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ContentsMARCH 2012 IssueMINI PROJECT RIFLE - REMINGTON 700SPS TACTICAL – by Laurie Holland. Laurie isin the process of a ‘silk purse from a sow’s ear’rifle build which started off as an ‘out of the box’223 SPS Remington. The idea is to see just whatwe can do with a budget factory rifle withoutspending the earth...Page 6The Grunig & Elmiger ‘Return’ Butt-plate by Page 16Conor McFlynn. If you read our February edition,you may recall the account of Irishman ConorFlynn’s spectacular win in the World Field TargetChampionships in Italy. Now Conor describes onepiece of equipment that contributed to his success.The Long View by Les Holgate. Well here wego ago again - time to blow the winter cobwebsoff your F Class rifle and equipment and try to putinto action your New Year’s resolution of “Mustdo better at League shoots.” (or was that justmine!)...Page 32Air Splitter & Barrel Tuners for Air RifleBenchrest by Carl Boswell. Benchrest rimfireshooters will know a thing or two aboutmuzzle devices (barrel tuners) and tuningthe barrel. This process has gone from theringing of the barrel, using such processesas the Hopewell method, to somethinga lot more 21st century using electronicmonitoring equipment to achieve tuning.Page 28

ContentsMarch 2012 IssueContinuedPage 20Choosing Sights for competition shooting. By GwynRoberts. Moving on from making your stocks and gripsfit you properly, the next thing to consider is which typeof sight (or sights) are going to be the most suitable forthe type of Gallery Rifle competitions that you intend tocompete in.Page 50This Smallbore Business – by Don Brook. Accessories -overkill or what? Gees, I have long seen the attempts frommanufacturers to ensure that everything on a free rifle isso adjustable that it fits all. Even from my good mate inthe UK, Barry Dagger - who is four foot zip - to the lengthof Harald Stenvaag from Norway, who is so tall that whenhe lays down for his prone, he is half way there! Now that,my readers, is indeed a challenge...Page 60Page 76THE HANDLOADING BENCH- 308 WINCHESTER RIDESAGAIN Part 3 by LaurieHolland. I compared MVs andvelocity spreads obtained fromLapua’s new ‘Palma’ small rifleprimer (SRP) / small flash-holecases against identical loadcombinations in normal largeprimer (LRP) examples last month,with particular reference to theeffects produced by low (< 10°C)ambient temperatures. It appearsthat SRP cases are not well suitedto chilly conditions with somepowders - Viht N140 and N550both struggling for instance.Practical Shotgun: This month, weakhandreloading from a caddy - By MikeSiva-Jothy. I saw my first Practical Shotguncompetition a few weeks ago and good fun itlooked too – as using any semi-auto firearmusually is! Mike Siva Jothy won the comp.Regulars& more...LATEST NEWSPage 54SMALLBORE BUSINESSpage 50UKPSA NEWSPage 56FROM THE BENCHPage 27QUIGLEY ASSOCIATION NEWSPage 74AND MUCH,MUCH, MORE...

NOW Read WORLDWIDE BY OVER 10,000 DEDICATED READERS in over 77 countries EVERY MONTHWelcome to the new look March 2012 edition of Target Shooter MagazineWebitorial March 2012Well, no sooner had we got back from the Shot Show that it was ‘all systems go’ forNewark. It was great to meet so many of you and, for me it was a great Show. Ourlittle stand was representing not only the magazine but also Diggle Ranges, rimfire andcentrefire benchrest, the 50 Cal. Association and the Long Barrel Pistol & Gallery Riflecrew.When I get to meet shooters face to face for a chat, I’m always amazed how manyof you don’t actually compete in any sort of shooting discipline and have littleunderstanding of F Class, benchrest or what have you. My own Club at Diggle is totallycompetition orientated and we cater for just about everything.I love to see a new shooter come along – perhaps not even having an FAC - then gothrough probation, basic training, buy a rifle, start reloading and enter their firstcompetition. Then maybe a year or two later they will be picking up their first award ina Club competition or even winning one of our Championships.The great thing about our sport is that you do not need to be super-fit or even thatactive to be competitive – just keen and enthusiastic. We’ve taken shooters frombeginner to shooting for their country in two or three years – what an achievement foranyone!Yes, plinking and just messing about with guns is immensely enjoyable but you arereally missing something by not taking your sport to the next level. And please don’tthink that taking part in competition shooting is all serious – just the opposite – thereis plenty of fun and banter in the GBF Class Association even though we take our sportseriously.If your own club is a little ‘inactive’ and you feel like getting goingin competitive shooting, then we are here to help. We try andcover most target shooting disciplines so, if you need help orinformation, please don’t hesitate to ask.Vince, Yvonne & SteveVince Bottomley - - -

MarchSCOPESThe Choice ofChampionsThe highest quality precision range of hunting,stalking, tactical & target scopes available forshooters worldwide.Tactical TurretsNEWThe 8x ~ 80x.Zero Set or Free Dial LockingPrecision opticalinstruments madethe way theyshould be, one at atime, by craftsmanwith 30 plus yearsexperience usingcomponents ofabsolute quality.Side Focus 10 yards ~ InfinityPush Button IlluminationAvailable from - - Call 01293 606901 or - Vince Bottomley and Office Manager - Yvonne Wilcock., Designed & Web Production by Steve Thornton. www.thorntonconnect.comContributors - Vince Bottomley - Laurie Holland - Mike Siva-Jothy - Ken Hall - Don BrookeAlan Whittle - Tony Saunders - Gwyn Roberts & Carl BoswellCover & Back Page Photograph by Steve ThorntonDisclaimerThe website is part of Target Shooter magazine with all contents of both electronic media copyrighted. No reproductionis permitted unless written authorisation is provided. Information, prices and data is believed to be correct at the time of posting on the internet which ison or around the 1st of each month. Advertisements that are firearm related are from companies or individuals that Target Shooter magazine believesare licensed to hold such firearms and accepts no responsibility if companies or individuals are not so licensed. Letters and photographs submitted bymembers of the public to Target Shooter magazine will be accepted on the basis that the writer has agreed to publication unless otherwise stated. TargetShooter magazine has no control over the content or ownership of photographs submitted. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarilythe views of the publishers and relate to specific circumstances within each article. These are the opinions and experiences of writers using specificequipment, firearms, components and data under controlled conditions. Information contained in the online magazine or on the website is intended to beused as a guide only and in specific circumstances caution should be used. Target Shooter Magazine does not except any responsibility for individualsattempting to recreate such testing using any information, data or other materials in its electronic pages. Publishers of Target Shooter magazine.5


MINI PROJECT RIFLEREMINGTON 700 SPS TACTICALby Laurie HollandLaurie is in the process of a ‘silk pursefrom a sow’s ear’ rifle build whichstarted off as an ‘out of the box’ 223 SPSRemington. The idea is to see just whatwe can do with a budget factory riflewithout spending the earth...Click values were accurate, the turrets easy to adjust andread but those gaps underneath may accumulate dust...The 700 SPS project tactical rifle with its Armalon heavy barrel fitted.7

MINI PROJECT RIFLEREMINGTON 700 SPS TACTICALby Laurie HollandMINI PROJECT RIFLE -REMINGTON 700 SPS TACTICALby Laurie HollandLaurie is in the process of a ‘silkpurse from a sow’s ear’ rifle buildwhich started off as an ‘out ofthe box’ 223 SPS Remington.The idea is to see just what wecan do with a budget factory riflewithout spending the earth...Previously, the rifle had a ‘Stage 1’tune-up job involving a smoothedaction, trigger job and muzzlerecrowning followed by a ThirdEye Tactical bolt-knob being fitted,all this work done by ValkyrieRifles. Then, the not particularlyrigid factory stock and its internalmagazine were ditched to bereplaced by a Manners Tacticalthumbhole model from SouthYorkshire Shooting Supplies. Itcame with a moulded-in BadgerOrdnance mini-chassis that takesan A.I. 10-round detachable boxmagazine.Later still, Armalon Limited, the London basedgunsmith and barrel manufacturer, fitted one of theirnew hammer-forged fluted barrels towards the endof last year - remaining in the 223 Rem. chamberingbut 26 inches long with a 1 in 7.874 rifling twist-ratecompared to the Remington’s original 20 incher and1-9 twist.With the longer heavy profile tube on, the rifle nowreally looks the part, more important feels absolutelyright when added to the substantial and ergonomicallysuperb Manners stock. Although heavier than it wasin factory guise, the all-up weight isn’t too great tostop it being used as a dual-purpose target and tacticalrifle. Finally, to top it all off, literally and figuratively,there was the most single expensive purchase - oneof Aim Field Sport’s newly arrived Sightron Series III8-32X56 long-range riflescopes with tactical knobsand the LR-MOA reticle (long Range, Minute ofAngle), the example Vince Bottomley reviewed in theNovember 2011 issue of TS Online.‘Musical Scopes’Let’s look briefly at the optical equipment up top andI’ve got to admit it’s changed again! The rifle is nowon its fourth ‘scope – well I think it’s the fourth, as I’min danger of losing count there having been so many!This isn’t a result of dissatisfaction with the Sightron,actually one of the brightest and nicest riflescopes I’veever used.As I said in the last report on the project, it was muchtoo good a bit of glass to stay on a rifle that I’d onlyrarely shoot beyond 300 yards and, sure enough it’snow on my .308 Barnard/Eliseo F/TR tubegun for longrangecompetition. Buying an equivalent specificationreplacement was out of the question, so it was a caseof either procuring a budget varmint or tactical model,or the no cost option of seeing what I could rob offanother rifle. Well, no monetary cost but one thatinvariably produces work and disruption. Each time Ido this, the resulting game of ‘musical scopes’ seemsto see five rifles end up with different examples and allthat this entails in re-sighting and getting new rangesettings!Anyway, my very first ‘quality’ 30mm target scope, aBurris 6-24X50 Black Diamond, now looking a little8

attered after years of abuse, moved to the Remyand I imagine will remain there. (I always say that!)Although a sturdy bit of kit and optically superb, theBurris is light on elevation adjustment (~50-MOA) andhas small adjustment turrets and fine markings, somuch so that my 60 plus year old eyes almost need amagnifying glass to read or change settings – not idealfor long range F or similar, but an excellent choicehere.MINI PROJECT RIFLEREMINGTON 700 SPS TACTICALby Laurie HollandEvery centrefire rifle barrel starts out as a ‘blank’a solid cylinder-shape rod of high grade stainlessor chrome-moly steel made to the barrel maker’sspecification and, in other manufacturing methods, alittle over the desired finished barrel length.9The barrel has been given a superbly machined set of deep flutes and an attractive black finish.Properly HammeredMoving onto the new barrel, it was made by thehammer-forging process, that is used on the vastmajority of tubes on factory rifles used in the world’sdeer woods, prairie dog fields and in nearly all ofthe gazillions of pistols, revolvers, military rifles andmachineguns out there. Despite this, ever since ourlast two volume rifle manufacturers - BSA and Parker-Hale - passed into the loving embrace of the OfficialReceiver many years ago, you’d be most unlikely tofind a hammer-forged barrel fitted onto any nonmilitaryrifle made in the UK... until now.After many vicissitudes, Armalon’s Peter Saronyhas got the former P-H barrel-making machines upand running in Oxfordshire, fully modernised and ina CNC equipped workshop to undertake every jobinvolved in making, profiling, fluting, chambering andfitting barrels. The company also manufactures othershooting related components and accessories as wellas offering gunsmithing and rifle building services.However, some readers might wonder just whathammer forging entails and how it differs from otherforms of rifling and barrel manufacture.Traditionally, the blank was bored through with aspecial bore drill or reamer, then had a cutting devicepulled through the resulting hole (or bore) umpteenThe right barrel side is hard up against the stock channel- to be rectified.times to machine the rifling grooves into the boresurface, the blank being rotated meanwhile to impartthe desired degree of rifling pitch or twist rate.This was the slowest and most expensive part ofmaking a modern firearm and required very large,heavy and complex rifling machines. This methodis still used by Krieger, Bartlein and Border Barrelsoften on machines dating from the middle of the lastcentury or earlier since nobody has made any since.The form such precision barrelmakers use is calledthe single-point rifling method as the cutting tool

MINI PROJECT RIFLEREMINGTON 700 SPS TACTICALby Laurie Hollandonly takes a tiny shaving, a small fraction of a thou’,out of a single groove on each pass. The blank is thenindexed round the tool to the next groove position andthe process repeated several hundred times until thegrooves reach the required depth.Scope number 4 (or maybe 5?) on the rifle – a Burris 6-24X50 ‘Black Diamond’ target model. Nice glass, but shameabout the little turrets and tiny adjustment markings.(Left) A Mauser 7.92mm belt-fed MG34, the originalGPMG and much feared by British soldiers who called itthe ‘Spandau’ in WW2. This barrel-eating machine was thedriver for developing the hammer-forge manufacturingprocess.(Below) .223 Remington and Sierra’s 80gn MatchKingshowing the bullet base position at various COALs, thaton the left at the SAAMI standard 2.26”. Barrel freeborethat suits the centre pair is where Laurie would like to beeventually.A faster if cruder method, ‘broached rifling’ waslatterly used on military rifle barrels and saw a multipointcutter pulled through the barrel that took amuch deeper slice out of all of the grooves in eachpass.The Germans invented hammer forging around thebeginning of World War 2, a direct consequence oftheir adoption of the world’s first belt-fed quick-barrelchangegeneral purpose machineguns, the MG34and later MG42 models, as the firepower generatorin every Wehrmacht infantry squad. With scores ofthousands of these frighteningly effective weapons inuse by the middle of the war, each with a 1000 rpm orhigher cyclic fire rate and swallowing vast quantities ofhigh-pressure 7.92X57mm 198gn bulleted cartridges,barrels had a necessarily short life and the demandfor replacements was insatiable. (There’s a nightmarethought – the match grade F/TR machinegun. A 120second burst and you need a new Bartlein or True-Fliteat £650 and up chambered and fitted!)10

