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TARGET SHOOTER MAGAZINE

January 2012 Issue

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Contents

January 2012 Issue

Lyman 1200 DPS III Electronic Powder Measure Page 6 by Chris Parkin. I had a play with a Hornady electronic powder measure a couple of issues ago – and really liked it. This month, Chris Parkin has a look at the Lyman version. Both are available from Hannam’s Reloading and we thank them for the loan of these measures for testing.

THE HANDLOADING BENCH - 6mm NORMA Page 36 BENCH REST (Conclusion) by Laurie Holland. One downside of shooting the little BR is that it is such a good-mannered little cartridge with such a huge range of suitable bullets and powders available for it that given the availability of a 100 yard benchrest equipped range with a covered firing-point to keep the worst of the British weather out, you want to shoot it all day, every day.

Shooter Profile - My name is Scott Grayson Page 24 and I have been shooting Rimfire and Air Rifle Benchrest for approximately three years. I am part of the United Kingdom Rimfire and Air Rifle Benchrest Shooting Team. In my short career I have competed in three national and two international events.

Air-rifle & Rimfire Benchrest - Where Air Page 20 We? – by Carl Boswell. The air-rifle classes at the 2011 USA World Championship were well attended for such a new sport. This was a really positive reflection on the hard work to get this branch of benchrest established as a competitive sport at international level. This goes back to 2007 - the first European Championship.

Contents Continued
January 2012 Issue

Page 76

THE HANDLOADING BENCH - 308 Winchester Rides Again By Laurie Holland. In December’s issue, you may have read of the stunning scores posted in the F Class European Championship meeting at Bisley in November by F/TR competitors using .308 Winchester, so maybe this is a good time to have another look at the cartridge in its long-range role. Sorting a Savage Part 1 – by Laurie Holland. My provisional name for this feature was Tuning the Three-Screw Savage Action - reflecting my initial focus on rectifying the poor elevations that dogged my 223 Savage’s performance in the F Class European Championship meeting.

Page 12

Page 46

Choosing & using sights by Gwyn Roberts. Moving on from making your stocks and grips fit you properly, the next thing to consider is which type of sight (or sights) are going to be the most suitable for the type of Gallery Rifle competitions that you intend to compete in.

Regulars
& more...
LATEST NEWS

Page 54

Liquid Colour Design Page 70 SMALLBORE BUSINESS - Custom Paint & page 66 Airbrush with Design. GALLERY RIFLE Commonwealth & Olympic Page 64 TARGET SHOOTER Target Shooter Gary Duff AT HORNADY has had his rifle stock Page 28 painted and airbrushed UKPSA NEWS by Iain Baldwin of Liquid Page 84 FROM THE BENCH Colour Design - a custom Page 62 painting company based LATEST NEWS in Northern Ireland. Iain Page 90 describes the process... QUIGLEY ASSOCIATION NEWS
Page 82 AND MUCH, MUCH MORE...

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

Webitorial January 2012
Happy New Year everyone. Although winter does not provide the best shooting weather here in the UK, we still have plenty to look forward to – the fabulous Las Vegas Shot Show in January, our own UK Shooting Show in Newark at the end of February and finally, IWA in Germany in March. Target Shooter will be at every one, bringing you the latest news of your favourite target shooting disciplines and equipment as it happens! For Christmas, we opted to give away our Apple app version of the December issue so that more of you would experience this wonderful media via your iPad and iPhone. This produced not only a leap in our circulation figures but an increase in sales from one of our advertisers – to the extent that this advertiser has agreed to sponsor the app for January as well so, you may download this issue for free! We hope that this may be a trend which continues throughout 2011. Talking of circulation statistics – we are now read in over 70 countries! I find this quite astounding and although we are UK based, we must try and remember our global audience when we publish articles and not make the assumption that everyone lives in the UK. On the other hand, I’m equally surprised when someone – maybe someone I shoot with regularly – has never heard of Target Shooter! How do we spread the word? Please help us, let your friends know about us and keep your favourite target shooting magazine free to read on-line. And please, feel free to engage with us – tell us what you shoot and where, let us know about your competitions and events and we’ll do our best to include you. Good shooting. Vince, Yvonne & Steve
Vince Bottomley - vinceb@targetshooter.co.uk Yvonne - yvonne@targetshooter.co.uk

4

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Editor - Vince Bottomley vinceb@targetshooter.co.uk Advertising and Office Manager - Yvonne Wilcock. yvonne@targetshooter.co.uk Compiled, Designed & Web Production by Steve Thornton. www.thorntonconnect.com Contributors - Vince Bottomley - Laurie Holland - Chris Parkin - Ken Hall - Don Brooke Alan Whittle - Tony Saunders - Gwyn Roberts - Carl Boswell & Iain Baldwin Cover Photograph by Steve Thornton

The website www.targetshooteronline.com 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.

Disclaimer

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Lyman 1200 DPS III Electronic Powder Measure
by Chris Parkin

Lyman 1200 DPS III

Electronic Powder Measure
by Chris Parkin
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Lyman 1200 DPS III Electronic Powder Measure
by Chris Parkin

Lyman 1200 DPS III Electronic Powder Measure. Easy to read display and large keypad.

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Lyman 1200 DPS III Electronic Powder Measure
by Chris Parkin

point of these tools is to speed up reloading with no penalty in chargeweight accuracy and to side-step manual trickling which contrary to popular opinion, has the hidden peril of not countering balance-beam damping - ONE kernel will not move most balance beams.
The DPS III incorporates an electronic powder weighing scale and small pan with an automated trickling tube so when the powder hopper is filled and a chargeweight is keyed-in, the unit begins to trickle at speed then as it approaches the full charge weight, slows down to dispense the final few kernels, advertising accuracy to +/- 0.1grains. A large keypad and display-screen are integral with the one-piece unit to permit data entering. Several small tools are included (more of which later) along with a calibration weight. The powder reservoir holds over 1lb which should be enough for most occasions and in fact, the overall package is nicely made and well presented.

Lyman 1200 DPS III Electronic Powder Measure by Chris Parkin
I had a play with a Hornady electronic powder measure a couple of issues ago – and really liked it. This month, Chris Parkin has a look at the Lyman version. Both are available from Hannam’s Reloading and we thank them for the loan of these measures for testing.
The Lyman DPS III is the latest version – designed to overcome minor flaws noticed in models I and II which Laurie Holland used in a previous article on powder scales. These were mainly comments about powder dispensing speed and the final charge-weight accuracy along with reports of the scale `drifting` over a reloading session. The whole

30 minute warm up
After reading the concise instruction book I assembled the measure and plugged it in (via an awkward 2 pin European plug!) for the recommended 30-minute warm-up. If you are in a hurry, this step can be overridden but the instructions do warn that it helps all electronics to warm-up and stabilise. The scale

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bleeps at the end of the warm-up period. The display invites you to calibrate the scale which, following the instructions, is a 5 second job. Although memory options are available to store favourite recipes, I never used these, as it is so simple to just type in XX.X and `Enter` to begin dispensing on the large finger-friendly keypad. The actual trickling speed (revolutions per minute) can be altered electronically.

Lyman 1200 DPS III Electronic Powder Measure
by Chris Parkin
adapt it to specific powder types, kernel sizes and their trickling characteristics, reducing the number of kernels dropped per revolution and increasing precision.

1200grain scale capacity, not needed for powder but proved accurate When the scale has reached the requested chargeweight and stabilised, a `beep` is heard (the volume of which can be altered), time to pick up the pan and pour it into your case via the usual funnel - job done.

Bouncing Kernels
The first slightly annoying attribute of the Lyman is that until a few kernels settle in the pan, they will bounce out of it and onto your workbench, adding to the resulting clean-up time. You are warned to use the brush here, not blow on it! After the first couple of grains settle, bouncing stops and the screen clearly displays the increasing weight and as it nears the programmed level, the revolving trickler assembly slows down. A nice feature of the Lyman is that a small plastic reduction baffle is included that can be screwed into the end of the trickle tube to help

So where do the quirks appear?
After running 2-3 charges, I began to test-weigh every one of a ten charge cycle on my standard and previously reliable RCBS 5-0-5 scale. The chargeweights agreed perfectly and no more than 0.1gr variation was displayed, so a pass here and to be

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Lyman 1200 DPS III Electronic Powder Measure
by Chris Parkin
honest, the older balance scale was hard pressed to notice a difference on ANY load. Occasionally, the Lyman would sound a warning beep - which alerts the user to look at the screen - displaying an overcharge warning if it drifted more than 0.2 grains and during longer reloading sessions, paranoiac had me mechanically re-weighing random charges just to keep my eye on things. The instructions warn you to be wary of temperature changes, air currents and local static or magnetic interference which although logical were not a problem, although if something did upset the unit, a `Re-calibrate` warning sounded. A clear folding cover can be lowered over the scale to exclude draughts but I didn’t use it, believing the less I touched the unit, the more reliable it would remain. I was careful to check on production times and a charge of 43.4gr of H4350 took 22 seconds on average to dispense, 22gr of H4198 a similar time and a large 80gr charge of H1000 was running nearer 35 seconds so no problem there. I chose to seat bullets on my bench simultaneously to dispensing powder but although my bench is very solid, I never performed the seating at the instant final trickle was taking place, better safe than sorry. The automatic setting means every time the pan is replaced, trickling recommences. Apart from kernel spillage on commencement of trickling, the biggest downside was emptying the measure/cleaning when finished or changing powders. A small hatch at the back with an internal shutter started out easily, pouring the powder hopper contents directly back into the bottle. After this, quite major disassembly is required (hence the brush and tools) to remove every last kernel from the complex internal mechanisms and to do correctly, was a tenminute job. Not the end of the world but a major downside relative to its competitors. The powder emptying shute worked well but then dissasembly starts

Make sure you close it after emptying!

The trickling tube needed removal to thouroughly clean it

The supplied tools and pan, note the optional plastic funnelpan would not operate autorepeat although it stopped spillage

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Lyman 1200 DPS III Electronic Powder Measure
by Chris Parkin

Velocity consistency
A European adaptor plug was needed along with the supplied tools I had always previously used an accurate powder measure and was confident a thrown charge was accurate to 0.2gr. When I have manually trickled to further refine this I have seen a huge increase in reloading time and no difference at 100 yards on target although a slight extreme spread (ES) reduction over the chronograph. For the average hunter/reloader shooting up to 200 yards, accuracy is paramount and ES mainly comes into play at longer ranges. An accurate 100 yard group can record quite large ES on a chronograph but when pushed further out, ES leads to vertical problems and I’m happy to report the ES figures displayed when testing ammunition produced with the Lyman convinced both myself - plus some very sceptical onlookers - of the unit’s value.

Kernels can be found throughout the machine

Likes
Speed Accuracy Reduction in velocity extreme spread

Dislikes
Reduced diameter bushing gives options on speed control European 2 pin plug Laborious cleaning regime Spills powder kernels when trickling commences

Opinion
A unit offering enhanced accuracy within acceptable time constraints, just a pain to clean

Lyman 1200 DPS III £309.97 Hannam’s Reloading Ltd www.hannamsreloading.com 01977 681 639

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Sorting a Savage Part 1
By Laurie Holland

Sorting a Savage
Part 1 – by Laurie Holland My provisional name for this feature was Tuning the Three-Screw Savage Action - reflecting my initial focus on rectifying the poor elevations that dogged my 223 Savage’s performance in the F Class European Championship meeting. However, deeper examination revealed other factors were at work, so it gradually grew into a wider troubleshooting exercise, also letting me post an update on ultra heavy bullet 223 Remington cartridge in long-range competition.

If you read my F/TR report in last month’s bumper coverage of the F Class European Championship meeting at Bisley in November, you’ll have noticed I suffered more than a few elevation problems with my 223 custom Savage. Yeah! Yeah! You’re thinking, this is straight out of that oft-quoted but fictional publication, ‘The Great Diggle Book of F Class Excuses’.
OK, most of us have after-match ‘if only I’d done / not done ......’ thoughts but, there is an intrinsic part of the ‘F Class Experience’ that is about the technical side of the discipline - the vehicle not the driver. It’s frequently and correctly said that a marginal, even fairly significant, reduction in group size or bullet wind-drift won’t compensate for an individual’s lack of wind reading skills, or poor mental preparation and organisation before and during a competition.

Laurie and the .223R Savage with 28” True-Flite barrel and Sightron 8-32X56 SIII LRTD scope in ‘The Europeans’.

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Sorting a Savage Part 1
By Laurie Holland

produce a ‘three’ at five or six o’clock. The second form was most marked in the 800 yard matches which started both days’ competition and saw an early shot (score shots 3 and 4 respectively) drop down, these equating to the 9th or 10th round through a clean barrel, taking ‘blow-offs’ into account. I was largely convinced during the meeting and, in its immediate aftermath, that this was a bedding problem, hence the interest in tuning the rifle’s action’s rear screw tension, the Savage PTA (Precision-Target Action) being very sensitive to its torque setting. However, as I reviewed the rifle’s performance throughout the season, I became increasingly convinced that there was more to the issue and that an ammunition combination that had initially worked well had ‘gone off’ for some reason. When I say ‘worked well’, that includes 12 shots at 1233 yards range at Blair Atholl that put all bar a couple inside the 1000 yard modified Palma target’s ‘Four’ ring (equivalent to 1.7-MOA at this distance) and held consistent elevation as recently as July 2011.

F Class targets are small! This is the 2011 short-range (600yd) model, only 18 inches total diameter. The Five-ring is six inches across.

Nevertheless, the best shooter in the world cannot be competitive in national/international level longrange F Class and F/TR, if the rifle and ammunition don’t perform superbly and consistently. Rifle and ammunition precision standards that just let a skilled shooter score a possible in Target Rifle matches, albeit with a reduced V count, produce hopelessly uncompetitive results in F Class, thanks to the smaller scoring rings. A common misconception is that the F Class target’s rings are half the size of those on the standard NRA prone target – that’s true of their diameter but, halving a circle’s radius reduces its area by no less than 75%. So, discovering that your barrel is on its last legs, the ‘scope is acting up, or that there is some other underlying rifle or ammunition problem after you’ve started shooting in an F Class event is seriously bad news, so much so that afflicted competitors often retire after one or two stages. In my case, the European meeting’s problem was poor elevations that showed up in two forms – poor overall consistency throughout a match, or just about acceptable elevations for 14 out of 15 score shots with one odd man out dropping around 1½-MOA to

Blankety-Blank!
To explain what might have happened, I need to go back to the rifle’s early days. When I started out with the Mouse Gun (Target Shooter August to December 2010 issues), I found a load after a fair bit of experimentation that really worked, and some! This was 25.2gn of Reloder 15 that shot quarter-MOA groups and gave a stunning 2900 fps with the 90gn Berger VLD. There was a fly in the ointment though – this load produced enough pressure to see primer extrusion into the bolt’s firing pin hole, producing a very occasional ‘blanking’ or piercing episode where a little brass disk of primer metal detaches and is blown back into the bolt-head. At the very least, this disrupts the shooting rhythm while the bolt is removed and manually de/re-cocked to (hopefully) eject the disk safely onto the shooting

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Sorting a Savage Part 1
By Laurie Holland

mat; potentially worse if it gets into the chamber and rifling leade ahead of the next round, which guarantees a poor shot. Moreover, despite Alliant ATK, Rel.15’s manufacturer, claiming that this propellant is not temperature affected, my American F/TR shooting Internet correspondents emphatically disagree.

spot’ down was nearly 200 fps lower with Rel.15. An alternative approach was to change powders, in particular to one that is temperature insensitive, ie a Hodgdon ‘Extreme’ type, which in this context means VarGet. This powder had been unavailable anywhere in the UK for most of 2010 when I was working loads up but, I finally got hold of some late in the year and proceeded with load development over the winter of 2010/2011 producing a lower pressure combination

The Savage as originally built with a 31” barrel and outfitted with a Sightron SII 36X42 BR scope. 2010 was the third cold British summer in a row but, commonsense dictated that sooner or later I’d shoot on a hot day and that would possibly cause the blanking problem to escalate to unacceptable levels resulting in retirement. While the number of ‘blanking’ incidents was very small, examining my fired primers showed I was walking a very fine line here. The psychological effect was a major downside thanks to worries affecting every important summer match as to how the equipment would perform unless the weather turned out unseasonably cool. Chamber pressures were high but not excessive: it’s a firing-pin to bolt-face clearance issue – nearly all mass produced ‘factory’ actions suffer from this and Savage is actually better than most. If I lived in the USA, I’d simply send the bolt off to Greg Tannel (GreTan Engineering) with a modest fee and it would be returned in a week with a bushing incorporating a smaller diameter hole installed in the bolt-head and the pin machined to give a close fit – but nobody in the UK offers such a service. Why not simply reduce the charge weight? The 223 is a finicky beast with 90s and the next ‘sweet

that grouped well, if not as brilliantly as the Rel.15 load, with a charge that gave 2,850 fps and small MV spreads. Sorted! I thought. I’d live with slightly larger groups and a bit less velocity to end the primer blanking worries, likewise face heatwave conditions with equanimity. This became my 2011 load, the hotter Rel.15 version only used once in the year – in a threematch international fixture at Blair Atholl, which included an 1100 yard stage.

