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    Eagle Eye Brass vs. Lapua Brass

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    This is a shortened version of a longer report. The longer report is not yet posted online, but includes more in depth statistical analysis. When that report is posted, this will be updated with a link.

    I’ve used Lapua brass right out of the box for a number of years. It’s good brass. You don’t have to take my word for it; Lapua brass has a great reputation amongst competition shooters from many disciplines. It is the default brass used by the US Rifle Team and many other top tier groups of shooters. It is consistent and it offers many reloads before needing to be retired. It is for this reason that I recently compared Eagle Eye brass with Lapua to see how the new company’s brass would stack up. The long story short is that I spent many hours of my Christmas break measuring brass, carefully loading cartridges, on the range, and then sat back in a little surprise at the results.

    Part 1 – Visual Inspection and Lots of Measurements

    I had 100 pieces each of Lapua and Eagle Eye brass for this comparison. Each came out of a single box, each from a single lot. After visual inspection of the brass I noted that a large number of the Eagle Eye brass had what looked like little burs in the flash holes. The burs where not very thick and they were always on the case side of the flash hole, never on the primer pocket side. I took some pictures of the worst one and placed them at the link below. The Lapua cases did not have any of these non-uniformities in the flash holes.

    Photos of Visual Inspection

    Further visual inspection was pretty subjective, but I made the following observations:

    The Eagle Eye cases had an orange tint on the inside, Justin Brown of Eagle Eye said this was due to a particular type of wash used for the brass. I thought the Lapua brass looked a little nicer, but that is a very subjective comment as it is based on appearances only. Others have had the opposite opinion, that the Eagle Eye brass generally looked nicer; that’s very subjective.

    All 100 cases were measured for weight and length. In both cases, the average of three measurements was recorded. Most noteworthy are the extreme spread and standard deviations observed. With regards to weight Eagle Eye brass had a standard deviation of .240 grains whereas Lapua had a standard deviation of .754 grains. It is highly significant and surprising that the Lapua standard deviation on weight was 3x larger than with Eagle Eye.

    Table 1 – Brass Weight & Length

      Eagle Eye Lapua
    Weight (Grains) Mean 167.644 173.807
    Std. Dev. 0.240 0.754
    Range 1.000 2.700
    Length (Inches) Mean 2.0038 2.0079
    Std. Dev. 0.0006 0.001
    Range 0.003 0.004


    Part 2 – Loading the Ammo and More Measurements

    Using a single jug of Hodgdon Varget powder, a single box of Sierra 2156 155 grain projectiles, and a single box of Federal GM210M primers I got everything ready to build some ammunition. The RCBS Charge Master was used to weigh powder and a Forster CoAx press with Forster dies was used. The un-exciting step which I’ve skipped was sizing the brass, that was done with the above setup and then the brass was tumbled for 10 hours to remove sizing lubricant. After sizing cases grew in length by about .001” (not all were measured after sizing, just a few to get an idea of what was happening). After loading the ammunition, each loaded cartridge was again weighed. The mean weights differed by almost the same amount as the difference in mean case weight (I.e., the powder charge and difference in bullet weight did not add much additional variation) as shown in Table 2. After visual inspection of the loaded cartridges I noted that the lack of chamfer on the inside edge of the Eagle Eye brass had led to small pieces of the bullet’s copper jacket being scraped up when the bullets was seated. An example photo is at the visual inspection photos link above. The Lapua brass already had a slight chamfer so this was isolated to the Eagle Eye brass. I speculate that this observation is confined to the sample of brass I received as I have not observed this with any loaded Eagle Eye ammo. It is possible that the brass I received was removed from the production line prior to the step where the chamfer is applied.

    Part 3 – Velocity Measurements

    At the range, the ammunition was fired 10 rounds at a time first with 10 rounds Eagle Eye, then 10 rounds Lapua followed by a time for the rifle to cool down. This was repeated until all 200 rounds had been fired, each time alternating which brand went first. The 10 shot groups fired varied in sized from approximately .75 MOA up to 1.5 MOA. In many cases, the first three to six rounds fired would go into one ragged hole before the remaining rounds would increase the group size. Consistency of aiming point (mostly affected by mirage off of the barrel) and other environmental factors are assumed to be responsible for the larger group sizes. The ammunition was fired in the same order that the loaded cartridges were weighed so that any relationship between cartridge weight and muzzle velocity could be observed. The mean velocity for Eagle Eye was 3004 fps and the mean velocity of Lapua was 3020 fps. The difference in mean velocity with the same load is speculated to be the result of differing internal case volume which lead to differing load pressure resulting in differing velocity for the same load. The table below summarizes these measurements. It is noteworthy that some statistics gymnastics revealed a correlation between loaded cartridge weight and velocity for the Lapua ammo but not for the EE ammo. My palma rifle was used for this testing; it has a 30” barrel with a 1:13 twist and was shot from a bipod with a scope over a chronograph which was 10 feet from the muzzle. Analysis of the data in Table 2 showed that the difference in standard deviation was statistically significant. Also, note the interquartile range (IQR) difference between the Eagle Eye and Lapua.