MINI PROJECT RIFLEREMINGTON 700 SPS TACTICALby Laurie HollandWinchester and Lapua brass was available for handloads.Over on the other side of the Atlantic, those energeticone-time British colonists invented the buttonrifling barrel manufacturing process during WW2,also to increase production rates and reduce costs.Although the fruits of work by Remington Armsengineers, this company became one of the majoritywho subsequently adopted hammer forging in thepost-war period, the button rifling method used byAnschutz, Lothar Walther, and Savage Arms aloneof the major manufacturers plus many target andspeciality barrel suppliers such as Broughton Barrels,Lilja, and True-Flite.The Germans had installed their hammer forged barrelplant in a facility in Erfurt, a town in the traditionalgunmaking region of Thuringia and likely to beoccupied by the Red Army in spring 1945, so it washurriedly removed to Austria to keep it out of Russianhands.Powders that suit .223 Rem with medium to heavyweightbullets. H4895 is the most flexible of the quartet.American engineers must have studied it closelytransferring the technical know-how to the New Worldbut I doubt if it’s coincidental that the world’s primarysource for hammer forging machinery and toolinghas been the Gesellschaft Fur Fertigungstechnik undMaschinenbau (GFM) in Steyr, Austria ever since.Note too that its neighbour, the major sporting andmilitary arms manufacturer Steyr-Mannlicher AG, hasused the method exclusively since it recommencedproduction after the end of WW2 and has taken suchbarrels to a very high standard indeed in cooperationwith GFM.‘Seating dummies’ for the four bullets used in the tests.The 52 A-Max was set too long.For the hammer forging process, we start off with ablank somewhat shorter and fatter than that of thefinished barrel. It is drilled and honed to a diameterthat will accept a very, very hard and highly polishedtungsten carbide mandrel which has bore dimensionsand the rifling groove pattern machined in high reliefon its outside.Our pair in their intimate embrace is then fed intothe hammer forging machine that sees the blank11

MINI PROJECT RIFLEREMINGTON 700 SPS TACTICALby Laurie Hollandaway with those downstream jobs, although I don’tthink that’ll apply with Armalon’s set-up. (If you lookat current Mannlicher sporting rifles, you see the spiralflats left by the hammers on the barrel’s externalsurfaces, the factory only polishing and blueing them.)The pros of this method are obviously its high outputand low unit cost - assuming you make enough barrelsto cover the substantial initial outlay if you’re buyingnew plant. It also imparts a very high quality and hardfinish to bore and groove surfaces making for long life.52gn A-Max groups(Above) .223 Remington andSierra’s 80gn MatchKingshowing the bullet base positionat various COALs, that on theleft at the SAAMI standard2.26”. Barrel freebore that suitsthe centre pair is where Lauriewould like to be eventually.progressively hammered ontothe mandrel by opposed highspeedhammers while beingturned around its axis. Thisprocess, rotary forging, literallysqueezes the barrel steel ontothe mandrel creating thebore and indenting the riflinggrooves into it.The part-made barrel is thenforced off the mandrel, a lotthinner and longer than itstarted out and is ready forthreading, chambering andexternal profiling.Once set up, these veryexpensive machines canproduce a rifled barrel blankroughly every three minutes.Recent versions also form thechamber and produce therequired external contour orprofile at the same time doing12

The downside is that it also injects stresses into the steeland early hammer-forged barrels got a bad reputationfor groups that increased in size and/or bullet impactchanges as they heated in use. So, this was somethingI’d be looking for in my new Armalon barrel. I’ll stresstoo, that while this all sounds very mechanistic - just borea blank and feed it into a machine - making high-gradebarrels requires a great deal of skill and experience fromthe machine shop staff just as with any other process.A modern well made example is a very different animalfrom its ancestors, likewise dirt-cheap assault rifle tubes77gn Scenar groups. Number 3 at the top was only 0.2”until the 5th and final shot came in low.MINI PROJECT RIFLEREMINGTON 700 SPS TACTICALby Laurie Hollandproduced in production runs of thousands – if you owna good CZ, Remington, Steyr, Tikka, or Sako rifle, youhave the proof of this.Another downside is that mandrels are very expensiveand can only produce a single rifling form and pitch,so you either have to spend a fortune on mandrels oroffer a limited choice of internal specifications. Mybarrel is made with a 1-7.784 twist-rate which mayseem an odd figure when we think of American (orBorder Barrels) made 0.224 barrels in 1-7 to 1-14 twistrates, 8, 9 and 12 being themost popular. Actually, it’s 18thCentury Bourbon France andits SI (metric) measurementssystem to blame for this - thetwist rate being 1 in 200mm -which suggests that Armalonsources mandrels in Steyr ratherthan Solihull. Anyway, that’sone turn in eight inches for mypurposes.ClearancesAfter receiving the barrelledaction, two issues now arose.The first and obvious one wasthat on mating it back with thestock, the much fatter barrelwasn’t fully floating. There wasa just right amount of clearanceunderneath and on the left sideof the barrel channel but severalinches of metal were in hardcontact with the stock on theright side. No great problem,just mill the channel out aneighth of an inch on this sidebut time was pressing and wewanted to see what the barrelcould do.The good news was that whilst afar from ideal arrangement, thebarrel and stock were in good13

MINI PROJECT RIFLEREMINGTON 700 SPS TACTICALby Laurie Hollandsolid contact and would therefore likely stay that wayas the former flexed under firing pressures and maybewouldn’t see its position and the tension placed onit shift around inconsistently under varying chamberpressures. Well, hopefully not too much, as barrelstwist around far more than you might imagine. So wedecided to leave things be until we’d had two or threerange sessions with a variety of bullet weights andtypes – it’ll be interesting to see too what rectification– i.e free-floating the barrel - does to group sizes andimpact points.The other issue was the length of chamber throatfreebore. This is the first re-barrelling job I’ve hadfor some time where I’d no idea how much freeboreI’d have, other recent work involving supplying thegunsmith with an inert round using the desired bulletseated to my required COAL. I suspected Peter’speople would chamber it short as Armalon puts thesebarrels on its much modified Remington 700 ‘PRRifle’ that uses an AR15 / M16 magazine in its 223Rem version. This limits COALs to 2.255-2.265 inchesdepending on the make of magazine - my alloy ColtAR15 examples requiring the shorter length, somesynthetic models allowing a bit more. Conversely,the A.I. mag on my rifle is based on the 308W/260Retc. box and allows COALs of nearly 2.7 inches, sothat 80gn bullets - even 90s - can be seated withoutexcessive intrusion into the case-body.No matter, the barrel as received works out nicely atthis stage as I intend to use the rifle to undertake afull 223 Rem handloading development programmestarting with 40-55gn bullets in expanding, FMJ andmatch types working up to 82gn match models. (The1-200mm twist rate won’t stabilise the very long 90s.)Many mid or heavyweight 0.224 bullets are designedfor deep seating at AR15 magazine operation COALstoo, most 68-75gn match models as well as the 77sfrom Berger, Lapua, and Sierra.When I finally get around to loading much longer75-82gn long-range models that I’d want to seat wellout in the case, I’ll have the throat reamed out to asuitable length - a cheap gunsmithing job that doesn’tneed barrel removal. Unlike many box magazines,the A.I. type has no difficulty in coping with reducedlength cartridges – it feeds SAAMI COAL or evenshorter examples smoothly with 100% reliability.‘Diggle Sunshine’So, it’s a simple matter of loading up 100 cartridgesusing four very different weight match bullets andseeing how they shoot. Brass was no problem as Ihad lots of little used Winchester and Lapua matchcases on hand from my former 223 Rem (now 6.8mmRem SPC calibre) SSR-15. Having been used in astraight-pull rifle and what that means in terms of highpressure loads equating to hard extraction, they’d hadan easy life.Full-length resizing 100 used Lapua examples turnedthem into a good match with the Armalon chamberproviding easy chambering and, equally important,no-effort extraction after firing. Tough Remington7½BR primers were installed in still tight pockets.After some thought, 52gn and 75gn Hornady A-Maxprojectiles were selected, having given good results inother 223 Rem rifles, although the 700 SPS Tactical’sOEM 1-9 heavy barrel hadn’t cared for either model.The evergreen 69gn Sierra MK was a natural choiceand, wanting to try as heavy a bullet as the throatwould accept, it was a choice of three makes of77-grainer, the Lapua Scenar being the winner.To keep things simple, speed up the loading process,and avoid barrel cleaning between batches, I wantedto use a single powder. This is asking a lot from asingle powder grade with a 52 to 77gn bullet weightspread, but Hodgdon’s data for H4895 gave fullpressures and impressive MVs for this range, albeitwith a compressed 26.5gn maximum charge weightunder the 52.My SSR-15 had also seen its smallest 77gn bulletgroups with this powder, although you can’t guaranteesuch results transferring to other rifles and barrels ofcourse. Another benefit of sticking to one powderwas that I now have an RCBS 1500 Charge Masterelectronic powder dispenser - a super device that sawme weigh out 100 charges much, much quicker than Icould have done with a measure and scales but whichneeds a little time and effort to change powders.14

COALs varied from 2.275 inches for the 69gn SMK to2.420 inches for the 75gn A-Max with bullets set 15thou’ off the rifling, or so I thought and used five byfive round batches with charges rising in half-grainsteps to Hodgdon’s maximum load for each bulletweight.The try-out was on Diggle’s bench equipped 100 yard‘A’ range, fortunately with a covered firing point asthe weather was none to promising on a not at allsunny February morning. The first batch using the 52A-Maxes set at 2.363 inches COAL was used to sight-inthe Burris after a quick bore-sight, then it was straightinto shooting for group with the remaining four.An immediate but not insurmountable problem wasthat I’d obviously got the COAL wrong as bullets wereseated hard into the rifling and it took noticeableextra effort to close the bolt. Not ideal for eitheraccuracy or chamber pressures – I kept a close eye onfired primer condition and case extraction effort butfortunately, no problems were encountered even withthe maximum 26.5gn charge.The groups were encouraging too, running from alittle below half-inch to around the three-quarterMOA mark. Taking this and the range conditionsinto account, this was a really impressive start. Bythis time, the light had deteriorated, the windsstrengthened and ‘Diggle Sunshine’ (drizzle angling inat 45-degrees) had appeared.There was no question of getting velocities as I’d hadto recover the chronograph before the first groupwent downrange. (I keep writing things like this atthe moment – you’d think Diggle Ranges occasionallysuffer bad weather!) The barrel didn’t care for thestarting charge with the 75gn A-Max, the only groupof 14 that exceeded an inch, so that combination wasput aside and a move made to the 69gn Sierra MKwhich produced a couple of nice 0.6 inch patternsdespite thickening mist and drizzle and a rising gustywind.MINI PROJECT RIFLEREMINGTON 700 SPS TACTICALby Laurie Hollandlarger in the scope view with shot three, same againwith number four. Wow! Keep calm my man andsqueeze the fifth and final round off carefully, or ascarefully as the factory Remington X-Mark Pro triggerallowed. (Still too heavy even with its breathed-on 4lbpull weight).The shot dropped below the group. Dammit! Eventhough, an excellent 0.45 inch centre to centre effort,I really felt I should have got a sub quarter-incher here.That was it for the day, my hands too numb to shootany longer and the light going fast.Considering the barrel wasn’t cleaned over some 70rounds and shooting was fast with minimal breaks indire conditions with a barrel that had less than 100rounds down it from new – and the stock channelclearance problem - I was delighted!Over-length 52gn rounds aside, the rifle was apleasure to shoot with its improvements, boltoperation light, smooth and really slick. The onlything I can fault is the factory trigger. Unless it lightensa lot with use, I think I’ll be looking to get a Rifle Basixassembly installed.How about the hammer-forged barrel heat/wanderingPOI issue? Well, the barrel just didn’t heat up muchat all despite a steady rate of fire – I kept feeling it tosee if I needed to pause and let it cool, but it nevergot past mildly warm. Those deep flutes and thesuper black finish must really dissipate heat - helpedof course by the Pennine climate! Anyway, 2 graincharge-weight ranges and lots of rounds over amodest timescale didn’t affect where the bullets wentat all.This saga will be continued in due course as weget more shooting in.Onto the 77gn Scenar and a three-quarter inchpattern to start, an extra half-grain stringing the shotsvertically. The third group still showed a single bulletdiameter hole after shot two, only grew marginally15

The Grunig & Elmiger ‘Return’ Butt-plateBy Conor McFlynnThe Grunig &Elmiger ‘Return’Butt-plateby Conor McFlynnIf you read our February edition, you mayrecall the account of Irishman Conor Flynn’sspectacular win in the World Field TargetChampionships in Italy. Now Conor describesone piece of equipment that contributed to hissuccess.This is the butt-plate that originally came with theCompany’s Racer World Champion 22 rimfire rifle. Itis based along the lines of the highly popular andsuccessful old style Anschutz butt plate, which isno longer available.16

The Grunig & Elmiger ‘Return’ Butt-plateBy Conor McFlynnThe Return has a distinctive andattractive, red letter ‘R’ emblazonedacross it. I believe this model of buttplaceparticularly suits benchrest and pronepositions. Like all the other models in therange, vertical adjustment is simply achieved byloosening the central (main) attachment screw andsliding the butt-plate up or down the mounting rail.The mounting rail has a calibrated scale, which providesreference points if needed. There are grooves machinedinto the rail which interlock with teeth on a cogwheelclamp. This clamping mechanism provides excellent gripand ensures the plate remains locked in position once thecentral screw is fastened. These grooves do not run all the wayto the bottom of the mounting rail. This prevents the butt-platefalling off the rail.Radial axis adjustment is also offered by loosening the central screw(one full turn) and depressing it. This disengages the same clampingcogwheel mechanism incorporated in all G&E butt-plates whichpermits movement around the radial axis. From a central position,indicated by a slightly deeper groove on the rail, the butt plate offers+/- 15º of radial adjustment.The whole blade is one piece, which is adjustable by loosening thetwo upper locking screws. A nicely designed hinge allows theblade to be angled to suit the shooters shoulder. It is quitebroad and is very comfortable in the shoulder pocket.17