Sore Throats
There was another nagging concern as the 2011 season progressed, partially linked to the previous use of hot burning double-base Rel.15 – sudden performance collapse from barrel throat wear. When I started out with 223/90, I can hardly overstate how many people on the other side of the Atlantic warned that these long projectiles only perform satisfactorily with barrels in tip-top condition and that I should expect a dramatic loss of precision at a modest or even low round count. So, when the rifle’s performance

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Sorting a Savage Part 1
By Laurie Holland

started to go downhill in mid season with a bit over 2000 rounds through it, borescope examination appeared to confirm rebarrelling was needed given comprehensive firecracking and noticeable erosion ahead of the chamber. On the plus side, there was no copper visible, and both lands and grooves looked clean. The form of this perceived deterioration? – An increase in overall elevation dispersion plus an occasional really bad ‘flier’, usually at 5 to 6 o’clock. Reviewing my plots for the eight stages in the August and September Diggle league round matches, four each at 800 and 1000 yards, reveals a very low shot on its own in six out of the eight, split 50-50 between low ‘Fours’ and high ‘Threes’. Three of the four 1000 yard matches display poor elevations producing 1½ to 2-MOA spreads, the fourth strangely staying around ¾-MOA (acceptable for Diggle on a windy day) bar one ‘flier’, a ‘three’ at, you guessed it, 6 o’ clock. With the benefits of hindsight, this pattern looks very familiar given what was to follow in ‘The Europeans’ a couple of months later! Before moving onto results with a new barrel, I should mention a 100 yard bench testing session using the ‘worn-out’ barrel and some of the remaining match rounds. In the light of the Diggle League round’s performance that immediately preceded the session, I expected really poor groups displaying vertical stringing and/or vertical ‘fliers’. Two loads were used, both Berger 90-grainers and Hodgdon VarGet: VLD over 24.6gn; BTLR over 24.1gn. VLD performance wasn’t brilliant, even if it wasn’t as bad as expected, three five-round groups averaging 0.5 inches. However, two groups had three shots touching plus a high pair also touching opening them out to 0.6 inches. Three BTLR groups were better: two between 0.35in. and 0.4in.; one a ‘screamer’ at under 0.1in.. Hmmm .... maybe the barrel wasn’t as worn out as I’d thought .... maybe 100 yard groups only tell you so much about what you’ll see at 1000. What was remarkable was the MVs - both loads recording

The original 100yd test card for the 90gn Berger VLD over Alliant Reloder 15 combination. Using neck-turned, ‘prepped’ cases and charges weighed on laboratory quality electronic scales squeezed the 25.2gn group and MV spread down further. (One-inch grid.)

Three 100yd groups shot with the 90gn Berger BTLR bullet over H. VarGet using the ‘shot-out’ barrel immediately before rebarrelling. (One-inch grid.)

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Sorting a Savage Part 1
By Laurie Holland

a 75 fps drop and larger spread compared to when I’d worked them up – a substantial performance reduction. Same powder and components’ lots, similar ambient temperature, so it had to be barrel wear.

Shorter Barrel
Anyway, in the belief that the problems were caused by the barrel, a new example went on with only five weeks to go to ‘The Europeans’. It was identical to its predecessor, a True-Flite 1-7 twist, 6-groove, Heavy Palma profile job, gunsmithed again by editor Vince, the chamber cut with the same long-freebore custom reamer. The only change was to crop it at 28-inches, whereas Vince had squeezed the last few millimetres out of its predecessor and obtained 31-inches out of a nominal 30” blank. I’d been right on the 8.25kg F/ TR overall weight limit with that barrel and it seemed prudent to have a few ounces in hand, especially as two sets of scales used to weigh rifles produce readings that are not even close to each other. Received wisdom says that 28 inches is the ballistic optimum for the cartridge anyway, each additional inch beyond that generating only ~10 fps velocity. Back to the 100 yard benchrest range to run and sightin the rebarrelled Mouse Gun using the remaining stocks of VarGet based ammunition left over from Barrel #1. Re-measuring the two bullets’ comparator based COALs showed they needed to be seated 0.020 inches deeper in the case thanks to the unworn rifling leade against measurements taken in March 2011 at a 1279 round-count. Twenty thou’ throat erosion is not at all bad for nearly 1300 rounds, nearly all with 90s and most shots using ‘hot’ loads and double-base Rel.15 – I was very heartened by that finding. Anyway, the bullets were re-seated and both types tried at 100 yard, BTLRs alone in a PSSA 600 yard match. During running/sighting-in, neither performed well, the BTLR load the better of the pair but now only ‘Europeans’ Match 4 (800yd) plot for the Four and Five-rings. Elevations are almost tight enough to hold the ‘Five’ except for shot #4 in the ‘Three’ more than 1-MOA below the group centre. (One-MOA grid.)

‘Europeans’ Match 5 (900yd) plot for the Four and Five -rings. Elevations have now deteriorated to give a 2.5-MOA string with shot #6 particularly bad as a high ‘Three’. (One-MOA grid.)

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Sorting a Savage Part 1
By Laurie Holland

Single-shot models in Savage’s Precision-Target and Precision-Varmint ranges use the three-screw PTA. Model 12 F Class (foreground) and Model 12 LRPV behind.

averaging 0.6 inches. The elevation zero remained very close to that used with barrel #1, but the windage zero shifted no less than five-MOA, fortunately in the ‘right’ direction putting the new setting almost at mid adjuster travel. The 600 yard match score was poor, in the low 70s, not unexpected with ammo that wouldn’t hold half-MOA but the waters were further muddied by such bad weather that the match was abandoned at half-time. At this stage, I wasn’t overly concerned as every barrel is an individual and you must assume that load-tweaking will be needed. Moreover, reducing the barrel length was almost guaranteed to change its harmonics needing loads to be worked up again. However, while I quickly found a 90gn BTLR / Viht N150 short-range load that grouped well and furnished a good result in a 500 yard club match, the VLD / VarGet combination continued to struggle, the best I could get running at a just acceptable 0.4 inches. The 28 inch barrel produced 2800 fps MV, a drop of 50 fps over the longer tube – but it was barely run-in and MVs usually rise after 150-200 rounds. Nevertheless, that was disquieting as I was now running a full 100 fps down on where I’d started in 2010.

Another worry was a strange group produced by one of the six charge weights tried – four bullets in a nicely shaped 0.3in. cluster, one a full inch low! I rationalised that away as a probable mechanical issue, the rifle most likely too far back on the front-rest and rear bag so the bi-pod attachment fixture touched the rest-top for that one shot. No connection was made with the occasional low ‘flier’ in previous league round matches at that time – the mindset that said they were caused by a worn-out barrel survived intact. Anyway, time for further experimentation had now run out with the F European Championship meeting imminent.

I wasn’t over confident about how the rifle and this load were going to perform but hoped ‘it’ll be alright on the night’ as they say in showbiz. Well, it wasn’t! Everybody has such an experience sooner or later – it’s part and parcel of competing in a high-tech discipline with highly stressed rifles and components – and you just have to be grown up about it. As only elevations seemed to be affected, I used the matches to improve my wind reading experience, valuable as I only shoot on Stickledown once a year. Moreover, I still spent a very enjoyable three days at Bisley despite the problems.

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Sorting a Savage Part 1
By Laurie Holland

Three-Screw
My 223 Savage uses the company’s single-shot PTA (Precision-Target Action) which shares many components with the standard Model 10, 11 and 12 versions used in sporters and tactical models and is derived from the same design and manufacturing philosophy. It is only seen in the company’s PrecisionTarget rifle range comprising its Benchrest, F Class, F/TR and Palma models and the single-shot Long Range Precision Varmint (LRPV) series rifles. It’s also available as an action only kit including the recoil lug and barrel locking nut for custom builds, which is how mine started life.

Changes from the ‘cooking’ version of the action include a modified AccuTrigger assembly that can be set to a much lighter pull, a larger diameter and heavier gauge receiver with a small loading port on the side – and of course being single-shot, a solid floor. Finally, while standard Model 12s have two actionbolts, the PTA employs three and the front pair’s spacing is different too. This provides a much stiffer component than standard magazine versions and it has acquired an excellent competition provenance with US Team Savage F/TR shooters performing very well in world class events, including making up half of the victorious US F/TR squad in the last F Class World Championships’ team matches at Bisley in 2009. I’m not sure why Savage Arms added the third (rear) bedding screw, but I do know that the torque it’s tightened to has a significant effect on group sizes. Tuning this setting and sorting the ammunition will be covered next month in the concluding part of the article.

Not all modern single-shot Savage rifles have the PTA. Stuart Anselm (foreground) uses a Model 12BVSS varmint job rebuilt as a .308 Win F/TR rifle in a 2008 Blair Atholl league round. The competitor behind Stuart has a factory Savage 12 F/TR model with the PT action.

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The Eighth MLAIC Air-rifle & Rimfire Benchrest
Where Air We? – by Carl Boswell Long Range World

Championships
Bisley England by David Minshall

Air-rifle & Rimfire Benchrest Where Air We? by Carl Boswell
The air-rifle classes at the 2011 USA World Championship were well attended for such a new sport. This was a really positive reflection on the hard work to get this branch of benchrest established as a competitive sport at international level. This goes back to 2007. The first European Championship.
With growing numbers of countries now shooting air-rifle benchrest - currently 15 member states with another 4 waiting to join - the expectation is that the next international match in 2013 will be even better attended.
With the 2011 championship being held in the USA, I did expect to see a few custom rifles as well as factory models, which we did. However, the popularity of some factory models - like Air Arms rifles - has made a huge impact in the sport. Certainly the top ten places were mostly EV2s this time around, with one heavily customised FX model. In fact the top ten in both the Light Varmint and Heavy Varmint had a number of Air Arms models being used. In 2010, Steyr rifles set the standard at the top, with both individuals in the Russian and United Kingdom teams doing well. However, the popularity of Air Arms was established in the 2010 team results and again in the top ten rank order.
Here is the thing - Arm Arms rifles have even been in the top five in any of these matches. I would even say the top three. In the recent championships, these results were even better. So does it mean that one make is really winning? Maybe, with the fact that most rifles chosen by the top sports shooters are Air Arms.

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Their popularity may stem from the ease of access to the range Air Arms rifles. Plus the fact that they are relatively cheap when we consider the price of a match rifle from some of the European air-rifle manufacturers - to the point where three MPR rifles can be purchased for the price of one. Air Arms have proven that they make consistent rifles when in the hands of experienced and capable sports shooters. I’m impressed by the success of the EV2 this year. I have little experience of this rifle, apart from the few odd shots over the years, plus reviews from people I know and in other shooting publications. For some, there were innate issues with these rifles but, I have to say, this is not the experience from the Australian and US teams who did so well with them this summer.

Air-rifle & Rimfire Benchrest
Where Air We? – by Carl Boswell

Whether these rifles had been ‘worked on’ or not is really immaterial, or if they are newer models! A good competitor will always work with the tools they have to get the best results. This stands to reason. However, having article that ‘performs’ tips the balance positively! In other words, having an ‘out of the box’ factory rifle that shoots just the way we want it to. Well let’s just say we would be very lucky as it also comes down to selecting the right pellets, ensuring proper scope alignment etc.

Todd Banks using an EV2

Nick from South Africa with an Air Arms

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US custom air-rifle – hit the spot in the medals table

Tuner splitter design

Customised EV2

Shooters are experimenting with custom barrels, tuners & air-splitters

Congratulations go to the GB Gallery Rifle Team on a successful trip to Leitmar in Germany, November 12th/13th, Where Air We? – by Carl Boswell taking the honours in small bore and standard centrefire For some, the development of custom rifles is not classes in a three-way International with Germany and Ireland. really the thing to do. Whilst others are going the whole hog with the aforementioned FX rifle and some very nifty looking custom actions based on the Theoben Rapid action. There are even discussions on the internet forums about the use of full electronic systems that are software enhanced.

Air-rifle & Rimfire Benchrest

The GB Gallery Rifle squad outside the Leitmar Clubhouse

From my personal point of view and it is just that, my thoughts lie somewhere in the middle. Like its centerfire and rimfire benchrest cousins, air-rifle design will develop, albeit potentially with clear restrictions for use in the sport. All three areas of benchrest share restrictions within their rules. Progress from the ‘norm’ is as inevitable as ‘death and taxes’ and from this progress comes the future of the sport - good or bad! The future for competition rifles, in terms of electronic technology or mechanical technology is clearly the impasse that is coming. Where will electronics or even software enhanced ‘tools’ be used in competition is really the big question. However, the question should not be based on what technology is available now but more on what technology is being developed now, that we will see in five, ten or even fifteen years time. It will be an interesting discussion! Where does this leave us? Well, there is just under two years of development time to the next big international event. I am sure that shooters will be experimenting with rifles, barrels, pellets etc. All in the effort to get better and more consistent accuracy from their air-rifles. Discussions will go on, but we must play by the rules we have in place at this time. I know there is a great deal of research going on at the moment and it will be interesting to see the outcome and the potential for increased accuracy.

The GB, German and Irish teams Some good exponents using Air Arms rifles in recent competitions are Todd Banks, Scott Grayson, Dan Brown and Brett Wilson to name a few. The Air-rifle class that really showed how these factory rifles can hold their own was the Light Varmint Class. One leading competitor commented that constructing a good sub. 12 ft lb rifle is not that easy. ‘Pumping up the volume’ to higher velocities may potentially increase accuracy, which is where custom rifles with 22 calibre pellets may bring better accuracy. This is what a few believe to some extent! So where does this leave us? The experiments are happening now. FX rifles are being used by the likes of Dan Brown as a ‘chassis’ to produce a customised rifle. The rifle he used in the US was staggering - converted from a manual pump to a full PCP rifle. Quite a bit of superb engineering went in to making this rifle. (I have heard FX are considering - or even have - a prototype benchrest air-rifle. This will be interesting - especially the design of the stock).

So what are you waiting for? Get building, experimenting, developing and practice, practice, practice...

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Liquid Colour Design
Custom Paint & Airbrush Techniques

Profile – Scott Grayson.

