Savage 12 Palma in Mid Range Prone F T/R Match by Jason Hale

Since I’ve started long range competition, I’ve been exploring ways that our readers may enter the sport at a reasonable cost, of course you can select your hunting rifle in your safe, but if you become serious, the modifications will start.  Enter the Savage Precision Target Rifle Line.  We reached out to Savage and requested the 12 Palma due to it’s unique stock configuration and caliber choice.  Most of the Precision Target Actions (PTA) have a screw spacing of 4.41″, however the 12 Palma has a screw spacing of 3.44″, the reason for which I am not sure.

To learn about Palma Rifle competition Click Here!

All PTA’s accept large shank barrels from your favorite Savage pre-fit barrel supplier.  What I really liked about this configuration was the adjustable stock and 3-way adjustable butt-plate.  See below for some stats on the rifle.

Savage 12 Palma Match Rifle

One thing you’ll notice right away is the odd twist rate of 1:13″.  This twist rate is indicative of the intended bullet that was intended to be used, 155-156gr bullets.  As soon as I received the rifle, I quickly picked up a rail for it and mounted the 7-42X55mm Gold Ring Leupold Competition Scope & Shade we are testing (Outstanding Scope) and ordered some 155.5gr Fullbore bullets from Berger. I recognize that this was not the set up that the rifle was designed for, but the purpose of testing was to determine accuracy potential of the rifle. You can tell that this was really meant for iron sights as you can see the front sight cut near the muzzle of the rifle so that you can clamp-on front sight tubes.  In the pictures below, you’ll also see the 3-way adjustable butt-plate which is fantastic for customizing the fit of the rifle to a specific shooter.  It can be adjusted for length of pull, cant, and height.  I made some minor adjustments to the cant and height, and left it there.  I could have spent more time on tuning the stock, but didn’t.

Once the bullets came in, I took inventory of the powders that I had on hand and selected IMR 4166 which is supposed to be temperature insensitive much like Hodgdon Varget and got to putting some test loads together.

Following a break in process, the rifle immediately demonstrated it’s accuracy potential.  Being limited for time, I settled on a load of 45 gr of IMR-4166 with a COAL of 2.800″ which was limited by the Palma Chamber, which has a very short throat.  See the group shot below.  Not bad at all for an afternoons work.

In all fairness, if this was my rifle I would have spent more time tuning to reduce Standard Deviation and Extreme Spread of velocities, but given the limited distance (600 yards), vertical dispersion would not be as bad as longer distances.  Wind would be more of a challenge.

The day of the Mid-Range Prone match, I was excited to take the rifle out and see what it could do.  I knew that with good loads, it would likely out shoot me, which is a good thing.  The prone match included 3 strings of fire at 300, 500, and 600 yards, with 15 rounds for record with unlimited sighters at each distance.  The wind picked up during the day peaking with 10 mph switching winds during my 500 yard string after settling into a more predictable rhythm for my 600 yard string.  Overall I was pleased with the day, but was a bit frustrated during the 500 yard string being behind on some wind calls that cost me more points than I wanted.  I was only one of two F T/R shooters there, the other being a good friend and great shooter Barbara Lamb, she only dropped 3 out of a possible 450 points for the day, which is fantastic.

Barbara Lamb scoring for me, while Art Lamb (in line for saint-hood, in my mind) was graciously scoring for all on our target.

My scores were 143-0X (300), 131-0X (500), and 144-2X (600), with an aggregate of 418-2X.  The rifle shot great for the little time I put into load development.  I am sure that I could have done more tuning, but in the end I needed more time on the rifle to improve.

One thing I can say, is that if the other rifles in the Savage 12 PTA series shoot similarly, you can’t deny the value, considering the cost of most custom F-Class rigs being between $3000 and $5000, or more even.  Great bang for your buck.  If you’re interested in a quick and relatively inexpensive upgrade that can be further modified easily in the future, check out Savage’s M12 Precision Target Action line.  If you want to start from the ground up and build one, you can purchase an action from Northland Shooters Supply. I’ve done plenty of business with Jim; they’re awesome!

Shoot Straight and Shoot Often!

See you at the range!

Copyright © 2017 All Rights Reserved.



Do You Carry?

Second Amendment Friends,

I have been a Second Amendment Advocate all of my adult life. I am an armed citizen ready to protect my family if a life threatening situation occurs. If you carry a firearm every day in public, it is wise to consider the NRA Carry Guard or similar program offered by USCCA’s Self Defense Shield.

I received an email from Wayne LaPierre, President of the NRA today offering a free aftermath guide. I signed up for one. Please take time to study what best suits your needs. There is information on the internet that can help decide.

I know many who have carried for some time but never had to use deadly force in a life threatening situation, thank goodness. It is life changing.

Check your email and study up on it.




Lancaster Flintlock at 100 yards

I took 2 shots yesterday with my Lancaster Flintlock. One at 50 yards… see the left hole. The second shot at 100 yards hole at right after some minor sight adjustment with a tap from my hammer. I determined in a previous outing that the bullet rises in its parabolic trajectory out at 50 yards and drops at 100 yards. At 100 yards the point of aim is equal to the 25 yard point of aim. I am pleased with these shots from open sights. If this were a deer’s vitals, I be skinning by now.

Good Shooting!

My Circa 1770 Lancaster Flintlock Rifle Pictorial Essay by Ed Hale

My finished Lancaster 50 Caliber Flintlock Rifle Custom Build in a Jacob Dickert Method. Shot extremely well in a recent outing, see the last article with video.