The Grunig & Elmiger ‘Return’ Butt-plateBy Conor McFlynnThe blade comes with a layer of Supergrip applied to thefront surface to ensure secure positioning in the shoulder.The Supergrip is available in a smooth or dimpled options,the latter providing more grip.The hook is the same impressive design as all the G&E models,two universal joints permit adjustment for any position. Eachjoint at both ends has male and female teeth which interlocktogether to provide superior grip and ensure the hook position isheld securely. Machined from stainless steel with lock washer, theywill not wear and remain secure in position.Again excellent design allows comfort for either right or left-handedshooters; the hook sections have been designed to be reversible sothe screw heads can sit on the opposite side. Also an optional longersection offers an extra 1cm of length.ConclusionFor those who a are fans of the old-style Anschutz buttplate, thisoffers a new, high tech, redesigned alternative with the added bonusof a highly adjustable hook. It incorporates, in my opinion, bettermaterials which are engineered to a higher level, with simple yeteffective design features. Cant and levering will be eliminated withthe well designed hook tail. The broad, smoothly sloping, angularshape of the upper blade sit perfectly and comfortably in theshoulder, especially when bench resting the rifle and indeed theprone position.Weight: 380g (including mounting rail).Available from: £39018

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GALLERY RIFLE& PISTOL NEWSChoosing Sights forcompetition shootingMoving on from makingyour stocks and grips fit youproperly, the next thing toconsider is which type ofsight (or sights) are goingto be the most suitable forthe type of Gallery Riflecompetitions that you intendto compete in.Whilst the variable powered telescopicscope is by far the most commonly used inGR shooting it’s not going to suitable forevery type of GR match but it’s certainlythe most popular type to start with. Thedistances we shoot at are all relatively short(as most of our matches used to be shotwith pistols) so there isn’t any need to goout and spend an absolute fortune on a firstfocal plane Nightforce, Zeiss or S&B scopebut, there are certain things to think aboutbefore rushing out and buying the first thingthat comes your way.The first of these would be choosing a suitable reticleand you won’t go far wrong if you decide to go for astandard crosshair type (although mil dots are alsofairly popular) as they are very easy to pick up onthe target and also simple to use. There are a hugenumber of reticle designs to choose from (includingilluminated varieties) ranging from a series of dots tomultiple lines and patterns that resemble somethingmore like a Christmas tree, but quite frankly I find thatmost of them are just a gimmick and are of little use tous in the type of shooting that we do.Trying to decipher a multitude of lines, dots or curvesquickly against a Timed & Precision or Multi Targettarget during a 2 to 3 second exposure is pretty mucha recipe for disaster really and you’d be well advisedto steer clear of the cluttered variety. The standardcrosshair shape is usually referred to as a duplex or30/30 reticle although some companies will call it theirown version such as a Nikoplex etc but they are allessentially based on the same simple design.Depending on the manufacturer, most duplex typeswill all differ slightly with regards to the overallthickness and length of both the outer posts and thecentre lines, including the spacing between them somake sure you try looking through as many as youcan (or ideally try them out on the range) to see whichtype suits you best. There are also some fine cross hairreticles available (including some with a small centredot) but these are pretty hard to pick up quickly on thetarget and are mainly used for either long-range orbenchrest type shooting.The next important feature to consider will bechoosing the magnification range of your scopeand this is probably where most people will have tomake a compromise of some sort or another. I saythis because of the wide range of disciplines that are20

on offer within Gallery Rifle and the fact that thereare very few (if any?) individual scopes that have amagnification range diverse enough to provide everyone of us with the optimum sight-picture at everydistance in every type of competition that we canshoot.GALLERY RIFLE& PISTOL NEWSBarska & Burris - You pay for what you get but both will get the job done!Putting red dots and iron sights aside for now, youwould probably need a scope with a magnificationrange of between 1 - 25x to satisfy the demands ofevery GR shooter but unfortunately the majority ofaffordable scopes (for most people) tend to be in theregion of 1-5x, 3-9x, 3-12x, 4-12x, 4-16x, 5-20 x, 6.5-20, 6-24x or even 8-32x power.Most of the new shooters coming into Gallery Riflecompetitions are usually steered by their clubstowards some of the lower roundcountevents like the 25mPrecision, the Multi Targetor Timed & Precision 1matches to start with.Whilst the Precisionmatch allows youplenty of timeto completeeach stage,the lattertwo willrequireyou topickup21Adjustable objectives are simple to use.the targets pretty quickly and fire off one or tworounds within 2 to 3 seconds at the closer distances.For these matches most newcomers will usuallyexperience greater success by using a scope with aminimum magnification range of between 3 – 5x asthis will make it easier for them to see which area ofthe target they are actually pointing at when initiallybringing the rifle up into the aim. Trying to shootquickly and accurately at 10m using a scope that hasa limited lower range of between 6 & 8x will usuallyprove very difficult for most (especially in some ofthe faster shooting matches) as the target sizeis obviously magnified a fair amount, whichwill fill the scope up completely and thiscan often lead to confusion andrushed shots unless the sights arebrought directly up onto thecentre of the target.Faster and probably moreimportantly, consistentpresentation of the crosshairsonto the central scoring zonecan be achieved through bodyalignment, muscle memory andtarget/sight presentation practicesusing a lower power setting to startwith. This will obviously require a fair bitof time and effort on your behalf in orderto get it right but once this skill has beenmastered, it will definitely help you to improve

GALLERY RIFLE& PISTOL NEWSI always check to see where my first few rounds aregoing when I’m shooting at the longer distances justto make sure that I’m hitting in, or around,the x or 10 ring. If I’m not, then at least I’mable to see just how far off I need to aim,or simply dial in the required offset usingthe turret adjustments. There’s no pointin putting 24 rounds down range during a1500 Match 3 at 50m only to find out whenyou go forwards to score that the roundswere actually landing down inside the 8 or 7ring instead, just because you couldn’t seewhere your shots were going at the time.Whatever caliber you shoot, there is nomagic magnification setting to use whenshooting at the longer distances as itall boils down to personal preference,experience and ability. Some shooters willonly use a magnification of somewherebetween 6 and 10x because “the sightdoesn’t wobble around as much.” In realitythough their stability remains the same,it just appears to be more stable as themovement on the target is simply lessmagnified than it would be on a highersetting.your scores and overall performances and is wellworth persevering with.Pure confusion...As well as making sure that the lowest power settingon your scope is suitable for your intended needs,you must equally ensure that it will provide you withenough magnification at the opposite end to enableyou to see where your shots are actually landing onthe target. This is especially important when shootingup to 50m where such things as wind, lightingconditions or even an accidentally knocked scopecan change the point of impact by quite a margin,especially on the much smaller 22 rimfire targets.Many of the GB team use between 12 - 20xat this distance with very good results butit is definitely something that you will haveto work on over time, in conjunction withimproving your trigger pull of course. Mostof my best results have been achievedusing between 20 - 25x at both 25 & 50m but I didexperiment with using maximum settings of between12 & 15x at both the Phoenix and Nationals this yearand the results were fairly comparable, although I didhave to turn the magnification up to check my pointof impact a few times during some of the matches as Icouldn’t see where my initial shots were going.Spending time practicing on the range trying all of themagnification settings is the only to find the optimumsettings for you personally, at each of the distancesinvolved. Once you have found the magnificationsetting that gives you the best results at a particulardistance, make sure that you stick with it and don’t22

e tempted to use one that you simply prefer as it’sthe scores on the target that count and not what youperceive to be the most stable. It’s also a good ideaLeupold QR rings and baseto write these figures down on a crib note until youcan remember them off by heart to help improve yourperformance.There will obviously always be exceptions but, on thewhole, something like a 3 – 9x scope just won’t get thejob done as many have found out, and I would suggestthat either a 4 -16x or 5 - 20x powered scope wouldfulfill most peoples needs when starting off in the GRprecision type disciplines, as they probably offer youGALLERY RIFLE& PISTOL NEWSThe next thing to look at wouldbe adjusting the scope so thatyou can aim dead on in themiddle of the x ring at each ofthe distances involved and thisis easily done on a scope that isequipped with a set of ‘target’turrets. They are very easy touse and will allow you to wrap apiece of white tape around theoutside of the elevation turret tomark your distance settings ontoit. This makes everything easier and more precise andwill also help save valuable seconds rather than havingto aim off each time you bring the rifle up into the aim.You can still use the same marking principal using thesmaller types of turrets/adjusters, including the coinslot variety by using a small round adhesive stickeror even small dabs of different colored paint to markeach distance. There are two types of elevationMinimum power differences at 10mthe greatest spread between the lowest and highestmagnification settings. The lowest settings will helpyou cope at the closest distances in most of the GRdisciplines whilst the highest will enable you seewhere your shots are landing at every distance and,although you may not use these maximum settings tostart with, they will always be available once you startto improve and need to use them.adjustments that give you either 1/8 inch or ¼ inchper click at 100 yards and for what we do the ¼ inchversions are the ones to go for if you have the choice,as they require less movement when dialing in thedistances which in turn helps reduce wear and tear inthe long run.Moving up to the front end of the scope and you willusually have the option of either a 40, 42, 44, 50 or23

GALLERY RIFLE& PISTOL NEWS56mm diameter objective lens. The 50mm varietyare very popular in GR as they allow more light in thanthe smaller versions and they are usually combinedwith a one-inch tube (body) which helps to keep theoverall weight of your rifle down. Most ofthe scopes that offer a 56mmobjective lens will usewell worth your time to read some of the excellentarticles on this subject on the internet. More andmore scopes are becoming available where theparallax adjustment is made by a dial located on theside of the main body of the scope, although it is notgenerally considered to be as accurate as the AO ringsystem. Whichever type of scope you go for, the mainthing to make sure of is that it will physically focusdown to 10m otherwise there will be an awful lot ofGR competitions that you will not be able to take partin as all you will see is a blur when you bring the rifleup into the aim. Quite a few of the models in theLeupold range for example will not focusdown to less than 25m asBushnell’s Elite 6500 2.5 - 16xis an excellent all round scope.a 30mm body which will let more light in again whenshooting in poor weather or light conditions but theyare 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 30mmbodies on my precision rifles (for 1500 & shorts etc)and whilst they certainly do the job, I really coulddo without the extra weight that they add onto myrifles. Many scopes will have an adjustable objectivering marked with the approximate shooting distancesaround it to allow you to quickly focus on the targetbut more importantly, help correct any parallax errorthat is present at each distance.To go into the effects and corrections of parallax errorhere would take up far too much space but it will betheyas primarilylonger rangehunting scopes so it’salways best to check beforeyou buy.As with most things, you usually get what you payfor and scopes are no exception and anything thatuses either Japanese or German lenses in it will bemore expensive but the quality is certainly a lot higherwhich can easily be seen when comparing them sideby side on the range. I have always advocated usingthe Edgar Brothers Optimate range as they weremanufactured in Japan and were excellent value formoney considering they retailed for around £160-170each but unfortunately these are no longer available.I have used their 5-20 x 50 models for the last 15years or so and have never had a singleproblem with any of them but, looking aroundrecently for a new scope to use for Bianchi,there doesn’t seem to be anything else ofthat quality around anymore for this sortof money. Yes there are plenty of scopesavailable for around £150-200 and plentyLeft - Proper fitment. Right - Not something you’d want to rely on! more for a lot less money but they are allfitted with cheap Chinese lenses and the buildquality is somewhat dubious to say the least.24

On the other hand, having to pay between £300-500plus for a better quality item such as a Nikon or Burriswill bring tears to some shooters eyes especiallywhen they have more than one rifle to equip but theydo offer excellent quality and most will come with alifetime guarantee. It’s going to be your wallet thatGALLERY RIFLE& PISTOL NEWSLeft - This type of QR rings are very reliable.Middle -Target turrets are very popular and are a must.Right - Warne rings return to zero and are very good valuefor moneymakes the decision at the end of the day but yougenerally do get what you pay for. Another optionof course if you are on a tighter budget would be asecond-hand scope and you could well end up witha lot more scope for your money, so make sure youcheck out the various shooting forums and sites on theinternet to see what’s available.As I mentioned earlier, you will find that a telescopicsight won’t always be the best option for some of theGR disciplines, whatever its magnification range andthese include matches like the Bianchi, the BisleySpeed Steels, 3 gun matches and Steel Challengefalling plate type matches.would produce much better results for most shootersas opposed to using a 2 – 7x pistol scope, given theprecise way you have to line your head up with the eyepiece and the loss of sight picture during recoil.Some of the faster matches, where there are multipletargets at close to medium range, are best shot usingred dot scopes or even iron sights as the targets canbe picked up much more quickly and the transitionbetween them will be a lot faster and more fluid asyour vision will be far less restricted compared to usinga telescopic sight.The Zeiss-1-5-6x42 electro dot would be ideal for the Bianchi C/F match, but they’re not cheap!To shoot well in the C/F Bianchi a 1.5 – 6x by 42mmwould be an ideal choice as the 1.5x setting wouldcertainly make life easier during the Mover andPlates matches and not many people would needover 6x to shoot the 50m stages on a full size target.Likewise, using a red dot on an LBR for this matchIf you eventually decide to start branching out andgive these more varied disciplines a try then you willneed to ensure that you use the right optic for the jobat hand and this can be done in two ways. The firstis to simply have a spare scope (or scopes) and fit itusing some decent quick release mounts, or by usinga set of the quick-release ring system. Warne make25