24

Profile

Profile – Scott Grayson.
Rimfire and Air Rifle Benchrest

Scott Grayson.

The future of shooting lies with our juniors. Let us help and encourage them and where possible publicise their achievements. Together with Jake Healey, Scott Grayson is one of our brightest prospects in the world of rimfire and airrifle benchrest. If you know a promising junior shooter then please tell us about it or, as Scott did – get them to write their own profile.
My name is Scott Grayson and I have been shooting Rimfire and Air Rifle Benchrest for approximately three years. I am part of the United Kingdom Rimfire and Air Rifle Benchrest Shooting Team. In my short career I have competed in three national and two international events.
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My shooting career started in Buxted Rifle and Pistol Club, which is my local club. This is where I met the shooters who helped my shooting career to flourish, developing great friendships along the way. I initially started by shooting Hunter Field Target – HFT - at national level and then a couple of World Championships alongside my brother Craig. I shot benchrest targets for a bit of fun and to see how accurate I was, thus initiating me into the world of air rifle benchrest shooting.
Gary Kingaby, Graham Freeman and my father Alan Grayson, also fellow United Kingdom team-mates, paved the way for my journey into Air Rifle Benchrest, initially putting me into the postal leagues and allowing me the practice time I needed on the range. I used to really enjoy shooting the postal matches - my first competition with shooters from other countries which made my ambitions of shooting against them ‘shoulder to shoulder’ even stronger. My first national competition at Portishead in 2009 was where my ambitions and desires were first pieced together after learning that there were United Kingdom Team shooters in the competition and the England Captain was there. I wanted to show them I could ‘do it’ and that was exactly what I did, taking 1st junior in the air rifle. I was still oblivious to the art of rimfire at that time. It was fantastic for me, as I had become a national champion in front of the England Captain Carl Boswell who congratulated me on my performance and hopefully, now that he saw my victory, he may acknowledge that and offer me a place on the national squad.

Profile – Scott Grayson.
Rimfire and Air Rifle Benchrest

My father and I made it onto the England squad just ahead of the European championships in 2010 - we couldn’t have been happier. I practiced hard in air rifle to learn all I could, as I knew it would be the biggest challenge I had ever faced. Carl Boswell also introduced me into 25 metre and 50 metre Rimfire Benchrest – my hardest challenge to learn as the variables are so different to air rifle. However, I practiced with Carl’s rifle ahead of the championships as he said that I could use it in the Czech Republic. I felt a lot more positive about my shooting as the event drew near, taking a lot of advice from the various England team-mates. The European Championships in Czech were fantastic and we shared many laughs on that unforgettable trip. It was also a very memorable time for me as I changed my shooting career for good, coming home with a total of 26 medals. I became the European and World Cup Junior Air Rifle Benchrest Champion, European

and World Cup 25 meter Heavy Varmint Rimfire overall Champion - even beating Carl with his own rifle in this latter event! I also attained both Silver Junior medals and Team Gold medal in 50 metre rimfire Heavy Varmint, alongside Graham Redhead and Carl Boswell. As a team, the UK won everything in that final match. The icing on the cake was achieving a European record for the Heavy Varmint 25 metre class. It was a brilliant tournament with success and gratitude all round. Only weeks after the Czech Republic my father, myself and other members of my club attended the Nationals at Paul Lane. This was such an enjoyable event! Enjoyable for both the brilliant ranges - although the air rifle range is immensely challenging - and their exquisite food. We went out as a group in the evenings and ate some amazing and rather large meals. This event proved tough for me and everyone found it difficult but, I managed to retain my title UK Junior Air Rifle champion and become 2nd overall in the UK, beaten only by Graham Freeman by three points in tough conditions and a very close contest. On the 27th of July 2011, I shot in the second World Rimfire and Air Rifle Benchrest Championships in the United States. My Dad, the newly announced England

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Captain Garry Kingaby and myself travelled from Gatwick Airport for the 2pm flight to Charlotte then onward to Charleston, South Carolina. The Championships were the biggest event so far for me, as I was competing for my long awaited chance at the Air Rifle World Junior champion title. It was a long 17 hour journey to our destination, with colleagues like Carl Boswell and his family missing the internal flight. Others who I met had stories of running for planes, so all were exhausted but happy to see each other, which is my favourite part - seeing beaming smiles all round. America was the hardest competition I had ever dreamt of, with very stiff opposition to beat and the unbelievable heat to contend with all added to the difficulty! I shot well and was pleased with my performance, I had become the World Air Rifle Junior Champion and placed 15th overall in the world. I was so happy! I was told later that evening that my air rifle had been leaking air throughout the competition and had a few other problems, so I was very happy with my position.

Profile – Scott Grayson.
Rimfire and Air Rifle Benchrest

I also picked up Junior Silver and Bronze medals in the rimfire 25 metre, beaten by narrow margins by American Joe Oates and my fellow teammate and good friend Jake Healey (also GB) who took Gold in 25 meter event. I was also placed 3rd Junior in 22 Sporter Class , which was, for myself and Jake, the first time we had shot Sporter! I was pipped by one point by Jake!! So overall it was a very enjoyable trip. For myself I had finally achieved my dream of becoming a World Junior Champion and America was the perfect place to do it. The whole experience was amazing - getting to know people better and being introduced to the biggest competition in Rimfire and Air Rifle Benchrest. I cannot thank my Dad enough for this opportunity, alongside many others who have allowed me to grow in this sport.

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Target Shooter visits Hornady
by Chris Parkin

Sometimes it can be hard work being a firearms journalist but, Chris Parkin grits his teeth and bravely survives the ordeal!

Edgar Brothers, the UK importer and distributor for Hornady ammunition and reloading equipment, offered me a trip to Nebraska in cooperation with Outdoor Marketing International in Germany. OMI took care of the organisation and itinerary to catch 9 flights in 7 days visiting various US factories including Leupold and Savage - it was some schedule but, the chance was un-miss able and Hornady was certainly a highlight of the trip.

100 and 200 yard underground targets are shot here, this assembly holds any barrelled action. Looks like Nightforce are well up to recoil pounding!

After smelting, refining and reforming, this lead wire is formed into the bullet’s core.

Buckets of pre-formed jackets.

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I travelled from Manchester with fellow Englishman Pete Carr (editor of Sporting Rifle) to Frankfurt, meeting our ten other European companions - nine Germans and one Austrian. After 24 hours of travel, we finally reached Grand Island, Nebraska, the home of Hornady.

Target Shooter Magazine visit Hornady in Nebraska THE WIND
feet left little time for questions and specifics but an abundance of photo opportunities in the noisier locations made up for it. The factory was just scaling back up to full production levels after a two week holiday period but judging by the repeat counters on some machines, day and night hold no bounds with a skeleton staff having kept a few `jobs` ticking over. There is a fascinating combination of equipment used, from WW2 bullet forming presses running at 40 finished bullets per minute alongside modern pneumatic equivalents running at three times the speed. One thing you quickly learn to virtually ignore are the buckets and I mean `BUCKETS` of bullets - everywhere you look, in every state of the manufacturing process. Staggering quantities in all calibres are absolutely everywhere and chaos only seems to descend back to normality at the warehousing stage. A feeling like `Charlie` in the chocolate factory is only crushed by the lack of small orange Oompah Loompas.

Missed Prairie dogs - the hunter in me cried...
Unfortunately, after some dodgy food somewhere on the trip, I missed out on the first day of fun organised by Hornady - a prairie dog hunt! I soon recovered and caught up on the second day with a private tour of the factory, guided by Jason Hornady, the Vice President and grandson of the original founder of the company, Joyce Hornady.

Office or showroom?
A large industrial unit in the distance could be any large factory or distribution centre but the subtle Hornady logo above the blissfully air-conditioned reception was inviting. Entering the lobby, the sight was jaw-dropping. Every room was beautifully furnished with fine wooden furniture and hundreds of wonderfully presented trophy animal taxidermy specimens from around the world, plus an abundance of local souvenirs and tribal emblems collected by the Hornady family and their employees. Although Target Shooter caters for the non-hunting appetites of our shooting brotherhood, it was hard not to admire the heritage, respect and experience contained within these walls with regard to a worldwide hunting audience, as well as target shooters. Knowing how to make a bullet that will punch out a paper target is one thing but, to stop a charging water buffalo which may endanger the life of a customer is quite another. This company’s owners and employees have walked the walk.

Don’t mention the war!
The factory location originates from a wartime ammunition plant and along with machine shops and tool works to keep all the machines running, a full testing laboratory is in place, originally created in 1949 to allow ALL bullets to be proven on an underground 200 yard range. Up until this creation, Joyce Hornady had driven out to a local range to test all batches of production bullets so, retreating from the outdoor atmospherics, cut out a lot of unwanted variables. My Hornady reloading manual has been a constant reference from the day I started `rolling my own` (shamefully more well thumbed than some of my university engineering manuals) and to visit the factory and specific room in which it was researched and written was quite a privilege. Filing cabinets bursting with test data along with `THE` test bench, pressure barrels and actions and a broad selection of firearms are on hand. It isn’t something we have to worry about in the UK but

From art to engineering through one heavy (soundproof) door
Within this one factory, everything from smelting and purifying the lead for the bullet cores to the production of reloading dies takes place. A two-hour whistle-stop spin around the thousands of square

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Target Shooter Magazine THE Hornady in Nebraska visitWIND

gas operated semi-autos, where pressures and pressure cycles/dwell times are critical to correct function’ are well catered for with hundreds at hand, from pistols to sub machine guns and assault rifles. Strain-gauge equipped actions are ready to ascertain precise chamber pressures, something that has to be monitored closely in both reloading manuals and manufactured ammunition to maintain safety standards and SAAMI operating specifications.

Can you guess the calibres these will turn into!

Quality Control
From the moment a bullet press is set going, a handful of rounds are loaded up to the desired recipe and fired on a test card to establish a benchmark of performance. As the machine runs, sometimes for months non-stop, test batches are shot repeatedly to check product consistency, the frequency of these checks depends on the exact bullet being made and its required tolerances. A basic FMJ can be tested every tens of thousands of rounds but the latest match bullets are checked every few thousand repetitions. Trained operators closely watch an undeniably automated process, each one’s machine almost treated and loved like a family pet. From the purified lead, formed into wires then shaped into cores are introduced to a newly punched jacket, each stage is meticulously recorded and signed off. The New AMP bullets are similar to the older style BTHP designs but are now made to even tighter tolerances. The extra rolling of the copper film from which the jacket discs are punched ensures consistency to thousands of an inch. Down the line, this gives a more consistent spin on the bullet and lessens imbalance and consequent fluttering in flight. Don’t forget, 46 grains of powder is spinning these boys at hundreds of thousands of RPM for their useful lives - seconds at best - but very important ones! Each stage of the bules being formed.

Not quite the 39 steps, but close
After the jacket is punched in and out of 3 or 4 varying sized dies, the swaged core is pushed into it and more punches continue to finalise the overall shape. Of course something like an FMJ is the reverse of a BTHP, finished at the base instead of the pointed meplat

EVERY batch of bullets is repeatedly tested and recorded during manufacturing cycles, often lasting for 100’s of thousands of rounds.

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but, other than specific bullet designs, the process has been done in this way for over a hundred years, although tolerances have thankfully diminished. Alongside all the jacketed bullets we of course didn’t fail to notice thousands of lead pistol bullets on other machines. The largest bullet manufacturer in the US We were told and it was clear to see, that in the post Obama election ammunition drought, this company has spent serious dollars on expansion and development with a large increase in floor space and machinery. Some of the most modern CNC machinery is in use, especially in terms of tool making and both die and reloading press manufacture where blank castings are automatically recognised and machined by the advanced systems to final tolerances. The largest zone of expansion was in the cartridge brass-manufacturing element of the business where Hornady plan to become totally self-sufficient. From the brass cups - similar to bullet jackets - all the way through to finished drawn cases, we saw every stage including flash-hole punching and final annealing steps. We were free to photograph everything in the factory except for the amount of construction work going on. When you own a building on one side of a commercial estate and another a hundred yards away, to Hornady ‘expansion’ means FILL IN THE GAP, it is a huge factory and now everything is under one roof.

Target Shooter Magazine visit Hornady in Nebraska THE WIND

Playtime
After a generous US style ‘on the fly’ buffet lunch, we were joined by Jason’s dad and company president Steve Hornady on trip a few miles down the road to the local shooting range. Along with crates of ammo and gallons of water (heat I have experienced before, the July humidly level was like being bathed in warm treacle) we were offered a large selection of firearms to shoot ranging from pistols and rifles up to submachine guns and assault rifles, some as old as the Thompson. I’m just old enough to have enjoyed pistol shooting in the UK in the early nineties so it was nice to shoot them again but firing 45ACP from a drum magazine with the `Tommy` on full auto was very `John Dillinger`. We rattled away to our hearts content, freshly loaded magazines served like canapés at an evening reception by a range crew. A heatproof glove was provided at one point to shoot a MAC-10, which was literally red-hot. The only gun I didn’t shoot was a full auto 22 rimfire sub-machine gun, I did not have the heart to empty in five seconds a magazine a lad had taken 10 minutes to load for about the twentieth time that day. Onto 50 yards, we shot falling steel silhouette plates with more conventional 22RF and 17HMR rifles and then moved onto familiar sporting and target rifles at longer ranges. Savage and Leupold, both co-sponsors of the trip had provided plenty of toys to play with and they had all been shipped here, assembled and zeroed prior to our arrival.

A local treasure
Contrary to the scale, it was nice to see that in this establishment, employing hundreds of local residents, the Vice President knew everyone by their first name. Perhaps the most memorable detail I saw all day was one of the ladies hand-inspecting A-Max factory loaded match ammunition. She placed several loaded rounds on her palm, rolled them backwards and forwards for a second or two and then separated them into 1st, 2nd and 3rd class lots. Jason and I inspected a 3rd class item for a few seconds before he stopped Kim and asked her why she had rejected it. A quickly placed fingernail pointed our eyes in the direction of a half millimetre blemish on the case mouth before returning to what must be a mesmerising job. I was impressed by attention to detail and a tiny mark I would certainly have ignored in my own hand-loaded ammunition.

This is weird
I don’t think I am alone in considering the average US shooting range to be a little more liberal in its location and construction. Endless miles of countryside kind of make you forget all thoughts of lateral safety angles measured in milradians and imagine courses of fire almost limitless in possibility. On the contrary, the 600 yard range here was BEHIND the mantlet, or at least you shot from a bench 20 yards from an embankment 50 feet high, pierced with tunnels approximately 3 feet in diameter to

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Target Shooter Magazine THE Hornady in Nebraska visitWIND

shoot through. If you loosed a shot accidentally or negligently, it went straight into the earth embankment without a chance of overshooting anything. Very safe yes, but unfortunately, although you could see your precise target, you couldn’t see any wind flags or condition indicators at all, I don’t know how you can judge wind here but apart from mirage, nothing tells the speed or direction of airflow diverting your bullet’s flightpath. Luckily our day, although 38 degrees centigrade with boiling mirage, was virtually wind free, it must be pointless shooting in a howler like we see at Diggle or Blair Athol.

Have you got any 208gr A-Max please mister---he did!

