearms for a great selection of 1911 goodies in the UK.




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Ray Ward Introduces Leica Binoculars and Range Finders



Ray Ward, purveyor of shotguns, rifles and shooting accessories, is delighted to announce the arrival of top-of-the range binoculars and rangefinders from Leica, now in-store. The recent (Left Right: Ultravid HD 8x42, The Rangemaster CRF 1600) addition of the Leica range completes Ray Wards offering as the go to British luxury brand for shooting equipment, clothing and accessories
Ray Ward, 12A Cadogan Place, London, SW1X 9PU


Mike Yardley of the Sportsmans Association and Shooting Sports Trust is putting together a British contingent to attend the pro-shooting and hunting demonstration in Paris on the 25th February. Albie Fox, Savvas Toufexis and Alan Westlake were architects of the original Shooterss rallies and marches in the UK which led to so much. We must stand together, here, and in Europe to defend the sports we love.

Ray Ward, one of only two London stockists of Leica products, now boasts an unrivalled range of premium performance observation equipment. All the products combine legendary optical performance with unsurpassed mechanical reliability and are ideal for hunting, shooting and observation. The Leica products at Ray Ward include;

MOBILISATION DU 25 FEVRIER POUR LA DEFENSE DE LA CHASSE Check out our NEW app for the iPad - iPhone or iPod Touch...
Apps and things! Have you had chance to have a look at Target Shooter via our new Apple app? If you already have an iPad, iPhone or iPad Touch, please give it a go. The app itself is free to download from the iTunes website . The app has lots of great features which make Target Shooter far more pleasant to read than from your computer screen and everything tends to work better and quicker. Its easy to jump to any page and a click brings up an advertisers website in an instance and we are hoping that this will be a real attraction for our advertisers. Yes, you will always be able to read Target Shooter on-line but we feel that the iPad is the way forward for magazines and newspapers and, in a very short time, I predict that this will become the acceptable way to read a magazine or book.

The Geovid HD series: Designed to eliminate the need to carry separate binoculars and a rangefinder, legendary optics and laser technology combine in this two in one tool. Measuring target distances up to 1400 yards and watertight to 5 meters the Geovid HD series is the ultimate accessory for the modern stalker. The Rangemaster CRF series: A must-have aid to the long-range target shooter. The laser rangefinders measure distances to target with pinpoint accuracy. The lenses have a 7x magnification and easy to read LED display that automatically adjusts to brightness. The Ultravid HD 42 series: The ultimate in observation technology perfect for spotting and wildlife observation, the durable and ultra light weight design make the Ultravid HD 42 model a must have for any nature lover. New fluorite lenses with watershedding Aquadura coating ensure ultra-smooth focusing while the nitrogen filled 42mm front lens guarantees crystal clear vision even in low light. The Ultravid Compact: The popular Ultravid compact model combines ruggedness and performance in pocket sized dimensions. With a large focusing wheel the binoculars are a luxurious accessory whether it is for a shoot or at the races.
Now a recognised luxury brand in its own right, Ray Ward is just one of the super-luxury brands within the JMH Lifestyle Group.




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New for 2012 - The innovative PSE Composites E-Tac... Continued


New for 2012 - The innovative PSE Composites E-Tac

Perfect fitting inlet moulding. Inlet area is reinforced via roving winding technique and roving cross-members. This includes the recoil lug area that is connected to the stock shell via several carbon roving bundles ensuring recoil is transferred with minimum flex directly into the stock.

Innovative Composite Construction Integral carbon fibre I-beam construction along the complete length results in a stock that is ultra-stiff on both a lateral and torsional axis.

Adjustable cheek is made completely from carbon fibre sandwich materials. If needed the top section can be filled with weight to reduce felt recoil. 1/2lb of weight can be added. This weight would be very close to the line of recoil. Clamp screw can be swapped to either side.

Flat sides on forend can be used to mount Picatinny rails. Flats are in line with the bore.

The light weight of the E-tac will reduce mass below the bore line and help reduce initial muzzle flip and increase accuracy. In some cases depending on the weight of the scope or mag system, one can achieve the centre of gravity at zero or on centre bore line. The rounded pentagon shaped grip of the E-Tac is another innovation of PSEComposites. The rifleman can develop a feel for his rifle through practice and will develop a subconscious coordination and orientation with this shape. (Right) Ambidextrous extra long and vertical pistol grip with a slight palm swell.

35mm (1.38) wide no taper barrel channel. Will take the heaviest of barrels.

PSE-Composites Marina House Lower OConnell Str. Kinsale Co. Cork Ireland Tel: 00353 (0) 872363263

E-Tac: standard inlet is drop in fit for Remington 700 SA BDL or similar actions. Although not always needed, we recommend to epoxy bed the action. Metal pillars are not needed as carbon fibre pillars are integrated.