    Table 2 – Cartridge Weight & Muzzle Velocity

      Eagle Eye Lapua
    Weight (Grains) Mean 374.85 381.16
    Std. Dev. 0.271 0.750
    Range 1.200 2.700
    Velocity (Feet Per Second) Mean 3003.96 3019.95
    Std. Dev. 10.750 13.017
    Range 50 51
    IQR 13 21

    Part 4 – Conclusion

    Lapua brass was used as the benchmark by which the new Eagle Eye brass could be compared. Close visual inspection showed the Eagle Eye brass could be refined in some areas in order to be as presentable as the Lapua (E.g., flash hole uniformity, chamfer on case mouth, etc.). Measurements of weight and length showed that the Eagle Eye brass was more consistent than the Lapua brass. Velocity measurements showed a correlation between overall weight and velocity with Lapua cased ammo, but not with Eagle Eye cased ammo. This could mean that some of the variation in weight with Lapua brass is also responsible for altering the internal volume of the case, thus changing the load’s pressure and ultimately the projectile’s velocity. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by what I measured in the Eagle Eye brass. Out of the box, with no modifications other than re-sizing (which was done to both Eagle Eye and Lapua brass), the Eagle Eye brass created a round that was significantly more consistent than my typical competition load.


    For more information about Eagle Eye Ammo and its current offering of match ammunition please visit Eagle Eye here:   Note that the Eagle Eye brass tested is not yet available for purchase, but it is the same brass used in their loaded ammunition.

    Small Business Saturday Sale 2014

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    Small Business Saturday Sale

    11/29/14     10AM – 5PM

    596 Industry Drive Suite 220

    Tukwila, WA 98188

    Anderson Manufacturing Stripped Lowers just $54.79, that’s $60 out the door!

    Federal Auto Match 22LR 325 rounds just $41.08, that’s $45 out the door!

    .40 S&W 180 gr FMJ 50 rounds just $16.43, that’s $18 out the door!

    .45 ACP 230 gr FMJ 50 rounds just $18.26, that’s $20 out the door!

    IMR 4895 gun powder 1 pound just $27.38, that’s $30 out the door!

    Forged steel reloading press, does up to 50 BMG just $59.36, that’s $65 out the door!


    I’ve also got primers, targets, AR-15 magazines, Mini-14 magazines, exploding targets, stripped uppers, and more.  As my business model is changing going into 2015 I’m trying to liquidate the inventory I have.  I’ll be selling everything at my cost or just barely above it.

    I’ll also be taking orders of firearms over the next week or two if you’d like to make any final purchases before the rigors of I594 become effective.

    Stripped lowers and 22LR can be pre-ordered online until 11/28/14 at midnight and then they will be available on a first come first serve basis on 11/29/14.

    Pre-Order Anderson Stripped Lower

    Pre-Order Federal Auto Match 22LR


    With questions or special orders, you can email me at or call at 206-486-6887.

    *heavily discounted prices include cash discount. On this day only there will be a 2% fee for credit cards.

    2014 Trijicon World Shooting Championships – Day 4 Range Report

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    Today was lots of fun.  This is the last day of shooting, and it seems like some of the most fun stages were saved for the end.

    Our first event of the day was sponsored by SilencerCo and it was awesome!  We shot a suppressed Glock 19 with a Trijicon RMR on top at steel targets before engaging steel targets from 50 to 200 yards with a suppressed Noveske AR-15 with a Trijcon VCOG on top.  Wow that was fun.  The Glock 19 was great to shoot and the suppressor made it sound like a staple gun.  This was our first event of the day and it convinced me that in these action rifle type events I should try to get as stable as possible for the longer range targets.  While I am used to making long range shots, I am not used to doing so in such a quick fashion, so I need to get as stable as possible.  I did this stage in around 40 seconds, the fastest shooter did it in less than 20 seconds.