6.5 Creedmoor, one to watch?
More steel gongs and clay pigeons out to distances of 600 yards were either sounded or broken by a selection of Savage rifles equipped with Leupold scopes in calibres from 204 Ruger up to 9.3x62mm fodder, more familiar to out continental colleagues’ boar hunting pastimes. Along with chronographed velocity demonstrations of the new Superformance hunting ammo, we used both monolithic GMX bullets and new A-Max pills manufactured to the tighter AMP (advanced manufacturing process) tolerances. I’m not sure if it was these, the new 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge or the Savage rifles to thank but normal clay pigeons were being dusted with boring regularity at 600 yards. Very impressive, especially when many of the writers present had never shot more than 200 yards before. Throughout these `playtimes`, we were encouraged by Leupold’s tech crew to learn more about dialling turrets for longer ranges (not always a hunter’s priority but very familiar to us target types) especially with the new Custom Bulletdrop Compensation dials, perfectly matched to the ammunition. Horus reticules were great for the tactical shooters, along with the Gold Ring spotting scopes proving outstanding, easily spotting bullet-splash from small calibres at 600 yards in the sand traps to call shots onto the target. Although still a little fresh, keep your eyes out for the 6.5 Creedmoor here in the UK from Savage. I think it could be the cartridge that everyone

Reloading tools are also manufactured on site. A press casting before and after machining.

The new AMP process is reliant on copper film of dastardly perfect thickness, here seeing being rerolled, just to make sure.

These are the specific calibre, barrelled actions on the data page in your manual used to work up recommended handload recipes.

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Target Shooter Magazine visit Hornady in Nebraska THE WIND

The room in which your Hornady reloading manual was researched...

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Target Shooter Magazine THE Hornady in Nebraska visitWIND

would like the 6.5x47 Lapua to offer ballistically but cannot in a factory rifle - without going silly with pressures and killing brass. Hornady have designed this cartridge with a nod to the reloader, for once all factory load/recipe data is published and therefore repeatable at home and hopefully true!

They make millions of these, .30 cal FMJ’s,

I would like to thank Edgar Brothers and OMI for this opportunity to visit Hornady, they were superb hosts and no mention is made here of the great hospitality we were shown both on the range and at the bar. We were invited by the company to attend a local charity ball and it was plain to see the company is a well loved and respected local employer and without blowing anyone’s trumpet, clearly generous to the local economy in hard times. The knowledge gained can only serve to broaden our horizons and reinforce the technical knowledge with which we test our equipment. It all sounds like great fun flying around and using hundreds or rounds of free ammo, wearing out everyone else’s barrels but trust me, it does wear you down, eventually!

This machine assembling loaded rounds dates back to WW2 but is still in constant use by Hornady.

Thanks to Edgar Brothers www.edgarbrothers.com 01625 613177 Outdoor Marketing International. For more product information check out: Hornady at www.hornady.com

Top to bottom, the forming steps of a FMJ bullet in .30 cal.

Would you notice that blemish, talk about attention to detail, this ranked 3rd class.

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THE HANDLOADING BENCH 6mm NORMA BENCH REST
(Conclusion) by Laurie Holland

THE HANDLOADING BENCH 6mm NORMA BENCH REST

(Conclusion) by Laurie Holland

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THE HANDLOADING BENCH 6mm NORMA BENCH REST
(Conclusion) by Laurie Holland

THE HANDLOADING BENCH 6mm NORMA BENCH REST
(Conclusion) by Laurie Holland

One downside of shooting the little BR is that it is such a good-mannered little cartridge with such a huge range of suitable bullets and powders available for it that given the availability of a 100 yard benchrest equipped range with a covered firing-point to keep the worst of the British weather out, you want to shoot it all day, every day.
It’s easy to get caught up in the search for that elusive ultimate components combination to the detriment of barrellife. When I had the Remmy VS rebarrelled to the cartridge, an attraction was its barrel-life compared to its bigger 6.5-284 Norma stablemate but, that doesn’t mean you’ll get 5000 rounds out of it!
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Asking around, those with experience of the 6PPC in bench rest competition say the typical barrel loses its ‘edge’ at around 1300 rounds and the PPC uses 15% less powder and lighter bullets, so can be expected to have a longer accuracy life than the BR. Of course, ‘accuracy life’ likely means something very special and precise to a benchrest competitor as any tiny increase in group size is too much but, even so, I would expect the BR to start to go downhill after maybe 1500 rounds. The good news is that it seems to be a gradual process and you hear of 6BR varmint rifles still performing satisfactorily on this size of target at 3000 or more rounds. Certainly I found the VS noticeably lost its edge in 600 yard benchrest competition on, or just after, 2000 rounds.
However, the rifle still shot extraordinarily well by normal standards, so I used the remaining barrel life as an opportunity to see how ‘varmint’ bullets would shoot in the long-throated ‘Norma BR’ chamber and 1in 8 twist-rate rifling.
Many 6BR users employ their rifles on foxes, crows and faraway rabbits one day and 600 yard - or even further away - paper targets the next. I also know shooters who use their target 6BR piece on small deer species with 90-100gn expanding bullets but, whilst the requisite 1700 ft/lb ME to comply with the English and Welsh Deer Acts is achievable with some combinations, the cartridge is marginal for this application even with a full length barrel of 28 inches. You have to exceed 2767 fps with a 100gn bullet for 1700 ft/lbs and this may be a struggle with a 24 inch barrel – of course, this applies to many factory .243 Winchester loads too! However, since I covered 90108gn match bullets in the last issue, it’s fair to say

THE HANDLOADING BENCH 6mm NORMA BENCH REST
(Conclusion) by Laurie Holland

6BR inert rounds with 55gn Nosler Ballistic Tip (left) and 87gn Hornady V-Max. The bullet bases are just above the marker pen lines on the necks.

that whatever works for them should apply to sporting projectiles too. I’d only caution that some 100gn flat-base bullets may need charges to be reduced compared to 105gn HPBT match models as they have significantly longer bearing surfaces and will generate more pressure - everything else being equal. On the face of it, 6mm Norma BR and lightweight varmint projectiles don’t make for a promising

partnership as the lighter, shorter models cannot be seated to reach the start of the rifling and have to make a considerable jump even when they’re barely seated into the case neck. Then too, the optimal twist rate for these bullets varies from 1-15 to 1-12 depending on the class and length of bullet used and, we’re rotating these fragile little pills far too fast for optimum accuracy, perhaps even for retaining their integrity.

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Blast a 55gn bullet out of a 1-8 twist barrel at 3600 fps and it rotates at 324,000 rpm compared to just over 185,000 rpm in one with a 1-14 rate. Let’s put the integrity issue to bed now – out of 170 groups fired with 55-87gn varmint bullets - 850 or so shots - I didn’t suffer a single failure and that was in a barrel with a considerably eroded throat. That’s not to say it can’t happen – a rough, badly fouled bore and temperatures higher than seen at Diggle might very well induce bullet failure, or it might happen at greater distances beyond the 100 yards I used for testing. So far as COAL is concerned, the throat was too long in my chamber to have any 55-70gn bullet ogive just off the rifling whilst seating even a small part of the bullet-shank in the case-neck. I simply seated these models with an eighth to tenth of an inch of the parallel shank or bearing surface into the neck, before looking for a powder and charge weight combination that would group well despite a 0.1-0.2 inch jump into the rifling leade. These bullets are either flat-base or if nominally boattails, have such a tiny and short tapered rear section that it performs no function other than easing the bullet’s entry into the case-mouth during the seating operation. This helps out here as nearly all of the

THE HANDLOADING BENCH 6mm NORMA BENCH REST
(Conclusion) by Laurie Holland

lower bullet body is available to be gripped by the case. Those 75-87gn models tried are noticeably longer and could just be seated, albeit shallowly to reach the leade. This would put their bases on - more usually a little above - the bottom of the case-neck, whilst providing my usual 0.015 inch jump into the rifling (or seated into the rifling if so desired with the odd secant ogive model). When using mid burning rate powders like Viht N140/ N150, Hodgdon H4895 and VarGet whose top loads run above 30gn, I often had a desirable ‘no airspace’ set-up with the case capacity fully utilised by the charge almost to, or right up against, the bullet base with these bullets. This was with the chamber as cut by Norman Clark’s reamer of course. If you’ve specified a really long throat to suit the longest 105gn VLD on the market or a 115gn design seated at the optimal position in the case, all varmint bullets would likely make a full quarter inch or even longer jump. What about powders for these light bullets? Faster burners – Alliant Reloder 10x, Accurate 2015 and 2230, Hodgdon H322 and Benchmark, Viht N133/N135 seem

There is a huge choice of 6mm varmint and deer bullets, of which this is a tiny part

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THE HANDLOADING BENCH 6mm NORMA BENCH REST
(Conclusion) by Laurie Holland

specialist bullet-makers geared up for 6PPC bench shooters - G&C being the primary UK producer - but many more in the USA. These powders can also be used successfully with the heavier (75-87gn) models but the mid burning rate propellants – N140/N150, H4895 and H. VarGet, Reloder 15 – I recommended last month for 90-108gn

to provide the best results with 55-70gn numbers. This also applies to ultra-light match bullets, of which there is a good choice in the 66-70gn range, from one or two larger manufacturers particularly Berger Bullets and Sierra for its 70gn MatchKing, as well as the small

55, 58, and 70gn 6mm bullets from Sierra, Nosler, Hornady and Berger.

long-range match bullets often perform well now. I also tried some IMR powders – 3031, 4895, and 4320. Incidentally, those Accurate (or AA) powders that we see have reverted to their ‘Lovex’ product designations as used by the manufacturer, Explosia in the Czech Republic. The American owner of Accurate Arms now sources its propellants elsewhere but we still get the older Explosia versions. AA-2015 is Lovex SO 60 and AA-2230 ball powder becomes Lovex DO73.4 under this regime. I wasn’t over bothered about obtaining super velocities. I’ve seen loading data for combinations that push the 55s out at 3700 fps with some powders but had no desire to replicate these feats. You will lose some velocity - possibly even a lot of velocity from the Norma BR throat especially with the lightest bullets making a big jump. Some of the combinations I tried were a bit down MV-wise and if I’d been looking to work up a field load, I’d have carried on increasing charges in small increments – the promising 70gn Nosler Ballistic Tip and Viht N530 combination is a good example.

Good powders for 55 – 80 gn bullets

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THE HANDLOADING BENCH 6mm NORMA BENCH REST
(Conclusion) by Laurie Holland

GameKing HP / 30.5 + 31.0gn IMR-4895). When I note that the top loads were ‘warm’, this means that primer ‘cratering’ was just appearing. Remember though that my unmodified Remy 700 bolt head / firing pin is prone to producing this before reaching full pressures and the Remington BR primer cup is noticeably softer than those of the CCI-450 and BR4. Remember also, that a short-throated chamber optimised for varmint bullets will produce greater pressures from any given load combination than my longer-freebore ‘Norma’ version.

IMPORTANT NOTICE

One of my Diggle test targets

Where shown, MVs are for the maximum chargeweight used unless advised otherwise. Talking charge increments, most batches cover a 2.0gn weight range which rose in 0.5gn steps, all combinations consisting of five by 5-round batches. If a load listed in the results table has a greater than 2gn spread, the first increment was a full grain, reverting to half-grain after that. If less than a full 2gn, it will have started as 0.5gn and reduced to 0.4 and 0.3gn steps subsequently. QuickLOAD was used to predict pressures and MVs in advance and some leeway was deliberately built into my charge-weight ranges to avoid overloads. Remington 7½BR primers were used throughout except for a few combinations with the CCI-BR4 model, this shown in the ‘Comments’ column. No loads produced really heavy pressures in my barrel and chamber with one possible exception (85gn Sierra

These components and loads performed safely in the author’s rifle: this cannot be guaranteed for other firearms. Good handloading procedures should be used working loads up from low starting levels while looking for signs of excessive pressure. This data only applies to rifles chambered in 6mm Norma BR form. 6mm Remington BR with a shorter throat will generate much higher pressures.

41

THE HANDLOADING BENCH 6mm NORMA BENCH REST
(Conclusion) by Laurie Holland

Table 1 - VARMINT BULLET RESULTS - HANDLOADS
(77gn HP Factory Load as a benchmark: Average 0.5” group, 3221 fps/ES: 26 fps - 4 groups) Powder / Charge 55gn Nosler Ballistic Tip 26.5-28.5gn Viht N120 26.0-28.0gn Alliant Re7 Groups
0.5-0.8” 0.45-1.1”

MV/ES
3,618 / 46 3,442/10

Comments

55gn CT BST (Nosler / Winchester low-friction coated version of the Ballistic Tip) 28.5-30.5gn AA-2015 0.26-0.85” n/r 30.5-32.5gn AA-2230 0.6-1.15” 3,622 One velocity reading only obtained. 30.0-32.0gn H4895 0.66-1.1” n/r 55gn Sierra BlitzKing 28.5-30.5gn AA-2015 29.5-31.5gn H Benchmark 58gn Hornady V-Max 28.5-30.1gn AA-2015 28.5-30.0gn Alliant Re10x 26.8-28.5gn Alliant Re7 28.3-30.0gn Viht N130 70gn Sierra BlitzKing 30.0-32.5gn Viht N135 28.0-30.5gn H322 70gn Nosler Ballistic Tip 29.0-31.0 H. Benchmark 28.5-30.5gn Viht N530 30.4-32.5gn Viht N135 31.0-34.0gn H. VarGet
0.3-1.1” 0.35-0.95” 0.3-0.75” 0.6-0.9” 0.45-1.1” 0.5-1.0” 0.75-1.7” 0.55-1.3” 0.35-0.45” 0.35-0.75” 0.46-0.66” 0.35”-0.75” 3,352 / 32 3,500 3,277 /53 3,384/21 3,420/58 3,470/29 n/r n/r 3,374/49 3,252/31 3,358/25 3,368/34

One velocity reading only obtained. CCI-BR4 primer CCI-BR4 primer MV for 29.3gn

3 ex 5 groups ≤0.5” Slightly compressed charge

70gn Berger HP Flat-Base Varmint 30.0-32.0gn H4895 0.55-0.85”

n/r 3,246/71 3,277/53 3,241/24 3,246/16

75gn Hornady V-Max 28.0-30.5gn IMR-3031 27.0-29.5gn AA-2015 30.4-32.4gn H. VarGet 28.5-30.0gn Viht N133

0.5-0.9” 0.3-0.8” 0.6-1.0” 0.65-0.9”

3 ex 5 groups ≤0.5” Top loads ‘warm’

42

Table 1 - VARMINT BULLET RESULTS - HANDLOADS Cont...
Powder / Charge Groups MV/ES Comments 80gn Sierra Varminter SBT (Spitzer Boat-Tail) 29.8-31.7gn Viht N140 0.4-1.0” 2,940/15 80gn Berger HBC-FB (Secant Ogive, flat base) 30.0-32.0gn IMR-4895 0.4-1.0” 3,106/50 28.4-30.3gn IMR-3031 0.35-0.75” 3,113/22 85gn Sierra ‘Varminter’ SPT (Spitzer, flat-base) 28.4-30.3gn Viht N530 0.4-0.85” n/r 29.5-31.5gn Viht N140 0.4-1.0” 2,940/15 29.0-31.0gn H4895 0.5-1.0” n/r 85gn Sierra HPBT GameKing 30.0-32.0gn IMR-4895 0.15-0.75” 31gn 28.4-30.3gn IMR-3031 0.55-1.1” 87gn Hornady HPBT 28.8-31.0gn Viht N140 29.8-32.0gn Viht N150 87gn Hornady V-Max 29.8-31.5gn H. VarGet 30.4-32.3gn IMR-4320
0.4-0.55” 0.55-0.85” 0.45-1.1” 0.95-1.3” 3,148/78 3,110/29 2,906/25 3,007/31 3,052/14 3,108/36

THE HANDLOADING BENCH 6mm NORMA BENCH REST
(Conclusion) by Laurie Holland

CCI-BR4. 4 ex 5 groups ≤0.45”