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FCSA (UK) members Scott Wylie & Steve Milne competed in the 50 cal World Championship 1000 yd shoot at the Whittington Centre, Raton, New Mexico, in USA. This several days shoot (30-06-11 to 03-07-11) includes - Heavy Gun, Light Gun, Hunter Class, Unlimited, Practical & Iron Man etc.
Scott came 2nd in the International, 4th in Hunter & 6th in unlimited. (Using the Swiss AMSD Rifle) Steve took 2nd in the practical class. (Using a provided EDM Arms Windrunner & Ammo) Congratulations to both being in order. A more detailed account of their activities can be found on Web Sites; including photos and an in depth article on how it all happens. See us on the Target Shooter stand at The British Shooting Show later this month...
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70% of all .22 World Cup and European Championship medals were won with ELEY Ammunition
More 2012 Olympic quota places won with ELEY Ammunition than any other brand

Jackets from 99 - 650 Trousers from 149 - 500 Gloves from 23 - 55 All budgets catered for - from beginner to professional... Full range of target shooting equipment & accessories


50m 3 x 40 50m Rifle 3 x20 25m Sport Pistol 50m Free Pistol 50m Rifle Prone 25m Rapid-Fire Pistol
ISSF World Cup 4 - MUNICH

50m 3 x 40 50m Rifle 3 x20 25m Sport Pistol 50m Free Pistol 50m Rifle Prone 25m Rapid-Fire Pistol
ISSF European Championships 2011

50m 3 x 40 50m Rifle 3 x20 25m Sport Pistol 50m Free Pistol 50m Rifle Prone 25m Rapid-Fire Pistol

50m 3 x 40 50m Rifle 3 x20 25m Sport Pistol 50m Free Pistol 50m Rifle Prone 25m Rapid-Fire Pistol

50m Mens Prone 50m Womens 3 x 20 Rifle 50m Mens 3 x 40 Rifle 50m Free Pistol Men 50m Pistol Women 25m Rapid-Fire Mens Pistol
Champions shoot Tenex
Raymond DEBEVEC (SLO) Won his 7th Olympic quota place with ELEY Tenex

To introduce ourselves 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 75

THE HANDLOADING BENCH 308 Winchester Rides Again Part 2

By Laurie Holland

THE HANDLOADING BENCH 308 Winchester Rides Again

By Laurie Holland - Part 2 Ill look at Lapuas 308 Win Palma match case this month, exploring its raison dtre, wondering whether its worth the extra money over the common or garden large primer model (79.73 v 56.96 per 100 recommended retail prices).
But first, for those of you unsure of what Palma brass is, heres a description and potted history. Dimensionally, the Palma case is identical to the companys standard version. By that, I mean both not only conform to CIP/SAAMI dimensions but have near identical wall and neck thickness values and will have the same internal capacities after fire-forming in any given rifle chamber. Any differences here are only what you might find between production lots. This suggests both cases start with the same materials and are drawn and formed in the same dies on Lapuas production line. The differences are found in the ignition department, the standard model using the Large Rifle primer (LRP) and 2mm (0.080) diameter flash-hole; the Palma version given a smaller diameter pocket for the Small Rifle primer (SRP) allied to a 1.5mm (0.059) flashhole. This combination puts the case into an elite group comprising the .220 Russian/PPCs, BRs and 6.5X47mm Lapua, other SRP users such as .223 Rem having the standard 2mm dia. aperture. The 308W Palma case is a specialist target shooting item, its makers advising it should not be used for loading hunting rounds Ill come to the reason for that later. Why change the tried and trusted 308Win format, one that has given excellent service for six decades? The objective is not enhanced accuracy (precision) per se as in the smaller cased numbers such as the PPC and BRs with their 28-32gn charges, rather to reduce the spread of muzzle velocities by reducing primer energy close to the minimum level that reliably ignites 42-49 grain weight powder charges when the cartridge is used in reasonable ambient temperatures. In the past, dedicated long-range 308 competitors assiduously sought out particularly mild batches of favoured LR primer brands, usually RWS and more recently the Russian manufactured PMC/Wolf/Tula models. MV variations start to become important when any cartridge is used in long-range precision shooting but can affect some 308W loads particularly badly as the cartridge is pushed to its ballistic limits at 1000 yards and beyond. To be precise, such variations can induce poor elevations on the target. Also, if the bullets terminal velocities are close to a ballistics boundary of any sort, dropping through or sometimes even approaching the sound barrier being the most important, a large MV spread causes all sorts of unpredictable behaviours in some bullets. Wind changes can have disproportionate effects in such situations for instance. This may be one cause of the oft-heard complaint from long-range tyros that their rifles and ammunition group really well to 800 yards, but shoot all over the target at longer ranges.

Creedmoor Range on Long Island, New York in September 1876. These days, the international Palma match is held in a different country every four years, the most recent being Brisbane, Australia last October and was won by Great Britain for the third time in a row. The discipline is restricted to 308 Win/223 Rem rifles with bullet weight limits of less

THE HANDLOADING BENCH 308 Winchester Rides Again Part 2

By Laurie Holland

The starting point was Lapuas high quality and very consistent .308 Winchester brass. All bar a handful of these standard LRP examples fell within a 1.0gn weight range.

than 156gn and 81gn respectively. The international match is for 16-shooter teams and the course of fire is two convertible sighters and 15 score shots each at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. The Palma name and eagle emblem, the latter based on the trophy, are registered service marks owned by the NRA of America, which controls their use as carefully as any commercially valuable global brand. As a result, youll find them applied to precious few products - Sierras pair of 155gn thirty-calibre MatchKing bullets and the new Lapua brass are the only examples I can recall off the top.