GALLERY RIFLE& PISTOL NEWSsome excellent QD rings and they are fairly reasonablypriced as well but whichever make you decide on it’svery important that you always make sure that theprofile of both your rings and base match properly, assome rails are cut using a 45° cutter whilst others usea 60° version. Hoping that a set of 45° rings will locatein exactly the same position on a 60° base when youswap scopes over just isn’t going to happen, so makesure that everything fits properly as it should and youwon’t have any problems.Leupold make some very good bases which utilizetheir own version of QD rings which have a stem-likebase on them. The scope is lined up at 90 degreeswith the front hole of the base, and is then rotateduntil the rear ring locates inside the slot at the back.A screw is then inserted and tightened up lockingeverything into place and I have used these severaltimes in the past with 100% success rate of themreturning back to zero. These would definitely be mychoice if I wanted to swap telescopic scopes quicklyand accurately and the only downside to them is thatyou can only mount something like a Tasco PDP3 reddot scope with a 25 or 30mm tube type body usingthis system, as they don’t provide rings to fit the larger40 or 50mm versions or one of the screen type dots.The second but more expensive option is to simplyhave two rifles with one set up for precision typeshooting and the other for the faster action-typematches and whilst it may sound a little excessive tosome people, it’s what a lot of us used to do back inthe pistol days.with a neutral balance and is fitted with a 12.5 inchbarrel, a one-inch 5 – 20x scope and a very light triggerwhich means that I can shoot it all day without gettingtired out.My 44 Bianchi lever-action rifle has a 2.5 -10x scopecomplete with mover base and wings etc. and thetrigger releases at around 2lbs. My second 44 is setup with a 45mm red dot scope and a 2lb trigger forshooting the Man v Man and Steels type competitionswhilst the heavy weight 44 I use for shooting thePrecision based events with 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 twodifferent types of matches with and I have gone downthis route due to the amount of competitions that Ishoot at either the Phoenix or the Nationals. It’s a loteasier just to pick up a couple of guns out of the bootand go and shoot them and then pick up some moreand go and shoot some different types of matches,rather than spending half my time trying to swapscopes around and remember which one goes withwhich gun.There is also the added bonus of having a spare gun tohand that is already sighted in (albeit with a differentmagnification scope) should an optic or other majorcomponent fail on my main gun during a weekend’scompetition. This has happened to both myself andothers on various occasions over the years both athome and abroad and having a spare gun on the dayhas certainly proved invaluable at the time and is wellworth considering if you can manage it!For example, I have a heavier weighted 22 rifle (withthe bias being at the front end) which is fitted with astainless 16 inch compensated barrel, a mover base,barricade wings, a weight adjustable stock and aheavier single stage trigger. The optics used are eithera 6 – 25 x 56 30mm tube scope with Warne QD mountsor a Hakko 45mm red dot and I use this to shoot allof the action matches with. The rifle I use for theprecision type matches is around a medium weight26

FROM THE BENCHVINCE’S REGULAR COLUMN WHEREBY ACCURACY NUTS CAN KEEP UP TOJean Louis EspinetDATE WITH THE ACTIVITIES OF THE UKBRAAND ACCURACY RELATED ITEMSThis month, I would like to devote my benchrest column to one of the sport’s great characters whosadly passed away on February 12th 2012. Anyone who has shot benchrest at World or European levelin the last twenty years will know and remember French benchrest shooter Jean Louis Espinet with greataffection. He was universally known as the Pig Man – yet he was not a pig farmer or anything like that – it wassimply an assumed fun persona and he always wore a pink cap resembling the head of a pig – complete with earsand tail.Jean Louis spoke excellent English, so he was the one you often approached if you needed to know anythingwhilst shooting in Europe. He also had a wicked sense of humour and I spent a great week shooting on thebench next to him at the European Benchrest Championships in Sweden a few years ago. As with most sports,competing in benchrest at World level is a serious business and the ‘characters’ who are able to inject a littlehumour when things get tense are few and far between. Yet, Jean Louis was a fierce competitor and proudlyrepresented his Country; rarely was he off the podium at major shoots.Following serious surgery, Jean Louis was unable to shoot in his own ‘Worlds’ in France last year, but he was busierthan ever – helping out wherever he could - be it in the office or on range - as well as just being the Pig Man. That’show we’ll remember him.He died on February 18th 2012 following heart surgery. Our thoughts and sympathy are with theEspinet family and friends.Jean Louis (left) receiving anaward from Walt Berger atthe 2005 World BenchrestChampionships in America.The famous pink ‘pig’ hat –complete with ears and tail.

Air Splitter & Barrel Tuners forAir Rifle Benchrest by Carl BoswellThere are many designs for air- splitters...Air Splitter & Barrel Tunersfor Air Rifle Benchrest28

Air Splitter & Barrel Tuners forAir Rifle Benchrest by Carl Boswelllike rimfire barrels, an air-rifle barrel is better off usinga muzzle device free floating. Again, this does needfurther research and a lot more empirical evidence. Sothe disclaimer is, before you take your air rifle apart,consider if this is best for you.CAD modelling.The finished design. Above and below.One recent design by Bill Burdette in the USA, is atuner splitter for rimfire. Now there is a novel idea!Whether it ‘shoots’ or not is again in the testing stage.A bit like the thoughts expressed here, the jury is stillout but, the idea is showing a great deal of promise.With spring coming quickly, with warmer range dayswe will have a good few months to test these ideasthat are continuing to develop around the world. LikeI said earlier, we can learn things from other areas ofthe sport. If they work all the better but it is good tolook outside of the box sometimes.Like many things in this sport – it’s underdevelopment! An air splitter can be purchased as an‘after market’ product. There are lots out there, so it’sa matter of deciding which one has the establishedclaims of improving accuracy. The tuner part issomething you will have to work on. You may askfriends of even pay for a local metal worker to turnparts up for you.Until next time, watch theflags, pull the trigger andshoot straight.The air-splitter on my Steyr.31

The long ViewNews from the GB F-ClassAssociation by Les HolgateThe GB F Class 2012 seasonstarts next month!Well here we go ago again - timeto blow the winter cobwebs offyour F Class rifle and equipmentand try to put into action yourNew Year’s resolution of “Must dobetter at League shoots.”(Or was that just mine!)32

GB F Class 2012New season startsAPRIL 2012Springtime at Diggle Ranges...Photograph by Steve Thornton33

GB F Class 2012New season startsAPRIL 2012The Long View by Les HolgateWell here we go ago again - time to blowthe winter cobwebs off your F Class rifleand equipment and try to put into actionyour New Year’s resolution of “Must dobetter at League shoots.” (or was thatjust mine!)If you were one of the 30 or so who went to Bisleyfor the annual GBFCA Training Weekend in February,then hopefully, you are raring to go. The GB F-classAssociation strives to give something back toshooting and one way of doing this is through shootereducation. This was our third training weekend andthe course is intended to give attendees a basicintroduction to wind-plotting, reloading, rangeetiquette and target shooting at long-range.By the end of the course, all attendees will hopefullyhave acquired a basic knowledge of what F Classand long-range shooting entails and can decide if itsomething that they wish to pursue.This year, the course attracted students from allover the UK, plus Germany, Holland and France.Experienced F-class shooters acted as courseinstructors, with Mik Maksimovic delivering a lectureon correct way to wind-plot, World Champion RussellSimmonds gave an introductory talk on the principlesof reloading accurate ammunition and Peter Wilson,David Lloyd and Tony Marsh assisted students withwind coaching and establishing 1000 yard zeroes etc.Unfortunately, this year, the weather was ratherunkind to us; wind conditions were strong and quitechoppy and it was also rather cold and wet. Overallthough, the students seemed to express satisfactionwith the course content and the feedback received willbe ploughed back into making next year’s course evenbetter.34

Photography by Steve Thornton35Shooting on Blair’s electronic targets

GB F Class 2012New season startsAPRIL 2012F Class Shooting at the world famous Bisley Shooting grounds...Photograph by Steve Thornton36

GB F Class 2012New season startsAPRIL 2012The first competitive GBFCA shoot is in April at Diggle,so whilst everything is fresh in your mind, get stuck inand put all that theory to good use! The first Diggleshoot will be the only short-range shoot of the year somaybe a bit less daunting if you are intending to makeyour debut!When we first started these short-range shoots, wewondered whether it would be of any interest - wethought most people would only travel a distance forlong-range shooting but we certainly under-estimatedthe demand. Last year, at nearly 70 shooters, itproved to be the largest competition outside ofBisley and this year, despite the economic gloom, itis looking to be no different. As I write this, the entryforms have only been out for one week and I alreadyhave 45 paid entries! Certainly looks good for the restof the year.As for the old bone of contention about the weather -just because it’s April doesn’t mean the weather has tobe bad – we’ve had some great ‘T shirt’ shoots in Aprilat Diggle!From Diggle, we go up to Blair Atholl in May. If youhave never been to Blair, you really need to give it ago at least once in your shooting career. The rangeis in a stunning setting but can often prove to be thedownfall of even the best shooters - the wind flags canbe very deceiving plus it is the first shoot of the yearon electronic targets, so at least no butt marking.For those of you who may not be used to electronictargets, it is quite an experience – not waiting for thetarget to be pulled certainly speeds up the detail. Youalso have the added bonus of seeing your shot scored,a few seconds after pulling the trigger, to one decimalplace. Seeing a 4.9 rather than a 5 is certainly veryfrustrating, usually resulting in someone blaming thecalibration of the machine rather than their shooting!In June we are back at Diggle but this time for a longrangeshoot 800 - 1000 yards. With recently extendedfiring-points it means less details which equates to less37

New season startsGB F Class 2012APRIL 201238

GB F Class 2012New season startsAPRIL 20121200 yards at Bisley...Photograph by Steve Thornton39

GB F Class 2012New season startsAPRIL 2012time in the butts – good news for everyone. Again, ifyou are wanting to go to this shoot, don’t hang abouttoo long before sending in your entry as the places willbe limited.We also have the first of the year’s Bisley shoots atthe end of June with a GB team shoot the day before.Historically this long-range shoot has also includedshooting out to 1200 yards! If you fancy somethingdifferent, don’t miss this one (even though you couldmiss the target !)Hopefully, all this has whetted your appetite – if so,take the plunge, check out the GBFCA web site and download the entry forms now.Finally, please don’t get wound-up about equipment– F/TR is a great place to start your F Class careerand any decent heavy-barrelled 308 will do the job –especially at the Diggle short-range comp. I guaranteeyou a great weekend, shooting with some great folkand a bit off-range entertainment thrown in.We get a breather for July - unless of course you aregoing to attend the Imperial F Class at Bisley - withthe next League shoot going back to Diggle, for thelast time for the year, in August and again this will beanother 800 - 1000 yard shoot.No League shoot in September but then in October,it’s back up to Blair for their final shoot of the year.The season then climaxes with the ‘Europeans’ atBisley - if you only go to one shoot this year, this is theone to do! The shooter numbers are increasing everyyear and, who knows, maybe this year it could eventop the 200 mark with we Brits outnumbered by ourforeign F Class friends.World F Class Championship 2013 – Raton USAJumping ahead to 2013 – the year of the F Class WorldChampionships - we need to start to practice ‘string’shooting. In other words, rather than shooting inpairs, you shoot solo. This obviously speeds up therate of fire - which has advantages and disadvantagesbut, until we try it, we won’t know what they are.Hopefully, we can try string shooting in some of thisyear’s League shoots to get some practice for allthose who are hoping to go to the ‘Worlds’. I firstencountered string-shooting when I shot in the USNationals at Camp Butner in 2004 and it certainlymakes you think differently about how you approachyour shoot.40

Wind reading & plotting coursesThese one day courses are held at Bisley UK and will include; Wind andit’s effects on the bullets - Wind flags and how to use them - Topographyof the range and its effects - Mirage and how to make use of it - Plottingsheets and how to use them correctly and more... All clients will have tohave their own firearm plus 90 rounds and be a member of the NRA.For more information and booking availabilityplease visit world champion F Class shooterRussell SimmondsRussell has been the European Champion three times and isthe current British Champion winning it three times in thelast four years he has also helped to coach the GB Team toGold in last years Europeanchampionships.The Group - Learn to readthe wind, spot the changesand you may achieve groupslike this!Learn to plot your shots andmake a perfect record of whatthe wind is really doing!Learn to read, adjust andunderstand mirage effects!Russell reading the wind atthe European Championshipsenabling the GB Team toachieve Gold medals...MarchSCOPESThe Choice ofChampionsThe highest quality precision range of hunting,stalking, tactical & target scopes available forshooters worldwide.Tactical TurretsNEWThe 8x ~ 80x.Zero Set or Free Dial LockingPrecision opticalinstruments madethe way theyshould be, one at atime, by craftsmanwith 30 plus yearsexperience usingcomponents ofabsolute quality.Side Focus 10 yards ~ InfinityPush Button IlluminationAvailable from - - Call 01293 606901 or

Contact us today to seewhat we can do for youand make your productswork to their full potential,in a way that is the futureof magazines andadvertising. With over10,000 readers a month, inthe UK and around the world.Email Yvonne Wilcock

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ThisSMALLBOREBusinessThis Smallbore Businessby Don BrookeAccessories!Overkill or what?Gees, I have long seen the attemptsfrom manufacturers to ensurethat everything on a free rifle is soadjustable that it fits all. Even frommy good mate in the UK, BarryDagger - who is four foot zip - tothe length of Harald Stenvaag fromNorway, who is so tall that when helays down for his prone, he is halfway there!Now that, my readers, isindeed a challenge...By and large the manufacturers do present theshooters with the fundamentals that are pretty wellright but, I often wonder - when you see the shooterswho continually stick with the tried and true and stuffthe improvements!A classic example is that incredible prone shooter fromRussia, Sergie Martinov, who just rattles off 600 pointsso regularly that we are coming to expect yet anotherone! Do you see Martinov using the ultra-modern,‘you beaut’ contraption that I am writing about?Nope, Martinov still sticks to his timber and usuallyhis is the only timber rifle on the finals list. (He wins agood few too!)50