Top loads too warm. Good results 30CCI-BR4 primer

Top loads ‘warm’

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Choosing & using sights
by Gwyn Roberts

“Putting the pieces together. Part 2”
Choosing & using sights by Gwyn Roberts
Moving on from making your stocks and grips fit you properly, the next thing to consider is which type of sight (or sights) are going to be the most suitable for the type of Gallery Rifle competitions that you intend to compete in. Whilst the variable-powered scope is by far the most commonly used in GR shooting, it’s not going to be suitable for every type of GR match but it’s certainly the most popular type to start with. The distances we shoot at are relatively short (as most of our matches used to be shot with pistols) so there isn’t any need to spend an absolute fortune on a Nightforce, Zeiss or S&B scope but, there are certain things to think about before rushing out and buying the first thing that comes your way. The first of these would be choosing a suitable reticule and you won’t go far wrong if you decide to go for a standard crosshair type (although mil dots are also fairly popular) as they are very easy to pick up on the target and also simple to use. There are a huge number of reticule designs to choose from (including illuminated varieties) ranging from a series of dots to multiple lines and patterns that resemble something more like a Christmas tree but, quite frankly, I find that most of them are just a gimmick and are of little use to us in the type of shooting that we do. Trying to decipher a multitude of lines, dots or curves quickly against a Timed & Precision or Multi Target target during a 2 to 3 second exposure is pretty much a recipe for disaster and you’d be well advised to steer clear of the ‘cluttered’ variety. The standard crosshair shape is usually referred to as a duplex or 30/30 reticule, although some companies will call it their own version such as a Nikoplex etc. but they are all essentially based on the same simple design. Depending on the manufacturer, most duplex types will differ slightly with regard to the overall thickness and length of both the outer posts and the centre lines, including the spacing between them so make sure you try looking through as many as you can (or ideally try them out on the range) to see which type suits you best. There are also some fine cross hair reticules available (including some with a small centre dot) but these are pretty hard to pick up quickly on the target and are mainly used for long range or benchrest type shooting. The next important feature to consider will be choosing the magnification range of your scope and this is probably where most people will have to make a compromise. I say this because of the wide range of disciplines that are on offer within Gallery Rifle and the fact that there are very few (if any) individual scopes that have a magnification range diverse enough to provide everyone of us with the optimum sight-picture at every distance, in every type of competition that we shoot. Putting red dots and iron sights aside for now, you would probably need a scope with a magnification range of between 1 - 25x to satisfy the demands of

OPTICS

46

Choosing & using sights
by Gwyn Roberts

this will make it easier for them to see which area of the target they are actually pointing at when initially bringing the rifle up into the aim. Trying to shoot quickly and accurately at 10 metres using a scope that has a limited lower range of between 6 & 8x will usually prove very difficult for most (especially in some of the faster shooting matches) as the target size is obviously magnified a fair amount which will fill the scope up completely and this can often lead to confusion and rushed shots unless the sights are brought directly up onto the centre of the target. Faster - and probably more importantly, consistent presentation of the crosshairs onto the central scoring zone can be achieved through body alignment, muscle memory and target/sight presentation practices using a lower power setting to start with. This will obviously require a fair bit of time and effort on your behalf in order to get it right but once this skill has been mastered, it will definitely help you to improve your scores and overall performances and is well worth persevering with.

Reticles can be confusing... every GR shooter but unfortunately the majority of affordable scopes (for most people) tend to be in the region of 1-5x, 3-9x, 3-12x, 4-12x, 4-16x, 5-20 x, 6.520, 6-24x or even 8-32x power. Most new shooters coming into Gallery Rifle competitions are usually steered by their clubs towards some of the lower round-count events,

like the 25m Precision, the Multi Target or Timed & Precision 1 matches to start with. Whilst the Precision match allows you plenty of time to complete each stage, the latter two will require you to pick up the targets pretty quickly and fire off one or two rounds within 2 to 3 seconds at the closer distances. For these matches most newcomers will usually experience greater success by using a scope with a minimum magnification range of between 3 – 5x as

As well as making sure that the lowest power setting on your scope is suitable for your intended needs, you must equally ensure that it will provide you with enough magnification at the opposite end to enable you to see where your shots are actually landing on the target. This is especially important when shooting up to 50m where such things as wind, lighting conditions or even an accidentally knocked scope can change the point of impact by quite a margin, especially on the much smaller 22 targets.

47

Choosing & using sights
by Gwyn Roberts

I always check to see where my first few rounds are going when I’m shooting at the longer distances just to make sure that I’m hitting in or around the X or 10ring. If I’m not, then at least I’m able to see just how far off I need to aim, or simply dial-in the required offset using the turret adjustments. There’s no point in putting 24 rounds down range during a 1500 Match 3 at 50m only to find out, when you go forwards to score, that the rounds were actually landing down

Spending time practising on the range, trying all of the magnification settings, is the only way to find the optimum settings for each of the distances involved. Once you have found the magnification setting that gives you the best results at a particular distance, make sure that you stick with it and don’t be tempted to use one that you simply prefer - it’s the scores on the target that count and not what you perceive to be the most stable. It’s also a good idea to write these figures down on a crib note until you can remember them off by heart to help improve your performance. There will obviously always be exceptions but on the whole something like a 3 – 9x scope just won’t get the job done as many have found out and I would suggest that either a 4 -16x or 5 - 20x scope would fulfill most shooters’ needs when starting off in the GR precision type disciplines, as they probably offer you the greatest spread between the lowest and highest magnification settings. The lowest settings will help you cope at the closest distances in most of the GR disciplines whilst the highest will enable you see where your shots are landing at every distance and, although you may not use these maximum settings to start with, they will always be available once you start to improve and need to use them. The next thing to look at would be adjusting the scope so that you can aim dead-on in the middle of the X ring at each of the distances involved and this is easily done on a scope that is equipped with a set of target turrets. They are very easy to use and will allow you to wrap a piece of white tape around the outside of the elevation turret to mark your distance settings onto it. This makes everything easier and more precise and will also help save valuable seconds rather than having to aim off each time you bring the rifle up into the aim.

Bushnell Elite 6500 inside the 8 or 7 ring - just because you couldn’t see where your shots were going at the time. Whatever caliber you shoot there is no magic magnification setting to use when shooting at the longer distances as it all boils down to personal preference, experience and ability. Some shooters will only use a magnification of somewhere between 6 and 10x because “the sight doesn’t wobble around as much.” In reality though, their stability remains the same, it just appears to be more stable as the movement on the target is simply less magnified than it would be on a higher setting. Many of the GB team use between 12 - 20x at this distance with very good results but it is definitely something that you will have to work on over time, in conjunction with improving your trigger-pull of course. Most of my best results have been achieved using between 20 - 25x at both 25 & 50m but I did experiment with using maximum settings of between 12 & 15x at both the Phoenix and Nationals this year and the results were fairly comparable, although I did have to turn the magnification up to check my point of impact a few times during some of the matches as I couldn’t see where my initial shots were going.

48

Choosing & using sights
You can still use the same marking principal using the smaller types of turrets/adjusters, including the coinslot variety by using a small round adhesive sticker or even small dabs of different coloured paint to mark each distance. There are two types of elevation adjustments that give you either ⅛ inch or ¼ inch per click at 100 yards and for what we do the ¼ inch versions are the ones to go for if you have the choice,
by Gwyn Roberts

on the internet. More and more scopes are becoming available where the parallax adjustment is made by a dial located on the side of the main body of the scope although it is not generally considered to be as accurate as the AO ring system.

Barska and Burris as they require less movement when dialing in the distances which in turn helps reduce wear and tear in the long run. Moving up to the front end of the scope and you will usually have the option of either a 40, 42, 44, 50 or 56mm diameter objective lens. The 50mm variety are very popular in GR as they allow more light in than the smaller versions and they are usually combined with a one-inch body-tube, which helps to keep the overall weight of your rifle down. Most of the scopes that offer a 56mm objective lens will use a 30mm body, which will transmit more light when shooting in poor weather or light conditions but they are generally a lot heavier than the one inch versions, so keep this in mind before opting for one. I use two 6 – 25x by 56mm Millett scopes with 30mm bodies on my precision rifles (for 1500 & shorts etc) and whilst they certainly do the job, I really could do without the extra weight that they add onto my rifles. Many scopes will have an adjustable objective ring marked with the approximate shooting distances around it to allow you to quickly focus on the target but more importantly, help correct any parallax error that is present at each distance. To go into the effects and corrections of parallax error here would take up far too much space but it will be well worth your time to read some of the excellent articles on this subject Whichever type of scope you go for, the main thing to make sure of is that it will physically focus down to 10m otherwise there will be an awful lot of GR competitions that you will not be able to take part in as all you will see is a blur when you bring the rifle up into the aim. Quite a few of the models in the Leupold range for example will not focus down to less than 25m as they as primarily longer range hunting scopes so it’s always best to check before you buy.

Target Turrets

49

Choosing & using sights
by Gwyn Roberts

As with most things, you usually get what you pay for and scopes are no exception and anything that uses either Japanese or German lenses in it will be more expensive but the quality is certainly a lot higher

Another option of course if you are on a tighter budget would be a second-hand scope and you could well end up with a lot more scope for your money, so make sure you check out the various shooting forums and sites on the internet to see what’s available. As I mentioned earlier, you will find that a telescopic sight won’t always be the best option for some of the GR disciplines, whatever its magnification range and these include matches like the Bianchi, the Bisley Speed Steels, 3 gun matches and Steel Challenge falling plate type matches. To shoot well in the c/f Bianchi, a 1.5 – 6x42mm would be an ideal choice as the 1.5x setting would certainly make life easier during the Mover and Plates matches and not many shooters would need over 6x to shoot the 50m stages on a full size target. Likewise, using a red-dot on an LBR for this match would produce much better results for most shooters as opposed to using a 2 – 7x pistol scope, given the precise way you have to line your head up with the eye-piece and the loss of sight-picture during recoil. Some of the faster matches, where there are multiple targets at close to medium range, are best shot using red-dot scopes or even iron-sights as the targets can be picked up much quicker and the transition between them will be a lot faster and more fluid as your vision will be far less restricted compared to using a telescopic sight. If you eventually decide to start branching-out and giving these more varied disciplines a try, then you will need to ensure that you use the right optic for the job at hand and this can be done in two ways. The first is to simply have a spare scope (or scopes) and fit it using some decent quick-release mounts, or by using a set of the quick-release ring system. Warne (above) make some excellent QD rings and they are fairly reasonably priced as well but whichever make you decide on it’s very important that you always make sure that the profile of both your rings and base match properly - some rails are cut using a 45° cutter whilst others use a 60° version. Hoping that a set of 45° rings will locate in exactly the same position on a 60° base when you swap scopes over just

Adjustable objective which can easily be seen when comparing them side by side on the range. I have always advocated using the Edgar Brothers Optimate range as they were manufactured in Japan and were excellent value for money considering they retailed for around £160-170 each but unfortunately these are no longer available. I have used their 5-20 x 50 models for the last 15 years or so and have never had a single problem with any of them but, looking around recently for a new scope to use for Bianchi, there doesn’t seem to be anything else of that quality around anymore for this sort of money. Yes, there are plenty of scopes available for around £150-200 and plenty more for a lot less money but they are all fitted with cheap Chinese lenses and the build quality is somewhat dubious to say the least. On the other hand, having to pay between £300-500 plus for a better quality item such as a Nikon or Burris will bring tears to some shooters’ eyes especially when they have more than one rifle to equip but, they do offer excellent quality and most will come with a lifetime guarantee. It’s going to be your wallet that makes the decision at the end of the day but generally, you get what you pay for.

50

isn’t going to happen, so make sure that everything fits properly as it should and you won’t have any problems. Leupold (below) make some very good bases which utilize their own version of QD rings which have a stem-like base on them. The scope is lined up at 90 degrees with the front hole of the base and is then rotated until the rear ring locates inside the slot at the back. A screw is then inserted and tightened-

Choosing & using sights
by Gwyn Roberts

The optics used are either a 6 – 25x56 30mm tube scope with Warne QD mounts or a Hakko 45mm red dot and I use this to shoot all of the action matches. The rifle I use for the precision-type matches is around a medium-weight with a neutral balance and is fitted with a 12.5 inch barrel, a 1 inch 5 – 20x scope and a very light trigger, which means that I can shoot it all day without getting tired out. My 44 Bianchi lever-action rifle has a 2.5 -10x scope complete with mover base and wings etc. and the trigger releases at around 2lbs. My second 44 is set up with a 45mm red-dot scope and a 2lb trigger for shooting the Man v Man and Steels type competitions whilst the heavy weight 44 I use for shooting the Precision based events has a modified fore end, 6 – 25 x 56 30mm tube scope and a 1lb trigger. My LBRs and LBPs are also set-up to shoot the two different types of matches and I have gone down this route due to the amount of competitions that I shoot at either the Phoenix or the Nationals. It’s a lot easier just to pick up a couple of guns out of the boot and go and shoot them and then pick up some more and go and shoot some different types of matches, rather than spending half my time trying to swap scopes around and remember which one goes with which gun. There is also the added bonus of having a spare gun to hand that is already sighted in (albeit with a different magnification scope) should an optic or other major component fail on my main gun during a weekend’s competition. This has happened to both myself and others on various occasions over the years both at home and abroad and having a spare gun on the day has certainly proved invaluable at the time and is well worth considering if you can manage it!

up locking everything into place. I have used these several times in the past with 100% success rate of them returning to zero. These would definitely be my choice if I wanted to swap scopes quickly and accurately - the only downside to them being that you can only mount something like a Tasco PDP3 red-dot scope with a 25 or 30mm tube-type body using this system, as they don’t provide rings to fit the larger 40 or 50mm versions or one of the screen-type dots. The second but more expensive option is to simply have two rifles with one set up for precision type shooting and the other for the faster action-type matches and whilst it may sound a little excessive to some people, it’s what a lot of us used to do back in the pistol days. For example, I have a heavier weighted 22 rifle (with the bias being at the front end) which is fitted with a stainless 16 inch compensated barrel, a mover base, barricade wings, a weightadjustable stock and a heavier single-stage trigger.