Palma Connection
Palma refers both to a legendary shooting trophy and a long-range prone discipline using iron-sighted fullbore Target Rifles. The former was inaugurated in a five-nation team match shot on the long-gone

This gives a clue to the cases genesis. During late 2007, US Palma Team officials approached the Finnish company and asked if it would be willing to produce an SRP version of its high quality 308W case. After technical evaluations, Lapua agreed and 1000 samples were provided with a few members of the US Palma teams (there are west and east sub-teams for shooter selection, development and training) quietly trying them out during the 2009 season. I believe that it was Tom Whitaker V.C. of the West US Palma Team who started this ball rolling having been a user of Remington UBBR SRP brass for many years. He undertook a series of tests with the Lapua version



THE HANDLOADING BENCH 308 Winchester Rides Again Part 2

By Laurie Holland

Remington 308 UBBR (Unformed Basic Bench Rest) case which also employed the small primer/small dia. flash-hole combination. It was alleged all sorts of problems would be generated including variable performance, sensitivity to temperature variations, even hang-fires. A common refrain was: Been there, done that, gave it up as a bad idea! The critics were, probably still are, generally of the view that the small rifle primer (SRP) is only marginally adequate for this size of cartridge and weight of powder charges, that marginal status tipping over the line into inadequacy under certain conditions to give unpredictable and unsatisfactory performance.

THE HANDLOADING BENCH 308 Winchester Rides Again Part 2

By Laurie Holland

while the company simultaneously carried out its own performance evaluations. With both parties very happy with the results, Lapua Nammo Oy launched its new SRP case branded and headstamped with the Palma name with the US NRAs approval in early 2010, supplies reaching our UK importers, Hannams Reloading Limited, that autumn.

The Palma Match shield is topped by a stylised eagle and wreath emblem as reproduced on the Sierra Palma MatchKing bullet carton. This is one of the very few products allowed to use the name and image.

On this issue of 308 UBBR brass versus the Lapua Palma Match version, one must consider that while the UBBR was manufactured with 308 Win external dimensions, it was in some respects a different animal. It was drawn with Canny long-range .308W users look for mild LR primers that perform exceptionally thin walls as its consistently. Some batches of the Russian Tula manufactured PMC / Wolf brand purpose wasnt to be shot as LRPs are highly prized. .308W but to be a basic case for reforming into the smaller BR Remington design and various wildcats. The ultra-light construction Controversial gave it significantly greater internal capacity than standard 308W brass and ideally required a tighter Not everybody welcomed this variant with open arms. than minimum-SAAMI chamber as well as the use of A number of shooters questioned whether it was a custom or neck-bushing sizer die. The UBBR cases legal under the Palma, Fullbore/Target Rifle and F/TR date from a quarter century ago too, as does much governing bodys (ICFRA) rules. Here is the relevant of the critics experience with them and propellant/ section: primer technology has certainly not stood still over T2.19.1. Cartridge Dimensions: With the exception of that period. overall loaded length, cartridges must comply with Heres what the projects instigator, Tom Whitaker had the SAAMI or CIP cartridge specifications for .308 to say in 2010 in response to sustained criticism on the Winchester or .223 Remington respectively. US Rifle Teams Long-Range Shooting Forum: The US SAAMI standards body, which has technical After 25+ years of using the Remington BR cases in responsibility for this cartridge, advised that the 308 and 6.5 calibers I have some experience using the primer type is not prescribed in its specifications and small primer case. We should all agree there are many large or small is immaterial to conformity decisions. factors that contribute to loading accurate ammunition. Other equally serious but even more numerous It is a well known fact that primers are one of the most criticisms came from shooters who had knowledge, either personally or second-hand, of the old

important of these factors as they start the whole process going. What I found over the years is that there is a large variance in ignition using large rifle primers. Not just from brand to brand but from lot to lot within the same brand. No big revelation here, Im sure we all have experienced this. Using small rifle primers I have found very little to no variance between lot to lot within a brand and minor variance from brand to brand. This equates to a much easier time developing a precision load and sustaining that load over a long period of time. Other factors affected by this are the reduced need to stock up on a certain component (primers can deteriorate over time) and less barrel wear wasted in testing.

Everyone has access to this case now use it if you want or not, the choice is up to you. The US Palma team reported that the SRP brass reduced velocity spreads (ES) by around 30%, sometimes more, with its standard load of the 155gn Sierra Palma MK over Hodgdon VarGet. 15-round strings recorded ES values of 12-18 fps and SDs of 4-5 fps. The sole downside was a reduction in the MV but this could be rectified by adjusting the charge weight. Four SRP brands were tried, purchased over the counter in ordinary gunshops and all performed well with little lot to lot variation. Low temperature questions were faced head on by placing SRP ammunition in a freezer overnight and test firing it over a chronograph immediately afterwards which was done without any serious or safety related problems such as hang-fires, although a reduction in the average MV was (unsurprisingly) recorded.

...So, whats the point? It is not 3-5 fps better ES (although I have found it to be better than that), nor is it that this case will produce ammo more accurate than the best LRP case loads (a great load is a great load no matter what you use). The big gain, in my opinion, is that it is much easier to find that great long range load with these SRP cases than it is with LRP cases. 79


THE HANDLOADING BENCH 308 Winchester Rides Again Part 2

By Laurie Holland

Before we get onto my experience with Palma cases, there are one or two issues to address. One is primer type and cup strength. Unlike LRPs which all have 0.027 thick cups, SRPs vary by type and sometimes by make. Standard SR versions vary from 0.019 to 0.021 by make, but Magnum / BR models use thicker brass sheet for a stronger cup. Federal 205M cups are 0.0225 thick, CCI-450, CCI-BR4, and Remington 7

The other issue to bear in mind is the mechanical ramifications from the use of the small diameter flashhole. I covered this in my introduction to the 6BR some issues back but will repeat the salient points. While the Palma cases flash-hole is 1.5mm (0.059) in diameter, the standard decapping pin used in sizer or dedicated decap dies is 0.0625, so use of same in these cases will likely see the pin stick in the flashhole, break, or if rigid enough to survive will do so by swaging the case. You must get a suitably dimensioned pin if your 308W die set doesnt come with the smaller type, as most Lapuas .308 Winchester brass seen on the left is one of several recent introductions by the Finnish company. Another is its superbly consistent .22-250 Rem brass (front right).