    The next stage was the NRA Action Rifle stage.  We used a Daniel Defense AR-15 with a Trijicon RMR mounted on a 45 degree mount and a Trijicon ACOG on top.  We had about 8 paper targets to engage on the run (using the 45 degree RMR) and then four targets out past 200 yards to engage from a tree stump supported position.  Seriously, we had to have the rifle in contact with the tree stump or it was a penalty.  I went pretty quick through the paper targets and hit the first three steel targets with one shot, saving the largest steel target for last.  For some reason it took a few shots to hit, but I finished it up in about 35 seconds or so.  I’ll upload a video of my run later and link it here.  Shooting on the run with the 45 degree RMR was something I’ve never done before and it was a lot of fun.

    Next was possibly my favorite stage of the whole competition, the Cowboy Action stage, sponsored by Taylor and Co.  We started at the low ready with a double barrel exposed hammer coach shotgun, had to yell something from a western, then pull back both hammers on the shotgun before knocking over two falling steel targets.  We then set the shotgun down and ran over to the lever action rifle we.  We had to get a round in the chamber and hit six steel targets down range.  Leave the lever open and run to the single action army where we had to shoot five more steel targets.  I did the whole thing in just under 20 seconds and I had a lot of fun doing it.  The coaching I got from Spencer Hoglund (AKA Lead Dispencer) on Top Shot with the single action army was pretty helpful and seemed to kick in.  This stage and the modern 3 gun stage were my favorite of the match to shoot.  It’s interesting that the wild west version of 3 gun and the modern version of 3 gun were both so fun to shoot.  Who knew?!

    My last stage of the match, was the tactical two gun stage.  We shot a Smith and Wesson M & P 9mm with a Trijicon RMR on top and an LMT AR-15 with a Trijicon VCOG on top.  There were six steel targets to shoot with the pistol and then five steel targets at 500 to 550 yards to shoot with the rifle.  My sighter shot with the rifle at 500 or so yards was dead on, so I felt like I was ready to go.  I started off strong with the pistol, I think I missed once when I got lost in the combo of tall sights and the RMR red dot.  I made it to the rifle quickly and got two or three hits pretty quickly.  Then I squeezed the trigger and “click”.  I pulled the charging handle back to reveal and empty chamber; a new round wasn’t stripped off of the mag!  I slammed the bottom of the mag (although I had already done this at the beginning of the stage) then sent the bolt home before confirming a round was in the chamber.  This frazzled me a little and between that and then a few misses on the remaining targets I ended up with a less than ideal time on the final stage of the match.  A few shooters later, someone had a similar problem with the rifle, but it repeated, four times on one string.  Ultimately the rifle was decided to be at fault, but it was too late for me to get any reprieve.  In this match we got one re-fire which could be used on any one of the 12 stages.  I chose to use mine on the NSCA 5 stand stage, hoping I could better my score.  In retrospect I wish I would have saved it for this final stage as it was the only time in the four day match when I had a legitimate malfunction of some kind that then led to a minor train wreck of another kind.  I’ll try to learn from these mistakes for future events.


    2014 Trijicon World Shooting Championships – Day 3 Range Report

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    Before I tell you about today’s shooting, be sure you like our facebook page and check out our youtube channel.  I post shorter updates with different content to facebook and I’m posting videos of the match to facebook and youtube.  Facebook pages and youtube channel are linked below:

    Today was rough.  Today I likely had my lowest scoring events of the entire competition; it was just a very challenging day.  It wasn’t all bad though. We started the say with a side match shooting and Alexander Arms .338 Lapua semi-auto rifle at targets from 700 to 800 yards away.  There were three targets, one USPSA sized silhouette, and two steel gongs that were about four feet wide by two feet high.  The goal was simple, hit all three targets as quick as possible.  We were told that the fastest time was less than 6 seconds, so we really needed to hurry to beat that.  If you wait until you can hear the sound of the impact on each shot you could only get two shots off in less than 6 seconds, so that means in order to beat that you had to shoot, assume a hit and move on.  Furthermore, this was a side match, so you could play it a little more risky since it only mattered if you got first place or not first place.  I took the more risky approach and fired then moved on.  After hitting my second target I realized I hadn’t hear a “clang” from my first target.  At that point I was out of the competition so I did a long range mag dump on the furthest target :).  The spotters were confused but called hit over and over until I ran it empty.  Since the goal of this entire match (for me) is to have fun, we can say mission accomplished on this stage.

