Memorial Day, the Mystic Precision MPOD Bipod, and the Leupold Gold Ring Competition Scope for F-T/R Match

First, a reminder for this Memorial Day weekend, which is likely to be full of barbecues, parades and perhaps a frosty beverage: Never forget!  Just a reminder dad, I will never forget.

Image courtesy of Associated Press

My kids and I are looking forward to the parade this Memorial Day weekend to honor our soldiers, but it means so much more than that.  I did not serve, but my father along with the rest of my family, has a rich history of putting on the uniform for this country since the American Revolution.  I take these holidays seriously, as that was how I was raised.  With my kids, I do my best to explain the meaning of remembering those that, when their country called on them, ran towards harm instead of away from it.  Some of whom made the ultimate sacrifice.  It’s because of them that I get to punch holes in paper for fun and nothing is headed back in my direction.  Thank you, thank you, thank you dad and those who have served this country.

Mystic Precision MPOD Bipod

Load testing will continue with the Nosler bullets, but in the mean time, I have a match coming up this weekend and will be using my current match load of the Sierra 175 TMK’s which I have to use up.  I started long range rifle competitions using my standard Harris S 6-9″ Bipod.  It worked well to start out, but one of the downsides to using this basic bipod was that you couldn’t track your shots and the bipod would often sink into the position (dirt/grass/sand) which lead to fighting elevation changes in the middle of a string of fire.

I decided that it was time for an upgrade for future competitions. 

After a lot of research on F-Class bipods, I settled on an economical lightweight design from Mystic Precision.

It’s a Canadian company, but the bipods are actually manufactured right here in the USA,  at Evolution Gun Works in Quakertown, PA.  I have my first match this weekend.  I will report back on what the differences are with this bi-pod.

From Mystic Precision’s website:

MPOD Design:  Make a super light bipod with the stability and tracking of a pedestal rest

A winning design: Winner of the 2013 Individual FTR World Championship used the MPOD.  Multiple NRA records in Team and Individual set.  Several Members of the US National FTR team currently shooting with the MPOD

Improved geometry to reduce the effects of torque during recoil for consistent tracking and follow through despite the chambering. Has been successfully used on larger caliber boomers including the 50BMG

Easy to operate with large range of movements to account for varied terrain.  The lowest height is 4 1/2 inches suitable for bench work and raised berms when shooting prone. At full elevation, you have 7 3/4 inches to the mounting lug.  This range is wider then the Harris 6-9 bipod.

Cant feature is now added for quick leveling on uneven ground.  And the Cant will not shift during recoil as is common with most other bipods.

Easy to install and remove – Solid with great repeatability and accuracy potential.

Stability increasing with increased pod height which is opposite to a number of designs.

Keep finished weight as low as possible – 12.8ozs installed, yet strong enough to support heavy rifles and big boomers.  Easily supported rifles weighing 50lbs.

I’ve also mounted and plumb leveled the Leupold Gold Ring VX-6 7-42 X 56mm scope with 34mm tube for it’s first test.

I am excited to have the target fill up more of my scope at the higher magnifications.

I’m used to no higher than 25X magnification and First Focal Plane reticles that obscure the target more than necessary, so this should be a real treat.

Having that much magnification can be a real benefit if mirage isn’t too bad.  Local range conditions for the match look good, mid 60’s and 2 mph winds from the south.  We’ll see if that holds; field conditions could be completely different.  I’m going to re-zero and confirm my come-ups for dialing to 600 yds the morning of the match.
I will post my scores for this weekend’s match, share a few thoughts, and post a few photo’s of the bi-pod and scope mounted at the range.

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!!

See you at the range.

© 2017

 

Savage Ashbury Precision Rifle 6.5 Creedmoor – Just Arrived

10_SavageAshburyPrecision.png

The Savage® M10 Ashbury Precision Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor is said to be a great starter long range Competition Rifle with low recoil. It is part of Savages Law Enforcement series. We will put it through its paces. What is clear hear at the get-go is that the Magpul CTR® stock appears too low when a scope is mounted. We recommend adding a cheek rest and we are seeking a Magpul PRS 25 M110 or similar cheek rest stock to add to it ($240.00) or the simple Magpul CTR® MOE® Riser for 20 dollars on line. The Ashbury is also offered in .308 Winchester. Below is a Savage Video on the Accutrigger™

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

  • Series: Law Enforcement
  • Magazine: Detachable box
  • Stock Material: Synthetic
  • Barrel Material: Carbon Steel
  • Barrel Finish: Matte
  • Barrel Color: Black
  • AccuTrigger: Yes
  • AccuStock: No

New Nosler RDF Bullet Initial Testing Begins by Jason Hale

In my previous article, I explained my intent with regards to load testing I wanted to complete in my current economy match rig, which is a Savage 10 repeater action, re-barreled with a Criterion 28” Stainless Select Match bull barrel chambered in .308 Winchester

Nosler supplied us with some brand spanking new .308 caliber 175 grain RDF bullets to review. Nosler intends to make this bullet a premier Competition bullet.

Quote from Nosler website

RDF Bullet – ( Reduced Drag Factor )

Flattest Shooting Match Bullet On The Market

For those wanting to squeeze the most performance from their competition rifle, Nosler’s new RDF (Reduced Drag Factor) match bullet line is the ideal choice. 

Nosler’s RDF line was designed from the ground up to provide exceptionally high BCs, which create the flattest trajectory and least wind drift possible. The keys to the RDF’s outstanding performance are Nosler’s meticulously optimized compound ogive and long, drag reducing boattail, which make handloading a snap and create an incredibly sleek form factor.  RDF bullets also have the smallest, most consistent meplats of any hollow point match bullet line, so there is no need to point or trim tips. 

Highest B.C.’s, smallest meplat, tighter groups – Nosler RDF.

Unquote

 

I was excited to see if the bullet would fit seamlessly into my current loading diet of Varget powder.  The accuracy results were pretty good, but at velocities that were a bit on the slow side unsurprisingly; great bullet, but as the data demonstrates, the bullet/powder combination choice may not be as accurate in my barrel.  I’m pretty sure that if I continue to experiment with powders that I would find one that would be extremely accurate with the Nosler RDF with my barrel.

175 Nosler RDF with Hodgdon’s Varget

Charge Weight Group Size Velocity
40.0 0.784” 2445
41.0 0.435” 2491
41.5 0.756” 2546
42.0 0.943” 2591
42.5 0.851” 2629

Bullet distance to rifling: 0.015”

Following this first test I decided to back off further from the rifling and at 0.045” off and way off loaded at mag length, and repeat some of the testing.

There was no discernible increase in accuracy. But what was missing here was speed! I needed a faster bullet to buck the wind. I an searching for a combination in my rifle to deliver a faster bullet too.

Testing with other powders is needed to fine tune the bullet and barrel combination and that is getting under way. Case in point, I had a bullet from another top manufacturer and was having a tough time getting sub-moa or better groups when I tried a certain powder it was like magic and the bullets grouped extremely well.

 

More to Come!

Pennsylvania Long Rifle Build Update

To date I have 60 hours into the build of this so called Custom Kit Rifle and I have made my  share of minor headaches but each time I get through a given situation I come out with a smile. The rifle is coming out very well so far but haven’t got a photo for you yet. My appreciation for the German Master Craftsmen of the Pennsylvania Rifle in the 1700’s has grown substantially. I can only imagine the tools they used and I have a large portion of the work done already for me and a video to aid me. So why does it take so long? First, get rid of time. Moving the project faster increases risk of a major mistake. One major mistake can cost me this expensive project. Patience is a virtue I must master here along with creating and learning things that help improve your work. If you are skilled at working in a wood shop or metal shop then this project will be much easier. Things I have learned include inlay of brass to wood. I have not mastered it just learned it. Fitting and pinning down a barrel to 44 inches of wood when the barrel is thicker on each end and thinner in the middle was a huge undertaking as I could have easily destroyed the wood by scraping too much off or a slip of the chisel. But I didn’t. Getting the barrel in the right position for the lock assembly and where the touchhole should be was a learning process for sure. Shortly I will be adding the lock and its thru bolts and then inlaying the patchbox and release mechanism. Then I can show pictures of progress. Still a long way to go…

That is the update! Photos soon!

New Hampshire Rifleman Announcement

Welcome to my son Jason Hale as a Contributor and Editor here at New Hampshire Rifleman Magazine. I welcome his talent with rifles, reloading and marksmanship and his skills as an editor and video specialist as we strive to deliver a fun, educational and entertaining experience to our worldwide readership.