Personally I think Martinov could shoot a bent stickwith a lump of gas pipe for a barrel but, every year wesee a new development issued and within the studythat this article is headed with, I wonder…..ThisSMALLBOREBusinesspointed to the target in contact with the left side curveof the fore-end and, the width of that fore-end wasmade so that the measurement from the web of thethumb to the index finger knuckle was identical.This position of the left hand also allowed a 10 degreepositive cant (into the face) of the rifle.This factor was a bonus that I had not consideredwhen I made that stock but, I can tell you, theadvantages of this was a huge improvement becauseI discovered that the butt-plate system fittedbeautifully within the muscle structure of my rightshoulder! (Even when I shot a straight stocked 1411Anschutz prone rifle.)Over the years, I have developed a butt-plate systemthat is very simple and, coupled with the fit for theshoulder, produced an extremely stable, extremelyaccurate prone position. (You may remember that tenshot group illustrated earlier in this magazine that a 22rimfire case would not drop through?)An interesting photo of the author’s left hand showingthe area of the ball of the thumb. It should be notedthat the measurement from the thumb-joint to theknuckle of the index finger coincides with the width of acustom stock on my Finish Lion smallbore rifleLately I have been working with a shooter who doeshave an exceptionally fine rifle and,, to my mind, theonly adjustment on his stock that is fundamental isthe fore-end accessory rail - that can be reversed andso allow a much more comfortable left-hand positionbecause the rail is closer to the ball of the thumb.Well, when I built my own alloy stock way back in1980, the accessory rail was milled into the fore-end6mm off-centre towards the left, as I wanted my lefthand to operate properly - given that if you hold yourleft hand face up, you will see a lot more of your handon the right of the ball of the thumb.I had also noticed that when my hand is settled into acorrect position, the ball of the thumb has a relativelyflat area (see photograph) that the fore-end of the rifleis rested on. The left thumb, in my technique, actually51It is very desirable that prone shooters for smallboreand 300m use a hook butt-plate on their rifle. Thestability gained when a hook is fitted, or adjustedcorrectly, is of paramount importance, as we all knowthe hook function is to allow position repeatability.The back of the rifle is securely locked in place withinthe shoulder and, once the face pressure is settledonto the cheek piece of the stock, there is very littlethat will affect the position and recoil stability whenthe shot is released.There are however, a number of sensitive areas withthe hook butt-plate system that can produce errorsof startling proportions and, it is with these thoughtsin mind that I arrived at the heading of this article,‘Accessories, overkill or what?’ Tell me, do you thinkthere are too many options available? Has the ‘KISS’principle gone out the window?The most dangerous problem of adjustment with thehook under the arm-pit, is the contact of the hookwith the body of the shooter inside the jacket. Firm

ThisSMALLBOREBusinessshould be followed and the result is usually a veryconsistent recoil pattern, particularly with a smallborerifle. The 300m centrefire does have a more savagerecoil factor but still remains problematical when thehook is in contact with the muscle structure down therib-cage of the shooter.Look at the rifle butt picture in this article whichshows the hook plate in use on my Lion free rifle. Itis a simple design with just functional adjustments.Notice the 10 degree positive rotation of the wholebutt-plate (viewed from behind) which simply contactsthe personal muscle structure in my right shoulder,plus the outward adjustment of the hook itself. It isdesigned that way to ensure that there is no bodycontact with the sides of the hook. As you will seealso, the butt-plate system is quite simple, the ‘KISS’principle survives in my house!The picture above shows the hook plate in use on myLion free rifle. It is a simple design with just functionaladjustments. Notice the 10 degree positive rotationof the whole butt-plate (viewed from behind) whichsimply contacts the personal muscle structure in myright shoulder, plus the outward adjustment of thehook itself. It is designed that way to ensure that thereis no body contact with the sides of the hook. As youwill see also, the butt-plate system is quite simple, the‘KISS’ principle survives in my house!pressure in contact like this (see photograph) willresult in considerable ‘thrash’ of the rifle within therecoil. The muzzle will dance sideways, to and fro,which can result in an elongated sideways group,compounded by the fact that the shooter often willblame their own wind judgement for the wild shot thatfalls on the target!Look at the two photographs which show the hookin firm contact with the muscle structure of the ribcage,explained above and the second picture showingthe hook following the arm-pit without any sidewaysinfluence at all. This is just a simple adjustment thatBack in my early days of smallbore, the hook systemswere very basic and often did I see the addition oftimber, tape, leather or even a folded hanky fittedto the hook to allow firmer contact points in theshoulder. These were largely the result of manyexperiments from the shooter in the never endingquest for accuracy. Sometimes they got it right mate!More to the point, in these days ofinnovation, or even gadgets, it is funnybecause you still have to shoot the rifleeh? This is what I have found anyway...I just keep remembering Martinov and thebent stick with a chunk of gas pipe!Think on this a bit.Brooksie52

NEW - THE DOLPHIN MODULAR RIFLE SYSTEMDolphin Repeating RiflesDolphin Repeating RiflesDolphin Stock in Hard AnodiseChoice of Long F/TR, Short or Open front forendWith Morgan recoil padChoice of colours availableBarnard SM or RPA QuadliteTimney Trigger (Jewel £40 extra)17 or 25 moa scope railBartlein, Lilja or Krieger barrel(Choice of twist & profile)Choice of calibre available5 Round AICS magazine£2460 including VATDolphin Single Shot F/TR RiflesDolphin Single Shot Rifles. (Two above).Dolphin Stock in Hard AnodiseChoice of Long F/TR, Short or Open front forendWith Morgan recoil padChoice of colours availableBarnard S or RPA QuadliteTimney Trigger (Jewel £40 extra)17 or 25 moa scope railBartlein, Lilja or Krieger barrelChoice of twist & profileChoice of .223 Rem or .308 Win or any othercalibre suitable for a 308 bolt.WEIGHT 6.5Kg (with med Palma Barrel)£2360 including VATLATEST NEWSStocks now available individuallyinlet for Remington 700, Barnard S & SM& RPA Quadlite. Coming soon ~ Savage.Only £630 inc VAT.Folding modular stock version coming soon.Keep visiting our website for latest products...Options AvailableOptions - (Only when ordered with Rifle)Spiral Flute Barrel £160Straight Flute Barrel £120Interrupted Flute Barrel £160Duracoat Barrel £60Water Transfer Print stock £180Dolphin Trakker Rest(long) £150Dolphin Trakker Rest(short) £140Dolphin Muzzle brake £100Long F/TR additional forend £100Short additional forend £80Open/Bench rest Style forend £140VAIS style Muzzle Brake £120Thread for Moderator; £60Including fitting , proof and invisible end cap.Holland Style Muzzle brake; £120Including fitting & proof .All prices inc VATDolphin Gun Company - Southwold - Donington on Bain - Lincolnshire - LN11 9TR - EnglandTelephone +44 (0) 1507 343898 or +44 (0) 774 7771962. -

LATESTNEWS...Latest News...The website is live!We are delighted to announce the safe delivery, ontime, of the DSP’s shiny new website. I hope it will findits way onto everyone’s Favorites list without delay! Itis, of course, also linked to our presence on Twitter andFacebook.What you will see now on is Phase 1 of the site. A lot more material willbe added to it during Phase 2 over the next month orso. After that, in Phase 3 we will create some moresections to ‘bolt on’ as they are ready – most of theserelate to DSP schemes that are still in development,such as Focus Clubs, Coaching Modules, and theDisabled Shooting Year.The website is, of course, a key part of the DSP’scommunications system, which should help us toachieve our goals for the next 12 months, but wewill continue to publish information in magazines,bulletins, etc. as well.I would like to record my enormous gratitude to CliveGarnham who built the site for us and presided overmy vertiginous learning curve! It is just over a monthsince he received the confirmation to go ahead withthe project, so it has been very hard work all round.As I have by no means finished learning the mysteriousarts of web-mastering, there will undoubtedly behiccups in future – may I apologise in advance, both tosite users and Clive.Next stepsNow that the site is operational, please would you:1. Spread the news!2. Arrange for a link to it to be placed on as manywebsites as possible! The more links we have, thehigher up the search engine rankings the site will be,and naturally we’d like it to be top of the list! I amattaching a .jpg of the DSP logo which can be addedwith the link if you wish.3. Feel free to submit things for the site and encourageothers to do so. News, technical information, diaryitems, etc. will all be welcome. We are particularlykeen to find good video footage and photographsto illustrate as many different aspects of disabledshooting as possible, so perhaps some people wouldlike to turn themselves into film directors and actorsfor a day or two and send us the results. Reminder:Please ensure that everyone featured has given theirpermission for it to be used on the internet, andremember that names (if people are willing to givethem) do make things much more engaging.I am aware that information in some areas is thin onthe ground, but we did not want to delay the launchbecause of what we want to accomplish by March2013. I am particularly aware of the lack of materialon fullbore, clay target and field target disciplinesand that is something that I would like to remedy asquickly as possible, so contributions on those topicswill be particularly gratefully received.ClubsThe information on disabled-friendly clubs is ratherpatchy, because most of it I have hoovered up fromtheir own websites. This is time-consuming, andalso does not guarantee up-to-date accuracy. I willshortly be sending out a concise e-form, which canbe completed and returned by clubs that wish to beproperly represented on the site. I do have details ofmore clubs to go on at the moment, and hope to havethem all up in the next couple of days.I do hope you all enjoy the new site. It feels abouttime for a bit of a celebration! LIZ...54

LATESTNEWS...Liz - DSP Co-ordinatorDSP Mobile: 07527 579686The Disabled Shooting Project - Welcomes ALLdisabilities into a competitive mainstream sport aswell as helping less able shooters to stay in it.Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it isthe only thing that ever has. Margaret MeadWebsite: Disabled Shooting ProjectTwitter: @DisabledshooterThe project is funded and supported by Sport Englandvia British Shooting Shooting Limited, 2nd Floor, 40 Bernard Street,London WC1N 1ST2012 Gallery Rifle Calendarby Alan WhittleOn my way to work, the radio announcedthat 15th January was Black Monday -presumably because Christmas is overand the next Bank Holiday is in far awayApril. It is also the depths of winter, withshort days dictating getting up and outto work in the dark and returning in thetwilight. If all this is inclined to saddenthe heart then fear not, club secretariesand match directors have been workinghard all winter planning your 2012 GalleryRifle (GR) shooting season. The NRAand nearly all the major GR Clubs have settheir calendar, so here is the round up.First up is the Spring Action Weekend (SAW) at Bisley24/25th March followed a month later with the Basildon1500 plus shorts 27/29th April. The MatterseyTen on 6th May keeps the spring going before Fromeweighs in with the Western Winner (1500 plus shortsformat at the Failand Range near Bristol) 18/19th May,giving an opportunity for some valuable pre-Phoenixpractice.The Phoenix Meeting at Bisley 1/3rd June is delayedthis year to coincide with the late Bank Holiday withthe extra day for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Monday4th June see the Phoenix International 1500Match at Bisley with the first outing of the year for theGB GR Squad.Summer brings the Derby Open 30th June/1st July.Then in quick succession the NRA Historic Arms Meeting7/8th July and the Imperial GR events 11/15th July(unlimited entries Wednesday to Friday and squaddedmatches at the weekend) both at Bisley. If you fancya trip to Ireland, 13/15th July brings the second InternationalMatch of the year, also available for individualand club teams to enter.The National GR Championships are contested atBisley 25/26th August, then a short pause until the TrafalgarMeeting 20/21st October and the Autumn ActionWeekend (AAW) the following weekend 27/28thOctober.Still to declare are Stourport (usually early August) andthe Germany International GR Match (habitually earlyNovember). So there are at least a dozen opportunitiesto enter classified GR competitions in all cornersof the country and beyond.At time of going to press, the GR Sub-CommitteeChairman, Neil Francis, has received just one nominationfor the GB Squad Captain for 2012 before theclosing date. It is likely therefore that Neil will recommendthe nominee to NRA Council and I should be in aposition next time to make a formal announcement ofthe Captain next time.55

LATESTNEWS...Latest News...UKPSA Newsby Tony SaundersEarly spring is coming, a relief to shooters whoprefer not to be resetting targets that are frozen tothe ground! Hopefully we have seen the end of thesnow for this winter... (famous last words?)UKPSA Handgun CommissionPostal League 2012The UKPSA Handgun Commission invites you to getinvolved in our Postal League for Practical Handgun.The intention is to allow all Practical shootersto compete in Practical stages within their clubenvironment, either as part of their training days, orthey can be included in a Level 1 Open Match. Youcan then compare your results with other like mindedpractical handgun shooters from other clubs. TheLeague will be shot to current IPSC Handgun rules.Membership of an IPSC Region is not required and itwill be free to participate in the postal League.The British Shooting and Countryman Show 2012 tookplace this previous weekend and saw thousands ofshooters turning up for this huge show. The UKPSAhad a stand there for the first time and it proved agreat success. Staffed by UKPSA members Vanessa &Andy Duffy, Rob Adam, Jim Gibney and Mike Darby,the two day event brought new and old members tothe stand.UKPSA POSTAL LEAGUES 2012This year, the UKPSA Postal League has beenextended to include divisions for handgun, LBR, LBP,Gallery Rifle and .22 Rim Fire Rifles. These will beginon March 1st, whilst the shotgun League will start inApril.The Leagues are ‘open’ and any shooter mayparticipate. The stages are designed to be easily set upand can form part of any club’s practice session or beincluded as part of a small match.Each League will be made up of four rounds with 3to 4 stages in each round. The course of fire will bepublished at the start of each round along with scoresheets. Scores are posted in and will be processed andresults published. At the end of the four rounds overallresults for all the Leagues will be announced.Details of the Handgun Postal Matches are alreadyavailable in this article. For more details, rules, coursesof fire, go to the UKPSA Forum directly, or via theUKPSA website at League will be made up of four rounds and eachround will be made up of three stages and will be shotwithin a two month period as follows.Round 1 in March and AprilRound 2 in May and JuneRound 3 in July and AugustRound 4 in September and October.The first of these matches has been confirmed.Dunnyboe Level 1 on the 31st March & 1st AprilAll competitors will complete the course of fire in oneday. For further details and to enter contact KieranMcCormick on kieranmccormick@gmail.comScores will be calculated at the end of each Roundand results will be e mailed out to all participatingclubs and individuals. At the conclusion of Round 4,all the stages from all four rounds will be calculated toachieve overall winners of each IPSC Division. All theIPSC Divisions of Classic, Open, Production, Revolverand Standard will be recognised. UKPSA membersliving in GB who possess long barrelled revolvers willbe able to take part in Revolver Division.The three stages may be shot at any time withinthe two month period for each Round. P referablya qualified Range Officer should conduct thecompetition. Where an RO is not available, providingthere are two witnesses to the stage being shot, oneof whom may conduct the stages and both must signthe competitor’s score sheet, this will be acceptable.56