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23/4/10 14:58 Page 1

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Liquid Colour Design
Custom Paint & Airbrush Techniques

Custom paint & Airbrush has seen a very big increase over the last few years not just the motorbike or the scooter industry but from fine art work to applying great artwork into bedrooms, murals, films, kids favourite TV programmes to pubs and large nightclubs; custom artwork can also be seen in Hospitals, the list is endless. I have seen many of the American target shooters with designer paint jobs on the rifle stocks but you do not see so many here in the UK & Ireland. I really enjoy my shooting, from target shooting to out in the field, so have an understanding of full-bore rifles and the tight tolerances. I can ensure that all rifle stocks that are in my possession will be looked after and cared for just as you would expect from a fellow shooter. I have had the joy of meeting many of the F-Class boys before at Bisley on the long weekend for beginners and introduction into F-Class which I found fantastic and great fun. I always had an interest in airbrush and custom paint from a young age with qualifications & grades in art from leaving school to gaining more qualifications in design later in life. In 2010 I decided to start up my own business in custom paint after being made redundant. This I have now achieved and called the business Liquid Colour Design. Liquid Colour Design’s custom paint shop is at my home location in the small rural Village of Ballycarry at the start of the Antrim Glens in Northern Ireland. I have been living in this great little Village from 2002 with my fantastic wife Naomi and my beautiful daughter Erin aged 11 years, I also have to mention our guard dog Tara, the 6 year old Jack Russell. I have had a great opportunity of being shown some of the many different aspects of airbrushing and custom painting from the top European Airbrush and Custom Painter Simon Murray of SM Designs who has been a great help and inspiration to me. I have been shooting since a young lad and I enjoy stalking and also long range varmint, I have many friends in the shooting industry and I was asked by one of Northern Ireland’s top target shooters and Commonwealth and Olympic Target Shooter Mr Gary Duff to paint his stock for the upcoming 2012 year. Well I was up for the challenge - what an amazing way to go to work in the morning knowing that you’re going to paint a Commonwealth and Olympic target rifle for a great lad and athlete, I couldn’t stop smiling 54

Liquid Colour Design - Custom Paint & Airbrush with Design
Commonwealth & Olympic Target Shooter Gary Duff has had his rifle stock painted and airbrushed by Iain Baldwin of Liquid Colour Design - a custom painting company based in Northern Ireland. Iain describes the process...
Welcome to Liquid Colour Design, the company is custom paint and airbrush with design, based at the start of the Antrim Glens in a wee village called Ballycarry, Northern Ireland. There are many different ways LCD can complete and design your work from start to finish for all of your future projects. You can visit my website to get a full run down on my company and if you like to see more detailed pictures of the process from start to finish, please visit my website, go to the bottom of the page and click the Facebook page and look under photos where you will see an expanse of work and an ever increasing portfolio.

and grinning to myself. Gary and I know one another from previous work experiences and we came up with a colour and design with some small art work requested by him. Once we settled on a design and I started to prep and paint. I can use many different types of paints whether its solvent-based or water-based, I really like the waterbased Auto Air (AA) paints as I feel that they produce the best results. I have used these paints on jet-ski bikes, cars, and golf clubs to name a few. AA produce some amazing paints - exotic types such as the Gem series, which Gary and I decided upon. The way this

Liquid Colour Design
Custom Paint & Airbrush Techniques
and an idea of what he requires, I then design the artwork and provide him with a colour chart that helps him nail the exact colour he requires and, at this point, I explain the work and timescale, so he understands the complete process. One of his main concerns was the protection of the paintwork. Once the artwork or custom paint is

paint reacts in the sunlight is truly out of this world. I have produced a short You Tube video so you can actually see the interaction in the sunlight. This is just one of the paints that AA produce but there are so many that can be used for your next project. As I am an airbrush artist, detailed and fine artwork can be painted on to your rifle stock - such as photos, skulls, underwater themes, aeroplanes, birds, snakes, graphic design - the list is endless. If you have an idea, I am sure that I can provide a solution to your artwork or design for your rifle stock. OK, let’s get stuck into the process of painting Gary’s rifle stock. Once Gary has informed me of the colour

finished, it is protected by 2K lacquer systems that provides amazing protection, just the same as you would have from a factory laminate stock. Now here is the difference between ‘factory’ and ‘custom’. At Liquid Colour Design we apply six coats of clear high-finish 2K lacquer. We then fast cut and polish and end up with a hand glaze finish. This process was developed by many years of custom painting and award winning paint jobs from leading international custom painters. It provides a glass finish that looks wet - totally amazing. Your standard factory stock would get two coats of 2K lacquer without any polish then thrown out the door. I am offering a real custom bespoke paint and finish that you will be proud of.

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Liquid Colour Design
Custom Paint & Airbrush Techniques
I was handed the rifle stock by Gary and then I stripped the stock as far as it goes. This rifle stock is totally different to an F-Class stock with less ‘meat’ on it, so it had limitations for the design artwork aspect but great for the custom paint, so this is how we came up with the paint work. Firstly, the stock is totally stripped, taped-up and all parts removed are placed inside a cup for safe keeping. This is really the most important part of the process - get this wrong and the paint work will suffer. It’s essential to understand what primers and metalcleaning products to use for all the prep work and prime out. Due to the stock being made from two different components - aluminium and laminate - I had to ensure that I split the two apart, treating it as two separate projects. The aluminium was prepared by going through a degreaser stage then using panel wipe. After that I started on the wet and dry paper. I had to use a small hand Dremmel to knock back a couple of dings out of the aluminium – a bit of user error here Gary! I used sandpaper to knock-back all the laminate ‘errors’ and then I 2K lacquered the laminate. I did this process twice and then sanded smooth. After the second time of sanding the laminate, I used a high-build primer then a dust coat of etching primer to give me a high tack rate for my paint stage. I needed to do this as I am totally meticulous about the process and finish. Auto Air paint is water-based and uses a mechanical bond to paint - unlike solvent that uses chemical bond - so the painting process becomes a joy. For the base, I used 4002 sealer dark Auto Air paint and over the top I used 4401 Gem Sapphire which is totally amazing in the sunlight over the sealer. Dark produces a dark shade of Sapphire but this paint can be used in so many different ways if you paint over base white it produces a high sapphire hot pink shade. The AA paint is very versatile and there are many different options to the custom painter or artist. Unfortunately, the day Gary came to collect the stock it was a very dull day so I will at some point get some photos in the amazing sunshine we have here in Northern Ireland.

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Once the top coat is dry I then go to a tack coat of 2K lacquer, once the flash of time is complete and all wet coats have been laid I leave overnight in the booth at 23°C. The next day I wet and dry with 2000grit for the final artwork and the small amount of design that is required to complete the artwork/design.

Liquid Colour Design
Custom Paint & Airbrush Techniques

Once I am 100% happy with the completed design and artwork I apply the final coats few coats of 2K lacquer. I have at all times been aware of the tolerance of the action to the stock and the bedding, I have allowed only fine coats of lacquer over this area and still at the end of the process allowed a smooth and acceptable allowance for the action to bed. The completed rifle stock took me a bit longer than I thought it would as the prep was a wee bit of a pain but my client was very happy with his new custom painted rifle stock. I would like to thank and wish Gary the utmost support for his chance to become a part of the 2012 Olympic squad again. I would also like to thank Vince Bottomley for his guidance and help so I could place this article in this amazing online magazine. Prices from £180.00 inclusive; for design, Iain can produce the design on a jpeg format emailed prior to work for final appraisal. Due to the ever building

clientele Iain is in high demand, terms & conditions can be visited on his web site. When you visit his website please visit his Facebook link by clicking the link at the bottom of his business website. This will allow you to visit his business Facebook with all latest photos and links. Iain has produced a short YouTube video of the stock where you can see this amazing paint and artwork. http://youtu.be/z-x86BYHsoY

Iain Baldwin 40 Edmonstone Ave, Ballycarry, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland, BT38 9UA. (O) 02893378525 (M)02893378525 info@liquidcolourdesign.com http://www.liquidcolourdesign.com

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Browning Buckmark Long Pistol

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

Available from Westlake Engineering
Tel. 01722 782432 ags.westlake@virgin.net

New Hybrid Target Bullets Due In Soon
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. Berger’s Chief Ballistician, Bryan Litz uses his expertise to combine the appropriate shapes

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FROM THE BENCH
VINCE’S REGULAR COLUMN WHEREBY ACCURACY NUTS CAN KEEP UP TO DATE WITH THE ACTIVITIES OF THE UKBRA AND ACCURACY RELATED ITEMS

Competitions
Temperatures might be below zero but we’re still shooting benchrest! Twenty-odd brave souls made a break from the Christmas festivities and took part in the UKBRA’s 600 yard benchrest competition at Diggle Ranges on December 27th – which is a good job, otherwise I’d have had nothing to write about! This was round two of our winter series and in round one, Steve Dunn took an emphatic win, though ‘Remington Girl’ Toni Young placed second with her out-of-the-box 308 Remmy 700. Toni also won last year’s 600 yd Factory Championship with her remarkable Remmy but, today she wasn’t there so maybe that gave us a chance...

It was murky December Diggle day as Bruce Lenton sets up his 6BR Winchester but three new records were set.

Not really – we just took a drubbing from another Factory Sporter shooter! Darrel Evans and his 6.5x47 Accuracy International won not only Factory Sporter Class but Light Gun Class as well! Darrel’s 1.8 inch group was the smallest of the day and a new UKBRA record to boot – beating Phil Gibbon’s 2.2 incher! In fact, Darrel broke three records in total, the other two being the Factory Sporter Aggregate and the Light Gun Aggregate. A remarkable performance.

Results Light Gun: 1st Darrel Evans 2nd Jack Gibb 3rd Vince Bottomley Small group: Factory Sporter: 1st Darrel Evans 2nd Chris Gleave 3rd Sean Broxham Small group:

6.5x47 Accuracy Intl. 6mmBR Stolle 6mm TGP Stiller Darrel Evans

2.839 in.(av. of four, 5-shot groups) 3.247 3.355 1.823 inches

6.5x47 Accuracy Intl. 308 Accuracy Intl. 6.5-284 Savage Darrel Evans

2.839 in. 3.818 4.015 1.823 inches

Our new season of 100/1000 yard shoots does not start until April 7/8th April but meanwhile, we have another Diggle 600 yard BR shoot on Saturday 21st January and Sunday March 4th. Just turn up on the day about 10.00am, all welcome.

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SHOW TIME; 8.30 - 4.30 BOTH DAYS

Rook ‘n’ Rabbit Class
The Original and Uniquely British Gallery Rifle by Alan Whittle

Rook ‘n’ Rabbit Class The Original and Uniquely British Gallery Rifle
The Rook ‘n’ Rabbit rifle is peculiar to the Britain of a bygone era where shooters would take to the by roads on their bicycles with a rifle slung over their shoulder and bag various types of small game for the pot. Such activities, being no longer available, have meant these low powered rifles of around 30 calibre have now been reduced to competing in heritage competitions. Such competitions are available at both the Imperial and Trafalgar Meeting at Bisley.
I cannot really say that my acquisition of a ‘rook ‘n’ rabbit’ rifle at the Trafalgar Arm Fair was an impulse buy as I have had a spot on my firearm certificate for a 310 calibre rifle for over a year now’ I suppose you could say that I was

by Alan Whittle

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always on the lookout and this one caught my eye! We won’t discuss prices, other than to say that classic firearms are rapidly increasing in value, thereby making it a good investment and anyway, my wife does not need to know!
What I actually bought was a BSA 310 Martini Cadet Rifle, made during the first decade of the 20th Century for the Australian Army Cadet Forces. Without bothering you too much with the history of the beast, suffice to say following their use by Cadets, Australian home defence forces were issued with them in the Second World War and thereafter they were sold as surplus on the world market. My Cadet Rifle is a relatively late production version numbering 51,747 out of the 60,000 made. The front sight is a thick blade common of the military type and the rear notch is proportionately too small, making for a usable but uninspiring sight-picture. The rear sight has some sophistication having micrometer adjustment for both elevation and windage; it is optimistically graduated for ranges up to 600 yards, only time will tell. The condition of the woodwork gives the impression that cadets may have occasionally pressed it into service as a cricket bat and being designed for the stature of youth it is a bit short in the stock. Despite this, it is light, pointable and there is no noticeable creep in trigger, which is rather on the heavy side. The metal work has most of the original finish and overall I think I got a bit of a bargain. Most importantly I know of no other rifle in this chambering - making ammunition supply strictly a home-loaded proposition. Cadet rifles still retain their popularity in Australia and Western Firearms in Sydney have supplied, at modest cost due to a favourable exchange rate, a Lee Precision custom three die

Rook ‘n’ Rabbit Class
The Original and Uniquely British Gallery Rifle by Alan Whittle

set. They also do cartridge cases by Bertram but at nearly £1 a piece I opted for conversion of some new Remington 32-20 brass instead. Bullets are of the outside lubricated heeled type, rather like the 22 rimfire. A heeled bullet is an archaic design of bullet where the internal diameter of the barrel is the same diameter as the cartridge case, and the bullet has a step at the rear to allow it to fit inside the case. Luckily the Trafalgar Arms Fair also revealed a quantity of suitable lead bullets of the appropriate style and weight (120 grains), by Cast Boolits. These bullets have no lube groove and therefore require lubricating with Lee liquid Alox. Ballistically the 120 grain bullet should be propelled at 1200 fps to duplicate the original loading and, although I cannot find any reloading tables which include this calibre, there are plenty of websites exchanging loading data. Thus I have a project for the winter time and I will report progress on ammunition manufacture and performance in future issues.

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This SMALLBORE Business

This Smallbore Business
by Don Brooke
Ever been through a loss in form? Are you currently experiencing a loss in form?
It’s a puzzle that sometimes takes months to eradicate, or even longer. You try everything you know, yet still wonder what the hell has happened. Indeed it is a puzzling time.
I have been through a few of these situations, even giving my rifle to another team mate to see if he or she can get any results. Mind-boggling - when they drill nice little round five-shot groups with the same ammunition you are using! I did this with Tolly (Don Tolhurst, an Australian icon of the sport) a number of years back, and he promptly shot a solid 200 on a windy day…... He rose from the firing-point and told me the problem was ‘between my ears’. Probably right too, because the following weekend I won the Victorian State titles with the same gear I could not hit a barn with if I was inside with the door shut, two weeks prior! I offered to stand down, in discussion with my team manager, which was refused politely, stating he trusted me to perform. I didn’t do too bad with a 593 on a dead still day but, I can tell you it was one of the hardest shoots I have ever had. I struggled and struggled, used up the whole allocated time, finishing with about ten seconds left on the match clock. Our team won, including the individual quota place and I suppose the 593 helped because any team result is no better than the low score anyway. This problem was actually traced to sighting, with a lens rotated 15 degrees from axis and maybe this gives you an idea of where this article is going. One other instance was I was really struggling to shoot a score in New Zealand for the Oceania Championships, so I gave my rifle to ‘Smithy’ to try out. He came back and asked if he could shoot my rifle in the matches!

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So often, it’s the little things that go wrong that can seriously affect results and drop the confidence level to a new found low. What a funny feeling this is, when your head seems to be missing the top half! Where the grey matter resembles mush… wondering why the heck you ever took up small bore shooting, when you could be out fishing or something. Psychologically, any athlete is affected by confidence factors - even an argument with the long suffering wife can wipe out a shooters edge really fast, for any number of reasons. To shoot really well your mind needs to be clear as crystal, without any of the trappings of everyday life. The one thing about the shootings sports is that it really is individual, you are up there, on your own and very soon the results on the board are there for all to see. To go through the form-loss problem can be extremely frustrating, so much so that even knee-deep in fired cases has no rewards and even less results. You start to doubt everything - I have seen shooters struggling, then go out and buy a brand new Anschutz, or Bleiker rifle in the idea their rifle is ‘shot out’, or go and buy a new batch of Tenex or R50, just to see if that makes any difference! Well in my experience, I have isolated three areas that more than likely are the culprits of form-loss. These are:

This SMALLBORE Business
If you have this sort of worry, then a course of antihystamine tablets are mandatory if you want to get anywhere up the results board. Hypertension, (blood pressure issues) where medication is needed can also have fluctuating affects on scores. High blood pressure, particularly if you are a three position shooter, can be disastrous to any sort of form. It is extremely important that your blood pressure is stable and medical attention is often required. A reading of 120/70 is optimal for a top level shooter. As usual, general fitness, though not entirely mandatory for a shooter, is highly desirable. I have seen some woefully unfit shooters that seem to put things together in spite of whatever but all I can say here is “There is more out there for you yet”! I mentioned Tolly - he was an asthmatic who suddenly found himself in Mexico City for the 1968 Olympic Games. 8,000 feet up, with an atmosphere like pea soup! He came home really sick from that event and shot well in spite of everything….. Be what ever, get on top of your health issues, if you want to stay in touch with your form. If it goes for a walk, find out if it is you that needs to go for a walk too! These days, a fresh air addict is one that sleeps with the window shut!