Ed Hale – Editor-In-Chief

Things I Learned From Just One Season of Long Range Competition that can be useful as a Hunter and Reloader by Ed Hale

Is LR competition easy? No! It is a fun challenge however and that makes it worth while for many. But it can be expensive the more you get into it. Most any rifle can be good starter but once bitten it is hard to stop. As a result, I know more about quality hand-loading bullets, powder, brass and primers. So it was a valuable experience of calculating my bullet’s Standard Deviation and Extreme spread. What I found was that my brain was becoming its own calculator of holdover in minutes, and how that translated to inches of crosshair movement. I deepened my wind knowledge to predict lateral bullet placement and when to let game pass by because I could not predict the proper bullet placement for a clean kill.

Most of all I was more confident in my rifle and how to dial up my scope…a key ingredient in long range hunting.  Also use of on line software to determine the ballistic profile based on bullet velocity via a chronograph and the BC of your bullet. So competing can be helpful as a hunter by deepening your knowledge. Truth is, to win you need to spend time shooting and money.  For those like me that are hunters, it is a great learning experience to have competed. I am better for it! Who knows you may get bitten by long range F Class Rifle Competition or use of Military 308 or .223 competition such as F-TR (target rifle). My son Jason is really into it as you can see from his writing.

The key to hunting is to become more of a woodsman knowing your quarry and how to read sign and food sources and ways that your game may react. Just don’t get cocky in the deer woods because you shoot well in the prone position at 600 yards.Eh!

There are trees and the animals move you see and don’t wait for you to breath and squeeze forever. If you can, get closer to your game animal? Do it! If you are strictly a competition type you will have much to learn to be a good hunter.

© 2017

 

 

 

Selection and Testing of .308 Match Grade Bullets for F-TR Competition By Jason Hale

F-TR Rifle Competition is F-Class Competition where the TR is Target Rifle in .223 or .308 Winchester. At many matches, F-TR competitors are restricted to bi-pod, ruck or sandbags, though at the Nationals a front rest was allowed.

For me and what I’ve studied, its high mass high Ballistic Coefficient (BC) bullets that are most go-to projectiles (bullets).  You still have some folks shooting the 1:12 twist .308 Barrels that shoot between 155 gr and 175 gr projectiles, but mostly the heavy stuff.  Now at this point only one thing matters;

How does it perform with your chosen bullets IN YOUR GUN?  

My recently purchased 28” SS Criterion match barrel doesn’t seem to prefer the heavy 185 gr Berger’s, but I’ve only tried them with Varget, IMR 4064 is another option to try.  I like sticking with Varget since it works so well AND is more forgiving in variable temperatures.

If you’re just getting into competition shooting, you can’t go wrong with the 175 gr Sierra Match Kings.  You can load it to mag length. My factory barrel would shoot ¼” groups all day long.  The only downside is that when the wind is involved, it can get blown around quite a bit more than some of the other more recent slick BC offerings.  I am currently using the Sierra TMK’s and their shooting ½” at 100 yards and have a superior BC to the SMK.  So far I like them, but because the bullet profile is more secant, seating depth may be a hassle during tuning, but it didn’t take too long for me to find a depth that worked well and didn’t compress powder too much.

One item to point out, there is good reason that as a rule of thumb you don’t just try a new projectile which may be the same weight because if you seated them to the same length the depth into the case may change how compressed your charge is.  In addition, there are many other factors that are coming into play.  Spontaneous disassembly (BOOM) of your rifle and perhaps YOU is NOT GOOD.  It is wise to back off by 10% and then work back up while watching for signs of pressure.

Now for the true purpose behind this article, testing your loads.  Finding recommended loads out of a reputable loading manual is your job.  Here I will explain what I see in the data I’ve put together here.

 

The chart below represents testing and data gathered of bullets tested and corresponding results you may find of use.

Bullet Ballistic Coefficient Bullet OAL Base to Ogive COAL Seated to Lands Depth  Seated Into Case Previous Data/Comments
Berger 185 Juggernaut .283 G7 (Litz Verified) 1.342 0.698 2.923 0.424 Tried 1MOA best with Varget IMR 4064 an option
Sierra 175 Match King 0.495 G1 (averaged Sierra BC)

0.475 G1(Litz Verified)

0.243 G7 (Litz Verified)

1.230 0.661 2.838 0.397 2.800 (~0.040” off Lands)
Berger 168 Hybrid Target .264 G7

0.266 G7 (Litz Verified)

1.279 0.583 2.956 0.328 In Testing
Nosler 175 RDF .270 G7 1.330 0.651 2.950 0.385 In Testing
Sierra 175 TMK 0.523 G1

(Sierra BC)

0.522 G1 (Litz Verified)

0.267 G7

1.353 0.658 2.940 0.418 Current COAL 2.920 (0.020” off Lands)

Good groups 0.5 gr less than SMK due to pressure

 

Nosler 175 Comments/My Approach:

Looking at the Nosler 175 RDF’s you can clearly see that the tip is almost completely closed, which is awesome.  With Nosler’s claimed G7 BC of .270 which beats all of the other 175 gr projectiles, I can’t wait to try this in my current match rig.

Examining previous loads for the 175’s:

My current load for the 175 TMK is 43.0 gr of Varget (0.5 grains less than the SMK) which gets me to approximately 2600 fps.  Surface bearing length differences between the two may be the reasons which pressure signs are reached earlier in the TMK as it has a longer surface bearing length which ads friction.

Comments/Observations the Nosler’s 175 RDF:

One item that catches my attention is the length of the nose profile; it’s very long, which makes sense for a high bc bullet.  This makes it a great option for F-TR type shooters who single load and aren’t bothered by long rounds.  On the flip side, It also makes it difficult to load for magazine length without sacrificing case volume.  I may end up gaining some case volume over some of the other projectiles when loaded to the same length.  If pressures are marginal, I could eek out some addition velocity if accuracy wasn’t sacrificed.  One item examined for overall consistency is measurement of a 10 sample group for Base to Ogive length which can be associated with BC consistency.

 

Noslers numbers were right with the competition, including Berger.  Overall great observations for noslers new RDF.  I will likely start with Varget 8-10% below 43.0 gr and work up from there.  Since my rig is wired up for pressure readings, I’ll have some pressure trends to talk about soon.  I’ll be able to compare them to previous loads that I use as reference (Federal 175 gr Gold Medal Match and Black Hills 175 gr Match).

Comments on the Berger 168 Hybrid Target

There isn’t much to say about Berger other than two words consistency and expensive, or should I perhaps say expensive consistency.  Looking at the data compiled I may be able to drive this bullet to a higher velocity than the heavier 175’s without having to sacrifice anything.  The long nose profile may leave me some extra case capacity and the short bearing length may end up reducing friction from less contact with the bore.  In the end it all comes down to testing; if it doesn’t group, it doesn’t group.  Doing a lot of testing can sometimes be frustrating; but if you enjoy it, don’t give up.  Just don’t waste too much in components trying to get something to shoot.  You’ll know it when you’ve found a forgiving bullet.  This is why the Sierra Match King is still heavily used.  It’s just that easy to tune.  Alas, I am a tinkerer at heart and love a good challenge. I have access to Nosler 175’s for testing so we shall see if my rifle likes them. More later…

Good Shooting!

Deer Ticks and Lyme Disease in New Hampshire by Ed Hale

If you spend time outdoors in New Hampshire, particularly southern portions of the state, like the upcoming Turkey Season, then you are exposed to deer ticks that carry lyme disease causing bacteria. The deer tick also known as the black legged tick includes Massachusetts and Connecticut and Rhode Island as hotspots. Ticks are carried by Deer and Mice and contribute greatly to the tick population. One autumn I counted a dozen of them on my clothes while deer hunting near my home.

Image result for deer tick

Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis and Powassan virus can be transmitted by the bite of the black legged tick (Ixodes scapularus).

In New Hampshire there are over 1300 diagnosed cases of Lyme disease each year (some go undiagnosed), over 100 cases of Anaplasmosis, 40 to 50 cases of Babesiosis. Powassan Virus infections are rare but one case was diagnosed in 2013.  Lyme Disease if untreated will cause complications such as nervous system disorder, heart abnormalities, and episodes of joint swelling and pain. Early diagnosis is essential.

Below is the website of NH Dept. of Health and Human Services on Lyme Disease.

http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/lyme/index.htm

The odds of you being bitten by a deer tick are near 100% if you spend a significant amount of time outdoors and do not take precautions which include the use of 20 to 30% DEET on your skin, Clothing sprayed with Permethrin, pant leggings tucked into your socks and the like. 

Image result for sawyers spray permethrin

If you are bitten and the tick has been in you for more than 36 hours you are a candidate for these bacteria and  Lyme Disease. See your doctor right away. The wood tick below also known as a dog tick and is not known to carry Lyme bacteria.