UKPSA NewsContinued...All scores are to be recorded on the official score sheetwhich will be published with the stages. All detailsmust be completed, to ensure the correct results arerecorded.Details of the stages for each round and the associatedscore sheets will be e mailed out at the start of eachround. Scores must be submitted to arrive within fivedays of the last day of each round. The results will becalculated and e mailed out to all participants andclubs.Please note that only the first attempt at each of thethree stages may be used for your official score. Plusyou may only enter one IPSC Division. However thisdoes not prevent you shooting the stages as manytimes as you want for practice after you have madeyour first attempt for the official score. You can alsoshoot the stages for practice in a different division aswell.All the stages are simple to set up and organisers areasked to keep to the measurements given. All thestages will use the standard IPSC target, either as a fullor partial target.If you have any queries about the Postal Leaguethen please contact the Handgun Commission athandgun@ukpsa.orgIt is hoped that you will have fun shooting the PostalLeague stages. There is an additional course at Kilkeelin April – see Upcoming Matches below or contactFred Hanna, Secretary, UKPSA Handgun Commission.E-mail handgun@ukpsa.orgWeb Site Competitions and Courses inMarch and April 2012-02-27Borderguns Club Shoot Level 1 PSGAll welcome. Contact Jo or Martin at - £10 members / £15 nonmembers.Minimum 8 stages, 100 rounds birdshotonly. 3rd March 2012Carlisle Level 1 PSGMore details to follow. See UKPSA Forum11th March 2012Thurnscoe Level 1 PSGMore details to follow. See UKPSA Forum11th March 2012Safety Course for PSGDiggle Ranges – 2 Day CourseContact for more details of thisand other upcoming courses.If you want to shoot IPSC practical shotgun, this is theway to do it. You only need a three-shot pump or semishotgun if you don’t have a section 1 shotgun.17th / 18th March 2012Range Officer Course in Kilkeel2 Day Course. 23rd / 24th March 2012LATESTNEWS...Level 2 Long Barrelled Firearm MatchRun by the Blue Team at Little ChalfontMore details to follow. See UKPSA Forum31st March 2012Hadrian L3 PSG matchCourse shot in one day. More details to follow. SeeUKPSA Forum. 6th and 7th April 2012Thurnscoe Level 1 PSG MatchMore details to follow. See UKPSA Forum.9th April 2012Basildon Level 2 Long Barrelled Firearm MatchMore details to follow. See UKPSA Forum.15th April 2012USASC Kilkeel Level 1 Handgun MatchFurther Details contact Fred Hanna on - 21st April 201257

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THE HANDLOADING BENCH308 Winchester Rides Again Part 3By Laurie HollandTHE HANDLOADING BENCH308 Winchester Rides AgainBy Laurie Holland - Part 360

THE HANDLOADING BENCH308 Winchester Rides Again Part 3By Laurie Holland.308 WINCHESTER RIDES AGAIN (Part 3)I compared MVs and velocity spreads obtained from Lapua’s new ‘Palma’small rifle primer (SRP) / small flash-hole cases against identical loadcombinations in normal large primer (LRP) examples last month, withparticular reference to the effects produced by low (< 10°C) ambienttemperatures.The case for high-BC ‘heavies’ in F/TR – shooting over long ranges at small targets in constantly changing windconditions. Diggle Ranges in a wet and windy F Class national league round.61

THE HANDLOADING BENCH308 Winchester Rides Again Part 3By Laurie HollandBTLRsIt appears that SRP cases are notwell suited to chilly conditions withsome powders, Viht N140 and N550both struggling for instance. I’ll goa little further this month in theseside by side tests looking at Palmav standard Lapua brass resultsusing Berger’s 175gn BT Long-Range bullets and a trio of Hodgdonpowders: temperature-stable, easyto ignite Australian made VarGetand H4895 extruded products; USmanufactured ball or ‘spherical’H414 / W760 that is reputedly muchharder to fire up with consistentresults. I’ll then make a start onthe subject of heavy bullets, thatis 190-grains and above. This wasa subject I’d intended to addressanyway, but found it also links into‘Palma’ brass, most top GB F/TRshooters who use ‘heavies’ havingswitched to this case during the2011 season.Mid-weight Berger Long-Range BTs – the very effective175gn (centre) and 185gn ‘Juggernaut’ (right). 155gn SierraMK on the left for comparison.While Berger’s 185gn BT Long-Range (BTLR) modelhas quickly acquired a reputation as a solid longrangeperformer, so much so it’s been nicknamed the‘Juggernaut’ in US long-range circles, its 175gn siblingis less well known here.As with the one-eight-five it offers a higher BCthan the equivalent weight but older Berger 175VLD at 0.264 v 0.255 in G7 values, but note that it’smarginally less efficient than the new 168gn ‘Hybrid’which is rated at 0.266. (The 185gn BTLR is 0.283 forcomparison.) An attraction of the 175, the BTLR’strademark good manners in handloading matters likeCOAL / jump aside, is that a full-house load’s recoilwith this bullet weight is as much as many slingshooterscan take before it affects scores. It’s also wellsuited to the slow rifling twists used in TR / Fullborebarrels, 1-13” being near ideal. An added attraction,for us in the UK anyway, was that it remained availablethroughout 2010-11 while the 185gn model seemedon permanent back-order with our Berger importers,62

THE HANDLOADING BENCH308 Winchester Rides Again Part 3By Laurie HollandHannams and Norman Clark. I’ve long liked 175gnbullets in .308 Win and often use the Sierra MatchKingversion for such jobs as basic accuracy testing, barrelrun-in, scope sight-in, and short-range competition.So, giving the ballistically more efficient, if much moreexpensive, Berger a try seemed a good idea.0.308” 175gn match bullets. Left to right: Sierra MK, BergerVLD, Berger BTLR, new Berger OTM Tactical designed forlong-range shooting from shorter barrels with lower MVs.63First off, I loaded the bullet over H4895, a superblyefficient and flexible powder in .308 Win, but verymuch overshadowed by its slower burning VarGetstablemate. (Reigning F/TR World and GB leaguechampion Russell Simmonds is one of the few top GBF/TR shooters to use H4895, in his case paired withthe 155.5gn Berger BT, which must say somethinggood about it in this cartridge!) Running a nearthree-grain range of charge weights in three-roundbatches showed that this 175 shot very well in myBarnard and its 1-10” Broughton, the top load aloneof eight exceeding 0.4”, so the combination seemed a

THE HANDLOADING BENCH308 Winchester Rides Again Part 3By Laurie Holland175gn Berger BTLRs and Lapua Palma brass with the three powders used to do sideby side LRP and ‘Palma’ brass tests.natural for further refinement. Six by five-roundbatches in standard Lapua brass saw a best resultof 0.2” allied to 2,806 fps MV with an ES of 17 fps.Frankly, 0.2” is as tight as I can hold a .308 on thebench where this cartridge gets a bit punchy, evenin an 18lb F/TR rifle, so ‘shooting doesn’t get muchbetter than this’ to parody MasterChef presenter JohnTorode. Another LRP v SRP case test seemed in ordertoo since the combination used one of Hodgdon’sThales Industries / ADI manufactured ‘Extreme’extruded powders renowned for their flexibility andease of ignition. This is how the cases’ performancecompared:The MV gap in the results from the two case / primertypes is much reduced compared to those in the testsI reported last month, the SRP brass sometimes evenproducing the higher MV figure now. The most likelycause is that, unlike those previously reported, thetest-shoots took place on different days. The LRPbrass suffered from yet another ‘cool’ summer day(8-10°C) while its ‘Palma’ competitor got much bettertemperatures just above 20°C (70F for US readers).I then moved onto VarGet with the 175, but you maywonder why I didn’t pair the powder with a 155gnbullet, given that this combination was the originaldriver for SRP case development. I’d no desire toreinvent this particular wheel given the considerableeffort previously expendedby American Palma teammembers, but trying thepowder under a heavierbullet appealed. This timeround, the tests wererestricted to the eight bythree-round format coveringa 3.0gn charge weightrange, 42 to 45gn for bothtypes of case, steps startingat a half-grain, droppingto a final 0.2gn from 44.8to 45 grains. Conditionswere chilly again, wet withtemperatures hoveringaround 10-deg C / 50F. TheMV gap in the LRP case’sfavour reappeared with thiscombination, 45gn producing 2,803 fps with an ESof 5 fps in the ‘Palma’ case; 2,840 fps also with anES of 5 fps for the standard case. The broad ‘sweetspot’ or accuracy node that peaked at 2,800 fps MVwith H4895 reappeared, best groups seen with thetwo top charges in the Palma case and 44.1 / 44.5gnin the standard case. The latter then moved out ofthis benign condition with the remaining two highercharges tripling group sizes to three-quarters ofan inch, so I’ll discount them from the group sizecomparison. LRP brass and Fed 210M primers saw anaverage group size of 0.29” for the other six batches,two right on the two-tenths mark (44.1 and 44.5gn);SRP brass and CCI-BR4 primers averaged 0.4” groupsize over the whole eight batches with smallestexamples of 0.25” and 0.3” (44.8 and 45.0gn). LRP ESvalues covered 5-33 fps and averaged 20 fps; SRP ESvalues were smaller with a range of 5-22 fps, average12. These results are in line with the American claimsfor ‘Palma’ brass and the 155gn SMK with VarGetwith an overall reduction of 40% in velocity spreads.Both versions promised precision that would do verywell on the sling shooter’s 1-MOA V-Bull, 2-MOA Bulltarget sizes too, although I would want to test thatout by refining loads using a smaller charge range and5-round batches. While both performed very well inmy rifle, the LRP version and its 0.2” groups looked a64

etter F/TR option – I’ll always use this measure firstover reductions in what was not a particularly largevelocity spread in the LRP cases.THE HANDLOADING BENCH308 Winchester Rides Again Part 3By Laurie Holland175gn Berger BT Long-Range over H4895 test cards show a clear win for the standard LRP version on the left.Bullet V0 (fps) V1,000 (fps D1,000 (MOA)155gn Sierra Palma MK (2155) 3,000 1,165 10.2155.5gn Berger BT FULLBORE 3,000 1,304 8.7175gn Berger BTLR 2,823 1,325 8.2185gn Berger BTLR 2,746 1,354 7.8[175gn Berger BTLR 2,806 1,313 8.3](D1,000 = wind induced drift measured in MOA at 1,000yd in a 10 mph 90-deg crosswind.)Putting brass and primers to one side, how effectiveis this bullet at these MVs? Taking a 155gn bullet at3,000 fps MV as a baseline, the equivalent internalballistics are 2,823 fps for a 175gn bullet and 2,746fps for a 185, all producing 3,098 ft/lb muzzle energy.Here is how the 175 BTLR stacks up in its externalballistics performance at 1,000 yards against theNRA’s RWS ammo with the original low BC SierraPalma MK, long-range F/TR competitors’ favoured155.5gn Berger BT FULLBORE, and the 185gn BTLR.I put my tight-grouping 175 / 2,806 fps H4895 loadat the end of the table to show how it compares,and I’d be happy to use it at 1,000yd, even though Itend to think of it as a shorter range combination,preferring the 185 at a similar MV for 900 and 1,000ydmatches. This could be the ideal bullet for Target Riflecompetitors with their 1-13” twist barrels in longrangematches that allow handloads and any bulletweight. However, depending on how it performs, thenew 168gn Berger Hybrid may turn out to be even65

THE HANDLOADING BENCH308 Winchester Rides Again Part 3By Laurie Hollandguilty of giving a dirtier burn than extruded types. Thecause is the absence of the tubular form’s hole up themiddle that causes the kernel to burn outwards as wellTo Laurie’s surprise, the SRP ‘Palma’ brass version (right) of the 175gn BTLR + H414 ball powder came out on top despitetesting in cool conditions.better in this role as well as being viable in F/TR. Itspreferred rifling twist rate runs a bit tighter at 1-12”though.Ball PowderThat left one more thing to try with ‘Palma’ brass– ball or spherical powders, again using the 175gnBerger BTLR which the barrel obviously liked. Putmost 175gn or heavier bullets through a QuickLOAD.308 Win Charge Weight Table run and you’ll findHodgdon H414 / Winchester 760 (same powder,different bottles) at or near the top of the predictedvelocity listing. This is a double-base propellant that’sbeen around forever, has a slightly faster burning ratethan the 4350s and Viht N550, and is well suited tomid-size cartridges because of its density. I usuallyavoid ball powders as they’ve been traditionally foundas from the outside in. As the ball kernel’s surface areacan only reduce as it is consumed, this form producesa ‘regressive’ burning behaviour (high gas productioninitially reducing as the charge is consumed). Tocounter this, a thick coating of non-inflammable‘deterrents’ is used to slow the early-stage burn, butthese chemicals are left behind as fouling, usuallybaked on hard thanks to the double-base propellant’sflame temperatures. Another consequence of heaviersurface coatings is greater difficulty in igniting thesepowders, hence the common advice to use magnumLR primers. Actually, ball propellant technologiesand ingredients have moved on a lot over the years,reducing these and other alleged downsides. However,if there is any doubt about the SRP’s ability to light upa heavy charge in .308W, it would likely show up withthis powder.66