1. Health of the shooter. 2. Mechanical issues with the gear, such as the sighting example I set out above. 3. Weight issues with the shooter themselves.

Health of the shooter.
This often is the cause of loss of form. Any illness can be detrimental and particularly in the spring weather where allergy issues affecting the sinus and eye sight is quite common. My Wife Cheryl, who herself is no mug with a target rifle, is severely affected by the spores of the Australian Wattle tree. As soon as these things start to bloom in late winter, early spring, she turns into a tearful, sneezing, nose running mess! She calls our national flower a ‘noxious weed’ and seeing what this does to her, I have a tendency to agree. Pretty difficult to shoot with a box of tissues as standard shooting equipment along side of you!

The mechanical issues with your gear can have an effect.
In spite of the troubles I listed above, where lack of confidence due to loss of form becomes somewhat of a major trouble spot, it CAN be due to equipment hassles. The one cause I have found with those having loss of form worries can often be the fact that the rifle needs a good clean out. I have seen smallbore shooters who have never cleaned the barrel in it’s life! Somewhere close to 10,000 rounds through the barrel! I have seen good stainless barrels with so much lead in them it is not funny. (My gunsmith, Fred Lawler of RTM really loves these blokes!)

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This SMALLBORE Business
How about checking to see if the rear sight moves correctly? Backlash is quite common in rear sights, where absolutely nothing happens when you turn the knobs, until it takes up in one fell swoop and moves the zero about six clicks! I can tell you, I have never started a new match with a barrel that was not spotlessly clean. I made sure my barrels were never fired over previous fouling and cleaned them religiously. The same thing applies to the benchrest shooters. You just never see them fire a shot out of a barrel that was not clean. These guys DO know what they are on about and that in itself is good enough for me…. Check all your gear, your shooting clothing as well. The elbow pads on the coat are often a source of form loss (particularly for a full bore shooter where recoil is more severe). Make sure they do not creep, or slip from position. The shooting sling that borders on crap is another source, does it stay where you put it? Is it deteriorating, or separating? Check the rivets in case they pull through and leave you with nothing on the upper arm. How about a glove you can spit peas through? One of the best I have seen was a fore-end rail that fell off the rifle! Does the trigger creep before it reaches let off settings? I have also seen a complete trigger drop into the bottom of the trigger guard (in a severe case!) as well as a trigger bar that was so loose it effectively gave the release something like four first pressures…. Not bad for a single-stage release system! If all the above are OK, then you can bet your Doc Martens the problem lies with the ammunition compatibility. Probably groups as big as the eightring or worse! Perhaps your pet batch of ammo either froze in an aircraft hold, or became really hot, which happens quite a bit in Australian summers. I always kept my Tenex in Styrofoam cooler bags through the heat of Australian summer months. Tenex does not like 40 plus degrees C, and R50 is even worse…

Finally, as I indicated above, make sure the lens of your shooting specs has not rotated out of axis, If it is there is usually mark on the side of the lens that lines up at 12 o’clock on the shooting frames. This can often give you the collywobbles if the prescription is there to combat astigmatism in your eyesight. (There are so many shooters with this problem.)

Have you checked your weight lately? Is it up a little or perhaps under? The fact that you may have either put on, or lost weight, can severely affect the best of the positions - particularly prone!
Too much weight around the tummy can drastically alter the position of the rifle in the forward geometry. The recoil is affected and thus the return to aim on recoil which is so important in prone shooting because effectively the position is much higher than normal. It does not take a lot either! When this happens, it is virtually back to the drawing board and learning to shoot all over again. Your coat fit is affected and with it the sling length and adjustments. Breathing is clearly affected and in severe cases the blood-pressure problem produces a hold similar to the Krakatoa earthquake. You will find you can no longer hold the ten-ring because the position you worked on for so long just does not do that anymore…. If you have lost weight, the biggest problem with this is the sling length and tension is severely upset. It is loose and often results in pulling the forward hand back from the hand stop in an effort to gain some support for the rifle. This is a common tell tale when you feel the rifle is flopping about, does not line up with the natural point of aim, with a recoil that wobbles like a bag full of fighting cats…. Alarm bells! Ding, ding, ding! So, readers, it is suddenly time to look and probably go right back to basics and believe me, fishing, or tiddlywinks may look pretty inviting when going through form-loss for no apparent reason.

Remember, the most important measurement in shooting is directly between the ears! Brooksie.

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LATEST NEWS...

st N ate L
Newark. UK.

s... ew
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 what’s new and what’s 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 they’ll all be back for the next show. To be honest, I’ve never seen such an array of tasty kit all together under one roof at any shooting show! There’s 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.

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, it’s 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, it’s not all bad – British shooters can look forward to the

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 they’ll be well worth checking out. Throughout the rest of the show you’ll find a huge selection of the UK’s 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.

Target Shooter stand at the show. Come and visit us...
British Shooting Show at Newark Showground and it’s certainly not ‘trade only’ – in fact it’s 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.

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LATEST NEWS...

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.

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.

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 – it’s 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 I’ve 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.

Advance ticket sales from; www.theshootingshow.co.uk

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LATEST NEWS...

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attention to the need to provide sporting facilities for those visually impaired. His Royal Highness was accompanied by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Anita Ward and the Lord Lieutenant. The Royal party were met by the Club Chairman and Committee Members of the 49th Rifle & Pistol Club and introduced to the visually impaired club members. His Royal Highness watched as two members of the club who are visually impaired, gave a demonstration of target shooting. An explanation of how light and sound is used to get the air rifle in line with the target was given by Ken Nash of the National Smallbore Rifle Association and British Blind Sports. The Duke of Kent then unveiled a plaque in the club room to commemorate the official opening of the facility. In 2010 the 49th Rifle & Pistol Club applied for and was successful in obtaining a grant from Sport England to purchase the equipment needed to enable the Visually Impaired and totally blind people to participate in the sport of target shooting. The 49th Club has encouraged the sport of target shooting for all and with help and training from the National Small Bore Rifle Association, the 49th Rifle & Pistol Club is now able to provide a target shooting facility for the visually impaired. How is it possible? A 177 air rifle is adapted to take a light sensor incorporated into the housing of a telescopic sight. The target has a special light shone onto the centre of the target and the sensor on the rifle detects variations in light and emits a highpitched sound through the shooters headphones. As the aiming point gets closer to the centre the noise pitch is increased and the shooter then has to judge if it is then the optimum time to fire. The range distance is 10 metres and is shot generally in the standing position. The course of fire is carried out using an adjustable stand for the rifle to rest on with a helper to load and assist in bringing the gun into the target area if difficulty is being experienced. Targets are changed using a semi-automated target changer. The club can trace its origins back to 1945 when it was formed from the 49th Battalion Home Guard (Birmingham) Unit in 1945. The TA building in Thorpe Street was the club’s first home. During the 1950s the club moved to King Edwards School and used their small bore range. In 1980, with the help and 72

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Facility for the Visually Impaired - 49th Rifle & Pistol Club by Clive Lungmuss
His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent KG officially opened an air rifle target shooting facility for the visually impaired on Wednesday, 7th December 2011 at Saltley, Birmingham. The facility for the visually impaired is the first in Birmingham and the visit by His Royal Highness highlighted the sport and draws

encouragement of the former Minister of Sport and past President of the Club, the late Dennis Howell MP, the club acquired its current home the former baths at Saltley. Members of the club have represented Great Britain and England in competitions abroad. The Great Britain Pistol Team included a member from the 49th, Iqbal Ubhi, who added to the National tally of medals by winning a Bronze Medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in pistol shooting. Two members of the 49th were chosen to represent Great Britain at the Sydney Olympics but were disallowed entry when pistols were banned.

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The club also offers fullbore and small bore rifle/pistol indoor and outdoor shooting on approved ranges using cartridge and black powder. Club members are frequently seen at the National Shooting Centre, Bisley in competitions organised by the National Rifle Association. For details about the 49th Rifle & Pistol Club go to www.49th.co.uk or E-mail to fortyninth@btinternet.com

His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent tries a rifle set up for the visually impaired.

Help wanted! A message from the assistant curator of the NRA Museum
My name is Jim Hallam and I am Assistant Curator of the NRA Museum at Bisley. As part of our research, we would like to trace any existing rifles, which were presented as prizes at the 1907 Bisley Imperial Meeting by BSA. According to our records there were six such rifles but we do not have any data on who won them. We know of one – serial no. 16641 which was sold by Bonhams in December 2003. Whoever won that particular rifle did not have the silver plate on the butt completed, so it simply reads “Won by ....... “ We would be most grateful for any information on these and any other Bisley (or even Wimbledon) prize rifles muzzle-loading, breech-loading or air-rifles.

Many thanks - Jim Hallam jimhallam@dsl.pipex.com 73

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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 www.benchrest22.org 75

THE HANDLOADING BENCH 308 Winchester Rides Again
By Laurie Holland

THE HANDLOADING BENCH 308 Winchester Rides Again
By Laurie Holland

In December’s issue, you may have read of the stunning scores posted in the F Class European Championship meeting at Bisley in November by F/TR competitors using .308 Winchester, so maybe this is a good time to have another look at the cartridge in its long-range role. Over the next two or three issues of Target Shooter I will attempt to up-date us, with a spate of recent developments – a stream that seems to flow ever more strongly with no sign of let up. I’ll report on my findings with Lapua ‘Palma’ small primer brass introduced just over a year ago and experiments with heavy (200-210gn) bullets, also trying some new powders including the new Alliant Reloader 17 wonderproduct.

But first, here is an introduction to the new range of 308 Berger Hybrid models, no fewer than six of them covering 155 to 230gn weights. Berger Bullets has hardly been backward in producing new designs in the calibre over recent years, notably its stretched and high BC ‘Long Range’ tangent ogive BT models (BTLR for short), in particular the 155.5gn BT FULLBORE for Palma, Target Rifle and, if you look at who used what in the ‘Europeans’ F/TR top-ten, (see GBFCA website www.gbfclass.co.uk) plus 175, 185 (used by new F/TR European champion Stuart Anselm) and 210gn BTLRs.
There have also been some secant-ogive VLD additions from the company in 168, 185, 190 and 210gn weights, the last named used by four top-ten F/TR competitors in ‘The Europeans’. VLDs are oldhat though – enter the ‘Hybrid’ giving as good as, if not better, BC as the equivalent weight VLD, but with jump/seating-depth tolerance. It does this by using an exceptionally long, sharp secant-shape nose that turns into the more rounded and tolerant tangent form at the nose to bearing surface section joint.

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These are really high-BC designs bettering the previous class leaders as can be seen in Table 1 (at the end of this article). None have gone on sale here yet – I’m told we can expect the first deliveries of the 155, 168, 185, and 200gn models around now but we won’t see the 215 and 230gn models until sometime later in 2012.

THE HANDLOADING BENCH 308 Winchester Rides Again
By Laurie Holland

The new 308 Hybrids. Left to right: 155, 168, 185, 200, 215, and 230gn models However, Michelle Gallagher of Berger Bullets managed to supply me with a couple of examples of each of the sextet to let me have a look at them, measure them up, and crucially to compare the casehead to ogive lengths against existing BLTR bullets to see what sort of freebore you might need in your chamber if you’re replacing the barrel on your TR or F/TR rifle over the winter and want to know if any Hybrids will be suitable for your rifle. Table 2 lists the bullets’ key dimensions, BCs and requisite twist rates. Table 1 compares them to equivalent existing designs including their ‘comparator COALs’, that is against the older 155.5gn, 185gn BTLR, and both 210gn models, the BTLR and VLD, in each case with the bullet seated at its optimal position in a .308 Win case before measurement.

Heavyweights
While the Hybrid form is the feature that catches most shooters’ attention, the other notable - perhaps even more significant - feature of the newcomers is their weights. Whilst the 155, 168 and 185gn models match existing designs, we have a new 200-grainer filling the 185-210gn gap in Berger’s range, whilst matching the two existing 210gn bullets’ BCs and we also get new 215 and 230gn heavyweights.

77

THE HANDLOADING BENCH 308 Winchester Rides Again
By Laurie Holland

The ‘knockers’ are already out saying this pair will be too heavy for 308 Win - only any good in the 300 magnums. Certainly, we can expect people to reassess the old 30-338 long-range target shooting wildcat and its more modern short magnum competitors in this calibre for 1000 yard bench rest, maybe even give the ‘sevens’ a run for their money in F Class.

Using a 155 at 3050 fps as the baseline and working on equivalent MEs (3202 ft/lbs), you’d expect 2685 fps from the 200, 2560 fps from the lower BC 220, and 2450 fps from the only marginally higher BC 240. However, it’s unlikely that would work out in practice even in optimally throated chambers, as the SMKs have exceptionally long central bearing surface (or bullet shank) lengths. While the Hybrid runs at 0.45 inches, the 220gn SMK measures 0.567 inches, and the 240-grainer an exceptional 0.69 inches - even longer than the bullet’s nose section length of 0.65 inches. Over-long bearing-surfaces increase pressures and reduce safely obtained MVs to a considerable extent. Also, back in the days when many US long-range any-calibre prone shooters used the 300 Winchester Magnum and similar cartridges with the 240gn SMK, it built up a reputation for shedding copper in the barrel thanks to friction and heat generated by the long shank.

Scaling
The other, more theoretical argument in favour of these bullets is that they are not exceptionally heavy for the calibre anyway, only that our subjective expectations make them seem so. This is shown by looking at ‘scaling’ optimum weights by calibre. ‘Scaling’ is widely used by projectile designers – you have a near optimum weight and design in calibre ‘A’ that experience shows works exceptionally well and you scale its dimensions up or down as appropriate to get equivalent designs in calibres ‘B’ and ‘C’. A good example of how this works is illustrated by development on high velocity 224 calibre rifles and cartridges for the military. Back in the 1950s long before the ArmaLite Corporation, AR15 and 5.56mm cartridge appeared, the US military undertook experiments in what was called the SCHV (Small Caliber High velocity) concept, codename Project Salvo. A US Army Proving Ground, Aberdeen, Maryland engineer took the pre-WW2 308 calibre

Berger’s Hybrids have been designed by the well known ballistician and Fullbore/Palma Rifle shooter, Bryan Litz However, tell the Match Rifle competitors that heavier than 210gn bullets are unsuitable for the 308W and you might be surprised at the response, the old 220 and even 240gn Sierra MKs having been heavily used in this discipline in the past. That’s the other ‘contra’ appearing of course – we’ve long had these heavy SMKs, so what’s new here? The MatchKings are antediluvian designs, the Hybrids are ballistics state of the art. That’s what! For instance, the new 200gn Berger Hybrid has a G7 BC of 0.320, while the SMKs get 0.310 and 0.332 for the 220 and 240gn models despite being 10 and 20% heavier respectively. The Berger can be driven faster due to its lower weight.

78

THE HANDLOADING BENCH 308 Winchester Rides Again
By Laurie Holland

Comparisons with earlier Berger top performers. Left to right: 155.5gn BTLR ‘Fullbore’ and 155gn Hybrid; 185gn BTLR and same weight Hybrid; 210gn BTLR, 210gn VLD, and 200gn Hybrid.

173gn FMJBT bullet designed for the long-range M1 version of the 30-06 military ball cartridge, scaled it down to 0.224 calibre - keeping all the dimensional relationships constant and asked the Sierra Bullet Company to make 100,000 - or whatever - examples to the design drawings. The experimental bullet weighed 68gn and some years later was used by Sierra as the starting point for its 69gn MatchKing, one of the most successful target shooting bullets ever produced. Note that when scaling the M1 design down from 308 to 224, a 27% calibre reduction, 173gn reduced to 68gn, a 60% drop! This is because we’re talking volume here, or what a bullet displaces if dropped into a measuring jar full of water, not a linear example as in calibre. To show this take a one-inch long line and double it – you get two-inches - a 100% increase. However, if you double the length of the sides of a one-inch square, you get 4 square inches - a quadrupling of the area.