    The next stage was NSCA 5 Stand.  I practiced 5 stand some at home before coming out so I was hopeful that I’d be able to get a decent (non-train wreck) score.  There were five machines, four throwing diagonally away and one throwing straight away.  We shot one single, one report pair, and one true pair from each of the five stands, for a total of 25 birds.  I hit 9 out of 25.  Interestingly, I hit most of them at just two stands where I hit a few combos of both birds in the report pair and both birds in the true pair.  I posted a video of one of these pairs to my facebook page, check it out at the link above.  This was a difficult stage for many shooters.

    After that disappointment we moved on to Wobbles Trap Doubles.  It is noteworthy that this isn’t even a real event.  When I was getting ready for this I stopped by Seattle Skeet and Trap and shot saw wobbles trap (continental trap) and trap doubles, but there is no such thing as Wobbles Trap Doubles.  At any rate, this imagined event was very hard.  I saw a lot of very good shooters with 5 or less broken birds.  I ended up with 6 out of 30, hardly a respectable score.  I could go into a long explanation of why I think it was so hard for all of us, but it’s easier to say that in general we were unprepared for that event.

    The last event for the day was a Tactical Shotgun event.  We shot the FNH P-12 shotgun at falling steel targets about 10-15 yards away.  There were 6 rounds loaded in the pump action shotgun and 6 targets down range.  We had to pick up the gun, take it off of safe and knock over the targets as quick as we could.  We had three runs and our stage score was the total time from all three runs.  I was pleased with how I did, I had two runs that were each under 7 seconds and a third run of about 8 seconds where I had to take one pick up shot as I missed the first steel target.  This was a very fun stage to shoot as I hadn’t shot a pump action like that before.

    2014 Trijicon World Shooting Championships – Day 2 Range Report

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    This morning we started with another side match, an IDPA based match with steel falling targets. I went first from my squad and had a lot of fun. I enjoy shooting steel targets, I like the “ting” noise they make and how they fall over nicely when you hit them. Since I’m not typically a pistol shooter, my version of fast pistol shooting is very different from others. I shot it about as quick as I could and my total time was about 24 seconds. The fastest shooters shot it all in about 6-7 seconds. We shot an FNS-9 and didn’t get any sighters.

    Our second stage of the match today was one of the more exciting ones, the 3 gun stage.  My squad is just behind the squad with a bunch of 3 gun shooters in it, so I had fun watching Taran Butler, Daniel Horner, Jerry Miculek and others shoot the course. It was a pretty straightforward course, ten falling steel pistol targets, 8 clay shotgun targets, and six 3 gun nation rifle targets. We could shoot them in any order we wanted. The pro 3 gunners shot it shotgun first, pistol second, rifle last. When it was finally my turn to shoot I was pretty sure I had a plan made out in my head. I started with the shotgun and went 8 for 8 on the clay targets then burned the last round in the hill so I could just dump the shotgun into the barrel. To my extreme pleasure I went 10 for 10 on the falling steel pistol targets and then grabbed the rifle. I fumbled with the safety a bit but finally got it to fire and shot the two outside targets, one from standing and one from a high kneeling position. Then I kicked my front leg way out to a very low kneeling and shot the final 4 targets from beneath the barricade. Most folks shot those targets from prone, but I felt like it was a little quicker just to sit down into kneeling. I did that in about 36 seconds, the fastest shooters did it in about 20 seconds.

    Next we shot an F-class inspired stage at 500 yards. The coolest part about this stage was the electronic targets that were being used for scoring. There are some other top rifle shooters (Carl Bernosky, Brandon Green, Rob Mango) here and I chatted with some as they came off of the line about the firearms, the conditiions, etc. Unfortunately they told stories of rifles that were shooting pretty tall groups somewhat unpredicitably. We shot FN rifles, a .308 with a 20″ barrel and detachable box mag. There was a variable power illuminated optic on top and a bipod and rear rest underneath. Unfortunately, I have to agree with my fellow long range shooters, the setup wasn’t quite right for the F-class target, and furthermore it was setup so that us long range shooters has no advantage at all in that stage.

    Last stage of the day was a .22 Rimfire stage inspired by smallbore competition.  We shot targets from 25 yards with the Magnum Research 22 (like a tricked out 10/22) with a Trijicon RMR on top.  We shot standing, kneeling, and sitting.  We got two sighter shots, but we had no spotting scopes or further feedback after those two sighter shots.  I had fun with this match as this reminded me of my first introduction to competitive marksmanship, my high school air rifle team.  I harnessed my inner high school self and shot a 148 out of 150, I think that put my towards the top on that stage.  That was a very fun and accurate 22 rifle!