Following 3-round group-tests designed to get a feelfor how these combinations performed, I ran five by5-round grouping trials side by side on yet anothermiserable, wet and chilly late June day, temperaturesstruggling to break 10°C / 50F. ‘Palma charges’ ranhigher than those used in standard brass to giveequivalent MVs, the charge weight range being 48.4to 49.2gn x 0.2gn steps in standard LRP Lapua cases;48.9 to 49.9gn x 0.3gn followed by 0.2gn steps in SRP‘Palma’ cases. CCI-BR4 primers were again used inthe latter, but due to accident not design, I grabbeda box of LRP brass primedwith CCI-200s instead of theF210M match type used inother comparisons. I reallyexpected the ‘Palma’ loadsto struggle with this powderin the conditions especiallywith charges nudging50-grains, but this wasn’thow things worked out. Thefive LRP groups covered apoor 0.6” to 1.25” and MVsplateaued over a 0.6gncharge weight range, 48.8to 49.2gn producing 2,855to 2,860 fps. ‘Palma loads’grouped between 0.4” and0.8” and MVs rose in linewith charges ending up at2,877 fps. So far as velocityspreads went, neither casegave great results with thispowder, but the ‘Palma’case again came out thewinner with a range of 17-31 fps over the five batchesaveraging 23 fps; the LRP loads ran between 19 and50 fps for an average of 29 fps. Both produced thecharacteristic ball powder hard fouling on outsideneck surfaces that took a lot of cleaning when I cameto reload the cases. Incidentally, there is a claimedmethod of alleviating this problem – spray the foulingwith WD40, better still that unique German coal basedoil, Ballistol immediately after shooting, wait 10minutes and wipe the softened muck off with a papertowel. I must try this trick one day, although it couldprove rather difficult logistically in a match.67THE HANDLOADING BENCH308 Winchester Rides Again Part 3By Laurie HollandHeaviesLet’s move onto heavy bullets in the cartridge,especially in the F/TR role where an 18lb rifle andbi-pod support can cope with recoil and torque levelsthat would be unacceptable to sling shooters, alsothose in tactical, McQueens, or service rifle disciplineswith their need for minimal sight-disturbance andquick follow-up shots. First of all, what is a heavyOld and new ‘heavies’. Left to right: 155gn Sierra MK (for comparison); 190gn SMK;200gn SMK; 208gn A-Max; 210gn Berger BTLR; 210gn Berger VLD; 210gn SMK. Notethe short blunt nose sections and long boat-tails on the two older SMKs compared tothe more modern bullets. Sierra’s 210 on the extreme right is a VLD design and verydifferent from its geriatric stablemates.bullet in .308? Many TR shooters reckon anythingabove 155gn is ‘heavy’, while Bryan Litz of BergerBullets argues that 230gn is the .30-calibre equivalentof the 140s routinely used in 6.5mm and 180s in 7mm.I’ve arbitrarily set 190gn as my floor for this exercise.On this definition, we’ve 14 bullets from threemanufacturers (Berger, Hornady, and Sierra) availablein the UK at the time of writing, although I expect FoxFirearms UK to have some more from a fourth maker(Swampworks / JLK) available by the time you readthis. Table 1 lists their key ballistic statistics, predicted1,000 yard performance, and the rifling twist rate thatproduces an Sg (stability factor) value of 1.4 at theirexpected MVs. Four of the 14 are elderly: Sierra’s 190,

THE HANDLOADING BENCH308 Winchester Rides Again Part 3By Laurie Holland200, 220 and 240gn MatchKing (SMK) models; theothers date from the last five years or so, some onlymonths old. Sticking with the geriatric Sierras, they’reshort and blunt for their weights compared to theiryouthful rivals and have correspondingly high (poor)G7 ‘form factors’. The metric for this attribute is ‘i7’,a measure of the bullet shape’s ballistic efficiencycompared to that of the G7 ‘standard’ or ‘referencebullet’ shape with its i7 value of 1.000. As this is a dragrelated metric, low values are better than high andwe’re really looking for 1.000 or lower here. It is easierfor the bullet designer to create a long streamlinedshape in a heavy model than in a necessarily shorter150 or 155 while retaining other essential designfeatures and the overall balance. Despite this, ourbaseline 155.5gn Berger BT FULLBORE has anexceptionally low 0.988 value, so that’s the targetwe’re looking to equal or better with our heavydesigns. The heaviest (240gn) of the old Sierra quartetcomes in at a very poor 1.092, which allied to otherissues and problems in using this design, has led meto exclude it from the comparison; the other threehave relatively high i7 values exceeding unity, buthave compensating features. (There is a fifth, modernand more efficient heavy SMK, the 210-grainer with a1.000 i7 form factor value.)What we’re trying to avoid by using heavy,high-BC bullets – a bullet blown to the rightbarely in the ‘Three-ring’ by a wind change. Thecompetitor’s elevation isn’t too hot either beinga full MOA high!ProsBut, to go back to first principles, why should we evenconsider using heavies in the cartridge? ...... and whatpenalties do we pay in using them? Pros and cons inother words. Assuming 155 and 210gn models groupequally well in a given rifle specification, and assumingthey’re equally well designed (same or similar i7values), the heavier model moves less in the wind atlong ranges despite starting out at a lower muzzlevelocity. This is easily demonstrated as it happensthat two bullets with very different weights sharea 0.988 form factor – the aforementioned Berger155.5gn BT and the same company’s 210gn BT Long-Range model. Let’s assume we drive the 155.5 at3,000 fps. This produces 3,108 ft/lb of muzzle energy,and a load and barrel throat optimised for the 210should be capable of producing the same amount68

69THE HANDLOADING BENCH308 Winchester Rides Again Part 3By Laurie Holland

THE HANDLOADING BENCH308 Winchester Rides Again Part 3By Laurie Hollandconsult, but what is not in dispute is that the closer thebullet gets to the speed of sound (1,122 fps / 1.0 M),the greater the likelihood and severity of turbulencein the airflow around the bullet’s body and tail. When Ifirst ran these figures, thediscrepancy was so great Ihad trouble believing theresults, but Bryan Litz,Berger’s ballistician assuresme there is no mistake.New ‘heavies’ only just arrived in the UK. Left to right: 155gn Sierra MK (for comparison);200gn Berger Hybrid; 208gn Hornady HPBT; 215gn Berger Hybrid; 230gn BergerHybrid.of energy if both combinations produce the samechamber pressure. 3,108 ft/lbs = 2,582 fps MV witha 210gn bullet, very much in line with those actuallyproduced by heavy bullet F/TR users. The 155.5’s G7BC is 0.237, that of the two-ten 0.320, the differencearising entirely from their weights, or more preciselytheir sectional density values which is a fixed weightto calibre ratio. That’s a substantial gain at 1,000ydboth in retained velocity and reduced wind drift. Highretained velocity is important to keep our bullet outof the transonic speed zone, or at any rate to reduceits exposure to transonic flight. This speed zone startsat 1.2 to 1.3 MACH depending on which authority youRun the MVs and BCs through Berger Bullets’ G7 ballistic program and we get;Bullet i7 BC V0 (fps) V1,000 (fps) D1,000 (MOA / Inches)155.5 BT FB 0.988 0.237 3,000 1,304 (1.16 M) 8.7 / 91.1”210 BT LR 0.988 0.320 2,582 1,371 (1.22 M) 7.3 / 76.1”Standard ballistic conditions (59°F, 29.92-inches Hg atmospheric pressure) apply.D1,000 = wind drift at 1,000yd in a 10 mph 90-deg crosswind. M= MACH.Table 1 (Overleaf) takesthe Berger 155.5 at 3,000fps as a benchmark andshows how the 190gn to230gn models compareusing equivalent MVs. Wesee that judicious heavybullet selection can giveus nearly 150 additionalfps at the 1,000-yardtarget taking the bulletout of transonic flightand potentially reducewind drift by up to two and a half MOA evencompared to that most efficient of the 155s. Thegains will be larger still against the NRA’s RWSmanufactured ammunition with its early model andmuch lower BC 155gn Sierra Palma MatchKing. That10 mph 90-degree crosswind is an artificial constructof course, what matters is any change in wind speedand/or direction between shots. To get a feel what a‘heavy’ might give us, I played around with wind valuesin the program to get one that moves the 155.5 at3,000 fps by 1.2-MOA at this distance. Assuming ourbullet would have hit the V Bull dead centre if the windhadn’t changed from the previous shot, it now scoresa line-cutter ‘Three’. Retain the wind speed value, butrerun the program with those 200/210s with BC values70

THE HANDLOADING BENCH308 Winchester Rides Again Part 3By Laurie Hollandrange of speeds and conditions.ConsWell, we’ve seen the ‘pros’ and they’re all related topredicted long-range external ballistics performance.Everybody will have switched to the more efficient‘heavies’ surely? ..... but, no. if you revisit the reporton the F Class European Championship meeting inthe December issue of TS Online, you’ll see a tablelisting what kit and loads were used by the top 10 F/TR shooters. Runaway winner Stuart Anselm used anintermediate weight model, the 185gn Berger BTLR;four used 210gn ‘heavies’, another four loaded Berger155.5s, and the final odd-man out (sole non Bergeruser) shot the Australian 155gn BJD-HBC. However,the winds weren’t very strong over that weekend –if an early winter weather depression with 20 mphplus winds had blown in, ‘heavies’ users might haveoutnumbered the 155gn brigade in the top spots.Let’s look at the ‘cons’, and the overwhelmingdownsides are an increase in recoil and torque.Increasing the bullet weight from 155 to 210gnincreases recoil energy by over 20% in an 18lb F/TRrifle, from 8.7 to 10.6 ft/lbs. That might not soundmuch, but it will affect rifle handling and bi-podmovement on the ground. I notice that some of themore successful heavy bullet shooters have fittedspikes to the bi-pod feet allowing them to ‘load thebi-pod’, that is lock the foot position and put the legsunder tension to reduce movement and eliminate thedreaded bi-pod leap in the air that not only affectsshot to shot consistency, but can see you unknowinglylined up on the neighbouring target for the next shotwith the consequent risk of cross-shooting and aguaranteed loss of five points. A heavier bullet alsoputs more stress on every major component in therifle from the barrel through the receiver and boltto the bedding. In my look at the ‘pros’, there wasthe proviso that ‘heavies’ will produce the same sizegroups as 155s, but there is a lot of evidence thatwhile it’s possible to achieve this, it’s very hard to doso. For whatever reason or reasons, most heavy bulletshooters say their long-range ‘elevations’ are biggerthan they expect from a good 155gn bullet load, andthis is the ‘swing’ you lose on against the gains fromthe reduced wind drift ‘roundabout’. High energydouble-base powders are de rigueur in the 308’sconstrained capacity case to get full velocities fromthese bullets, and this allied to greater bullet inertiawill see throat erosion and damage set in quicker,so barrel life will be reduced, likely to 2,000-2,500rounds.Next month: twist rates, chamber throat lengths,powders, loads and 200-210gn bullet results tofinish things off.Table 1External Ballistic Performance from Heavy 0.308” Match BulletsBullet i7 BC V0 (fps) Twist V1,000 (fps) D1,000 (MOA / Inches)155.5 BT FB 0.988 0.237 3,000 12.5” 1,304 (1.16 M) 8.7 / 91”190gn Sierra MK 1.070 0.268 2,714 12.1” 1,269 (1.13 M) 8.6 / 90”190gn Berger VLD 0.982 0.291 2,714 11.7” 1,364 (1.21 M) 7.6 / 80”200gn Sierra MK 1.058 0.285 2,645 11.9” 1,292 (1.15 M) 8.2 / 86”200gn Berger Hybrid 0.944 0.320 2,645 10.6” 1,417 (1.26 M) 7.0 / 73”208gn Hornady A-Max 0.966 0.324 2,594 10.5” 1,393 (1.24 M) 7.1 / 74”210gn Berger VLD 0.985 0.321 2,582 11” 1,375 (1.22 M) 7.2 / 76”210gn Berger BTLR 0.988 0.320 2,582 11.25” 1,371 (1.22 M) 7.3 / 76”210gn Sierra MK 1.000 0.316 2,582 11.1” 1,359 (1.21 M) 7.4 / 77”215gn Berger Hybrid 0.910 0.356 2,551 10.3” 1,454 (1.29 M) 6.4 / 67”220gn Sierra MK 1.068 0.310 2,522 11.2” 1,296 (1.15 M) 7.9 / 83”230gn Berger Hybrid 0.911 0.380 2,467 10” 1,450 (1.19 M) 6.2 / 65”72


QUIGLEY SHOOTINGASSOCIATION NEWSMedium-rangeversus longrangesights at1000 yardsby Ken HallWith the first Quigley shoot of2012 still a week or two away,Ken takes a closer look at sightssuitable for shooting at longerranges with the black-powdercartridge rifle.When selecting a sight for yournice new black powder cartridgerifle (BPCR) - be it of Winchester,Sharps, or Remington pattern -some thought must be given to theselection of suitable sights.The rear sight must be capableof fine adjustment in order tocapitalise on the inherent accuracy ofthese rifles so, in some ways, the choiceis made simpler in that it means the sightshould be of the vernier adjusting type.Also, one of the first considerations mustbe to decide on the distances at whichyou intend to compete, short range (upto 400 yards), medium range (up to 800yards) and long range (up to 1200 yards).Let’s assume a calibre of 45/70 as thisprobably accounts for the majority ofBPCR rifles sold in this country and isprobably the chambering chosen bymost newcomers to the discipline.Testing carried out at the actualdistances has given the followingresults which, whilst not guaranteed towork with every rifle/sight combinationout there, should provide a reasonableguide.The following chart plots the number of minutes, or 1/100th inch ofelevation adjustment required for shoots at Diggle Ranges using myPedersoli Sharps with a load of 68 grains of Swiss No 3 behind a Lyman530 grain Postell bullet.RANGE (yards) SIGHT SETTING (inches)ELEVATION100 0.39 00mins400 0.84 +45mins600 1.21 +37mins1000 2.10 +89minsIt would be nice if the sight, when fitted and zeroed at100 yards (the normal zeroing range and usually theshortest range to be encountered) gave a reading of0.00 in on the scale. However, owing to variations inbutt-to-action angles (comb) between the differenttypes of rifle and, to some degree, the style of frontsight fitted, this is rarely the case, so once the 100yard setting is found by actually firing groups, it shouldbe noted in your shooter’s record book.74

QUIGLEY SHOOTINGASSOCIATION NEWSMany BPCR rifles (mine included) have a barrel lengthof around 30 inches with a sight radius of around 34inches. This means that we can treat 1/100th of aninch on the rear sight to equate to one minute of angle(MOA).Interim distances not listed can usually be estimatedaccurately enough to put a round on target, enablingfurther adjustment. It should be noted that whenshooting at ranges other than Diggle, these settingsvary slightly depending on elevation above sea level,atmospheric conditions and range construction.Many mid-range sights are fitted with a only a 21/2inch staff, which would really be suitable for shootingup to 800 yards but, the Pedersoli USA 405 Mid RangeSoule is fitted with a 3 inch staff, although not all thiscan be used due to the scaled aperture block, whichtakes up valuable space.However, from this data we can see that if you intendto shoot at ranges not exceeding 1000 yards, thena mid-range vernier sight with a 3 inch staff will beadequate for the job but, with a free play of only 0.5inches or 50 MOA then you are at a maximum. It canalso be noted that my Sharps is fitted with a windageadjustable front sight which is somewhat taller thanthe fixed version, therefore it follows that the sightsettings would in fact be lower if a fixed front sightwas used, giving more adjustment.Actual sight-setting for 1000 yds showingadjustment remaining.Long-range vernier sights are usually fitted with a 4instaff allowing for approximately 31/2 inches of verticaladjustment and so should be adequate for 1200 yardsor perhaps even longer ranges.Comments and questions please to;khall6548@aol.comFull extent of of Pedersoli USA med. rangesight adjustment.75

United Kingdom Practical ShootingAssociation News by Tony SaundersPractical Shotgun:This month...Weak-hand reloadingfrom a caddy.By Mike Siva-JothyI saw my first Practical Shotgun competition afew weeks ago and good fun it looked too – asusing any semi-auto firearm usually is! MikeSiva Jothy won the comp. and I was reallyimpressed with his rapid reloading technique.“Any chance of an article for Target ShooterMike...?I started shooting practicalshotgun (PSG) a couple ofyears ago when membersat my local club (Thurnscoe)started to get the bug. It’s anaddictive shooting discipline(regardless of your age orathleticism) because itsdynamic and you have tothink on your feet. Goodcourse designers will test yourskills at trading off efficientmovement, reloading,positioning and aiming.Courses of fire are usuallytimed shoots – so speed andaccuracy are critical.Two caddies with live shells and one with dummy shells – all loadedwith the brass end against the caddy spacer on the left hand side (i.e.set-up for a rightie). Note, the caddies are attached to a very stoutbelt (which is attached to a very stout shooter). There is enough spacebetween the caddies to get those two curled up fingers in between.The butt of the gun is tucked under my arm (stopping the gun rotatingdownwards and off- setting the weight of the barrel). My strong handacts as the pivot. I have also rotated the gun slightly clockwise down itslong axis – this makes getting the shells in just a little bit easier.76

UKPSANEWSThe other thing I like about PSGis that, as a novice, the old-handstend to look after you and areDog’s-head shadow puppet – in this position your hand should slotnaturally into position – your extended fingers over the exposed shells andyour curled up fingers down the side of the caddy. Keep those curled upfingers running up the side of the caddy as you extract the shells and theshells will be in the right position as you bring your hand up.generous with advice. Howeverthere are a couple of critical thingsthat affect your ability to progressfor which there is precious littlehelp.(Inset). A perfectly placed set of shellsafter stripping – all sitting proudly in myhand, all resting on my ring finger. If yousit them on your pinky they are too fardown to thumb into the mag. This way mythumb hardly has to move to get underthe first shell. This is the transit from stage1 into stage 2.(Above). The first round is indexed.(Right ). I start stage 3 and begin thumbingthe shells in firmly and steadily. Note - thegun is canted in the wrong direction for thebenefit of the camera.(Above). Indexing the firstround. I use the tip of myfinger to feel the front ofthe carrier. The naturalconsequence of this is thatthe first shell is ready to goin and the remaining threeare all nicely aligned on topof my ring finger (the onewith the ring on it).Number one is some objective evaluationof section 1 shotguns. Since you cannot shoot these guns unless they are onyour firearm certificate, many beginners(myself included) fumble their waythrough at least one ‘entry gun’ beforefinding a suitable stick. It won’t be longnow but there is an article on the way thatwill address this issue.The other drag on progress is reloadingtechnique. Watching the top-endshooters at competitions quicklyhighlights the importance of quick, surehanded,reloading. It’s the easiest way toreduce your times on long courses of fireand it allows you to recover time whenyour aiming goes to pot. It is probably theonly aspect of PSG that you cannot bringfrom other shooting disciplines and mostPSG shooters just muddle along.What follows in this article is theformalized technique/process that Ideveloped from watching the bestshooters in the UK and analyzing whatthey did, by breaking the process down.Many of those guys and gals reloadfrom caddies like greased racing snakes– but they have been at it for years. Asa beginner, it didn’t take long to realizeI could shoot the targets quickly, I justcouldn’t get those shells in the gun atanything like a competitive speed.77

UKPSANEWSOf course, there is a lot of chest puffing here – thereare any number of You Tube videos showing selectedclips of people loading 8 shells in less than 5 seconds!God knows how many attempts it took them to getthat perfect reload. Of course, world-class shooterscan reload like that consistently.All I want to do is be able to strip and load 8 rounds inless than 8 seconds without fumbling – most noviceswould be happy with that in a competition.The method outlined below is the result of watchingMaster and A-grade shooters at competitions andcopying them. I keep what works for me and dumpwhat doesn’t. I take no credit for inventing thismethod – all I have done is watched and analysedexperienced shooters.It’s helped me and my advice, based on it, has helpedthose who have asked me. I offer it to you in the samespirit. Use this article as a foundation but, go out thereand watch elite shooters, experiment with and tweaktheir techniques and see what works for you. Aboveall, watch and copy – there is no shame in that.Starting off.If you want to reload consistently and quickly get adecent belt and some caddies. There is a great articleby Tony Saunders in the April 2011 Target Shooterlooking at the pros and cons of different ammunitionbelts. Some very fast shooters on the circuit strip offpairs of rounds from a wide belt and run them into anupside-down gun. I can’t do that. I have seen othershooters strip rounds from clips with their strong handand reload like lightning. I can’t do that either. Themethod I am extolling is week-hand loading from acaddy – it works for me - but there are other methodsthat may work better for you.There are several suppliers for stripper clips – I useCalifornia Competition Works because they arerelatively easy to get hold of. Most caddies work inthe same basic way. They have a spacer which youwill need to fit into the caddy so that your shells arenot jammed in but are loose enough to strip outeasily without falling out. If you are right-handedand are stripping rounds with your left hand (which Iam – consequently this article is for righties – southpaws need to reverse these instructions), then put thespacer down the left-hand side of the caddy.The shells go in with the primer to the left. This meansthat when you strip the shells from the caddy they aresitting relatively high up in your hand (we will comeback to this later). You need to attach your caddies to astout, stiff belt that doesn’t flex as you try and strip theshells from the caddy. I recommend 4 shot caddies -the sixes are OK for loading at the firing point but youcan’t get more than 4 shells in your hand at a timeduring a speed reload.I ‘hold’ the caddies in place on the belt with cable ties(see the photo below) – this stops them moving tooclose together during a competition. You will see whythis is important shortly. When you are starting out -or if you have small hands - load 3 shells into the caddy– its easier to practice stripping and loading.The other thing worth buying is four aluminium 12gdummy shells. They are expensive but last a long timeand mean you can practice reloading at home. Theyfeel more-or-less right in terms of weight (the plasticones don’t) but their main disadvantage is that theygo into the mag much easier than real shells. NEVERpractice with live rounds at home. EVER!So now you have your belt and caddies, your dummyshells and your gun we can start practicing.Starting off with an empty gun in ‘aim’ position.Release your weak hand, lower the gun with yourstrong hand (finger out of the trigger guard – OK itsan empty gun and you are using dummy rounds, BUTmake safe technique an aim of your drills too) andtuck the butt into the crook of your strong arm. Inthis position the barrel weight pulls the front of thegun down, your strong hand acts as a fulcrum andyour armpit locks everything in place. It’s a naturaland comfortable position and provides a very stableposition for reloading.With the gun in this position the reloading process canbegin – it should happen in three distinct stages:Stage 1 – Strip the caddyStage 2 – Index your hand under the gun’s carrierStage 3 – Thumb the rounds into the magazine78

If I run these three sub-processes in sequence - evenwhen I am in the middle of a competition course offire - my reloading is smooth and fast. The biggestcause of screw-ups for me is to let this process slip outof sight and revert to ‘get the rounds into the mag asfast as possible’ mode.The easiest way to convince yourself that ‘process’is more important than ‘speed’, even if its counterintuitive, is try one after the other and see thedifference in consistency and average times. Youmight just get a super-fast reload in headless-chickenmode but, you will get consistently faster averagereloads if you focus on process. Another trick thatworks for me is to imagine the fastest I have everloaded the gun and then consciously reload at 80% ofthat speed. I always load faster in 80% mode and havesignificantly fewer fumbles, than if I operate in 100%mode.I now want to break down each stage into itscomponent parts (again – don’t rely on instinct to dothis – make yourself ‘think’ through each step as youdo it. It produces a smoother, faster reload).Stage 1. With your week hand in the ‘dog’s-headshadow puppet’ shape, plant your curled-up pinky andring-finger on the outer edge of the left-hand side ofthe caddy. That’s your guide for the lift – keep them incontact with that edge throughout the lift. Your indexand middle finger now curl round the bottom shell,your thumb on the top shell, and strip the contents ofthe caddy out in one positive smooth movement.When you look at the shells in your hand they shouldall be sitting firmly on your ring-finger. (Putting thespacer on the LHS ensures the shells are always inthe optimum position as they are stripped out of thecaddy.)That’s stage 1 sorted. Most of my mess-ups withreloading are caused by ‘panic’ stripping the caddy. Ifthe shells are not sitting in the right way in your handyou might as well chuck them on the floor (which,by the way, is what you will end up doing anyway).Smooth IS fast.Stage 2. This stage seems like the most pointless butis very important. With the shells sitting pertly in yourhand, carefully index the top of the first shell into thegate on your gun. I use the tip of my index finger toUKPSANEWS‘feel’ the lip on the gate and then move my hand (andthe shells in it) forward so the top of the first shellslips into the gate. With your hand (and shells) nowindexed you can move to stage 3.Stage 3. Thumb the rounds into the magazine at 80%speed, paying attention to each shell. Don’t switchover to instinct now, stay focused on the process.Fumbles at this stage are caused by switching yourbrain onto something else. Again, don’t try and dothis as fast as possible – do it smoothly and at 80% andyou will be consistent and quick.If you find that you are having problems gettingthe shells in smoothly try rotating the gun slightlyclockwise down it’s long-axis (so the rib is between 12and 1 o’clock). Slight canting like this can make a bigdifference, especially if you have small hands.When you organise a practice regime with dummyrounds, you should concentrate on the process - don’tfocus on speed, at least until you have conqueredprocess. When you are loading live rounds at clubshoots, don’t focus on speed, focus on process. Whatyou will notice is that your speed starts to go upwithout you trying to load faster. Another benefit ofthis approach is that if you suffer from competitionnerves, the mental focus on process tends to reduceanxiety and you end up shooting faster.At any organized competition there will be a seriesof different starting options for loading. UKPSA usethree different options and its worth figuring theseinto your practice drills:Option 1 is a fully loaded start – 1 in the chamberand 8 in the tube (safety ON). So what’s to practice?Nothing at home but, when you get to the line in acompetition, don’t load the gun from a box – loadit from the caddies - use that time as practice. Ikeep two six-shell caddies round the back of my beltspecifically for this and it means I don’t cheese off theRO by faffing about with a box of shells on the line.Option 2 is nothing in the chamber and 9 in the tube,bolt forward (obviously on an empty chamber (safetycan be off because there is nothing in the chamber).Again, load from your caddy on the line. The practice79

UKPSANEWSfor this at home, with 4 dummy shells in the tube isto rack the gun as it comes up from the ‘trail’ position(by your side). What a lot of novices do when the beepgoes off is look down at the gun, turn it so the boltfaces up, rack the bolt, turn it back, then lift the guninto the shooting position. You can shave off secondsby practicing racking the gun as you bring it up intothe shoulder. You have to do this with your weak handunder the gun in a U-shape – rack the bolt with yourindex finger (your thumb is on the other side of thegun) and then move your weak-hand forward into thesupport position. It’s worth investing in an oversizedcharging-handle for this. With a bit of practice this allforms one smooth, and very fast, motion.Option 3 is an empty gun. This is where your homepractice with dummy rounds pays dividends. Withan empty gun most novices start by picking up oneshell, dropping it into the chamber, pressing the boltreleasebutton, then stripping their caddy. This seemslike a lot of time for one round. I always start option 3shoots with the bolt forward – load in 8 or 12 from mycaddies and then rack the gun as I bring it up.Once you get good at reloading from a caddy itquickly becomes apparent that the biggest cost interms of time is moving your hand back and forthfrom gun to caddy – so why spend one transit for oneshell when you can do it for four? All your dummyroundreloading drill is essentially for Option 3 startsor top-ups when the gun is running low on a course offire.A starter for a home drill is as follows. Notebook andpencil, shot timer or iPhone with the free surefire shottimer app, dummy shells and shotgun. Adjust thesensitivity of the app so that it picks up the sound ofyou racking the gun.or take too long. Keep notes and read what wentwrong in previous practices before doing the currentpractice. If you have a spread-sheet program likeExcel, drop your times into it and plot your practiceaveragesagainst date. I guarantee you (a) improvedreloading times and (b) fewer fumbles after only 2-3weeks. Remember, poor quality practice only enforcesbad habits – don’t practice unless you are focused anddon’t do it for too long – little and often is better.A good live-round drill on the range is to have fivemetal plates at about 15m – plates you can easily hit(poppers are best). Load three shells into the gun (onein the chamber, two in the tube – safety ON) and havethe gun in the strong hand trail. On the beep, shootone target, load 4, then shoot the remaining targets.Get the RO to note down your time and you should logit to monitor progress. Shooting against yourself likethis is a good way to ‘stress-practice’ and benchmarkyour home-practice improvement. Keep notes and becritical and analytical (of yourself).That’s my technique explained – I’mnowhere near the fastest at compsbut, I no longer finish a shoot feelingfrustrated because I fumbled shellsor needing a calendar to measure mytimes. The best long-term advice as youbuild your own skill is ‘watch the fastshooters and nick their techniques’.Have fun. Be safe.With gun at the strong-hand trail, your dummy roundsin your belt and the shot timer set to random start,wait for the beep, load your 4 dummy shells and thenrack the gun as you bring it up into the shoulder. Thetimer will give you the time from the beep to the rack- note down that time. Do this drill in small batches – Ido ten reloads whenever I can, note down all ten timesAND try and analyse what went wrong if I fumble80

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