THE HANDLOADING BENCH 308 Winchester Rides Again Part 2

By Laurie Holland

small flash-hole cases a little deeper than on other standard SRP users such as 222 and 223 Rem., so a standard tool wont do much good anyway. Sinclair International sells a small primer uniforming cutter dimensioned specifically for PPC/BR cases and which should also be used on the .308W Palma. If you prefer to uniform flash-holes from the case-mouth end and de-burr the flash-hole mouth/cut a small venturi in it, K&M do a conventional reamer/de-burr tool with the correct dimensions. I left the flash-holes and primer pockets untouched in my tests, and used the CCI-BR4 primer throughout. In my experience with 223 Rem and 90gn bullets I found this to be the hottest of the SRPs I tried producing higher velocities and Id also had excellent results from this model in 6BR and 6.5X47 Lapua with their 3040gn charges. Its also very tough and, even though I used my Barnard Model P based tubegun, I wouldnt want to use a soft thin-cup standard SRP in this case, especially as I expected to run up serious pressures with some combinations and would need to ignite heavy (up to 49gn) charges of slow burning powders reliably.

Spot the difference! There is none visible between Palma SRP and standard Lapua LRP cases from this angle. new brass, standard diameter decap pins should now fit, but only just! As it indexes off the primer pocket and is inserted from that end, what about de-burring the other (exit) end of the flash-hole? Many people (including me) are of the view that Lapua brass is so well made and consistent that you can simply ignore this issue, likewise dont spend time and effort on uniforming primer pockets. Just ensure you have a good supply of 0.057 diameter decapping pins. / 7BR 0.025. I havent seen figures for the PMC/ Wolf (Russian Tula manufactured) SR and SRM but my experience is that the former is one of the most fragile types on the market, while the Magnum is exceptionally tough, resisting cratering and blanking slightly better than the notoriously strong CCI-450/ BR4 models in my Savage 223 F/TR rifle. Why is this an issue? For some reason, small primer cartridges are far more susceptible to problems caused by over-large diameter firing pin tips / slack pin to bolt-face fit than LRP equipped cartridges operating at similar pressures. This can be an issue if your F/TR rifle is based on a stock Remington 700 action, to a lesser extent the Savage PTA but wont worry you if youre using a Barnard or RPA model, or any of the specialist single-shot match actions from BAT, Stolle, RG Rifles etc. wont, moreover make sure to have spares especially as small-diameter pins are only 0.057, a mere 0.002 smaller than the nominal hole diameter on Lapua brass and easily broken. If you deprime cases as a separate step using a dedicated die you must obtain a correctly sized rod/pin, the fixed-pin Redding model needing the optional .17/.20 calibre rod, Sinclairs decap die also using a different stem plus detachable Hornady small diameter pins. Sinclair International makes a special BR/PPC flashhole uniforming reamer (#07-3000) that is inserted from the rear of the case and indexes off the primer pocket which works in this case and the PPC / BR / 6.5X47L. It increases the flash-hole diameter a little to 0.063, as Lapuas production tolerances are 1.51.6mm (0.059-0.063). If you use this tool on your Incidentally, if you feel that you must uniform the primer pocket, Lapua cuts those on its small primer/

A leit-motif amongst those unconvinced by the SRP 308 Win case is alleged cold-weather unreliability. This appears to be supported by Lapua itself, or at any rate its US importer, with advice that these cases should not be used for loading hunting ammunition. We in the British Isles rarely think about ambient

Theyre not the same at the rear end. The Palma version (on left) not only uses the Small Rifle primer, but has a reduced diameter (1.5mm) flash-hole. The standard model uses the Large Rifle primer and has a 2mm flash-hole.



THE HANDLOADING BENCH 308 Winchester Rides Again Part 2

By Laurie Holland

THE HANDLOADING BENCH 308 Winchester Rides Again Part 2

By Laurie Holland

Sizer and decapping dies must use the correct size of decap pin on Palma and similar cases. (The bottom left pair have the small diameter pin, the others have the standard size.)



THE HANDLOADING BENCH 308 Winchester Rides Again Part 2

By Laurie Holland

THE HANDLOADING BENCH 308 Winchester Rides Again Part 2

An American gun writer described in print some years back how he missed an apparently certain shot with his 44 Magnum revolver at a coyote that was openly stalking livestock in a ranch farmyard one bitterly cold winters day, the predator made incautious by extreme hunger during a spell of exceptionally cold weather. Drawing the revolver that hed carried holstered while working outdoors for some hours and taking careful aim with it rested on a fencepost, he was astonished to do nothing more than scare the animal away, the report being wrong too. Subsequent testing with a distant rock as a target showed that MVs had dropped to such an extent that bullets hit the ground 20 or 30 yards in front of the muzzle. The cause was the use of standard primers with his usual heavy compressed charge of H110 ball powder allied to the temperature, a load that had always given excellent results before.
By Laurie Holland

temperature effects on our match ammo although I increasingly believe we need to become much more aware of them but this is a major preoccupation in the USA covering both ends of the temperature scales. With most medium and large game shooting taking place during the winter, seriously low temperatures may be encountered especially in the inland regions of continental North America and northern Europe. Ignition (un)reliability and reduced MVs become issues when temperatures fall below zero and some propellants are more affected than others why some handloading manuals recommend that magnum primers should be routinely used in ammunition loaded with ball powders.