    2014 Trijicon World Shooting Championships – Day 1 Range Report

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    The Trijicon World Shooting Championships is a first of it’s kind competition. Some of the best shooters from a wide range of shooting sports were gathered to shoot a multi-dicsipline match with provided guns and ammo. Very limited practice is allowed, as much as four practice or (more often) as little as no practice shots. There are three sections: rifle, pistol, and shotgun. In each section there are four stages for a total of 12 stages. There are also three additional side matches. Another wonderful thing about this match: my lovely wife Valerie was able to join me. She isn’t always able to come to competitions with me, so it’s a really fun time when she does. I really enjoy introducing her to the other shooters, because in all likelihood, I spent the last competition telling them all about her. I do adore my wife lots :).

    With that brief introduction, I’ll tell you about how my first day went. We were split up into squads of about 10 shooters each; we shoot the whole competition with that same squad. I started the day off with Side Match 1 which was sponsored by Armalite. Five targets at about 25 yards with Armalite’s new AR-15 they designed for the 3 gun type sports. I did just fine and shot the whole thing in about 10 seconds. The fastest shooters did it in just 5 or 6 seconds.

    For our next stage we shot the Bianchi stage, sponsored by FNH USA. For those unfamiliar with Bianchi, there is a target with a 3″ X-ring and about a 6″ ten ring, then an 8″ eight ring and the rest of the target is worth five points. The target is on a track and moves very quickly laterally for about 15 yards. It seemed to move at the speed of someone running. From 20 yards you have about 2 seconds or so to get three shots on target, you can only shoot while the target is visible. Having never shot a moving target before, this was extremely challenging for me. For the first 12 shots at 20 yards I was wokring to get a rythm and figure out how quickly I had to shoot. I actually shot a much smaller group and had a higher score on the second string which was fired from 25 yards. I ended up with a 188-3X out of a possible 240-24X. I was glad I didn’t have any misses. We shot an FNS-9 and we got two sighter shots before shooting for score.  There are some pictures of me with my Bianchi targets below.

    The next stage we shot was the USPSA stage, sponsored by FNH USA and Trijicon. There were ten targets at varying distances up to about 20 yards and as close as about three yards. Some targets were only visible from one shooting location and the target most people shot last required a significant amount of leaning. In fact, most folks shot the last target on one foot while they were slowly landing there other. I shot the whole thing in about 28 seconds and I had all of my rounds on target. I do wish I would have got some sighters as all of my shots were low. After shooting the match I learned I had incorrectly understood the way the pistol was zeroed. The elevation zero was actually half way down the front sight on a dot, not at the top of the front sight as I had understood. The fastest pistol shooters shot this stage in about 14 seconds. We shot an FNS-9.

    Our fourth and final stage for the day was the Bullseye pistol stage. One handed with a .45 1911 Colt Gold Cup at 25 yards, an abbreviated Camp Perry course of fire. I was really looking forward to this stage. As we arrived at the stage it was being packed up. Apparently there were some problems with the firearms (or the shooters?) and the pistol had frequent malfunctions. The match director decided that it would be best to remove that stage from the competition because of the high frequency of the malfunctions. One of the bullseye shooters on my squad speculated that those unfamiliar with shooting bullseye were likely inducing malfunctions by not holding onto the pistol properly; he indicating that when firing one handed the pistol does require a special grip in order to keep functioning properly.

    This was a lot of fun so far. I’m very out of my element with the pistol matches, but it’s very fun to challenge myself with these different disciplines.  Some pictures from the day are below.


    The scores can be tracked here:, search for TWSC.

    2014 NRA Fullbore Nationals – Day 6 Range Report

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    Being able to take a week off from work and shoot all day in these matches reminds me just how blessed I am.  I would not be able to travel and compete like this if not for extremely generous support from Eagle Eye Ammo.  I’m also very grateful for the support provided by Sinclair International / Brownells.  Thank you very, very much.

    If you are not familiar with target rifle competitions, I gave a bit of an explanation of things in my previous posts, please reference those:

    Today was exciting. If it seems like I’m gushing when you read this it’s because I am. Today God helped me shoot some of the best I’ve ever shot and it was a lot of fun doing it.