Now turn that into a cube and compare volumes and your one cubic inch becomes 2 X 2 X 2” = 8 cubic inches - an eightfold increase. Translate this to calibres and bullets and we’ll take the best of the 140-142gn 264 (6.5mm) HPBT designs as our starting point, these having been identified as ballistically optimal in the 6.5mm calibre some years back. Scale the 6.5mm 142gn SMK up to 7mm (0.284”) and you get a 177gn bullet, scale it down to 6mm (0.243”) and the result weighs 112gn. Scale further down to 224 and you get 89gn. Sounds familiar? 180, 115 and 90gn are of course the maximum sensible weights in match bullets in these calibres. Now, scale them up to 308 and you don’t get 190 or 200gn as you might expect but 229gn, so this is the thirty calibre equivalent of a 140gn 6.5 or 180gn ‘seven’. Nobody says they’re over heavy for modest size cartridges such as 6.5X47 Lapua, 260 Rem, 7mm-08 Rem, and 284 Win – provided the barrel is throated to suit the bullet length, of course.

79

THE HANDLOADING BENCH 308 Winchester Rides Again
By Laurie Holland

Downsides?
That may be the rub! The new 230 Berger Hybrid is a very long design and if you throat your chamber to suit, there will be precious few other bullets you can use in that rifle. Recoil and torque increase too - an issue for the F/TR competitor on a bi-pod, even more so for the prone shooter resting on his elbows. Conversely, barrel-life will decrease substantially – I

from Bryan Litz’s book Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting 2nd edition except for the 215 and 230gn Hybrids from Berger Bullets’ Quick Reference Sheet and marked so: * . This pair looks to be quoted too short in relation to the other bullets. ‘Ideal COAL’ and Comp. COAL refer to measured cartridge lengths with a bullet seated so the shank to boat-tail junction coincides with the neck/shoulder junction on the case. COAL is the resulting overall length of the cartridge, ‘Comp COAL’ is as measured from the case-head to the ogive using callipers and a Hornady bullet comparator body / .30 cal insert.

The Hybrids’ meplats offer scope for further improving the BC a little through ‘tipping’ or pointing

reckon 2,000 rounds, maybe 2,500 if you’re lucky. That’s partly because heavy bullets produce faster throat erosion, other things being equal. (Heavy = high inertia = increased period that the throat is subjected to peak pressures and temperatures with each shot.) Moreover, we’ll use a compressed charge of the densest, highest-energy powder we can find whose burning rate also suits the cartridge-capacity and bullet-weight combination to obtain maximum velocity from this capacity-constrained case. That is double-base, hot-burning Viht N550, Alliant Reloder 17/Elcho 17, or Hodgdon H414/Winchester 760.

Some people may wish to chamber their barrels with longer freebore so the bullet sits higher in the caseneck to maximise capacity. The purpose of the ‘Comp COAL’ value is to give a feel for how the different bullets stack up on the required amount of freebore. Bullet seating positions were obtained in a fairly crude manner using a second bullet held alongside the case exterior for comparison, so these values should be treated as a rough guide only. Optimal twist rates are as supplied by Berger Bullets and will provide full stability in all normal meteorological conditions down to dry freezing air at sea level and at standard velocities. A slightly slower twist will often work in ideal conditions (high temperatures and humidity at altitudes above sea level).

Notes
BSL = Bearing Surface Length (Shank length). Data

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THE HANDLOADING BENCH 308 Winchester Rides Again
By Laurie Holland

Inert .308 Win cartridges with the new bullets seated optimally

Table 1 - BTLR v Hybrid Comparisons
Weight / Model BC (G7) BC Index BSL Ideal COAL Comp. COAL Optimal Twist Rate

155.5gn BT Fullbore 155gn Hybrid 168gn Hybrid 185gn BTLR 185gn Hybrid 200gn Hybrid 210gn BTLR 210gn VLD 215gn Hybrid 230gn Hybrid

0.237 0.247 0.266 0.283 0.291 0.320 0.320 0.323 0.356 0.380

100 104 112 119 123 135 135 136 150 160

0.265” 2.855” 0.278” 2.835” 0.294” 2.845” 0.360” 2.940” 0.395” 2.950” 0.450” 3.050” 0.481” 3.055” 0.592” 3.075” 0.419”* 0.495”*

2.15” 2.135” 2.145” 2.280” 2.210” 2.305” 2.360” 2.390” 3.105” 3.200”

1-13” 1-12” 1-12” 1-12” 1-11” 1-11” 1-11” 1-11” 2.355” 2.435”

1-10” 1-10”

Table 2 - 0.308” Berger Hybrid Key Dimensions
Weight Prod No. Overall length Nose Boat-Tail Shank Twist G1 BC G7 BC

155gn 168gn 185gn 200gn 215gn 230gn

30426 30425 30424 30427 30423 30428

1.28” 1.296” 1.435” 1.500” 1.564” 1.640”

0.802” 0.802” 0.820” 0.825” 0.905” 0.905”

0.185” /7° 0.278” 0.185” /7° 0.294” 0.195” /7° 0.395” 0.200”/7° 0.220”/7° 0.220”/7°

1-12” 1-12” 1-11” 0.450” 0.419” 0.495”

0.483 0.519 0.569 1-11” 1-10” 1-10”

0.247 0.266 0.291 0.624 0.320 0.696 0.356 0.743 0.380

81

QUIGLEY SHOOTING ASSOCIATION NEWS

With no black powder Quigley shoots scheduled until March next year, I thought I might write a little on another subject that I am interested in, namely reloading 12 gauge shotshells with black powder, for use in Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS) and even traditional clay target shooting.
Handloading, or reloading as it is commonly known, is not new; it started way back, so far back that even Vince can’t remember. (Thanks Ken – Ed.) After the invention of gunpowder, the development of firearms followed a natural progression but one action remained the same for a very long time, that is loading the thing.

Because they were muzzle loaders, everything from mortars, cannons, muskets and pistols required basically the same procedure, which is a charge of powder, followed by a wad of some description, then a single or multiple projectile and often another wad if the device was to be moved to prevent the projectile from shifting in the barrel. With the development of the self-contained cartridge, things didn’t change that much, the common loading procedure was simply applied to a primed tube made from brass, paper or card and later, plastic in the case of shotgun ammunition.

82

QUIGLEY SHOOTING ASSOCIATION NEWS

Loading the black-powder shotshell – Part 1
As the title suggests, this article is primarily concerned with loading the shotgun cartridge, in this first part I am going to look at the many ways available to achieve this, using modern, vintage and home made tools.

When you look at the process of reloading the shotshell it soon becomes apparent that it is a relatively simple task, one that can be accomplished, to varying degrees, with very simple hand tools. Put in its simplest form, we need to take a fired shotshell, remove the old primer and insert a new one (this stage can be omitted by using new and primed cases) next,

Modern tools, designed to load shotshells with nitro propellants are readily available in various price ranges but, to be honest, the budget equipment is more than adequate for our purpose. In around 1972 or 1973 I purchased a Lee Load-All in 12g and this is still in regular use, it came with spare feed fingers as these are deemed fragile and I still have them unused to date - good value or what? Lee still sells this press, with a few improvements, at around £45 but you don’t even have to spend that much! From around 1880, and for the next hundred years or so, the British, Continental and American farmers and hunters have loaded their ammunition at home with whatever tools were available. Because of ammunition and gauge standardisation, many manufacturers seized the opportunity to supply purpose made tools and so produced and exported reloading tools which could be used virtually anywhere in the world, the mail order catalogues were full of them. Some of the rarer and more desirable machines are now becoming very expensive to collect, however the ‘common or garden’ variety can still be picked up for a few pounds from antique shops and arms fairs and occasionally on the internet auction sites.

put in a suitable blackpowder charge, add a card wad, then a felt wad, another card wad followed by the charge of lead shot, which is covered by another card and the case is finally sealed. The seal is determined by the tools we have at our disposal. Modern tools will let us crimp the case with a star crimp and vintage tools a roll crimp but, with home made tools, we will have to seal the case with paste or glue. (More on this in a later article). I am assuming that the majority of readers are familiar with modern reloading equipment and so I intend to concentrate on vintage and hand made tools. Typical examples of de-capping and capping tools are seen in the illustrations, along with an in-expensive powder / shot measure and roll crimp closer. In the next article I will show how I use some of these tools to load the 12g blackpowder shotshell cartridge.

Questions and comments please to; khall6548@aol.com

83

United Kingdom Practical Shooting Association News by Tony Saunders
AP Customs Shotshell Carriers
If you shoot IPSC or Practical shotgun (PSG), you’ll know that over half the battle is the ability to keep your shotgun stoked with cartridges. After all, a gun without bullets is just a fancy stick. shooter to grab three or four (usually) at a time and feed them into the shotgun. This design has been around for a few years and is used by some of the better shooters. Question is though, as always, can it be improved?

Enter the new double-stack shell carrier from AP Customs in the US.
Mmmn... already I can hear a lot of folks saying “I thought of that!” And maybe they did (I was one of them). However, the issue wasn’t just one of making a Heath-Robinson version in the garage. IPSC rules dictated (and still do) that ammunition must be within 50mm of the body! So, is it a problem? Well, no. It certainly isn’t if you don’t shoot IPSC matches - unless the club or organisers have a problem with it, which I can’t imagine they would. And, as of 2012, the IPSC rules have been altered too and it is briefly worth covering them here:
1. The belt that ‘carries’ the equipment must be at waist level. Only one belt is permitted. 2. The ‘waist’ is generally defined as being between the bottom of the rib cage and above the hips (or pelvis). 3. The new rule bans chest-rigs and, for all intents and purposes, the chest is the area contained (or demarcated) by the rib cage. Therefore it follows that any rounds carried in the region of the rib cage will not conform.

The new double stacked 12g carriers from AP Customs Over the years, there have been many designs to allow people to carry cartridges – from belts with elasticated loops to the ‘caddy’ or ‘strippers’ made by a number of US manufacturers, most commonly by California Competition Works (CCW). All have one thing in common - they carry ammo in a vertical stack off the competitor’s belt, allowing the

Finally and of particular importance with regard to the AP carriers – the distance from the body to the ammunition has been increased to 75mm and thus, the new double strippers fit within this - phew! The new carrier comes in two flavours currently: the 4 x 4 as shown in Figure 1, and a shorter 3 x 3 version

84

UKPSA NEWS

They come standard with a ‘Tec-Lock’ fitting to clip to the shooter’s belt and is also drilled to accept the Safariland attachments. This all comes at a price though. A 4 x 4 AP Custom Carrier will cost you a whopping £65 each, compared to a CCW single 4 shell carrier at about £27 (Midway UK) – but of course, you can carry twice the amount of ammunition. Looked at in terms of capacity then one AP Custom carrier only costs about a tenner more than two CCW carriers and, you don’t take up as much room on the belt. CNC Machined elegance. Note the “Tec-Lock” that comes as standard to fasten the carrier to your belt. for those less confident at successfully grabbing four rounds simultaneously (or with small hands). In the US expect to pay about the same figures in dollars ($65 and $27 respectively)

Advantages and Disadvantages
If you’re already a user of this type of ammunition carrier, you’ll naturally want to try them. The main advantage is not the obvious ability to simply carry more ammunition but the fact you can carry the majority of the ammunition you’ll need to shoot a large stage all at the front of your body. No more reaching around as far as the small of your back on those longer stages, or fumbling for rounds you cannot see. With three (4 x 4) carriers you can have 24 rounds right there at the front. The main disadvantage (aside from the cost) was that they are a little awkward to smoothly get at the rear set of shells, and you have to ensure that you can firmly grab them with two fingers reaching into the caddy. The cartridges have a tendency to bunch up in your hand more readily than the easier front slot. This is a practice issue though and I had only just got them. The only other (very slight) issue I found was when bending low or squeezing through or around obstacles. Here I found that they felt bulky and occasionally snagged. No big deal really.

Construction
The carriers are superior to the CCW versions but, to be fair, that is reflected in the price. The CCW carriers are by far the most popular caddies as they are comparatively quite cheap, extremely robust plastic construction and use a simpler metal clip to hold onto the shooter’s belt. In short, the CCW versions take some beating.

The new carrier (right) next to a standard 4x4 carrier. Note the shell retention clips (circled in yellow). However, the AP Custom carriers have been CNC machined from a solid aircraft aluminium billet, Hard-Coat anodized to mil-spec standards and feature 303 Hi-Yield stainless retention springs.

In Use
I haven’t had time to put some serious practice in yet but I did use them at a club competition recently on a very cold and wet day in the Shropshire hills (so my fingers were somewhat inflexible!). What I immediately found was that (being a user of the

85

UKPSA NEWS

By Vince Bottomley

Loading them is easy, with only the last round being a little more ‘fiddly’ to insert. The quality is second to none. Beautifully machined with an elegant design, they are lighter than they look so weight certainly won’t be an issue. The Tec-Locks are very easy to use and accommodate different belt thicknesses with a removable plastic insert. They are a little less forgiving with a thicker belt than the simple clips of the CCW carriers but it should pose no problem with 99.9% of shooting belts.

caddy already), I don’t ‘look’ at my belt anyway when grabbing ammo – it is a practiced ‘motor’ action and my hand drops to the right place automatically. So, I kept hitting the top of the bulkier frame on the AP carrier and will need to ‘re-learn’ to move my hand slightly further out. Again, this is simply down to

In summary
It’s early days yet but, I think that with practice these may become very popular with PSG shooters who are already familiar with caddies. Cost will be a prohibitive factor certainly. A belt with four of these (4x4) carriers could easily cost a new shooter the best part of £320. Pete Starley of MidwayUK has been stocking these and they have been selling fast. I think the ‘Prodec’ style may win out with new shooters, or perhaps the growing trend for doublestacked belts (the type where two cartridges are held vertically, one above the other in pipe clips) as both styles are a considerably cheaper entry-level option. With the World Shoot coming next year, it is important that those who are thinking of moving to this new carrier to start practicing now. Smooth loading makes a massive difference to a competitors’ time and is a key factor in winning a match. As I have pointed out in other articles, it is the one skill that can be practiced and improved without range time. For more information, visit AP Customs Website at: http://www.apcustomusa.com/carrier.html

The new carriers on my belt. I have two on here, but will increase the front carriers to three of the new ones and lose some of my standard ones off the rear of the belt. practice, practice, practice! The stainless retention springs (shown in Figure 3) are, in my opinion, a little too sharp and I suffered a sliced finger. A little work with some wet & dry paper has improved this but the metal is thin and therefore it is difficult to make the edge very blunt. I would have preferred something either slightly rolled on the edge or thicker.

UKPSA HANDGUN COMMISSION UPDATE
Northern Ireland Club Affiliations. The Handgun Commission Secretary is pleased to announce that the following two Northern Ireland shooting clubs have affiliated to the UKPSA.
1. The Police Service of Northern Ireland Rifle and Pistol Club 2. The Ulster Small Arms Shooting Club

The new carriers in use. Note using two fingers to reach into the carrier to smoothly grab the rear four rounds.

86

We welcome these two clubs to the UKPSA and will look forward to their members joining with the members of many other clubs across Northern Ireland participating in UKPSA organised IPSC events.

UKPSA NEWS

United Kingdom Handgun Championship
In addition to the two Level 2 Graded IPSC competitions that have already been announced a third Level 2 Graded IPSC competition 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.
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