by side comparison and also see what sort of 100yd groups could be obtained. The 185gn Berger/N550 combination compared 15 rounds of existing LRP ammunition left over from the 2010 F Class season against three freshly loaded batches of five rounds with rising charge weights in SRP Palma brass. CCIBR4 primers were used in the Palma loads, Federal 210M match primers in the three LRP control groups. The two 175gn SMK/Viht N150 variants were the first to be tried in my initial range session held on 18th November 2010. My notes describe the conditions as cold (3-4C) with a moderate crosswind from the right. Five by 5-round batches whose charge weights rose from 42.0-44.0gn in 0.5gn steps had been loaded the day before in the two types of Lapua case. The 10 groups ranged from 0.4 to 0.7 centre to centre averaging around the half-inch mark with no difference at all attributable to case type. MVs and MV spreads were very much as expected, the Palma versions losing some velocity, but sometimes producing reduced ES values. So far so good, especially as N150 usually produces small velocity spreads in LRP form. In fact, Id normally expect better results than I got here with high single figure values up

Cratering and piercing SRPs at high but not excessive pressures is an endemic problem in some rifle actions. These examples are from .223 Rem cartridges fired in an AR-15 type rifle. Since we got our first Palma cases as winter approached, I was keen to try them out in cold weather ... well, cold by UK standards. My initial efforts with the new brass employed three Vihtavuori based combinations that I knew worked well in all seasons with LRP cases: the near standard TR clubmans load of 155gn Lapua Scenar over a stiff charge of N140; 175gn Sierra MK over a mild load of stable and easily ignited N150; my then favourite long-range F/TR combination of the 185gn Berger BTLR and N550. As I expected pressures and MVs to be a bit lower than normal due to the SRP effect on its own, a range of charge weights was used in each of the trio. The N140 and N150 combinations were also loaded in standard Lapua LRP brass, the two lots shot fully supported off a bench rest in a single session to allow a side

SR Magnum and BR primers are best suited to this application.

The Barnard Model P bolt and striker assembly. The small diameter firing pin is a close fit in its bolt-face aperture and wont see any problem with high pressure loads using SR Magnum or BR primers.



THE HANDLOADING BENCH 308 Winchester Rides Again Part 2

By Laurie Holland

THE HANDLOADING BENCH 308 Winchester Rides Again Part 2

By Laurie Holland

to the mid teens, and Ill put the deterioration down to the relatively low ambient temperature. Here is how the MVs and spreads look:

LAPUA PALMA v STANDARD BRASS: 155gn Lapua Scenar / Viht N140

Muzzle Velocities Palma 45.5gn 2,897 45.8gn 2,925 46.1gn 2,947 46.3gn 2,948 46.5gn 2,968 - 15 -5 Nil + 10 Nil The Berger 185gn BTLR/Viht N550 tests were carried out on a different day, 6th January 2011 and my notes record the conditions as cold (now 2C) with virtually no wind. Three groups were shot with the leftover match ammo and averaged 0.5; 2,766 fps MV; 40 fps ES; 12 fps SD. That wasnt a great result and there were two possible causes. These rounds had been loaded six months before and sitting that long rarely does much for performance. Also, I reckon the low temperature had an effect, at the very least the average MV was some 35 fps down on what it had been the previous summer, and this could also have affected the other results adversely. Standard LRP 2,913 2,947 2,964 2,974 2,990 Difference - 16 fps - 22 - 17 - 26 - 22 Velocity Spreads Palma 38 25 26 20 53 Standard LRP 12 13 13 40 14 Difference + 26 + 12 + 13 - 20 + 39

LAPUA PALMA v STANDARD BRASS: 175gn Sierra MK / Viht N150

Muzzle Velocities Palma 42.0gn 42.5gn 43.0gn 43.5gn 44.0gn 2,590 2,633 2,649 2,674 2,701 Standard LRP 2,631 2,655 2,680 2,696 2,726 Difference - 41 fps - 22 - 31 - 22 - 25 Velocity Spreads Palma 11 21 21 21 17 Standard LRP Difference 26 26 21 11 17

Test number 2 comparing the 155gn Lapua Scenar over Viht N140 loads didnt work out in the SRP Palma cases favour at all. Taking groups first, the SRP range was 0.6 to 1.3 averaging 0.92; the LRP control loads ran at 0.5 to 0.8 averaging 0.59. Not exactly startling, but the 30 Broughton barrel then in use had never liked this combination. MVs were down again with the Palma cases by a similar amount, but the spreads were considerably larger with one exception where the Federal 210M load had produced an abnormally big value.

Winter ammunition testing at Diggle with the Barnard / Eliseo tubegun.

A key question with the Palma brass and SRPs was how it would perform on winter days such as this one at Diggle. Frost still rimes the valley floor on a cold January morning as a morning relay of TR and F Class competitors finish.



THE HANDLOADING BENCH 308 Winchester Rides Again Part 2

By Laurie Holland

THE HANDLOADING BENCH 308 Winchester Rides Again Part 2

By Laurie Holland

SRP based ignition wouldnt have posed any problems on this warm, sultry day in late June 2009 when the tubegun was used in the annual Yorkshire RA Spring Open meeting at Strensall.

Anyway, onto the three freshly loaded batches in the Palma brass, also starting at 46.3gn but now rising in 0.2gn steps to 46.7gn. Incidentally, I made sure the powder was from the same production lot as that loaded in the LRP control rounds.