    This was the last day of the individual competition in the NRA Fullbore Nationals. We shot 1000 yards twice, 15 shots each time. I was originally on the third relay (the third group to shoot), but a few people didn’t show up so I got moved to first. The flags were perfectly still, there was no wind. I was extremely excited to shoot 1000 yards with essentially no wind. It wasn’t meant to be because once the load command was given the wind turned on and built steadily over the next 3-5 minutes from nothing to a steady 10-12 mph wind. Below I have a before and after picture of what I thought I was going to shoot in and then what I actually shot in. I waited to shoot and watched many folks around me shoot misses for their sighters. I waited for a bit, 5-6 minutes maybe before I took my first shot. I shot carefully and tried to figure out what the wind was doing. I did OK ending up with a 72-8V. That moved me from 7th place to 10th place.

    Going into the final string at 1000 yards I felt myself starting to get a little worked up. I stopped and prayed and really worked at calming myself down. I got in position and got ready to shoot, loaded my first round, made my wind call and took the shot. “Click”. It didn’t go off and worse still I jerked the heck out of the trigger. It’s odd that it didn’t go off, but it happens once in a while, I usually just cock the rifle again and the round goes off on the second try. I line up the sights again, “Click”. Yikes! I jerked the trigger again and there must be something wrong with my rifle! I pull the bolt back and check the end cap, it’s not loose, so I go to eject the round to inspect it and I discover that I never loaded the rifle to begin with. That really calmed me down, quite a lot. I was almost laughing at myself on the line. After that I picked an indicator, there was a flag almost pointing at me, and I used it to judge the angle changes. I watched other flags and the mirage for velocity changes and I tried my best to break good shots, and it worked. It was as if God helped me break the right shots at the right time. On a number of occasions I took a shot I called on one side or the other and the wind had either picked up or let off in such a way that if I hadn’t shot it exactly where I did then I would have lost points (calling a shot is just guessing where the shot will be based on how it felt and what it looked like when the gun went off). It was awesome. I ended up with a 75-8V, one of only five 75s that were shot on that string. This means that in in 10-15 mph crosswinds, from 1000 yards away, with iron sights, and supported by a sling, I kept 15 consecutive shots inside an area less than two feet across with more than half of them in an area less than one foot across.

    That moved me into 3rd place overall.

    Since this match is a dress rehearsal for the world long range championships next year there is then a shoot off amongst the top 10 scoring competitors. Fifteen more shots at 1000 yards and the score from that additional string is added to each shooter’s running total. The overall winner is the one with the most points.

    As it turns out, I also got to shoot in a shoot off for a silver or bronze from one of the morning’s matches. So after the lunch break I would shoot 5 shots to settle a tie, and then shot 15 shots to settle the overall winner. I asked if the two shoots would be one right after another and it sounds like they would have been, so I asked for a 10 minute break so I could cool down in between.

    For the tie break shoot off, the winds were stronger than when I had previously shot, but they weren’t as strong as I thought. I over compensated for the wind and started the tie break off with a 3! Down two points on my first shot of a 5 shot string I didn’t think there was much hope for me. I didn’t give up, however, and I finished strong with a 5 and three Vs to have a 23-3V. I didn’t realize it, but my opponent had also dropped two points, he had a 23-2V making me the winner, and the soon-to-be recipient of a silver medal.

    Just a few minutes later was the shoot off for the grand aggregate. The wind had picked up a little more, but not much. The biggest challenge I had was that the wind had such a speed that even from prone and with a sling the rifle was no longer steady. Instead the rifle sights were bouncing around as if I was shooting standing. So it was no longer good enough to simply have a good handle on the wind, we now also needed to squeeze the shot off at precisely the right moment. Needless to say some shooters excelled and some did not. Nancy Tompkins impressed everyone present by shooting a 75-7V in these conditions. I think the next highest score was a 74 and then it dropped off after that. I had a 70-4V which I didn’t feel bad about at all. That moved me from 3rd place to 5th place.

    So I just got 5th place in the NRA Fullbore Nationals and I’m honestly quite blown away by that result. There are some of the best shooters in the world present. Some of the other countries brought their same shooters who will compete next year in the world long range championships; they were here. This also served as a try out session for the US Palma Team so many of the best shooters from the USA were present and competing. And then there is me. I’ve shot two matches this year: a local 1000 yard match back home, and these nationals. I practiced about half a dozen times and usually at less than 200 yards before coming to nationals. Yet, despite the many reasons I shouldn’t have done well here, God saw fit to bless me and helped me to shoot very well. God is very good and this was lots of fun.