The rifle build took over 100 hours of fitting, filing, carving motif’s, mortise and tenon, inlay of the Patchbox and Star using Tiger Maple and is still under way for details. Look back at my recent articles and you can see the plain maple look hiding the Tiger stripes within. I even performed controlled rusting of the barrel.

The Brass Cricket has been hanging around my fireplace for some time. It took great interest in my work so I kept him in the picture. I just may name the rifle “Cricket” it does chirp louder.

I have enlisted a master engraver to do some additional work.

Worth to me? Priceless!

The End

Copyright © 2017


First shots from the Pennsylvania Lancaster Flintlock Rifle Built by Ed Hale

Below are the first 4 shots ever taken by this brand new Custom 50 Caliber Pennsylvania Lancaster Flintlock Rifle (CIRCA 1775) that I have invested around 100 hours to build based on a Jim Chamber’s Flintlocks Custom package of top end parts.


The wood is Tiger Maple and was roughed in as I received it. The barrel is a 50 caliber Swamp Barrel (with rifling) where it it thicker on each end and slender in the middle. And the leather sheath I crafted for it.

A steel custom lock has a very well made mechanism and hammer below.

My first attempt is at this is highly successful with lots of fits and starts along this journey back in time during the Revolutionary war where Jacob Dickert a German Immigrant Gun-maker built them for the Continental Army.

My rifle has no stain on the Tiger Maple wood to grace it at this time but I asked myself, CAN IT SHOOT? It sports a 44 inch barrel and stands almost 5 feet tall.

I tested it using FFG black Powder at 80 grains at 25 yards to see if it will even hit paper at the first shot. So here goes…Click on the video.

Honestly, this is my first ever Flintlock Rifle build and you can read my other articles this past June on this Rifle.


Below some of the scroll work I carved just as Jacob Dickert did in 1775. Wait till I stain it!

And the brass patchbox…that needs to be set a bit deeper and has yet to be engraved by me as well. More to see on this patchbox in coming weeks.

I am very pleased with Jim’s Flintlock Product but even more pleased with my success in building an accurate and most beautiful Rifle indeed. In the coming weeks I will stain it and add some additional brass inlay. My 6th great grandfather and many of my Hale Cousins were soldiers in the American Revolution as I and my two sons are society members of The Sons of the American Revolution.

Good Shooting! Happy Independence Day!

© 2017

Happy Independence Day July 4th 2017

You know, more and more families are reading the Declaration of Independence on this day in honor of our Independence from tyranny and subjugation by a British King in 1776. I am very proud of the changes made by President Donald Trump thus far.

As I read the reasons for the Declaration aloud it became clear to me that America, “We the People” voted in 2016 to stop the oppression and subjugation by the likes of Barrack Obama and those of a would be Hillary Clinton who wanted to force an all powerful government down our throats as if they knew best.

The People spoke loud and clear!

Happy Independence Day!


F-Open Match Results 17-Jun-2017 with 6.5 Creedmoor by Jason Hale

I’m back to provide an update on the most recent 3×600 yard F-Open Match at Nashua Fish and Game.  This year I am doing a significant amount of testing, which doesn’t allow for getting truly comfortable with my set up, never the less, it was exciting.

To preface the discussion on results, I need to explain the challenges with the F-Open conversion to the Creedmoor barrel.  In preparation for the match and some practice time,  I changed out the barrel in my Savage 10 action to the Shilen 28″ stainless match 6.5 Creedmoor bull barrel.

Following the barrel swap, I installed the barreled action to my aluminum JPRifles AMCS chassis.  I was going to shooting in F-Class, Open, with the Nosler 140 gr 6.5mm/.264 Reduced Drag Factor ™ (RDF) bullets and due to the F-Class, open rules I could have a much heavier gun (22 lbs max).   That’s why I decided to move back to the heavier aluminum chassis.  The only downside was that when the rifle was mounted in the rest, I couldn’t use a rear bag that was a standard height.  I had to rig up a rear bag that was tall enough to be able to level the gun.  The PRS stock toe, is not as low as a true F-Open competition stock, but this isn’t a “built for competition” rig.  This is fun on a budget while learning to read the wind 🙂

I tuned my 6.5 loads easily with the Nosler RDF’s we are testing, getting 1/4 to 1/2″ groups while humming along comfortably at 2800 fps with 41.7gr of H4350.

RDF Bullet Banner

Very impressive, those RDF’s.  From my first experience with new gear, I was prepared with what to expect this time.  I was stayed focused and was pleasantly surprised, as the day went on I got better and better, despite the make shift gear.

As the day was not hot, I was able to keep the Leupold Gold Ring 7-42X55mm scope we are testing (seen above) dialed all the way to 42x and it was awesome to see the bull much more clearly and to use the target rings to aim for wind calls.

Here are my scores below for my first time in F-Open with new gear.

Match 1: 185-4

Match 2: 192-6

Match 3: 196-8

Final total: 573-18

The gun and Nosler 140 RDF’s were clearly shooting better than I in the beginning, but as I got the hang of the “free recoil” game, it all started to fall into place.  Free recoil is allowing the rifle to track rearward under recoil with some space in between you and the buttstock, very much like regular benchrest shooting.  I like F-Open, but for now, it’s just fun for me and a way to continue to learn the ways of the wind.  I think the only way to become more competitive in this class, you need first get better at wind reading and perhaps get a purpose built rifle/stock combination that was meant to be used in a rest.  I am more than happy with how this turned out.  I am super pleased with how the Nosler RDF’s were surprisingly easy to tune and shoot accurately!  I will be shooting this combination again July 8/9.

See you at the range!

© 2017