46.3gn: 46.5gn: 46.7gn:

0.8 group 0.5 group 0.8 group

2,711 fps MV 33 fps ES 2,738 fps MV 28 fps ES 2,745 fps MV 61 fps ES

So, a charge weight around 47gn would have been needed to match the LRP/Fed210M 46.3gn loads MV, two out of three spreads were better if not brilliant, but one batch of five gave a very poor result indeed.

Hmmm... taking the three sets of ammo, not a great result for the Palma brass and SRP! But, was the mediocre to poor performance down to inherent inefficiency in these combinations, or was it temperature induced? Right, fast forward to 9th June 2011 on Diggles A Range, nice and warm now in early summer. Er ... not exactly! 10C and gusty crosswinds say my range notes. 10 degrees (50F) in June that really says something about Diggle Ranges and the English summer of 2011! Anyway, the Palma case, CCI-BR4 primer, 155gn Lapua Scenar and 45.5 to 46.5gn N140 (same production lot) combination was rerun as follows:



THE HANDLOADING BENCH 308 Winchester Rides Again Part 2

By Laurie Holland

LAPUA PALMA / CCI-BR4 / 155gn Lapua Scenar / Viht N140 Re-Run

Group 45.5gn 45.8gn 46.1gn 46.3gn 46.5gn 0.8 0.4 0.3 0.6 0.3 Av. MV (fps) 2,955 2,955 2,967 2,967 2,970 ES (fps) 6 15 8 29 29 MV Change from 11/10 + 58 fps + 30 fps + 20 fps + 19 fps + 2 fps ES Change from 11/10 - 32 fps - 10 fps - 18 fps + 9 fps - 24 fps



Much more like it! But, what a difference caused by a six or seven degrees C ambient temperature change, rising from ~4 to ~10! Note however, that MVs barely increased after 46.1gn and 46.5gn only provided another 2 fps over the cold weather performance. Extreme spread values also jumped dramatically after 46.1gn saying to me that this was the maximum charge weight of that powder that the CCI-BR4 / small flash-hole could cope with in those conditions. With hindsight, I wish Id run the three top loads again on a rather warmer summers day to see if that result was repeated or if MVs increased and ES values decreased at or above the standard ballistics temperatures of 14-15 deg C / 59 deg F. The maximum charge weight used of 46.5gn had produced 2,990 fps in the LRP brass, another 20 fps, even in the cold weather so would likely just exceed 3,000 fps in warmer conditions. Maybe N140 seems to be limited by the small primer case in this respect, or maybe its even more limited by temperature factors than seemed likely at first. Nevertheless, I was very impressed to get 0.3 groups from the combination as Id never had much luck with it with standard brass in that barrel. How about the 185gn Berger BTLR/N550 load in warmer weather? The re-run took place on 28th July 2011 in something more like summer, 21-22C, with light winds. Four batches were loaded and fired rising from 46.5gn to 47.1gn in 0.2gn steps, again using powder from the same lot. Groups ranged from 0.5 to 1.4 and ES values from 14 to 46 fps, still not brilliant compared to my normal LRP brass load with

F210M primers. The best combination of the four appeared to be 46.7gn providing a 0.6 group too big for top level F/TR competition and now achieving the MV I would expect at 2,806 fps.


Heres how it compared to the same combination shot in January at 2-degrees C: Group: 0.6 MV: ES: SD: 2,806 fps 14 fps 6 fps (- 0.2) (+ 61 fps) (- 47 fps) (- 20 fps)

Wow! That is a big change to the internal ballistics. My conclusions and advice, for what theyre worth? Be very wary of using this brass with some powders in cold weather, cold defined as ambient temperatures significantly below 10C / 50F. Also, be aware that loads worked up over the winter may perform rather differently during the main competition season in higher temperatures. Next month, Ill give summer temperature SRP brass results with another mid-weight bullet, the Berger 175gn BT Long-Range with two powders, Hodgdon VarGet and H414 (ball powder), again comparing them against results from standard LRP Lapua cases. Ill also move onto heavy (200-210gn) bullets in both types of case using slow burning powders seeking to maximise velocities. Could that be where the Palma brass offers significant advantages when used in such high pressure long-range F/TR loads?





In the previous chapter on this subject, I hopefully whetted your appetite enough to encourage you to try handloading the black powder shotshell yourselves. Traditionally, shotshell cartridges were made of paper or card tube, with a brass base containing a thick base wad with a hole for the large shotgun primer. This design has hardly changed except the outer tube is now made of plastic and the brass base has been replaced with a brass plated ferrous metal to keep production costs down. This means that reloading tools designed in the 19th century to reload the paper shotshell will work just as well in the 21st century with todays cases. Lets look at the way I reload the 12 gauge black powder shotshell but first, as usual, I want to say that what has proven to be safe in my own turn of the century hammer gun may not prove to be so in other vintage guns so, if you intend to use the load in anything other than a modern nitro proofed gun, please have it checked by a competent gunsmith to determine its serviceability. I tend to use once-fired cases for reloading; this means that if the case has been fired in a different gun than the shell is intended for, then the brass base will need to be resized to standard dimensions in order to freely enter the chamber. Simple hand tools exist for this purpose but I cheat and use the resizing die with my Lee Load-All machine as it is much quicker to use. (If new bought cases are preferred then this process is not necessary). Next, the spent primer needs to be removed, I use an antique de-priming and re-priming tool for this purpose but it could be simply knocked out with a nail punch. As I sometimes use reclaimed (salvaged) cases which are of different overall lengths, I then take the unprimed case and trim it to the required length using another vintage tool which was illustrated in the last instalment. If you dont have this tool then this process can be completed later using a simple home made tool. The new primer is then seated using the previously mentioned re-priming tool; once again this can also be achieved simply by placing the primer on a flat surface and pressing the case over it using a suitably sized dowel inside the case.

bowl to vary the volume. English and American made tools are usually graduated in drams for powder and ounces for shot, whilst continental ones are usually in decigrammes for powder and grammes for shot. What simplifies things is that once you have adjusted the measure for the weight of shot, it is customary to use the same volume setting for powder. Using my English measure, I have settled on a load of 1oz


Even though modern nitro game and target cartridges are still relatively cheap to purchase, the tools and components required to manufacture ammunition at home are still being made and are readily available from several retailers, of note are Henry Krank & Co at

Shotshell component parts shot, this approximates to 28grams. At this setting the measure indicates a powder weight of 2 drams, (74grains in common reloading parlance). This load should be more than adequate for CAS steel plate shooting. So, using a cartridge filler tube, I take my primed case, pour in a measure of 2drams of Swiss No 4, I then take a 3mm thick over-powder card wad and push this onto the powder, next comes a 13mm fibre cushioning wad, then a 3mm felt wad to prevent the shot embedding in the fibre. Next, using the same measure setting, I pour in 1oz of shot, (anything from No7s to No5s is good for knocking over steel plates) followed by a thin over-shot card wad. All that is left to do is to form the crimp to hold the components together. If, as I mentioned earlier, the case has not been previously cut to length, then that will be necessary before the crimping stage. I made a simple gauge out of a piece of aluminium rod as pictured, which allows for an overlap of 3mm for crimping. The whole is now placed in the vintage cartridge closer and the roll crimp applied. I generally now mark the cartridge with an indelible pen to show it is charged with black powder. Parker Hale cat 58 Typical hand tools and Clay & Game Reloaders at . Also of interest is the extract from the Parker Hale catalogue showing vintage tools still available at least as late as 1958. Comments and questions please to;

Section of a vintage Eley Grand Prix cartridge Next comes the powder, I prefer Swiss No 4 1 ffg but other brands of fg or ffg grade are suitable. When it comes to measuring the powder and shot, I use a vintage hand tool called a powder/shot dipper. These are very common and always appearing at trade fairs and internet auctions. The tools have an adjustable

Home made trimming gauge



2012 Long Barrelled Matches

31st March L2 Southern Championships Blue Team Little Chalfont Championship round. 10 stages, 130 rounds. 25. MD (TBC) contact Vanessa Duffy


Spring Shotgun Festival Bisley on 02/18/2012 PSG Squad Training at Wedgenock on 02/19/2012 British Shooting Show - Newark on 02/25/26/2012 See UKPSA Forum for more details: http://ukpsa. The UKPSA is hosting a stand at this years Shooting Show at the Newark Showground, Nottingham, NG24 2NY, UK Come along and chat to us to find out more about IPSC shooting. Show Info:

United Kingdom Practical Shooting Association News by Tony Saunders

UKPSA Section - by Tony Saunders

15 April L2 Basildon 9 stages, 140 rounds. 30. MD Gary Dyer 30th June L2 Scottish Championships CSAC Crocketford. Championhip Round. 10 Stages 144 rounds. 25. MD Vanessa Duffy 1st July L2 Reiver Challenge CSAC Carlisle. 8 stages 130 rounds 25. MD Vanessa Duffy 22nd July L2 Northern Championships Tall Trees Tall Trees. Championship round. 10 stages 140 rounds. 25. MD Roye West 12th August L2 Birmingham LSC Birmingham. 10 stages, 135 rounds. 25. MD Ian Chamberlain 14th October L2 Home Countries Championships Bedford. Championship round.10 stages, 120 rounds. 25. MD Nick Weber 25th Nov L2 British Championships LSC Leicester Championship round. 10 stages, 135 rounds. 25. MD Ian Chamberlain
The five Championships matches in bold will make up the UKPSA LBF British Championships for 2012. Best four scores from five matches to score. The remaining matches, along with the Championship matches will make up members grades for 2012. Council has agreed that any club hosting a L2 LBF match may run a parallel L1 match which will be limited to the members of the host clubs. Please contact Vanessa Duffy for conditions and more details via the UKPSA website or Forum :


The UKPSA AGM was held early in January in Leicester as part of a 2-day series of meetings and seminars. Saturday saw Range Officers, Match Directors and UKPSA Instructors attending a number of seminars and refresher courses to cover the new IPSC rule changes. There have been some significant changes, particularly in IPSC Shotgun that will impact competitors shooting sanctioned Level 2 and above matches, including the new Muzzle Up directive that has been met with some initial objection. However, in order to bring us in line with the majority of IPSC regions, it was felt necessary to adopt muzzle up and it was trialled last year at the L3 IPSC shotgun match at Harlow in Essex with little apparent fuss apart from some gentle reminders occasionally by the ROs. After a friendly LBF match on Sunday morning at Leicester Shooting Centre, the AGM was held early afternoon. The first order of the day was the stepping down and election of UKPSA council positions.

2012 L3 IPSC Shotgun Matches

Some confirmed dates for your diaries. These matches will make up the UK championship matches. Best four out of five to count.

6th & 7th April Hadrian CSAC Hallbankgate 12 Stages, 157 rounds of Birdshot. 35 MD Vanessa Duffy 25th & 26th May Ken Brown Memorial & HTRPC Harlow British Club Championships. 10 stages, 135 rounds of birdshot. 35 MD Geoff Smith 15th & 16th June Scottish Championships CSAC Crocketford. 12 Stages, 144 rounds - 87 birdshot, 17 buckshot and 42 Slug. 35. MD Vanessa Duffy 7th & 8th July British Championships Borders Border Guns, Shropshire. 12 stages. 130 rounds - 120 birdshot, 10 buckshot. 35. MD Martin Davies Elected Member
Vanessa Duffy Rob Adam Alan Phillips Adrian Wander Ken Trail

UKPSA Handgun Commission Inaugural Competition at Kells Rifle and Pistol Club
As the first UKPSA competition does not take place until April, in order for an opportunity for people to get together we organised a New Year fun shoot competition. A small Level 1 three stage event took place on 14th January. The competitors shot an 11 round short course, an 18 round medium course and a 29 round long course. Once they had competed in one IPSC Division they could re-enter in another Division. So we had competitors swapping between Production, Revolver and Standard Divisions. Over 30 competitors turned up for the event and the good news was that we got a lot of people who are new to IPSC taking part. Luckily we had a calm still day weather wise. This year Northern Ireland is experiencing one of its mildest winters on record. Like the rest of the UK last year was one of our worst and this time last year the range was under several feet of snow! The results can be viewed at handgunniresults.html The UKPSA Handgun Commissions inaugural competition was held at Kells Rifle and Pistol Club in County Antrim. Kells RPC is where several Level 2 matches and the International Level 3 United

Council Position
Regional Director Chairman Secretary Treasurer Public Relations Officer

Previous Incumbent
Vanessa Duffy Rob Adam Alan Phillips Adrian Wander Mike Darby

Matches and Events in January

February is currently boasting a number of Level 1 matches at various clubs, plus the Spring Shotgun Festival at Bisley. Thurnscoe L1 PSG Match on 02/05/2012 Borderguns Level 1 on 02/11/2012 Carlisle L1 PSG Match on 02/12/2012

The council thanked Mike Darby for his work over the last twelve months, and welcomed Ken Trail to the position of PRO. Thanks also go to Leicester Shooting Centre for hosting the pre-AGM match.

26th & 27th October Home Countries Championships HTRPC Harlow. 10 stages 135 rounds of birdshot. 35. MD Geoff Smith 94



Kingdom Open Competition were held in 2007 and 2008. Kells club is still equipped with both experienced members and the facilities to host future matches. You can see more by looking at the clubs web site www. In the practical pistol section of the menu bar you can read match reports from previous graded IPSC matches held at Kells in 2007 and 2008, including the report and photographs on the UKPSA 2008 UK Open. Further UKPSA events will take place at Kells RPC in 2012.

enjoy properly organised IPSC handgun and shotgun competition within the United Kingdom IPSC Region. The Handgun Commission has its own section on the UKPSA web site, were you can find out more information. E mail - Web Site -

United Kingdom Handgun Championship

Three Level 2 Graded IPSC competitions will also take place in 2012. The results of these three competitions will be combined to form a UK Handgun Championship. The dates for these three competitions are the 12th May, 21st July and 18th August. At the conclusion of the third competition we will be able to announce UKPSA Handgun Champions in the IPSC Handgun Divisions of Classic, Open, Production, Revolver and Standard Divisions. The first UKPSA Handgun Commission Handgun Competition for 2012 will be a Level 1 Match on 21st April. The graded events that have been organised so far for 2012 are as follows. Stage 1 had the competitors running along a zig-zaging track

World Class Athletes World Class Ammunition World Class Results

UKPSA Membership Application

For those people who were previously members of the UKPSA or who have never been members of the UKPSA, you can now join the Association as follows. As from now you can join the UKPSA and your membership will run from the current date until the end of March 2013. The membership fee will still be 42.00. So you will get 15 months membership for the same price as 12 months membership. You can find the membership application form on the UKPSA web site which you can fill in and post to the membership secretary. Go to Join / Renew on the menu bar on the home page for the relevant forms. If you have any questions you can contact me at

Champions shoot Tenex

While shooting through this obstacle some competitors shot it kneeling, while others went into the prone position

Northern Ireland UKPSA 2012 Handgun Commission Competitions 12th May - The Jubilee Shoot, USASC, Kilkeel. 21st July - Mourne Mountain Challenge , USASC Kilkeel. 18th August - Summer Sizzler Shoot, USASC Kilkeel.
Competitors in Northern Ireland use the same types of handguns that are commonly found in IPSC competitions, such as Glock, STI, SVI, S&W and the CZ Tactical Sport shown here

Dont settle for less

Over 30 different Gunsafes in our standard range - we have models to suit all requirements
Free Napier VP90 corrosion inhibitor
British made since 1982

Competitively priced with unrivalled quality

IPSC (Practical Shotgun) Safety Course

Due to a demand from UKPSA members in Northern Ireland an IPSC shotgun safety course will take place later this year. Anyone who is interested in taking part can send an e mail to expressing an interest. The UKPSA Handgun Commission will organise a trip to a Practical Shotgun Competition in GB in the autumn of 2012. The UKPSA Handgun Commission initiative has one goal; to train UKPSA members, Range Officers and Officials and to ensure that UKPSA members and members of other IPSC Regions can shoot and Competitors shot the three stages in one Division and then re-shot the stages in another Division

3 year on-site warranty*

Call 020 8254 6812 for brochures and your local stockist

As in other IPSC Regions, in Northern Ireland Production is also a very popular Division as well

*Terms and conditions apply - see website for details.


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Introducing Kelblys 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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A big review on Europes biggest retail shooting show The British Shooting Show
Laurie finishes his 223 Rem tactical rifle build and we start a new FTR rifle build plus all your Association News and much more...

Photograph by Steve Thornton

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