    The scores can be tracked here:

    2014 NRA Fullbore Nationals – Day 5 Range Report

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    Today we took a break from the individual competition and fired a team match.  I shot with a crew similar to what I did in the 2011 world long range championships.  We shot fine for the most part, but we had a few mechanical/technical difficulties with a rifle at 1000 yards, it was a real bummer.  The team from Great Britain won squarely and will likely be found celebrating somewhere in Port Clinton tonight.

    That’s all I’ll write up for today.  In the team matches all I have to do is shoot, so I really didn’t pay lots of attention to wind, to my scores, or too much of anything besides the next shot I was going to take.  Tomorrow the individual competition will resume.

    The scores can be tracked here:

    2014 NRA Fullbore Nationals – Day 4 Range Report

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    Being able to take a week off from work and shoot all day in these matches reminds me just how blessed I am.  I would not be able to travel and compete like this if not for extremely generous support from Eagle Eye Ammo.  I’m also very grateful for the support provided by Sinclair International / Brownells.  Thank you very, very much.

    If you are not familiar with target rifle competitions, I gave a bit of an explanation of things in my previous posts, please reference those:

    Today was the third day of the NRA Fullbore Nationals.  We shot 300 yards, 600 yards, and 1000 yards today with 15 shots at each.  Like yesterday, there were a number of shoot offs throughout the day to settle bronze, silver, and gold medal positions in various matches.  Winds were calm in the morning, coming out of the west.  By the time we got back to 600 yard line they had started to turn and were coming from either the north-northwest or north-northeast.  That is a very challenging condition to shoot in.  When we got back to the 1000 yard line the wind had settled into something like what it was yesterday, a steady wind out of the northeast.  It was finicky, but it could be read and compensated for if you were careful.

    Shooting alongside the best shooters in the country (and world) is tough.  This is the mental aspect of the sport.  Everyone expects the best shooters to shoot well, but how well do you expect yourself to shoot?  Once you start shooting better than your expectations it’s possible to bring things back inside of your expectations by getting nervous and doing the ever-so-graceful crash and burn.  I’ve done that many times.  For this reason I do spend a good deal of time thinking, scheming, and doing whatever I can to keep myself very calm and focused during a competition.

    If you’ve read other things I’ve written you’ll know that I’m a Christian and very much believe that God gave me this fun talent (shooting) for some reason.  With that in mind, I spent most of my time right before I shot each yard line in prayer asking God to help me stay calm, to help me break perfect shots, and to help me understand how to compensate for the wind.  I very much think that God helped me and answered those prayers today :-).

    At the 300 yard line I had two Vs for sighters (sighters are the practice shots we get to take prior to the shots counting for score).  Under the ICFRA rules the sighters can be converted, so I was already part way into my string; this gives the shooter bit of additional momentum as it immediately cancels out two shots that would otherwise have to be fired.  It helped me along just fine and I ended up with a 75-13V.  That means that out of 15 shots I had 13 inside of about a 2.5” to 3” bull’s-eye, and I had two that were just slightly wider than that.  That felt good.  I came off the firing line thanking God for giving me such a fun talent and helping me to shoot such a tight little group.  As it turns out this was the second highest score shot, the highest was shot be a friend and teammate, Brianna Rachinski who shot a 75-14V!  I’ll be in a four-way shoot off tomorrow morning to decide who gets the silver and bronze in that match.

    At the 600 yard line the wind was kind of tricky.  It was a head wind out of the north and it would quickly switch by just the smallest amount and introduce a right or left component.  I had my heart set on getting all the points, 75 of them, knowing that the wind was tricky this would be a challenge.  I pressed on and shot very carefully.  I spent lots of time in my spotting scope watching the wind settle into one direction or another before shooting.  The perseverance paid off and I ended with a 75-7V.  Apparently others did not have the same difficulty I had, as there were about two dozen scores better than that.

    At 1000 yards the wind was pretty steady with subtle angle changes and infrequent let offs.  I worked very hard at it and ended up with a 74-7V.  Of course I would have loved to shoot a 75, but while I was on the gun sighting in on the target the wind let off a little and I got caught.  It happens and there isn’t much that one can do about it.