Prevention

Treat your yard with tick killing products that are family and pet friendly. Wear light clothing so you can see the ticks if they are crawling on you. Tuck your pant legs into your socks. As a hunter you need to be highly vigilant. Turkey Season is also tick season. Take your hunting clothes off in your garage and have a pair of alternate clothes nearby. Shower if possible soon after your outing and do a hair and body scan. You can put clothes in a dryer and the ticks will die from the heat.  Check your pets and don’t let pets onto your bed as they can harbor ticks.

Spring is the time for Nymph size ticks

In the spring as it is here, the spring nymph stage is perhaps the most dangerous as these are the smallest of deer ticks and are almost impossible to spot, smaller than the head of a pin and a bite can go unnoticed. Often these little ticks will burrow under your skin leaving a red area where they entered. You may see just the back-end of the tick sticking out. If you can get a sharp-pointed pair of tweezers you may be able to pluck it out. I just purchased a pair of tweezers with a little magnifier attached. Treat the bite area with antiseptic cream and a bandaid to keep the antiseptic on the bite.

Product Details

These ticks in later stages are just a little larger making it a bit easier to see and grasp with tweezers to pull out. If at all possible grasp the head of the tick and not the body. But when in doubt seek medical attention and keep the tick body for identification. It is common to administer an antibiotic such as doxycycline for Lyme disease, early detection is essential for the antibiotic to kill the bacteria. The most common indicator is the bullseye rash but does not always occur.

Image result for bullseye rash

The bottom line here is that if you suspect you have been bitten, and symptoms within 30 days include fever, headache, fatigue, stiff neck and  muscle or joint pain feel chills or flu like symptoms, joint pain, or break out in a rash, see your doctor right away to get treated. Don’t wait!

There are those folks who were never seen by a doctor or been diagnosed and many have died or live with tragic disorders of the heart or nervous system. Don’t be one of them!

Stay Safe, Hunt Safe!

 

 

1760 style – Pennsylvania Long Rifle- Build Status

If you have stayed in touch with my writing, I purchased a custom build kit from Jim Chambers (http://www.flintlocks.com/rifles.htm) for a Lancaster Pennsylvania Flintlock Rifle nearly identical to Jacob Dickert’s Rifles who made them for the American Revolution’s Sharp Shooters and for Over Mountain Men.

Rifle Kits Include All This

I am into the build process by 26 hours and have been very happy with my progress without any real errors to speak of thus far. Only 75 more hours to go! I now own 150 dollars worth of carving chisels and a very large 80 dollar vise. I am happy that I purchased them as they made cutting and shaping the wood much easier. The barrel is now mounted, the butt plate is cut in and the lock is being fitted to the already mortised area and needs fitting.

A video provided is helping immeasurably.  I have fitted the 44 inch Swamp Barrel (fat on the ends and thinner in the middle) to the stock using a chisel and files. The barrel tang shape was filed into a spade shape and mortised into the stock and tapped and threaded to the trigger plate.

This all sounds easy but it was not. The lock mortise was shaped for me but had to be hand fitted to the flintlock mechanism and took hours of making minor chisel cuts for fear of barging ahead and making a major blunder.

Patience is the key and an ability to work with hand tools.

I will show pictures at some point. It is all too raw at this stage.

So far so good! Very satisfying thus far!

Good Shooting!

 

 

 

Testing Begins Soon On The Gold Ring Leupold VX-6 7- 42 x 56mm Scope

OMG, This Leupold Scope, created in part by competitive long range shooters, is worth more than any of the hunting rifles I own and designed specifically for long range such as F-Class Competition with ultra precision.

MSRP is $2700 but I have seen it advertised for just under $2000. Is it worth the price?

At NH Rifleman Magazine we are serious about testing it.

If you are serious about winning Long Range Competitive Rifle shoots, this is one may likely bear your attention.

https://www.leupold.com/hunting-shooting/scopes/competition-riflescopes/vx-6-7-42x56mm-34mm-side-focus-target/

A superior scope is an investment in winning. A simple fact of Competition, that superior equipment and attention to detail is essential. The VX-6 product line is based on the Zoom ratio of 6 to 1. A turn of the dial takes you on an optical ride from 7 power and zooms you to 42 power magnification in just a twist.

Its 56mm Objective lens allows mega amounts of light inside and it is transmitted by its very large 34mm tube for maximum image quality.

It has shipped from Leupold yesterday and should be here soon.

Look for more on this scope soon…

Good Shooting!