    Ending the day with a 224-27V put me in third place for the daily aggregate and moved me from 18th to 7th in the overall aggregate.  The top 10 has been juggled again, but a little less than on Day 2.  Nancy Tompkins and Kevin Nevius are leading the pack; they have each dropped five points so far.  The rest of us in the top 10 are one or two points behind them, all of us separated by a bunch of Vs.  As tight as it is, it looks very much like the match will be won (or lost) in the last two strings at 1000 yards on Saturday.  Tomorrow we will take a break from the individual competition and shoot a team match.  I’ll be shooting with some other folks from Washington which also happens to be much of the same crew I shot with in 2011 in Australia.

    I couldn’t get a picture of the 75-13V target I shot, so I took a picture of my data book sheet where I plotted the shots.

    The scores can be tracked here:

    2014 NRA Fullbore Nationals – Day 3 Range Report

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    Being able to take a week off from work and shoot all day in these matches reminds me just how blessed I am.  I would not be able to travel and compete like this if not for extremely generous support from Eagle Eye Ammo.  I’m also very grateful for the support provided by Sinclair International / Brownells.  Thank you very, very much.

    If you are not familiar with target rifle competitions, I gave a bit of an explanation of things in my previous posts, please reference those:

    Today was the second day of the NRA Fullbore Nationals.  For the rest of the competition the weather forecast has sunshine and high 70s to low 80s, so it should be fine shooting weather.  We shot 600 yards, 900 yards, and 1000 yards today with 15 shots at each.  In between the regular 15 shot strings were a number of shoot offs to settle ties that existed.  The calm winds on the first day of shooting allowed for many high-V 75s to be shot.  The wind came out of the northeast all day and it gave us the most trouble in those moments when it became a northern wind or eastern wind.  The velocity of the wind was very consistent today, it was the angle changes that killed us.

    After shooting a 74 at the 600 yard line yesterday, I was determined not to make the same mistake today (placing too much wind correction on the rifle).  I was able to avoid that mistake a second time and I left the 600 yard line with a 75-10V, a fine score.  I’ll mention here that those of us trying out for the US Palma Team are interestingly motivated at this match.  Certainly we want to shoot well; we want to win, but we are being graded on the vertical dimension of the groups we shoot, so it’s possible that we are focusing more on shooting perfect shots than on reading the wind.  The winner of the match will have balanced those two tasks the best.

    The 900 yard line started giving some people a little trouble.  The truth is that the wind was very readable; it looked much worse than it was.  Many flags have been added to the range this year.  I’m not sure of the exact number of new flags, but it feels like there are more than double what there used to be.  I wonder if some of us are simply on overload with all of the new information presented to us.  I’ve found myself constantly guessing that there was more wind than there really was.  I lost one point at 900 yards and ended with a 74-8V.  While that’s certainly not a winning score, it’s just fine.

    The 1000 yard line is where this match is going to be won (or lost).  There are four 15 shot strings at 1000 yards in this championships, and I think they are the four most important strings of fire.  Today’s 1000 yard line was the beginning evidence of that.  I dropped four points in my first few shots at 1000 yards; it was a real eye opener.  I have only shot 1000 yards twice this year: once a few months ago at home and now.  I should have practiced more.  A few shots in it was very apparent to me that I was not paying attention to the wind in the way that I should.  I stopped shooting for about 5-6 minutes while I surveyed the situation, watched the wind, and watched others shoot.  After a bit procrastinating I jumped back in, but I was able to stay ahead of the wind from then on, finishing the rest of the string without losing a point.  I ended up with a 71-5V at 1000 yards, not exactly a score to write home about.  Having shot my final 11 shots without losing a point I knew for certain that a keen shooter would have shot a perfect 75 in that wind.  Keen I was not, but a few others were.

    At the end of day 2 of shooting the top 10 looks largely different than at the end of day 1, only two shooters who were in the top 10 after day 1 remain in the top 10 today: Nancy Tompkins and Kevin Nevius.  I thought for sure that losing four points at 1000 yards would have moved me to page 3 of the results, but I’ve moved from 12th place to 18th place according to the preliminary results.

    Of course one of the best things about shooting a fullbore match is shooting with all the folks from around the world.  Last night the US Team hosted a mixer of sorts for the other teams and we did a bunch of socializing with folks from the Great Britain Rifle Team and Australian Rifle Team.  I just got back from having a beer with a number of folks from the Great Britain Rifle Team.  Certainly, making friends with these folks is one of the best parts of the sport.  We don’t see each very often, but we do become great friends.

    A few shots from one of the shoot offs and of me scoring and chatting with a US Team coach are below.

    The scores can be tracked here: